The OnePlus 5T's biggest USP in the long run is performance.
The software has received regular updates, is now on Android Oreo and also has an Open Beta program.
The phone is already out-of-stock in North America, but is still available in India.
The OnePlus 6 isn’t too far away from launch. We’ve seen plenty of leaks and reveals already, and the OnePlus 5T isn’t even in stock in North America anymore, one of the company’s key markets. But if you need a phone right now, read on.
I’ve been using the OnePlus 5T since its launch back in November 2017, and have been keeping the software up to date as well. In the little over four months that I’ve been using the OnePlus 5T, I’ve had all three color variants that have launched in India – Midnight Black, Sandstone White Star Wars edition and Lava Red. The variant has always been the higher 8GB RAM and 128GB storage variant, which has ensured not only more RAM than I need but also more than enough storage.
Priced at Rs 32,999 for the 6GB/64GB variant and Rs 37,999 for the 8GB/128GB variant, the OnePlus 5T isn’t quite as affordable as OnePlus devices once used to be, but is still significantly more affordable than other flagship Android devices with similar hardware. As such, it’s been the hardware and performance that have defined the OnePlus 5T as a step above the competition.
Performance is everything
If there is one department where the OnePlus 5T is a clear step above every other Android smartphone from 2017 and early 2018, it is performance. This isn’t just a factor of the hardware; the software plays well with the hardware to ensure top-notch performance no matter what you’re doing. In the four months that I’ve had the phone, I’ve thrown pretty much everything at it. High-end games, multi-tasking, continuous usage and plenty of camera work hasn’t slowed the phone down even once.
I often cover tech launches and events that I attend using my smartphone, putting it to various jobs while I’m at these events. This includes taking pictures and video, tweeting updates, communicating with the BGR India team on Slack, monitoring content on Google Chrome and a bit of WhatsApp chatting as well. During these times, I’d choose no phone but the OnePlus 5T. It’s here that the power of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 and 8GB of RAM is truly seen. The phone can handle quick switching between apps, camera work without lags and effective prioritization of resources easily enough.
As my primary phone, I also use the OnePlus 5T as my video camera for some of the videos we produce at BGR India. While I don’t often shoot at 4K (the file sizes are too large), I usually have the video camera set to 1080p@60fps. I’ve never had to deal with heat, lags, crashes or anything unpleasant. And when I get home, the phone serves as my primary gaming and entertainment device.
I tend to stay away from run-of-the-mill Android games, instead playing premium games that need a high-performance device. A lot of these games have variable performance settings, but with the OnePlus 5T I never need to go anything lower than the highest possible option. Gameplay is smooth, graphics processing is flawless and heat is never a problem. Even when I’m watching movies and TV shows on Amazon Prime Video and Netflix, the OnePlus 5T functions perfectly.
Software and Face Unlock
OnePlus has over the last couple of years proven its credentials when it comes to software development for its phones. While the three smartphones made by the company before the OnePlus 3 don’t receive software support anymore, the OnePlus 3, 3T, 5 and 5T all have received recent updates. I’ve put my OnePlus 5T on the Oxygen OS Open Beta program, and receive a different set of updates with experimental features. I’m also already on Android 8.1 as a result.
If you’re on the regular stable OTA software set, the phone is on Android 8.0, and receives updates at least once a month that fix bugs and add features. OnePlus’ track record further suggests that the OnePlus 5T will be entitled to at least another 18 months of software support, that will likely see the phone get Android P as well. And perhaps the best part of the phone’s software-based features is face unlock. It’s faster than anything else around today, usually works even in poor light and makes living with the phone a whole lot easier.
However, the software isn’t without its issues, and battery life can be iffy on certain days. While the phone was still on Android Nougat, battery life was a bit more dependable. After moving to Android Oreo, I’ve found that battery life has suffered ever-so-slightly. This might be caused by the less-stable Open Beta software, since there are occasional days where the battery drains much faster than usual. I eventually found that rebooting the phone every 2-3 days helps keep things in order.
Camera that improves
Back in October, my long-term review of the OnePlus 5 pointed out that the frequent software updates have not only helped the phone stay powerful, but have also added to the capabilities of the camera. The OnePlus 5T has seen similar improvements, although the improvements are more subtle in this case. In general, the low-light performance of the camera has improved somewhat, and pictures that I’ve taken this month do have a visible improvement over pictures that I had taken back in November.
Portrait mode too has seen some improvements, as has macro photography. I almost exclusively use the OnePlus 5T for product shots in reviews, and the images are usually easy to compose and capture. The camera still isn’t at the same level as the absolute top smartphone cameras such as the Apple iPhone X, Google Pixel 2 and Samsung Galaxy S9+, but it’s a capable enough camera phone in its own right.
OnePlus may not have it absolutely spot on in many departments, including camera and a handful of other premium features that the company tends not to offer on its devices. However, there’s very little that compares to a OnePlus smartphone when it comes to performance. Four months of use has proven that without a doubt; it’s a phone that I’ve gotten used to depending on for everything.
The OnePlus 5T is already out of stock in North America and could likely see stock shortages even in India in the coming weeks. The OnePlus 6 could well be the company’s most expensive device ever, so now would be the best time to buy a OnePlus 5T if you’ve been considering it. It’s a reliable, powerful smartphone that gets most things right, and is proven even in the long run.