OnePlus 5T review: flagship smartphone quality at half price



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Only five months ago I reviewed the OnePlus 5, an excellent phone that consolidated OnePlus' reputation as a producer of high-quality smartphones at a price that should worry market leaders. Now we have the OnePlus 5T which, for the same price as the summer phone, adds an 18: 9 screen, improved performance of the camera with low light and facial recognition to the mix.

This update pattern is something that OnePlus introduced last year, when the OnePlus 3 in June was followed by the robust OnePlus 3T in November. All the phones mentioned above have been excellent: does the OnePlus 5T continue the trend?

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The OnePlus 5T has a larger screen (6.01 inches) than the 5.5-inch OnePlus 5, and is a bit heavier (162 g versus 153 g). There is no difference in pixel density (401ppi), but the new model has an aspect ratio of 18: 9 compared to 16: 9 of its predecessor.


Images: OnePlus

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For a 6-inch phone, the slim 7.3 mm OnePlus 5T is comfortable to hold.


Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

OnePlus has always made good design decisions, and this continues with OnePlus 5T. That does not mean that it has distinctive external characteristics. Quite the opposite, in fact: the sensible design of the 5T borders on the insipid. The rounded corners and an unicelindic anodized aluminum chbadis that is available only in black (or Midnight Black as OnePlus calls it), is as simple as possible.

But that's not a bad thing. The long edges curve gently in the back making this relatively large phone comfortable to hold. The useful OnePlus alert slider is on the left edge; This is a three-position button that switches the phone between the Ring, Do Not Disturb and Silence modes. You can configure the last two modes in some detail: for example, anyone who tries to call repeatedly can go through the Do Not Disturb barrier, like calls from dialed contacts and event reminders.

The alert slider has a light texture that is easy to find when the phone is in a pocket, or – something I found useful on more than one occasion – at night when you forgot to switch to silent mode before they turn off lights.

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The texture of the Alert slider allows you to switch between three modes: Ring, Do not disturb and Silent.


Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

There is a headphone slot on the bottom edge, next to the USB-C connector and the speaker, which offers a lot of volume but could do with a little more bbad and depth.

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The only drawback of the design of this phone is that the back is somewhat slippery. If that is a concern, or if you just want to protect yourself from possible scratches, there is a silicone box in the box.

The OnePlus 5 and 5T are virtually identical in size and weight: the oldest earphone is 154.2 mm high by 74.1 mm wide by 7.35 mm thick and weighs 153 g, while the new OnePlus 5T has 156.1 mm high, 75 mm wide, 7.3 mm thick and weighs 162 g. Side by side, they look very similar at first glance.

The largest screen of the new model is the main reason for the difference in size. The 5.5-inch 16: 9 screen of 1,080 by 1,920 pixels from OnePlus 5 from 16: 9 with pixel density of 401ppi has been updated to a 6.01-inch 18: 9 screen of 1,080 by 2,160 pixels with the same 401ppi.

along the long edge have been preserved, but the length of the additional screen has needed to remove the lower bevel. So the soft buttons appear on the screen, and the fingerprint sensor is now on the back of the phone. As a result, the screen-body ratio has increased from 72.9 percent for OnePlus 5 to 79.6 percent for OnePlus 5T.

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The fingerprint sensor is has moved to the back of the OnePlus 5T.


Image: Sandra Vogel / ZDNet

I prefer the fingerprint sensor on the back, since I find it uncomfortable to use it under the screen on larger phones, particularly when working with one hand.

There are two versions of OnePlus 5T, both compatible two SIMs, which sit in a cart on the right edge of the chbadis, and run on the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC that powered the OnePlus 5. The two RAM configurations / Storage are also the same as those found in the previous device, as are the respective prices. The OnePlus 5T for £ 499 (VAT included) has 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, while £ 499 buys 8GB of RAM and 128GB. They sent me the high-end headset for review.

From the factory, my review sample had a little over 110GB of free storage. Although I would like to have a microSD card slot, so I can add even more storage space, 110 GB is enough for all my music, with enough for some great games, videos downloaded downloaded along with the avalanche of applications I use regularly. These include tools for reading magazines and e-books, including library loans, purchases and downloads from Project Gutenberg. The screen is suitable for all these activities, and the reading mode, which reduces the blue light, can be set to be activated automatically when specific applications are launched.

The OnePlus 5T runs on Android 7.1.1 and its own overlay called OxygenOS, which is now in version 4. Not having the latest version of Android will bother some people, but Oxygen is a very competent overlay that is minimally intrusive and adds many adjustments and twists.

A new feature of OnePlus 5T is the facial unlocking, which, according to OnePlus, uses more than 100 identifiers. I set up the facial unlocking and it worked perfectly for me, fast and discreet all the time. I could not fool him with a picture, either. But you have to look at the phone to make it work, and often I want to unlock a phone while sitting on a table.

Using fingerprints is not a problem. The configuration is easy, and the recognition is fast and precise. With the sensor mounted on the back, it is also very convenient and was my preference over facial unlocking.

There are a couple of fingerprint gestures that can be used without registering a fingerprint for security. You can slide the sensor down to check notifications and up to close the notification panel, while pressing the sensor a long time takes a picture. For the latter to work, you must be in the camera application, where, of course, there is a giant button on the screen to take a picture. It is not a great variety of support gestures, but there is a possibility that they will be added in the software in due time.

Another new feature of OxygenOS is Parallel Apps, with which you can run instances of completely independent applications as social applications, to access them with different accounts, perhaps separating personal and work accounts in the same device, for example.

There are two cameras facing back: a main camera of 16MP f / 1.7 and a secondary camera of 20MP, also with f /1.7 aperture. The main camera is the same as in the OnePlus 5, but the secondary camera has a wider aperture (model 5 had f / 2.6) and uses smart pixel technology to combine four pixels into one. These changes are designed to improve low-light performance, which seems to be better than what I experienced with OnePlus 5.

Video capture credentials are up to the task: 4K video is captured at 30 fps; 1080p at 60 fps and 30 fps; and 720p at 30 fps. You can also capture video in slow motion from 720p at 120 fps, and there is a time lapse function. The front camera of 16MP f / 2.0 is the same as that of OnePlus 5.

The OnePlus 5T is powered by a battery of 3,300 mAh, the same as in OnePlus 5, smaller screen. I have been able to get a day's life easily enough, but have not yet stretched to two days, and do not expect to do it under normal use. Dash Charge is the salvation here: using the supplied AC adapter and cable, it is possible to charge the battery in half an hour.

Conclusions

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Image: OnePlus

OnePlus has certainly made its mark on the high-end smartphone market. The high-end 8GB / 128GB OnePlus 5T model offers all the phone that most people will probably need, at a considerably lower cost than the flagship phones of market leaders. In fact, given the combination of price, specifications and performance, I'm willing to say that the OnePlus 5T is the best phone I've seen this year.

Still, there is room for improvement. The absence of the latest version of Android will be a problem for some, although OnePlus could counteract that criticism with an early commitment to an Oreo update. Despite having more than 100 GB of free storage in my review unit, I would still like to have a microSD card slot in the OnePlus 5T, while an IP rating for dust and water resistance is a notable absence. It would also be great to see USB-C headset support, as well as having the headphone slot, just to add a touch of future testing.

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