Review OnePlus 5T flagship smartphone with 6/64GB or 8/128GB from $494.99

OnePlus has also launched a renewed version of its flagship in 2017. In terms of hardware, the new OnePlus 5T doesn’t change that much, but it follows the latest design trends. But do the few changes to the display and camera justify a completely new device?

OnePlus 5T

Display 6 inch 18:9 2160×1080 2K AMOLED Display (401 PPI) with Gorilla Glass 5
Processor Snapdragon 835 Octa Core @ 1.9GHz & 2.45GHz
Graphics chip Adreno 540 @ 710 MHz
Memory 6 GB / 8 GB LPDDR4X Dual Channel @ 1.866 MHz
Internal memory 64 GB / 128 GB UFS 2.1
Main camera dual camera with 16MP IMX398 f/1.7 and 20MP IMX376K f/1.7
Front camera 16MP Sony IMX 371 with f/2.0 aperture
Battery 3.300 mAh with Dash Charge
Connectivity LTE, Bluetooth 5.0 & aptX, Wlan AC, NFC, GPS/GLONASS
Features USB Type-C, Dual nano-SIM, Headphone jack, Face Unlock
Operating system Android 8.0 Oreo + OxygenOS 5.0.2 interface (security patch 12/17)
Dimensions / Weight 156,1 x 75 x 7,3mm / 162g

Design & finish: flawless but no revolution

If we’re going to take a feature from 2017, it’s certainly the edgeless design. What Xiaomi started with their Mi Mix found its way to the new iPhone. The new OnePlus 5T also has a ” edgeless ” design. The 156.1 x 75 x 7.3 mm large smartphone stretches its 6 inch display over almost the entire width. In contrast to devices like the Mi Mix 2, OnePlus leaves a black border. As with the predecessor, the back and frame are made of one piece of aluminium, which is in “midnight black”.

OnePlus 5T Hardware

The front is protected by Gorilla Glass 5. Another change to the OnePlus 5 is the fingerprint sensor, which is now in the middle of the back due to the narrower edge, which some might even welcome. The CEO of OnePlus has already commented on a controversial topic. Of course, it’s about the headphone jack, which wasn’t removed from the 5T. Also available again is a USB Type C connector, which supports the fast charging technology Dash Charge. Both inputs are located on the bottom of the phone.

OnePlus 5T jack, USB-C, speaker

Also on the underside is the loudspeaker which unfortunately does not work in connection with the ear piece. So you only get mono sound, which is probably as good as it is possible with this setup. Let’s get to the buttons or switches, because since its second mobile phone OnePlus has one more than most manufacturers. On the right is the normal power button and on the left is a notification slider above the volume rocker for fast switching between sound modes.

OnePlus 5T Buttons

All in all, the design of the 5T hasn’t changed much compared to its predecessor and so it still looks a bit like an iPhone 7 Plus from behind, except for the fingerprint sensor. But I still like it, just because it is kept in plain black and you hardly see the antenna lines.

OnePlus 5T Thin

The workmanship is also convincing all along the line. Wobbly keys or slots and too large columns or even edges are not found on the 5T. Beautifully rounded corners in combination with the 2.5D glass provide a pleasant holding feeling. Another contributing factor is that the flagship is only 7.3mm thin and weighs a comparatively light 162 grams for its overall size – over 20 grams less than the Mi Mix 2.

Display: The Best in a China Smartphone Today

As the headline subtly suggests, the display is currently the best on the Chinese smartphone market for me – and for exactly one reason: OLED. Anyone who has ever enjoyed an OLED display, whether on a TV or smartphone, no longer wants to miss the rich colors.

The virtually infinite contrast ratio due to real black simply makes the colours appear more vivid. Pictures and videos are a real pleasure and apparently have more depth. Of course, the experience is difficult to transport on photos, but the local electronics store will certainly showcase some smartphones with OLED displays 😉 . Of course we are talking about a good OLED panel and not a pixel 2 XL OLED.

OnePlus 5T

If you have to think directly of the excessively strong colours of Samsung mobile phones with OLED or AMOLED in particular, you can calm down again. OnePlus gives the user the possibility to adjust the color display as desired. You can choose between a trendy standard mode, sRGB, DCI-P3 (with a wider colour spectrum), an adaptive mode (adapts to light conditions) and a completely user-defined mode. I personally chose the less aggressive DCI-P3 mode, but everyone should find a suitable setting here.

OnePlus 5T Display Pixel

Besides the colours and the deep black, OLED naturally offers further advantages, e.g. in the energy sector. Since each pixel can be switched on and off individually, many pixels can simply remain off with a black screen or app background. This can save a lot of energy compared to an LCD.

This is also useful when watching 16:9 videos on the 18:9 display, as the black bars to the left and right of the video are not visible. The resolution of 2160 x 1080 pixels is enough for me personally and again has a positive effect on the battery life. The brightness is also very good and can keep up with the Mi Mix 2 in the comparison test.

Performance: Between brilliant and overkill

With a release only about six months later, you quickly wonder what OnePlus can do about the hardware. With a Snapdragon 835 (Octa Core @ 1.9 GHz & 2.45GHz), Adreno 540 GPU (710 MHz) and at least 6 GB LPDDR4X RAM in OP 5, you are already at the cutting edge of technology.

This is exactly what OnePlus thought and did not upgrade the 5T hardware. The possibility would never have been there, because the Snapdragon 845 was/is not yet available. The overkill version with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB fast main memory according to UFS 2.1 standard is then at the absolute limit of what is possible and in my opinion also sensible.

OnePlus 5T Dual Sim & Power Button

As you would expect from the hardware, the OnePlus 5T flies through split-screen multitasking, graphics-intensive games and 20 apps open at the same time. No matter what I tried, it just didn’t get into a stutter and didn’t hang up at all. Of course, this is also because I tested the 8 GB version, but with my OnePlus 3 I can assure you that even 6 GB RAM (if it is as fast as the OP 5T) will do.

But if you need the 128GB memory for all your 4K videos, you won’t get around the more expensive version, because once again (!) no SD card slot is available. Since every $150 mobile phone from China has a hybrid slot, this is a bit disappointing for a flagship smartphone in this price range.

Benchmark test results: Peak performance as expected

The benchmarks show that the 5T, like the 5, is one of the most powerful smartphones currently available. The only drawback is the USB-C port, which unfortunately only supports the outdated 2.0 standard. Therefore, wired file transfers are usually slower than those that run over a reasonably fast WLAN. That’s the only point of criticism and it’s unlikely to get in the way of most people, as many use cloud services.

OnePlus 5T Benchmarks
The benchmarks confirm the extremely positive first impression of the performance (GeekBench, AntuTu, PCMark, A1 SD)

Software: OxygenOS convinces (Now also Android 8.0)

As a former OnePlus 3 user, I may be a bit of a bias here, but I personally think OxygenOS is the best skin currently available on Android phones. It doesn’t change too much, leaving a certain stock android look. Whether you like that, of course, everyone has to decide for himself. With the update to Android 8.0 Oreo, which was released at the end of January, you are now back on the latest major version of Android. Really new after the update are only the quick settings, which are now four instead of only three per row, as well as the revised app shortcuts.

OnePlus 5T OxygenOS Software

The additions include:

  • Double-tap-to-wake, double-click the power button to start the camera, bright or dark system theme
  • Gestures for drawing the letters O, V, S, M, W. The linked action or app is freely selectable.
  • Wipe down the home screen or fingerprint sensor to show notifications
  • Support for icon packs, shelf (right in the picture), actions for long or double pressing of the software keys

This as said no new inventions or revolutions, but complement Android in my opinion perfectly, without being in the way or worsening the performance.

Camera: Better than the Mi 6

With the main camera, OnePlus has made a strange change compared to its predecessor. The secondary camera on the back was converted into a low-light oscillia camera. The OnePlus 5 had a zoom camera installed at this point for a real double zoom. So now a 16MP camera with Sony IMX398 sensor and a f/1.7 large aperture is used as main camera.

OnePlus 5T Dual Camera

In low light conditions the 20MP camera with Sony IMX376K sensor and f/1.7 f-stop will jump in. I tested that too and the active camera really changes to the 20MP shooter during low-light shots. Nevertheless, a zoom camera, or even better, a wide-angle camera would have pleased me more.

Main camera

Overall, however, the 5T’s images are simply amazing and captivate with clarity, color fidelity, saturation and sharpness. Panoramic photos are also a success and the portrait shots put those of the Mi 6 easily in the bag. Of course, there is also a manual mode and 4K videos.

OnePlus 5T Town Hall Gallery

OnePlus 5T mountain panorama
Finally some successful panorama shots
OnePlus 5T River
Convincing colour fidelity and clarity
OnePlus 5T Night Scene
This is where the low-light camera mentioned above comes into play
OnePlus 5T portrait mode vs. Xiaomi Mi 6
Trendy portrait mode works even better than the Mi 6 (right)

Front Camera / Selfie Camera

The front camera is also one of the best we have ever tested. The 16MP Sony IMX 371 sensor works well in combination with a f/2.0 aperture. Furthermore, this camera is also used for Face Unlock, which I’ll talk about later. For selfies in low light conditions, a flash that briefly illuminates the entire screen in white helps to brighten your face.

OnePlus 5T Front Camera

Battery and runtime: Dash Charge!

The battery is only averagely large at 3,300 mAh. For comparison, the OP5 had the same battery size despite a smaller display and the Mi Mix 2 has 100 mAh more battery capacity for the same screen size. Nevertheless, I am very satisfied with the running time of the 5T. So I didn’t need a charger even on days with a lot of use until the evening. “A lot of usage” means streaming Spotify and YouTube, surfing some social networks, playing Data Wing, Whatsapp and of course the permanent Bluetooth connection to my Mi Band 2.

OnePlus 5T Battery Dash Charge

AccuBattery shows me 9 hours screen-on-time at full battery charge. On some days I went to bed with a 30-40% battery without connecting my mobile phone. In the morning I just recharged it with the Dash Charger and after only 30 minutes I was with 90% ready for the day. If I had a Dash Charger at home and one at work, I would simply charge as needed and not every night.

Connectivity: Worldwide LTE & good GPS

Smartphones from China do not always support the local LTE network. Fortunately, the 5T, like its predecessors, has a total of 23 LTE bands it supports. On the O2/E-plus network I had good reception and sound (when I was on the phone) and no LTE problems.

OnePlus 5T connectivity

The 5T also works with Bluetooth 5.0 and can send audio to two speakers/headphones simultaneously as soon as the Android 8 update is available. Audiophiles can already look forward to aptX and aptX HD support. WLAN Dual Band ac is of course also available and ensures fast download and upload rates.

OnePlus 5T WLAN GPS
The GPS test was carried out in “Device only” mode and indoor

Positioning in “device only” mode works very well and so the OP5T got me safely to my skiing holiday. The support for NFC (for Android Pay etc.) and OTG is also pleasing.

Extras and accessories: Top-Feature Face Unlock

After Apple buried their fingerprint scanner with FaceID this year, the outcry in the Android camp was big, because since Android 4.0 the face recognition is already there. But let’s be honest, the implementation so far has been very mediocre.

OnePlus has greatly improved this feature on the 5T and made it a real alternative to the fingerprint sensor. Often the lock screen is no longer displayed because Face Unlock works so fast. But OnePlus says it’s not as secure as the fingerprint scanner when you set it up. The fingerprint sensor is therefore still used for banking apps and the like. Fortunately this is one of the fastest on the market and can be used at the same time as Face Unlock (Doogee can learn something there).

OnePlus 5T Face Detection

Another useful feature which OnePlus has integrated since OP2 is the notification slider. This allows you to switch quickly and easily between “Sound”, “Do not disturb” and “Mute”. The notification LED, which is important for me, is also available again.

OnePlus 5T Notification Slider & Volume Rocker

The packaging of the OnePlus 5T also contains some accessories. The device comes with a protective plastic film and a transparent silicone cover next to the Dash Charge Adapter and the red cable.OnePlus 5T Scope of delivery

Conclusion: The best smartphone from China

It’s almost a bit “boring” to test such a good smartphone, because there’s just so little to complain about. Processing, performance, software, cameras, battery and connectivity are convincing all along the line. After the update to Android 8.0, the only real points of criticism for me are the lack of an IP rating for water and dust protection and the USB 2.0 port. But just because of Face Unlock I don’t want to use another phone anymore.

Finally, the OnePlus 5T is basically a OnePlus 5 with design adaptation and other secondary cameras. So there are few reasons for the owner of a OnePlus 5 to buy the 5T. All those who were already interested in the OnePlus 5 now have the chance to get a OnePlus 5 with a modern design. Whether a 5T in this form was necessary is questionable, but OnePlus as a company must take the trend of the “rimless” 18:9 smartphones with it. But it’s not bad at all and can leave the Xiaomi Mi 6 or Mix 2 behind in almost all points. What do you think of the current OnePlus flagship?

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Alex

Part of the China-Gadgets Team since 2016. I love China-Smartphones and all accessories that surround them.

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