Momentum. OnePlus knows a thing or two about it. Hot on the heels of the success of the OnePlus 6, the company is back with its third half-yearly ‘T’ update. It’s just been five years and in this time OnePlus has seen what was essentially a cult following transform into a more mainstream phenomenon. The 6T is more than just a refresh, it’s a key device for OnePlus as it aims to consolidate its position. That position is no longer flagship killer. Until recently OnePlus was all about more for less coupled with its Apple-esque obsession for the perfect hardware-UI blend. But the game has changed. Aside from Samsung and Google Pixel, you will struggle to find a mainstream Android device priced above Rs 45,000. The top-end version of the OnePlus 6T is priced at Rs 45,999 and that’s only half the story.
The ‘T’ updates have tended to follow a similar template as the iPhone’s ‘S’ updates, except this is a half-yearly refresh compared to Apple’s annual update. But the 6T is more than just a minor refresh. The two major changes are impossible not to spot and we dig both these enhancements. The first is a tinier (teardrop) notch that stretches the screen real estate ever so slightly. The screen: body ratio goes to 85.6% (versus 83.8% for the OnePlus 6) but more than the numbers, this is a notch that you can almost ignore (that’s a big deal for folks who still haven’t got used to the idea the notch). The screen resolution numbers are largely unchanged. It’s a vibrant AMOLED display (1080 x 2340 pixels) and at 6.41-inches a tad larger than the 6.28-inch display on the 6. It’s great whether you’re reading documents or watching videos with a decent 402 PPI (Pixels per inch) and a 19.5:9 aspect ratio.
The other change is the ‘in-display’ fingerprint sensor that OnePlus likes to call the ‘Screen unlock’ feature. It takes a little getting used to but is quite a clever piece of tech. We’ve seen this on devices like the Vivo but it just plays out really well on the 6T. The optical scanner sits under the bottom half of the display and allows users to unlock their phone without searching for a sensor behind the phone. There’s also a Face Unlock feature that worked really fast on the 6 that stays on with the 6T. The 6T knocks off the 3.5mm headphone jack joining a growing number of premium phones that have ended up turning off users who still cling on their wired headphones.
The hardware specs are largely unaltered. It’s powered by the same best-of-breed Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Processor and a choice of 6GB and 8GB RAM versions. OnePlus has done away with the 64GB ROM version. You now get a choice of 128GB and 256GB internal memory versions. Just like the 6, this one’s blazing fast and aced our tests and multi-tasking challenges. Just like most other flagship devices in 2018, OnePlus has made largely software changes to the Camera. There are two cool updates. Nightscape mode is its new fix for low-light images and the 6T snaps up to 10 multi-frame shots with high dynamic range and then puts them together to create the perfect image. In our tests, the lowlight images certainly looked better but they take longer because of the processing time involved. The other is an improved portrait mode at a time when portraits have become a talking point for premium smartphone cameras. The hardware on both the rear (dual – 16MP +20MP) and selfie (16MP) shooters are identical to the 6. OnePlus will bring the new camera tweaks to the OnePlus 6 via a new software update.
The one minor hardware upgrade is a more robust battery (3700 mAh vs. the 3300 mAh battery on the OnePlus 6). We found a slight improvement in our initial tests. OnePlus sweetens this with its customary ‘dash charging’ option that fires up your device in quick time. But there’s no wireless charging and you can’t dunk this phone in the pool yet. Features that are now standard fare in other flagship devices. OnePlus believes these are not deal breakers and continues to keep its laser focus on the overall experience that is augmented by the new iteration of its fluidic and visually appealing Custom UI – Oxygen 9.0, that complements Android 9.0.
The OnePlus 6T is everything you’d expect from a OnePlus flagship. It’s lightning quick, it looks premium thanks to the all-glass build and feels good in your hands. And then there are the fun bits like the new screen unlock and an improved camera. It’s probably why OnePlus is testing the Rs 45,000 plus price bracket and taking on the premium flagships in their zone. It’s clearly game on.
The OnePlus 6T costs: Rs 37,999 (6GB/128GB) / Rs 41,999 (8GB/128GB) and Rs 45,999 (8GB/256GB). The 6T is available in Mirror Black and Midnight Black.