The OnePlus 3 is all grown up and coming to O2 shelves

Big step up for 'unknown' Chinese brand

O2 has announced that it will be the first network to stock the OnePlus 3 in the UK, marking a big moment in the Chinese phone manufacturer's history.

Previously OnePlus has shifted its phones through its invite scheme (with varying results) and online retailers, meaning opportunities to reach potential buyers have been limited.

The brand has always relied on word of mouth for marketing, and while it may sound odd to describe one of the most popular phones among TechRadar readers as a relatively unknown handset, without network support many people are unaware of the 'flagship killer'.

Middling price

O2 is offering the OnePlus 3 from £28 per month with 500 minutes, 500MB of data and unlimited texts, which is hardly the low-cost tariff you'd expect to be associated with the brand that's disrupted the industry by selling its handsets for nearly half the cost of the top-end models with similar specs.

But in comparison to the other phones on O2's books, that same price will get you a refurbished iPhone 6 and a Samsung Galaxy A5, both of which are blitzed by the OnePlus 3's spec list.

So while it's good value compared to the rest of the phones ranged by O2, here's hoping it comes to the other online reseller networks, where prices are traditionally much cheaper.

Power and performance

As a refresher, the new OnePlus handset has a 5.5-inch 1080p screen, a Snapdragon 820 chipset, a 3000mAh battery (which competes with the bigger boys in our power tests, although doesn't always come out on top...) and fast-charging capabilities.

While there are plenty of decent Chinese phones appearing that offer better spec at a lower price than the incumbent flagship handsets, most struggle to get onto shop shelves, so this move could give OnePlus a significant advantage in the UK market.

O2 has a history of being the exclusive stockists of notable phones – it was the first to bring the original iPhone to the UK, as well as the Palm Pre and the Amazon Fire Phone... well, two out of three ain't bad.

If you're interested in checking out the phone for yourself, O2 is hosting a pop-up event at its Westfield White City store on September 29 from 10am-10pm, the day the phone will officially go on sale through the network.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phones and Tablets Editor

Gareth (Twitter, Google+) has been part of the mobile phone industry from the era of the brick to the tiny device in the pocket... and now watching them grow back up to behemothic proportions once more. He's spent five years dissecting all the top phones in the world as TechRadar's Phones and Tablets Editor, and still can't resist answering the dreaded question - "which new phone should I get?" - with 15 choices.