OnePlus Ace 3 Unboxing & Hands-On Review

Week 1 of 2024 saw the long-awaited arrival of the latest model in the OnePlus ace series, the OnePlus ace3. This time, it has pushed the boundaries in terms of screen, battery life, and technology, making it one of the most powerful products in the 2.5K price range. So, what surprises does the OnePlus ace3 have in store for us?

1. Design

The first surprise comes from its design. Online renderings fail to fully capture the aesthetic value of the OnePlus ace3. While this generation of ace has abandoned the green color scheme that OnePlus has consistently adhered to in previous generations, the new blue color version is a significant step forward in overall visual appeal.

Image of OnePlus ace3

The back has a mirrored texture, but upon closer inspection of the smooth surface, a sandblasted texture can be seen emanating from the glass.

Back of OnePlus ace3

The camera module continues the style introduced since the OnePlus 10 Pro. While it may not have the rich and delicate texture of the flagship OnePlus 12, it still features a laser-like texture and scattered particles.

Camera module of OnePlus ace3

Furthermore, the Deco area and the side frame are designed to match the rear cover, providing a more unified visual experience.

Side frame of OnePlus ace3

The side is designed with a scale shape similar to a crown, complementing the texture on the inner edge of the circular ring, creating a very cohesive visual experience. Personally, the scale treatment outside the camera module makes it look even better from the side, even more so than the flagship OnePlus 12. I suggest that similar design elements be continued in future models.

Side view of OnePlus ace3

Like the OnePlus 12, the volume and power buttons of the OnePlus ace3 are designed on the same side, making them all accessible by the thumb.

Side buttons of OnePlus ace3

The iconic three-stage ringer switch, inherited from the first generation of OnePlus devices, is still retained. For those who often need to switch their phones to silent mode for meetings, this is definitely a design that once you use, you can’t do without.

Ringer switch of OnePlus ace3

The transition between the mid-frame, screen, and rear cover is well done, and the overall rounded design adds a lot to the grip. So, even though the OnePlus ace3 is slightly thicker than the previous ace2 by less than 1mm, it still offers an exceptional overall feel.

OnePlus ace3 grip

2. First Experience with 1.5K Eastern Screen

After discussing the back and sides at length, it’s time to talk about the biggest upgrade and selling point of the OnePlus ace3 – the 1.5K Eastern screen. This screen can be said to be the most top-notch in the domestic and even international markets. We have always said that Samsung’s screen is the best, but after seeing the Eastern screen, I have to say that domestic products have completely caught up and even begun to surpass Samsung. Its refreshing of DisplayMate’s A+ 18 records is the most compelling evidence.

OnePlus ace3 display

The local peak brightness of the Eastern screen can reach 4500nits, the global peak brightness is 1600nits, and the manually activated brightness is 800nits. Aside from not having to worry about visibility in direct sunlight, its visual effects are noticeably more transparent in everyday use.

OnePlus ace3 display brightness

In addition to looking better, its significant importance lies in being more eye-friendly. The OnePlus ace3 features medical-grade eye protection technology, adopting a high-brightness 3Pulse+1Pulse DC dimming at high brightness and 2160Hz high-frequency PWM dimming at low brightness, ensuring eye care at different brightness levels.

OnePlus ace3 eye protection

Especially noteworthy is that this is an 8T LTPO screen, which can automatically adapt the screen refresh rate between 1~120Hz according to the usage scenario, providing users with the most prominent benefit of being more power-efficient and delivering longer battery life.

Enhanced Overall User Experience

First and foremost, there’s a definite improvement in performance. The Snapdragon 8gen2, combined with the full-blooded LPDDR5X+UFS4.0 storage, effortlessly handles various games and applications in daily usage.

Performance

Like the ace2 pro, the ace3 features an enhanced under-display fingerprint sensor, providing a better overall user experience. It eliminates the need to reach the bottom of the screen for unlocking, a rare feature in this price range. This can be considered a “democratization” of this feature, as even some machines in the 4K price range still have fingerprint sensors positioned very low.

However, one notable difference is that the ace3 supports fingerprint unlocking while the screen is off, making daily use much more convenient.

Fingerprint Unlock

In terms of photography, the ace3 continues the combination of the imx890 main camera, ultra-wide-angle lens, and 4cm macro lens inherited from the ace2. Compared to its predecessors, the ace3 has upgraded its hardware in the imaging department, and after a year of fine-tuning, the ace3’s algorithm has become more mature.

Because the imx890’s inherent quality is already impressive at the 2.5K price point, coupled with the Hyper Imaging Engine, the ace3 proves to be adept at capturing images in various everyday scenarios.

Photography

Photography

Photography

Another significant upgrade in the ace3 is the increase in battery capacity from 5000mAh to 5500mAh, a 500mAh increase. Surprisingly, the weight of the phone has increased by less than 5g, yet the battery life has significantly improved. Combined with the LTPO display, the ace3 has recently become the device with the most powerful battery life among all Snapdragon 8gen2 models, as seen in various review organizations’ battery life bar graphs.

Battery

As for charging, it still supports the 100W long-life fast charging. The fast charging power of this “unofficial” brand is indeed substantial. With the large 5500mAh battery, it takes about 25 minutes to charge from 1% to 100%, which is comparable to many smartphones with 120W fast charging, proving exceptional battery life.

Charging

Performance Experience

The first thing to do when you get a new phone is to test its performance. At an initial temperature of 20°C, the ace3 scored 168W in the Antutu benchmark, placing it at the forefront among current 8gen2 models.

Antutu Benchmark

Of course, the actual experience is the most crucial. It’s best demonstrated through popular games like Genshin Impact and Honkai Impact. As an average player, one wouldn’t spend 30 minutes in the Spiral Abyss like those in reviews, but in everyday gaming and combat scenarios, with the graphics set to very high, the frame rate stays consistently between 50 to 60 fps, mostly between 58-60 fps.

Gaming Experience

Handling Genshin Impact is much easier. Although with the same temperature, a metal-framed phone feels a bit warmer to touch compared to a plastic-framed phone, in practical usage, Genshin Impact stays warm throughout, and the frame rate remains stable at 58-60 fps.

The ace3 is equipped with OPPO’s new generation of game frame stabilization engine, ultra-frame ultra-image engine, X-shaped touch, and cloud computing private network, which greatly enhances the gaming experience.

Conclusion

In terms of product positioning, the ace3 aims for a high-quality cost-effective experience, emphasizing a comprehensive flagship user experience in performance, screen, gaming, and battery life.
So, compared to other products in the same price range, our ace2 stands out with its metal frame, ultra-thin in-display fingerprint sensor, and a large 5500mAh battery. It is currently the best in terms of battery life, screen quality, and performance in the 2.5K price range.

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