The OnePlus 6 has started receiving a new OxygenOS update in India that brings a ton of new features to the device, but headlining the list is portrait mode for the front camera.
In the official changelog, OnePlus states that it has not just added a selfie portrait mode but the camera app itself has bagged a minor upgrade as well. OnePlus says you should get improved dynamic range and photo quality, along with faster focusing.
But, we wanted to test the new “selfie portrait mode” on the OnePlus 6 before anything else, to see if it’s any good:
In Broad Daylight
The selfie portrait photos clicked by the OnePlus 6 are mediocre at best. As you can see in the samples below, the edge detection is decent but the device smoothens out the details quite a bit. The blur also appears to be artificial at times and I’m not a fan of that.
You will also notice that the selfie portraits are a hit or miss, where you sometimes have an added glow to the edges. The edge detection can be little finicky at times, but everything else works like a charm – no shutter lag or noise. If you find good light, the OnePlus 6 takes some great selfies, but it’s not consistent.
Comparing the selfie portraits on the OnePlus 6 to the smaller Pixel 2 and Vivo X21, which fall in roughly same price bracket, the ones from the OnePlus 6 are quite good, but cannot surpass the Pixel. It is difficult for most phones to outshine the Pixel 2 in this department, but OnePlus easily beat the Vivo X21.
Here the edge detection is good, the color reproduction is great and the photo turns out to be crisp. Instagram worthy, for sure!
Both the Oneplus 6 and Pixel 2 are able to capture natural colors while blurring out the background, but the Vivo X21 softens the selfies to such an extent that you may not recognize yourself.
In Low Light
OnePlus cameras have always struggled in low-light conditions, in my experience, and while the OnePlus 6 is substantially better than its predecessor, can it produce equally good portrait selfies in a dimly lit room? Well, here is the result:
The OnePlus 6 can click some decent selfie portrait even in artificial or low-light, so you wouldn’t have many at dinners or late night parties. The phone picks up the edges and blurs the background quite well, but again not the best at the job.
If you pit it against the Pixel 2 and Vivo X21, you will see that the Pixel 2 outshines the ‘flagship killer’ once again. OnePlus 6 doesn’t perform badly though and preserves all the details while adding a soft blur to the background. The less said about the Vivo X21, the better.
Xiaomi recently made bold claims that group selfie portraits (with multiple people) clicked from its Redmi Y2 phone can detect all the edges and blur the background evenly around them – but our hands-on experience did not match those claims. So, I thought it would be good to let you know how group selfies look on the OnePlus 6.
As you can see in the photos attached below, OnePlus 6 does an adequate job at recognizing both subjects – even if they’re huddled in close. But, the blurring effect sometimes takes over the clothing of the subject in the background, while keeping their face in focus.
Overall, I would say the new selfie portrait mode performs adequately, but it’s not something we would buy this phone for. It should help you achieve that trendy bokeh effect for your selfies. All you need is good lighting, and you’re good to go.
If you have already bought a OnePlus 6 or are going to buy one in the next few months, the portrait mode is highly unlikely to figure in your buying decision anyway. There’s a lot going for the OnePlus 6 so the portrait mode is good to have and we expect it to improve with the next few updates.