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‘Sick and tired’: OnePlus boss hits back at damning OnePlus 3 review


carl pei
Carl Pei, the co-founder of OnePlus

The global director of OnePlus has hit back at a negative review of the OnePlus 3, slamming complaints that the phone’s display is sub-par.

Carl Pei, the co-founder of OnePlus, posted an extensive rebuttal to Reddit, describing how he's “sick and tired” of negative sentiments about the company’s phone. The post was made in a thread about Anandtech’s OnePlus 3 review, a damning assessment of the recently launched phone that claims the screen is one of the worst ever tested.

Here’s are two excerpts from the review:

Unfortunately, the display really kills the phone for me. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say it’s the worst display I’ve examined during my time at AnandTech, as despite the Nexus 6’s faults, it didn’t have the ghastly blue appearance of the OnePlus 3.”

“If display accuracy doesn’t matter at all to you, it may be possible to overlook it, but for anyone who cares even the slightest bit, the issues with the OnePlus 3’s display will be too severe to live with.”

Related: 6 reasons the OnePlus 3 is a genuine Android flagship killer

OnePlus 3OnePlus 3

In his post however, Pei said that too many reviewers are associating the OnePlus 3’s low price of £309 as evidence that the company cheaped out on components.

“With our relationships in the supply chain, we know the bill of materials of all other flagships,” wrote Pei. “Out of all the devices that the OnePlus 3 gets compared to, it is one, if not the, most expensive to make.”

Pei admitted that his team “probably haven’t done good enough of a job” at explaining the pricing model, specifically selling devices at – or close to – manufacturing cost. He also blamed consumers and reviewers for not understanding that using a Full HD display instead of a 2K display isn’t necessarily cutting corners.

carl pei

“I understand that sometimes, when our products don’t have the highest absolute specs, it might look like corners are cuts. This happens when people don’t understand the product reasoning that went behind a choice," wrote Pei.

He added that people “simplify and use mental shortcuts to make sense of the world around them”, saying that the perception is that price equals quality.

Several users hit back at Pei’s rant, arguing that a Full HD display isn’t good enough for virtual reality, which is ironic as the company launched the OnePlus 3 alongside a custom-built OnePlus Loop VR headset. But Pei tried to counter these arguments by saying that the firm isn’t backing VR just yet:

“It’s very early days for VR. There’s a lot of potential in the current platforms, but none have matured yet. In the future, two major platforms will remain, but we can’t tell which ones will win out at this moment. We can’t ‘push VR’ because there’s currently no direction to push in. If we make a big bet on the wrong VR platform, and it ends up not taking off, we’ll be betting our company on this.”

Related: OnePlus 3 vs Galaxy S7

Watch: OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 2

What do you think of Carl Pei’s mega-rant? Let us know in the comment.


June 22, 2016, 10:23 am

Good for Pei.

Michael Garry

June 22, 2016, 10:53 am

I've read and watched a number of reviews of the OnePlus 3 and every single one of them has said how good the screen is. Maybe that one review got a bad unit? Or maybe they didn't see the option to change the white-balance of the screen... Personally I'd choose a 1080p screen for a phone, any higher res is simply not worth it for the battery hit. People buying a phone to use for VR - wow, well, they must be a tiny, tiny minority.

Ravi Kharat

June 22, 2016, 12:04 pm

He is right actually, full HD is enough.
Anandtech's review was about the display being uncaliberated.


June 22, 2016, 1:16 pm

strange how all reviewers are harder on Oneplus than they are the big name phone manufacturers.


June 22, 2016, 4:52 pm

As far as I know, none of the review sites does a proper "blind" trial of screens. I know, it's an unfortunate term for a visual thing. The reviewers would have us believe that they alone amongst mortals are immune to the unavoidable human bias that comes when you know, or think you know, what you are testing. Until they test the screens using a proper double-blind methodology (not easy to do) they are all as worthless as the so called wine experts, who can not even - it turns out - tell white wine from red.



June 22, 2016, 4:57 pm

agree with Pei. He should counter any false impressions/statements, protect his company and his employees.


June 22, 2016, 4:57 pm

Or they use a meter...as Anandtech did. You don't need double-blind tests for something you can measure against a known standard.


June 22, 2016, 5:04 pm

The review didn't complain about the 1080p screen.

It did complain about using a pentile 1080p screen, which means the effective resolution is significantly below 1080p. On a screen that big the lower resolution shows.

It also complained about how far off the colours were from where they should be, and this was the aspect that was the worst they'd ever tested. It's easy to get hung up on numbers from a meter but these numbers were BIG and from what the reviewer said it would be very very noticeable to the untrained eye.

They seem to have gone for an NTSC colour gamut, which just makes no sense on a smartphone. This may be fixable via an update, as the screen is capable of a wide colour gamut.

So the lack of sharpness you're stuck with, but the terrible colours might be fixed. It'd be daft to buy one before that fix though, and the reviewer has said he'll update the review if and when the update happens.


June 22, 2016, 5:08 pm

VR was a large part of the reason I bought a Note 4.

Even the Note 4's resolution is far too low for VR, but that was just the state of the technology. The 1080p pentile screen on the +3? Not even close to bearable. They shouldn't be selling a VR headset for this phone, it's not fit for that purpose.


June 22, 2016, 5:35 pm

Actually, a meter might have a place in this, but not to inform a visual review. Once you have a known meter reading you have blown any chance of an unbiassed human visual review. But who would be brave enough to publish a genuine double-blind review and then have it 'validated' (or not) by a technical meter reading. Very few. Just like a wine conoisseur isn't going to tell you a wine "tastes of red fruit and ripe berries" until they've seen the colour of the wine.


June 22, 2016, 7:05 pm

there are many reviews that indicate the screen is sub par. there's a big old thread on the oneplus forum that is discussing Carl's comments and its pretty entertaining.


June 22, 2016, 10:06 pm

Agreed; visual reviews are unreliable. Our brains are very good at normalising what we see. It's why I had my TV professionally calibrated; I wouldn't be able to get accurate colours myself.

But the Anandtech guy used a meter and showed a bunch of graphs detailing just how far off the +3's display is. He confirmed visually that the screen looks rubbish too, and while that may be unreliable the meter readings aren't.

Mark Armitage

June 23, 2016, 6:29 am

Anandtech's comments are nonsense. Did they remove the factory fitted screen protector? I did and the display is now great. What "ghastly blue appearance"? The screen is excellent and fully justifies the decision to stick with 2K resolution. Good for Pei!

Michael Garry

June 23, 2016, 8:14 am

Really? As I say, I haven't seen one. Sub par in what way?

Michael Garry

June 23, 2016, 8:15 am

I agree with that, no way should they be selling a VR headset, But VR on phones is a big let down for me, having tried the Samsung version. The full Occulus, and I only tried the first dev kit at low resolution, was far superior.


June 23, 2016, 9:31 am

Ha ha, so that turns a low res crappy pentile screen suddenly into a great one aye. Keep jsutifying your waste of money.


June 23, 2016, 9:34 am

No it was alo about the fact that due to screen being a pentile array which already has a lower effective resolution, it needed to be 1440p to help overcome this. Read the review next time, it's worse resolution than Retina display despite much higher dpi.


June 23, 2016, 10:10 am

The reviews are saying it's sub par in the sense that it's full HD and not quad HD, but Anandtech’s review is the only one I'm aware of that criticises the 3 for its blue hue. Maybe they did get a duff handset?


June 23, 2016, 10:36 am

I think there's an issue that comes with reviewing phones which seem to be increasingly similar, and that is the need to say something different, to magnify any flaws and make a big deal of them to stand out from all the other reviews..

On that basis, I think the Anandtech reviewer's comments are hyperbolic rubbish, if he's saying "it’s the worst display I’ve examined during my time at AnandTech" then I can only think that he hasn't examined many, and if he thinks that some kind of minor display inaccuracy is "too severe to live with", then I don't think he's the kind of reviewer whose opinions I should value.

For a company with low margins and only a few phones under their belt, 2016 is not the year to go out on a limb for VR and stretch for more than HD, because if they mess it up or go down the wrong route then they're in trouble.


June 23, 2016, 12:56 pm

When I first got the Gear VR I was very disappointed with the image quality. However the actual experience was still amazing; my first time with full immersion.

Yes the Rift and Vive are far better ( I now have the Vive) but the Gear VR gave me a great early exposure to VR.


September 20, 2016, 4:42 pm

Yes, you make sense.

Pei on the other hand didn't.

Great, he justified the sourcing decisions, I have no issue with that. The reviewers complaints were about the color rendering. Why didn't Pei address the actual complaint?

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