OnePlus 3 owners might be upset at the rapid refresh — I’d be upset too if my phone was suddenly outdated in less than six months — but OnePlus waits for no one, not even its most loyal customers. Pushing forward as quickly as possible is built into the company’s “Never Settle” ethos.
So what’s new and what’s different and does the new justify the higher pricing ($450 for 64GB and $480 for 128GB)?
The OnePlus 3T is to the OnePlus 3 as the iPhone 6S was to the iPhone 6. That is, design-wise, the OnePlus 3T is identical to the OnePlus 3, save for the new darker gunmetal color (it’s also available in “soft gold”).
Fingerprint sensor is embedded into the touch-sensitive home button.
Image: LILI SAMS/MASHABLE
Which isn’t a deal breaker at all since the OnePlus 3’s design drew inspirations from all of the best premium phones and was already superb. Nothing’s changed on the OnePlus 3; it still feels amazing.
The 5.5-inch AMOLED screen is still “only” full HD resolution and very bright even out doors, and the home button/fingerprint sensor below the screen is still super fast.
You don’t get water-resistance, but at least the headphone jack is still there and the port is USB-C.
Modest speed boost
With the OnePlus 3T, OnePlus focused on on inner beauty. There’s a faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor with 6GB RAM, the aforementioned 128GB storage (still no expandable storage, though), and 3,400 mAh battery that lasts 13 percent longer.
As per Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 821 provides a performance boost of up to 10 percent — a very modest improvement.
The gains were mostly negligible.
And true enough, in my tests, the gains were mostly negligible, if not inconsistent. Some apps like Twitter and Feedly actually opened slower on the OnePlus 3T compared to the OnePlus 3, and other times, like launching Instagram and loading up websites, loaded up faster on the OnePlus 3T.
And for some reason, even though they were on the same Wi-Fi network, the OnePlus 3T always took longer to download the 750MB file for Need For Speed No Limits.
But like most modest performance updates, you wouldn’t notice the difference unless you had the two phones running side-by-side.
At least it has a headphone jack, which means you can charge and listen to music at the same time…
Image: lili sams/mashable
Functionally, Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow customized with OnePlus’s “OxygenOS” add-ons still runs like a champ with buttery smooth performance and no real slowdown.
The 13 percent longer battery life is also welcome and got me through nearly two days if I was judicial with my usage. Heavy users should have no problem getting through a full day. Plus, the Dash charging is still the quickest fast charging technology around, juicing up the OnePlus 3T from 0% to about 60% in 30 minutes.
Stock Android gets dressed up
The OnePlus 3T runs OxygenOS, which is based off of stock Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow.
Don’t be alarmed…yet.
While the OnePlus 3T is still based off of stock Android, the customized OxygenOS software is starting to show signs of deviating from Google’s clean experience.
Right off the bat, you’ll notice some of the icons are different (i.e. Messages, Calculator, Settings and Clock). Open some of the apps and you’ll see some small and subtle differences, but nothing as overbearing as the skins on other Android phones (I’m looking at you Samsung, LG).
As always, all of OyxgenOS’s extras (Shelf, gestures, dark theme, touch-sensitive/onscreen buttons, etc.) are customizable.