The last twelve months have been good to OnePlus. The best valuable Oneplus 3T smartphone is still you can buy.
The Chinese company has moved well past the lacklustre OnePlus 2 and has rightly been praised for the excellent OnePlus 3 . But nothing in the tech industry ever stays still for long.
The OnePlus 3T is the new handset that takes over the line from the standard 3 (as it’s now sold out) and becomes the default flagship handset from the brand.
It’s being stocked here in the UK by O2 and can be had for £10 upfront on a £31 per month contract .
The best way to think about the OnePlus 3T is as one of Apple’s “S” iPhones – it’s a transitional device that updates some of the innards of the OnePlus 3 without completely reinventing the phone.
An upgrade inevitably means a higher price but, as with its predecessor, the OnePlus 3T is an excellent smartphone and represents the best value handset on the market.
From the outside, there’s almost nothing to distinguish the OnePlus 3T from the OnePlus 3 .
It remains 7.4mm thin with a 5.5-inch screen and an impressively premium aluminium design. Some small tweaks include the way the phone casing curves at the top and a new sapphire coating added to the camera lens for extra protection. There’s also a new gunmetal grey colour option.
As with the previous model, the bezels around the edge of the phone are minute – meaning you can operate it easily with one hand even though it’s got a 5.5-inch screen.
There’s still the physical slider on the left-hand side that controls notifications. You can quickly slide it to silent if you’re going into a meeting or heading to bed and back again to enable all the beeps and flashes. It’s a particularly useful feature.
The OnePlus 3T builds on the foundations of its predecessor: there’s a faster processor and a 13% bigger battery. Both of which mean this is an excellent purchase, but not an essential upgrade if you’ve already splashed out on a OnePlus 3.
OnePlus has also upped the storage and introduced a 128GB option for the 3T.
When it comes to hardware, everything else remains the same. There’s still a fingerprint scanner built into the front that opens the phone and works with NFC for Android Pay. The OnePlus 3T supports dual-SIM which is useful if you have two numbers, but it doesn’t feature a microSD slot for updating the storage.
The AMOLED screen remains at 1080p with a crisp 401ppi that makes photos and videos look great. In my experience, it’s not quite as impressive as Google’s Pixel XL – but then again it’s half the price.
There are a few improvements to the Oxygen OS (a variation on Android) that lets you do things like customise the navigation buttons or add extra gesture controls. This is also being made available to existing OnePlus 3 handsets, so there’s no need to freak out if you’ve already got a OnePlus phone.
Loading a 3,400mAh battery into the OnePlus, along with software refinements and a more efficient processor obviously adds up to more time between charges. Enough to dramatically set the OnePlus 3T apart? Probably not.
But it still managed to comfortably last a day and a half during my testing, which included plenty of messages, the occasional photo and a significant amount of gaming and web browsing.
Aside from a simple battery update, OnePlus is really keen to push its Dash charging technology. The OnePlus 3T uses a USB Type-C connector and a special charging adapter that shoulders the power management process. It keeps the phone itself cooler whilst charging and means you can get effectively charge a third of the battery in half an hour.
Fast-charging is something that many phone manufacturers are looking at, but it’s great to see that OnePlus is putting it front and centre of the 3T’s marketing message.
The OnePlus 3T is an iterative update of an already great phone. That makes the buying decision really simple. If you’ve already got a OnePlus 3 then you’re not really missing anything here. Yes, it would be nice to have a bigger battery and more storage but you shouldn’t lose sleep over it.
If you’re looking to pick up a new phone though and can’t bring yourself to part with the kind of cash that Samsung, Google and Apple are after, then this is your answer.
The OnePlus 3T offers just about everything the premium phone makers do at a fraction of the price. So it’s well worth considering if you’re after a brand new mobile for Christmas.