OnePlus 5T first impressions: The flagship killer sharpens its skills
Sporting a 6-inch edge-to-edge screen, OnePlus 5T goes on early access sale in India on November 21. Read our first impressions to find out more about the new ‘flagship killer’.
OnePlus enjoys a large cult following in India, especially among the developer community that has loved custom ROMs and fiddling with software. But over the years, the company has also successfully grown beyond being an enthusiast-only brand. According to the latest study by research firm International Data Corporation's (IDC), OnePlus owned 25% market share in the premium category during the third quarter of this year.
The journey has been driven in part by word of mouth recommendations, as each of its new launches drew praise, and an unusual strategy of updating its flagship model even if the upgrades are minor.
Last year, the company introduced the OnePlus 3T with under-the-hood improvements. This year, the company it did the same for its OnePlus 5, launching the improved 'T' version in less than half-a-year.
The upgrade mainly focuses on two key areas - display and camera. Rest of it is the same, even the price: ₹32,999 (6GB + 64GB variant) and ₹37,999 (8GB + 128GB variant).
It's like Apple launching the iPhone 6S just four months after the iPhone 6 and at almost same price.
How different is the 5T from the 5, if not better? Here are the first impressions from the phone:
IT'S ALL ABOUT THE SCREEN
The biggest draw of the 5T is the screen. While normally the word "upgrade" for a screen would mean a significant bump in resolution, the 5T's screen upgrade is more about how far the screen now stretches. The display now is a 6.01-inch 18:9 Infinity Display (edge-to-edge screen) with custom 1080 x 2160 pixels resolution as compared to the 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 pixels resolution earlier.
OnePlus fit the larger screen without changing the dimensions of the phone much. As compared to OnePlus 5's 154.7 × 74.1 × 7.3mm dimensions, the successor measures 156.1 x 75 x 7.3mm.
The screen seems quite impressive and well optimised. Many apps, such as YouTube, have already adapted to the 18:9 ratio, which makes for a much better experience. Overall, the bezel-less version looks good and has flair of flamboyance. It looks much better when a wooden back panel is attached to it.
The edge-to-edge screen meant the company had to shift the fingerprint reader to the back. It now sits in the centre and slightly above mid-way, usually where your finger would rest normally when holding the phone with one hand.
Luckily, OnePlus hasn't banked on a Face ID-like single-authentication though it has bundled in a new, improved, facial recognition technology.
The 5T's facial recognition seems to work well and is quite fast — at times, even faster than iPhone X's. But the company cautions that Face Unlock shouldn't be treated as the only biometric authentication tool in the phone, suggesting OnePlus may not be very sure of how fool-proof it is.
In a nutshell, the 5T is a stylish cousin of the 5 and does not compromise on performance. We left judgement on the camera for the full review but the random selfie suggested it is pretty decent.
If you are confused between the 5 and the 5T, we recommend the 5T as the phone is after all an upgrade. The 18:9 display is most likely to catch on more next year. That it costs the same as its older cousin should make the choice easier.