If it ain't broke... make it slightly better.
At least, that's what OnePlus is saying with the OnePlus 3T -- a phone that comes just five months after the company launched its OnePlus 3 flagship in June.
The OnePlus 3 was our favorite mid-price phone until this 3T came along. I have no idea why the company is in such a rush to replace its already excellent phone so soon after its launch, but there you have it. And here you have a phone that's the new standout in its category. Oh and don't worry -- the 3 is far from obsolete.
Compared to the 3, the 3T has a darker grey color and a new 128GB storage option (there's also a special-edition black version too). It's got a faster processor, a bigger battery and a better front-facing camera. It's also a smidge more expensive at $439 or £399 for the 64GB variant and $479 or £439 for the 128GB model. (OnePlus isn't available in Australia, but that converts to about AU$580 and AU$632.)
For OnePlus 3 owners, don't panic. You're only missing out on a couple hours of extra battery life and better selfies. Plus, all the 3T's new software goodies will soon roll out to 3 owners too. Read on for more details about how the 3T is different (including our spec and price comparison chart at the end), and check out our full OnePlus 3 review for an even deeper dive.
The earlier OnePlus 3 was fast -- it outpaced the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5 and HTC 10 in diagnostic benchmark testing scores. This time around, the 3T beats the 3 in the same benchmarks and is just as fast as the Google Pixel and LeEco LePro 3 -- two newer phones that have the same Snapdragon 821 processor as the 3T.
When it comes to real-world use, the camera opens and snaps a shot in seconds. You'll scroll through a webpage and navigate the phone without lag. The keyboard is as quick and responsive as you'd expect. If you plan to download a lot of apps and fill up storage with photos and video, you may want to get the 128GB version to give yourself some breathing room. A nearly full 64GB phone could slow down operations later on.
OnePlus gave the 3T a bigger battery than the 3: 3,400mAh instead of 3,000mAh. As expected, it lasts longer. In our lab tests for continuous video playback on Airplane mode, the 3T lasted an average of 16 hours and 56 -- a notable 2.5 hours longer than the 3.
The battery still uses OnePlus' proprietary Dash Charging technology, which charges the battery quickly without overheating. In 30 minutes, the phone charged up to 57 percent, and after an hour, reserves were at 93 percent. A full charge took about 1 hour and 35 minutes. This is about 20 minutes longer than the 3, but that makes sense given the increase in size.
The front-facing camera on the OnePlus 3T jumps from 8 to 16 megapixels, and it's supposed to perform better in low light too. The selfies I took looked smoother and sharper than the ones on the 3, and this was extra noticeable when I zoomed in or cropped the photo. Though neither OnePlus phone nails it in dimmer lighting, I did notice less graininess and digital artifacts on the 3T compared to the 3. You can check out the differences in the images below. (Both photos are unedited, but the 3T on the left had to be resized to fit.)
As for the rear camera, it's pretty much unchanged as far as photo quality is concerned. OnePlus said it improved its image stabilization capabilities for video, but when I tested it out and watched videos side-by-side, I didn't see any big difference between the two as far as "steadiness" goes.
OnePlus wanted to give the 3T a little something more in the software department, so we get more gesture controls. You can now turn the phone over to mute a call and take screenshots by sliding three fingers downward. You can also change the shape of your icons and assign a password to individual apps for extra security. The file manager app, usually a clumsy app on Android phones, got a facelift and it's easier to navigate. All these changes will soon come to the OnePlus 3 too.
OnePlus diehards will notice that the Shelf page for quick-access apps and contacts got a makeover too. There's no more banner image and it now reminds me of Apple's iOS 10 widget panel with its white background widgets. I'm not a fan of either look, but the change won't slow you down.
The 3T runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but OnePlus said that both the 3 and 3T will upgrade to 7.0 Nougat in the near future.
There's one other feature that isn't out yet, but will be coming soon. It's called "extended screenshots" and it lets you capture a full-page screenshot of webpages or text messages, even if you only see a portion of that on the screen. I'll be excited to see this when it launches.
|OnePlus 3T||OnePlus 3||LeEco LePro 3||Motorola Moto Z Play||Alcatel Idol 4S||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; 1,920X1,080 pixels||5.5-inch; 2,560x1,440 pixels||5.5-inch; 2,560x1,440 pixels|
|Pixel density||401ppi||401ppi||403 ppi||403 ppi||534 ppi||534 ppi|
|Dimensions (Inches)||6.01x2.94x0.29 in||6.01x2.94x0.29 in||5.96x2.90x0.29 in||6.16x3x0.28 in||6.06x2.97x0.28 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||156.4x76.4x6.99 mm||153.9x75.4x6.99 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||5.82 oz; 165 g||5.26 oz; 149 g||5.92 oz; 168 g|
|Mobile software||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 7.1 Nougat|
|Processor||2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821||2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820||Qualcomm Snapdragon 821||2.0GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625||1.8GHz + 1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652||2.15GHz + 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821|
|Storage||64GB, 128GB||64GB||64GB||32GB||32GB||32GB, 128GB|
|Expandable storage||None||None||None||Up to 2TB||Up to 200GB||None|
|Battery||3,400mAh (nonremovable)||3,000mAh (nonremovable)||4,070mAh (nonremovable)||3,510 mAh (nonremovable)||3,000mAh (nonremovable)||3,450mAh (nonremovable)|
|Fingerprint sensor||Home button||Home button||Back cover||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||Moto Mods connector, NFC, Turbo Charging||Boom Key (programable key), reversible OS, dual-SIM||Google Assistant built-in, unlimited cloud storage, Daydream VR ready|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$439 (64GB), $479 (128GB)||$399||$399||$450||$400||$769 (32GB), $869 (128GB)|
|Price (GBP)||£399 (64GB), £439 (128GB)||£329||Converts to £325||£344||£385||£719 (32GB), £819 (128GB)|
|Price (AUD)||Converts to AU$590 (64GB), AU$652 (128GB)||Converts to AU$530||Converts to AU$520||AU$594||AU$470||AU$1,269 (32GB), AU$1,419 (128GB)|