By now, Oneplus is quite known for its reasonable high-end smartphones also in Europe. With the increasing prominence, the prices of Oneplus devices were increasing as well. This trend was the reason for some critique on Oneplus 5. The sale of Oneplus 5 was stopped in Europe and the successor Oneplus 5T was presented. You can now only buy Oneplus 5T at a price of 499$.
Oneplus 5T’s biggest change is the big 6-inch display with an edgeless design. Oneplus 5T is therefore in direct competition with the new flagships of Xiaomi, Samsung, and Apple. The changes are, however, not limited to the design, the phone now provides also some interesting features like an improved dual-camera and the face-unlock function. If the smartphone can convince us with its prodigious price, you’ll find out in the following review.
Design & build quality
Oneplus 5 had a high build quality and showed that Oneplus can do a good job in terms of design and build quality. However, the smartphone lacked “that certain something”, which is now improved with Oneplus 5T. Looking at the rear of both smartphones, you notice barely any difference. The front, however, is now different: the phone has a gigantic 6-inch display. Compared to the display, the front covers only a little part of the smartphone. The device can, however, not be considered as “bezel-less”, as it has bezels of 3mm left and right and 9mm at the top and bottom. In comparison to Xiaomi Mix 2, Oneplus 5T seems less breathtaking. Still, it has some kind of wow-factor and in terms of design, it is among the top devices.
Oneplus 5T’s design has made a step towards the future. But has everything improved compared to the previous model? As I already said, Oneplus 5T’s dimensions are almost identical to those of its predecessor – almost. Oneplus 5T, with its dimensions of 156 x 75 x 7.9mm, is about 3mm longer. Considering the significantly bigger display, we can ignore this difference. The thickness, on the other hand, is noticeable (7.9mm instead of 7.3mm). Well, even this is a small difference, but the phone can now no longer be considered as a quite slim smartphone. The camera module now juts out 1.3mm of the casing, whereas with Oneplus 5 it was only 0.6mm. Apart from that, the weight of 162g is still very light.
Because of the edgeless 6-inch display on the front side, there is another change in the design: the fingerprint scanner is now located on the rear and no longer in the home button. Unlocking the device happens very fast and reliably and Oneplus 5T leaves Samsung S8’s fingerprint scanner behind. The home button was removed and 5T is operated with on-screen buttons. Oneplus apparently was aware that many users prefer unlocking the phone without having to reach the rear, so the manufacturer included a face-unlock technology. Other than with iPhone X, Oneplus 5T uses the front camera and not infrared scanning. In order to use that function, either double tap on the display or press the power button. The device then scans your face and unlocks the phone. It worked surprisingly well in practice! The phone is unlocked so fast that in 9/10 attempts you don’t even see the lock-screen anymore. According to Oneplus, the unlocking only takes 0.4 seconds. We think this statement to be true: as soon as you look at the device and press the power button, the smartphone is unlocked. Unsuccessful scans are very rare and the face-unlock even works in dark rooms, if the brightness is set higher than 50%. You can’t fool the scanning algorithm with a picture or video of the user. Therefore, up until now, this unlocking method is quite secure.
Luckily, Oneplus 5T still offers a headphone jack, which was also emphasized at the smartphone’s launch. The rear made of metal also stays the same as well as the mute slide on the left. You can insert 2 Nano-SIMs in a SIM tray on the left side. A notification LED is available as well.
Does Oneplus start a new era with 5T in terms of design or does it just follow the latest hype of iPhone X and Mi Mix 2? The display got bigger and, when it comes to screen-to-body ratio, it can keep up with the top smartphones by Xiaomi, Apple, and Samsung. Build quality is at a premium level and despite its size, the smartphone is still quite compact and light. We also think that integrating an own face-unlock technology was a clever move, because of the new location of fingerprint scanner (on the rear). On the other hand, Oneplus 5T is a bit thicker than the previous model and cannot keep up with Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 in terms of the premium feeling.
If Oneplus 5T is the right choice in terms of design could be discussed in great detail. We shorten the discussion and limit us to say that the smartphone is a really nice device with a good build quality and small bezels to the big 6-inch display.
Oneplus 5T scope of delivery
The scope of delivery contains, besides the smartphone itself, the DASH charger, a USB-Type C cable, operating instructions and a SIM ejection tool. In addition, the display has a screen protector ex-works. Those wanting a protective cover find a relatively expensive selection on oneplus.net. On Amazon or Aliexpress you’ll get significantly cheaper covers.
If you want to order Oneplus 5T officially via oneplus.net and want to get a bill with the respective VAT, you’ll remain disappointed. Oneplus does neither issue a bill with VAT nor has the firm an imprint or a proper branch in Europe. In case of a dispute over warranty, you won’t have better prospects than when ordering from a Chinese online shop.
Oneplus 5T’s display has a full-HD+ resolution of 1080×2160 pixels. The unusual resolution is because of the 18:9 format of the panel. It results in a pixel density of 401ppi, which is identical to that of the previous model and is absolutely sufficient for a sharp image. A panel with higher resolution would only have had an advantage with VR glasses and would have caused a higher energy consumption. The display uses SuperAMOLED technology and provides strong colors and an infinitely high contrast. Color representation is a bit exaggerated, as typical for AMOLED screens, and the image is rather too strong than natural. Unfortunately, there is a slight tinge of red. Apart from that, Oneplus 5T offers a nice display with sufficient brightness for the use outside.
There is also a reading mode, which reduces the blue light ratio, and it can be programmed for certain periods of time. In addition, you can adjust color temperature in the display settings and there as several smart-wake functions as well. Because of the 18:9 format there are black bars above and below the display when playing normal 16:9 videos. Using the system and normal apps there are no bars. Corning Gorilla Glass protects the display from scratches.
All in all, we had a lot of fun with Oneplus 5T’s display during the test phase. The 6-inch diagonal offers enough space for any content. However, we also have to say that the usable space is not really bigger than with the predecessor, as Oneplus 5 had soft touch buttons, which now have been replaced by on-screen buttons. Not considering the space of the soft touch buttons, the display is 0.6cm longer at the top. This is definitely not a revolution, although the big display leaves a better visual impression and the on-screen buttons can be hidden.
In terms of performance, nothing really changed with Oneplus 5T. The Snapdragon 835 is still the fastest mobile processor and secures a powerful performance on the Oneplus device together with either 6 or even 8GB of LPDDRX4 RAM. The octa-core processor works with 2 clusters. The performance cluster uses 4 Kryo 280 cores with a maximum of 2.45GHz, and the energy-saving cluster offers 4 slower clocking Kryo 280 cores with 1.9GHz. Thanks to the 10nm manufacture, the processor works powerfully and simultaneously thrifty. All apps and games can be used without any problems and multitasking works perfectly, even with the “smaller” version. The internal storage has either 64 or 128GB and cannot be expanded. As typical for a flagship, the storage is a fast UFS 2.1 dual-lane memory, which has almost the speed of modern SSDs. The reading/writing speed is surprisingly high with 475/220MB/s. The RAM is really fast as well with 7GB/s.
In terms of performance, Oneplus 5T does a great job. The speed is not higher than with Oneplus 5, but this isn’t necessary. Currently, there is simply no other smartphone that is faster than Oneplus 5T.Antutu Result Geekbench Multi Result Geekbench Single Result 3D Mark Result
The system also didn’t change much. Oneplus 5T runs with OxygenOS on Android 7.1.1 basis. An update to Android 8 has already been announced by the manufacturer. There is already a beta version of Android Oreo for Oneplus, and 5T will receive the update at the beginning of the next year. The system has gathered many fans by now. The reason is simple: in contrast to the strongly modified systems of most manufacturers, OxygenOS preserves the clean Android look and only offers some additional features in the system. The result of this clean look is most visible in the extremely high speed of the system.
Regarding additional features, you find everything Android has to offer, and even a bit more. There is a split-screen mode with either 50/50 or 70/30 ratio, which turns out to be very useful considering the big display. You can also adjust access and notification authorizations meticulously. Furthermore, it is possible to change the position of the on-screen buttons or also to hide them. You can adjust the symbols in the quick launch toolbar. There is also a function to clone apps, but only certain apps are supported (among them are Facebook and WhatsApp). OxygenOS offers almost everything you’d wish for in a smartphone operating system. It also stands out what is not on the operating system: no unnecessary third-party provider apps, no unnecessary apps by the manufacturer and no useless features. Well done!
One of the subtle changes that were made on Oneplus 5T concerns the camera. As with the predecessor, also here, a dual-camera set-up was used, but the functioning has been changed. The main camera consists of a 16MP sensor and an additional 20MP sensor. The second sensor, in contrast to the previous model, is not a tele-objective anymore, meaning that the 2x zoom function is no longer available. Oneplus still integrated a 2x zoom function and states that the zoom is realized by a combination of the two sensors, but this is only a marketing strategy that has nothing to do with reality. The focus of the second camera now lies on low light images instead. The 20MP sensor has the same aperture of f/1.7 as the main camera. In low light, both sensors take a picture, and the software then adds those pictures to achieve more sharpness and less image noise. In general, this is a good idea, as I think that low light performance is more important than a 2x zoom which is rarely used by most users. However, are night shots really improved? After long photo sessions with both smartphone cameras we can say that Oneplus 5T partly really takes significantly better night shots. But partly it does not. Apparently, the addition of the pictures doesn’t work always, as some pictures really do look better with Oneplus 5T, while others look the same. The success rate is at about 50%. Doing close-ups, the algorithm works more reliably.
Regardless of the comparison with the predecessor, the low-light shots are not bad at all.
Oneplus 5, as any other smartphone, cannot keep up with a Samsung S8, nonetheless, the results are quite nice, especially if you’re lucky and the camera does a good job in the right moment.
The second function of the dual-camera is to take portrait shots with a blurry background, the so-called bokeh shots. Oneplus 5T’s camera, as that of the previous model, does a very nice job here. The person in the foreground is mostly well separated from the blurry background and with this function, you can take beautiful pictures.
Camera quality with shots taken in daylight is identical to that of Oneplus 5. The pictures have nice colors with many details. The autofocus works fast and reliably and the pictures are fully convincing.
Unfortunately, there is still no optical image stabilization like you find in Xiaomi Mi6 or Samsung S8. Videos are supported by an electronic image stabilization instead. Here, Oneplus does quite a nice job. The videos have a good image quality and even when moving, there are not blurred. 4k recordings, which are not supported by an image stabilization, look somewhat different. The Oneplus 5T does also a nice job, but only if the camera is kept still.
The front camera has changed as well. Oneplus now uses a Sony IMX 376K sensor with 20MP. The sensor’s image quality in daylight is good and you get sharp selfies with a lot of details. With less light, the quality decreases quite fast because of the high number of megapixels. The pictures are still okay, but there is a significant image noise.
Regarding connectivity, not much has changed, luckily. When it comes to the use of mobile data, Oneplus 5T delivers the full package. The phone supports a high number of LTE frequencies. Thank god there are no longer country-specific versions, and the China version supports all LTE frequencies. Reception is strong and you can use 2 Nano-SIM cards simultaneously in the phone. However, it is not possible to expand the storage. Voice quality during calls is good and has a full sound. Oneplus 5T finally offers nice speakers again. Oneplus 5 offered a loud but rather tinny sound, whereas Oneplus 5T now offers a flagship worthy sound, although it only provides a mono speaker.
The phone provides Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and supports 2.4Ghz as well as 5GHz networks. The throughput of the predecessor was a disappointment, so we hoped that Oneplus 5T would do a better job here. And indeed, the throughput is significantly higher than that of the previous model in a distance of 15m away from the router. Oneplus 5T also offers the latest Bluetooth 5.0. In terms of sensors, the smartphone provides echo, acceleration and proximity sensors as well as NFC and a gyroscope. Therefore, you can use VR glasses with Oneplus 5T, although a 2K display (like Samsung S8 offers) provides a better VR experience. The position is determined with GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, and BeiDou and for the pedestrian navigation, there is an E-compass available.
The 5.5-inch smartphone Oneplus 5 had a 3300mAh battery. The bigger Oneplus 5T still gets the same capacity despite the 6-inch display. Before starting the test, we suspected that the battery life would be significantly worse than that of the previous model. However, this was not the case, and buying Oneplus 5T you get a smartphone with long battery life. Oneplus put some effort in the software and improved energy efficiency. In the endurance test, Oneplus 5T lost only 6% of the capacity while watching a full-HD video at medium brightness for 1 hour. Playing demanding games, the phone loses about 10% in 1 hour (medium brightness). Average users get a run time of nearly 2 days and the device also provides enough power for 1 day of intense use. Great!Battery lifetime Result Unit: hours
The Oneplus device is charged with the own DASH-charge method via the USB Type-C port. The method worked really well with the predecessor and also charges Oneplus 5T very fast. After half an hour, the smartphone regains 60% of the capacity. After 70 minutes you have 95%, and the phone is completely charged in 1 hour and 20 minutes. These are top values which make it possible that even a short load time provides enough power for a longer period of time.