OnePlus 5T review
The OnePlus 5t, as the name implies, is not a completely new handset-rather it is an incremental upgrade of the OnePlus 5.
[UPDATE: The OnePlus 5t is officially released from the sale of OnePlus in the US, UK and Europe as the company prepares for the arrival of the OnePlus 6 on May 16th. You may find that the 5t is still available from some retailers in these regions, but you may want to wait until May 16th before you pick one up.]
It’s not just an upgrade though; It is also a replacement, as OnePlus discontinued production and sale of the phone launched it only six months before the arrival of the OnePlus 5t.
This is not a surprising move, as OnePlus did exactly the same in 2016 when it introduced the OnePlus 3t half a year after the launch of the OnePlus 3.
So what do you get with OnePlus ‘ second generation ‘t ‘? The main discussion topics are the largest screen the company has ever put on a phone, a tweaked design, improved rear camera and face detection.
In short, there is enough new material to justify its existence, without it offering a radically new smartphone experience.
OnePlus 5T price and availability
OnePlus 5T launch Price: From £449, $499, au $599
OnePlus 5T Release date: 21 November
The OnePlus 5T price at launch is exactly the same as the OnePlus 5 ‘s, which means that SIM-Free you are looking at £449 ($499, au $599) for the 6GB/64GB model, and £499 ($559, au $699) for the 8GB/128GB variant.
This makes the OnePlus 5T cheaper than virtually all of its flagship rivals – but significantly the difference in spec between them is the smallest it has ever been.
However, the OnePlus 5T is now officially off sale of OnePlus in the US, UK and Europe as the company prepares for the arrival of the new OnePlus 6 on May 16.
Stock still remains with Select retailers and carriers, but it’s not as easy to come by as it once was – and you’re the best company from buying a new 5T for now, as it will be worth waiting to see what the OnePlus 6 brings.
ONEPLUS 5T SPECS
Dimensions: 156.1 x 75 x 7.3 mm
OS: Android 7.1.1
Screen size: 6.01 inches
Resolution: 1080 x 2160
CPU: Snapdragon 835
Battery: 3, 300mAh
Reversing Camera: 16MP + 20MP
Front Camera: 16MP
Biggest-ever screen on a OnePlus phone
6.01-inch Full HD, AMOLED display with 18:9 aspect ratio
The biggest change on the OnePus 5T is the display, with the handset boasting a 6.01-inch Full HD AMOLED panel with a 18:9 aspect ratio that this year follows the trend of elongated screens on the IPhone X, Google Pixel 2 XL, Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG V30.
It’s the first time OnePlus has increased the size of the display on its core handset (smaller OnePlus X aside), making this the biggest screen we’ve ever seen on a handset from the Chinese firm.
While the size and aspect ratio can see the OnePlus 5T pulling inline with the flagship handsets it is looking to overthrow, there is another spec that denies full membership to the high-end display Club: resolution.
OnePlus has re-elected to hold a Full HD resolution, at 1080 x 2160 with a 401ppi pixel density, while rivals all the Bows QHD (2k) displays.
It does not mean that the screen on the OnePlus 5T is bad, and thanks to the AMOLED panel colors are crisp and punchy, but if you slide it next to the competition you see that it is not so sharp. In exception However, it’s hard to get a real mistake with it.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei also unveiled on Twitter that he fooled a fan into thinking it had a QHD display, when actually it’s stuck with Full HD.
The default color balance seems a little blue, and if that doesn’t fit your eyes you change it in the Settings menu.
Use the screen calibration options to switch to SRBG, DCI-P3, adaptive mode, or customize your own settings, although the default mode gives you the punchier colors.
Selecting a different mode mutes the vibrancy, but gives a more natural look to colors, especially when viewing images. The choice is yours, but we chose to stick with the default setting for the majority of our OnePlus 5T Review.
OnePlus also has a feature it mentions sunlight display, which automatically detects crude light and adjusts the display for the best visibility; It’s basically a auto brightness mode, but it also knows what you’re doing on the screen (whether it’s a game, movie or general navigation) and will optimize the screen accordingly.
We did not notice the OnePlus 5T adjusting the screen during our review period, but we also have not experienced problems with playback, which suggests that sunlight display works, if only subtle.
Premium Metal unibody looks and feels great
Fingerprint scanner at the rear with smaller front edges
The larger display has a domino effect in terms of the design of the OnePlus 5T, with the edges above and below the screen getting downsized down to provide a slimmer appearance and a 80.5% screen-to-Body ratio.
That reduction of the bezel has necessitated a different design change, with the fingerprint scanner and physical navigation keys vanishing from the front of the phone.
Biometric fans don’t have to worry though, since the digit reader has been moved to the back of the device, and its centralized position means it’s easy to hit with your index finger – and of course there is now Facial recognition too, including more in a moment.
The OnePlus 5T continues with the Premium Metal unibody design The phone is replacing, making it look good and feel great in the hand, with the gently curved backside helping it settle nicely in the Palm.
At 156.1 x 75 x 7.3 mm and 162g the OnePlus 5T is wider, larger and heavier than the OnePlus 5, but remains the same thickness, making it similar in size and weight to the LG V30 and IPhone 8 plus.
Something that the design does not offer, though, is a lot of grip, so you might want to invest in a material or silicone case to buy them a little more – although it will add to the phone’s size in your hand.
You will notice that the Power/Lock button on the right side, and the volume rocker on the left, fall slightly under thumb and finger when you hold the phone in portrait, and OnePlus sets with its notification slider on the back of the Handset so that you easily switch between silent, do not disturb and noisy modes.
At the start it was in just one color (midnight Black), but in January 2018, OnePlus launched a new color variant of the OnePlus 5t, the limited edition sandstone white finish.
First of all it is white (duh), but only on the back. The front of the handset remains black, as does the rear bump camera. While we also liked a white surround on the front, we do like the black camera bulge.
The sandstone white OnePlus 5t uses the same black volume rocker, power switch and SIM tray, which is more contrast against the white surface. Then there is the alert slider, which is an eye-catcher red.
If this looks familiar, it is because it uses exactly the same color composition OnePlus for the Star Wars edition of the handset (in just a handful of countries) minus the famous franchise logo on the back.
What the white surface offers is more grip, with a textured finish that closely resembles the original OnePlus one. The compromise is the white version does not feel as a bonus in the hand, and if the OnePlus you have something to go by it could end up getting pretty dirty relatively quickly.
The white version sold out in a few weeks, and it quickly followed the launch of the lava Red OnePlus 5t in February 2018. Again, it’s a strictly “while stock load ” Type of action and is available only on the more expensive 128 GB model. Like the Midnight Black version, Lava red is full metal, which means a slippery body front and back.
It’s worth noting that OnePlus offers a clear plastic case in the box with both the Midnight Black, sandstone white and lava red models, which should keep looking smarter for longer.
Another plus point on the OnePlus 5T is that the headphone jack is also retained so that you can plug in your headphones without the need of an awkward adapter.
The camera’s bump of the OnePlus 5 remains on the 5T, but this time around the edges of the nipple are more lovingly sculpted into the main body of the device for a more uniform and smooth look.
OnePlus claims it has an anti-fingerprint layer added to the finish on the OnePlus 5T, but we found that it is still dirty quite easily, although brands and prints are easy enough to wipe.
Fast, easy and effective
Not as accomplished as IPhone X
Another key feature, and a scoop for OnePlus, is the inclusion of Face recognition tech as the brand tries to drive the coattails of the IPhone X.
Facial recognition on the OnePlus 5T is not as advanced as offering Apple, but it is still surprisingly good, using over 100 face identifiers to make sure it’s you.
It is only used for unlocking the handset, and you have to double-tap the screen or press the Power key to use it.
The good news is that it is really easy to setup, with the phone only requiring a matter of seconds to lock in your look.
It’s incredibly fast, with almost no lag between you tapping the screen or the button and your home screen appear before you. OnePlus claims that the tech can identify you and unlock the handset in just 0.4 seconds, and we tend to agree.
This means it’s a touch slower than the fingerprint scanner (0.2 seconds), and it requires you to be looking almost directly at the phone for it to work.
However, we’ve found that face unlock worked at some impressive angles, which means you don’t have to keep the OnePlus 5T directly in front of your face for it to work.
Something it can’t do, but which the IPhone X can, is you see in the dark. That is because, unlike Apple, OnePlus has not used an infrared camera to spy you in the Dark.
Face Unlock on the 5T requires a light source-street lights at night are enough, but the screen brightness itself is not-to control your face.
The OnePlus 5T can handle glasses and no glasses, so whether or not you wear them the phone will know that it’s you still, as long as your eyes are still visible. Where it is struggling is when the eyes are covered.
We tried to unlock face in different scenarios (as you see above), but when we wore a low hung hat, and then narrowed Goggles, the 5T would not unlock.
We have also passed it around the office, friends and family to see if anyone else’s face unlocked the handset, and the good news is that they are not. Chances are that technology can be fooled in rare cases – as it is on the IPhone X – but it feels safe.
In the future, OnePlus plans to extend the use of Face recognition to log you in to verify apps and purchases, but for now it’s using the OnePlus 5T as a test bed for the technology to make sure it’s safe.