The OnePlus 5T, just like its predecessor, has an aluminium body for the back, with a glass body for the front. The display offers a sharp ~401ppi density and covers about 80% of the entire front.
Chinese smartphone maker, OnePlus, has come a long way since it first entered the Indian market about three years ago. And just five months after it launched the OnePlus 5, the company launched the next generation of this smartphone in the form of the OnePlus 5T. Sceptics all around were silenced when this latest device from the Chinese manufacturer sold out in just 5 minutes of its pre-launch sale on Amazon India. This is what led me to discover for myself what was so appealing about the OnePlus 5T. Here are my impressions of the device.
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The first thing I noticed about the phone was how gorgeous it was, with its all-new 18:9 aspect ratio, 6.01-inch FHD+ optic AMOLED display, with the company having moved the fingerprint sensor to the users’ most preferred position, right at the center of the reverse side of the device. I must also commend the Chinese phone maker for having added not just a case that protects the device from minor falls but also a pre-installed screen guard. There is also a manual SIM ejector pin. Good job, OnePlus!
Earlier I mentioned that the phone was gorgeous, let me explain why. The OnePlus 5T, just like its predecessor, has an aluminium body for the back, with a glass body for the front. The display offers a sharp ~401ppi density and covers about 80% of the entire front. The ambient deep black of the display enhances the entire look, and can get quite bright at 440 nits at 100%, which provides fairly good readability even in sunlight. The night mode and reading mode also work well.
OnePlus has retained the alert slider, which was appreciated by users, while also retaining the headphone jack at the bottom, which again was a much-loved aspect in the predecessor. The volume rockers are placed on the left, with the power button on the right, which is all too familiar and within easy reach of our fingers.
What is new is how the antenna lines have been moved to the top, blending in with the curves of the phone, making them almost invisible.
Well, the heart of the OnePlus 5T is the Snapdragon 835 processor, which powers both variants of this smartphone, the 6GB RAM with 64GB internal storage, and the 8GB RAM version with 128GB internal storage. Did you know that this phone scored 179790 on the Antutu Benchmark, beating both Google’s Pixel 2 and the Samsung S8?
What I loved about the 5T was how fast it was when loading apps, multitasking and even playing games. And it streams HD videos so smoothly that you won’t experience any hiccups during your viewing experience. In addition, you get a choice of colour profiles, from the default profile to sRGB, DCI-P3 and adaptive mode. You can even customise the colour temperature.
Coming to the operating system, I believe that the Oxygen OS that this phone uses is among the best implementations of Android available today. And unlike those heavily customised interfaces
offered by most Chinese smartphone makers, OnePlus has kept it simple, although it has added a few distinguishing features to the near-stock user interface. With a focus on seamless performance, the phonemaker has, however, provided plenty of subtle tweak options and gestures to allow you to customise your experience.
The battery remains unchanged from its predecessor, which means that the 5T has a 3,300mAh battery, despite its larger display. On testing the battery, I found that it was more than adequate to power the device, although on the screen-on tests, it did score lower than the OnePlus 5, which is one of the drawbacks of retaining the same battery while enlarging the screen.
Having said that, I must confess that the battery offered over 10 hours of web browsing and nearly 17 hours of video playback. So, my verdict is that this battery will not disappoint, more so given that this battery is slow to discharge but lightning fast when it comes to charging. The charging speed can be attributed to the proprietary Dash charge cable and adaptor, which takes the battery from 0% to 100% in a mere 55 minutes. And if you have less time, it can go up to 65% in just 30 minutes. Now, that’s what I call impressive!
What is a smartphone if it doesn’t give you great connectivity options, right? Well, the OnePlus 5T is a dual-SIM device that takes in nano-SIMs. With a total of 35 bands, this phone supports 2G, 3G and 4G, while LTE is Cat. 12/13, offering theoretical speeds of up to 600Mbps on downlink and 150Mbps for uploads.
For Wi-Fi, you have b/g/n over 2,4GHz, with a/n/ac over 5GHz. The phone also has the latest Bluetooth 5 that offers enhanced range and speed, along with aptX and aptX HD if you are looking for a high-quality wireless audio experience. Another point in favour of this device is its NFC support, while the phone has positioning with GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou and Galileo satellites. I must warn you, however, that there is no FM radio receiver on this phone.
For wired connection and for charging, there is a USB-C port, although with just one port, the phone adheres to the USB 2.0, rather than 3.1 spec. However, the good news is that the 3.5mm jack allows you to connect to OnePlus bullets or any other headphone of your choice, without the
need of a dongle. Talking of the audio experience, there is a single mono speaker at the bottom, which offers fairly loud sound, which, however, tends to distort at higher volumes, without any richness to it. Sound is adequate for gaming but not really what one would expect at the price this device comes for.
Here is where things get interesting. Rather than the dual rear cameras having varying zoom levels, the 5T’s cameras have different intended uses. The main camera is the usual primary camera, as in the OnePlus 5, while the secondary camera is meant for low-light photography. Both come with aperture of f/1.7, allowing in plenty of light, while the main sensor offers resolution of 16 megapixels and the secondary sensor of 20 megapixels.
What OnePlus has given is pixel binning, which means that information from four pixels is combined into one and then re-interpolated to bring the image to its full resolution. The drawback here is that finer details are lost in the pursuit of lower image noise. OnePlus claims that the system automatically switches to the secondary camera but only in the light is lower than 10 lux, which is fairly rare.
The front camera offers resolution of 16 megapixels, which is very good, but the manufacturer claims that it also recognizes faces, even with the display off. So, all you need to do is press the power button and you won’t even see the lock screen, the phone will take you directly to the home screen. While this gets the screen to open up very quickly, and in dim light too, it is best not to use it for payments and other activities that need secure processes.
My final verdict is that at a starting price of ₹32,999, the OnePlus 5T does offer a plethora of high-end specs and features, which more than make up for some of the limitations of the device.