Things in the world of USB-C have been complicated since day one, but as time goes on things aren’t getting much better. As more USB-C devices hit the market we continue to see issues with Type-C compliance here and there, but with most of these devices the violations lie in accessories, such as the charger. However OnePlus has made things worse with its recently released OnePlus 3.
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As revealed by GTrusted, the OnePlus 3 itself does not meet USB Type-C spec. In their tests GTested learned that the OnePlus 3 didn’t support USB Host mode, something that Android can use for headphones powered by USB, flash drives, and other similar products. On the OnePlus 3 this simply doesn’t work, which is very unfortunate for a flagship device.
Surprisingly though for an Android based phone, it doesn’t support USB Host mode. That means that any peripheral that you connect to the OnePlus 3 like the CDLA Digital Earphones or the SanDisk 64G Dual Drive USB-C Flash Drive won’t be recognized on the phone and thus can’t function.
According to Benson Leung, a now famous source for USB-C information, this is because the device isn’t using the proper methods defined by Type-C spec.
Looking back, OnePlus faced these same problems last year with the OnePlus 2. Not only did the device ship with a noncompliant cable, but it also had the same lack of compliance with USB host mode as we see this year on the OnePlus 3.
Leung followed this information with a firm stance against OnePlus’ phones stating that “they simply haven’t learned how to build a phone properly.” He further recommended that users should look elsewhere if they want a device which will work with the growing Type-C ecosystem.
Update: According to multiple users on Reddit, the OnePlus 3 can apparently take advantage of USB host mode, at least in certain situations. Some users report that their flash drives work fine when connected to the phone, but others report just the opposite. It still remains unclear whether or not the OnePlus 3 is fully compliant with Type-C spec or what devices it will or will not work with.
Update 7/25: Benson Leung and Gtrusted have both updated their stance on this issue after discovering that the OnePlus 3 does in fact support host mode based on an option in the settings menu. This is not a standard practice on Android devices but to access the setting head into the settings menu and head to the “Storage & USB” section.