It’s fair to say we all saw this coming, and OnePlus has launched the 5T. It’s a mid-cycle upgrade to a phone we rather like, the OnePlus 5. The new flagship smartphone from the company will replace the OnePlus 5, while retaining the same pricing of Rs 32,999 and Rs 37,999 for the 6GB/64GB variant and 8GB/128GB variant respectively. We’ve managed to get our hands on the new OnePlus 5T; read on to find out our first impressions.
But before we get into that, let’s talk a little bit about what’s different about the OnePlus 5T. Notable changes include a larger 18:9 aspect ratio screen, a new face unlock feature and the latest version of OxygenOS – version 4.7.0 – which comes with improvements and tweaks meant to enhance the overall user experience. Let’s take a look at the new OnePlus 5T.
It looks almost the same
With the OnePlus 3T, there was very little difference between that phone and its predecessor the OnePlus 3 when it came to the way the phones looked. Indeed, it was hard to tell the difference between the two, and a knowledge of the distinct color options would likely have been your only way to tell the difference. With the OnePlus 5T, the visible differences are a bit more distinct. The phone has a larger 6-inch 18:9 aspect ratio screen, which occupies more of the front of the phone. A narrow section above and below the screen remains, and as a result, the phone sports a larger screen without needing a larger form factor. ALSO READ: OnePlus 5 Long Term Review
While the front camera and speaker grille manage to fit into the narrow top bezel, the fingerprint sensor doesn’t. OnePlus has moved the ceramic fingerprint sensor to the back of the phone with the OnePlus 5T, and it sits a little below the camera module and above the OnePlus logo. Additionally, the capacitive navigation keys have been done away with, and the phone now relies on on-screen navigation keys.
At the back, there’s a slight increase in the camera bump. As compared to the OnePlus 5, the OnePlus 5T’s dual-camera setup sticks out ever-so-slightly more. This is likely to accommodate the new secondary sensor on the device. It’s still a 20-megapixel sensor, but now uses the Sony IMX 376K, which comes with an aperture of f/1.7. This is likely to have a small impact on the quality of portrait and lossless zoom images; we’ll test this properly and give you our opinion in our full review.
The rest of the phone sticks to the design of the OnePlus 5, with the button placement, SIM tray, USB Type-C port, headphone jack, speaker grille and alert slider in exactly the same places as we’re used to seeing them on the OnePlus 5. There’s a fair amount of familiarity in the OnePlus 5T, which is expected considering this is a mid-cycle upgrade rather than a fresh device altogether.
Reliable performance from reliable hardware
The internal specifications of the OnePlus 5T aren’t very different from those of the OnePlus 5, and this isn’t a bad thing at all. With the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, up to 8GB of RAM and the excellent OxygenOS, things continue to run smoothly and reliably. During my short time with the phone, I haven’t experienced any lag, crashes or performance issues, and it does indeed feel like the OnePlus 5 with a few improvements in the software.
One of the improvements that I’ve definitely used is the Face Unlock feature. When you first set up the phone, it captures details of your face and saves a virtual model of your face to match against whenever you subsequently want to unlock the phone. This works as advertised, and is incredibly quick and reliable. You can set it to unlock the phone and go straight to the home screen for a bit more speed, or you can have it unlock and hold at the lock screen, which will then need a swipe to go past. I personally preferred the former option.
However, face-unlock works only when the camera can actually see your face. Even in low light, I had no trouble waking and unlocking the phone, and either a double-tap of the screen or pressing the power button once while the phone’s front camera could see my face usually worked. The only time it does not work is in absolute dark. In those cases, you’ll find yourself reaching for the fingerprint sensor at the back. It’s something I got used to quickly enough, and I often rely on only the fingerprint sensor for its trademark speed and efficiency. Interestingly, the fingerprint sensor can also now be used as a swipe-friendly capacitive key to bringing down the notification shade quickly without touching the screen.
Some of the changes to the software are particularly useful to Indian smartphone users, including parallel apps which lets you have two instances of popular apps such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram and more, Gallery Map which creates a map-based interactive display of your photos, and basic customizations aimed to improve the look and feel of the OxygenOS interface.
The OnePlus 5T is definitely an improvement over the OnePlus 5, but not in a huge way. You definitely get the benefits of the larger screen, face unlock and newer software, but there isn’t much else different between the new and old phone. Furthermore, apart from the hardware-based changes such as the screen and fingerprint sensor controls, software-based tweaks are likely to come to the OnePlus 5 as well through an OTA update. And OnePlus has already confirmed that the OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5 will be getting Android Oreo in the coming months.
The OnePlus 5 has been discontinued the launch of the OnePlus 5T with prices maintained at the same level, so new buyers will obviously be better served by the new device. If you just bought a OnePlus 5, there’s really no reason to fret, you aren’t missing out on too much, and most of what you see as different will soon come to you as well.
That said, the OnePlus 5T is a device as capable, powerful and exciting as its predecessor, and adds enough to the mix to bring back some excitement to the brand and its flagship-first approach. We look forward to comprehensively testing the new smartphone; stay tuned for our full review of the OnePlus 5T.