If you’ve just released a fairly good product but come up with an improvement only a short while later, should you release it immediately, or wait for some time to pass? The advantage of going forward is that you can keep up with competitors who might have released products with brand new features and capabilities since your launch, and you get to create a completely new hype cycle. The downside of course is that the backlash from buyers that picked up your earlier product and would feel let down or even betrayed by these rapid forced obsolescence. That’s precisely the position OnePlus was in, and from what the firm has said, it didn’t hesitate at all to start the OnePlus 5T only five months after the OnePlus 5.
This is a business which has built its identity on delivering more than the big guns are able to and that too at reduced prices. Samsung and LG both had exactly the same idea earlier this year – make phone screens taller instead of increasing their size proportionately, which way you can stretch them without the awkwardness of an abysmal phablet. But, Samsung and LG are gigantic multinational corporations that produce their own displays. It took a while for third-party suppliers to grab, but Vivo, Oppo and Honor are already shipping 18:9 models. OnePlus just couldn’t manage to not be playing on precisely the same degree. That is why the OnePlus 5 is currently on its way out despite being started with much fanfare only five months ago.
Very little else about the OnePlus 5T is brand new – its chip and most of its hardware in addition to software is very much the same. In reality, even its pricing is just like that of the outgoing OnePlus 5, making this a simple drop-in replacement. In that sense, there should not be much to say about this phone – but we are putting it through the full review process anyhow, to see how far this company has come in very little time. Here’s everything you need to know about the brand new OnePlus 5T.
OnePlus 5T design
As with many things in the technology industry, once it’s clear that a new feature or specification has everyone talking, almost every company under the sun will race to adopt it. It’s interesting when it comes to taller screens, because of the first time in a really long time, there’s something visibly different about smartphones right today. It’s easy to feel that there is a tangible reason to update when you find a nearly borderless 18:9 screen on a smartphone for the first time – more so than improved camera quality, software or battery life, this is something physical that you could see in front of you. It’s aesthetically pleasing, and immediately a line is drawn between the old and the new.
OnePlus isn’t the first company to establish such a phone; not by a long shot. When placed side by side with the Oppo F5 (Review), the similarities in their proportions are obvious.
The screen steps 6.01 inches diagonally with a resolution of 1080×2160, and uses AMOLED technology. Everything seems sharp, bright, and saturated. There are still black borders around it – thinner at the sides than in the top and bottom – but the effect is still immersive. Videos and games are especially engaging.
The body of the OnePlus 5T is made of aluminium, and the company is quick to point out subtle design cues like the sharp crease round the edges of an otherwise curved body. Unlike its predecessors, this model is available only in Midnight Black – and OnePlus is not saying why it reduced choices, or if we can anticipate more options or even special editions down the line. It also isn’t certified for any type of weatherproofing.
With regard to the obvious similarity between the OnePlus 5T and sister firm Oppo’s R11s, the company is vehemently denying any sort of partnership or sharing of design tools – though the similarities are there for all the world to see.
Predictably, the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the back of this phone. The simple fact that this phone is no wider than usual means that the sensor is within easy reach. The camera bump has smooth, angled sides, very similar to those of this iPhone 7 Plus (Review) and iPhone 8 Plus (Review), and we’re assured that the finish is stronger than that of this OnePlus 5, which began chipping nearly as soon as we took it out of its box. At the top of the phone is bare, while the bottom includes a 3.5mm audio socket, USB Type-C portspeaker and speaker grille.
The left of the phone has OnePlus’s signature Alert Slider, which enables you to flip between three positions – Silent, DND, and Ring. The volume buttons are also on the left, along with the power button is on the right. Over the power button is a menu for just 2 Nano-SIMS – this phone does not support storage expansion in any respect, which might frustrate some users.
In terms of physical size, the OnePlus 5T is quite slightly taller, wider and thicker – not enough to be noticeable if you don’t endure both next to each other, but enough that their cases can’t be shared. The newest model is also a little heavier, at 162g compared to 153g. OnePlus continues to ship a very bulky charger with this phone, and also you get the identical red USB Type-C cable as before. No headset is included, and if you would like to use your own it will have to get a very slim plug to work with any of those official OnePlus instances.
Qualcomm has not released a mid-year flagship upgrade, despite persistent rumours of a Snapdragon 836, and so almost nothing about the OnePlus 5T has shifted, compared to the OnePlus 5. It employs the same Snapdragon 835 SoC with its integrated Adreno 540 GPU, and comes in the exact same two variants – one with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and one with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
This phone supports VoLTE and 4G on both SIMs, but just one at a time, in addition to dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX HD. NFC, GPS, and GLONASS are encouraged, and there is a wide variety of sensors including an electronic compass and gyroscope. The USB Type-C port operates at just USB 2.0 speed. The battery capacity is 3300mAh and OnePlus’s very own Dash Charge benchmark for quick charging will work if you use one of the organization’s personal chargers.
The only thing aside from the display that’s really new about this phone is the simple fact that its secondary back camera does not have a telephoto lens, but instead a detector that is tuned for low-light photography. The primary camera is the same 16-megapixel unit as about the OnePlus 5, but now it is joined by a 20-megapixel associate with the same f/1.7 aperture and 27.22mm focal length. OnePlus stresses that this also allows for much better portrait shots because the focal lengths match. It’s frustrating to see that the optical zoom functionality has been taken away, however it’s possible that the tradeoff will be useful to more people, more often.
We are surprised and a little disappointed that OnePlus couldn’t ship this phone with Android 8.0. As it sounds, you get Android 7.1.1 in the form of the custom OxygenOS fork, with a beta test period commencing shortly and a final update to Android 8.0 and a new version of OxygenOS arriving early next year. As OnePlus states, the experience it delivers is nearly perfectly that of stock Android, but with plenty of little improvements during. You get a lot more UI customisation options plus overhauled programs such as the Gallery.
Because of the taller display on the OnePlus 5T, you are able to swipe up or down anywhere on the home screens to show the notifications color or program drawer. There are multiple gestures, including shortcuts which you can assign yourself, and you can also pick secondary functions for the onscreen Android navigation buttons. OnePlus is also introducing Parallel Apps to let you run two instances of social media services, along with also an iPhone migration assistant – neither of which is a unique innovation. Other characteristics include a Game DND style that simplifies notifications, Night Mode, a dim UI motif, and also the ability to lock programs of your choice.
Perhaps inevitably, the OnePlus 5T supports facial recognition as a way to unlock itself. Setup works in exactly the same way as on the Oppo F5, also while recognition can be very quick, it simply doesn’t operate in low light. OnePlus openly admits that facial recognition isn’t nearly as safe as a fingerprint, which means you can’t use it for banking programs or making purchases. You still have the fingerprint sensor, though.
OnePlus 5T performance, cameras, and battery life
We analyzed the OnePlus 5T variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and as expected, usage was a breeze. The phone was more than adequately fast as it came to loading programs, playing games, and multitasking. HD videos streamed smoothly and we couldn’t feel any hiccups in any way. You may select between the default colour profile, sRGB, DCI-P3, adaptive mode, and a custom colour temperature.
Sound is just about good enough for games, and we’d have liked better, especially considering this phone’s price. There is no headset in the box, though at least there is a standard 3.5mm socket.
We did find ourselves appreciating a few of the tweaks that OxygenOS brings to Android, like the ability to wake up the phone with a double-tap and unlock it with our faces instantly. This is an effective workaround to the lack of a fingerprint sensor on the front, which we did miss when we had the phone lying face up on a desk. However, the sensor on the back is simple enough to reach when the phone is in either hand.
We listed a leading score of 179,519 with the AnTuTu benchmark, as well as 1,966 and 6,731 in Geekbench’s single-core and multi-core tests respectively. 3DMark Ice Storm Extreme gave us 14,291 points and GFXBench handled 60fps in the T-rex evaluation in addition to an impressive 23fps in the Car Chase test.
The primary rear camera does a good job as long as there’s plenty of light. We noticed that colours appeared more and details were much sharper when there was bright sunlight, and everything deteriorated quite a bit on a muddy day. In favourable conditions, our photos turned out quite well, with close-ups faring better than landscapes. The portrait style produced artificial-looking results roughly half of the time. Regions of the viewfinder flashed on screen for approximately a minute since the phone calculated that the foreground and background, and even then there was a slight probability of errors in the blurring. It’s a nice effect, but feels just a little gimmicky at this point. Interestingly, OnePlus has retained the iPhone-style zoom button in its program despite the fact that it only triggers the standard digital zoom today.
The secondary back camera only kicks in when there’s very little light. The phone determines when to use it; there is no user-facing control. On very rare occasions, we saw the app leap between the two cameras when we were trying to line up a photo, and the difference in perspective made it difficult for us to frame exactly what we wanted to catch. Yet, results were excellent. If there was even just a little bit of incident light, we can see the difference produced by the f/1.7 lens and technique of combining four pixels into one on the higher-density sensor to increase light sensitivity. We took several samples that were more than usable in very low light, with noise and grain nicely under control.
Front camera is decent enough in various conditions, and you may safely use it to all your social media needs.
Video recording goes up to 4K in 30fps, 1080p at 60fps, or 720p slow motion at 120fps. This is slightly disappointing, as other phones on the market can catch better slow-mo video. However, video is still smooth and crisp, and the quality should be adequate for most people.
Battery life is a bright place. We were able to use the OnePlus 5T for a full day, including some gaming and video streaming and a lot of photography, and we all still needed a bit of power left over at night. We were never worried about the battery running out. Our HD video loop test conducted for 13 hours, 30 minutes which is quite a bit less compared to OnePlus 5 handled, and also that much of a difference can not entirely be explained by the newer phone’s larger display.
Last year, OnePlus altered the 3 with the 3T because there was a new chip available. This year, it’s a new kind of display. In both situations, the changes would not be big enough for large brands to break their annual cycles, which just demonstrates the differences between the old and new guards. OnePlus, like almost all of its Chinese counterparts, does exactly what it takes to try and stay in the top.
You get a more contemporary, more appealing phone at the exact same price, so of course the 5T is the better pick. For the most part, we concur that the low-light sensor is much more useful than a telephoto lens, but we did miss the ability to frame some shots better. In any case, there is no question of choosing between the two models since OnePlus has altered the 5 outright and many variants are already out of stock.
Should existing OnePlus 5 owners rush out to purchase the new model? Absolutely not, but a few loyal fans of the brand will do exactly that. If you have a phone that is at least two years old, the OnePlus 5T certainly has a strong allure. We can’t say we are thrilled with the upward trend in this provider’s prices, especially since you don’t get all the perks of a top-end phone, for example weather-proofing, wireless charging, along with also a super-slick design. If you’re looking for the phone with all the biggest wow factor, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 comes in within the same price range. If you are not caught up in the 18:9 hype, the Honor 8 Guru still sells for a fantastic bit less, and on the other hand if you can afford to spend more, the Samsung Galaxy S8 will keep you happy.