OnePlus is a brand that has consistently redefined the flagship smartphone segment: with devices that offer best in class performance at unbelievably competitive price points.
The OnePlus 5T, the new kid on the block, boasts a number of key improvements over its predecessor such as an 18:9 display, and an improved dual camera system. Anywhere else, it’s still a OnePlus 5.
But with the brand’s erratic release cycle, is it worth an upgrade from the 5? or is it better to just wait for the next one (or the next one after that?).
OnePlus 5T Specs:
- 2.45GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor
- 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage
- 6.01-inch FHD+ 18:9 display, 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5
- 16MP (f/1.7, Sony IMX398) + 20MP (f/1.7, Sony IMX376K) dual rear cameras
- 16MP (f/2.0, Sony IMX371) front camera
- Fingerprint Sensor
- OxygenOS on top of Android 7.1.1 Nougat
- 3,300mAh battery, Dash Charge
Design and Build Quality
Perhaps the most noticeable difference between the OnePlus 5 and the OnePlus 5T is the looks. For one, the 16:9 display of the 5 has been replaced with an almost bezel-less 18:9 display with a bump to FHD+ resolution.
Of course, that means more pixels to push, and slightly better image quality at the cost of battery life. Personally, that’s fine, but some people would prefer the other way around, or even a Quad HD display.
Speaking of the display, OnePlus 5T’s is one of the best I’ve seen, showcasing vibrant and rich colors, good sharpness, and ample brightness that jive well with the 18:9 aspect ratio.
I do like that there’s a dedicated switch for setting the sound profile, but on another look, it adds another moving part that might fail. At least, based on experience, this kind of switch is where the problem usually starts, especially when it’s used frequently.
Unfortunately, the OnePlus 5T doesn’t support expanded storage using a microSD card. So you better make sure to get the 128GB variant if you have a large media library.
As expected, the Snapdragon 835 CPU shines in both daily tasks and gaming performance.
Multi-tasking? Arena of Valor? NBA 2K17 at high settings? It’s all good.
One major update to the OnePlus 5T is in its dual rear cameras. The Sony IMX350 sensor found in the OnePlus 5 has now been replaced by a 20MP Sony IM376K, to the benefit of low-light photography.
Looks like the folks from OnePlus have done their homework well, as the cameras in the 5T are also among the better ones I’ve tested. Images look clear, natural and vivid, with not a small sign of over-processing.
There’s no Portrait Mode for the front camera, which is probably the only thing that would leave the selfie-generation a bit unsatisfied.
Speaking of portrait mode, I’d say they hit the jackpot on this one with the rear camera. It’s just so good! seriously, just look at the sample shot above. The blur is accurate, and there’s no hint of pixelation.
A 1080p video sample accentuates the camera’s capabilities, with smooth and fluid motion. Audio is also clear, loud enough, and accurately captured.
OnePlus 5T runs on Android Nougat out of the box, which is unexpected for a flagship device (though an update to Oreo is already on its way). On top is OxygenOS, which offers a mostly stock experience, along with some nifty features.
For one, you can customize the color of the LED indicator per app, which makes it easier to distinguish which ones are more important. You can also change the color temperature of the screen just in case you find it too pale or too saturated for your liking.
Like in some other devices such as the HTC U11, you can also tap and hold an icon to show a list of quick tasks that you can perform – such as setting an alarm.
For those who love to listen to music, OnePlus 5T also has an auto-tuner feature which lets you tweak the sound to your liking by selecting from a number of presets, or manually adjusting each slider in the built-in equalizer.
The phone also introduces the use of facial recognition to unlock the device. And I’m delighted to say that it works well even in less than ideal lighting, and it works fast. The catch: the screen has to be on for it to work.
With Gaming Do Not Disturb feature, you can also play your games without being interrupted by notifications; very handy for competitive play.
Playing a 1080p video on loop at 80% volume and 50% brightness, the OnePlus 5T was able to churn out around 11 hours of uptime in a single charge.
Is the OnePlus 5T a worthy upgrade to the 5? I’d say yes. The new design looks great with the 18:9 display, the improved cameras truly shine, stellar gaming performance, software that gives you a stock experience while keeping the essential features, and great battery life.
The only real downside to this device is that the storage isn’t expandable using a microSD card.
Regardless, it only costs PhP26,990 for the 64GB variant and Php30,990 for the 128GB variant at all Digital Walker Stores nationwide. That’s still good value for your money.
- Top-notch performance in general tasks and gaming
- Front and rear camera performance
- Almost stock Android experience
- Great battery life
- Competitively priced
The Not So Good
- No microSD card support
- Audio profile switch is a good idea but might fail with frequent use
- No portrait mode on front camera
Emman has been writing technical and feature articles since 2010. Prior to this, he became one of the instructors at Asia Pacific College in 2008, and eventually landed a job as Business Analyst and Technical Writer at Integrated Open Source Solutions for almost 3 years.