OnePlus have seen tremendous growth over the last four years since their launch, and 2019 sounds like it will be their best year yet with them being the first company to launch a Snapdragon 855 based phone, taking that achievement away from Samsung.
The OnePlus 6T was launched last month and follows the usual release cycle from OnePlus, similar to previous generations it retains the core components but brings impressive upgrades elsewhere.
With this iteration there have been some significant changes, the screen is now a 6.41″ AMOLED with a much smaller teardrop style notch compared to the last model. The screen now has a fingerprint sensor embedded underneath it similar to the Mate 20 Pro and other phones launched recently.
The battery has also had a moderate upgrade from 3300mAh to 3700mAh, and the base storage has been upgraded to 128 GB.
Sadly, they have omitted the 3.5mm audio jack on this model but considering all the other upgrades I will let them off.
Overall, they have taken a good, albeit slightly boring phone, and made it much more stand out in terms of features compared to other flagships.
They have done all this while retaining their affordable nature, with OnePlus 6T starting at £499, which is quite a difference from the £899.99 commanded by the Huawei Mate 20 Pro.
Alternatively, with its low SIM-free price, it means you can pick up some fantastic contract deals, with Vodafone selling the phone on contract for £42 with £29 up front including 16GB of data, unlimited minutes and texts. This works out as £1037 in total making the monthly data and call plan £22.
Alternatively, if you use Spotify or want access to Prime Video or Sky sports the 32GB Red Entertainment package offers tremendous value at £49 with Spotify, 32GB of data and unlimited texts/calls + 500 international minutes.
- Dimensions:5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm
- Weight:185 grams
- Screen:41-inch, 19.5:9, Optic AMOLED, 2,340 x 1,080
- CPU:Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 (octa-core, 1nm, 2.8GHz)
- GPU:Adreno 630
- Rear cameras:16MP (OIS, EIS, f/1.7) / 20MP (f/1.7)
- Front camera:16MP (EIS, f/2.0)
- Battery:3,700 mAh
- OS:Android 9.0 Pie
Design and Build
Due to the larger display, the phone is fractionally bigger than the original OnePlus 6, but the overall shape and feel of the phone remain the same.
It uses a curved 3D glass the sits comfortably against your palm, but I find it can feel a little slippy. There is still no wireless charging the glass is purely for aesthetics.
The colour options are a little bland, especially when you compare them to the twilight and green colours of the Mate 20 Pro. Here you get black or black, one being shiny one being matte. I have the shiny/mirrored version and I think I would prefer the matte version, I also feel like it will be less slippy. While not the most exciting of colours Black always looks smart, and let's face it, with its glass back you need to put a case on it anyway.
On the right of the phone are the power button and a mute switch similar to what you find on iPhones. It is a small but welcome feature that I wish more companies would adopt.
On the left is the volume plus the sim tray. You will notice no 3.5mm jack which is a strange U-turn follows Pete Lau’s statements last year saying that the 3.5mm headphone jack was an essential part of offering the “best flagship experience possible” in regards to the OnePlus 5T. However, OnePLus have justified this removal by it freeing up space inside the phone, and it has allowed them to improve the battery from 3300 to 3700mAH. So, in this case, I suppose it is forgivable.
OnePlus includes a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter in the box so you can still plug in your wired headphones.
The display is the standout improvement from the original phone. It has been increased in size but more importantly, the notch has been significantly reduced in size. I am not particularly averse to notches like some people, but the massive notch on my Mate 20 Pro does annoy me a little, with NFC and Wi-Fi enabled you start to run out of notification space fast. I try to keep my notification bar as tidy as possible, but I prefer to see all the available notification when I have them. With the tiny notch of the OnePlus 6T you almost get a full notification area, plus it improved the overall aesthetics.
The screen itself is still AMOLED, and you get a resolution of 2340 x 1080, with 402 pixels per inch with an 86% screen to body ratio. The image quality of the display is superb, even though it doesn’t have as high of a resolution as other flagships I doubt you would notice the difference for day to day tasks.
In-Display Fingerprint Scanner & Face Unlock
OnePlus have not adopted the new fashionable in screen fingerprint sensor. Its placement is lower down than the Mate 20 Pro which feels more natural for unlocking however it suffers from the same issues. The sensor size is only a small section of the screen, unlike rear placed sensors there is no physical indication of where the sensor is, so hitting the right spot without looking at the screen can be hit or miss. I also find the accuracy and speed of the unlock slower than rear-mounted scanners. Overall it is a technology I was excited about, but the performance doesn’t quite meet expectations.
Face Unlock mostly alleviates the above issues, quite often the phone auto unlocks before I even have a chance to press my finger against the screen.
The camera features a wide-angle lens paired with a 16MP sensor, as well as a secondary 20MP lens and sensor combination. Both lenses feature a f/1.7 aperture. So it can’t quite compete with the specification of the Mate 20 Pro, but I have found that the overall quality of shots to be excellent.
My photography skills are mediocre at best, so I am probably not the best person in the world to critique a camera. However, for your average joe that just wants to point and shoot with excellent results, I think the OnePlus 6T performs admirably.
The night mode is worth highlighting; this is a similar tech found in Huawei phones and the Pixel 3. Unlike the Mate 20, you don’t have to wait as long for it to capture the photo. However, the post-processing takes a few seconds. Similar to the Mate 20, it suffers with moving objects due to the long exposure, so when I took a shot of York Christmas markets, a lot of the people walking looked blurred. Overall though, it is good but not quite as good as more expensive options.
You get the standard shooting modes such as automatic, portrait, manual and panorama. When it comes to video, slow motion and time-lapse modes complement a simple enough automatic mode. It also has auto HDR and auto night scene along with various other tweaks to the settings.
The 3700mAh isn’t quite as impressive as the 4000+mAH found on some Huawei phone but it is a move in the right direction. The phone can now comfortably handle a full day of relatively heavy usage without me getting anxious about charging it.
Combine this with the fast charging features, and you should never find yourself short on charge.
OnePlus still haven’t implemented wireless charging which is a bit of a shame, but it is not really a make it or break it feature for me. I do likely having a wireless charging phone mount in my car, and I occasionally use my Anker stand, but in general, I wouldn’t miss them too much if I didn’t have them.
Performance and Benchmarks
I am not obsessed with how well a phone benchmarks, especially with flagship phones, all Snapdragon 845 phones should perform amazingly. That being said, the OnePLus 6 topped the charts following its release only to be toppled by the ROG phone with its overclocked chip and the Mate 20 series with a newer SOC in the form of the Kirin 980. With the launch of the OnePLus 6T it achieved a fractionally higher score, but still behind the other phones. Considering the Samsung Note 9 sits at 13 while costing £400 more this is an impressive achievement.
The phone does use something called Smart Boost which OnePlus says is a rethink of how Android manages background processes, giving your most used apps a 5 to 20% boost in how quickly they open by learning your behaviour and prioritising your favourites.
Regarding real-world usage, the phone flies through all tasks with ease. It is not bogged down with an overdeveloped UI like competing brands, and this allows everything to work at maximum performance. Everything feels instantaneous, and the overall user experience is fantastic.
The stand out feature of OnePlus phones has always been the relatively untouched Android OS named OxygenOS. It uses Android 9.0 Pie and OnePlus has been quite good with the rollout of new software, with the original OnePlus 6 being part of the Android Pie beta program.
The none bloated software goes a long way to make the phone perform as well as it does, and while Android isn’t always perfectly designed, you don’t have to put up with some unusual third-party tweaks such as the battery management feature of Huawei phones.
For under £500 SIM-free you are getting a lot for your money with the OnePlus 6T. It comfortably keeps up with phones costing 80% more and any shortcomings it may have compared to more expensive phones will hardly be noticeable for the vast majority of people.
In certain aspects such as the software and UI, this phone is superior to some of its counterparts such as the Mate 20 Pro, and the promise of regular updates is always a good selling point for a phone.
Overall this is the smart buyer's choice for a phone, it offers exemplary performance and aesthetics for a wallet-friendly price.
The OnePlus 6T was kindly loaned to me from Vodafone with no obligations about the content of my review. Therefore all the opinions are honest and my own.
OnePlus 6T Review
Product Name: OnePlus 6T
Offer price: 499
Design and Build - 90%
Camera - 90%
Battery - 85%
Software - 95%
Price - 95%