“Our take on OnePlus’ latest flagship, the OnePlus 6T”
For all intents and purposes, the OnePlus 6T, which has been my daily driver for the past week, is an excellent smartphone. That said, I can’t get around the fact that the device is essentially a OnePlus 6 (review), minus the headphone jack. Needless to say, if you’re reading this article on a OnePlus 6, then you should just close the tab now. However, if your current daily driver is a couple generations old, then I feel that the OnePlus 6T is THE phone to get as whatever the competition can do, the 6T does better. If you’re still undecided, then read on to find out what makes the 6T a brilliant smartphone.
The OnePlus 6T draws parallels to its predecessor in more ways than one. However, the handset does have a lot of things going for it and the device ships with a more elegant notch, a bigger display, an in-display fingerprint sensor as well as a beefier battery.
While the lack of a headphone jack makes the OnePlus 6T a bit of a downer, we feel that the smartphone brings plenty to the table and therefore, is a worthy buy.
Specs at a glance
|Resolution||1080 x 2340 pixels|
|CPU||Quad core, 2.8 GHz + Quad core, 1.8 GHz, Snapdragon 845|
|RAM||6GB / 8GB|
|Internal memory||128GB / 256GB|
|Capacity||3,700 mAH, Li-Polymer, Non removable|
|Primary camera||16MP + 20MP|
|Network support||Dual SIM 4G|
|Other options||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS|
Design and display
There’s no two ways about it – the OnePlus 6T is a replica of the OnePlus 6 and anyone who tells you different is either a OnePlus rep or a fanboy. But that’s okay, because the OnePlus 6 was the most premium-looking smartphone from the company’s stables and, lo and behold, the 6T is an eye-candy too. More importantly, the OnePlus 6T nails ergonomics as the smartphone is extremely comfortable to hold. The glass curves seamlessly into the edges of the display, the camera protrusion has been kept to a minimum, the aluminum trim has been chamfered so as to not bite into a user’s palms – all top-notch stuff, really.
Moreover, unlike the OnePlus 6, the 6T feels a tad bit weighty as it packs in a bigger battery, which translates into a better in-hand feeling. Why, you might ask? Well, primarily because the added heft makes the device feel more robust than its predecessor, the OnePlus 6.
However, that doesn’t mean you should use the 6T without a case. It is a glass-back smartphone after all and glass tends to scratch and break quite easily. What’s more, the 6T is extremely slippery too and on several occasions, the smartphone slid to the edge of my desk when I’d set the notifications on vibrate. In a nutshell, exercise caution if you’re using the smartphone without a skin or a case.
Coming back to the design of the smartphone, the OnePlus 6T lacks a headphone jack which peeves me in more ways than one. But, that’s the direction the smartphone industry is headed in and I’ve comes to terms with that. More interestingly, the 6T ships with an in-display fingerprint sensor as opposed to the traditional rear-mounted scanner you. Now, I don’t have to tell you that this technology is still in its infancy and therefore, the optical scanner on the OnePlus 6T isn’t as accurate or fast as a physical fingerprint sensor.
That said, the sensor’s location makes it so that you don’t have to pick the smartphone up to unlock it. Moreover, once you get used to the scanner’s placement, you will be able to get into your home screen in a matter of seconds, which is good enough for most buyers.
Quite frankly, I rarely use the fingerprint sensor on OnePlus’ flagships as the company’s face unlock technology is a lot quicker and more convenient to use. You’ll be able to leverage the same on the brand’s latest smartphone too, and after a week with the device, I can confidently say that face unlock is every bit as awesome on the 6T as it was on the OnePlus 6.
Are you still traumatised by the enormous notch on the Google Pixel 3XL (review)? Fret not, as the OnePlus 6T is here to set things right. The device comes equipped with a more elegantly styled water-drop notch, the likes of which we’ve already seen on smartphones from OPPO and Vivo. This, in turn, allows the smartphone to ship with a relatively bigger display than the OnePlus 6 without increasing its physical dimensions. Moreover, the notch also feels less intrusive for when you’re consuming media or playing games on the phone.
As for the quality of the panel, the OnePlus 6T ships with a 6.4-inch, FHD+, optic AMOLED display. The company claims that it’s worked on improving the chromatic accuracy and the colour range of the panel, but I couldn’t tell it from the display of the OnePlus 6. That said, the panel is still among the best I’ve seen on a smartphone as it exhibits vibrant colours and is plenty sharp for consuming media or reading text on the fly. I was immensely satisfied with the display’s peak brightness levels too and I could comfortably use the smartphone under broad daylight.
Smartphones have all but replaced point and shoot cameras these days and therefore, it comes as no surprise that a handset’s camera specs are usually front and centre at the time of its launch. On that note, the OnePlus 6T ships with the exact same camera setup as its predecessor and comes equipped with two cameras at the back comprising 16MP and a 20MP shooters with f/1.7 apertures respectively. The 16MP camera makes use of a Sony IMX519 unit, whereas the 20MP shooter utilises a Sony IMX376K sensor. For selfies, the 6T offers a 16MP front camera with f/2.0 aperture.
Most of the camera features remain the same across the two models too, and both the OnePlus 6 as well as the 6T can record slow-motion videos at 240fps (at 1080p) and 480fps (at 720p). Moreover, both the devices can click pictures in portrait mode and also come with a built-in beauty mode. Lastly, the smartphones also ship with Google Lens baked into the camera interface, which makes it easy to identify restaurants, shops or products that you see every day. With that said, the OnePlus 6T offers a new shooting mode called Nightscape, which boosts the colours and clarity of the images shot at night. More on that later, though.
In terms of the picture quality, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell if an image has been shot on the OnePlus 6, or the newer 6T. Now, that’s not all that surprising when you take into consideration that both the smartphones use the exact same sensors. However, I did notice that the pictures I clicked with the 6T were a tad bit warmer than the ones I clicked with the OnePlus 6. I’ve attached an image samples above where you can clearly see the red colour of the Royal Enfield appears to be orange-ish on the 6T. I took a bunch of other shots comparing the sensors on the two cameras and concluded that both the devices are neck-and-neck when it comes to details and dynamic range and only differ slightly in terms of the colour temperature.
As far as my overall impressions of the smartphone’s cameras are concerned, the OnePlus 6T is an excellent shooter. It’s certainly not capable of taking on the Pixels and the Galaxy Notes of the world, but the smartphone manages to compete head-on with similarly priced competitors. The pictures I clicked with the device had an abundance of details and good dynamic range too. The smartphone did a good job at latching on to the subject and the shutter speed was really fast, so you can truly capture a moment with the 6T.
The portrait mode does an excellent job at separating the subject and blurring the background on the smartphone as well, but it also softens the images ever so slightly. In the sample shot I’ve attached, you can see that the 6T managed to create a convincing blur effect, however, struggled to retain the details on my arms and face. If you’re a selfie enthusiast then you’ll feel right at home with the 6T, which clicks some of the most detailed selfies under ideal lighting conditions. At night, the 6T’s selfie camera does little to stand out from what the competition has to offer. However, the screen flash works wonders for self-portraits and it lights up the subject’s face and the background evenly.
That said, the biggest highlight of the OnePlus 6T is its ability to click gorgeous night shots. Now, if you’re a OnePlus 6 user then fret not as the feature will soon make its way to your device by means of a software update. Moving on, the 6T basically increases the shutter speed of the smartphone to around three seconds, allowing more light to let into the sensor. This, in turn, results in a brighter, more vivid image but one that’s not necessarily void of noise and grain. During my testing, I noticed a day and night difference (quite literally) between images I’d clicked with and without Nightscape enabled (sample embedded above).
Unfortunately, the Nightscape mode is limited to the smartphone’s rear sensors and therefore, you’ll have to rely solely on the handset’s screen flash feature to light up the selfies you click at night.
Software, performance and battery
The OnePlus 6T draws parallels to its predecessor in the performance department too and the smartphone is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 845 processor clocked at 2.8GHz. However, this time around, OnePlus is furnishing the base variant of the device with 128GB of built-in, non-expandable storage. You can spec the device with up to 256GB of built-in storage and up to 8GB of RAM.
Unsurprisingly, you’ll find no faults with the device in the performance department. Be it running graphically-intensive games or opening resource-hungry applications in the blink of an eye, the OnePlus 6T handles everything like a champ. I’d also like to point out that the OnePlus smartphones, in general, are able to hold a ton of apps in memory. The 6T is no different and on one occasion, the smartphone managed to keep PUBG in memory even after a full day of using the device. What’s more, OnePlus has worked a lot on optimising the hardware with its software and therefore, you’ll notice that app and UI animations are rendered smoothly on the device.
Speaking of which, the OnePlus 6T runs Android 9.0 Pie with a skin of OxygenOS on top. As always, the skin is free from clutter and bloat which means you’ll have more storage to install the applications you want on the device. Moreover, since the software experience is similar to what you’d get with the OnePlus 6, features like gaming mode, lift to wake, expanded screenshot and three-finger screenshot make a return on the 6T as well.
I am a huge fan of how gestures work on the 6T too and unlike some smartphones * cough Google Pixel 3XL cough *, you won’t have to swipe up twice on the home screen just to bring up the app drawer. What’s more, I’ve noticed that applications like Instagram play well with the smartphone’s tiny notch. While a part of some stories was still being cut, my experience was a lot better than when I was using devices like the OnePlus 6 or the Google Pixel 3XL.
The OnePlus 6T is fuelled by a 3,700mAh battery which makes the smartphone a ‘two-day’ phone. What I mean by that is that you’ll be able to get two days’ worth of battery life from the 6T off a single charge, provided you’re using the smartphone conservatively. Under heavy usage, the device managed to last me a day and a half without any issues. I also must commend OnePlus on optimising the 6T’s standby time and after charging the phone at night, I noticed that the battery had dipped by just two percent in the morning over an eight-hour period. Unsurprisingly, the OnePlus 6T scored extremely well in our 91mobiles battery drain test and the handset managed to play a video on loop for 23 hours.
Everything considered, the 6T is a really fast smartphone with excellently optimised software and a never-ending battery life. If you’re looking for a reliable daily driver which will get you through some heavy work days without bogging you down with app crashes or lags, then your search ends here.
As for the competition, the 6T faces stiff retaliation from the likes of the LG G7+ ThinQ (review), which comes with a superior display, waterproofed chassis, wireless charging, the works. However, the smartphone has an abysmal battery life, LG’s proprietary skin is not for everyone and the G7’s cameras don’t do it any favours either.
From a pure performance standpoint, the recently unveiled Poco F1 (review) gives the 6T a run for its money too, as the handset is powered by the same silicon albeit costs significantly less than OnePlus’ offering. But, you’ll also have to settle for a world of compromises with the F1, as we’ve covered already and unless your budget is limited, the 6T is a much better deal.
Lastly, the Vivo NEX (review) poses a threat to the 6T’s dominion too as it comes with a fancy pop-out camera, an in-display fingerprint sensor, much sleeker bezels, and a notch-less display. However, the smartphone is pricier than the 6T and might I say, more delicate too.
For its asking price, which we expect to be in the region of Rs 38k, the OnePlus 6T is still the most bang-for-buck smartphone, at least in my books. The smartphone offers good cameras, has an excellent battery life, ships with Android Pie and is the fastest flagship I’ve used to date. However, with every passing year, OnePlus is steadily increasing the cost of its flagships without bringing a world of innovation or differences that would set that apart from their predecessors. The OnePlus 6 for instance, is every bit as awesome as the 6T, comes with a headphone jack and is cheaper too.
Therefore, if you are in the market for a new smartphone, the OnePlus 6 still makes for a good buy, provided it doesn’t get discontinued soon. However, if you absolutely must have the latest the technology has to offer, then it’s the OnePlus 6T that deserves your moolah.
Editor’s rating: 4 / 5
- Excellent battery life
- Solid performer
- Clutter-free software
- Dash charging
- Still not the industry leader in camera technology
- No wireless charging
- No waterproofing