Review: OnePlus 3T redefines Android ‘flagship killer’ phones

OnePlus 3T has made incremental gains that keep it up to date with new competition


OnePlus 3T: Rs29,999 (64 GB); Rs34,999 (128 GB)
OnePlus 3T: Rs29,999 (64 GB); Rs34,999 (128 GB)

It was in June that the OnePlus 3 smartphone was launched, and it redefined the term “flagship killer”. Just six months later, the OnePlus 3T is coming, and that does beg the question—why so soon? The answer lies in the quest to make an already excellent phone even better. 

The 3T’s single-piece aluminium design with its modern, refined looks is exactly like the OnePlus 3. But the silver colour in the OnePlus 3 has been replaced by a darker gunmetal option in the 3T. The premium design has not been tweaked, and what is particularly useful is the little toggle on the left-side spine—quickly switch between silent, do not disturb and normal profile modes. 

The 5.5-inch optic AMOLED display has the Full HD (1,920x1,080) resolution. There is bound to be criticism about the lack of a higher resolution display, but for most intents and purposes, this resolution is adequate for smartphones. Second, the more pixels on the screen, the faster the battery drain. The sRGB colour mode is now available as a separate option in the display settings in the 3T. This means the colours will now be more accurate than in the default mode—it may take some time for your eyes to get used to the less saturated display, but you will probably like it better. 

Under the hood, the jump from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 to the Snapdragon 821 chip may not seem much at first glance, but pair that with a better optimized updated Oxygen OS software, and the performance benefits are visible when you are multi-tasking and gaming. That performance, assisted with 6 GB RAM, is where the OnePlus 3T is way ahead of almost every rival. 

The boosted battery capacity from 3,000mAh to 3,400mAh now means almost a day and a half of heavy use. The Dash Charge feature, OnePlus claims, can charge a completely discharged battery to 60% in 30 minutes. In our tests, it charged the battery from 0% to 59% in 30 minutes. 

The 3T’s 16-megapixel camera, with the f/2.0 aperture, optical-image stabilization and a 1.28-inch Sony IMX 298 sensor, takes advantage of the updated image-processing algorithms and software. Now, HDR images are accurate (for example, the sky doesn’t look overexposed) and the colour tone is more natural across photos. In some low-light photos, there is still a slight warm tint, but detailing remains the same as before. The depth-of-field effect for close-ups look better too. The 3 has one of the best Android phone cameras, and the 3T improves on that in every respect. 

The OnePlus 3T has made incremental gains that keep it up to date with new competition. Crucially, software improvements have made a big difference. If you already own the 3, the 3T perhaps isn’t a big enough leap to splurge on. But for others, this is the definitive new Android flagship killer. At a price of Rs29,999 (64 GB) and Rs34,999 (128 GB), it isn’t much more expensive than the OnePlus 3 (64 GB; Rs27,999). 

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