OnePlus has another flagship for 2016. The phone is technically still the OnePlus 3, but with a ‘T’ added to the end of its name. Why 3T? Well no one really knows. The company with ‘Never Settle’ as its motto seems to be telling customers that perhaps they could have waited before settling for the OnePlus 3. So is the OnePlus 3T really better? I’ve made this my primary phone for more than a week, and here’s what I thought.
Specifications: 5.5-inch Full HD AMOLED display | Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor at 2.35Ghz | 6GB RAM+128GB storage| 16MP rear camera with OIS, EIS +16MP front camera | 3400 mAh battery | Android 6.0.1
Price: Rs 34,999 for 128GB and Rs 29,999 for 64GB
OnePlus 3T is technically a mid-cycle upgrade. On the design front nothing has changed, the dimensions and weight of this phone are exactly the same as the OnePlus 3, which I’d say is good. Good because OnePlus 3T has a bigger 3400 mAh battery compared to the older OnePlus 3 smartphone. I got the gunmetal colour option for review, which looks more classy compared to Soft Gold on the regular OnePlus 3.
Like I said, this phone follows the exact same design; so you have the antenna bands on the top and bottom, the camera in the centre but with a new sapphire lens cover for protection, and the OnePlus logo just below that. It has CNC-driller speaker at the bottom, the USB 2.0 Type-C port in the centre, just below the fingerprint scanner/home button, and the headphone jack next to it. The volume button, the notification slider button are on the left and the power button and SIM tray is on the right hand side.
As a design it is familiar, easy to use and kind of boring. But hey, OnePlus isn’t the only player that can be held guilty of this.
So what’s good?
Let’s start with the big change which is the battery, and the one area where I feel the OnePlus 3T has a big advantage in this price segment. The phone will easily last more than a day; in my own use case I charged it once during the day for like half an hour maximum, and I didn’t have to worry about the phone running out of battery before I was home. I’ve been using two SIMs on this; a Vodafone and Reliance Jio 4G SIM, and despite heavy usage, which includes a flood of notifications, browsing the web, downloading apps, etc, I’m more than happy with the battery.
The Dash Charging which will quickly get the battery levels up, is also a good feature, though of course you get this on the older OnePlus 3 as well.
For performance, OnePlus 3T has a faster Snapdragon 821 processor coupled with 6GB RAM. This is a zippy device. Gaming, multi-tasking is not an issue on this phone. Apps open quickly, and running games like Asphalt 8 is not a problem at all. Like I said, this is my primary phone, and I usually have like 10-15 apps open at the same time, and OnePlus 3T is capable of handling all this without breaking into a sweat. In the Antutu test, it comes right below the two iPhone 7 devices and the Le Pro, which is impressive.
The rear camera is one of the best you’ll get for under Rs 35,000 mark (if you’re considering the 128GB version). It is fast, quick to focus, and accurate with colours. I liked the low-light performance as well, though this is not in the league of the iPhones or the S7 series, but it is better than what a lot of the other options offer in the market.
Plus there’s a 16MP front camera, which is great for selfies, even if you’re not a fan of taking these on a regular basis. It reminds me of the Oppo F1 series, which also sports a 16MP front camera that is quite good.
What’s not good?
I’m not entirely impressed with 5.5-inch AMOLED display. It’s not as good as the ones on the Samsung phones or the LCD display on the iPhone, and it takes a while getting used to this. But having said that, the full HD display is more than adequate for users, and most people will be happy with this, especially if your purpose is video consumption.
The phone gets a bit warm when you’re gaming. A five-minute gaming session resulted in the phone getting warm towards the camera, but nothing unbearable.
My other issue is with the UI and the software. It looks like the problems of the old OnePlus 2 are back to haunt the new phone. For instance, the phone kept calling people when in my pocket; this when I have a pocket mode on to stop this exact thing from taking place.
At night, I like to switch off the phone before going to bed, but mysteriously it would come back on within seconds. It also kept going into reboot mode. Finally, a factory reset happened as the phone went into Chinese settings in reboot mode, and I was left helpless as I watched the phone delete all my data.
Thankfully, most of my important data is already backed on the cloud, but for a regular user who’s not doing this, an incident like this would be particularly devastating. OnePlus needs to look into the software issue to ensure this isn’t common across the board.
Remember there’s no microSD slot here, which I think is a miss at this price point.
Should you buy?
If you’re a OnePlus 3 users, you’re likely angry and justifiably so. There’s a slightly better, newer phone out in less than six months after the original was launched. OnePlus 3 is still an excellent phone and if you have it, there’s no need to mourn. The company has promised Android Nougat update to both phones, so at least that bit is sorted.
But if you were considering to buy the new OnePlus flagship, then it makes sense to get the newer phone. Technically both are evenly matched in terms of performance, but the ‘T’ is promising extra battery, which is always a good thing. However, it is also more expensive and starts at Rs 29,999.
In my opinion, if you have a budget of Rs 30,000 which is flexible, then get the OnePlus 3T, preferably the 128GB version. This is a capable phone in the mid-premium range, but I wouldn’t say this is a flagship killer yet.