The OnePlus 5T, as the name suggests, isn’t a completely new handset – rather, it’s an incremental upgrade of the OnePlus 5.
It’s not just an upgrade though – it’s also a replacement, as OnePlus has ceased production and sales of the phone it launched just six months prior to the arrival of the OnePlus 5T.
This isn’t a surprising move, as OnePlus did exactly the same thing in 2016 when it introduced the OnePlus 3T half a year after launching the OnePlus 3.
So what do you get with OnePlus’ second generation ‘T’? The main talking points are a bigger screen, tweaked design, improved rear camera and face recognition, plus a few software additions to boot.
In short, there’s enough new stuff to justify its existence without it offering a radically new smartphone experience.
OnePlus 5T price and availability
- OnePlus 5T launch price: from £449
- OnePlus 5T release date: November 21
The good news is that the OnePlus 5T price is exactly the same as the OnePlus 5’s, which means SIM-free you’re looking at £449 ($479, AU$599) for the 6GB/64GB model, and £499 ($539, AU$699) for the 8GB/128GB variant.
It means the OnePlus 5T is cheaper than pretty much all of its flagship rivals – but significantly the difference in spec between them is the smallest it’s ever been.
As far as a OnePlus 5T release date goes, the handset will be available from November 21 in the US, UK and Europe, with China, Hong Kong and India getting the phone soon after.
- Biggest-ever screen on a OnePlus phone
- 6.01-inch Full HD, AMOLED display with 18:9 aspect ratio
The single biggest change on the OnePlus 5T is the display, with the handset boasting a 6.01-inch Full HD AMOLED panel with a 18:9 aspect ratio that follows this year’s trend of elongated screens on the iPhone X, Google Pixel 2 XL, Samsung Galaxy S8 and LG V30.
It’s the first time OnePlus has increased the size of the display on its core handset (the smaller OnePlus X aside), making this the biggest screen we’ve ever seen on a handset from the Chinese firm.
While its size and aspect ratio may see the OnePlus 5T pull inline with the flagship handsets it’s looking to topple, there is still one spec which denies it full membership of the high-end display club: resolution.
OnePlus has once again opted to stick with a Full HD resolution, at 1080 x 2160 with a 401ppi pixel density, while rivals all boast QHD (2K) displays.
It doesn’t mean the screen on the OnePlus 5T is poor, and thanks to the AMOLED panel colors are bright and punchy, but when you slide it alongside the competition you can see it’s not as sharp. In isolation though, it’s difficult to pick any real fault with it.
- Premium metal unibody
- Fingerprint scanner on rear with smaller bezels up front
The bigger display has had a knock-on effect in terms of design as well, with the bezels above and below the screen getting slimmed down to provide a sleeker look and a 80.5% screen-to-body ratio.
That reduction in bezel has led to another design change too, with the fingerprint scanner and physical navigation keys disappearing from the front of the phone.
Biometric fans needn’t worry though, as the digit reader has been relocated to the rear of the device, and its centralized position means it’s easy to hit with your forefinger – and of course there’s face recognition too, but more of that in a moment.
The OnePlus 5T continues with the premium metal unibody design of the phone it’s replacing, which makes it look good and feel great in the hand, with the gently-curving rear helping it nestle nicely into the palm.
You’ll find that the power/lock key on the right, and the volume rocker on the left, fall easily under thumb and finger when you’re holding the phone in portrait, and OnePlus continues with its notification slider on the side of the handset, allowing you to easily switch between silent, do not disturb and loud modes.
Another plus point on the OnePlus 5T is the fact that the headphone jack has also been retained, allowing you to plug in your headphones without the need for a clunky adapter.
At launch the OnePlus 5T is available in just one color, midnight black, with no word on whether more hues will be on offer in the future.
OnePlus 5T hands on gallery
- Fast, easy and effective
- Not as accomplished as iPhone X
Another key feature, and a first for OnePlus, is the inclusion of face recognition tech as the fledgling brand attempts to ride the coattails of the iPhone X.
Face recognition on the OnePlus 5T isn’t as advanced as Apple’s offering, but it’s still surprisingly good, using over 100 facial identifiers to check it’s you.
It’s used only for unlocking the handset, and you’ll need to double-tap the screen or press the power key to ultilize it.
It’s incredibly fast, with almost no delay between you tapping the screen or button and your home screen appearing before you.
We also found that it works at some impressive angles, which means you don’t have to hold the OnePlus 5T directly in front of you face for it to work.
Something it can’t do, but which the iPhone X can, is see you in the dark. That’s because, unlike Apple, OnePlus hasn’t used an infrared camera to spy you in the dark. It requires a light source – street lights at night are enough, but the screen brightness itself isn’t – to check your face.
We’re yet to attempt to try to fool it with siblings, photos, glasses and hats, but we’ll be putting it through its paces for our full review.
In the future OnePlus plans to expand the use of face recognition to enable you to log in to apps and verify purchases, but for now it’s using the OnePlus 5T as a test bed for the technology to make sure it’s secure.
- Dual rear cameras: 16MP + 20MP Sony sensors
- Revamped camera app for easier one-handed use
Like the OnePlus 5 the OnePlus 5T comes with dual cameras on the rear, but it’s not an identical setup.
The OnePlus 5T has a 16MP Sony Sensor and 20MP Sony sensor, both of which boast an increased aperture of f/1.7 for better low-light shots and the same focal length.
It also features a Pro mode for those who like to fine-tune settings, and there’s a Portrait mode allowing you to capture those popular bokeh-effect shots.
You can even long-press the fingerprint scanner on the rear to take a photo, which we found to be surprisingly intuitive.
Meanwhile on the front you get the same 16MP selfie snapper as the OnePlus 5.
OnePlus has also overhauled its camera app for a simpler look and easy-to-use gesture controls. Swiping up gives you mode select, while swiping down brings up quick settings. It makes things much easier to do one-handed.
Taking a few quick snaps with the OnePlus 5T shutter speed was easy, and image quality was good, with plenty of detail and natural-looking colors.
- 3,300mAh may be a little small
- Dash Charge gives you 60% in 30 minutes
The OnePlus 5T comes with a 3,300mAh battery which the firm claims will last a full day on a single charge – a claim we’ll be sure to put to the test during our in-depth review process.
It also features OnePlus’ Dash Charge technology, which is claimed to give you ‘a day’s power in half an hour’, which in reality means just under 60% in 30 minutes. There’s no wireless charging though.
Performance and interface
- Flagship Snapdragon 835 chipset
- Android 7 at launch, Android 8 arriving later
When it comes to power the OnePlus 5T has the same flagship Snapdragon 835 chipset as the OnePlus 5, and you can again choose between 6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage and 8GB/128GB variants.
It means there’s plenty of power inside, and Android 7 Nougat runs smoothly.
It’s disappointing that the OnePlus 5T doesn’t ship with the latest Android software, 8 Oreo, but OnePlus has confirmed that Oreo will come to the handset via a software update in the coming months.
OnePlus has, as usual stuck its Oxygen OS interface over the top of Android, which keeps the general look and feel of Google’s platform while adding in extra customization options.
These include App Priority, which keeps your most frequently used apps running in the background for easier access and faster load times, while the parallel apps feature lets you effectively clone certain apps (such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) so that you can log in to two separate accounts without having to switch in-app.
It’s a feature we didn’t have time to explore during our hands-on time with the OnePlus 5T, but keep an eye out for our full findings in our final review.
OnePlus considers its T series handsets to be an extension and evolution of its summer releases, taking what it’s already achieved and making it more relevant with a selection of significant updates.
From our brief time with the handset it looks like the OnePlus 5T fulfills the brief, offering a pleasing array of upgrades that will keep fans of the brand happy, without reinventing the wheel.
The increased screen size is welcome and the camera looks stronger, although we worry that keeping the battery the same size as in the OnePlus 5 could have a negative effect on battery life.