OnePlus 3T hands-on review: Simply brilliant review

A killer flagship, if not a flagship killer

For

  • Sleek and svelte looks
  • Bigger battery
  • Top of the line specs
  • Improved front camera
  • Sapphire glass cover for rear camera

Against

  • No Quad HD display
  • Pricing veering close to traditional flagships
  • No expandable storage

The OnePlus 3T will go on sale in India on December 14 for a price of Rs 29,999. It is is an incremental update over its predecessor.

OnePlus has taken the Apple route with the OnePlus 3T. Just like Apple’s ’S’ models, the 3T has exactly the same design as the OnePlus 3 with an upgraded processor, bigger battery and a better front facing camera.

Here are our initial impressions of the new flagship from OnePlus:

Design: Sleek and suave

The OnePlus 3T looks almost identical to the OnePlus 3 and feels incredibly premium with it's metal uni-body construction.

Cut from a single slab of aluminum, the smartphone looks sleek and svelte, especially in the new Gumetal Grey colour. It will also be available in a soft gold finish which will be launched very soon.

While the design is nothing new, with echoes of Samsung's S6/S7, iPhone 6s and the recent wave of Chinese metal smartphones, it looks very classy and sophisticated.

Display: 1080p but not too bad

Unchanged from the OnePlus 3, the OnePlus 3T has a 5.5-inch fullHD optic AMOLED display, with a resolution of 1920x1080 pixels. The display is protected by Gorilla Glass 4 and has a pixel density of 401 ppi. In the day and age of 2K displays, a 1080p display at this price point is a little disappointing, especially considering the 128GB model now costs Rs 34,999.

Spec comparisons aside, 1080p displays are fine for day to day use and strike a great compromise between battery life and usability. However, The lack of a QuadHD display might be a disappointment for those interested in using the smartphone for VR.

Now, what is this "Optic" AMOLED technology that OnePlus is talking about? Well, it is an AMOLED panel that OnePlus has tuned for greater emphasis on blacks and reds, which OnePlus believes gives a better brewing experience.

Cameras: You can take better selfies now!

The OnePlus 3T has a 16MP rear camera with a Sony IMX 298 sensor, PDAF autofocus and an aperture of f/2.0. It can record 4K videos at 30 fps as well as 720p slow motion videos at 120 fps.

The front camera of the OnePlus 3T has been bumped up from an 8MP sensor to a 16Mp Samsung 3P8Sp sensor with an aperture of f/1.0 and a pixel size of 1.0 microns.

On the software front, the camera has seen some tweaks such as an improved manual mode which will allow you to control the white balance, ISO, shutter speed and so on and RAW image support.

In our limited time with the device, the front facing camera looks to be a great improvement over the OnePlus 3. The launch event had rather poor lighting, and even in such a difficult scenario, the front camera produced a crisp image with vivid colors and not too much noise.

While we could not test the rear camera much, as it is the same as the one of the OnePlus 3, we can expect it to be a strong performer.

Here's what we had to say about the rear camera in our OnePlus 3 review:

“The rear 16MP sensor was a big surprise. While not as good as the camera on the S7 or the iPhone 6s, it still produced superb results. In well lit situations, the images are sharp, clear, vibrant and full of detail. Obviously the AMOLED panel does help here, making images look very saturated and vibrant, but even when transferred to a computer, the images looked nice and crisp.

Software: 99% stock Android

The OnePlus 3T is running the latest version of OxygenOS based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow. No Nougat out of the box sadly but OnePlus has just rolled out the Android 7.0 update in beta and the final release will follow soon.

The OnePlus 3T comes with some software tweaks such as a new file management system which the company claims will dramatically speed up app load times and a new circular theme for the UI.

Oxygen OS has always been one of our favourite Android skins and the new updates make it look and perform even better while retaining the essence of stock Android.

Connectivity

On the connectivity front, the OnePlus 3T supports 4G LTE, 3G, GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/c, NFC, GPS/A-GPS, GLONASS, USB Type C for charging and data tranfer, dualSIM and Bluetooth 4.2.

Thankfully, the OnePlus 3T bucks the recent trend of excluding the 3.5mm audio jack as seen in the Moto Z and the iPhone 7. 

Hardware: Top of the line specs

This is where the OnePlus 3T sprints ahead of its predecessor. It comes with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 821 processor (as compared to the 820 in the OP3) clocked at 2.35GHz, the Adreno 530 GPU, 6GB of DDR4 RAM and a 3,400mAh battery. The battery is 13% larger that the One Plus 3, which had a 3,000mAh battery.

While these are not massive improvements in any sense of the word, this should make the OnePlus 3T slightly faster than its predecessor.

The handset also comes with OnePlus’s ‘Dash Charge’ technology, which the company claims can give the phone enough juice to last a day with just a 30 minutes charge.

Pricing: Inching closer to flagship territory

The pricing for the OnePlus 3T is as follows:

64GB: Rs 29,999

128GB: Rs 34,999

The OnePlus 3T has been priced quite aggressively, at just a Rs 2,000 premium over its predecessor. The pricing of the 128GB variant is a bit steep, but might be worth ot for those who store a lot of apps and media on their phones as the OnePlus 3T does not come with any expandable storage support.

Verdict: A great update to an already brilliant smartphone

The OnePlus 3T is a superb Android smartphone in almost all aspects. It has top of the line specs, classy and premium looks, good cameras, a bigger battery than the OnePlus 3 and a great display.

The question whether an upgrade over the OnePlus 3 in such a short period of time was needed or not is another question altogether which I will leave for you to pass judgement on on your own.

For those who already have a OnePlus 3, upgrading to the OnePlus 3T makes no sense. However, for those looking for a new Android smartphone, the OnePlus 3T makes for a compelling buy.

The problem is that OnePlus started as a company out to make flagship killers and now with the OnePlus 3T 128GB available for Rs 34,999, the pricing has started reaching traditional flagship territory.

Thus while the OnePlus 3T might not be a flagship killer anymore, it is a damn good Android flagship smartphone.