The OnePlus 6 is the fastest mid-range Android phone on the market and is hands down the best OnePlus phone ever launched.
Once common names in the world of mobile phones, LG and ASUS have been surprisingly absent for the past few months in India. On the other hand, since its inception in 2014, China’s OnePlus has successfully upset the flagship applecart (no pun intended). The company’s recently launched OnePlus 6, also called the ‘Kingslayer’, has once again managed to win hearts with its competitive pricing and monstrous power. But while it’s a great value, it still has the same old problems. The OnePlus 6 fails to compete with Samsung, Apple, Google or at times even with LG in terms of cameras.
The recent appearance of the LG’s G7+ThinQ and the ASUS’s ZenFone 5Z in the mid-range segment can possibly be another cause of worries for OnePlus. So, will these new entrants be able to give OnePlus a run for cover. Let’s find out.
The most attracting feature of the OnePlus 6 is its new design, which replaces the old aluminium chassis with glass panels on both the front and the back. According to OnePlus, an all-glass design allows for better wireless reception. While that may be true, glass is glass. And even though the OnePlus 6 has Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 on both sides, it’s not scratch proof, and if you happen to drop it from a certain, it will shatter.
The Asus ZenFone 5Z also, just like OnePlus 6, has a glass body – both front and back – and features impressive dual-lens rear camera setup with some neat AI tricks and bokeh effect in wide angle shots. The notch is also wider as compared to OnePlus 6, and the chin at the bottom is also slightly thicker.
The G7+ ThinQ, an unusual name indeed, also has glass on both sides with curved edges that make up for a clean look. It comes with a dedicated power button on the side, so, now, you don’t need to rely on the fingerprint sensor anymore to power up the device.
But since design and aesthetics are subjective and can vary from person to person, it’s impossible to objectively claim that one looks better than the other. However, my personal preference would be the ZenFone 5Z – it’s lighter than the OnePlus 6 and also a bit shorter, which makes it a bit more compact in your hand.
While all three smartphones are powered by top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, what makes ZenFone 5Z different from OnePlus 6 and LG G7+ThinQ is the fact that it AI continuously learns to measure operations and based on that maximises performance, whenever necessary.
The OnePlus 6 has its own strength – it’s insane 8GB RAM. However, there’s also a 6GB RAM option available. The extra gigs of RAM ensure that the OnePlus 6 can multitask smoothly without slowing down. Extra RAM also future-proofs the phone. This way the new and heavier updates and apps won’t bog down the handset, increasing its longevity.
The ASUS ZenFone 5Z runs on ZenUI 5 on top of Android 8.0 Oreo, however, the company has revamped its UI with some refinements to make the overall user experience seamless, but the skin is still heavy.
On the other hand, OnePlus keeps keep their Oxygen operating system along the lines of stock Android, which allows the user to customise it according to their preference. OnePlus has added additional features like the Shelf, which lets you access your recently used apps, contacts and other information, such as storage and data usage, with just a swipe on the home screen.
The home screen of the G7+ThinQ reminds you of the iPhone X, as it spreads downloaded apps across your various home screens. However, it doesn’t work very well. It seems that LG needs to invest a bit more in research to make its UI stand out. Like the Apple iPhone X, the OnePlus 6 also comes with new gesture controls, which replaces the three navigation keys on the bottom bezel – Back, Home and Menu. But unlike the iPhone X, you get an option to stick to the traditional keys, if you find the gesture controls bothersome, that is.
The 6.2-inch full-HD+ display of ASUS ZenFone 5Z is more than enough to use the device for a multitude of purposes. There's also an option to hide the notch entirely, which results in black bars on the top and the bottom. However, you can easily identify them when using the phone outdoors, as the panel doesn't offer deep contrast levels like the AMOLED display of the OnePlus 6.
The ZenFone 5Z also allows you to customise the colour temperature as per your taste and automatically switches colour temperature to warmer colours at night to reduce eye strain. It also boosts colours when outdoors – a feature not present in LG G7+ThinQ and OnePlus 6.
LG G7+ThinQ offers ‘Super Bright’ mode that can augment the brightness to 1000Nits for a short span of time, which is quite useful, especially in sunny afternoons.
LG has also provided a button for Google Assistant, which seems more helpful and convenient than the Samsung’s Bixby button – at least to me. A single tap brings up Google Assistant and a double tap opens Google Lens – an artificial-intelligence-based platform that provides useful information, links and other instant details using visual analysis.
All three phones come with a dual-camera setup on the back, which seems to have become the standard now. OnePlus 6’s camera setup relies on a 16MP main sensor for most photos and a secondary 20MP sensor to add more detail and enable portrait mode blurring effects.
But it lacks AI-based scene detection present in both the LG G7+ThinQ and the ASUS ZenFone 5Z, which automatically chooses the optimal shooting modes for a particular scene.
Some of the newer AI Cam filters in the G7+ThinQ include Baby, Animal, Beverage, Fruit, Sky, Beach, Snow, Group of People, Lowlight, Night Sky and Text. After the camera adjusts a scene to one of these pre-sets, you can further adjust it by tapping on the pre-set icon and choosing different contrast and colour saturation.
The LG G7+ThinQ's low light performance clearly outshines the OnePlus 6 and ZenFone 5Z.
AI Cam in the G7+ThinQ has its hits and misses. In reality, the AI camera works flawlessly with ‘Animal,’ ‘Person,’ ‘Food’ and ‘City’ modes, but images of foods and beverages usually have deep reds and overly saturated colours.
And while there is no wide-angle lens in the OnePlus 6, the rear cameras in the G7+ThinQ comprise an f/1.6 main lens and a f/1.9 wide-angle lens – you can switch between them at will. While the main lens has optical stabilisation, the other offers a wide 107-degree angle for capturing as much of the landscape as possible and works far better than ZenFone 5Z.
A f/1.8 lens and 1.4um pixel size in ZenFone 5Z capture great photos in daylight conditions. The AI scene detection easily recognises food and boosts colours to make images look livelier.
The portrait mode in all three smartphones need a sufficient amount of light to allow for the desired effect, and sometimes the edges of captured images are not very well defined.
While all the three smartphones have different prices, they offer a similar performance for average users. If you want a camera-centric device than the LG G7+ThinQ is the one for you. But overall, I think the OnePlus 6 is still the best of the lot.
The OnePlus 6 will definitely make OnePlus fans happy, and, in all probability, it will continue to fuel the company’s growth.