Since the OnePlus3 has been reported to be friendly to some users' eyes when running the alternative Paranoid Android OS (which apparently uses different display drivers/mechanism/mode/color profile/something), I decided to bit the bullet and take a gamble. Unlike the last user to try this who got a defective phone and had limited experience with Android modding (no offense intended!) I have changed my service provider to AT&T and committed to acquiring two separate OnePlus3 devices. I'll chart my progress in this thread.
- A pre-owned mint condition OnePlus 3T. The 3T has a bigger battery, more storage, but identical hardware with a single exception - it uses Snapdragon 821 instead of 820. This means a slightly higher clocked core, but shouldn't impact display in any way. However, if it does...
- A brand new, sealed-in-box OnePlus3 delivered to me from China. I'm still waiting for this as of 8/30/2019, it will likely arrive next week sometime.
My intention is to first do an initial evaluation with the current OS - in the case of the pre-owned 3T this is likely OnePlus's version of Android 9.0 "Pie", in the case of the new 3 this is likely to be Android 6 "Marshmallow" which is what the unit was preloaded with at the factory, although it's possible I'll end up getting Nougat or even Oreo depending on manufacture date.
I don't expect the stock OS (which they call Oxygen) to be much more usable than anyone else's stock OS. Android has, since Marshmallow (and even on some devices running Lollipop), done something with their rendering layer that makes the phone induce strain. But I can compare it subjectively to my experiences using many other Android phones in the course of my work, and to the phones used by my kids and wife and friends.
After that, I plan to in very short order mod the phone and install Paranoid Android's latest release, which is a version of Android 7 "Nougat". I will evaluate it on both phones.
In the even that this is sufficiently comfortable, my experiment will stop and I'll simply have a usable phone (6GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, USB-C) and a reasonable backup device (64GB but otherwise similar). If it isn't comfortable enough, I will downgrade each device to PA6, and even to PA5 if necessary.
It's worth noting that to run most modern software, Android 5.11 is the minimum acceptable level. On my current device (HTC One M8) I've experienced several streaming services or game servers that won't run on 5.0.2 any more. I expect that by 2020 Android 6 will be the minimum compatible configuration. So it's my hope that PA6 or PA7 will be comfortable enough for daily use.
Stay tuned, and I'll update this as verbosely as I can.