OnePlus 3T Review

Positives
  • Real All Day Battery Life
  • Dash Charge is very Cool
  • A refined Android experience
  • Latest Snapdragon Processor
  • Great in hand feeling
  • Sturdy well built design
  • Good Camera
Negatives
  • Audio is Weak
  • Poor low light

The OnePlus 3T is an evolution of the OnePlus 3, it’s a minor update which isn’t aimed at OnePlus 3 owners, it’s for those who have yet to pull the trigger on a new handset or have been waiting for Qualcomm’s latest processor. The OnePlus 3 was a great smartphone, sadly some of the issues that we had with the 3 haven’t been fixed on the 3T. Check out our video to see the full review, below you’ll find, product shots, sample photos and the bottom line on the good, bad and ugly on the OnePlus 3T.

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OnePlus 3T Specifications

display 5.5 inch Optic AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels (401 ppi)
processor  Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 quad-core SoC (2.35 GHz), manufactured in 14nm process and 64 bit compatible
random access memory 6 GB of RAM
Internal memory 64 or 128 GB, UFS 2.0
Rear camera 16 MP Sony IMX 298 Sensor with 1.12 μm pixel size, f / 2.0 aperture, OIS, EIS: and PDAF
Camera front  16 MP Samsung 3P8SP sensor with 1.0 μm pixel size and f / 2.0 aperture
OS OxygenOS based on Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow
battery pack 3.400 mAh, non-replaceable, Fast Charging
Connectivity WiFi 802.11 a / b / g / n / ac (2.4 / 5GHz), Bluetooth 4.2 LE, USB 2.0, Type-C, NFC,
network LTE Cat.6
Dimensions 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35 mm
weight 168 grams

Since this is an incremental update, I’m going to address the upgraded features and what I consider to be my top criteria for what makes a great smartphone. I need a great camera, all day battery life and a stutter free ui, if you check out my full review of the OnePlus 3, you’ll see that apart from all day battery life I was very happy with the OnePlus 3.

Let’s talk about battery life, how did the OnePlus 3 make it as my daily driver if it wasn’t a phone that I felt could do all day and into a late night with out a top up? Well, with Quick charge 3.0 or Dash Charge on the OnePlus (the difference is Dash actually charges cool, as in the phone doesn’t heat up) I changed my charging habits to short top ups here and there. Since I got so much out of a short period of time I rarely got my phone to 100%. The OnePlus 3T has a slightly larger battery, 3,400 vs 3,000mAh which actually makes all the difference as we now have real all day battery life. If we look at the PCMark 8 Battery test, we’re getting 8:16HR versus 6:16Hr on the original. This bump is enough to take use through the day.

Sporting a Snapdragon 821 processor it takes what was already a smooth UI with good load times on large apps, Android 7.0 is masked by Oxygen, which isn’t a bad thing. I’m a big fan of the UI which now benefits from Nougat improvement.

Camera

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The OnePlus 3T has a great camera, it’s competitive, like most handsets in good lighting it takes great photos, but you’ll start to see it fall away from the top of the pile when you look at low light performance. That doesn’t mean that it’s that the camera on the 3T is a slouch. I’ve been happy with the OnePlus 3 as my daily drier and the 3T offers a minor update. In good lighting conditions the photos look great, Auto HDR was snappy and responded well, there was only a slight delay in taking the photo. We never felt like we had to head into manual mode, auto and HDR Auto was always fantastic.

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The only time we did head into manual was to try to get the best low light photo, the low light photos are the only place that we did feel let down. Everything else about the OnePlus 3T camera is flagship competitive, but the low light photos are average, they don’t even come close to what Google is doing with the Pixel, Huawei with the Mate 9 or Samsung with the S7 Series. These are the low light champions, the OnePlus doesn’t even come close to getting a seat at the table.

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We do quite like the manual mode it has ISO between 100 and 3200 we’re not happy that it does not go down to 50, which is perfect for night time shots. And with 30s shutter speed you’re able to take long exposure photos.

In testing the EIS we took a few shots of people moving on a street corner, for how fast the cyclists were going we’re very impressed at how much detail is available.

We wouldn’t say that the camera is significantly improved over the OnePlus 3, but if taking pictures of children and animals is something that you do a lot of you’ll appreciate the extra effort put into the EIS. If you have a OnePlus 3, have no fear, since this is a software update we assume that it will be headed your way in an update soon.

When it comes to selfies the OnePlus 3T is no slouch. The 16MP shooter up front is fast and it delivers great photos. Do I think that the low light selfies are as good as the rear facing camera? No, they aren’t. It’s easy to think that because there is a 16MP camera on the front and back that your phone has two equally good cameras. This is totally incorrect. Try as I might, I could not get a photo with as much skin detail and depth of field. I always thought that the ambient light from the display helped to light up my face, but it seems that the OIS and EIS on the rear facing camera allow for more accurate focus and there for greater skin detail and depth of field. The front facing photos in low light almost feel like the beautify skin smoother is on by default (it’s not I kept on checking).

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Front facing camera

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Rear Camera

One other thing that I noticed about the selfie camera is that it has a slightly pink hue to it, at first I thought it was because of my pink shirt, but all photos tend to have this tone. Check it out for yourself below.

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Rating
Design / 8
Camera / 8.5
Sound / 6.5
Performance / 9.5
Battery Life / 8.5
Software / 8.5
Price / 9
Editor's Choice / 8
Hardware / 8
Display / 8.5
OnePlus 3T

The OnePlus 3T is a great smartphone that you won't regret owning, will you upgrade from the OnePlus 3, of course not! If you're in the market for a flagship smartphone on a budget this is an amazing smartphone, it's got a good camera, big battery life and does not compromise on performance. There is no doubt that it's a good phone with solid tank like build quality, but if camera is your number 1 priority you'll need to pay flagship prices for the best cameras on the market. However, what we have to keep in mind is that the OnePlus 3T is $200-300 less than these flagship devices. Average low light performance on an otherwise exceptional handset is a pretty small concession to make.

8.3
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