The OnePlus 6T has been officially launched, with global pricing starting at $549 (approximately Rs 40,200). And it’s largely true to the rumors and reports that we’ve been hearing for the past few weeks. Like other ‘T’ upgrades from OnePlus, the OnePlus 6T isn’t a major refresh, but rather a half-yearly tweak to the OnePlus 6. The changes are faint enough that everyone who is aware of my smartphone switching habits still thinks I’m using a OnePlus 6 (my phone before this one).
The question then is, does the OnePlus 6T warrant itself, or could OnePlus have just kept selling the OnePlus 6 for another few months? I’ve had a chance to use the device a little bit, and here are my first impressions.
The fingerprint sensor moves
OnePlus has traditionally had classic ceramic fingerprint sensors on its phones, but the OnePlus 6T changes this. To bring it back to the front, the company has gone with an in-display fingerprint sensor, which is embedded under the display and uses optical scanning to read your fingerprint when it’s place on a specific area of the screen. While it works, it’s notably not as fast as the classic option. Also, scanning only takes place when the symbol displays, which isn’t all the time given that the ambient display isn’t always on.
However, there’s a certain ‘coolness’ to having your phone read your finger directly off the screen. And the software does make it easier to use the system by activating the ambient display with certain gestures, such as lifting the phone up or moving it slightly. You can also activate it with a single tap, but this disables the double-tap to wake function, and thus makes face unlock a bit of a task. Hopefully these issues will be fixed with software updates, though.
The notch is smaller
While the OnePlus 6 already has a smaller notch than most devices around, the OnePlus 6T endeavors to make it even smaller. The ‘waterdrop’ notch is smaller, without doing away with any of the components on the notch itself. However, it’s still a notch, and you can’t boast of the truly rectangular screen shape on this.
In my opinion, a smaller notch doesn’t significantly add much, given that the user interface is designed to tell most apps to work below the notch anyway. The only real impact it has is in the larger strip for the status bar, where more icons can fit on the bar. The key difference it makes is in the look of the phone; while some people may find the styling to suit more feminine tastes, the notch doesn’t bother me as much since it’s largely invisible while the screen is off.
The phone itself
Apart from being ever-so-slightly larger (in screen and overall size) than the OnePlus 6, there’s not much else to tell the two phones apart. Even the internals are pretty much the same, with the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 SoC, up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of internal storage. However, while the OnePlus 6 started at 64GB, the 6T bumps up the base variant to 6GB RAM and 128GB of storage.
The OnePlus 6T is also among the earliest devices to come with Android 9 Pie out-of-the-box. However, it’s the same version as the one pushed for the OnePlus 6 already, so again there aren’t significant differences here. The phone does come with a couple of software-based tweaks though. Night mode helps take better pictures at night and is similar to Night Sight on the Google Pixel 3 series. And Smart Boost helps improve performance by making full use of what is more RAM than reasonably required at this stage. We’ll talk more about both things in our review.
Watch: OnePlus 6T Hands-On
Is the OnePlus 6T radically different to the OnePlus 6? No. If you own a OnePlus 6, you don’t need to consider upgrading. Even if you just bought the OnePlus 6, you don’t need to even feel bad about having just bought what is now an ‘old’ smartphone. The OnePlus 6T is definitely the path forward for now and appears to be a worthy successor, but we’ll give you the full verdict in our review.
While we’re still waiting on the India pricing at the time of writing this, we do have a fair idea of what it will be like, and we’re expecting it to start at slightly higher than the Rs 34,999 base price of the OnePlus 6. Stay tuned for more from us on the OnePlus 6T, with the India launch scheduled for tomorrow, and the sales to kick off on Amazon India on November 2.