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Our Verdict

While it lacks in few areas - no QHD display, stereo speakers, microSD support or the best camera in the class - we are still confident to call it the best value for money phone right now. It never disappoints.

For

  • Great design and build
  • Flagship performance at half of its price
  • Face unlock is unreal

Against

  • Still runs Nougat
  • 'Only' full HD resolution
  • No microSD card slot

The OnePlus 5T, as the name suggests, isn’t a completely new handset – rather, it’s an incremental upgrade of the successful OnePlus 5.

If you're wondering that OnePlus is launching a new handset then you must know that OnePlus itself is calling it an enhanced iteration of the existing OnePlus 5 flagship phone. Judging it as a new phone will be unfair so we'll be looking at the OnePlus 5T as an update to the OnePlus 5.

In markets like UK and US, the phone isn't just an upgrade though – it’s also a replacement, as OnePlus has ceased production and sales of the phone it launched just six months prior to the arrival of the OnePlus 5T. But in India, the company has no plans to discontinue the OnePlus 5 as of now, so there are high chances that OnePlus will go for a price cut on the previous iteration model.

We're not surprised by the move as OnePlus did exactly the same thing in 2016 when it introduced the OnePlus 3T half a year after launching the OnePlus 3.

So what do you get with OnePlus’ second generation ‘T’? The main talking points are a bigger screen, tweaked design, improved rear camera and face recognition, plus a few software additions to boot.

In short, there’s enough new stuff to justify its existence without it offering a radically new smartphone experience.

OnePlus 5T price and availability

  • OnePlus 5T launch price: from Rs 32,999
  • OnePlus 5T release date: November 21
OnePlus 5T specs

Weight: 162g
Dimensions: 156.1 x 75 x 7.3mm
OS: Android 7.1.1
Screen size: 6.01 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2160
CPU: Snapdragon 835
RAM: 6GB/8GB
Storage: 64GB/128GB
Battery: 3,300mAh
Rear camera: 16MP + 20MP
Front camera: 16MP

The good news is that the OnePlus 5T price is exactly the same as the OnePlus 5’s, which means you’re looking at Rs 32,999 for the 6GB/64GB model, and Rs 37,999 for the 8GB/128GB variant.

It means the OnePlus 5T is cheaper than pretty much all of its flagship rivals – but significantly the difference in spec between them is the smallest it’s ever been.

As far as a OnePlus 5T release date goes, the handset will be available from November 21 in the India, along with US, UK and Europe, China, and Hong Kong. It is exclusively available on Amazon India.

Display

  • Biggest-ever screen on a OnePlus phone
  • 6.01-inch Full HD, AMOLED display with 18:9 aspect ratio

The 6-inch full HD display on the 5T is bright and clear

The single biggest change on the OnePus 5T is the display, with the handset sporting a bigger 6.01-inch Full HD AMOLED panel with a 18:9 aspect ratio that follows this year’s trend of elongated screens on the iPhone X, Google Pixel 2 XL, Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG V30.

OnePlus has readjusted the screen size for the first time (except for the OnePlus X), rest of the phones from the Chinese firm arrived with a regular 5.5 inch display.

While the OnePlus 5T's display pulls inline with the flagship phones in terms of size and aspect ratio, it lacks a QHD resolution to register itself in the high-end display club solidly.

OnePlus decides to advance by sticking to a Full HD resolution at 1080 x 2160p with a pixel density of 401ppi, while most other rivals boast QHD displays.

The on paper resolution doesn't conclude to call it a bad display; big thanks to the AMOLED panel from Samsung, which carries bright and punchy colors, but when you keep it aside a QHD panel you can notice the difference in sharpness. In isolation though, it’s difficult to pick any real fault with it.

Alongside QHD rivals it doesn't look as good, but it's by no means a bad display

While the default color balance comes with a blue tint, you can always tweak it by going into the screen calibration under display settings. It allows you to switch between sRGB, DCI-P3, custom and adaptive mode. 

Switching modes mutes vibrancy in some settings but it displays natural colors, especially while looking at pictures. You always have a choice to change color settings but we recommend you to stick to default mode for punchy colors.

OnePlus has upgraded the ambient brightness to call it the Sunlight Display, which automatically detects harsh light and adapts the display for the best viewability depending on what you are doing on your screen.

Design

  • Premium metal unibody looks and feels great
  • Fingerprint scanner on rear with smaller bezels up front

The change in display size and aspect ratio has had an indirect effect on the design as well. It automatically led the company to trim down the bezels above and below the display to provide 80.5% screen-to-body ratio and sleeker in hand feel. The best part is that OnePlus has not fiddled with the size and thickness of the phone. 

Removal of extra bezels has also led to the repositioning of fingerprint sensor, which resides at the bottom bezel on OnePlus 5. The fingerprint sensor on OnePlus 5T sits at the center back, which is easy to reach, and not to forget the physical navigation keys as they have found their new home on screen itself. 

It continues with a premium metal unibody design like the OnePlus 5. It makes it look good aided by the thin profile with gentle curves on the rear helping it sink down well into the palm.

At 156.1 x 75 x 7.3mm and 162g the OnePlus 5T is wider, taller and heavier than the OnePlus 5, but remains the same thickness, making it similar in size and weight to the LG V30 and iPhone 8 Plus.

The smooth finish on the back makes the phone slippery, hence investing in a material or silicone case is a good choice, which will add up to the size a bit, and to the cost too.

You’ll find the power/lock key on the right, and the volume rocker on the left, fall easily under thumb and finger when you’re holding the phone in portrait, and OnePlus continues with its notification slider on the side of the handset, allowing you to easily switch between silent, do not disturb and loud modes.

One of the biggest plus point on the OnePlus 5T I realised while using it alongside a Pixel 2 is the headphone jack. Having a headphone jack feels like a luxury when you have to carry a clunky adapted with you all the time. 

The minimal camera bump still retains on the 5T, but this time around the edges of the protrusion are more lovingly sculpted into the main body like the iPhone 7 Plus. 

OnePlus claims it has added an anti-fingerprint layer to the finish on the OnePlus 5T, but we found that it still got grubby pretty easily, although marks and prints are easy enough to wipe off.

OnePlus 5T hands on gallery

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Face recognition

  • Fast, easy and effective
  • Not as accomplished as iPhone X

OnePlus 5T comes with a very impressive key feature, which is also a first for OnePlus, is the addition of face unlock tech as the fledgling brand attempts to ride the coattails of the iPhone X.

While Apple has put in all its might to build the face recognition with a fine amalgamation of hardware and software, OnePlus builds upon the existing hardware with the help of 100 facial point identifiers to verify the face.

Unlike Apple's, this one can only be used to unlock the phone by waking up the display. Also, you don't need to swipe or tap on the screen once the phone is unlocked, it takes you directly to the homescreen.

It's super easy to setup, with the phone requiring few seconds to lock in your face. The unlocking is incredibly quick, with almost no delay after you press the lock key or tap the screen. 

We also found that it works at some impressive angles, so holding the phone right up in front of your face is not the thing anymore. You can unlock it while it rests on a table, all you have to do is to keep your face inside front camera's radar.

One area where it's short of iPhone X is unlocking in dark conditions. It doesn't carry an infrared camera that can track your face in dark but it works pretty well when there's a little source of light. In my case, it worked flawlessly in dark if the display brightness was high and even under street lights.

It can handle glasses, no glasses or caps. The OnePlus 5T knows it's you as long as your eyes are still visible. 

We tried face unlock in different scenarios (shown in the image above), it unlocked the phone till the eyes were visible but as soon as we tried wearing a low slung hat, and then tinted goggles, the 5T failed to unlock. 

As of now, we tried a lot of ways to crack the code, but the new feature feels secure. The technology is likely to be fooled in rare cases but we still have to find it out.