OnePlus 3T specs review: Flagship Killer, version 5.0


Poof! The OnePlus 3T is no longer a figment of our collective wishful thinking. The device became official on November 15 and sent ripples throughout the OnePlus 3 community as concern arised that the OnePlus 3 will get in the back burner in terms of software support. Yes, it was just yesterday announced that the OnePlus 3 is going the way of the dodo and will no longer be officially sold by OnePlus in USA and Europe. 

Don't get us wrong, we are not disappointed by OnePlus' marketing strategy at all - as long as we get great devices at reasonable price, we are content. And great the OnePlus 3T most likely is as it improves a few key areas of the 3rd-gen flgaship killer. For example, it has a larger battery crammed in the same body, snappier chipset, new 128GB storage option, as well as a humngous new 16MP front-facing camera. You can get all that for $439, $40 more than the price OnePlus 3 featured at launch.

Join as we explore the internals of the OnePlus 3T up close.

Design


Nothing's been changed in the design of the OnePlus 3T in comparison with the OnePlus 3 - we've got the same all-aluminum design, with both the dimensions and the weight staying the same - 6.01 x 2.94 x 0.29 inches (152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm) and 5.57 oz (158 g), respectively. All in all, the two are identical, except for the new color option - the OnePlus 3T brings forth a new shade of grey, dubbed Gunmetal, a bit darker than OnePlus 3's Grapphite one.


Display


Nothing is changed in the display department, at least from a hardware perspective - there's a 5.5" 1080p AMOLED display with an acceptable pixel density of 401ppi. Acceptable as in "not the sharpest tool in the shed, but still fits the bill".

Hardware


Okay, this is where 90% of the OnePlus 3T novelties are. 

Chipset

First things first, we've got the latest and greatest Qualcomm chipset inside the OnePlus 3T - the quad-core Snapdragon 821, which builds upon the already strong foundation established by the SD820. 

The SD821 on the OnePlus 3T boasts a slightly higher maximum clock rate of 2.35GHz (vs 2.15GHz on the OnePlus 3's SD820) for the performance cores, as well as an improvement in terms of gaming performance thanks to the Adreno 530 GPU. 

In the meantime, by being faster, the Snapdragon 821 also aims to conserve even more battery power, which will be an excellent added bonus for the new OnePlus 3T. OnePlus is also quite proud of its "new file system that accelerates transfer and boot speeds", which will let apps launch more quickly than before -  we are not complaining.

RAM

The operational memory of the OnePlus 3T has remained the same - we get 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM in this one as well, still a more gracious amount than what the majority of devices out there boast. With the golden standard being 4GB of RAM now, we are content with the OnePlus 3T sporting that much RAM and we are almost certain that OnePlus has learned its lesson and tweaked the memory optimization appropriately right off the bat. As a reminder, the OnePlus 3 had certain problems with its RAM management, which prevented it from using the whole scope of the 6 gigs of RAM to the fullest initially, but this issue was fixed with an update later on.

Native storage

The base OnePlus 3T model arrives with 64GB of storage, which was also the deal with the OnePlus 3. It's once again of the UFS 2.0 variety, which is faster than the more common eMMC5.1 The new thing around here is that OnePlus now also introduces a higher capacity 128GB version of the device, which is more than welcome given that you have no hardware options for memory expansion - no SD card slot on this device as well. 

Battery

One of the main differences between that one and the older OnePlus 3 is the larger battery on the OnePlus 3T - it clocks in at 3,400mAh in comparison with the 3,000mAh juicer that graced the company's previous flagship. What's interesting here is that OnePlus has found a way to seemingly cram in a larger battery inside the same phone, without altering the dimensions or even the weight of the device at all. 


How is such a thing even possible? Did OnePlus resort to voodoo or, perish the thought, ditch an essential audio-centric port? No, none of that happened. OnePlus threw in an improved and denser battery, which reportedly allows for a higher charging voltage - from 4.35V on the OnePlus 3 to 4.4V on the OnePlus 3T. This enables a juicer with the same physical size to hold more electricity on a full charge, and hence better battery life. Paired with a slightly more power-efficient chipset this might only spell good things for the OnePlus 3T. 

Camera


Rear camera
Now, the camera of the OnePlus 3 was not too shabby to begin with, as it was provides more than acceptable image quality in most lighting scenarios. Seemingly content with that, OnePlus did not bother to introduce a whole new rear snapper despite the rumors that an all-new Sony sensor might be thrown inside the device. 


What OnePlus did were a couple of small but quite welcome improvements that we like. First off, there's an improved electronic image stabilization for video-recording, EIS 2.0, which will be a welcome tweak to the not so great video stabilization on the OnePlus 3, which did not eliminate jitter and accidental trembles that good.

Secondly, OnePlus put a sapphire lens on the rear camera in order to prevent accidental scratches. As a reminder, the OnePlus 3 camera has a mundane glass cover.

Front-facing camera

Now, the front-facing camera is where most of the improvements took place. Starting off with a large 8MP front-facing camera, the OnePlus 3 was already a not-too-shabby tool for selfie lovers, but it was decided that the OnePlus 3T should boast a humongous 16MP front camera.

It comprises a Samsung 3P8SP sensor, unlike the OnePlus 3 which had a Sony one; theoretically, the new snapper should capture way more detail in good lighting conditions but due to the fact that the sensor's idividual pixels are smaller, low-light image quality would theoretically not be that good.

Fortunately, aware of this issue, OnePlus says it's using "a clever pixel binning technology" that aims to merge multiple pixels in low-light scenraios in order to eke out the best possible quality.

Expectations


Over the past few months, we've been recommending the OnePlus 3 as one of the phones out there that offer quite a lot of bang for the buck. While it's true that OnePlus has been slowly moving away from its public image of an "affordable phone" manufacturer, we think that the OnePlus 3T will be an excellent interim successor to the OnePlus 3 until the OnePlus 4 breaks surface sometime next year. The 64GB of the OnePlus 3T will set you back $439, $40 more than the OnePlus 3, and the 128GB version will cost you $479. It's up to you to decide if all the new hardware imprevements are worth the $40 price hike, but we feel that this new device has all the potential to be great value for money. 

We can't wait to test it out in real life.

Related phones

3T
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 16 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, Quad-core, 2350 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3400 mAh

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9 Comments

1. QWIKSTRIKE

Posts: 1459; Member since: Mar 09, 2010

Why call it a flagship killer. So far sales indicates that it is NOT. Screen performance means a lot if you watch movies, or Kodi. That front facing selfie is nice for Duo video chatting.

3. Ticklemyfancy

Posts: 214; Member since: Oct 09, 2016

Are you a little slow ? Or are you just born dumb ?At that price it is a flagship killer ,and it is selling quite well.Actually , they couldn't keep up with the demand for it .

4. Dr.Phil

Posts: 2429; Member since: Feb 14, 2011

While it may not match the tens of millions of devices sold by Samsung or other flagship manufacturers, it's definitely sold enough for OnePlus to consider it a success. They continually sell out their inventory.

2. Jishnusur

Posts: 174; Member since: Oct 07, 2013

Hi mate! Did you forget that TVs are still 1080P displays? Do you find them inferior?

5. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

TV? what TV? my TV is already 4k for years :-/ (almost everything I watch on it is upscaled, since those TV channels&VOD are really slow to adopt 4k :-( )

7. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

Grats you are in a minority. Most of the planet is on 1080p tv's, quite a lot are still on old 720p ones.

6. snipeerz

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 16, 2016

so there is different between 3t camera vs pixel or its not visible ?

8. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

Your question makes no sense. But one is sure, 3T camera is much inferior to the Pixel one. If thats what you mean.

9. snipeerz

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 16, 2016

yes i mean if im using the phone for taking pics and use the camera what is the best smart phone for camera for now ..

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