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In a somewhat odd move, Chinese phone maker OnePlus is releasing a high-end handset called the OnePlus 3T -- just five months after launching its OnePlus 3 flagship in June.

The OnePlus 3T (above) looks similar to the 3.


Though the device looks the same (save for a darker coat of paint called "gunmetal"), it's packed with a bigger battery, a faster processor and a better camera. It also costs a bit more: the 64GB variant is $439, £399 and a new 128GB storage option is $479, £439. (Australia pricing is currently unknown, but that converts to about AU$580 and AU$630.) A gold finish will be available later too, but only for the 64GB model.

The 3T is seen as an "evolution of the 3," according to the company's head of marketing Kyle Kiang, and OnePlus did not want to "withhold some of the improvements" it could make for a whole year, when the next flagship is expected to launch. Kiang also said that the software updates in the 3T (more on that later), will roll out to 3 owners as well.

For OnePlus 3 owners though, this still has to sting. The 3 remains a great device and you're not "stuck" with a lemon (in fact, we gave the phone an Editors' Choice). But buying a great phone only to learn that the same company is selling an even better version for $40 more isn't a great feeling.

The OnePlus 3T will be available in the US starting November 22, and will roll out to Europe on the 28th. The 3T will be OnePlus' marquee handset, and the company will discontinue selling the 3 after the 3T's launch. To see how these phone's differ, read on for more info.

More battery and processing power

Compared to the OnePlus 3, the 3T has both a higher battery capacity and a faster processor. Its battery is still physically the same size, and it will still employ OnePlus' fast Dash Charging technology, but it will go from 3,000mAh to 3,400mAh. During our lab tests for continuous video playback on Airplane mode, the OnePlus 3 lasted 14 hours and 17 minutes, so we expect the 3T to last longer than that.

Likewise, the 3 had a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 820 processor. This time around, the 3T has a 2.35GHz Snapdragon 821 chipset. The 821 is the same processor you see in the Google Pixels and the LeEco LePro 3, and OnePlus 3 claims that despite the higher clock speed, the processor will run with the same power efficiency and won't take a huge hit on battery life.

Cameras get an upgrade

The phone's front-facing shooter jumps from 8 to 16 megapixels, and OnePlus claims it can take better low-light photos than its predecessor. The rear will remain a 16-megapixel camera, but its lens is made of a sturdier glass. Its image stabilization algorithm has also been updated so videos will appear more stable.

The OnePlus 3's (above) front-facing shooter will go from an 8- to a 16-megapixel camera.

James Martin/CNET

Software tweaks (for everybody)

Like the OnePlus 3, the 3T will launch with Android 6.0 Marshmallow. OnePlus does promise that a 7.0 Nougat update is in the near future for both the 3 and 3T, and that the software updates featured in the 3T will roll out to the 3 as well. That's one bit of good news for 3 owners, at least.

The software updates include more system gestures (like flipping the device upside down to mute a call and taking screenshots by sliding three fingers downward), resizable icons and a more user-friendly file manager. The shelf home screen page, which gives you fast access to your favorite contacts and email, will also get a minor facelift. You'll be able to assign passwords for individual apps for extra security too. Extended screenshots, which allows users to take screenshots beyond what appears on the display (think webpages or files that you need to scroll down and see) will also be available in a future update.

OnePlus 3T Spec Comparison

OnePlus 3T OnePlus 3 LeEco LePro 3 Google Pixel XL
Display size, resolution 5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels 5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels 5.5-inch; 1,920x1,080 pixels 5.5-inch; 2,560x1,440 pixels
Pixel density 401ppi 401ppi 403 ppi 534 ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.01x2.94x0.29 in 6.01x2.94x0.29 in 5.96x2.90x0.29 in 6.1x2.98x0.34 in (at its thickest)
Dimensions (Millimeters) 152.7x74.7x7.35 mm 152.7x74.7x7.35 mm 151.4x73.9x7.5 mm 154.7x75.74x8.58 mm (at its thickest)
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 5.57 oz; 158 g 5.57 oz; 158 g 6.24 oz; 177 g 5.92 oz; 168 g
Mobile software Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow Android 7.1 Nougat
Camera 16-megapixel 16-megapixel 16-megapixel 12.3-megapixel
Front-facing camera 16-megapixel 8-megapixel 8-megapixel 8-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K Snapdragon 821 processor 4K
Processor 2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 2.15GHz + 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
Storage 64GB, 128GB 64GB 64GB 32GB, 128GB
Expandable storage None None None None
Battery 3,400mAh (nonremovable) 3,000mAh (nonremovable) 4,070mAh (nonremovable) 3,450mAh
Fingerprint sensor Home button Home button Back cover Back cover
Special features Notifications toggle, dual-SIM, Dash Charging Notifications toggle, dual-SIM, Dash Charging Access to LeEco's streaming platform with Live button Google Assistant built-in; unlimited cloud storage; Daydream VR ready
Price off-contract (USD) $439 (16GB), $479 (128GB) $399 $399 $769 (32GB), $869 (128GB)
Price (GBP) £399 (16GB), £439 (128GB) £329 Converts to £325 £719 (32GB), £819 (128GB)
Price (AUD) Converts to AU$580 Converts to AU$530 Converts to AU$520 AU$1,269 (32GB), AU$1,419 (128GB)