Is the Updated Flagship Killer Worth It?
Ever since OnePlus burst on to the scene they’ve been known for delivering smartphones with a flagship level processing package at a very attractive price point; with their devices earning the “Flagship Killer” moniker. Early this year, they pulled the wraps of this year’s iteration of their bang-for-the-buck phone and unveiled an updated version last month that features a display with an 18:9 aspect ratio — the OnePlus 5T.
We’re here to answer two questions: Does the display make a world of difference? And is it worth shelling out your Christmas bonus to buy this device? Let’s find out in this full review.
- 2.45GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor
- Adreno 540 GPU
- 6GB/8GB RAM LPDDR4X
- 64GB/128GB of UFS 2.1 storage
- 6.01-inch OLED display, Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection, 2160 x 1080 resolution
- 16-megapixel f/1.7 Sony IMX398 primary rear camera, 20-megapixel f/1.7 low-light camera, LED flash
- 16-megapixel front-facing camera
- Dual SIM
- 3G, LTE
- Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC
- GPS, A-GPS, GLONASS
- USB Type-C
- Fingerprint sensor
- 3300mAh battery, Dash Charge
- Android 7.1 Nougat with OxygenOS 4.7
Not Much of a Difference, Apart from the Display
In terms of design, not much has changed between the OnePlus 5 and the OnePlus 5T. You’ve got the same full metal unibody design with a smooth finish that kinda makes it a little slippery. Thankfully, the gentle curves on its back meet a bit of chamfering on the edges so you can get a grip on the phone. You’ve also got an accompanying silicon case inside the box of the OnePlus 5T, which gets a big plus for helping keep your device pristine and giving you a better handle on it as well.
Another good reason to keep the case on the whole time is the slight protrusion of the rear camera array. It’s been given a smoother appearance instead of having it just jut out of the chassis, but we recommend keeping it on to help keep the device flush against the table and protecting the glass on the cameras.
The OnePlus 5T still lacks water and dust resistance but they do have to exclude a couple of flagship features to keep prices down after all. No biggie as long as you’re careful with your device around liquids.
Snappy Fingerprint Scanner That Has a Few Tricks Up Its Sleeve
Like most devices with an 18:9 panel, the fingerprint scanner on the 5T has been relocated to the back where it’s easily accessible and unlocks the phone rather fast plus it has some added functionality as well. If you’re finding yourself constantly adjusting to pull down the notification tab on the top of the screen, the fingerprint scanner on the OnePlus 5T allows you to swipe down to make life a little easier to see what you’ve missed or even help you access the quick settings on your device.
If using the fingerprint scanner is not your cup of tea, you can also setup Face Unlock that works even faster; though we’re pretty sure that your prints are still the safest way to keep your friends from highjacking your Facebook profile.
OnePlus devices have always had the alert slider and we’re glad the company hasn’t removed it, as it provides a convenient way to put your phone on silent mode when you happen to be going to a movie or where it’s not appropriate to have your ringtone blaring for that matter.
Great Display, Mediocre Audio
As mentioned earlier, the OnePlus 5T now features a display with an 18:9 aspect ratio at Full HD+ resolution. The 6-inch Optic AMOLED panel is nice and vibrant with great color saturation plus a solid contrast ratio; making it a joy to use for media consumption or straight out browsing through your social feeds.While the default settings of the display were great, you can select multiple presets or tweak it to your liking too. It should go without saying that not all apps and content have adapted to the 18:9 aspect ratio but the additional real estate definitely comes into play when reading on your device or just so you can see a bit more of your Facebook feed.
Sadly, the audio department is lacking on the OnePlus 5T. The lone speaker on the bottom of the phone does generate a lot of volume but you’re getting a ton of distortion at around 70 percent. There’s also a tendency to cover up the speaker when using the device in landscape mode to play games. Thankfully, the OnePlus 5T retains what some flagship devices have ditched — a 3.5mm audio jack.
Worthy of the Flagship Killer Moniker
In terms of power, there’s no doubt that the OnePlus 5T can hang with the big boys. It has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor and the device that Digital Walker handed to us for review has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There was a time when we thought that 8GB of RAM was overkill but, while we could see the device hum along nicely with half of that, it’s nice to know that you can do a ton of multitasking with this device without having it slow down on you.
Benchmarks for the OnePlus 5T definitely hold up to flagship standards. On GeekBench, it got a 1965 for the single-core and a 6687 for the multi-core score. You can check out the results for the other synthetic benchmarks we ran with OnePlus 5T above.
If you want to game on the OnePlus 5T, you can certainly do that with the confidence that even the most graphically intensive game will maintain optimal frame rates and have the best settings available to you. We’ve been on a bit of a Shadow Fight bend as of late and it runs really smoothly. NBA 2K17 fans will be able to ball with ease on the OnePlus 5T as well.
OxygenOS is Still a Delight
In case you aren’t in the know, OnePlus devices run OxygenOS and the 5T runs on version 4.7.2. Like previous versions, it remains rather light with only the OnePlus Community app pre-installed; a good thing since you can’t expand upon the storage capacity of the 5T. We’ve also received a couple of updates to make sure that everything is running fine and dandy plus one updated even included some camera optimizations and enhancements as well.
Secondary Camera Dilemma
OnePlus finally put a dual camera system on the OnePlus 5 this year, which the 5T retains with a bit of a difference. You pretty much have the same main camera at 16-megapixel with an f-stop of f/1.7, albeit with a slightly wider focal length at 24mm from 27mm on the OnePlus 5. It’s the secondary camera where the two differ greatly. While the OnePlus 5 has a 20-megapixel telephoto lens, the OnePlus 5T has a 20-megapixel low-light camera at an f-stop of f/1.7 to help out when you take a photo in less than stellar lighting conditions.
Photos from the rear cameras look great. The rear cameras on the 5T capture a lot of detail with sharp images when the lighting conditions are A-OK with a decent amount of dynamic range as well. We like that the colors come out nice and vibrant as well. The Depth of Field mode does a decent job of getting the bokeh effect without feathering our the outlines of the subject; it’s not perfect but it definitely gets the job done.
When the lights are low, the OnePlus 5T supposedly shifts to its secondary camera to help you get the best photo possible. Details get a little bit fuzzy and there’s a fair bit of noise but that dedicated low-light camera does help greatly with getting night time snaps but, to be honest, we kinda missed the telephoto lens on its predecessor.
The front camera does a great job of taking selfies as well but the auto HDR mode tends to wash out colors just a little bit. As usual, it’s best to take selfies in the right lighting conditions to get the best results.
Great Lasting Power for the Capacity
Juicing up the entire system is a 3300mAh battery and we’re glad to report that the OnePlus 5T lasts longer than expected. The OnePlus 5T clocked in a time of 9 hours and 34 minutes in our synthetic battery benchmarks with real-world use confirming that it does last more than enough to survive hellish traffic in Metro Manila; mileage will vary on usage, of course.
If you are running a little low at the end of the workday, then you should be pretty psyched to know that OnePlus still has support for the Dash charge which should give you more than enough juice for a night out with just 30 minutes of being plugged in using their charger and cables.
Verdict: Great Device, Great Price
With everything that the OnePlus 5T has going for it, it’s really hard not to recommend the device if you’re looking for a phone with loads of raw power under the hood. Sure, it’s got a couple of features missing that other flagships, the audio on the device could definitely use some work, and the cameras aren’t quite at the flagship level yet but those are some things we’re willing to overlook given the price tag for either of the two variants. Since they do have an official partner in the Philippines now in Digital Walker, the official warranty should make you feel at ease as well.
However, if you do have the OnePlus 5, then you can hold on to your current version of the Flagship Killer because apart from the display and that low-light camera, you’re really not missing out on much; plus I personally prefer having that telephoto lens anyway.
The OnePlus 5T will soon be available via Digital Walker. They’ve given it a price tag of Php 26,990 for the 6GB RAM/64GB storage variant and Php 30,990 for the top-of-the-line 8GB RAM/128GB storage version of the Flagship Killer.
Check out our other articles featuring the OnePlus 5T by clicking on the links below: