It is a massive challenge for any device maker to launch a mid-cycle upgrade to a hugely successful model of their device. There’s two ways that can go, very well or very badly. OnePlus have gone out of their usual practice and released an upgrade to the hugely successful and acclaimed OnePlus 3 with the OnePlus 3T. Let us evaluate this device today.
OnePlus is known for being very ambitious and plucky. It takes a lot of gumption to end production of your most successful top end model yet and upgrade it mid-cycle. This calculated gamble by OnePlus where they have released the OnePlus 3T in roughly five months after the OnePlus 3 seems to be a good move for most parts. So confident are they in their upgrade that the only visible change in the upgrade is the color of the device. Having said that, what’s inside this upgrade has changed a lot and mostly for the better. Keep this in perspective with the fact that the OnePlus 3 is now the best android phone of 2016 and by a distance from the competitors.
Let’s get the key specifications down first. The phone has a 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor that clocks at 2.35Ghz. It comes with 6GB RAM and either 64GB or 128GB internal storage. It has a 16MP rear camera with support for OIS, EIS and there is a 16MP front camera. The juice comes from a 3400 mAh battery and the OS version is Android 6.0.1. In comparison to the OnePlus 3, there are many key things that have changed, as you can see, the processor is a newer and better one that can run better and manage the battery usage better. The next change is in the front camera, the 8 MP front shooter from the OnePlus 3 has made way for a 16 MP front camera. And last but not the least the battery is about 13% higher capacity than the OnePlus 3.
Every device is said to be made or crafted out of one single piece of premium grade aluminium alloy. The device measures 153 x 75 x 7.4mm and weighs 158g. The handset has a power/lock button on the right edge, a USB-C port, speaker grille, microphone and 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom and a volume rocker and the iconic OnePlus Alert Slider on the left, the top edge is stylishly vacant and smooth. The fingerprint scanner in the bottom of the screen relies on haptic feedback as opposed to being a pushable physical button, looks like the OnePlus 3, right down to the last detail. The only difference is in the color, the 3T comes in gun metal finish as opposed to the graphite finish of the OnePlus 3. This is good as all the back covers and other accessories that fit and work with the OnePlus 3 will continue to do so with the OnePlu 3T too.
The phone cones with the same display as the OnePlus 3. It’s a 5.5 inch Optic AMOLED screen with Full HD resolution and 401 ppi. The display very smoothly and efficiently recreates colors more vibrantly than most. We must admit that the handset and feel of the software that the screen runs is right at home with the well rendered colors and clearly bright whites.
The phone is right up there with the Google Pixel and Pixel XL in having Qualcomm’s top of the line Snapdragon 821 processor, the current “top” of smartphone chips. We know that the most graphically intensive games and busiest of multitasking days will make the 820 sweat and stutter , the 821 is faster on the OnePlus 3T. This means that the performance and speed are a notch higher and the difference is very subtle. It will take a really trained eye to notice it. But then, the target group for OnePlus has always been the users who are aware of their device and expect performance without compromise.
During the entire review, there was absolutely no lag, slow app changes or overheating and this is at peak multitasking and heavy gaming. We actually felt like we were working on a desktop at some times, and this slim and smooth device even has more RAM than some of those computers with 6GB on it. Coupled with the Adreno 530 graphics and we have a hulk of a smartphone in our pocket – sitting right next to the money you’ve saved by choosing it.
The synthetic benchmarks pegged the phone right up there with the best in the business now and we have to agree. The words stutter, lag, slow or hang never ever popped in our minds for the entire duration of the review. And there are not many phones where we can say that about them.
The OnePlus 3T has a battery that can hold 3,400 mAh, a very big plus from the 3,000 mAh of the OnePlus 3. The dimensions are same to the t, but the battery is denser, hence holds more juice for your day. During our working days, we charged the phone to 100% at 8:00 am and went on with our things to do till about 7:00 pm and when we closed the day, there was around 25% of the battery left. There were days when we went out to cover events and had heavy use for roughly 15 hours after full charge and we could see that we had 15% battery left at the end. Couple this with the proprietary dash charge tech that it comes with and you will never be left wanting for charge on the device. This is a big improvement over the OnePlus 3 which was no slouch either.
Coming to the camera on the OnePlus 3T, the rear camera has a 16Mp lens with f/2.0 aperture and an LED flash. It’s also capable of shooting video at 4K resolution or 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second. This makes for very good images both indoors and outdoors. The colors were good and there was no visible issue with the images. The front camera has been upgraded to a 16 MP one and that is not bad at all. All the pictures came out looking good and had captured all details. Here are a few pictures we clicked with the phone.
Oxygen OS is the Android skin that OnePlus has now made very famous for being light and as close to stock android as possible. The UI is good in the fact that it stays out of the way most of the time and the changes are more in terms of making the experience smoother and better. The listening that OnePlus did for Oxygen OS after the OnePlus 2 has stood them in good stead and this is now a robust and clean skin. The review unit we got was running Oxygen OS 3.5.3 and this build has a set of neatly spruced up icons that felt neat to use. The ability to switch the display to sRGB mode is also there and NFC toggle is a part of the notification area drop down.
In summary, this is the best android phone that you can lay your hands on now. The specifications, performance, battery, camera and even the price is impressive. At 29,999/- for the 64 GB variant and 34,999/- for the 128 GB variant, it is really a must buy! OnePlus has just made the best get better. This one gets our Editor’s Choice tag too. Arguably the best android phone. Go for it!