OnePlus 6T overview
The new model from OnePlus, the 6T, is equipped with the powerful chipset Snapdragon 845 Octa Core 2.8GHz , with 6 or 8GB of RAM and 128GB of internal storage and a slightly larger 6.41-inch AMOLED display. It has a double 16.0MP + 20.0MP rear camera and a 16MP front camera. The battery has a capacity of 3.700mAh and it comes with Oxygen OS v9 based on Android 9 – but we already know it will soon update to Android 10. It is dual nano Sim and has Bluetooth 5.
OnePlus has never hidden its double strategy: top of the range in the first half of the year and slightly better variant a few months away. This 2018 is no exception, with OnePlus 6T finally official after a lot of leaks and (accurate) advances that have removed the few doubts left. Removed the “wow” effect, we find ourselves in front of a concrete device and able to really worry many other top of the range, given the launch price and the endowment.
In this review I will talk about the real differences between OnePlus 6 and the new 6T, also because between them there are a few bucks of difference in price (if we look at the base) and it is important to understand if this upgrade is actually worth it. However, starting from a consideration that I want to do immediately, to avoid misunderstanding: if you have OP6, the transition to OP6T will be a bit ‘forced’.
The hardware platform is the same: Snapdragon 845, 6 / 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage and slightly larger 6.41-inch AMOLED display.
Slightly thicker than the previous one with 8.2 millimeters (against 7.75mm of OP6), it also boasts a few extra gram that certainly does not upset us: 185g against the 177g of its predecessor. Ah, I forgot: the 3.5mm audio jack is gone, everything goes from the Type-C.
Compared to OnePlus 6, a small step forward has been made in terms of autonomy (we have gone from a 3.300mAh unit to a 3.700mAh for OP6T) which certainly is a good thing.
Why should I spend € 1000 on a high-end smartphone, if there are models that cost half? This is the question I asked myself as soon as I started my experience with OnePlus 6T, a trivial but very important question that I want to develop together with you in this review. But I warn you that it will be different from the others.
The 6T has been my smartphone for about 20 days, always used with two SIM and squeezed to know more thoroughly and understand the limits. On the other hand it costs “little” as a top range phone and I expected to find more flaws, but I had to change my mind. I repeat that I’m not a big fan of their rapid cycles, with refresh that after a few months makes the previous “old”, as far as I can tell it is obvious that buyers of the OP6 can envy the new model. The solution? Skip the first version on time and wait for the “xT”.
The comparison with his predecessor is mandatory, then I start with a summary overview of what has been improved and worsened, telling you then my direct experience in a few points.
OnePlus 6t is better than OP6. Far Better.
We discussed a lot of this terminal, before and after its presentation, and in the first moments, many people said to us: “all this, are these just the news?”. In fact they are not many, they are not all necessarily positive, but they significantly change the type of experience and, therefore, the overall perception. So OnePlus 6T is not the same as the previous one, it is better and costs the same, but it does not matter since officially the OP 6 is not sold anymore.
The autonomy is significantly improved, the new 3.700mAh battery has performed better than I expected and the battery discharged only at 23.40 (starting from 07.50) with an intense utilization.
But my idea is not based only on this, as I said I’m using as the main smartphone and even following the last software update I found a clear step forward.
I have also noticed that consumption is constant over time, you can see it from the graph you see alongside, relative to the stress day mentioned above, a proof that Snapdragon 845 is well tamed and does not require too many resources when the needs increase. In addition, the standby behavior with the latest firmware has also improved, on a cake already greedy.
It remains the dash fast charge with 5V 4A charger but still it lacks the Qi standard, so no wireless charge and the same USB Type-C 2.0 that we hoped would be updated. Patience, compromises to put on the list. No change for the reception, the two SIMs have always worked at the maximum available bandwidth and even the rest of the connectivity sector has confirmed good expectations (WiFi ac and BT 5.0).
Fingerprint sensor or face recognition?
And here we enter in a complicated area. The question to ask is: is it better to have a very quick classic fingerprint sensor or a modern one (a little slower) under the display? For me it is worth the second option, if only because I pursue technological innovation every day and I realize that for some important steps it takes time. Let’s say that by the end of 2019 we will probably have fingerprints under the displays that are equally quick to read, but now there is still some small defaillance.
The truth is that the big names of the network, Apple and Google, are in clear delay on the front “breakouts” and are also among the few brands that have recently launched top of the range without the fingerprint reader under the display. The Chinese have opened up to a solution that can hardly be ignored, without Vivo and then Huawei, now also OnePlus with this 6T that mounts a biometric sensor for the recognition of fingerprints in the lower part of the front panel.
A comfort that I no longer want to give up, although it is clear that we are in front of the first models with this solution, so good accuracy but speed of release is not yet lightning. Compared to the integrated system on Mate 20 Pro earns a few tenths of a second.
The unlocking animation is beautiful, very futuristic, but it can give some annoyance at night because in that area the pixels are activated at maximum brightness. It is not a real problem, many have talked about it and I want to reassure you on the subject; at most it would be useful to disable the animation so as to reduce the (little) light generated. You will not wake up the partner who sleeps beside you with an unlock, or you will not remain “blind” in the dark of night, if that is what you were fearing.
A system has been implemented that allows the use of the fingerprint for third-party applications, with the area of the fingerprint reader that is highlighted when the impression is required.
Of course, we still have the very rapid unlocking with the face, OnePlus is confirmed a thunderbolt even in low light conditions, there remains some doubt about the real accuracy since it uses here only the front camera and no other dedicated sensor.
Display: smaller notch, and with a better shape
The most obvious aesthetic difference between OnePlus 6 and 6T is right in the display, not so much for the size (6.28 “against the 6.41” of the newcomer) as for the width of the notch. The Chinese house has in fact reduced it a lot and left only a small space for the front camera, a real drop that also suggests the lack of additional front sensors.
Aesthetically it is certainly more pleasant, almost imperceptible and of low impact on the status bar. In fact, the icons are not limited and there is plenty of space on both sides, in short, no side effects like on other models with a notch in the past. The audio capsule was almost hidden, embedded in a small and narrow gap between glass and shell above this “drop”, works well and ensures adequate volume during calls, but certainly does not help in audio playback as on other top of the range with stereo sound, being mono.
I don’t think that there is some supporter of the notch, aesthetic necessity ready soon to disappear thanks to the many ways that the smartphone manufacturers are going to avoid it. Samsung has never considered it, others have adopted a smaller notch and others larger, invasive, like the one on OP6, Mate 20 Pro or Iphone XR. On the new variant, the music has changed, leaving the front camera a small “drop”, not very invasive and able to leave adequate space to the icons of the status bar.
This is also a small change that makes the difference, both aesthetically and functionally. We do not have to submit to the compromises already seen on today’s smartphones with a large notch, and it is a significantly reduced problem. We can then take advantage of the AMOLED display and equalize the black line of the notch via software, canceling the effect of this small central drop. In this case the icons remain, but in white on a black background.
I then point out the protection of the Gorilla Glass 6, the latest Corning generation available only on some models.
The rest of the display is almost unchanged, as you know the diagonal has been slightly expanded to 6.41 inches, but keeping the same resolution FHD + (1080 x 2340 pixels) and density (402ppi).
The performances are excellent with any application or game. There is no lag, no stumbling, the use is always fluid and flowing, it is really a pleasure to use this mobile phone, and that is precisely why OnePlus and Oxygen are well known and have some success. A excellent performance combines a truly optimal battery consumption, often arriving in the evening with over 70% of remaining battery, with normal use, or 50% with intense use. With this mobile phone you certainly do not need to bring a power bank with you or worry about finding ways to save battery.
These are the benchmark values obtained with Antutu, as you can see for performance this phone surpasses all the Samsung and iPhones, and ranks just behind the latest-generation high end Huawei, which however cost twice.
The audio is very good, it has only one speaker but it always feels loud and clear without distortion, both when listening to multimedia and when you are in speakerphone. It does not have the audio output for the headphones but in the package there is a 3.5mm audio cable adapter from USB-C
Battery capacity increased
There are not many counts to do or special speeches, compared to OnePlus 6 was made a small step forward in terms of autonomy (we went from a 3.300mAh unit to a 3.700mAh for OP6T) that certainly is a good thing. The hardware platform is the same: Snapdragon 845, 6 / 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage and slightly larger 6.41-inch AMOLED display.
Therefore, relatively similar consumption but better overall behavior according to my experience gained in the last week. Unchanged the fast charge with 5V 4A dash charge via USB Type-C 2.0, unfortunately lacks the Qi standard and wireless charging, one of the most obvious compromises compared to the competition.
Oxygen 9 is a great resource
I like the simplicity of the interface, OnePlus knows it well and continued on this road, having among its advantages a customization very close to the stock and quicker updates. Android Pie is not completely complete, missing some of the latest features such as “Digital Wellness”, which we forced to install to make more complete the data of the live battery. Quick and functional system, loaded with interesting options such as Reading Mode (already present in the past), OnePlus Switch, various gestures and customizations.
The Oxygen 9.0.5 is simple, fast and easily customizable, we say that it is easy to appreciate and open to all end users. I wonder why other more famous brands are aimed on heavy customizations and energy consuming, when the easiest way is obviously this. Now even the less attentive follow the progress of updates and even some Antitrust agencies have taken charge of some “forgetfulness” of the manufacturers.
The software is one of the winning keys of OnePlus, a spin-off that in just a few years managed to show how to succeed by exploiting a “different” business model, a bit off the chorus. The Oxygen has never disappointed and even at this lap is a confirmation, although there are some lightness in some points: I think of the App of the camera, without the necessary details on the resolution and only the icon of the format (4: 3, 16 : 9 and 1: 1).
Finally I point out the native category “Bar and navigation gestures” and the wide choice of customization of the navbar. In addition to the three classic keys we have in fact the gestures already seen on the latest Google Pixel 3 and the so-called “gestures for navigation“, which focuses entirely on swipe and more active space on the display.
Photo and video: same quality of OnePlus 6
OnePlus did not change the camera compartment at all, it relied on the same image sensors mounted on OP6 and this choice certainly does not upset me. The quality achieved is more than acceptable for this price range, with the Sony IMX 519 16MP to star, with photos quite comparable to other top of the range much more noble, both day and night.
Chromatic range is reproduced particularly faithfully to reality and beautiful f/1.7 optics ensures very respectable macros and satisfying bokeh when we get very close to the subject.
However we have the category “Portrait” for even more thrilling bokeh, although it can be exploited only with the primary camera. The result is excellent and zero problems in the contour phase of the subject.
The second 20 MP camera (Sony IMX 376K f / 1.7) is the “classic” 2x canvas that allows you to go a little further with the zoom and without losing detail. The pixels are in fact smaller than the main one (1.0 μm vs. 1.22 μm) but the colors and the temperature coincide, so there are no differences in the transition from one to another. Here is an example of a visual field taken from the exact same observation point:
Using the 16MP front camera (Sony IMX 371), the level of detail is very high and the skin tones well reproduced. These are some examples of selfies in difficult light conditions:
Videos have optical stabilization and acquisition possibilities up to 4K at 60fps, on this front it seems that OnePlus does not have much to learn from others, and offers rather a quality that you do not expect for just 559 euros (on day-one). Well also the auto focus works very well and is really fast.
OnePlus is still little known to most, but in a few years it has made its way around the globe, from niche smartphones for a few geeks has moved to the top level, always focusing on quality features and competitive prices. The first models were definitely cheaper, it is true, but with the times we run we can still consider OnePlus as one of the most “affordable” phones; only a few brands, in 2018, managed to market a top of the range under 600 euros (among others I remember Asus, Xiaomi and Meizu).
There are compromises, it is obvious and I told them in this review, but there are also some strong points that I want to remember: autonomy, unlocking systems and software, with the latter making the real difference. During these days OP6T has been updated twice, going from v9.0.3 to the current v9.0.5, small adjustments that still show the attention to certain details (standby consumption management, unlocking and more). Then it has the same strong qualities OP6 has, like a very clear and bright Amoled display made by Samsung, a very good f/1.7 camera with a secondary 2x zoom camera, and an excellent operative system.
I’m not impressed with the audio, or rather, if we want to consider this terminal a medium range then there is nothing to complain about, but the distance with the latest tops like Pixel 3 XL, Xperia XZ3 and ROG Phone is more than obvious.
The truth is that very few things are missing: wireless charging, Type-C 3.1, stereo audio and IP68 certification.
To conclude, the terminal is the usual daily use bomb that OnePlus has accustomed us to. Fast, fluid, excellent autonomy, nice bright display with a mini-notch. It has the best fingerprint sensor below the display, even if the speed level to unlock is not yet as fast as the external sensors. Substantially OP6T is an aesthetic upgrade of the 6 with a more capacious battery and a notch less “invasive”.
I would buy this model on the fly and would recommend it even to the less freak or passionate to the brand, and I think the only variant that makes sense remains the “T” of the second part of the year, so don’t expect the OP7, buy this one or wait for the OP7T.