Tuesday, 10 January 2017

OnePlus 3T



OnePlus has established itself as the king of non branded/pocket friendly flagships over the last couple of years. Surprisingly they’ve launched the OnePlus 3T as an upgrade to the OnePlus 3 within 6 months and just 2 months after launching the Gold variant of the OP3. There’s a high possibility of the OnePlus 4 coming out in 5-6 months as well, so let’s see if you need to invest in the 3T or hold on…


Design & Hardware

Built from a single block of space-grade Aluminium, the OnePlus 3T looks stunning and feels premium. The look is almost identical to the OnePlus 3 and has similar round edges which is quite ergonomic, pretty slim as well at 7.3mm and 159 gms. The Alert Slider on the left might become a standard button on all OnePlus phones moving forwards as it can keep your phone in Silent or Do Not Disturb mode when needed. You’ll also find the volume rocker below it. On the right end, you’ll find the lock/power button below the dual SIM tray.

At the bottom you’ll find the speaker grill on the left, Type C charging port at the centre and 3.5mm jack to the right (shout out to iPhone 7 users :P). OnePlus has decided to keep the top edge clean and free of any buttons or ports. The fingerprint scanner is just below the screen and works accurately most times and you can use it to lock apps too. It also doubles as a capacitive home button, and there are two more of these on either side, which are backlit. You can swap their functions or even enable onscreen buttons for navigation. These buttons can also be configured to take in long press or double press and assign shortcuts / actions to each. Above the screen you’ll find the massive 16MP front camera, purchased from Samsung! Finally, at the back in the centre you find the 16MP camera, single LED flash below it and the OnePlus logo beneath.

The 5.5” AMOLED display of OnePlus 3T has the same full HD resolution (401ppi)  and Corning Gorilla Glass 4 as the OP3. The display is much brighter but it would’ve been great if there was a Quad HD display. The major improvement for the 3T over the previous version is the Snapdragon 821 chip that can provide 10-15% improvement overall on the device performance. In real world, you might not even notice it. You get 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM, Adreno 530 GPU, & 64GB or 128GB ROM  with improved read and write speeds. Other specs include USB OTG, WiFI ac, NFC, Bluetooth 4.2, and VoLTE & a 3400 mAh battery.

In the box, you get a 20W power adapter, a Type-C cable, a SIM ejector, and some instructions. All your OP3 accessories are compatible with OP3T BTW! Two colours available are Gunmetal and Soft Gold.


Software

The OnePlus 3T runs on Oxygen OS 3.5.3 layered on Android 6.0.1 which is near Vanilla Android experience after Cyanogen bid Goodbye for ever :( On the Home screen if you swipe left, you get to the Shelf screen that has a customisable screen with recent apps, widgets, memo, etc. all of which are customisable. Then you have Screen Off gestures like Drawing an O to launch the camera, V for flashlight. System gestures include 3 finger on screen for screenshot. An interesting way to close background apps is the Normal clear to clear the list and cache without clearing the process and then the Deep Cleaner that completely stops the process and will free up more RAM but might not work again unless you restart the app. These are usually Dev Tools but OnePlus power users will love them. Other options include Dark UI to save power, changing icons themes and sizes and customising other settings, navigation panes etc. Overall, a great UI for any power user and Nougat update should make it even better.

Camera

The rear camera bump remains on the OnePlus 3T but you needn’t worry about scratches thanks to the sapphire crystal glass protection. The 16MP f/2.0 main camera with OIS and phase detection autofocus, single LED flash (boo to not having a dual LED flash). It can record great looking 2160p or 4K video at 30fps & 1080p videos at 60fps which don’t look bad either. Pictures looks great in bright and low light as well. HDR & HQ modes work fine in addition to all other regular filters and modes. The 16MP f/2.0 front-facing camera that can record 1080p video as well has been borrowed from Samsung, which also does an impeccable job and is perhaps one of the best front cameras on a phone.


Gaming & Multimedia


The OnePlus 3T will run any app or game you throw at it flawlessly( helllooo 6GB RAM! ). Asphalt 8, Mortal Kombat, Fifa 16 all can run in parallel if given an option, that’s how powerful the hardware is. Zero lags & the AnTuTu benchmark was destroyed with 157550 points. Obviously with great power comes great responsibility of charging & you won’t be disappointed. Fast battery charging gives us 52% in 30 min (3400 mAh battery)  i.e. Dash Charge thanks to the 4A, 5V charger and great H/W & S/W syncing. On a full charge and regular use you can get over a day of usage which is a luxury not everyone gets! Audio playback is great and will sound even better on a good pair of earphones.



Conclusion


Better battery, improved CPU performance & front camera are not necessarily a reason to upgrade if you already own the OnePlus 3. No SD card support, wireless charging, and missing QHD screen would still be an issue for some which hopefully will be resolved in OnePlus 4. If you want a phone in the premium segment but can’t spend too much this is the phone you need to buy! Rating 4/5


★★★★☆


Pritesh Khilnani


OnePlus 3T at CeX




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