I Bought the OnePlus 3 in Singapore: First Impressions and Experience!

Update: For those who are asking, there are 3 variants of the OnePlus 3: Chinese, European and US. All the models have the same hardware, the only difference is their support for different LTE bands. Singtel uses LTE bands 3, 7, 8 and 38. M1 and Starhub use 3 and 7. Looking at the band support of the 3 different models below, we can conclude that it is best to get the Europe/Asia model, but the Chinese model will work just fine as well. Just try not to get the US one. Most of the OnePlus 3 phones you find online (such as from Lazada) are from China. These would be A3000 and the seller should state that it has been “flashed with Oxygen OS”. This is a good thing. Go ahead and buy that.

North America model LTE Bands

  • FDD-LTE: Bands 1/2/4/5/7/8/12/17

Europe / Asia model

  • FDD-LTE: Bands 1/3/5/7/8/20
  • TDD-LTE: Bands 38/40/41

China model

  • FDD-LTE: Bands 1/3/7
  • TDD-LTE: Bands 38/39/40/41

Update 2: It’s the same with the new OnePlus 3T. Buy the Chinese model (A3010) flashed with Oxygen OS, or the Europe/Asia model (A3003) but don’t buy the US model.

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Choosing your next phone is a rather huge decision. For many, it is a commitment even, for a period of 2 years or more. When it comes to choosing a product that you’re going to use on a daily basis for many months to come – especially one which doesn’t come cheap – many realise that it can be a rather stressful affair. And for a reviewer and editor for a tech website who sees phones come and leave my hands every few weeks, who is more or less perfectly cognisant of every phone in the Singapore market at any given point in time, choosing a phone to be my daily driver for the next couple of years is a very significant event.

I choose you

In the end I decided to choose the OnePlus 3. Why? Top of the line specs, including an insane 6 gigs of RAM, a great camera (for still shots at least), excellent build quality, good battery life, and Dash charging. At the time of its release in the US, there were 3 major issues with the OnePlus 3: poor colour accuracy on its 5.5″ 1080p AMOLED display, overly-aggressive RAM management, and shaky video footage. In the time taken for OnePlus to finally deliver its phones to Singaporean households, the first two issues have already been fixed by OnePlus via OTA software updates. Quick response to customer feedback: add that to my list of reasons to purchase this phone. OnePlus may be a young company, but they obviously take their customers very seriously. OnePlus means business.

While I was absolutely delighted that OnePlus brought its flagship smartphone officially to Singapore, Singaporeans don’t have it all good though. Firstly, OnePlus Singapore’s Facebook page hardly ever gives fans updates on the availability of the device. For how long will it be on sale on Lazada? When can I get this with a carrier, if at all? When’s the soft gold version launching, if at all? Doing a quick Google search will reveal that the OnePlus 3 is being sold on Lazada for an exclusive pre-order price of S$649 until 30 July (just yesterday), after which the price will be hiked up to S$699. Carriers are supposed to start selling the phone on contract from 30 July onwards, but last I checked today, that didn’t happen.

Therein lies the next problem with purchasing the OnePlus 3 in Singapore: the price. At S$649 it’s a good S$110 more than what the Americans are paying for at USD399, and S$60 more than what the British are paying for at GBP329. That’s enough to put off even the most avid of fans. Heck, if the phone was selling at the usual price of S$699 I would seriously reconsider getting this phone.

I was initially waiting for the carriers to launch the phone together with their plans, but I was highly doubtful if that was ever going to happen. Turns out I was right, so thank heavens I finally gave in and bought the phone off Lazada. Some research will show you that using Shopback for your purchase will reduce the price of the phone to a more reasonable S$610. And this can be further lowered by the numerous coupons and discounts that Lazada has for using certain credit cards or by using their app. So really, it’s not that bad.

I made the purchase last Sunday night. Lazada had said that the phone would arrive on 1-3 Aug, which would mean a minimum waiting time of one week. So I was pleasantly surprised when the phone arrived at my doorstep on Thursday afternoon. My carbon fiber MKBHD dbrand skins arrived just 1 day later. Talk about perfect timing. When I first picked up the phone I was impressed by how light it felt. So light… and yet so sturdy and premium feeling. The fingerprint scanner was blazing fast, but I was not as impressed as I would have been if I hadn’t watched a gazillion videos on the OnePlus 3 beforehand.

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I didn’t have much chance to test out the camera, but from these initial low-light shots that I took, I must say that I am duly impressed:

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I know, I know, I am fully aware that I’m in the “honeymoon” phase right now with this phone, and as I get to know the phone better in the coming weeks my love for it will likely dwindle as its flaws begin to surface. It’s not everyday that I review a phone which I’ve purchased. I think I won’t be posting one review but rather a series of updates on my experience with the phone.

After all, this isn’t a review unit; I have years to spend with this one.

31 thoughts on “I Bought the OnePlus 3 in Singapore: First Impressions and Experience!

  1. Hi there, when purchasing from Lazada, did you select the ‘Export’ version? Also, how is the performance of the phone so far? I’m currently using a OnePlus X and could use an upgrade for the dash charge and fingerprint sensor.

    1. Nope it was sold under “OnePlus Official” on Lazada. I dont think they have it anymore. Purchasing an export set is fine, just make sure that it’s the Asian/Europe A3003 model. Performance has been great for the past 3 weeks

  2. So it’s a been a few months since you bought it. How’s the experience so far? Still in love with it? Thanks. Great review by the way.

    1. Gosh, it’s been 2.5 months now, and yes I am still absolutely in love with it. There hasnt been any issues whatsoever with the phone, and even with the release of the Note 7, the iPhone 7, V20, Xperia XZ, and (just today) the Google Pixel, I still feel that the OnePlus 3 is the best buy you can make

    1. You’ll have to check which model you’re getting. If it’s the British/Singapore set then it’ll come with a 3-pin connector. But if it’s a China export set then you’ll need an adaptor. Unfortunately Dash charging only works with the provided charger.

      1. I juast checked lazada there isn’t a Brit /Sg version. Could u put a link up to the seller. All they have are China sets

  3. I have worked on several mobile phone brands too.

    Any phone that’s over S$250,should come fully loaded, and anything over is merely shooting for the ‘brand factor – to generate a ‘belief’ based on assumptions, and scale of image.

    If you are a techie, compare science / techie features If you are a trendie spend as you are led cos that’s what brand marketing is there to do – generate assumptions that lead you to spend. You can, if you like, assume a rose is a hibiscus but that does not make it one, a rose is still a rose.

    1) Choose on tech that you want, + quality and speed of after sales service centres + affordably priced spare parts. Ask all such questions before the purchase.
    By askign these questions, the pricing falls within weeks cos company collect feedback at sales centres.

    2) Do not take purchase advice fro those caught in the iphone and other trend frenzies, they are known in marketing as ‘marketing susceptible’. They help bring in marketing budgets, and that is why much of the focus on marketing is on this lot. They are generally under 35 yo and are more about peer appeal or peer recommendations, not individual knowledge – this is good for marketing.

    3) When you find a company that suits your requirements, that is the brand for you till they change the CEO…that’s it.

    4) The best place to get advice on a phone is at an all label repair shop.

    It’s really easy to pick the right phone and bring prices down so you get more bang for your buck.

    SK

  4. Thanks Nicholas! I got this phone from Lazada, although its the A3000 model. Did AnTuTu benchmarks on it, and damn, it blazed through.

    What case do you use?

    1. Great to hear that you managed to get your hands on the OnePlus 3. I don’t currently own a case, as I’ve installed a dbrand carbon fibre skin on it. So far I’ve dropped the phone once in my 3 months of use

    2. hey does the a3000 model require an adapter to charge? thinking of getting one as well, but needing to have an adapter would be v troublesome

  5. Thanks for the great review Nicholas. I am a M1 user in Singapore, I plan to buy OnePlus 2 Sandstone 64GB Black A2005? Do you suggest is it still worth and will it work with the M1 service providers or any others ?

    -Vishal

    1. I wouldn’t get the OnePlus 2 as it has the Snapdragon 810 which is plagued with heat management issues. It got so bad that OnePlus actually underclocked the processor by quite a bit. Invest in a OnePlus 3, you’ll be much happier

  6. Hi Nicholas, do u know if A3000 posed any threat to be used in S’pore? threats as in, lagging in 4G network, can’t download certain apps, etc..

    does A3000 come with playstore by itself?

    appreciate.

    1. A3000 could refer to either the US or China model. Singapore uses LTE bands 3 and 7, but the US model only has band 7. If it’s the China model you have to check if the retailer has installed play services for you, if not it’s relatively easy to do so yourself (search online)

    1. mine came with a one year warranty as it was sold officially from OnePlus. It’s no longer available so you have to check if the retailer provides a warranty

  7. Hey there Nicholas, Thanks for the review. Might you know where I could purchase a One Plus 3 dash charger and cable in Singapore? Would like to get a spare one for the office.

    Adriene

    1. You’d have to check sites such as Carousell, but I doubt you’d be able to find one. I’d recommend getting a friend who lives in a country where oneplus.net operates (such as the UK) to buy you one

  8. How is the phone holding up so far? so basically we should check if the phone is either the china or Europe spec right? how to do this?

    1. A3003 is Europe, A3000 is Chinese/US. Most of the phones that are being sold online are from China and flashed with Oxygen OS by the seller. This is a good thing. So if you can’t get the Europe one, get the China one

  9. Which model should be bough? A3000 or A3003?
    Under A3000 as well, do you recommend the US version or Chinese version? Is it a negative point that the Oxygen OS was flashed?

    1. Both support Singapore’s LTE networks just fine, but the Chinese version supports more bands of LTE so it’s technically better than the US version. It’s a good thing that Oxygen OS was flashed: this means that it’s the Chinese version and the seller has put stock android and google play on the phone for you

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