OnePlus has never been one to play by the rules. Back when it made its entrance into the crowded smartphone market with the One, it set itself apart by selling a premium handset at a mid-tier price and offering invitation-only purchases instead of the standard preorders. The 3T very much fits with this rebellious nature. Essentially a refreshed version of the 6-month-old OnePlus 3, the new phone undermines another smartphone constant: the yearly update.
iPhone users are familiar with the concept of the mid-cycle model—a handset that keeps the same enclosure but beefs up features and internal components. But there’s always been a special hook with Apple’s S phones, a reason for current owners to rush out and buy the new model. The 3T could be seen as OnePlus’ attempt to mimic the success Apple has had with the formula (and in fact, the company says it picked T for the new phone’s surname simply because it’s a letter higher than S).
Nonetheless, the upgrades in the 3T shouldn’t be enough to create any jealousy among current OnePlus 3 owners. Rather, they seem designed to keep OnePlus on top of the mid-range market, and if anyone was on the fence about purchasing the 3, the 3T would likely push them over.
Polished and powerful
On the outside, the OnePlus 3T is identical to the model it replaces. That’s not a bad thing, and the cool metallic tones of the new Gunmetal gray color do well to accentuate the phone’s clean lines and understated elegance. Like its predecessor, the 3T is one of the more comfortable phones I’ve held, with a diminutive frame that belies its 5.5-inch screen. There still isn’t an SD card slot, but thankfully the handy mute button remains, as does the fingerprint sensor, which is as fast and accurate as any I’ve used.
With a tight screen-to-body ratio, most of the front of the phone is taken up by the display, and it’s a great one. Spec-wise, it’s identical to its predecessor—a 5.5-inch 1080p AMOLED—but there’s no reason to complain about that. It can be excessively bright and bold at times, but a night mode and dark theme do well to mute the intensity when using it in bed. And the sRGB calibration setting that was missing from early versions of OxygenOS on the 3 also works to tone down the display a bit (though it does impart a slight green hue).
But anyone can make a gorgeous handset these days, and besides, the 3T isn’t trying to improving on the 3’s looks. It’s about specs, and in that vein, the 3T has been fitted with the most recent Snapdragon processor (the 821) and a larger 3400mAh battery. These are decent but not to-die-for spec improvements over the previous phone (which admittedly was already pretty great in the components department).
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