OnePlus 5T Long-Term Review: (Still) The Best ‘Affordable Flagship’ Out There
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The launch of a new flagship smartphone is generally followed by it being extensively covered by various media outlets and technology portals. And before you know it, unboxings and reviews are all over the place.
This haste is probably necessary, and only indicative of the whirlwind pace of today’s technological world. Because even before the hype around the new top-tier smartphone has settled, everybody already starts looking forward to the ‘next big thing’. But for our review of the OnePlus 5T, we decided to use the ‘flagship killer’ smartphone for one month.
It’s been just about two months since the OnePlus 5T was launched, and the company has already announced that its successor will be arriving in a few months. So should you wait for that, or go ahead with the 5T?
Having used OnePlus 5T as my daily driver for a little over a month, I would definitely recommend getting it. Read on to find out more!
What Has Held Up?
Design & Build Quality
While it’s definitely no head-turner like LG V30 and Samsung Galaxy Note 8, OnePlus 5T’s design isn’t bland either. The all-metal aluminum construction and smooth finish, lend the smartphone a solid in-hand feel. Power button and volume rocker are nice and clicky, and the ridged alert slider works great. The dual-camera system and two-tone dual-LED flash are located at the top left corner of the back panel, with the circular fingerprint sensor and an engraved OnePlus logo in the middle.
The USB Type-C port is at the bottom, flanked by a mono speaker and a 3.5m audio port on each side. At the front, a layer of Gorilla Glass 5 hides OnePlus 5T’s FullHD display. Above the display is the earpiece, usual assortment of sensors and the 16MP selfie shooter. The bottom bezel is bare, since the 5T uses on-screen nav buttons.
In line with the latest fad in smartphone world, OnePlus 5T has a vertically stretched display with an 18:9 aspect ratio. This results in the handset being usable with one hand despite having a 6-inch display.
Speaking of, the FullHD screen (1080x2160px resolution) of OnePlus is plenty sharp for everything from 4K movies to graphics-intensive games. Being an Optic AMOLED panel, it has rich contrast levels and deep blacks, The display supports DCI-P3 color space, in addition to the widely-used sRGB.
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Qualcomm recently announced its newest flagship SoC – Snapdragon 845 – which will be used in majority of Android flagship smartphones due to launch this year. OnePlus 5T is powered by the current top dog – Snapdragon 835 – and it shows.
With a CPU having eight Kryo cores (4×2.45GHz and 4×1.9GHz) and an Adreno 540 GPU working their magic, Snapdragon 835 makes OnePlus 5T fly through everything thrown at it with zero effort. This is further helped by 6GB/8GB of RAM and 64GB/128GB of internal storage.
During my two months of usage, I have never experienced this thing slowing down or lagging even a bit. Multitasking works flawlessly, with suspended apps resuming without any waiting times. Heavy games like Hitman Sniper and WWE Immortals run without a hitch, and heating issues aren’t really that bad either.
Quantifying the performance, OnePlus 5T scores 1953 (single-core) and 6661 (multi-core) on Geekbench 4, and 3737 (opengl es 3.1) and 2935 (vulkan) on 3DMark Slingshot.
The OnePlus 5T has a dual-camera setup at the back, comprised of one 16MP (f/1.7) and one 20MP (f/1.7) module. From a ‘Pro’ mode that can be used for RAW images to a ‘Portrait’ mode that enables images with funky ‘depth-of-field’ effects, the camera (app) offers everything.
During my two-month-long test run, I’ve found OnePlus 5T’s camera experience to be satisfying. The ‘point-and-shoot’ mode generally works well, but the Auto-HDR algorithm tends to get aggressive at times.
In dimly-lit conditions, performance is largely alright, but takes a hit as soon as HDR is turned on, with compression artefacts and graininess seeping in.
Depth-of-Field mode works nice on OnePlus 5T, with the camera doing a solid job of separating the subject from the background.
As far as selfies go, they are more than fine for sharing on social networks. That said, they come out to be a little too brightened up.
OnePlus 5T lacks OIS, but does include EIS, which makes 4K videos a little too smooth at times. However, FullHD videos don’t really have that much of resolved detail.
You can read more about OnePlus 5T’s camera performance here.
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Backing up OnePlus 5T is a 3,300mAh battery, which I found more than adequate for day to day use. With mixed usage involving a bit of gaming, music & video streaming, browsing and calls, the smartphone can make through a day of moderate use.
But what’s really worth mentioning here is ‘Dash Charge,’ the proprietary fast-charging tech used by OnePlus. Thanks to ‘Dash Charge,’ the battery gets from 1% to 100% in a little less than 1 hours 50 minutes.
What’s Not So Good?
Slow OS Updates
OnePlus 5T’s hardware is undoubtedly good, but the speed at which updates are seeded to it leaves a lot to be desired. Granted, Oxygen OS offers near-stock Android experience with handy tweaks sprinkled here and there, but it’s still dated Android 7.1.1 Nougat. This is bad, considering competing smartphones like Nokia 8 that launched much before are running Android Oreo. What’s worse is that older OnePlus smartphones have already received the Oreo update, but it’s yet to make its way to the 5T.
The OnePlus 5T is by no means a perfect smartphone. In fact, it’s near-impossible to find a perfect smartphone, even if you’re willing to spend a fortune on it. But at a (starting) price of Rs 32,999, it manages to get a lot of things right.
So if all you want is a well-rounded smartphone that offers flagship-grade performance and don’t mind things like (somewhat) slow updates and derivative designs, OnePlus 5T is going to serve you just fine for the next year or two.