OnePlus 5T 8GB Review: Still tall
OnePlus 5T 8GB detailed review
Like the OnePlus 3T which was an untimely update to confirm the recent hardware specification, the OnePlus 5T and a mid-cycle update to bring some features, which was missing from the OnePlus 5. This is OnePlus’ second flagship to be upgraded in less time. More than six months, probably to meet the new trends in the market. The title feature is definitely on display, but in our opinion the new camera is an equally important update. There are other features that make the phone stand out. The question is, are the changes enough to qualify as an upgrade? Find out.
Long display and similar design
Well, its the most significant change, let’s start with the display. The OnePlus 5T now has a 6-inch display with an 18: 9 aspect ratio. The display is now longer and extends to both ends of the phone, maintaining symmetry. OnePlus retains the overall size of the phone and the new phone is as big, slim and slippery as the OnePlus 5. To make room for the display, the fingerprint scanner has been moved backwards and is easily accessible. It’s as fast as last time.
For the display, it’s a Samsung panel, just like the OnePlus 5. The display resolution in the OnePlus 5T is also 1080p wide. In terms of length, the number of pixels has increased to 2160p, but this has been given over to the longer shape ratio. Whether OnePlus chose a 2K resolution is open to debate, but using the device last week or so, we found no lack of experience in any way.
On the same note, we need to mention that although the 18: 9 ratio is fast becoming a norm, most Android apps have not yet been optimized for it. This is especially noticeable in games like Injustice 2, where menus are clipped, since it is running in zoom-in mode. On the other hand, streaming apps like Netflix and Youtube work fine and you get a dedicated button or pinch to zoom in to watch videos at 18: 9.
Injustice 2 menu
Just like last time, the phone still has an optical AMOLED panel, but this time OnePlus has added another screen calibration mode called “Adaptive Mode”, which changes the color calibration according to the content on the display. It basically enhances the contrast and color saturation at a small distance from the app-to-app. However, we recommend that you keep the calibration to DCI-P3, which makes the display colors more natural. The white point of the display is better tuned here, so that the images look more normal than the OnePlus 5. It’s not a warm display like our OnePlus 5, but it’s definitely a pleasure to watch The OnePlus 5T display looks the same as the one we saw in the OnePlus 5 for the contrast level and overall brightness.
The design of the phone is similar to the one that replaces the phone and yes it reminds us of iPhone 7 Plus / 8 Plus. This is not a bad thing at all, as the phone feels well built and solid The Beveled Edge and 2.5D curved display make the phone more beautiful than any other phone in its price range. However, the OnePlus 5T still has a prominent camera bump, which the phone could do without. The phone also holds the popular three-step profile switcher toggle. You still get the standard headphone jack, which is a basic requirement of a phone for music lovers like me. At the same time, it is sad to see that the OnePlus 5T is still not water and dust resistant, which is fast becoming a norm in high-end phones.
Face Unlock and other UI techniques
Since the fingerprint scanner has now been pushed back, OnePlus has added a new “Face Unlock” feature to the OnePlus 5T. Because, why not?
It’s easy to set up and doesn’t take more than a few seconds to register your face. Once you’re done, it works very fast and 8 out of 10 times. It uses the front-facing camera to detect your face and then unlock, so without a front-facing flash, the phone struggles to unlock in extremely low light conditions. It also doesn’t work when the camera is lit, but otherwise it’s as fast as a fingerprint scanner. I’ve tried fooling the Face Unlock feature with photographs, portraits on large displays, and even shaving my beard, but the camera can pull the original out of the fake. Like the iPhone X Face Unlock, the OnePlus 5T Face Unlock doesn’t work when your eyes are closed. This is an impressive software, though not a complete solution.
OnePlus maintains that it’s good to have a face unlock method, but it’s not secure and so you still need to authenticate with a fingerprint scanner to pay or log in to a secure app.
You also have a new feature called Parallel Apps, which lets you clone popular apps and run different accounts on them. Also, the UI stays the same with Oxygen OS 4.7. You’ll find choices, such as reading mode, night mode, and screen-off gestures, but that’s about it. Lift-up display mode gets a small change in font size and alignment, but nothing fancy. The UI is almost like stock, super slick and quite light weight.
One thing we’re not happy about is that the OnePlus 5T doesn’t come with Android 8.0 Oreo. It’s been almost three months since the Orio launch and we believe that flagship devices like this should come with Android Orio. To recall, OnePlus announced the OnePlus 3T with Android Marshmallow, upgraded it to Nougat within a few months, and then said that Android O would be the last upgrade for that phone.
The camera looks good in low light
Then there is the new camera setup. In our initial comparison between OnePlus 5 vs. OnePlus 5T we’ve already talked about the new camera, but we still have some things to go on. To recap, it has a 16MP primary camera on the back, which uses the same IMX 398 sensor. It has a pixel size of 1.12um with AF / 1.7 aperture and 27.22mm focal length. The secondary camera again uses a 20MP unit, an IMX 376K sensor and a 1um pixel size. It has the same aperture and focal length as the primary camera. So, now 2X zoom is done digitally. The OnePlus 5T does not suffer any significant loss of quality when going from 2x optical zoom to 2x digital zoom.
Pictures taken under normal lighting conditions
OnePlus 5 vs OnePlus 5T Zoom Comparison (100% Crop)
For standard image quality, the OnePlus 5T does an admirable job in normal lighting conditions, but it’s still not the best for flagship cameras. Captured images offer decent details, almost true source color saturation, and good dynamic range (for a tiny sensor). Here the secondary camera takes in-depth information, which helps in overall image quality and subject separation. In low light conditions, the camera maintains better quality than most phones in the same price range. It captures good details and does not dramatically slow down or slow down the shutter. When the light is below 10 lux, the phone switches to a 20MP secondary camera, which captures better details than its predecessor. OnePlus has also tweaked the algorithm, which now reduces noise across the board. We think the One Plus 5T’s camera has a lot of potential, but can only be exploited using Pro Mode. The image you see here is an excellent example of this because we could not take this macro shot without switching to pro mode.
Pictures taken in low light by 20MP camera
Pictures taken in pro mode
The secondary camera achieves better portrait shots than the OnePlus 5, capturing more detail and better color saturation. The good thing is that due to the wide aperture, there is no frame cropping when you go from normal mode to portrait mode. The camera maintains better subject segregation around the edges, though it’s not as great as the new pixels.
OnePlus has come up with even better EIS support for video capture, and from what we’ve seen, video quality in 4K is now quite smooth on most occasions, which is a big compliment to the phone. Videos shot at 1080p 60fps also use EIS and are a little less shaky than a shot from the OnePlus 5. Autofocus handles movement very well and changes focus quite smoothly.
The front-facing 16MP camera remains exactly the same, but the new camera algorithm also helps selfie cameras in low light conditions. Photo quality during the day is again one of the best we see in the price category.
Performance remains unchanged
Like the front camera, the interiors are unchanged. The OnePlus 5T has the widely used Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. Our test unit is a higher variant and has 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. Having the same configuration means that the performance is almost the same as the OnePlus 5. Whether it’s a synthetic benchmark or everyday performance, there’s nothing different. All the apps run pretty smoothly, we didn’t find any problem with its calling power and you can install any game on this phone and it will work fine. Most importantly, 8 GB of RAM is enough to keep more than 50+ apps running in the background. Check out the benchmarks here that it maintains with all high-end smartphones
Charge once a day
The OnePlus 5T has the same 3300mAh battery as its predecessor and works similarly. Using the phone as a daily driver, we get about 6-7 hours of screen from the device, which easily takes us to a working day. 100% charging in the morning and using it all day with fair amount of gaming, video streaming, music streaming, calling, camera and social media drains more than 20% of our battery at the end of the day. In the battery test of PC Mark, the phone scored 5 hours 44 minutes in full brightness. More importantly, dash charging is the fastest way to charge a smartphone and charges the phone up to 80% in less than an hour.
The last row
Overall, the OnePlus 5T is a great value for money. It works like any other flagship launched in 2017, finally has an 18: 9 aspect ratio display and the camera has now been updated. Additionally, the battery life is sufficient for one day’s use. All things considered, this makes the OnePlus 5T a really good phone, filling the void left by the much-loved Google Nexus. Is it better than pixels? Well, it depends on the quality of the camera and whether you are willing to compromise with the latest Android OS.
Who will buy it?
So, if you have OnePlus 5, it is not an upgrade. In our opinion, the latest updates aren’t as big an update as the OnePlus 5, unless you have a connection to the 18: 9 displays. Otherwise, if you have an older OnePlus device or have less than onePlus 5 in that regard, then yes, OnePlus 5T is the best phone to buy right now.