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One plus 3T Review

One Plus 3T

Specs:

NETWORK

LAUNCH
2016, November
Available. Released 2016, November

BODY
152.7 x 74.7 x 7.4 mm (6.01 x 2.94 x 0.29 in)
158 g (5.57 oz)
Dual SIM (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by)

DISPLAY
Optic AMOLED capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
5.5 inches (~73.1% screen-to-body ratio)
1080 x 1920 pixels (~401 ppi pixel density)
Yes
Corning Gorilla Glass 4

- Oxygen OS 4.0.2

PLATFORM
Android OS, v6.0.1 (Marshmallow), upgradable to v7.1.1 (Nougat)
Qualcomm MSM8996 Snapdragon 821
Quad-core (2x2.35 GHz Kryo & 2x1.6 GHz Kryo)
Adreno 530

MEMORY
No
64/128 GB, 6 GB RAM

CAMERA
16 MP, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash, check quality
1/2.8" sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR
2160p@30fps, 720p@120fps, Auto HDR, check quality
16 MP, f/2.0, 1.0 µm pixel size, 1080p

SOUND
Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
Yes
Yes

- Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic

COMMS
Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
v4.2, A2DP, LE
Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
Yes
No
v2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector

FEATURES
Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, IM, Push Email
HTML5
No

- Fast battery charging: 60% in 30 min (Dash Charge)
- DivX/Xvid/MP4/H.265 player
- MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV/FLAC player
- Document viewer
- Photo/video editor

BATTERY

Non-removable Li-Ion 3400 mAh battery

MISC
Gunmetal, Soft Gold, Midnight Black
0.99 W/kg (head)     0.65 W/kg (body)    

TESTS

Review:

OnePlus is a company that doesn’t much like its reputation in the smartphone business as a plucky upstart. Yet that’s what it is, competing as it must with the likes of Apple, Samsung and Google for the crown of best smartphone in the world.

The OnePlus 3 was a sublime blend of design and performance for just over £300, and launched in June 2016. So it seemed a little odd that just five months later OnePlus ended production of that handset, releasing the upgraded OnePlus 3T.

But OnePlus prides itself on listening to its fans’ reaction to its products, and has boldly dared to update a handset that people have had for less than half a year. It's constantly updating its products - for example, in March 2017 it announced new Collette and Midnight Black editions (read more about the latter below).

Even the ‘s’ iterations of iPhones have an ‘s’ stamped on the back, but in this case there is absolutely no design change from the OnePlus 3 to the OnePlus 3T. The only change is in the darker colour option, the grey of which on the rear is a tad darker than the old model. The forthcoming Soft Gold option is exactly the same, and visually indistinguishable from its five month old brother.
This reinforces that OnePlus sees the 3T as a small tweak for the line, hoping as it does to not frustrate loyal fans that shelled out for a 3. The 3T happily retains an outstanding design, with build quality to rival any premium smartphone maker in the land. It does what Apple has still failed to do and made a 5.5in screen phone slim, svelte and usable with one hand (just).

Apparently carved out of one piece of space-grade aluminium alloy the OnePlus 3T measures 153 x 75 x 7.4mm and weighs 158g. The frame of the handset houses a power/lock button on the right edge, a USB-C port, speaker, mic and 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom and a volume rocker and OnePlus’ excellent Alert Slider on the left, leaving the top edge flat, curved and smooth. With a front facing fingerprint scanner that relies on haptic feedback as opposed to a physical button, this is a phone that screams ‘use me’ from the second you take it out the box.

In that box it also already comes with a screen protector pre-applied, handy if you want to use it with one. The only lines that break the dark gunmetal of our review unit are the aerial lines and the OnePlus logo that sits beneath a 16Mp camera that protrudes ever so slightly from the casing. The front facing camera sits next to the earpiece and is also an amazing 16Mp, something we’ll explore later.

Despite initial rumours, the OnePlus 3T has exactly the same display as the OnePlus 3. It’s a 5.5in Optic AMOLED with Full HD (1920x1080) resolution and 401ppi. By its own admission, OnePlus continues to ship a screen that recreates colours more vibrantly than most, but with the Oxygen OS skin of Android that it runs this feels right; the handset and feel of the software that the screen runs is right at home with the popping colours and bright whites.

Having said that the 3T is faster, yet only noticeably so if you are really hammering it at full pelt. It joins the Google Pixel and Pixel XL in having Qualcomm’s top of the line Snapdragon 821 processor, the current pinnacle of smartphone chips. While only the most graphically intensive games and busiest of multitasking days will make the 820 sweat, the 821 is faster on the OnePlus 3T. Going from the 3 to the 3T, the difference is noticeable if incredibly subtle.

In a full week of use by our Bigfix tech team, we experienced absolutely no lag, slow app changes or overheating. It is truly like using a desktop at some times, and even has more RAM than some of those computers with 6GB on board. Pair that with Adreno 530 graphics and you have an obscenely powerful smartphone in your pocket – alongside your fat wallet full of the money you’ve saved by choosing it.

Our benchmarks show the OnePlus 3T runs equal with the best smartphones out there, though remember these benchmarks don’t represent real world use. The phones in this graph are the absolute best you can get right now, and broadly all perform to the same unbeatable standards.
The fingerprint scanner is on the front bottom face of the device, which is still where these sensors work best, despite Sony trying the side and Huawei and others the back. The button is non-moving and gives the perfect level of feedback when unlocking the device or using a compatible app like Android Pay to verify your identity. Unlike the iPhone 7, it doesn’t feel like the whole phone is clicking down – it’s way better here.

The non-removable battery clocks in at 3,400mAh, a step up from the 3,000 of the OnePlus 3. The internals are exactly the same dimensions but the battery is denser, hence the increase. In general use the phone will last a full working day which is about average.

The slim casing of the 3T means the camera protrudes slightly. This is an acceptable pay-off for what is an excellent sensor: 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. We used the camera extensively, and the results were very impressive.

The panorama mode stitched together a mountain view exceptionally well, giving full detail to the scene. A football match in cloudy weather was reproduced well with no blur and in a low-lit church the camera reproduced colour and shadow to a high quality level.


The OnePlus 3T will be unfairly compared, for now at least, to the phone that came before it. So let’s ignore it. On its own, the OnePlus 3T is everything a modern smartphone should be; slim, fast, and responsive, with above average battery life and cameras that produce stunning images.

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