OnePlus 6T Review: The Definition of Bang for the Buck


OUR VERDICT

The OnePlus has really caught out hearts with the OnePlus 6T. The phone is the most accomplished phone OnePlus has ever made and maybe amongst the big players like the Note 9 or the Pixel 3. OnePlus has provided a package of very innovative technology including an under-screen fingerprint scanner and a larger battery and has minimized the notch which is the best implementation of the notch I have seen so far. I am very pleased with what OnePlus has made and for such a low price. I wouldn’t think twice about recommending this phone even over the Note 9 or the iPhone X. It is one of the best phones you can buy right now.

FOR

  • Large battery
  • Minimized notch
  • Beautiful and thoughtful design
  • Powerful rear camera

AGAINST

  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • No wireless charging
  • Not a QHD display
  • No waterproof rating

One of the most anticipated phones of 2018 has been the OnePlus 6T. OnePlus already did a great Job with the OnePlus 6 which raised the bar on what the 6T was going to offer. OnePlus has successfully lived up to expectations with the 6T. OnePlus was able to bring new meaningful tech to make for a meaningful upgrade and it is one.

OnePlus 6T Review: Release date and price

The OnePlus 6T is set to go on sale on November 6 at 9 AM GMT

The OnePlus 6T starts at $549 for the 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in the Mirror Black color. The same storage and color but with 8GB of RAM will cost you $579.

Midnight Black versions of the phone have 8GB of RAM and cost $579 or $629 depending on whether you go for the 128GB or 256GB versions.

In the US, T-Mobile is the exclusive carrier if you don’t want to buy the phone outright. In the UK, the OnePlus 6T as it’s going to be available on multiple carriers like O2, EE and Vodafone, as well as from Amazon, Carphone Warehouse and John Lewis.

OnePlus 6T Review: Design

The OnePlus 6T design is a step up and improvement from the OnePlus 6 which was premium and a great looking device. It is designed to reiterate the essentials as is OnePlus’ principles “to perfect what is essential for a phone”

In that regard, there are a few worthwhile and well-implemented changes from the 6 that makes the 6T a worthy contestant in the league of great smartphones of 2018.

The body is glass on both the front and back of the device offering two color variants: mirror black or midnight black which are essentially reflective and matte blacks respectively. OnePlus was known to be working on other color schemes like the two in one colors present in Huawei’s late premium devices. No other color has been announced but we hope OnePlus will introduce new color finishes soon.

The phone feels very comfortable to hold, and it’s easy enough to grip. The OnePlus 6T stands at 157.5mm tall with a width of 74.8mm and a little thicker than the 6 at 8.2mm. Though it has a big screen, it’s not a very large phone in the hands except your hands are too small. I had no problems handling it but my hands are a little on the big side.

The removal of the fingerprint sensor on the rear of the 6T gives it an overall cleaner look on the back. The OnePlus 6T rear only holds the dual rear cameras, a small flash below it and OnePlus’ logo which should really count as an obstructive feature on the phone. Other than that the back of the phone is empty, which contributes to a more comfortable feel in the hand.

On the right-hand side edge of the phone is a power on button, which is one option for waking the device, the other being double tap to wake will quickly become your favorite way to wake up the phone as it was for me. Another side edge feature on the OnePlus 6T is its signature OnePlus slider that allows you to mute your phone with a quick and very conveniently placed button. Am so glad that OnePlus still keeps this feature. It’s also present on iPhone and I find it particularly useful and convenient when I need to quickly mute the device.

On the left-hand edge of the device is the volume rocker, which is easy to reach.

On the bottom of the phone is the USB-C port, guarded by two speakers on either side for stereo audio.

OnePlus made a controversial move with the OnePlus 6T. Being one of the very few manufactures along with Samsung that retained the Headphone jack up until now, it’s a huge blow to jack, almost a Knock Out. One of the reasons OnePlus cut the headphone jack was to make room for the in-screen fingerprint sensor, which the company brands as Screen Unlock.

It’s also banking on its customers’ use of Bluetooth headphones. After conducting a user survey, it found that 59 percent of respondents already used wireless headphones to listen to music and place calls. And for the first time since June 2016, sales of Bluetooth headphones overtook non-Bluetooth headphones in the US, according to analyst firm NPD.

In a bid to calm upset OnePlus fans who want a physical way to plug in their headphones, OnePlus includes a 3.5mm to USB-C adapter in the box so you can still plug in your wired headphones, while it also encourages you to use Bluetooth headphones as an alternative. We don’t see this as such a big problem these days – after all, several other brands have already axed the jack – but it’s something that’s likely to put off some fans of the brand.

OnePlus 6T Review: Display



The display is the one feature that distinguished the OnePlus 6T from the OnePlus 6. It has the least invasive notch implementation that we have seen yet, called the Tear Drop notch. It dips into the display just enough to house a front facing camera. If you hate a notch, you can quite easily get over the notch in the OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T screen has a 6.41-inch size with resolution 2340 × 1080 px. The Aspect ratio of a screen is 19.5:9. The pixel density is equal to 402 pixels per inch (PPI). OnePlus 6T screen based on Optic AMOLED technology and able to reproduce 16,777,216 colors with the color of depth – 24 bits. The screen is covered by Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection glass.

Though it has such small bezels and the teardrop notch, it’s only an 86% screen to body ratio – that isn’t as high as some of the alternatives on the market, but it’s not something you’re likely to notice in day to day use.

The resolution is 2340 x 1080, with 402 pixels per inch, and the picture quality is gorgeous. The AMOLED technology makes the colors pop, and we’re big fans of the picture quality you can get from a relatively low-resolution device in 2018.

You still won’t find an always-on option but OnePlus continues to offer its simple tap to show basic notifications, time and date.

OnePlus 6T Review: The new fingerprint sensor

The biggest upgrade on the OnePlus 6T is how you unlock the OnePlus 6T, and that’s by using the fingerprint sensor that’s now embedded underneath the screen.

This is a new technology that we’re starting to see on more and more smartph
ones, including the Oppo Find X, Vivo Nex, Huawei Mate 20 Pro. It’s something Samsung is experimenting with too, and it means a fingerprint scanner can go on the front of your phone, where it’s easier to hit, without taking up space that could be used for more screen.

This security feature is now hidden neatly under the OLED screen. It’s clever stuff with the device showing you the exact position of the sensor via a glowing blue and green pattern on the screen. The placement of the fingerprint scanner to the rear from the front chin became a little awkward but it’s nice to see it return to where it belongs.


However, the OnePlus solution isn’t totally faultless. We had a fairly good success rate with this embedded scanner but it’s not as fast as the standard scanners most of us use on a daily basis.  You may also struggle to unlock the 6T if the screen gets wet or have mucky fingers. Our overall experience of this new feature has been good but feel it needs some fine tuning before we can wholeheartedly recommend it but it’s a great first step.

Luckily, OnePlus has also included facial recognition which, although not as secure, does work well and means you should never really have a problem unlocking this device.

OnePlus 6T Review: Battery life

One of OnePlus’ reasons to take out the headphone Jack was to fit in a bigger battery in the OnePlus 6T. This has made a pretty noticeable improvement on the battery life of the OnePlus 6T over I predecessor the OnePlus 6.

The OnePlus 6T gives you a solid day of use from a single charge – and often we found ourselves with a little extra in the tank as well.

The OnePlus 6T battery is 3700mAh, which is a big jump up from the 3300mAh power pack inside the OnePlus 6, and the difference is noticeable.

We ran our standard battery test, playing a 90-minute video in Full HD and at maximum brightness, and found the phone only lost 10% of its charge. The OnePlus 6 lost 15% of its battery in the same test.

There’s no wireless charging on the OnePlus 6T – it’s a feature the company continues to omit even as much of the competition embraces it, with the latest phones from Google, Huawei and Apple all sporting the feature.

It’s an odd omission, but it’s not likely something you’ll miss unless you already use a wireless charger. There is fast-charging though, and that means you can quickly get some juice into your phone if you need it before you head out – and we’d rather have this than wireless charging on the 6T.

Charging Test

The OnePlus 6T comes with support for OnePlus’ fast charging technology and ships with a 5V/4A fast charger in the box. The OnePlus 6T not only comes with a bigger battery but also charges a bit faster.

The bundled charger managed to charge up the phone from 10 to 100 percent in just 1 hour and 15 minutes, which is quite impressive. The OnePlus 6 takes a similar amount of time, but with a smaller battery. So, as you might have already expected, the OnePlus 6T really shines when it comes to charging speeds.

Battery Life

The OnePlus 6T has an exceptional battery life compared to the 6 improved by OnePlus software approach to regulating the battery consumption for the device. We put the OnePlus 6T through two different use case scenarios – one with a normal everyday workload and the other with intensive use. Here’s how the device performed.

With a normal workload
OnePlus 6T review: Normal workload battery test

Our normal workload included calling and texting light web browsing, using social media, listening to music and playing a game or two of PUBG Mobile. The OnePlus 6T easily managed to last a full day with almost 50 percent battery remaining delivering 3 hours of onscreen time. The OnePlus 6T Optic AMOLED display and OnePlus’ software optimization manages to last quite a while on a single charge.

Under an intensive workload.
OnePlus 6T review: Intense workload battery test

On our intensive workload we ran benchmarking apps, sucked into a YouTube black hole and watched too many YouTube videos, playing several PUBG Mobile matches, along with the usual calling and texting, the OnePlus 6T managed to pull off a screen-on-time just shy of 7 hours and 30 minutes while lasting one and a half days with that kind of use.

The device barely lost any charge overnight, which means that OnePlus has considerably improved the standby times for the device. With that kind of screen-on-time, the OnePlus 6T definitely shines, even among smartphones that pack larger 4,000mAh batteries.

The OnePlus 6T is definitely the device to get if you want great battery life along with fast charging easily lasting a full day under heavy workload.

OnePlus 6T Review: Camera

The camera on the OnePlus 6 was excellent for the price of the phone, and so too is the snapper on the OnePlus 6T. While OnePlus has stuck with the same hardware on the T update, the software is improved, notably with the addition of a new Nightscape long exposure mode.

The camera features a wide-angle lens paired with a 16MP sensor, as well as a secondary 20MP lens and sensor combination. Both lenses feature a f/1.7 aperture.

The shooting modes on the 6T are fairly predictable – there’s automatic, portrait, manual and panorama. When it comes to video, slow motion and time-lapse modes complement a simple enough automatic mode.

Within the shooting UI, OnePlus also gives you quick access to useful tools like Google Lens, flash, self-timer and aspect ratio control, direct from your viewfinder.

The settings are also nice and comprehensive. In addition to the usual options the OnePlus 6T can display one of three grids on the screen to help with composition, while there are also toggles for smile capture, auto HDR and auto night scene, in addition to more advanced Pro Mode tools, such as a histogram and an on-screen level to help you avoid titling horizons and buildings.

Given the price of the 6T, it can take some outstanding pictures. It undercuts the Pixel 3 and Mate 20 Pro – and of course the iPhone XS – in terms of price, but in certain situations, it can go toe to toe with all three when it comes to image quality.

Before we get to the good, though, let’s start with the bad: image quality from the OnePlus 6T suffers badly when you zoom in, especially in low light.

In fact, 8x zoom pictures were also worse than the OnePlus 6, which suggests the camera software needs a bit of refining rather than the hardware – so hopefully it’s an issue that can be addressed with an update.

Other than this anomaly though, everything else about the camera has impressed us. Good light enables the 6T’s camera to flex its extra pixels compared to much of the 12MP competition, capturing staggering amounts of detail reproducing tones beautifully – check out our leaf picture.

Skylines are also handled admirably, with the auto HDR feature putting more expensive phones, like the Razer Phone 2, to shame. You can see this in our shot of the building – the OnePlus 6T absolutely nails it.

Detail noticeably suffers as the sun starts to go down, but overall image quality remains solid if you’re okay with your pictures softening a little.

The new AI-assisted Nightscape mode, clearly created to challenge the long-exposure night mode introduced on the Huawei P20 series, as well as the Night Sight mode announced for the Pixel 3, is good, but not as good as the competition’s intelligent photography.

It brightens up images,
sure, but it doesn’t add stacks more detail, as Huawei and Google’s night modes do. That brightening can actually be a bit over the top in relation to the actual lighting when taking the shot, to the point where shots can look unnaturally overexposed. It’s a feature that’s nice to have, and it’s great that OnePlus is rolling out the update to the OnePlus 6, but hopefully, it will get better down the line.

The bokeh effects are also imperfect – as are all bokeh effects that rely on software rather than a depth-sensing lens – but they’re in line with what you’ll get from competing handsets. The 6T was able to do a pretty good job of distinguishing a jaggedly outlined plant from its background, delivering similar results to the Pixel 3.

Selfies are also nice and sharp, especially in good lighting. With the front 16MP f/2 camera always metering the exposure based on the faces in the shot you can end up with some very bright, blown out backgrounds – HDR here doesn’t work as well as on the front camera of the Pixels – but if it’s nicely exposed faces you want, that’s what you get – and the selfie bokeh mode works well too.

Video performance up to 4K is great, with the onboard stabilization working really well and focus being responsive, with particularly strong macro detail. 4K video is capped at 10 minutes, and things start to break down when you engage the 2x zoom but stay wide and results are competitive, even in middling light.

OnePlus 6T Review: Interface

You’ll notice as soon as your boot up your OnePlus 6T that the interface looks quite different to stock Android. The 6T is running Android 9 Pie out of the box, with OnePlus’ own OxygenOS UI overlaid.

It means the main apps look different, while OxygenOS adds a variety of custom features that you only get from OnePlus.

It’s easy enough to get your head around, with everything working in a similar way to how it does on other Android devices, but there are a few quirks and things to note.

To access your app drawer, it’s a simple swipe up from the bottom of the phone, which feels like a seamless way to open the menu, rather than a tap. It’s a minor thing, but it’s something we’ve always enjoyed about Oxygen OS.

There isn’t much bloatware on the OnePlus 6T, and apart from the core apps you’d expect from Google, such as YouTube, Gmail and a variety of others alongside apps for a calculator, calendar and more, you’ll find it refreshingly clean.

If you’re a big fan of the OnePlus brand there’s an app called Community, which gives you quick and easy access to forums, and other OnePlus services and features. OnePlus claims apps boot up quicker on the 6T thanks to a feature called Smart Boost. This stores the data of your frequently used apps, making them a touch quicker to launch, but it’s only between 5-20% faster, and we can’t say we’ve noticed the difference in day to day use.

If you don’t like the navigation bar along the bottom of the screen you can enable a feature called Navigation Gestures, which allows you to instead swipe along the bottom of the phone. It’s not a feature everyone will want, and it took us a while to get used to this way of navigating the interface, but it will allow you to have more screen for your apps.

There are also a variety of gestures you can use that you won’t find on other handsets – for example you can lock the phone by double tapping anywhere on the home screen, or tap the screen with three fingers at the same time to take a screenshot.

Again, these will take some getting used to, but once you get the hang of them they’re an easy way to access different elements of the phone – and if you don’t like the default set of gestures you can choose different ones in the Settings.

The interface of the OnePlus 6T just… works. We like the fact that it’s easy to pick the phone up and go without having to use the extra features, but there are plenty of options if you want to delve deeper into particular settings.

OnePlus 6T Review: Movies, music and gaming

For watching video on the OnePlus 6T you’ve got that big beautiful display which, while it can’t compete with the best screens from the likes of Sony and Samsung, still makes for a great viewing experience.

You may need to turn up the brightness to be able to get the full experience, but we enjoyed watching video on this phone.

One of the big talking points about the OnePlus 6T is that this is the first OnePlus phone to do away with the 3.5mm headphone jack. That’s a big deal for much of the OnePlus fan base, but we’re not sure how much it’s going to matter to the average user.

If you prefer to use wired headphones, OnePlus has included an easy to use 3.5mm-to-USB-C adapter in the box. You may feel put out by having to carry this around with you, but we found it worked well – and does mean you don’t have to fork out for new headphones.

Alternatively, pairing Bluetooth headphones is straightforward, and we found the connection held up well, so in our opinion, the loss of the headphone jack isn’t that big of a deal – there’s no getting away from the fact that some OnePlus fans will be disappointed though.

The speakers on the 6T are okay, but it feels like this is an area where OnePlus has taken the opportunity to save some money.

Audio quality is fine, but don’t expect to get a rich sound like you can on some other handsets like the HTC U12 – and the two speakers are on the bottom edge of the phone, which means it can be easy to cover them up.

Gaming on the OnePlus 6T is suitably impressive, with a large screen making for an immersive experience and the powerful processor inside ensuring smooth graphics and slick gameplay.

The 6T will be able to handle any games you want to throw at it, and the Gaming Mode from the OnePlus 6 has returned to lock the brightness level and restrict your notifications. There are some notable improvements for the OnePlus 6T.

Your notifications will still appear when you’re in Gaming Mode, but they become small floating options that are less intrusive, so you can keep on top of your notifications at the same time as enjoying your game.

There’s plenty of room for your games and other media too, with the entry-level configuration of the OnePlus 6T offering 128GB of storage. That’s more than enough for most people, but if you want even more you can opt for the 256GB model.

It’s worth noting, however, that unlike on many other Android phones you can’t expand the storage via microSD, so if you think you’ll need more than 128GB you may want to opt for the larger phone.

 OnePlus 6T review: Specs and performance

Powering the OnePlus 6T is the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset, and it’s well capable of delivering the sort of performance you’d expect from a top-end phone in 2018.

Depending on what version of the phone you’re buying, you’ll get either 6GB or 8GB of RAM – you get 8GB in the 256GB model, while you can choose either 6GB or 8GB with the 128GB version. We’ve only tested the 8GB/128GB variant, but based on other OnePlus phones we’ve used we wouldn’t expect a massive difference performance-wise between the three versions.

Whether it was gaming or multitasking between apps, the OnePlus 6T handled everything we asked of it with ease – it feels like the company has gotten better at optimizing its software for the processors being used. In terms of performance, this is the most accomplished OnePlus handset yet, capable of holding its own against the very best the competition has to offer.

We ran Geekbench 4 on the phone and got a score of 8461. That’s good, but not the best we’ve seen recently, with handsets like the Huawei Mate 20 and iPhone X breaking the 10,000 barrier on the benchmarking system.

What’s interesting is that the phone actually scored lower than the OnePlus 6. That phone returned a score of 9100, so it’s interesting that the 6T didn’t manage something similar.

That said, we didn’t notice any issues with performance in day to day use – if you want a phone with cutting-edge power then you’ll need to look elsewhere, but if you just want enough power to comfortably play games and watch video you’ll be just fine with the OnePlus 6T.

The OnePlus 6T is a good-looking and powerful smartphone that can compete with handsets from the larger and more established brands on the market.

And at a time when phones from the leading brands are coming with increasingly eye-watering price tags, it feels like good value – OnePlus has increased the price of this handset over the OnePlus 6, but it feels like a worthwhile upgrade considering it’s still under £500 / $550.

We’ll talk more about who we think this phone is made for below, but in short, this is a handset that will appeal to anyone looking for a powerful Android handset that is a lot more affordable than the rest of the competition.

OnePlus 6T Review: Who’s this for?

First and foremost, the OnePlus 6T is for fans of OnePlus phones. Many of them will be turned off by the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack if the reaction on social media is anything to go by, but this is still an accomplished OnePlus phone, and anyone who wants a clean – albeit not stock – and easy to use version of Android will be happy with this.

OnePlus phones aren’t as cheap as they used to be, but this is still an affordable price for a smartphone when you consider that the iPhone XR – the cheapest of the three new iPhones – starts at $749 / £749 / AU$1,229, and the new Huawei Mate 20 Pro is £899, AU$1,599 (about $1,150). If you’re after a phone with flagship specs this is still one of the most affordable options.

OnePlus 6T Review: Should you buy it?

Yes, if you’re looking for a more affordable flagship phone than most of the other manufacturers are offering.

That lower price looks particularly attractive this time around, and it means that, although it only has a Full HD+ resolution display and lacks a few features like wireless charging, the OnePlus 6T is a compelling alternative to a lot of other top-end phones.

It’s difficult to find any real fault with this phone. If you want solid battery life, terrific power and cutting-edge features like the in-screen fingerprint scanner, the OnePlus 6T is made for you.

OnePlus 6T Review: The Definition of Bang for the Buck
Techkrest Hanson on November 06 2018
Rating: 4.7