OnePlus has made a name in the smartphone industry for consecutively releasing flagship killers. Devices with top-notch specs at a price that put the major players to shame. But, when the Chinese giant launched the OnePlus 5 earlier in 2017, it was subject to some amount of criticism for not adopting the current display trends. The company has, however, taken measures to correct this shortcoming and launched the OnePlus 5T with an updated 18:9 display to please the consumers. So, if you felt that the OnePlus 5 was not up to the standards of this year’s flagship devices then OnePlus 5T will surely satisfy your cravings. Thus, let’s take a look and find if OnePlus 5T was actually the flagship we deserved in the first place.
OnePlus 5T Specifications
Before we talk about the OnePlus 5T in detail, let’s take a quick glance at the specifications of this flagship killer:
|Dimensions||156.1 x 75 x 7.3mm|
|Weight||5.7 ounces (162g)|
|Display||6.01-inches 18:9 Optic AMOLED screen, with 1080 x 2160p display resolution|
|Processor||octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, clocked at 2.45GHz|
|RAM||6GB or 8GB|
|Storage||64GB or 128GB|
|Primary Camera||16+20MP dual camera, with f/1.7 aperture and dual LED flash|
|Secondary Camera||16MP IMX 371 sensor, with f/2.0 aperture|
|Operating System||Android 7.1.1 Nougat, upgradable to Oreo in December|
|Sensors||Fingerprint, Accelerometer, G-sensor, Electronic Compass, Gyroscope, Proximity, Ambient Light Sensor|
|Connectivity||LTE, WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo|
|Ports||USB Type-C charging port, 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Price||starts at $449 (₹32,999)|
What’s In The Box
The Chinese giant has stuck to their conventional white and red packaging for the OnePlus 5T as well. You don’t get many accessories in the box but the pre-installed screen protector and translucent back cover are a good addition by OnePlus. Except for the excitement to witness the OnePlus 5T in the flesh for the first time, there was nothing special in unboxing the device. Here’s what all you get in the retail box of OnePlus 5T:
- OnePlus 5T
- Dash Type-C Cable
- Dash Power Adapter
- Screen Protector (pre-installed)
- Translucent Case
- SIM Ejector Tool
- Quick Start Guide
Design and Build Quality
If you liked everything about the build quality of the OnePlus 5, then I can, without a doubt, say that you will love the OnePlus 5T even more. I was a huge fan of the unibody metal construction of the OnePlus 5, carved out of anodized aluminium. This made the device look absolutely stunning and truly a premium flagship offering. OnePlus 5T not only carries forward the same design and material, which is definitely a plus, but also sports a larger 6-inch Full HD+ Optic AMOLED display, with an 18:9 aspect ratio.
The new screen makes the OnePlus 5T a compatriot in the current trend (the reasoning for this launch) while providing us with a larger screen area to interact with. Ever since other hardware makers started including taller displays in their smartphones, I had been waiting for OnePlus to take the leap. And it finally did that with the OnePlus 5T.
To accommodate the larger display, the Chinese giant has moved the fingerprint sensor to the center back of the OnePlus 5T and it couldn’t get any better for me. I had no qualms with the front-placed fingerprint sensor but I do prefer the rear placement as the sensor becomes easier to access. It is the perfect positioning for the fingerprint sensor as our index finger naturally rests around that place. I can just move my finger into place and unlock the device instantly.
While some of you may not prefer the new fingerprint sensor placement as this hinders the ability to check notifications when your device is laying flat on the table. OnePlus has now included another nifty biometric security feature, called Face Unlock, that’ll be the answer to your problem. But, we’ll talk about this feature in detail later.
Also, I’d like to laud OnePlus for the efforts they make to listen to consumer feedback and make their device even better while retaining the existing goodness. The alert slider on the left and the 3.5mm headphone jack are two positive things that the OnePlus 5T has going in its favour. You also get a USB Type-C charging port and speaker grill at the bottom, volume and power control on the right (which are quite tactile!) and the dual-lens camera module with LED flash and fingerprint sensor on the rear.
The alert slider on the left and the 3.5mm headphone jack are two positive things that the OnePlus 5T has going in its favour.
Let’s talk about the highlight of the OnePlus 5T, the primary reason for the Chinese giant to upgrade their well-performing flagship device. The OnePlus 5 was launched with a 5.5-inch display earlier in 2017 and users pounced on the company for releasing a smartphone with an outdated display and copied design (a thought that’s now been forgotten). The OnePlus 5T is correcting this grave mistake by upgrading to a 6-inch Optic AMOLED display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. This makes the device fall inline with the ongoing trend, which could lead to the end of 16:9 displays in the coming years.
As I already mentioned above, I was most excited to see the brand new 18:9 display of the OnePlus 5T. Well, to keep it concise, the screen does look absolutely gorgeous and it was a mesmerising experience unboxing the device for the first time. I immediately pulled out the OnePlus 5T from the box, powered it on and realized that all the extra screen space is definitely worth it.
The screen does look absolutely gorgeous and it was a mesmerising experience unboxing the device for the first time.
The device feels quite sturdy in the hand but it took me a couple minutes to get acquainted with the taller screen. I’ve been viewing an IPS display on my device for a couple years and the AMOLED screen’s brightness and contrast did pique my attention.
I also noticed that several users, especially those with smaller hands, might face some trouble reaching the top of the 6-inch display. The notifications can, however, be checked upon by using fingerprint gestures that are commonplace on Android devices.
I also went ahead to check out the theory that there was a difference in the side bezels of the OnePlus 5T and renders advertised on stage at the launch event. The observant people were absolutely right, the 2D renders painted the almost bezel-less screen in a wrong light and the device does have blackened side bezels. This is, however, not a really huge deal and the OnePlus 5T looks like an elegant transformation of the OnePlus 5.
The primary reason I’ve been an Android user for the longest time is the wide variety of customization possibilities that Google’s mobile OS offers. But, that’s not the sole reason. Android is open-source, which allows hardware makers to make changes to the operating system as they deem fit. Here steps in OnePlus’ OxygenOS, which is definitely one of the best custom Android ROMs.
OnePlus has certainly added their own touch to Android via OxygenOS but has preserved the ease of accessibility and minimalistic stock feel of the OS. The customization options I like to use on my OnePlus 5T are the dark theme, fingerprint gestures and the shelf page on the left. But, I do hate the fact that OnePlus shipped their latest smartphone with Android Nougat in tow, especially when Oreo has been out for the past three-odd months. I expected to see the latest flavour of Android on the device, which is my own disappointment with the OnePlus 5T’s software part.
One of the many new features that OnePlus has added to the OnePlus 5T, upon consumer feedback, is Parallel Apps. This app makes it possible to duplicate some of the well-known social networking and messaging apps, so you can easily access multiple accounts on your device. This feature will come in super handy for consumers who plan on using dual SIMs, with social accounts for each of them, on their device.
My favourite feature of the OnePlus 5T will, however, have to be the newly added “Face Unlock” feature that enables you to unlock your device with using just your face (of course!). It’s yet another example of OnePlus partaking in the fledging facial recognition trend and I’ve been going to town playing with this new feature.
Though OnePlus has adopted the existing “Trusted Faces” smart lock present in Android, it has made considerable changes to its working to make it more secure and efficient. But the highlight of this facial recognition feature is that it is crazy fast and unlocks the phone the moment you look at it. You just need to press the power button and OnePlus 5T jumps straight to the homescreen after recognizing your face, leaving your very jaw touching the ground. It was fun playing with the Face Unlock feature but I found a few negative quirks about the same.
You just need to press the power button and OnePlus 5T jumps straight to the homescreen after recognizing your face, leaving your very jaw touching the ground.
While using Face Unlock, you should remember that the feature works using just the front-facing camera and is not using any fancy hardware like the iPhone X, hence this is not the perfect implementation of the feature. Even OnePlus states that Face Unlock is “less secure” than your fingerprint and password lock. I also noticed that the Dace Unlock feature failed to recognize my face under differential or dark lighting conditions. However, I’d recommend you to try out this feature to be stunned when it unlocks in milliseconds.
Qualcomm has not released any new high-end or flagship chipsets after the Snapdragon 835, so naturally, the OnePlus 5T has the same internal specifications as OnePlus 5. It’s powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, providing the device with all the horsepowers it needs to deliver a quality experience.
And the OnePlus 5T does live up to the expectations, as I didn’t notice any considerable lags or frame drops while using the device over the past few days. You can choose between the 6GB or 8GB RAM variant (I had the latter), but the performance should be similar throughout. There weren’t any longer wait periods or heating issues noticed when playing heavy game titles such as Asphalt or Into the Dead 2.
Though you might think that benchmarks won’t give you the complete idea of the device’s performance, especially when OnePlus was previously accused of benchmark cheating. But, it has been concluded that OnePlus 5T is free of any benchmark boosting software and performance modes. Hence, I’d say that the numbers you see underneath are quite astounding and comparable to most (expensive) flagship devices released this year. Here I’ve attached AnTuTu and Geekbench result for you to check out the results for yourself:
And oh boy, watching movies and gaming on the OnePlus 5T is so much more fun with the new 18:9 screen. The taller screen presents you such an immersive experience that it’d be difficult for you to look back to your smartphone with a conventional 16:9 screen. While some apps such as YouTube, Asphalt, Netflix and others have been updated for this trending screen size, there are still numerous apps that’ll need to make the switch soon. I’m looking forward to that day quite eagerly.
As we had already witnessed with the OnePlus 3T, the Chinese giant was bound to make considerable changes to the rear camera module in the OnePlus 5 successor. And we did get an unexpected mix of dual-cameras on the OnePlus 5T’s rear, which still continues to outperform my expectations.
The OnePlus 5, if you remember, sported dual rear cameras with a 16MP primary sensor and 20MP secondary telephoto sensor. This enabled the device to capture beautiful shots with the infamous bokeh effect, thanks to the depth data collected by the second sensor. This setup did produce some great portrait shots and still does, with the use of software, but the user community was more inclined towards better low-light performance.
Thus, OnePlus retained the 16MP primary sensor but replaced the secondary telephoto lens with a standard 20MP sensor with a f/1.7 aperture, allowing the OnePlus 5T to capture more incoming light. This has greatly helped improve the low-light results, as can be seen in the camera samples attached below:
As compared to its predecessor, the pictures clicked with OnePlus 5T in low-light conditions exceeded my expectations and outperformed the OnePlus 5 by a mile. The OnePlus 5T was able to capture more details, output better colours and make the photos more presentable. But in a couple odd pictures, I noticed some ambient noise, something which could have been avoided if the 5T’s camera came with OIS (Optical Image Stabilisation) in tow.
As compared to its predecessor, the pictures clicked with OnePlus 5T in low-light conditions exceeded my expectations and outperformed the OnePlus 5 by a mile.
Note: OnePlus has already stated that the 5T will mostly capture photos using the primary sensor, without any help from the secondary one. If you are shooting in low-light and the available light is under 10 lux, then only will the secondary 20MP camera will come into play. It has also been said that the device will use Intelligent Pixel Technology to produce stunning low-light shots.
The replacement of the secondary telephoto lens with the standard f/1.7 aperture camera has also changed the way portrait photos are clicked on the OnePlus 5T. Portrait photos are no longer zoomed in and cropped as they were on the OnePlus 5. Instead, the OnePlus 5T captures portrait shots without any additional cropping, which is preferable in my opinion. You can, however, still 2x zoom into the subject with the tab available in the camera app.
In addition, the front camera on the OnePlus 5T also brings along a 16MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture and is quite capable. The selfie clicked with the front camera pop and the color reproduction is decently accurate. The beautify feature further adds another layer to the said experience, placing the OnePlus 5T’s selfies among one of the best in this price range.
The rear dual-camera setup on the OnePlus 5T is also capable of recording 4K videos at 30 fps and 1080p videos at 60fps. Though any of the rear lenses lack OIS, the software-based EIS is doing a pretty decent job at stabilising the videos. The selfie camera, on the other hand, can only record 1080p or 720p videos at 30fps.
Telephony and Audio
The key selling point of the OnePlus 5T, along with the taller display, will surely have to be the presence of the headphone jack in 2017. Even when other phone makers are displaying courage by removing the 3.5mm jack, OnePlus has stuck by its guns and done what’s right for the consumers.
The Chinese behemoth has retained the 3.5mm headphone jack, making it easier for users to enjoy their favourite music on the move. It has decided not to forgo the 3.5mm jack because no one wants to carry around dongles to listen music and charge their device when need be. Props to OnePlus for making this decision.
While the audio quality on headphones may be considered good on OnePlus 5T, the device is a beast when it comes to playing music through its loudspeaker. The loudspeaker gets extremely loud but still manages to provide you with a crisp listening experience, without any cut-offs or chopping in the highs. OnePlus has also taken care of providing you with a good number of volume steps (a lot of people skip on this), so the speaker does not get too loud or soft when the volume buttons are pressed.
As for the quality of audio calls, OnePlus 5T fares quite well in this segment as well. I did not notice any hiccups in placing or receiving phone calls as the signal reception was good and constant. The audio levels on the earpiece were not too overpowering and noise cancellation was good enough but I’d recommend you to use headphones for better sound and longer conversations.
I did not notice any hiccups in placing or receiving phone calls as the signal reception was good and constant.
The OnePlus 5T comes loaded with the standard connectivity options that you’d expect to see in most flagship devices in today’s day and age. The device supports dual-SIM, so you can install 2 nano-SIM cards but cannot swap one of them for a MicroSD card as the OnePlus 5T doesn’t support memory expansion. It includes LTE support for over 30 network bands, with speeds reaching up to 600 Mbps and the latest Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac that supports MIMO 2×2 as well.
The device also includes Bluetooth 5.0, with support for aptX and aptX HD. It means you’ll be able to connect more than one pair of headphones to the OnePlus 5T. You can also use the device to complete contactless transactions, thanks to the inclusion of NFC support. Last but not the least, the device includes support for GPS, Russia’s GLONASS, the Chinese navigation system BeiDou and even Europe’s Galileo.
Battery and Charging
Battery life is one of the major factors that can set your device apart from other hardware makers’ flagship devices. OnePlus 5T includes a non-removable 3,300mAh lithium-ion battery pack, which is the same size as the OnePlus 5. On paper, it felt that the battery wouldn’t be enough to handle the taller 18:9 display but it seems OnePlus is using some sort of sorcery to optimize the device. To my surprise, OnePlus 5T’s battery lasted me longer than the OnePlus 5 on medium or high daily usage.
OnePlus 5T’s battery lasted me longer than the OnePlus 5 on medium or high daily usage.
Starting the day out at 100%, the OnePlus 5T comfortably lasted a whole day for me and didn’t need to be plugged until the end of the day. I still had around 20 percent charge left after using the device for work, social media and media consumption. One of the primary reasons for the battery lasting you a complete day even after the introduction of a taller display may be due to OnePlus’ decision to stick to their 1080p AMOLED panel. It still hasn’t upgraded to QuadHD as its competitors but I don’t mind that if I can get a little more juice out of my battery.
While the battery performance of the OnePlus 5T is quite impressive, you don’t even need to fret about charging the device. The super-fast dash charging, which is obviously one of my favourite features of OnePlus devices, has been carried forward to the OnePlus 5T as well. If you’re short on time, Dash Charging can help juice up your device from 0 to 75% in just 35 minutes. You will be thoroughly impressed with dash charging once you get to see the device speed through the charging process like a Nascar driver.
Does OnePlus 5T Crush its 2017 Flagship Competitors?
OnePlus launched their 2017 flagship device, the OnePlus 5, around the middle of the year when the bezel-less trend was gaining notoriety. There were not many smartphones with a huge 18:9 display, hence, the Chinese giant skipped the same and played it safe with their initial launch. However, with most flagships packing 18:9 bezel-less displays, users soon started to appreciate larger screens and wanted their next device to include one of these, with 18:9 aspect ratios.
Therefore, the Chinese behemoth finally embraced the trend and upgraded its smartphone to now include a taller 18:9 display, making the OnePlus 5T one of the better flagship devices of 2017. It packs the most powerful mobile processor, a dual-camera system, face Unlock, and an elegant build quality. All of that at prices starting at $499/Rs. 32,999 and that’s what makes it amazing. Honestly, if you are looking for a flagship phone in the Rs. 30-40,000 price bracket, the OnePlus 5T is just a no brainer. There’s the decent Nokia 8 at $479/Rs. 36,999, but it lacks the gorgeous 18:9 display and the classy design of the 5T. There’s also the Mix 2 at $499/Rs. 35,999 with a stunning 18:9 display, but the 5T just has better cameras. Get it? The OnePlus 5T is just in a league of its own. In fact, it competes with the much higher priced flagships out there and even better some of them. We wrote an article on the best OnePlus 5T alternatives but honestly, if you ask me, I’d say there’s no worthy OnePlus 5T alternative out there.
If you are looking for a flagship phone in the Rs. 30-40,000 price bracket, the OnePlus 5T is just a no brainer.
- Stunning 6-inch Optic AMOLED display
- Improved low-light photography
- Smooth and fluid user experience
- Long-lasting battery performance
- Face Unlock works crazy fast
- Dash Charging is a God-send
- Not running Android 8.0 Oreo out-of-the-box
- Secondary rear camera is not always activated
OnePlus 5T Review: Exactly What The OnePlus 5 Should’ve Been
Among all of the flagship devices launched this year, OnePlus 5T has to be my favourite only because it gets almost everything right. You may need to shell out around $1000 to afford many of 2017’s flagship devices but OnePlus, which include all the same top-notch internals, is available for a reasonable price.