OnePlus 5T Review


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Lately, the Chinese handset maker OnePlus has been in the headlines for pulling off some amazing stunts in the premium smartphone segment. However, this doesn’t end here, as the company, again, arguably, announced the upgrade of the current OnePlus 5 flagship in a gap of just five months. Dubbed as OnePlus 5T, it is a mid-cycle refresh after the OnePlus 5, offering an 18:9 aspect ratio display, improved camera, and of course the new advanced facial recognition technology. So, should you be pissed or excited about this upgrade? Let’s check it out.

Unboxing

Box Contents

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  • OnePlus 5T 128GB version in Midnight Black color
  • Screen Protector (pre-applied)
  • Clear protective case
  • Dash Type-C Cable
  • Dash Power Adapter (5V-4A)
  • SIM Tray Ejector
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Safety Information

Video Review

Display

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Right off the bat, the OnePlus 5T marks a prominent change in the display department. As per the spec sheet, the OnePlus 5T sports a 6.01-inch Optic AMOLED 18:9 aspect ratio 2.5D Curved glass display (1080 x 2160 pixels) with Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection. As a result, the bezels have been trimmed down to a bare minimum, just to make more space for the display. It’s worth mentioning here that despite the change in screen ratio and display size, both OnePlus 5 and 5T feature the same 401 PPI pixel density.

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The display is bright, blacks are deep, has a good viewing angle and color reproduction. The text looks sharp too. But due to its glossy nature, glass is quite reflective when using it in outdoors. It has a perfectly readable display under bright sunlight too. Having said that the OnePlus 5T comes with a noticeably improved touch response and latency of the display as well. Overall, the display looks crisp and I guess average users can’t make any difference out of it.

Just like its predecessor, the OnePlus 5T gets the DCI-P3 color profile, along with the standard sRGB, Adaptive mode, and a Custom color profile. Additionally, this device also comes with Reading Mode, which completely changes the display to black and white, which gives you an impression of reading an e-reader/paper when using it. Depending on the ambient light condition, this mode will automatically adjust the color temperature and calibrate the settings to match the environment. In fact, you can add a specific app that can use it automatically.

Another feature, the company has up its sleeve is the Night Mode. This feature is now common in most of the Chinese handsets and Google Pixel, where a yellow tint is applied on the display, thereby reducing the emission of blue lights, to help you fall asleep easier after using the device. In here you can adjust the strength of the yellow tint anywhere between Weak and Strong and has the feature to turn on and off automatically at sunset and sunrise, or can be used in a specific time that you want it to be enabled between as well.

Alongside the above-mentioned modes, the user also gets other system customization including  Accent color, Font size, Display size and more. Users can turn on the Ambient display, Lift up display toggle if in case.

Design and hardware

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When it comes to design language, the OnePlus 5T is akin to its predecessor on the rear except for the addition of fingerprint scanner. Having said that, the OnePlus 5T comes with a metal unibody design with a rounded design. The device is sleek, light in weight and sits comfortably in your palm.  The 5T measures 156.1x75x7.3mm and weigh around 162 grams, which is 9 grams heavier than the OnePlus 5. OnePlus has opted the same strategy for the placement of antenna bands for 5T like its predecessor, as they have tried to hide the antenna bands to make full-metal look untouched.

Moving on to the placement, the OnePlus 5T houses a 16MP front camera, earpiece and bunch of sensors, including magnetic sensor and gyroscope, on the top of the display along with the notification LED. Since it has a large screen, the company has opted for on-screen navigation button instead of a physical home button.

The right side of the 5T houses a Dual SIM slot (nano + nano), power/lock button, whereas the left side is equipped with alert Slider, and volume rockers.

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The bottom side of the device is where it gets busy with 3.5mm audio jack, primary microphone, USB Type-C Port and a speaker grill placed right next to each other.

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Flipping it back, we have the dual (16MP+20MP) camera setup, secondary microphone, and dual LED flash. With OnePlus 5T, the ceramic fingerprint sensor has been moved to the back.

Software and UI

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The OnePlus 5T is shipped with Android 7.1.1 (Nougat) with Oxygen OS 4.7 out of the box. The company has promised Android 8.0 Oreo update by early 2018 even though the Oreo update is available for the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T. The UI is pretty much close to Stock Android and the fact that it lacks bloatware makes it fluid and clutterless. Nonetheless, OnePlus has seasoned their own customization options on top to make sure to add their savor.

From the lock screen, you can access Google Voice assistant and camera. You can access notification panel by swiping down from the top and app drawer by swiping up from the bottom. Talking about the navigation keys, you can swap the navigation buttons and hide it as well. When you turn on the toggle to hide the navigation keys, an extra button on the left corner is added. Users can tap on that to hide or show the navigation button. Users can also assign long press and double tap actions to the on-screen buttons.

Moreover, users can also adjust the settings to have a dark mode and light mode. We often use dark mode as it is easier to view in the dark and also saves battery since this is an AMOLED display.

The OnePlus 5T also supports various gesture options like other OnePlus devices, and it supports double tap to wake, Music control, flip to mute, three-finger screenshot, swipe fingerprint for notification and much more. You can also assign functions manually to the screen off gestures as well. The gestures options are accurate and work properly. It’s worth mentioning that the device is able to identify the accidental touches thus avoiding the initiation of the process.

Further, users can also customize the functions of the alert slider key by choosing what to keep active and what to silence in each mode.

Similar to Dual apps in Xiaomi, OnePlus has added Parallel Apps with the latest Oxygen update. With Parallel Apps, you can clone apps including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp and more, which allows you to login to the same app two different accounts.

With the latest Oxygen update, the gallery app has been benefitted with a new tab called “Places”, where users can now search pictures based on where they were shot.

Camera

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The OnePlus 5T equips a 16MP rear camera with dual LED Flash, f/1.7 aperture, EIS and also has a secondary 20MP camera with f/1.7 aperture. The company has tweaked the camera of the OnePlus 5T to enhance camera performance in low-light and the overall output clarity.

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In fact, the OnePlus 5T features the same primary camera as its predecessor with Sony IMX398 sensor, f/1.7 aperture, 1.12μm pixel size, but the OnePlus 5’s telephoto lens has been replaced with a 20-megapixel secondary camera equipped with Sony IMX376K sensor and a large f/1.7 aperture that focuses on low-light photography. Talking about the real world usage, the 5T takes some really good photos under daylight condition with very good details, color, and vibrancy. But there is a slight white balance issue, which produces a warm picture with saturated colors. Even though it lacks a depth-sensing camera, the 5T output is equally good as OnePlus 5. The picture taken in HDR mode is good, but not as good as OnePlus 5.

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However, the software 2X zoom mode in OnePlus 5T is not as good as Optical Zoom in OnePlus 5. Also, the OnePlus 5T comes with a wide aperture on both the lens allowing more light to hit the sensor when it’s dark. The OnePlus 5T emerges as a winner under low light condition and it is better than before. Due to Intelligent Pixel technology, the noise it creates minimum. The lack of OIS is evident when you opt for 2X zooming as well. This time around, the AF speeds are much faster and in the same league as the current flagships on the market. On the front, there is a 16MP camera with Sony IMX371 sensor, f/2.0 aperture, and 1.0μm pixel size, same as the predecessor. It also offers worthy shots with good image quality. Video quality is very good as well.

Talking about the UI, OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T shares the same UI except for the mode changing gesture. When it comes to OnePlus 5, users need to tap on the horizontal button on the top left corner to change the mode. But in OnePlus 5T, you need to swipe up to change the modes.

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Users are greeted by the main viewfinder that has a mini gallery, shutter button and camera switch key at the bottom when in portrait mode. At the top, you have toggles for flash, timer, aspect ratio and HDR modes. The different shooting modes include Time-lapse, Slow motion, Photo, Video, Pro-Mode, Portrait, and Panorama as well. Take a look at some of the sample images.

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Dual Camera

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It can record 4K videos at 30fps, 1080p at 60 fps and 720p slow motion at 120fps. Here is a quick camera sample comparison with the OnePlus 5.

Calls and Messages

The call quality is good on OnePlus 5T, so is the loudspeaker and earpiece. We also did not face any call drops. The default keyboard on the device is Google Keyboard and if you are not a fan, you can install another keyboard from Google Play Store.

Connectivity and Storage

The OnePlus 5T supports various connectivity options including 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11ac dual-band (2×2 MU-MIMO ), Bluetooth 5.0 aptX HD, GPS/GLONASS/Beidou, USB 2.0 Type-C and NFC. In terms of storage, it comes in two variant– 6GB LPDDR4x RAM with 64GB storage (UFS 2.1 ) and 8GB LPDDR4x RAM with 128GB (UFS 2.1) internal storage. In our case, we got hold of the latter with 128GB onboard storage. Out of 8GB RAM, about 5.7GB was free when default apps are running in the background and out of 128GB about 111GB was free.

Performance

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The OnePlus 5T shares the same internals as its predecessor. It is powered by Octa-Core Snapdragon 835 64-bit 10nm Mobile Platform clocked at 2.45GHz with Adreno 540 taking care of graphics department. As you’d expect, the performance of the device is just excellent. It is smooth, fluid, no hang, lag or hiccup even during heavy usage. In fact, the device handled graphics intensive gaming with ease and class, giving no room for frame drops or hangs. Check out some synthetic benchmark scores below.

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OnePlus 5T Geekbench 4 Multi-Core

OnePlus 5T 3D Mark Ice Storm Unlimited

Check out the complete set of benchmark scores here. Also check out the gaming review to know about the gaming performance of the OnePlus 5T.

Fingerprint and Face Unlock

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With OnePlus 5T, the fingerprint scanner has been moved back to the rear just to make more space for display on the front. Just like other OnePlus devices, the fingerprint is fast here and unlocks in a fraction of a second.

Moreover, it is active all the time and is able to unlock your phone almost instantaneously when it is sleeping. The process of adding fingerprint is fast and a total of 5 fingerprints can be saved. Just like other OnePlus devices, the fingerprint here is ceramic, which is difficult to scratch at the first place.

Fingerprint aside, we have Face unlock as well to unlock the phone. First off, you need to add your face data, by holding your phone in a bright environment 20 to 30cm from your face. During the process, make sure you align your face with the circle properly to complete it. Surprisingly, the Face unlocks works faster than we thought of in bright surroundings. However, it didn’t work for me when I tried to unlock the device when I took a stroll on the streets around 7 PM.

Battery

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The OnePlus 5T is powered by a 3300mAh battery with Dash Charger technology, same as OnePlus 5. In reality, the 5T took us throughout a day on casual usage and we suggest you carry power bank if you are a heavy user. The battery life of the OnePlus 5T is definitely good, but not amazing. Having said that, the company is compensating it with quick charging technology that promises a day of battery life with half an hour of charge.

OnePlus 5T FoneArena One Charge Rating Pie Chart

In our One Charge rating, the OnePlus 5T achieved 16 hours and 28 minutes with charging time of just 1 hours and 14 minutes for 0 to 100% and just 25 minutes for 0 to 50%, thanks to the insanely fast Dash Charging. However, if you are in for a long day, we suggest you turn on the advanced optimization toggle, where it restricts background activity of apps aggressively to improve battery life. We will bring you the complete set of battery test results soon.

Conclusion

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The OnePlus 5T is a solid piece of the device for sure with the amazingly optimized processor, improved low-light camera, and a fluid UI. Even though the OnePlus 5T is not a quiet revolutionary upgrade from its predecessor, it does comes with few noteworthy changes on board and the company has maintained the same price tag of the predecessor starting at a price of Rs. 32,999. However, no phone is perfect, and this lacks IP certification for water-resistance, which is becoming a norm these days in flagships. If you are an OnePlus 5 user, we can certainly understand your situation. If you are happy with the OnePlus 5, you can wait for the major upgrade next year.

The OnePlus 5T will be available exclusively from Amazon.in starting from 4:30PM tomorrow, November 21st for Prime customers, OnePlus India Online Store and OnePlus experience store in Bangalore as a part of early access sale. It will be available for all from November 28th. To summarize, here are the pros and cons of the smartphone.

Pros

  • Large 18:9 display is good
  • Snappy performance
  • Good camera
  • Dash Charging technology

Cons

  • Lacks OIS
  • Lacks IP certification
  • No Android Oreo at launch
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