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OnePlus 6T Long Term Review: Stands the Test of Time

In case you have been waiting for the launch of the OnePlus 7 series just so that you can get the OnePlus 6T at a cheaper price, then you are in luck as I will be taking a look at the OnePlus 6T in this long term review.

OnePlus 6T Long Term Review (9)

OnePlus 6T 4 5
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  • OnePlus 6T is currently available on Amazon India starting at a price of Rs 32,999.

  • The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition is available for Rs 46,999.

  • Interested buyers should also head to the OnePlus India store but at a slightly higher price.

OnePlus is gearing up to launch its latest and most anticipated smartphone lineup, the OnePlus 7 series tomorrow. However, not everyone may want to buy the latest and greatest smartphone that the company has to offer in favor of saving some money. It is likely that some people may be looking at the OnePlus 6T as their new smartphone as most look towards the OnePlus 7 series for their next smartphone.

It has been almost 5 months since the launch of the latest model of the OnePlus 6T, the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition smartphone in India. If you look at the original OnePlus 6T then that has been in the market for about 6.5 months now. With this much time since the launch of the OnePlus 6T and its variants, we thought that now is the right time to take a look at the OnePlus 6T. I have been using the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition as my primary smartphone since last four and a half months while pushing it to its limits.

Even though the review will be focused on the top of the line OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition smartphone, it will also be applicable for the regular OnePlus 6T as the difference in hardware and performance is negligible.

Recap of differences between OnePlus 6T and OnePlus 6

With the launch of OnePlus 6T McLaren edition, the China-based smartphone maker teamed up with Super Car maker McLaren to bring a smartphone to the market that was focused on “Speed”. The McLaren Edition came with very slight changes to the hardware when compared to the 6T. Some of the major changes include  10GB RAM and 256GB internal storage along with new 30W Warp Charge technology instead of the 22.5W Dash Charge. Rest of the internal specifications were similar between the devices. Other changes between the two include exclusive themes and effects along with a different gradient finish along with orange edges on the back.

Moving to its real predecessor, the OnePlus 6, there were some significant changes between the two models. The first one is the inclusion of the water-drop notch in place of the narrow notch, the second was the inclusion of an optical in-display fingerprint scanner, the inclusion of a larger 3,700mAh battery in place of a 3,300mAh one and last but not least was the omission of the 3.5mm audio socket. In terms of software, OnePlus 6T came with “Smart Boost” for improved performance in games, Android 9 Pie and the dedicated Nightscape more in the camera.

Design and usability

Now that we have really recapped the difference in hardware between the OnePlus 6T, the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition and the OnePlus 6, let’s talk about how the smartphone fares after more than five months of usage. In terms of usability, the experience of using OnePlus 6T McLaren edition was unchanged from what we noted in our review. The glass back and front makes it extremely slippery and prone to damage from the metal back design in the OnePlus 5 and 5T devices.

Me being the usual careful self with all my electronics, I used the OnePlus 6T McLaren with the Kevlar finish case. The significant increase in the grip of the device while protecting it from any accidental falls. The usability part was somewhat similar to what we noted with the 6.41-inch display. It is somewhat difficult to use the phone with just one hand even for people like me who have large hands do people with small hands will definitely require both hands to operate the phone. The Optic AMOLED 6.41-inch panel with water-drop notch may lag on paper but in practice is decent and works well without any problems.

However, shifting the fingerprint scanner to the front is a huge relief even with the inclusion of face unlock as you no longer require holding the phone up to use the rear fingerprint scanner, adjusting the phone or yourself when you are sitting on a table to use the face unlock. Instead, all you need to do is use the fingers to use the front in-display fingerprint scanner. Both these authentication features being less secure than the likes of a physical fingerprint scanner or a proper 3D facial authentication system like the one we saw in Apple iPhone X for the first time. If you really keep these points in mind then you won’t need to worry.

6 months with an in-display fingerprint scanner

On the topic of the fingerprint scanner, let’s talk about the in-display optical fingerprint scanner that we first saw in the OnePlus 6T. Yes, it is not as refined as the physical capacities fingerprint scanner on the back, yes it is not secure enough and yes it is not as fast. However, what you get is the coolness factor that you can “wow” your friends and family that are not really following the latest and greatest that the smartphones have to offer.

I will admit that there is a bit of learning curve here as you have to get habitual to a certain way of holding and then pressing at a certain spot on the display. The more you use it, the more you get habitual to this but the somewhat small area of the in-display fingerprint scanner does result in some misfires. I wish there was a better way but this is where most of the smartphone makers are moving ahead in the near future.

However, if you can live with somewhat insecure than you should also set up the face unlock on your OnePlus 6T to get away with the annoyance of in-display fingerprint scanner. The face unlock feature is dramatically faster and will make life easier for you than doing the calculation of where, and for how long one has to press on the display. In my personal opinion, I found a mix of both authentications features good as the face unlock does not work for authenticating various app-based security measures and even payment confirmations. For everything else, you have the face unlock.

Constant software updates on OxygenOS

Software updates are the one thing that differentiated OnePlus when it first entered the market. However, a lot has changed in the last five years since the launch of the OnePlus One. Well not really a lot but enough to challenge OnePlus in a significant way and the primary factor is the arrival of HMD Global with its Nokia-branded smartphones. With the arrival of HMD Global and Google coming with its Pixel lineup, OnePlus has fallen somewhat short in rolling out quick updates. I am mentioning this while acknowledging that the company has rolled out countless updates to its stable version while maintaining an Open Beta release channel to test new features.

Talking about falling behind, I do know that this is because OnePlus is not part of the Android One program and it has to work on OxygenOS. However, my problem here is about the delay in rolling out Android security patches instead of actual full-fledged updates with new features. For instance, my OnePlus 6T McLaren is still running March 1, 2019, Android security patch as we are in the middle of May 2019. I hope that the company takes stock of things and fixes this situation in the future. It is likely that the situation will improve with Project Mainline as they improved with the introduction of Project Treble.

Beyond this observation of falling behind, the overall software experience has been (almost) really good considering the rest of the Android landscape. Almost because I had a bad experience with OxygenOS 9.0.12 that was rolled out at the beginning of February. There were some serious bugs in the update that froze the phone and turned the restart or shut down button combinations lag significantly. It took the company about 2.5 months before it rolled out the OxygenOS 9.0.13 that fixed these issues. However, I will cut them some slack as it is better to roll out updates than run one generation or even two generations old OS operating system.

Performance and Camera

Moving to the performance segment here, in the almost six month usage period of the OnePlus 6T McLaren edition, the smartphone manages to be almost as snappy and zippy when compared to the first day when I unboxed it. Which is both impressive as well as essential for anyone looking to purchase the OnePlus 6T as their new smartphone. I pushed the device to its limits while installing about 375 apps, running anywhere between 10 to 25 apps at any given time in the background and still zipping through everything.

The only hiccups that I noticed were because of the faulty update that I mentioned above or sometimes from Chrome. Overall, I was really impressed with how the smartphone helps up after all these months of intense use. Now before moving to the battery section, let’s talk about the camera of the smartphone. A section of extreme importance to most smartphone users in this segment and the only segment that really did not impress us ever since its launch.

As previously mentioned, the OnePlus 6T McLaren and by extension OnePlus 6T camera is not impressive and the company needs to make massive improvements in this department with the OnePlus 7 series. The stock camera app is not as impressive and I had to rely on alternatives like Gcam to make the camera work enough to tolerate it. The dedicated night mode called “Nightscape” was of little to no help when it came to capturing images in low light conditions and overall, it is quite forgettable given the price one would have paid at launch.

The all-mighty battery and Warp Charge on OnePlus 6T

It is impossible to not mention the battery, and the 30W warp-charge technology when we are talking about the OnePlus 6T. If you are as past OnePlus owner with Dash-charge equipped smartphone then you know what I am talking about. The rest should continue reading to get a rough idea about what I am referring to. OnePlus along with its Dash Charge and now the improved Warp Charge technology has made me somewhat dislike smartphones with slow charging speeds.

Watch: OnePlus 6T – Warp Charge vs Dash Charge Compared

The 3,700mAh battery in the smartphone was decent as it lasted me about 11-12 hours on a moderate work day. On intensive days it lasted about 7-7.5 hours but your mileage may vary as I am habitual of pushing the smartphone to its limits. However, it is important to note here that somewhat decent battery backup is not a deal breaker in presence of Warp charge where the user can just plug the phone in and get it fully charged in about one hour and 10-15 minutes.

In fact, a lot of the times I forgot when I plugged the phone in at about 15-20 percent mark and saw the device charge up to 75-80 percent mark in about 40-45 minutes. This has really nurtured some unrealistic expectation in my mind when I am looking at a new smartphone. It is important to note that now this is not the fasted charging technology around but it is effective enough. The only cons that I observed about this tech were that it only works with the included OnePlus charger and you will have to carry this around you and hope that the place you are planning to visit has a wall mounted plug for charging.

Final thoughts

Now that I have covered all aspects of the smartphone, let’s dive in the conclusion of this long term review. As mentioned above, if you are here to get the answer about if you should buy a OnePlus 6T at a cheaper price after the launch of OnePlus 7 series then yes by all means. You will not regret the purchase six months down the line but along with that, it is worth noting that you will make some compromises in return. The primary compromise that I am talking about here is the decent enough camera along with a cool-looking but not perfect in-display fingerprint scanner.

However, if you are looking for the best camera and can compromise on the performance, charging speed, and top of the line specifications then you should look elsewhere. Some note-worthy options include the Google Pixel 3, recently launched Google Pixel 3a series and even the Samsung Galaxy S10e. Last but not least, if money is not any constraint then you should wait for the OnePlus 7 series before opting for a new OnePlus 6T or 6T McLaren edition.

  • Published Date: May 13, 2019 1:07 PM IST

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