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OnePlus 5T Preview: Solid performer and best value for money

06 December 2017 5

The OnePlus 5 was announced back in mid of this year, in just five months now we have its successor OnePlus 5T. For sure the early release cycle of the successor isn't surprising for OnePlus fans because the company did exactly the same thing last year when they announced OnePlus 3T in the second half of the year after unveiling OnePlus 3 in the first half. The entry of successor so early for sure won't be appreciated by those who recently purchased OnePlus 5. Despite the fact its an upgrade over the predecessor but it replaces the original device and now OnePlus 5T is the only flagship available from the company for this year. It's quite surprising to see OnePlus officially halted the sales and production of a flagship device which they announced six months ago.

The OnePlus 5T name also suggests it isn't a complete overhauled smartphone but instead, it brings upgrade over the OnePlus 5. We have to admit in four years or so the OnePlus managed to keep their flagships on success track, so far all flagships from the company are not just flagship killers but also they bring solid performance on board and still they cost a fraction of the amount as opposed to big-brands available in the market. With the OnePlus 5T, the company once again tried to bring a powerful and stylish smartphone at affordable pricing.

Though the latest OnePlus 5T doesn't bring radical changes still it is bringing enough to lure customers. Its good to see OnePlus 5T is bringing everything from OnePlus 5 which makes it one of the best flagship available in the market. Like always to prove its strength we put it in head to head comparisons with the top-tier smartphones available in the market. In most of the cases, it emerges as a winner.

Now is the perfect time to preview OnePlus 5T so that our keen readers can know pretty well what this device is bringing on board in terms of display, design, camera, software, special perks, battery, and price tag. We are hopeful this preview will certainly help out our readers to know OnePlus 5T in detail and decide easily whether they should purchase it or not. Without any further delay let's start with the design of OnePlus 5T.

75 x 156.1 x 7.3 mm
6.01 inches - 2160x1080 px
Go to comparison page
Design

For instance, you won't recognize the change in rear design because the rear body of OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5 are quite similar. The company opted the solid metal build for both the devices and despite having the large display they fit easily in your palm. The chassis of OnePlus 5T is made up of unibody aluminum with sleek bezels. Its one of the slimmest smartphone but still pretty solid. The company brought curved around the edges on the rear side so that it can fit easily in the palm. Thanks to its soft texture, it surely is one of the attractive flagships in the market with the metal body.

The volume controllers and the alert switch are placed on the left edge whereas the power button and SIM tray is placed on the right edge of the device. Its the same arrangement which you have seen on OnePlus 5. Fortunately, the OnePlus kept the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack when most of the latest flagships are ditching it. The headphone jack is accompanied by a speaker and USB Type-C port for connectivity. All are placed on the bottom edge. The OnePlus 5T dimensions are 156.1 x 75 x 7.3mm and it weighs 162g.

The OnePlus 5T is only available in Midnight Black finish but we can expect more colors in coming months. According to OnePlus 5T, the finish on the device comprised of three layers which are just 14 microns thick. The best thing about this finish is being fingerprinted and scratch resistant. One thing for sure you will miss in this device will be lack of water and dust resistance capabilities. This feature is quite missed when most of the premiums in the market have IP-ratings.

There are two major changes in design as opposed to OnePlus 5. The first change is on the front-facing side where bezels are reduced to a minimal level, the company bought a 2:1 display. The inclusion of full front-facing display results into lack of space for the physical home button. On the rear side, the prominent change is the inclusion of fingerprint scanner on the rear side, it is placed at a convenient position where usually forefinger is while holding the device.

Though the fingerprint placement will be initially odd for those who are using front-facing sensor the company put the rear fingerprint scanner at a very good position, your index finger automatically reaches the sensor when you hold the device. The dual rear cameras are now less protruding and gently curved to the edges to make them a seamless part of the device. Having a 2:1 display it is slightly taller and wider than the predecessor.

Display

One feature of OnePlus 5T which makes it stand out in the competition is its bezels-less display. The display has pretty amazing contrast ratio, the brightness level is also pretty good and vibrancy is much better than most of the devices. It's a 2:1 display which means the bezels around the edges are removed to fit on a large display. The only prominent bezels are placed on the top and bottom edge. As expected, Samsung provided AMOLED display panel for the OnePlus 5T that's why it looks pretty striking in front of most smartphones with LCD panel.

If you don't want saturation and vibrancy of the default mode, you can change it as well. The display settings allow you to select colors according to your preference. There are fives modes of the display including Custom Color, sRGB, Default, Adaptive and DCI-P3. If you are Pro user and wants to set colors temp yourself you can use Custom color mode.

The display panel is 6.01-inches Optic AMOLED with the Full HD+ screen resolution of 1080 x 2160 pixels. Most of its nearest competitors from Xiaomi's Mi Mix 2 to the Huawei's latest Mate 10 Pro all are packed with the similar display and same screen resolution. Despite not having quad HD panel it still brings fantastic visual experience for watching videos and playing games. It's an adaptive display tech which automatically adjusts the display contrast and brightness according to the environment.

The display adjusts while playing the game, capturing photos in outdoors or in-house captures. The display panel on the OnePlus 5T is pretty great for watching videos, playing games. The only missing feature is lack of HDR like most of the expensive flagships but it is pretty much understandable considering its a pocket-friendly flagship.

Face recognition

A new feature which OnePlus introduced with the OnePlus 5T is the facial recognition in an attempt to challenge the iPhone X Face ID. As expected it isn't as advanced as Face ID but it's a cool feature to have in an affordable flagship. The device uses over 100 identifiers to recognize your face. The facial recognition only works to unlock the device, to use it either you have to press the power button or double tap on the display.

The best thing is it doesn't have a hefty process to set up and also the device unlocking speed is mind-blowing. The moment you tap the display it will unlock the device for you. According to OnePlus the OnePlus 5T only takes 0.4 seconds to quickly unlock the device and we have to admit the claim is true. Still, it isn't as fast as the fingerprint scanner on the OnePlus 5T which only takes 0.2 seconds to unlock.

It lacks the ability to identify you in dark like the iPhone X but it works equally good in most of the angles. Usually in street lights during the night, it identifies the user. The facial recognition works even when the user is wearing glasses but you have to make sure the eyes are visible to the device. The sensor is pretty much reliable as the chances of ditching it easily are pretty low. In the future we can expect more features of OnePlus facial recognition like log-in, verifying payments in next year flagships.

Hardware

Ahead of the OnePlus 5T, the OnePlus 5 was considered as one of the fastest smartphones in the market running on the Android OS. The OnePlus 5T is as slick and fast as OnePlus 5 and we can claim it brings the smoothest Android experience pretty much similar to Google's Pixel 2.

Under the hood, the OnePlus 5T is running on the Qualcomm's Octa-core Snapdragon 835 SoC. The base variant has DDR4 6GB RAM with 64GB built-in storage whereas the top of the line device has 8GB RAM with 128GB native storage. Well, the amount of RAM on the OnePlus 5T is surely an overkill and you won't require that much RAM all the time but it will fascinate those who want true flagship with the best hardware in the market.

In normal routine tasks, you won't find any difference in the performance of 6GB or 8GB RAM variant. We will recommend to have 8GB RAM variant only when you require 128GB storage as the built-in storage isn't further expandable via MicroSD card. Having top-tier hardware one thing and using it to the fullest is a separate thing. Fortunately, OnePlus did a commendable job here the device opens apps in a blink of a second.

On Geekbench 4 test of OnePlus 5T, the results are pretty impressive. The single-core results are 1989 points which are same as latest flagships but on the multi-core tests, the device scores whopping 6789 points. Though the scores are far away from the Apple iPhone X but we the OnePlus 5T performance is on top in current-gen flagships. The Wi-Fi module performance isn't the best, it easily disconnects if you are slightly away from the range. It comes with the latest Bluetooth 5.0 tech to bring top-notch wireless music experience as well as fast sharing of files.

Specs OnePlus 5T
Display 6.01-inches
Screen-resolution 1080 x 2160 pixels
Chipset Qualcomm's Snapdragon 835
RAM 6/8GB
Storage 64/128GB Non-Expandable via MicroSD card
Rear camera 16+20MP with f/1.7 aperture
Front camera 16MP with f/2.0 aperture
Battery 3,300mAh
USB Type-C
IP-ratings None
OS Android Nougat 7.1 with Oxygen OS

Software

It's fortunately good to see OnePlus once again brought a clean software experience with the minimal level of bloatware. It is pretty much close to the stock Android OS with most of the pure features. At the same time, it allows you to better customize your experience according to your requirement. It is running on the Android Nougat 7.1 with Oxygen OS custom UI layer over it.

The new OnePlus 5T has a new parallel apps feature which allows you to produce the clone of apps, however, you will need different accounts to manage them. It works in the same way as Huawei's App Twin feature. The parallel apps feature currently works for the social networking apps, for sure it will benefit for dual-SIM users who have different accounts for work and private.

To get full use of 2:1 display, OnePlus brought a number of customization features. For instance, you can switch off the row of virtual buttons used for navigation. The on-screen back and recent apps buttons can be swapped the way you like it. A newly revamped camera interface is introduced with the OnePlus 5T to enhance the usability. Now you can access a number of important apps instantly. If you swipe left or right the camera will change between photo, Portrait and video modes whereas the swipe up from the bottom will showcase you the modes available to capture the shot.

Before worrying about not having the latest Android OS software, the company already confirmed Android Oreo for OnePlus 5T will be rolled out in early Q1 2018, most probably you can expect Android Oreo in January next year.

Camera

Both the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T are featuring dual rear cameras, however, the setup is different on both the devices. The OnePlus 5T dual rear snappers are 16MP+20MP sensors with an aperture of f/1.7. The focal length of camera setup is 27.22mm, the new camera setup is mainly aimed to bring better low-light screen resolution.

The primary 16MP snapper is the same we have seen on the OnePlus 5 but the secondary 20MP sensor isn't a telephoto lens but instead, it is pretty much in line with the primary sensor. OnePlus confirmed the main aim of this camera setup is to bring better results in low-light conditions. The secondary sensor works when the lighting level dropped below 10 lux. The OnePlus 5T is featuring Intelligent Pixel tech which joins four pixels into one for clear images without blurring.

The low-light capturing capabilities of OnePlus 5T are better than its predecessor but not as good as Pixel 2. It is pretty much understandable considering the differences in the price tag. With the new camera setup, the 2x Zoom feature by switching between the focal length of dual cameras is part of the history. However, the new OnePlus 5T 2x zoom feature works digitally. The camera app is specially optimized for one-hand operations considering the large display.

The gesture control is completely revamped with the OnePlus 5T. The portrait mode defocusing background capabilities are further enhanced, now it is more intuitive. For those who want to control the camera settings, there is a Pro Mode for them which allows them to set focus, white balance, ISo, Shutter speed and brightness level according to their requirement. You can take selfies by pressing the fingerprint scanner for a little longer period.

Up front, the selfie-camera remains 16MP which the company introduced with the OnePlus 5. For dark conditions, it features screen flash. The detail level and shutter speed of OnePlus 5T cameras are pretty amazing. The camera experience is pretty great in both low-light and daylight conditions.

Battery

The OnePlus 5T is packed with a 3,300mAh battery cell to keep its lights on the single charge for the full day that's pretty much normal in the current-gen flagship. OnePlus claims a single day battery life and the device justified what the company claimed. Despite having a larger display with the same battery pack like the predecessor, it still works pretty great.

With normal to heavy usage, the OnePlus 5T ends the day with around 20% juice remaining which is pretty good. As the normal to heavy usage includes connectivity with Wi-Fi, fair time for calls, playing HIFI graphics games for an hour, watching HD content at full brightness. The overall battery life of OnePlus 5T is significantly better than iPhone 8 Plus, LG V30, and Razer Phone. However the Mate 10 Pro and Samsung's Galaxy S8 Plus performs better than OnePlus 5T, also it is important to mention both have larger battery cell.

Once again the OnePlus nailed the pricing department. The OnePlus 5T base variant with 6GB RAM and 64GB memory announced for $499 for the US customers, In the UK the device costs £449, for the Australian buyers it is slightly costly at AU$599.

The top of the line variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB memory costs $559 for the US, for the UK buyers it is available for £499. In Australia, it can be purchased for AU$699. Even the top of the line variant of OnePlus 5T is significantly cheaper than most of its rivals in the market and the good thing is it is packed with top-tier hardware similar like the best flagships in the market.

As far as release is a concern, the company initially released OnePlus 5T for the European, UK and North America from November 21st whereas the device is recently made official for the Indian and Chinese buyers. In UK, the company joined hands with O2 carrier to bring number of exciting deals for those who don't want to grab SIM-free variant.

Conclusion :

The OnePlus T series devices are known for bringing slight upgrades over the first flagships announced in summer. The iterative T model brings enhancements in those areas where they lack in first flagship of the year. Are these upgrades worth to grab it, the answer is yes because the OnePlus brought pleasing upgrade overall to lure customers without reinventing its design. Without any doubt, the OnePlus 5T is certainly the best smartphone ever announced by the OnePlus. It not only shares looks with the best of the best but also brings a power-house under the hood to match them in performance.

The display department upgrade was indeed required to put it in same level like all other top-tier flagships. The camera setup is improved still not as good as Pixel 2 or Samsung Galaxy S8. The lack in camera department is pretty much understandable considering what you are paying for the device. The battery life is still good enough to bring battery life for the whole day without worrying about the juice.

A new facial recognition feature is a postive addition which is worth appreciateable. Its good to see OnePlus adapting new methods to unlock the device while keeping the price tag down. The 3.5mm headphone jack is still here which will be liked by most of the geeky buyers. Overall the OnePlus 5T is a fantastic package which doesn't force you to spend hefty amount like other big names but still offering a great package with great value for your money.

You won't regret if you spend $500 on this device but at the same time you have to compromise on the stereo speakers, lack of Quad HD display, built-in storage isn't expandable. At the end, we would lik to hear our readers thoughts regarding the OnePlus 5T Preview in the comments section below. Feel free to share anything about OnePlus 5T, if you think we missed any key aspect. Stay tuned for more previews and comparisons.

The OnePlus 5T is available at Amazon for $ 409. The price/quality is good and this is the best device in this price range.
(last update 13 December 2018 @ 21:48)

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