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OnePlus 3T review: Coming six months after the original OnePlus 3, the new OnePlus 3T flagship phone boasts a bigger battery, refined camera tech and improved performance. So is the OnePlus 3T really the perfect phone? Here’s our in-depth thoughts on the OnePlus 3T.
OnePlus has had a really strong 2016, offering up first the excellent OnePlus 3 and now refining it into the rather brilliant OnePlus 3T. As you’ve no doubt already spotted the five-star review score, we might as well ‘spoil’ what follows by saying that yes, this is one of the best smartphones we’ve played with in 2016.
After pretty much a full week of using the OnePlus 3T as my personal smartphone, I’ve found almost nothing to dislike. It’s not quite flawless of course, but at £399 it offers the kind of premium features you usually have to shell out at least half a grand for.
Here’s our full OnePlus 3T review.
If you already own the OnePlus 3, then you’ll know exactly what to expect here. Because the OnePlus 3T is basically identical.
At 5.5-inches it’s again a bit of a handful, although one-handed use is just about possible thanks to a handy shortcut for dragging down the notifications tab. Those rounded edges feel nice against your palm and if you do happen to drop the OnePlus 3T, it’s rugged enough to stand a respectable chance of survival. That metallic surfacing resists scratches and scuffs with the best of them.
That camera lens still sticks out of the rear of the phone, but it’s thankfully now made of sapphire glass, which makes it more resistant to damage. Sadly there’s no water resistance, so don’t get it too moist.
You can pick up the OnePlus 3T in a new ‘soft gold’ finish as well as gunmetal, which is the only real difference compared with the original OnePlus flagship phone. However, the gold model only comes in 64GB; there’s no 128GB option.
Check out our full OnePlus 3T unboxing for a closer look at the phone.
Something else that hasn’t changed compared with the original OnePlus 3 is the 5.5-inch screen.
You once again get a spacious and sharp AMOLED panel, which produces crisp and pleasingly vibrant images. Colours are nice and punchy rather than accurately reproduced, and you’ll struggle to make out any individual pixels. On top brightness you’ll have no trouble seeing, even in bright daylight. And the ability to adjust colour warmth means the OnePlus 3T’s screen is easy on the eye at night.
You now get a choice of 64GB or 128GB of storage space, with the gunmetal grey model. The soft gold version only comes with 64GB. That’s still plenty for your apps and the rest, as long as you don’t go crazy shooting 4K video or RAW images. Sadly there’s still no support for microSD memory card expansion.
The OnePlus 3T runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, so not quite the latest version of Google’s Android OS. However, OnePlus should be rolling out an update to Android Nougat before the end of 2016, and in the meantime Marshmallow does the job nicely.
You get the Oxygen OS overlay plastered on top of Android, which adds some cool new features and changes up the look and feel - but not to an excessive degree. Android fans will be right at home with the interface, while some of the shortcut tools and gesture support is genuinely useful.
Check out our in-depth OnePlus 3T tips and tricks guide to see more about these OS features.
The OnePlus 3T once again packs a fingerprint sensor, and as before it’s one of the best we’ve used. Not only is it pleasingly accurate but it’s also incredibly quick, unlocking your phone pretty much the instant you tap your digit to the surface. It even beats the scanners on the Huawei Mate 9, Galaxy S7 and other premium handsets.
The OnePlus 3T is, simply put, an absolute beast.
You get one of the latest, super-charged SnapDragon 821 chipsets packed inside, backed by a whopping 6GB of RAM. In normal speak, you can expect silky smooth performance at all times, even when playing the latest games or editing video.
Our AnTuTu benchmark test spat out a score of 164523, which is comparable to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus and well above other premium Android rivals like the Huawei Mate 9 and Samsung’s Galaxy S7.
As for battery life, the OnePlus 3T’s bigger 3400mAh battery means you can expect over a day of life between charges, even with heavy use. There’s not a massive difference compared with the original OnePlus 3 and rivals such as the Huawei Mate 9 enjoy more impressive longevity.
However, with the mighty Dash Charge tech on board, you can power the phone up to nearly full in just over an hour. The phone stays perfectly cool throughout, which is ridiculously impressive.
OnePlus has also slightly tweaked the original OnePlus 3’s camera tech, so the OnePlus 3T now boasts some refined image stabilisation as well as updated camera software and an all-new 16-megapixel Samsung-made selfie lens.
The results aren’t quite as strong as some of the very best smartphone snappers of 2016, such as photos taken on the Google Pixel phone. However, our OnePlus 3T camera samples were all solid considering this handset’s lower price point and very rarely did we have to discard a shot thanks to quality issues.
You can shoot up to 4K resolution video, as before, while full manual controls are available for photography maestros. You can even shoot RAW images, which are super high-res and easy to tweak on the move.
Check out our full OnePlus 3T camera review for photo and video samples and in-depth analysis. And to see how the 3T compares with the Galaxy S7 and Pixel phone, check out our 3T vs S7 vs Pixel camera comparison.
If you want a best-in-class Android experience for less money than your Galaxy S7s and Pixel phones, the OnePlus 3T won’t disappoint. With seriously strong performance, impressive media chops and dependable camera tech, this phone offers it all for a lot less.
Read our full OnePlus 3T comparison reviews to see how the latest OnePlus phone compares with the very best Android blowers out there: