Speed, Thermal & Performance Comparison of Fast Charging Standards

OnePlus DashCharge Takes the Crown

One of the most common qualms from smartphone users is how their phones never last through the whole day. Despite all the advances in smartphones in recent years, such as quick charging solutions like Quick Charge, Dash Charge and SuperCharge, batteries feel like they have not evolved quick enough to keep up with our needs.

Part of the blame goes onto OEMs, who do work towards making our smartphones more efficient year-on-year. But on the flip side, the increasing efficiency of our smartphones are seen as perfect excuses to thin down our phones by yet another millimeter. And to retain the practicality of the phone, advances in the field of charging are advertised as a key feature of the device. So what if your phone dies after 6 hours of standby? Now you can get a day’s power in half an hour, or some other slogan.

Choice, one of Android’s strongest selling points, also ends up confusing users when it comes to charging standards. There are multiple charging solutions available across Android flagships, with their own positive and negatives attributes, intricacies and particularities. Some charging solutions are quick, some are efficient and some aren’t really quite as great as one would expect.

In this article, we will take a look at the performance and efficiency of some popular charging standards, namely Huawei’s SuperCharge, USB Power Delivery, OnePlus’s Dash Charge, Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging, and Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0.

Index

Conclusion
OnePlus Dash ChargeHuawei SuperchargeQuick Charge 3.0Adaptive Fast ChargingUSB Power Delivery


Current Winner 9/16/2017

Offering an excellent balance between speed and stability, Dash Charge surprised us with its ability to charge your phone quickly and painlessly. Its custom charging adapter and signature red cable allow newer OnePlus devices to remain cool while charging, without sacrificing performance on device nor charging rates. This means you use your device while it’s getting topped up and keep on messaging, browsing the web or even playing a game. Dash Charge cannot offer wide compatibility or a diverse set of charger options, but in the end it provides an excellent charging solution that does not get in the way of the user experience.


Methodology

The data we collected involved the use of a script that automatically measured key charging parameters  (as reported by Android) and dumped them into a data file for us to analyze. All charging standards were tested with their stock charging adapter and cable to ensure that the data is representative of what we can expect from each standard. All data collection began with the battery at 5% and ended with the battery at 95%. To test thermal performance and charging speeds during screen-on use cases, the script looped PCMark tests while the phone was charging to simulate a real-world usage environment; temperature readings are gathered from the OS, and they are not measured externally. For the sake of clarity in this presentation, averaged data was rounded off while preparing the graphs.


Quickest Charging Standard

When we measured the charging times of the popular charging solutions, we came across a peculiar conclusion: USB Power Delivery was the slowest of all fast charging solutions that we tested, at least as implemented on the Pixel XL. This is only surprising because USB Power Delivery is the “standard” pushed forth by the USB-IF standards body, and the one that Google strongly encourages as well — once we look at each standard’s workings further down this article, it’ll make more sense.

USB Power Delivery has been implemented in the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL. The smaller Google Pixel is marketed at being capable of 15W-18W charging, while the bigger Google Pixel XL is capable of 18W charging. As we noted in our Google Pixel XL review, actual charge times on the device were not competitive, ending up in the last place when compared with other solutions, and our extensive testing on the charging times for the purposes of comparison reveals the same. Below you can see the charging time of each standard from 5% to 80% when scaling the battery capacity across test devices to 3,000mAh — this does not represent how each standard would charge such battery capacity with perfect accuracy, and the graph should be used to get an approximate idea as to how they compare.

When we look at which device charged the fastest, the quickest charging solution we tested is OnePlus’s Dash Charge functionality, which on the OnePlus 3 ends up being quicker than competitors by about 10 minutes in the end (before adjusting for battery capacity), and by a good half hour against USB Power Delivery. On the flip side, Dash Charging is proprietary technology, which adds its own set of complications which we will discuss later on in this article. Dash Charge does end up behind Huawei Supercharge when we take into account, and adjust for, battery capacity in the device, as the Huawei Mate 9 has a substantially larger battery than the OnePlus 3. While Supercharge achieves a faster peak charging rate, the Huawei Mate 9 does not reach 95% charge the earliest because of its larger battery capacity. So while the OnePlus 3 tops up faster in terms of reaching the higher percentages of its battery capacity, the Mate 9 is actually adding more charge per unit of time (a function of Huawei’s higher power delivery ouput).

Huawei Supercharge and Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0 performed similarly, while Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charge had less of an initial speed advantage but it still managed to reach the goal of 95% charge while giving close competition to the other two.

We also have temperature data alongside the charging time. This graph coincides with the charge percentage, but had to be separated to keep things simpler, uncluttered and easy to understand.

We were unable to finely control all the starting temperatures of our test devices because of the varying temperatures in the different locations they were tested in, so our focus should be on consistency and stability rather than the absolute highs and lows displayed by each data set. Battery temperature was obtained from Android’s low-level system record of battery temperature.

The most thermally consistent of the lot is Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging as it maintains a good hold over the device temperature throughout the entire session. Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 was the “coolest”, though again, we would need better-controlled initial conditions with perfect starting points and minimal extraneous variables to crown it the king. Similarly, we cannot call USB Power Delivery the “hottest”, but it definitely displays the widest range of temperatures. It’s also worth noting that most of these devices end up cooling down once their charging rate begins slowing down, and USB-PD does a good job at managing temperature past its peak.

The situation changes when you look at how these technologies perform when the device is subjected to a real-world workload. As stated before, we looped PCMark’s Work 2.0 test to simulate real-world usage while charging these devices, in order to measure how charging times and temperatures differed.

OnePlus’s Dash Charging remains as the top performer primarily because of its implementation, which we’ll detail further down. The voltage and current regulating circuitry is situated in the Dash Charger, which leads to lower temperatures while charging. So Dash Charge’s idle-charging and under-load charging scores tend to show very little variation.

On the other hand, Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging shows the worst performance when subjected to charging under a real-world workload. The device takes about twice the time to charge if it is being used, and the charging also increases in a peculiarly linear fashion (given voltage and current remain constant) that is not seen across any of our other tests. In fact, according to Samsung’s support page for the S6, its Adaptive Fast Charging solution is entirely disabled when the screen is on. Express mentions like these could not be found on newer support pages, but Samsung continues to recommend devices to be switched off while using Fast Charging.

Other standards continue to occupy positions between these extremes, most lying on the better side of the scale. Even USB Power Delivery, the worst performer of idle-charging takes just about 10 minutes more to achieve the same charge levels under load.

Temperature-wise, Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging (if we can call it that under this test) maintains a consistent range of temperatures, flowing within a 5°C range. Huawei’s Supercharge follows along next, followed by OnePlus’s Dash Charge. Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 3.0 and USB Power Delivery are the worst performer temperature-wise with large inconsistencies and variations throughout their cycles.


With inter-standard comparison out of the way, let’s take a closer look at how the standards performed individually under idle-charging and load-charging scenarios, with a short explanation as to why they behave this way and how they work.


Huawei Supercharge

Huawei’s SuperCharge is one of the more interesting standards we’ve tested, showing impressive results under most conditions. Unlike traditional high-voltage charging solutions, Supercharge employs a relatively low-voltage and high-current formula that aims to maximize the amount of current going into the device, while minimizing efficiency losses, heat, and throttling. Coupled with the Smart Charge protocol, the Mate 9 also adapts its charging parameters based on the requirements of the battery, as well as the charger supplied (for example, it can make full use of a USB-PD charger). The actual Supercharge charger comes with 5V 2A, 4.5V 5A, or 5V 4.5A (for up to 25W, or a common 22.5 throughout the most relevant segment) and uses a chipset in-charger to regulate voltage as well — this means that there is no additional in-phone voltage transformation, in turn reducing temperature and efficiency losses. Coupled with what Huawei calls “8- layer thermal mechanics” in its design, the Mate 9 promised fast charging speeds at low temperature. Focusing on current over voltage, and going for a less-lopsided distribution is similar to the Dash Charge standard’s approach, and in many ways both OnePlus (or Oppo’s) solution is similar to Huawei’s Super Charge.

Looking at the data we’ve gathered, we see the typical pattern of temperature beginning to go down past the 55% mark, the point at which current begins dropping off as well. Peak current comes close to the 5A rating of the charger, and sustains the 4.5 nominal current throughout the first 20 minutes, or until around 45%. The fastest charging rate occurs from 10% to 5%, with a linear slope that begins curving at that current drop-off, where voltage starts remaining somewhat constant after a fast climb from 2V to over 3.5V. Throughout this test, peak temperature hits 38° Celsius, which is significantly hotter than most other standards in this list. However, temperature will become really important when we take a look at our “under load” test, where we simulate activity on the device to compare charging speeds. We can clearly see temperature decreasing alongside the current, which doesn’t drop in clearly-defined steps as other standards in this article, but with a set downwards trajectory

In terms of charging speed, Huawei SuperCharge arrives to 90% in about 60 minutes, putting it second in in terms of speed behind OnePlus’ Dash Charge. However, the Huawei Mate 9 we tested also has a 4,000mAh battery, which means the mAh per percentage are higher than on all OnePlus devices, actually putting the standard in a better light and ahead of OnePlus. There are differences, however, in terms of charging speed, as Super Charge begins leveling off harder than Dash Charge at the 30 minute mark. Most of these companies advertise how much battery life one can obtain in half an hour, and Huawei’s claims were surpassed by our testing as the device managed to climb past 60% in that time period.

Under workloads, the rate of charging naturally is lower than during idle charging. Instead of a steep drop off, we see a more relaxed curve that trails off at around 75%. Current and temperature drop off is experienced when the device approaches 60%.


OnePlus Dash Charge

One of the newer champions of fast charging is Dash Charge, which surfaced in 2016 with the OnePlus 3. While the OnePlus 2 had disappointingly long charging via a regular 2A charger, the OnePlus 3 brought what OnePlus called “exclusive technology [that] sets a new benchmark for fast charging solutions”. As with most marketing statements from OEMs, this is only half true. Dash Charging technology is actually licensed from OPPO, which OnePlus is a subsidiary of, and mimics their VOOC charging system — Voltage Open Multi-Step Constant-Current Charging. While Dash Charge is a much better name, VOOC charging can be found on OPPO devices like the R9 and R11, though in this article we are focusing on Dash Charge as implemented on the OnePlus 3 / 3T and OnePlus 5.

So what’s special about Dash Charge? Not unlike Huawei SuperCharge, it produces a larger electrical current of 4A and at 5V for 20W power delivery. Rather than increasing voltage, OnePlus opted for a more even distribution with larger electrical current, meaning more electrical charge delivered per unit of time. This is accomplished via both software and, primarily, through hardware — specifically the charger used, which is non-standard (unlike the plethora of QC chargers, for example) and thus you need a VOOC or Dash Charger to make use of these charging speeds.

Much like Huawei’s solution, OnePlus employs dedicated circuitry in the charger itself, and both VOOC and Dash Charge deliver higher amperage thanks to many components of the charger, including a microcontroller that monitors charge level; voltage and current regulating circuitry; heat management and dissipation components (that contribute to a 5-point safety check); and a thicker cable that delivers greater current, specializing in minimizing power fluctuations. Because the charger converts the high voltage from your wall into the lower voltage the battery requires, most of the heat from this conversion never leaves the charger — in turn, your phone remains cooler. The consistent current going into the phone coupled with the lower temperatures on the actual handset allow for reduced thermal throttling, which impacts both charging speed and consistency as well as the direct user experience.

OnePlus proudly proclaims it can give you “a day of power in half an hour”, which in reality means you are looking at around 60% of battery capacity in 30 minutes. This is not only extremely fast, but there are also a few perks that come with it. The charging speed is fastest and one of the fastest at those lower percentages, ensuring you can get extreme amounts of charge in just a few minutes should you be running low on battery. Moreover, the thermal consistency and lack of throttling is no joke. As we can see from the data supplied, the difference between under-load charging and regular charging is minimal. And this does mean that you will not notice slowdowns, additional stutter or general throttling side effects whilst using your device. This is a great plus and, as we’ve noted in a past analysis, it does truly mean you can play demanding 3D games such as Asphalt 8 while still getting nearly the same charging speed, with the difference being explained by the drain incurred by gaming itself.

Dash Charge does have a major disadvantage, and that’s compatibility. The OnePlus 3 and 3T, for example, are not able to fully utilize USB-PD should you not have a Dash Charge cable and charger handy. And you need both the charger and the cable to make Dash Charge work its magic. Unlike with Qualcomm Quick Charge, you won’t find multiple charger offerings and accessories from various suppliers — you are stuck with OnePlus and their stock, which includes regular chargers and also car chargers (that have been known to be out of stock in regular and somewhat frequent intervals). You could try getting your hands on a VOOC charger, but that’s arguably more difficult in many markets. There’s also a noticeable and disappointing lack of battery packs supporting Dash Charge speeds, as OnePlus offers none — you could try OPPO’s power bank with an adapter, but this is far from ideal.

If you can look past those inconveniences and incompatibilities, Dash Charge is a clear winner in both speed and consistency. It’s a charging standard that does its job quickly and efficiently, without tying down the users to a wall for long periods of time, and without hindering their real-world usage while plugged in. The heat reduction could even lead to increased battery longevity. Your phone will remain cool, but your charger will not — so just make sure not to touch it while it’s doing its thing!


Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0

Qualcomm Quick Charge is by all accounts the most popular charging standard in this list, and for good reason. Its paradigm is different than what we see with OnePlus and Huawei, because most of the magic happens through Qualcomm’s power management IC, their SoC and the algorithms they employ — all of this enabled Quick Charge to be a relatively low-cost solution (to OEMs) who are already packing a Snapdragon chipset in their smartphones anyway, and while it might not be as impressive as some of the dedicated solutions in this list, the reach of Qualcomm Quick Charge comes with its own set of benefits. While we are focusing on Quick Charge 3.0, keep in mind Quick Charge 4.0 is already available with considerable improvements. The latest revision is also compatible with USB-PD, as strongly recommended by the Android Compatibility Definition Document.

Quick Charge 3.0 has been offered in chipsets including the Snapdragon 820, 620, 618, 617 and 430, and offers backwards compatibility with previous Quick Charge standard chargers (meaning you can benefit from a plethora of lower-cost, slower chargers). This is mainly because the power draw is handled entirely on-device, with you only needing to provide a charge capable of supplying the requisite current to make use of its advantages — there’s no shortage of Quick Charge-certified chargers, so it shouldn’t be hard to stumble upon one. But again, we should re-emphasize that Quick Charge 3.0 even allows a phone to charge faster or more efficiently than non-Quick Charge devices while using a non-certified charger, precisely because so much of what makes it tick is independent of specific charger hardware, unlike Supercharge and Dash Charge.

Quick Charge 3.0 makes use of ‘Intelligent Negotiation for Optimum Voltage’ (INOV), and as the name suggests this allows for intelligent voltage control in order to determine the most efficient voltage, for the most efficient power delivery, at any given point while charging. This coupled with a higher voltage than competitors does allow the standard to expedite charging time, while preventing overheating and ensuring battery safety. INOV is also a step up from Quick Charge 2.0, which had rather discrete power modes of 5V/2A, 9V/2A, 12V/1.67A and 20V); instead, this revision allows for fine-grained voltage scaling, anything from 3.6V to 20V in 200mV increments. By determining which power level to request at any point in time, QuickCharge also prevents damaging the chemical composition of the battery while still providing an optimum charging speed taking into account factors like temperature and available power output. A potential downside is more inconsistency in charging speeds across charging scenarios and chargers, and the improvements do manifest in the earlier stages of charging and a noticeable decline around the 80% mark.

Still, looking at the graphs provided, one can see the finer granularity and wider range of voltage steps are clearly being taken advantage of. It’s worth noting that the Quick Charge 3.0 samples shown here do not behave as efficiently under load as other alternatives that offload much of the voltage conversion and heat dissipation to outside hardware; it’s more than serviceable if you want to use it while charging, however we don’t see the lack of throttling and heat buildup found on solutions like Dash Charge. And, unlike with other standards, you really won’t have a hard time finding power banks that’ll provide the rated charging speeds — this isn’t the case for SuperCharge or OnePlus, unless you are willing to spend more money, spend more time, or make extra concessions.

It’s precisely this level of versatility and support that make Quick Charge a great standard, and some OEMs do ultimately rebrand it as a superior “customized” alternative. But in the end, Quick Charge is an excellent solution for most OEMs looking to implement fast charging that’s efficient, highly compatible, and does not need special accessories. This holds extreme significance given Qualcomm is essentially granting the option to provide faster charging to dozens of smaller OEMs, or of bringing faster charging to mid-range devices through mid-range chipsets. This, in turn, improves the minimum baseline of fast charging offerings, in turn promoting competition and prompting those brands that do offer fast charging as a specific selling point to aggressively improve or market their solution.


USB Power Delivery

USB as a standard has been evolving for years, from a simple data interface that eventually became widely-used as a constrained power supplier, to a fully-fledged primary power provider alongside a data interface. Many small devices have featured USB charging for years, and you probably have a handful of peripherals being powered up by USB cables right at this moment. Power management in the initial generations of USB, however, was not meant for battery charging — rather, it was cleverly exploited for that by manufacturers who saw the slow power delivery was enough for the small batteries of their products. Since then, we’ve seen a tremendous jump — from the USB 2.0 power source of 5V/500mA (2.5W), to USB 3.0 and 3.1’s 5V/900mAh (which was very, very underutilized on Android) and finally, USB PDs 100W charging maximum.

Of course, smartphones have no need (and cannot take in!) such power draw — while 20V/5A is a peak for USB PD, actual chargers see a much lower specification with our tested Pixel clocking in at up to 15W (5V/3A), and the Pixel XL up to 18W. In most charging circumstances, however, voltage goes up to 5V with current sitting just under 2A, with the highest power draw we found during charging being just under 12.25W. As shown in the data provided here, USB-PD really isn’t the fastest charging standard, nor does it offer the best thermal consistency/lack of throttling. It does charge quite quickly under load, however, and overall it offers a very satisfactory – if unspectacular – charging profile.

It is, however, an extremely versatile standard that’s relatively easy to implement and that’s increasingly being pushed forth by Google in products like the Pixel C, Pixel Chromebooks, and Pixel smartphones as well as by various other manufacturers for laptops and other devices of varying sizes. Moreover, USB-PD is now part of the Android Compatibility Definition Document. Last year, the following entry made the rounds because it showed Google’s commitment to the standard, and what many interpreted as discouragement of proprietary solutions.

Type-C devices are STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to not support proprietary charging methods that modify Vbus voltage beyond default levels, or alter sink/source roles as such may result in interoperability issues with the chargers or devices that support the standard USB Power Delivery methods. While this is called out as “STRONGLY RECOMMENDED”, in future Android versions we might REQUIRE all type-C devices to support full interoperability with standard type-C chargers.

Since then, we’ve seen Qualcomm adopt USB-PD spec compliance with their Quick Charge 4.0 release for newer Snapdragon chipsets, which is a huge victory for both Google and Qualcomm. The increasing proliferation of USB-PD and Type C ports can lead us to a future where we see more device interconnectivity, with a near-universal port for audio, video, data transfer and charging needs. USB Type C devices like the Pixel XL currently allow the option to charge other devices using their battery as a power source, for example, and widespread USB Type C and USB-PD adoption in other devices such as laptops could lead to more convenient charging and cable-management use cases.

There’s also no shortage of charger options available for USB-PD devices, and if the standard can co-exist with proprietary standards, that opens up even more possibilities for device manufacturers. As it stands, though, it’s not present in many Android devices yet, with the Pixel and Pixel XL leading the charge. For these two phones and their adequate battery capacities, the charging rate and resulting times are sufficient, and Pixel / Pixel XL owners have multiple options at their fingertips — one just needs to make sure the charger is able to meet the 9V/2A or 5V/3A requirements of the phone, and that it meets specifications. With the emergence of USB Type C and USB-PD, we did see a few reports of potentially dangerous cables being sold online, as they didn’t meet the specifications of the resistor in the cable, for example. Luckily such issues are disappearing and if you make sure to research your purchase properly, you should be OK. Keep in mind that the standard is scaleable, and there will be more voltage and current configurations that OEMs can experiment with.


Adaptive Fast Charging

Adaptive Fast Charging has been Samsung’s preferred charging solution for many years and, unfortunately, it has largely stayed the same since. While our results show that it’s one of the slowest (yet more stable) standards, Samsung opts for it year after year over either a charging solution more in line with what OnePlus and Huawei are doing, or the proper Qualcomm Quick Charge (however, Samsung devices can make use of Quick Charge chargers for fast chargers!). The latter is a consequence of their split chipset strategy, given that their Exynos chipsets wouldn’t be able to take readily take advantage of Qualcomm’s charging technology. Samsung’s Adaptive Fast Charging is thus present in their devices across the globe, and limited to Samsung devices.

While Adaptive Fast charging is faster than USB-PD when adjusting for battery capacity, it’s still significantly slower than Supercharge and Dash Charge, and slightly slower than Quick Charge. It features a peak power delivery of 15W (5V/3A) which is in line with other standards, but Samsung seems to be quite conservative with its charging times — this is particularly evident when charging under load, as the charging rate becomes nearly linear, and has the slowest charging rate out of all devices we’ve tested for this article. That being said, the temperature difference is also the smallest of the bunch, and throttling the charging speeds and minimizing temperature led to consistent performance under usage.

 

Under both circumstances (regular charging and charging under load*) Samsung’s solution is the slowest (without adjusting for battery capacities) and the coolest (or, rather, features the smallest range of temperatures). This emphasis on stability and consideration for thermals is now more important to Samsung more than ever, after what happened with their Galaxy Note 7 and its faulty batteries. While there might be no correlation between this approach to fast charging and this incident – after all, as we’ve mentioned, their standard has remained largely constant over time – it’s still worth considering that a safer approach to fast charging is not bad in and of itself.

 

This is especially true for Samsung devices, which also provide an additional different rapid charging solution altogether — fast wireless charging. While conventional wireless charging was gaining popularity a few years back, Samsung is one of the few that stuck with it and then improved upon their implementation by adopting faster wireless charging, which originally cut down charging times from around three hours to just around two. Having this alternative can make up for some of the disadvantages of Adaptive Fast Charging, given wireless charging is a more passive approach that is less cumbersome and thus allows for more regular charging intervals, effectively taking the hassle out of topping up a phone around an office or bedroom space.

* You might notice that the intervals between points in these data sets are smaller than on other stubs and graphs. While gathering data from the GS8+, we stumbled upon a device-specific issue that prevented the PCMark test with UI automation from being carried out properly. We thus revised our data collection and automation tool for the GS8+ and improved the polling mechanism while we were at it. Data added in the future will benefit from these improvements resulting in more accurate or smoother graphs.


This article will be continuously updated as we get our hands on more devices, and get to test newer or updated standards. Stay tuned for more comparisons!

OnePlus 6 release date and rumours: What will next year’s OnePlus handset look like?

OnePlus has completely disrupted the market with its series of excellent but affordable smartphones. The recently released OnePlus 5 continues in that tradition – albeit at a higher price than we’ve become accustomed to.

This week, the Chinese company set minds racing by announcing a mystery event in Paris on 19 September: a new collection in collaboration with French designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. Could this be something OnePlus 6 related? Almost certainly not. The clever

Almost certainly not. It could plausibly relate to a OnePlus 3T style device – a placeholder between two handsets – but even a OnePlus 5T seems a touch unlikely, given the timeframe that would be involved. The OnePlus 5 only came out in June, after all. It more likely relates to a special edition OnePlus 5, but we can dream.

As you might expect, there’s not much to say about the OnePlus 6 yet. But we’ve got to start somewhere, and at the very least there are some interesting discussion points…

OnePlus 6: Rumours

There aren’t really any rumours yet. The closest we’ve come to one is OnePlus founder Carl Pei asking a Reddit user where they preferred the fingerprint reader. I mean, it’s interesting that he’s open minded on the topic, but it’s hardly the basis of a convincing rumour.

Other than that, we’re expecting the OnePlus 6 to stick with the dual lens camera, given the success of the model on the OnePlus 5. Rumours of a bump to a 2K screen have been doing the rounds for several generations now, and once again they’re in full flow here. In support: most flagship phones hit that level, and if you want a device for VR, it’s a sensible strategy. The case against: it’s more expensive, hits battery and isn’t that helpful for 95% of smartphone use cases.

We think they’re sticking with the headphone jack though. Carl Pei once put the idea to his Twitter followers in an informal poll, and it was roundly defeated.

OnePlus 6: Release date

The OnePlus One launched in April 2014. The OnePlus 2 was July 2015, and the OnePlus 3 appeared in June 2016. The OnePlus 3T bucked the trend with a November 2016 launch, but it was an incremental update, before the OnePlus 5 arrived in June 2017.

With that in mind, June-July 2018 seems pretty likely to us – unless they treat us to a OnePlus 5T.

OnePlus 6: Price

This is where it gets a bit tricky.

The series has undergone some serious price hikes since its debut in 2014, jumping from £229 to £450 in three years.

It could get worse. In a recent Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), Pei suggested the company could consider making a smartphone that costs over $800 (~£612). “Costs are increasing YoY, we only make flagship products, and we don’t believe in selling products at a loss,” Pei explained.

With these two factors in mind, you’d be foolish to bet on the price dropping below £450 – but it may not go too much higher, as the company clearly still plans to undercut. With that in mind, I’d predict a handset that costs around £500 when it launches – but as ever, we’ll be updating this piece when we know more.

Why OnePlus is Still Succeeding with Developers and Enthusiasts

We all know OnePlus to be a brand that began its journey through controversy. The OnePlus One remained in the limelight not only for its hardware and price tag, but also for all the claims and tactics employed by OnePlus to ensure that the device became one of the most talked about smartphones in enthusiast circles. It was an exercise in viral online marketing, and they arguably succeeded.

 

With the OnePlus 2, they tried to adopt a slightly different approach than what worked with the OnePlus One. While the company doubled down on hyperbole with the “2016 Flagship Killer” moniker, OnePlus did tone down their once socially-controversial marketing tactics, foregoing practices such as “Ladies First” and the thoroughly-hated Invite system. What they also toned down was the developer friendliness of the device, as a few key resources (like sources for the fingerprint sensor and laser autofocus for the camera, and VoLTE support) were not delivered to the community at the times requested. As such, the development scene of the phone could not reach the levels of its predecessor.

After the OnePlus 2 Update Trainwreck, Software Support is Paramount to OnePlus’ Success

The OnePlus X, although a capable product targeting an increasingly forgotten niche (small-screen smartphones), was rather awkwardly placed in market for a fair few reasons: some related to its smaller screen size and hence subsequent demand, and some related to the average-at-best hardware… ultimately the phone could never take off.

And then came the OnePlus 3. The actual 2016 flagship (pre-3T) fixed a lot of wrongs with the OnePlus 2. Combined with the best SoC from Qualcomm in the form of the Snapdragon 820, the OnePlus 3 was better suited for the flagship killer moniker based on its commendable performance. The phone could stand up against several flagships in terms of overall hardware, some hovering at twice the price, and still come out ahead. There were a few drawbacks with the device, like an average camera experience, but such issues could be overlooked when considering the phone’s price and rest of the hardware and software experience, as well as genuinely useful features like Dash Charge or the alert slider.

Suggested reading: Dissecting Performance: What Makes the OnePlus 3 & 3T Excellent Real-World Performers

Something OnePlus also improved on the OnePlus 3 was its developer responsiveness, communication and strategy. The company was perhaps fearing repeating the mistakes they had made with the OnePlus 2, and seeing how the community collectively hated OnePlus’s attitude towards the device, they turned over a new leaf. The company started off on the right foot by dismantling the criticized invite-system for the device for good. This was followed up by a very quick release of the kernel sources and device tree for the device — mere hours after the launch of the phone. We even saw one of the quickest CyanogenMod (unofficial) releases ever. Developers did note that one key feature and major selling point was missing from the sources: Dash Charging. OnePlus promised that this would reach developers eventually, and followed up on the promise by releasing the Dash Charging kernel code and proprietary binaries in about six weeks of the phone’s release. We still have not achieved resolution when it comes to the issue related to camera quality on custom ROMs, though that’s not really the fault of OnePlus due to the fact that open sourcing the camera HAL is not be as easy as Carl Pei originally thought. Either way, OnePlus did go out of its way to help developers by setting up communication channels with them, and in some cases handing out units to them as well.

Roughly a year ago, OnePlus also announced a key change with how it handled software and updates. OnePlus was looking at merging its Chinese software UX, HydrogenOS with its global software UX, OxygenOS. The primary purpose of this merger was to combine both the teams onto the same roadmap and provide quicker software updates to all users, irrespective of region. Originally, people questioned how this change would shape up the new OxygenOS experience, as HydrogenOS tended to lean towards a brighter and more customized UX, one that was likely appreciated by users in China but was not liked as much in the global market given it was quite removed from Stock Android. However, as we have witnessed so far, a lot of the changes in OxygenOS over the year have been unanimously accepted by the users. Some changes, like the Alert Slider changes do continue to infuriate some users. But for the most part, the response to OxygenOS has been positive as it balances itself between customizations and a close to stock Android feel (as opposed to HydrogenOS, a direction that could have been taken by OnePlus).

The major highlight of OxygenOS from an enthusiast’s perspective is the division of updates between the Stable branch and the Open Beta branch (previously known as Community builds). Such a division clearly divided the needs of the enthusiast community from that of the average consumer, allowing OnePlus to serve the needs of both without alienating the other. An average consumer is a lot less accommodating towards bugs and would gladly wait for a polished product instead of something that could break during daily use. An enthusiast on the other hand, often trades that expectation of stability for a chance to try out the latest developmental and experimental features right now and provides feedback to help shape the future of such features.

The Open Beta essentially serves as a very long soak test. Most other OEMs resort to private soak testing before beginning staged rollouts, and then sometimes end up pausing such rollouts when unforeseen bugs appear. Adopting the Open Beta approach allows OnePlus to secure a wider tester audience, a wider timeframe and wider use cases to test and polish updates before beginning their rollouts in the stable channel. And, unlike traditional soak tests, they actually make it an effort to continuously add new features.

The Open Betas themselves have become very popular within the enthusiast community. Despite not being considered as stable themselves, the builds are usually fine for general usage and are good candidates for daily drivers for people who do not mind an occasional bug. Over the year, and as far as the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T are concerned, OxygenOS Open Betas have played testing ground to features like expanded screenshots, data firewall and data saver, gaming do not disturb mode, automatic night mode, EIS and camera quality improvements, ambient display and lift up display, app locker, parallel apps and much, much more. As a consequence though, there is a significant time lag in these features appearing in Open Betas to them appearing in the Stable release, even after they have been seemingly perfected.

With the launch of the OnePlus 3T, some were concerned that OnePlus would be ignoring the OnePlus 3 to favor the newer device. These were fueled by OnePlus’ decision to entirely discontinue the sales of the OnePlus 3 after existing stock depletion despite the device being just about half a year old. But as they promised, software support for the OnePlus 3 continued alongside the OnePlus 3T. With the merging of OxygenOS for both the devices into a single unified build, both devices have essentially become the same phone as far as software is concerned. The unified build approach was also adopted by the custom ROM development community and most major works present in our forums provide a single set of modifications to be applied irrespective of the specific phone (3 or 3T), with certain packages discerning how to apply specific changes upon flashing. So while many people would still consider a half yearly upgrade controversial and largely unnecessary, myself included, it did have an impact in how the developer community shaped around these two devices. A refresh may have just prolonged the scope of the OnePlus 3 by convincing more people to purchase a OnePlus 3T, in turn increasing the combined user base.

OnePlus’s rediscovered willingness to aid developers thankfully did not stop at the OnePlus 3/3T, even though they had a few setbacks as they haven’t always complied with the GPLv2 in time. When the OnePlus 5 arrived, it came along with the device tree and kernel sources needed to kickstart development activities right at the get-go. The phone followed it up with several OxygenOS updates that added in missing features like EIS capabilities on 4K video as well as several bugfixes. The OnePlus 5 does not have an Open Beta program just yet, but this will change once the OnePlus 3/3T are updated to Android Oreo.


What happens to the OnePlus 3 and 3T after Oreo?

Sadly, it is too early to say what happens when OnePlus brings over Oreo to the 3/3T. Android 8.0 will be the final major version update for this set of devices from OnePlus, so the phones will very likely need to rely on the community to help it tide over the rest of its years. That is not to say that the OnePlus 3/3T will not receive any updates beyond Oreo as OnePlus’s statement does leave open the possibility of smaller, minor updates.

And the Oreo update just seems to be right around the corner. The OnePlus 3 Closed Beta group has already received its first taste of Android Oreo, and the company aims to deliver an Oreo build to the Open Beta channels by the end of September for the OnePlus 3/3T as well as the OnePlus 5. For a change, OnePlus is not mentioning any deadlines for delivering Oreo in the stable channels, preferring to just act quick and hopefully let their actions speak for themselves.

What we would like to point out with this article is that OnePlus as a company does appear to have evolved into a more mature entity, one that realizes that fulfilling promises matters, and that actions can speak louder than words. The OnePlus 2 was criticized heavily for being a classic case of overpromising, compromising and under delivering, but the past year with the OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T and now with the OnePlus 5, the situation does appear changed.

That is not to say that OnePlus is without faults, nor is it to say that their current products are free from any issues. In fact, we at XDA-Developers have been the first ones to break controversial articles highlighting several shortcomings. We criticized the OnePlus 3 and its aggressive RAM management and inaccurate display calibration in the Reviewer software builds; to which OnePlus had to respond with a Reviewer OTA that fixed these issues. We revealed upon the OnePlus 5 launch how OnePlus was manipulating benchmarks to maximize scores; to which OnePlus responded with statements that mentioned that these were intended to showcase the peak potential of the device, and that such performance is “natural” (we disagree) as well as sustainable and does no harm to the device as there is no overclocking involved. The OnePlus 5 inverted display issue which caused jelly scrolling was also documented and confirmed by us;  to which OnePlus responded that the visual effect is “natural” and there exists no variance in screens between devices. We’ve also covered the 911-reboot bug on the OnePlus 5; OnePlus responded with a quick hotfix OTA update as well as followed it up by explaining the cause of the bug and mentioning that they worked with Qualcomm directly to fix the issue (which was reportedly present on phones from other OEMs as well).

The frequency and timeliness of the responses to these “controversies” is what differentiates the OnePlus of 2015 from the company post-OnePlus 2; even if the responses may not be what we would have liked them to be. Overall, their public relations team has seemingly done a good job at responding to the hiccups the company has had, even if they lost a few fans along the way. The community still has a few complaints carried over from the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X as well, like how the Marshmallow update for the X was delayed for far too long; and how OnePlus backtracked on their own promise to deliver Nougat to their 2016 flagship killer after keeping owners in the dark for several months.

But beyond that, it’s fair to say that the OnePlus 3 marked the company’s coming of age as an OEM. And as members of a website that focuses on software modifications, it’s refreshing to see that their flagships have at least partially filled in the void left behind by the demise of the Nexus program. All of OnePlus’ devices have already received unofficial Android 8.0 Oreo builds:

So it’s not too difficult to see why OnePlus continues to remain a popular choice in our forums, and why it’s becoming increasingly popular among mainstream consumers in several markets as well (for different reasons). Their ability to respond to their vocal community definitely had a hand in their recent successes, or at the very least, minimizing their recent missteps (and there have been many).


 

OnePlus 3 Closed Beta Group Receives Android Oreo

Fans of OnePlus may not be fans of the company’s faults, especially when it comes to updates. The OnePlus 2 is considered the forgotten child of OnePlus, promised an update to Nougat but it was never received. The device only received one major upgrade, a pretty abysmal state to be in. According to the OnePlus 3 closed beta group, things are changing for the Shenzhen based company.

OnePlus are looking to make a change. They’re serious, and to show that they are aiming for the OnePlus 3/OnePlus 3T to receive a public beta by the end of September 2017 running Android Oreo. OxygenOS being extremely minimal in terms of modifications to Android, people are hopeful that we can see the first Open Beta release by the end of September, though there have been no guarantees. They are currently requesting closed beta users to take logs when there are issues, either in installation or with various system functions.

OnePlus are not known for being “quick to update”, yet from the person reporting from the closed beta group, OnePlus seem to want to change that. Rather than making a promise and restricting themselves to a deadline, they would rather just act and get it out when it’s ready. This marks a change for the company.

So far it seems OnePlus are facing many bugs on their Android Oreo build. With broken NFC, bugged WiFi, inconsistent hotspots and Bluetooth issues, it seems OnePlus are a good bit away from having an Open Beta worthy release. Because of this, we might not see a Public/Open Beta until after September. OnePlus don’t plan to release the Open Beta just for the OnePlus 3, but for the OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 5 as well, presumably at a similar time.

OnePlus could be one of the first to release Android Oreo for their devices. For a technology company which some would know as slow to update their devices, that’s a crazy thought that they may next be one of the quickest — though to be fair, they did a decent job with Android Nougat last year. We’ll need to wait and see if OnePlus include Project Treble in the incremental upgrade. They don’t have to, as none of their devices launched with Android Oreo, but it would be a great parting gift to the community in a final update for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T.


Via: AndroidPolice

Android 8.0 Oreo available for some OnePlus 3 owners, stable builds for 3, 3T, and 5 coming this month

OnePlus’ track record for software updates has been shaky, to say the least, with many owners of the OnePlus 2 and X still mourning the premature end of software updates for their devices. OnePlus previously announced that Android 8.0 Oreo would be coming to the OnePlus 3/3T by the end of the year, and it looks like that day is quickly approaching.

Sigma 18-35mm Lens

A OnePlus 3 enlisted in a special closed beta was recently spotted running Android 8.0 Oreo, and when we say OnePlus 3, we mean the original 3 that came out last June. It’s bewildering to us why OnePlus would test out the beta on the 3 rather than the more recent 3T or 5, but in any case, this is the device the company has chosen to test out the latest version of Android.

Users in this closed beta also reportedly received a message from OnePlus in which they were informed that the current build of 8.0 Oreo for the OnePlus 3 is still extremely buggy. What kind of bugs, you ask? Current known issues include NFC not working, hotspot/tethering services being unreliable, and unstable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functionality. Furthermore, OnePlus also warns that OTA or other updates might cause even more issues.

Despite all of the problems currently littered throughout this closed beta, OnePlus is apparently hoping to have stable builds of Android 8.0 Oreo ready for the OnePlus 3, 3T, and 5 by the middle of the month and a public beta that will be available before October. It will be seriously impressive if OnePlus can kick out Oreo to its devices that quickly, but considering the company’s history, I’ll believe it when I see it.

While the OnePlus 5 will continue to receive major OS updates following Oreo, don’t forget that Android 8.0 will be the last big, new software for both the 3 and 3T. These two devices will continue to receive security patches after Oreo makes an arrival, but don’t expect an official update to Android P when it’s released.


Check out 9to5Google on YouTube for more news:

Android 8.0 Oreo Closed Beta Available For Select OnePlus 3 Owners

OnePlus does not have a clean record when it comes to delivering timely updates. The company even denied the second major update to its flagship – the OnePlus 2 and the budget friendly OnePlus X. However, OnePlus is now looking to do some damage control by working on Android 8.0 Oreo update for the OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T, and the OnePlus 5.

Closed Beta for OnePlus 3

As we reported earlier, the company also announced it publicly that the OnePlus 3/3T will get Android Oreo update soon. According to the latest report, OnePlus 3 was spotted running Android 8.0 Oreo in closed beta. It is quite surprising that the company is testing it on OnePlus 3 that was unveiled in June 2016 instead of the more recent OnePlus 5 or OnePlus 3T. We don’t know why OnePlus chose OnePlus 3 for beta testing, but the good news is that the company has finally started working on the Oreo update.

Plagued with bugs

Users enrolled in the closed beta have received a message from OnePlus stating that the current Android 8.0 build is full of bugs. The build is reportedly plagued with many issues – NFC, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, hotspot/tethering, and more functions are not working properly. Besides, OnePlus also warns that the OTA or any other update may cause more issues.

Despite the number of issues on the current build in closed beta, OnePlus is expecting to have stable builds ready by the mid of this month for the OnePlus 3/3T and OnePlus 5. We can expect Android 8.0 public beta to debut before October. If OnePlus sticks to the timeline as promised then it could be a milestone in its update history.

Last major update for OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T

As sweet as it sounds, but Oreo will be the last treat for the OnePlus 3/3T, after that both the devices will not get any major update except for security patches.

Are you a OnePlus 3/3T or OnePlus 5 user? Do you think OnePlus will stick to its promise this time? Let us know your thoughts through the comments section below.



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OnePlus 3 gets Oreo in closed beta, public beta could open this month

It looks like OnePlus is trying to be first out of the gate with an Oreo update.

According to Android Police, based on an anonymous tip from an alleged beta-tester, the Shenzhen-based company is currently testing Android 8.0 Oreo on the OnePlus 3. The test is part of a private, closed beta program, as opposed to the open beta program that OnePlus offers to everyone who’s interested.

Read: OnePlus 3/3T update tracker

As you would expect so soon after the official release of Android 8, this initial beta build is said to be unstable and incomplete. The communication stack is particularly buggy, with “nonfunctional NFC, buggy Wi-Fi, unstable hotspot, and wonky Bluetooth.”

OnePlus told testers that it hopes to have a stable beta by mid-September – in just one week! – followed by the opening of the public beta by the end of the month. That’s an extremely ambitious timeline and we wouldn’t be surprised if OnePlus failed to abide by it. Still, if the tip turns out to be accurate, OnePlus deserves a kudos for working hard to get Oreo out in record time.

For reference, the first Nougat open beta for the OnePlus 3 was launched on November 30, 2016. The stable update started rolling out on the last day of the year, according to our trusty Nougat update tracker.

It’s interesting that OnePlus appears to be working on the OnePlus 3’s Oreo update, and not the souped-up 3T or the new OnePlus 5. It’s possible that development is underway for all three devices, but only the OnePlus 3 has leaked out so far.

In the past, the company got heavy flak over the way it handled Android updates, mainly for ditching Nougat for the OnePlus 2 (and refusing to admit it for months) and the belated release of Marshmallow for the OnePlus X. Perhaps OnePlus is trying to clean up its image?

OnePlus previously said that Oreo would be the last major update for the OnePlus 3/3T.

We’ve reached out to OnePlus to confirm the leaked timeline and we’ll keep you posted.

OnePlus 2 Receives Android 8.0 Oreo Unofficially via LineageOS 15

A lot of OnePlus 2 owners have felt burned due to the lack of OTA updates that OnePlus has pushed out. For a while, owners of these devices were told that the OnePlus 2 was eventually going to be receiving an official update to Android 7.0 Nougat. That unfortunately turned out not to be the case, thus making the last official build of OxygenOS for the device to be based on Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Thankfully, the device still has quite the developer support on our forums, and developers have just released an early build of LineageOS 15 based on Android 8.0 Oreo for the device.

OnePlus promises they’ll have better long-term software support for the OnePlus 3 and the OnePlus 3T since they have organized their software development division. We’ll have to wait and see how that turns out, but users of those devices should take solace in the fact that the OnePlus custom development community has always been strong, so even if OnePlus is unable to continue providing support, members of the XDA forums will be there to fill the gaps. Though we don’t yet have official builds of LineageOS 15 for any device right now, community developers are building ROMs based on what’s already there in the gerrit for a number of devices.

The latest to get its first taste of Android Oreo via LineageOS 15 is the OnePlus 2, and this build is possible thanks to XDA Recognized Contributor  (as well as the entire LineageOS team). This initial release was made available yesterday and it has already been updated to revision 3. As usual with these early builds, this is to be considered an alpha and there are some bugs you should be aware of. A lot of stuff does work though, including RIL, WiFi, Bluetooth, hotspot, fingerprint scanner, VoLTE, and the sensors (GPS etc.).

However, there are some things that currently do not work and are still being debugged at this time. As of writing this, that includes the camera, alert slider, offline gestures, and possibly more. With an early build like this, it’s impossible for one developer to know all of the bugs which are present. So if you come across any then please be sure to report it (and include logs) in the thread linked below.


Get Android Oreo (Unofficial) from our OnePlus 2 forum

Change the Splash Screen of OnePlus Devices with SplashInjector

There are many ways to customize your device such as icon packs, third-party launchers, and themes. If you are rooted, you can also change the boot animation, which is the often colorful logo that appears before Android boots up. But there’s also the splash screen, which is the very first thing that shows on your device before the boot animation. It lasts only a few seconds and usually just shows the manufacturer’s name. Customizing the splash screen is usually more difficult than changing the boot animation or anything else, but thanks to a new tool for OnePlus devices, it’ll be really easy to change splash screens.

XDA Senior Member bobglaus created “SplashInjector,” a basic command line interface tool based on the Splash Screen Image Injector created last year by XDA Senior Member makers_mark. The tool supports all OnePlus devices except the OnePlus X (meaning the OnePlus One, OnePlus 2, OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T, and OnePlus 5) and it has been developed in order to make modifications to the boot splash screen easy and painless for an extra touch of customization.

The developer states that the tool is a bit “hacky” with support for Unix-based systems primarily. Support for Windows arrived in version 1.52, however, the tool loses the ability to package files on the respective OS. Developers can use tools such as Android Flashable Zip Creator in order to make-up for the lost ability. The tool (in its current state) can successfully decode and encode all the “logo.bin” files for every OnePlus device supported. It has the added ability to pack flashable zips automatically.

All that’s needed to be done is a quick run of the “decode” command followed by preference-driven edits to the files in the output folder. The “encode” command will pack everything back up. In order to create a package out of all of the above, the “package”command is essential. Usage instructions have been conveniently hosted at GitHub right here.


Change Splash Screens with SplashInjector

OnePlus offers discounts on Oneplus 3T, 5 smartphones to celebrate 1,000 days in India, Telecom News, ET Telecom

NEW DELHI: OnePlus today announced the successful completion of 1,000 days of its operations in India. To celebrate the milestone with its users, OnePlus has announced a special promotion event ‘OnePlus 1,000 Days’.

During the ‘OnePlus 1,000 Days’ sale, the company’s flagship devices OnePlus 3T will be available at a special price of Rs. 25,999 against the regular price of Rs. 29,999. The promotion offer will be rolled out on the 5th of September 2017 and continue till the 7th September 2017.

During the three day promotion period, customers can also avail additional cashback offer of Rs. 2,000 on Axis bank credit and debit cards along with other attractive offers including Rs. 2,000 on exchange of their old phone on both the OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 5. In addition, customers can avail up to 12 months of zero cost EMI offer and 100 lucky customers can win complimentary domestic flight vouchers from Cleartrip.

Speaking on the occasion, Vikas Agarwal, General Manager, India at OnePlus, said, “We are pleased to offer exclusive benefits to celebrate the 1,000 days of OnePlus in India. The fast growth of the brand in India is attributed to the strong support from OnePlus community who truly resonate with the spirit of ‘Never Settle’ and our exclusive sales partner Amazon.in. Since our inception, we have been on a journey to develop premium flagship phones that combines fast, high end hardware with equally high end design. Our journey has just begun, the best is yet to come.”

What started out as a simple idea: to provide the world with the best Android Flagship, has come a long way since then. Today, OnePlus is successfully positioned as a customer first and innovative player in the premium smartphone segment. As per the recent IDC Q2 2017 market report, OnePlus has a market share of 14 percent in the premium smartphone segment (USD 400 and above).

The OnePlus journey in India began with the launch of our very first flagship OnePlus One that disrupted the smartphone industry with its unique system adaptation abilities. The brand continued to disrupt the industry with its own operating system Oxygen OS on the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X. The company’s motto of ‘never settle’ was further enforced with the launch of its fourth model, the OnePlus 3, a phone that introduced the fastest and safest battery charging technology (Dash Charge).

The OnePlus 3T, its successor, improved the brand’s offering with greater features and propelled it to the top three premium smartphones by the end of the year. The OnePlus 5, launched in June this year, represents the pinnacle of OnePlus’ desire to provide its users with the best possible user experience with the highest resolution Dual Camera set-up and unmatched performance with up to 8GB of RAM coupled with world’s fastest processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and its proprietary Dash Charge technology.