Despite being only a couple of years old in the Indian smartphone market, OnePlus has a rather strong foothold in the arena, all credits to its debut “flagship killer” smartphone, the OnePlus One. The legacy is in its fifth iteration currently, with the OnePlus 3T being one of the most spec-loaded affordable flagships in the market right now. But is it the best you can buy?
152.7 x 74.7 x 7.4mm | 158g | 6.0.1 (Marshmallow) | 5.5 / 1080 x 1920 | 6GB RAM, 64GB/128GB | 3400 mAh | 16MP, 16MP | Dual SIM
Designed To Look Premium
Crafted out of a single block of aluminium, the OnePlus 3T looks every bit worth the money you will spend on it and even more. You get a full metal body, chamfered edges and chrome trims, along with a stunningly slim chassis. Design-wise, the OnePlus 3T doesn’t leave much to complain about. Our unit was in Gunmetal Grey, and to be honest, we like it better than the OnePlus 3 in Graphite Grey. Possibly, the only qualm we had with the OnePlus 3T is the slippery body, which when clubbed with a thin girth, makes it difficult to get a good grip on the smartphone. The thin girth also leads to unintentional waking of the display. Additionally, the primary camera module on the back protrudes slightly, making it prone to scratches. However, both these issues can be easily tackled with using a protective case. The ports and buttons find their way to usual places on the edges. Since the OnePlus 3T sports a unibody design, it gets an ejectable SIM tray on the right edge. Moreover, it sports a USB Type-C port instead of a regular micro USB 2.0, while the rest of the things remain standard.
5.5 inches Of AMOLED Fun
The display on the OnePlus 3T spans 5.5 inches and makes use of an Optic AMOLED panel. The resolution is full HD, i.e. 1,080 x 1,920 pixels, translating into a pixel density of around 401ppi. Ours was a retail unit instead of a demo one and came pre-installed with a screen protector. The display offers rich colours and amazing black levels, which is the result of using an AMOLED panel. The text and icons looked crisp. We were impressed by the brightness levels as well. The viewing angles were good. However, the sunlight legibility could have been better. When brought out in bright sun, the screen on the device showed hints of yellow, which went away when we put a hand over the display for some shade.
The OnePlus 3T offers ambient display functionality as well, which prompts you about new notifications by lighting up the display automatically. There’s a Night Mode to filter out blue light when using the phone in a dim environment. The display settings also let you adjust the colours to your liking.
Shoots To Perfection (Almost)
The OnePlus 3T gets a 16MP primary camera with phase detection autofocus and optical image stabilisation, along with being aided by an LED flash module. The default camera app gets all the necessary features without being overloaded. We tested the camera in almost all shooting conditions and the OnePlus 3T did well, more often than not. The primary camera captures immense detail and close to natural colours. The autofocus works great during macro photography. The shutter speed is impressive. Low light images turned out great too. The rear camera can shoot RAW stills, and 4K videos as well.
For selfies, the smartphone utilises a 16MP front camera, which is a huge upgrade over the OnePlus 3’s 8MP shooter. The colours reproduced by the front camera looked slightly processed, however, the overall output was sharp and vivid. Low light selfies on the OnePlus 3T turn out decent too. Although, we would have liked a front facing flash.
Robust Hardware and Software
The OnePlus 3T rocks a Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chip under its hood. It’s 64- bit quad-core CPU with clock speeds of up to 2.4GHz. The smartphone is a performance powerhouse. From everyday use to CPU and GPU intensive gaming, the OnePlus 3T easily takes it all without flinching. We spent over three weeks using the device as a daily driver before writing down our verdict and didn’t encounter a single stutter. The 6GB RAM only tops the performance department off brilliantly. Multitasking on the OnePlus 3T was a breeze. The fingerprint sensor is as fast as the phone itself. However, it gets activated by being touched with any part of the palm, which sometimes gets slightly annoying.
The phone comes in two storage variants – 64GB and 128GB. Since the storage is not expandable, we recommend gauging your requirements before choosing a storage option.
With its 3,400mAh battery and Dash Charge technology, the OnePlus 3T scores well in the battery department as well. The phone takes a little over an hour to charge from zero to a 100 per cent. We got around 4 to 5 hours of screen-on time, which is impressive. While the video loop test had the device sticking around for a long duration of almost 17 hours, with everyday use like streaming music on Wynk, streaming videos on YouTube, using WhatsApp on the go, and making calls, we easily got a day’s worth of use, without having to face a battery crisis. Although, we would have liked an ultra power saving mode on the phone, along with the regular battery saver it comes with.
The OnePlus 3T runs Android Marshmallow based Oxygen OS 3.5.4 out of the box. The Android Nougat update has already been rolled out over the air. While the UI remains stock, there are a few
welcome tweaks that you’ll see. Swiping right from the primary homescreen gives you access to Shelf, which can be called Oneplus’ version of Google Cards. There is support for gestures, a system-wide dark theme, and the ability to customise the capacitive navigation keys. The OnePlus 3T does not come preloaded with bloatware either. All we saw was keyboard app Swiftkey.
The OnePlus 3T is the best affordable flagship you can get your hands on currently. While it does not come with fancy features like water resistance in the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 edge or smart virtual assistant in the Google Pixel, it is priced significantly lesser and delivers everything a good smartphone should. The OnePlus 3T has no competition in its price segment. If you’re keen on buying a new smartphone and your pocket allows you to look at the Rs 30,000 – Rs 35,000 segment, we’d recommend the OnePlus 3T.