What would you pay for a cellphone with a 6-inch OLED display, Snapdragon 835 processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a three,300mAh battery? $850? $950?
Now think about this quantity: $390. That’s the distinction in worth between the 128GB OnePlus 5T and the Pixel 2 XL. For $559 (simply $20 greater than the OnePlus 5), you get a cellphone that appears an terrible lot like a Pixel 2 XL, with slim bezels, a rear fingerprint sensor, and an OS that’s very devoted to inventory Android. And the entry-level mannequin prices lower than $500.
I’ve spent solely a short time with the 5T up to now, however it’s left me with a stronger first impression than I received from the OnePlus 5. It feels premium. It appears premium. And it nonetheless has a headphone jack.
A much-needed makeover
The OnePlus 5T is likely to be a mid-cycle refresh to the OnePlus 5, however it seems like a wholly new gadget. When the OnePlus 5 was launched in June, it had the flagship specs that we’ve grown to anticipate—Snapdragon 835 processor, 6GB/8GB of RAM, twin digicam, three,300mAh battery—however its show and design left somewhat to be desired. Samsung and LG had already launched smartphones with slim bezels and 18:9 screens, and the OnePlus 5’s capacitive keys, front-facing residence button, and 5.5-inch 1920×1080 show felt stale.
You don’t have to even decide up the OnePlus 5T to see how totally different it’s. While the OnePlus 3T’s adjustments have been all beneath the hood, the 5T’s display has been expanded to 6 inches, and the bezels have been shrunk to maintain the size roughly the identical. The aspect bezels are skinnier than the Pixel 2 XL’s however not fairly edge-to-edge. While they lack the dramatically curved corners of the Pixel 2 XL or iPhone X, they’re not fully sq., both.
There’s no extra room for a house button, so the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the again, which is manufactured from the identical anodized aluminum because the OnePlus 5. That means it nonetheless doesn’t badist wi-fi charging, however it’s simply pretty much as good to carry because the Pixel 2 is. Overall, it feels trendy in a approach the OnePlus 5 doesn’t.
As for the digicam, OnePlus says it is tweaked its algorithms for higher low-light efficiency and portraits. While the megapixels on the digicam are the identical (16MP+20MP), the secondary lens is upgraded with an f/1.7 aperture. I’ll want somewhat extra time with it to see how a lot it’s improved, however it’s good to see OnePlus addressing one of many 5’s greatest ache factors.
But general, the OnePlus 5T is all in regards to the show. OnePlus tapped Samsung to make its new display, and at a look, the colours are a lot brighter and extra vibrant than the Pixel 2 XL’s, and I didn’t see practically as a lot blue shifting or banding. It’s uncommon to see a cellphone maker go all-in on such a serious change after simply 5 months, and there’ll absolutely be some One Plus 5 customers that grumble. But OnePlus brings up level: “If you had a great software update, you wouldn’t wait half a year to release it.”
New options sweeten Nougat
OnePlus’s OxygenOS has all the time stayed pretty devoted to inventory Android, however as I watched the 5T’s unveiling in Brooklyn on Wednesday, it struck me simply how a lot they care about Android. The first half of the presentation was all about its software program, and never just a few new or gimmicky options. Brian Yoon, head of the consumer expertise at OnePlus, spent some 20 minutes speaking about how OxygenOS respects the core values of Android. The OnePlus 5T remains to be based mostly on Android 7.1 Nougat, however OnePlus has added some distinctive touches to freshen it up.
Most attention-grabbing is a function it calls Parallel Apps, which helps you to clone apps so you’ll be able to run two totally different variations of it. That means when you have two Twitter accounts, you’ll be able to have two variations of the Twitter app, every with its personal login. It’s a neat concept that I might see Google adopting for a future model of Android.
There’s additionally a brand new face unlocking biometric that makes use of “over 100 identifiers” to study your face. It works quick, however this isn’t Face ID-level scanning. It’s solely utilizing the common digicam, so there’s no 3D scanning, and OnePlus gained’t allow you to use it for funds or logins (which is an efficient factor).
A poor man’s Pixel
From the design to the specs to the OS, the one actual benefit the Pixel 2 XL has over the OnePlus 5T (apart from Verizon badist) is Android Oreo. That’s a serious one, after all, and despite the fact that OnePlus says an replace ought to arrive in early 2018, the Pixel will most likely be on eight.1 or eight.2 by then.
But I am unable to badist however marvel what might have been. Google made a splash earlier this 12 months by scooping up 1.1 billion ‘ value of HTC’s smartphone expertise, a transfer that can streamline the Made by Google marketing campaign by bringing all the Pixel group beneath one roof. But it doesn’t matter what the fusion of groups brings to subsequent 12 months’s Pixel three, there’s one factor that’s sure: It’ll nonetheless value not less than $800.
Maybe Google purchased the unsuitable firm. Because now the OnePlus 5T has me dreaming of a $500 Pixel.