OnePlus is now firmly seated in the market as one of the most watched and used premium phone brands. They have worked their way up the pecking order and worked really hard for it. The OnePlus 5 that was released in June was their bestselling phone and put them right on the top in the premium device market in India. They have come out with a mid-cycle T upgrade to it in the form of the OnePlus 5T. We spent considerable time with the device and here is our detailed review of the phone
It takes a lot of conviction, gumption and clear execution to halt a successful juggernaut and make changes to it before setting it rolling again. And OnePlus have now effectively mastered the art of the mid-cycle update to very successful phones with even more successful ones. They did it first with the OnePlus 3T when the OnePlus 3 was in the peak of it’s popularity and succeeded big time. They have gone ahead and done the same for the OnePlus 5 now, just when we were getting reports that it was their most successful phone and put them right up with Samsung in the premium phone segment. Has this paid off? Let’s take a good look.
Let us start with the first thing that meets the eye – the design. The OnePlus design team needs to be lauded for the OnePlus 5T. The reason for that being the fact that they have managed to fit in the big 6 inch screen with very minimal bezels on the side and absolutely no chin in the top or the bottom into a frame that is just marginally bigger than the OnePlus 5. The larger screen has brought the camera bump out much more prominently in the back. In the OnePlus 5 the camera module had the luxury of space and hence was built into the space that was right behind bezel on the front, whereas the new camera system in the OnePlus 5T has to sit firmly behind the screen which occupies more space in the phone, so it juts out a couple of millimeters more. Having said that, the design has owned the camera bump like a boss. It has been very well showcased as a feature and not a compromise. Design-wise, we would say that this is the best designed OnePlus device to date. The horizon line makes a statement and adds to the premium feel.
The customary alert slider is present in it’s usual place and for hardcore OnePlus power-users that’s a part of their lives now. The fingerprint scanner has moved to the back for the first time in a OnePlus flagship and that actually makes it look better. It has been placed right at the most comfortable place in the back unlike the Samsung Galaxy S8 which made the scanner impossible to reach. The screen occupies all the space on the front and very rightly so. There are no physical navigation buttons, they have given way to in-screen nav buttons than can be flexibly made to appear or get out of the way as your needs are. The phone is considerably leaner and smoother than the Pixel 2 XL. It is very good to the grip, feels premium and like all OnePlus devices makes heads turn when you pull it out to take calls in public. In our books the design has come up trumps in all aspects.
Let us talk about the screen a little bit more. When you read the spec sheet you feel like the screen is similar to the Pixel2 XL or the LG G6. But in our experience, the 18:9 6 inch screen is way better than these two devices. It is bright, vibrant and every color is rendered right. When you are gaming or watching videos, the experience is so immersive that you will never want to go back to any previous device after this. This display is on par if not better than the Samsung Galaxy S8. The OLED display is a winner in our books. So all in all, when it comes to design and display, the OnePlus 5T punches way above it’s category and does it with flair. And yes, you have the option of sRGB and other modes for the display like the OnePlus 5. The ability to minimize the on-screen navigation buttons when you want makes the immersive experience even better in full screen mode.
Thanks to the built-in software algorithm, the OnePlus 5T’s Full Optic AMOLED display features a new Sunlight Display that adapts automatically to harsh light to facilitate a great viewing experience. In addition to enhancing the visual appearance of the device
Coming to the camera. In the OnePlus 5, we had one wide-angle lens and one telephoto lens in the dual assembly. OnePlus is now changing things up and going with an entirely new idea. Instead of different zoom levels for the two lenses, the two rear cameras on the 5T have different uses: the main one is unchanged from the OnePlus 5, but the secondary is now a dedicated low-light shooter. Both have a wide f/1.7 aperture, meaning they get a lot of light in, with the main sensor offering a 16-megapixel resolution (with 1.12μm pixels) and the secondary one coming in at 20 megapixels (with pixels measuring 1μm).
You may be asking “What does that change?”. Let us discuss that now. The second camera can be an improvement for low light when it has smaller pixels. And that is the new part. Due to the use of pixel binning or combining the information of four pixels into one, and then re-interpolating back up to its full resolution, the second camera will improve low light pictures noticeably. The only remotely possible trade-off is that you may end up losing fine detail for the sake of lower image noise. But then, OnePlus says that the system automatically switches to that second cam when you take pictures in situations of less than 10 lux of light, which are quite rare.
When you are under 10 lux, no camera can give you details. Now, the good deal is that all this is under the hood and you just point and shoot in whatever mode you want and the software and hardware together take care of the magic. The camera interface has also gone through an intuitive makeover.
The portrait mode is improved compared to the OnePlus5 and the cutouts are better and the bokeh is also a lot more improved. The front 16 MP camera is also upto the challenge. All in all, the camera is also vastly improved over the OnePlus 5. Here are a few pictures we took with the OnePlus 5T.
Let us get to the other things of the device. The performance is butter-smooth and the phone easily takes very heavy multi-tasking and handles it without breaking a sweat. We reviewed the 8GB/128 GB version and there were absolutely no stutters or lag of any kind under any circumstances. Gaming on the phone was a breeze and the display makes in an excellent experience. The phone runs at room temperature mostly and there was no heating noticed under above average load. The OnePlus 5T takes advantage of one of the most powerful and energy efficient platforms on the market, the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835. The Adreno 540 GPU boosts graphical performance, so users can play demanding games smoother than ever before.
Oxygen OS has been a bit of an unsung hero on OnePlus phones. This Android flavor has the distinction of being lightweight and staying out of your face. There is absolutely no bloatware and the nominal customization like the parallel app option and the app locker with the gesture support actually add to the experience. Newly added to OxygenOS is Face Unlock, which allows OnePlus users to unlock their phone just by looking at their device. One of the fastest on the Android market, Face Unlock uses over 100 identifiers to unlock the OnePlus 5T. We tried this and it was doing pretty neat when it comes to unlocking the phone.
First introduced with the OnePlus 3, Dash Charge is one of the fastest charging solutions on the global market and a favorite feature among OnePlus users. A quick half-hour charge gives the OnePlus 5T enough power for the day. We got an average of 17 hours on a single charge with the battery and that is very nifty when you combine it with the dash charge.
Call quality was good and we noticed no call drops. The phone did well with the Jio SIM and VoLTE. Usual connectivity options like Bluetooth, NFC etc are available and work fine.
The OnePlus 5T is available in 6GB RAM/64 GB and 8GB RAM/ 128 GB storage options and retail at Rs 32,999 and Rs. 37,999 respectively.
Can you make the best better? The answer to that question is the OnePlus 5T. Given the fact that OnePlus has priced this update exactly same as the previous OnePlus 5, the OnePlus 5T is definitely the best possible android phone under 40k. Having said that, many top end phones priced at 60k or 70k will struggle to beat this one. OnePlus has a winner in the OnePlus 5T and it will sell like hot cakes!