review

OnePlus 5T Review: “I am just the OnePlus 5 Plus”

The OnePlus 5T interviewed by the OnePlus 5

Ever since OnePlus took the wraps off the 5T, we have been besieged by queries not just about how good the device is but also how much (or indeed if at all) it is better than its predecessor, the OnePlus 5. That worthy, if you remember, came with a very good spec sheet and a very promising pair of cameras, even though it was affected to an extent by some rather buggy software, which OnePlus to its credit has been fixing through a regular (almost too regular) flow of updates. So we decided to let the two devices talk it out among themselves to get a better perspective. What follows is a fictional but totally fact-based exchange of views between two phones that were divided by just a T:

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Right, let me get this off by stating that I am going to miss being in the market, as I am on the way out. And it has been great being here and I would like to thank Carl, Pete and…

Bro!

Do you mind? I am trying to make a statement here!

But bro, this is about me, right? I mean this review is really about me.

Review? I was told it was an interview…

No really. It is a review in the form of an interview. There were so many folks asking about the two of us together that the editors decided to let you interview me so that users could get a better idea about us, from the mouth of the horses, so to speak.

Well, whatever. First off, if you want to know more about the design and specs of this gent here, just head to the detailed first impressions on the site. And it is there that I would start off. They say you are a cosmetic update to…well, me. The processor, RAM, storage are the same, so is the battery…

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Well, that might seem to be true, but you know, that is a little unfair. Sure, unlike the 3T, there is no new chip, but I do come with upgrades to perhaps the two most used features on a smartphone…

Oh, calls and text (snickers)?

I said ‘smartphones,’ bro. And I am talking about the display and the camera.

Come on, I was full HD too and more compact…

Just slightly more compact, if I say so. Yes, I am slightly larger than you are, but I am still VERY compact for a device with a 6.01-inch display. That’s what shaving bezels off the sides and bringing in an 18:9 aspect ratio display does (hey, no notch either). But to get back to the main point – the most used feature of a phone is its display, and I have a got a bigger one with a slightly higher resolution (2160 x 1080px) as well. And hey, I am brighter than the display on the more expensive Pixel 2 XL and am giving users a whole lot more space. Colors and detail are as good as ever because my pixel density (pun unintended, seriously, Google) is the same as yours. And there is adaptive brightness which optimises brightness, as well as good old Night Mode and Reading Mode.

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Right, now to the cameras. You claim you are better but they have the same megapixel count. And I had a telephoto lens…

Agreed, but you can zoom in on me without too much loss of detail – certainly up to 2x. No, it is certainly not as “clean” as yours was, as the site’s reviewers discovered but it did work to an extent. And look at what you get in return – a bigger aperture means more light and better low light photography. You had issues there to an extent if I remember correctly. And both my cameras, while having the same megapixel count as your, are now f/1.7 aperture.

Would you say your cameras are better than mine? Remember, my packaging clearly mentioned me: “Dual camera. Clearer photos.”

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If telephoto and lossless zoom do not matter a great deal, I think I definitely have the edge. You can see the image samples. There are some very good daylight snaps out there, and even in low light conditions, the handling of glare is much better. Yes, there is a hint of oversaturation (yellows and reds get a little exaggerated) but my performance is much more consistent – the sheer uncertainty that seemed to accompany using you is not present here. Mind you, I think it is because of all the software fixes. But yes, I am doing detail and colors marginally better than you and low light much much better. And then there’s the front camera, which is very similar to yours (16.0-megapixels) but has one better trick…

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Don’t use the F-word!

Oh come on, bro, you have to admit Face Unlock is pretty cool.

It has been seen before…oh well, go ahead

Yes, it has been there on Android for a while, but it does work very well. Well enough for phone unlocking – it is actually faster than some of the more hyped options out there (some are even X-rated, err…)

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Not rock solid yet, though.

Agreed, that’s why it is not being used for financial transactions and purchases. It is just for unlocking your device at the moment. And yes, I agree it is not perfect yet. It needs good light conditions to work, and can also work even when the user’s eyes are closed – so you can actually put a phone in front of its sleeping owner and unlock it! Am sure it will get better though. Come on, your cameras did get better too…

My fingerprint scanner was better located…

The jury is really out on the best location of the fingerprint scanner. Some prefer it below the display, some on the back. Yes, having it below the display generally means having a home button that also doubles as a fingerprint scanner, so yes, one less button to worry about. But then, even on the back, I am still ceramic and still very fast and well, if light conditions are good, you can just switch on your display and look at it – that’s all you really need to do.

We both had the same battery sizes (3300 mAh) and Dash Charge. Could you do as well as I did…

Well, I think we both have batteries that will see through a day of heavy to above average use. And Dash Charge means just about half an hour of charging will get us both up to more than half of our batteries. I think my bigger display drains a bit more battery, though, so if someone is really going to use those cameras heavily or watch lots of videos, getting through a day of use might be an issue.

And admit it, sound and call quality are about the same!

Yes, they are. But they were not bad on you. I am following in your footsteps.

Thanks so ever much. FINALLY, someone says it. And to maintain this spirit of togetherness, we both remain quick performers, of course…

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With those configurations, yes, of course. I mean, a Snapdragon 835 allied with 6 GB/ 8 GB RAM and 64 GB/ 128 GB storage is pretty good. And Oxygen OS remains one of the more minimalistic skins on Android. And so far, I do not seem to have encountered the sort of software issues that you did. Speaking of which, we should both be getting updates to Android O soon.

When I was launched, I had pretty much to deal mainly with the LG G6 and the Honor 8 Pro. What about you?

Well, those two are still there of course, although not being pushed as aggressively. I think a more direct competitor for me is the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2, which also has a zero bezel display and similar specs at Rs 35,999. I think I have the edge over it in terms of camera performance, but then it does have that ceramic back and looks very classy. I hear there’s going to be a detailed face off with it on this site. Wish me luck…

Yes, of course. But all said and done, you have been able to carry forward my heritage of great specs and performance at a great price. Which brings me to the big question: do you think that anyone who has bought me needs to – REALLY needs to – buy you?

Honestly?

Of course. What have you to fear from an older model that is going to be phased out (silently sobs)?

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Oh come on, you did well enough, we all know. To answer your question: well, I do think I am delivering a much better display and better overall cameras (yes, yes, I know, only if telephoto is not a factor – but heck, 2x Zoom is basically taking two steps forward), Face Unlock (come on, it is fast and is addictive) and basically everything else that was good about you – the slightly curvy, compact metallic body, Corning Gorilla Glass protected display, Dash Charge, 4G, Bluetooth, NFC, the works. All this at the same price.

But won’t those who bought me feel cheated?

You know, if they bought you within the last month or so when rumors about me were doing the rounds already, they might feel so. But even then, they have a damn good device. I just happen to be better in two rather crucial departments. It does not make you bad, just makes me better. I would say that starting at Rs 32,999, I am the most spec and performance blend anyone can get for that many bucks. In fact, the closest anyone can get to what I am offering is…

(Expectantly) Yes?

Well, you. Obviously, bro. Perhaps that’s why they did not change your price.

(After a brief silence) Thank you SO much. So that brings us to the end of the interview…

Review…

Whatever. And I have one thing to say to those who bought me: you did nothing wrong. You got the best damn device that was out there for the price at that price. This new phone just has a bigger display and low light camera. And I…

Bro?

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Yes?

You are a great device. Yes, you had issues. But they got fixed. I am just the OnePlus 5 Plus in a manner of speaking. You had your half year of fame. It is my turn now. That display does make me more in tune with the bezel-less times, you know. So yes, if you have the OnePlus 5 and are basically concerned with general phone performance and like being able to zoom in without losing detail, stay with it. But if you want a bigger display in roughly about the same frame size and better low light performance from your cameras as well as the same zippy high-end hardware and minimalistic software, I have two words for you…

Really? What are those?

Never Settle.

(Note: OnePlus did not contribute anything beyond the review devices to this interview review. The opinions expressed by the devices are those of the reviewer and do not reflect the brand’s official stance.)