If you have just released a fairly good product but come up with an improvement just a short while later, in the event you release it immediately, or wait for some time to pass? The benefit of going ahead is that you’re able to keep up with competitors who might have released products with new features and capabilities since your launch, and you get to create a whole new hype cycle. The downside of course is 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, also out of what the firm has said, it didn’t hesitate at all to start the OnePlus 5T just five months after the OnePlus 5.

This is a business that has built its identity on delivering over the big guns can, and that too at lower prices. Samsung and LG both had the exact same idea earlier this season – make phone screens taller instead of increasing their size proportionately, and that way you’ll be able to stretch them without the awkwardness of an abysmal phablet. However, 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 the same degree. That’s why the OnePlus 5 is currently on its way out despite being started with much fanfare just five months ago.

Very little else regarding the OnePlus 5T is brand new – its chip and most of its hardware as well as software is very much the same. In reality, even its pricing is the same as that of the outgoing OnePlus 5, making this a simple drop-in replacement. In that way, there should not be much to say about this phone – but we’re putting it through the full review procedure anyhow, to see just how far this company has come in very little time. Here’s everything you need to learn more about the new OnePlus 5T.

OnePlus 5T design
As with many things in the tech industry, after it’s apparent 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 very long time, there’s something visibly different about smartphones right now. It’s easy to feel that there is a tangible reason to upgrade when you see 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 can view in front of you.

OnePlus isn’t the first company to establish this type of phone; not by a long shot. When placed side by side with the Oppo F5 (Review), the similarities in their proportions are obvious. Much the same can be said about the Honor 9i (Review), Vivo V7 Plus (Review), and also of course the LG G6 (Review) – no one has managed to emulate Samsung’s curved screens yet.

The screen steps 6.01 inches diagonally with a resolution of 1080×2160, also uses AMOLED technology. Everything looks sharp, bright, and saturated. There are still black borders around it – thinner at the sides than at the top and bottom – but the effect is still immersive.

The body of this OnePlus 5T is made from aluminium, and the company is quick to point out subtle design cues such as the sharp crease around the edges of an otherwise curved body. Unlike its predecessors, this model is available just in Midnight Black – and OnePlus is not saying why it decreased choices, or if we can anticipate more options or even special editions down the line. This phone feels solid, but it isn’t especially eye-catching in the way that Apple and Samsung’s latest flagships are. 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 kind of partnership or sharing of design resources – 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 access. The camera bulge has sleek, angled sides, very similar to those of the 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 started chipping almost when we took it out of its box. The top of the phone is bare, while the bottom has a 3.5millimeter audio outlet, USB Type-C interfacespeaker and speaker grille.

The left of the phone has OnePlus’s signature Alert Slider, which lets you flip between three positions – Silent, DND, and Ring. Over the power button is a tray for two Nano-SIMS – this phone does not support storage expansion at all, which might frustrate some users.

In terms of physical size, the OnePlus 5T is quite slightly taller, wider and thicker – maybe not enough to be noticeable if you don’t stand the two next to each other, but enough that their cases can not be shared. The newest model is also a little heavier, at 162g in comparison to 153g. OnePlus continues to ship a very bulky charger with this phone, and also you get the identical reddish USB Type-C cable as before. No headset is included, and if you want to use your personal it will need to get a very slim plug to work with any of the 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 changed, in contrast to the OnePlus 5. It uses exactly 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 along with 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 supported, and there’s a wide variety of sensors including an electronic compass and gyroscope. The USB Type-C port operates at only USB 2.0 speed. The battery capacity is 3300mAh and OnePlus’s own Dash Charge benchmark for quick charging will work if you use one of the company’s personal chargers.

The only thing other than the display that is really new about this phone is the fact that its secondary rear camera doesn’t have a telephoto lens, but instead a detector that is tuned for low-light photography. The primary camera is exactly the exact same 16-megapixel unit as about the OnePlus 5, but today it is joined by a 20-megapixel partner with exactly the identical f/1.7 aperture along with 27.22mm focal length. OnePlus stresses that this also allows for much better portrait shots because the focal lengths match. It’s frustrating to realize that the optical zoom functionality was taken away, but it’s possible that the tradeoff will be useful to more people, more frequently.

We are surprised and a little disappointed that OnePlus could not ship this phone with Android 8.0. As it stands, 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 plus a new version of OxygenOS arriving early next year. Since OnePlus says, the experience it delivers is almost perfectly that of stock Android, but with loads of little improvements during. You get a whole lot more UI customisation options plus overhauled programs like the Gallery.

Because of the taller display on the OnePlus 5T, you can swipe down or up anywhere on the home screens to show the notifications shade or program drawer. There are multiple gestures, including shortcuts that you can assign yourself, and you might also pick secondary functions for your on-screen Android navigation buttons. OnePlus is also introducing Parallel Programs to allow you to run two instances of social media services, and also an iPhone migration assistant – neither of which is a unique innovation. Other features include a Game DND style that suppresses notifications, Night Mode, a dark UI motif, and the ability to lock apps of your choice.

Perhaps inevitably, the OnePlus 5T supports facial recognition for a way to unlock itself. Installation works in the exact same way as on the Oppo F5, and while recognition can be very quick, it simply does not operate in low light. OnePlus freely admits that facial recognition isn’t nearly as secure as a fingerprint, and so you can not use it for banking programs or making purchases. You still have the fingerprint sensor, though.

OnePlus 5T performance, cameras, and battery life
We analyzed that the OnePlus 5T variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and as anticipated, usage was a breeze. The phone was more than adequately fast as it came to loading apps, playing games, and multitasking. HD videos streamed smoothly and we couldn’t feel any hiccups in any way. You may select between the default color profile, sRGB, DCI-P3, adaptive mode, and a custom color temperature. If you find the default too saturated, sRGB might suit you better.

Sound is just about good enough for games, and we would have liked much better, especially considering this phone’s price. There is no headset in the box, though at least there is a standard 3.5millimeter socket.

We did find ourselves appreciating some of the tweaks that OxygenOS brings to Android, like the ability to wake the phone with a double-tap and unlock it with our own faces instantly. This is an effective workaround to this absence of a fingerprint sensor on the front, which we did miss when we had the phone lying face up on a table. However, the sensor on the back is easy enough to reach if the phone is in either side.

3DMark Ice Storm Extreme gave us 14,291 points and GFXBench managed 60fps in the T-rex test in addition to an impressive 23fps in the Car Chase test.

The primary rear camera does a good job as long as there’s lots of light. We noticed that colors popped more and details were much sharper if 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 mode produced artificial-looking results about half of the time. Regions of the viewfinder flashed on screen for approximately a second as the phone calculated the foreground and background, and even then there was a slight chance of mistakes 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 app despite the fact that it merely triggers the conventional digital zoom now.

The secondary rear camera just 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 program jump between the 2 cameras when we had been trying to line up a shot, and the difference in perspective made it difficult for us to frame what we wanted to catch. Yet, results were excellent. If there was even just a little bit of incident light, we may see the difference produced by the f/1.7 lens and technique of combining four pixels into one on the higher-density detector to increase light sensitivity. We took several samples that were more than useable in very low light, with noise and grain well under control.

The front camera is decent enough in various conditions, and you can safely use it to all your social media needs.

This is slightly disappointing, as other phones on the market can catch far better slow-mo video. However, video is still smooth and crisp, and the quality ought to be adequate for most people.

Battery life is a bright spot. We were able to utilize the OnePlus 5T for a full day, including a few gaming and video streaming and a lot of photography, and we still needed a bit of power left over at night. We were not worried about the battery running out. Our HD video loop evaluation conducted for 13 hours, 30 minutes which is quite a bit less compared to OnePlus 5 managed, and that much of a difference can not entirely be explained by the more recent phone’s larger display.

Verdict
Last year, OnePlus replaced the 3 with an 3T since there was a new chip available. This season, it’s a new kind of display. In both cases, the changes would not be big enough for big brands to split their yearly cycles, which only shows the differences between the old and new defenses. OnePlus, like almost all of its Chinese counterparts, does what it takes to try and remain at the top.

The OnePlus 5T is marginally better than the OnePlus 5, that is if you do not desperately need the older model’s optical zoom capabilities. You receive a more modern, more appealing phone at exactly the same price, so of course the 5T is the better pick. For the most part, we agree that the low-light detector is much more practical than a telephoto lens, but we did miss the ability to frame some shots better. In any situation, there’s no question of choosing between the two models since OnePlus has replaced the 5 outright and many variants are already out of stock.

Should existing OnePlus 5 owners rush out to purchase the new model? Surely not, but a few loyal fans of this brand will do exactly that. If you’ve got a phone that’s at least two decades old, the OnePlus 5T certainly has a strong appeal. We can not say we’re thrilled with the upward tendency in this company’s prices, especially since you don’t receive all the perks of a top-end phone, such as weather-proofing, wireless charging, and a super-slick design. If you’re looking for the phone with the biggest wow factor, the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 comes in within the exact same price range. If you are not caught up in the 18:9 hype, the Honor 8 Pro still sells for a good bit less, and on the other hand if you’re able to afford to invest more, the Samsung Galaxy S8 will keep you happy.

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