OnePlus 5T

£449 inc VAT from

Tech Advisor - - Contents -

Mak­ing a mark on the smart­phone mar­ket is hard enough. Muscling in to com­pete in the same arena – if not at the top step – doesn’t hap­pen of­ten. OnePlus has bucked this trend over the last three years with its phones of high specs and low prices.

Times change though. You may have needed an in­vi­ta­tion to buy the OnePlus One in 2014, but the clam­our was jus­ti­fied when the phone cost just £229 at a time when the then-flag­ship iPhone 5s sold for £549 and could com­pete on specs.

The £449 OnePlus 5T is an up­grade on the five­month-old OnePlus 5 in the same way the 3T was to the 3 a year ago. In eigh­teen months, there have been four flag­ship de­vices from a com­pany that had pre­vi­ously only made two (the mid-range OnePlus X be­ing its other de­vice).

The new phone is ex­cel­lent – a huge, crisp screen and scream­ing per­for­mance – but it’s com­ing from a com­pany that is dan­ger­ously close to an­noy­ing its fans and ap­pear­ing like it has run out of ideas, even though it hasn’t. It’s an im­pres­sive re­fine­ment of the com­pany’s fast pro­gres­sion in smart­phones. It’s very sim­i­lar to the OnePlus 5, but the new screen size and face un­lock fea­ture make it feel sur­pris­ingly fresh.


Let’s not pre­tend here, the OnePlus 5T nat­u­rally looks like the OnePlus 5. The front is more at­trac­tive with the lack of bezels and fin­ger­print sen­sor but the phone it­self is largely un­changed aside from the new 18:9 dis­play. It’s only avail­able in mid­night black at launch and yes, it looks a lot like the Oppo R11S.

It’s a tiny bit taller than the OnePlus 5 to ac­com­mo­date the new screen, mea­sur­ing 156x75x7.3mm. It won’t fit prop­erly in an old case, but you wouldn’t want it to now that the fin­ger­print sen­sor is on the back. Luck­ily, it’s re­ally fast, easy to use and is cir­cu­lar. The rear oth­er­wise looks the same, with dual cam­eras and a OnePlus logo. It charges via USB-C (and its ex­cel­lent but pro­pri­etary Dash Charge charger) and re­tains a head­phone jack, but ships with no head­phones.

There is no wa­ter­proof­ing of any kind, nor any form of wire­less charg­ing. We don’t care about the lat­ter too much, but the former is some­thing the 5T lacks in com­par­i­son to nearly ev­ery other An­droid flag­ship this year. So there are some sac­ri­fices to achieve the price.

It’s a phone we find to be ridicu­lously slip­pery. It’s so thin, and the back isn’t easy to grip so snap­ping it into a case al­most a must. This is a shame, as the cases don’t show off the ex­cel­lent pre­mium build un­der­neath. This isn’t a prob­lem unique to OnePlus, though.

It’s also def­i­nitely a two-handed phone. The lack of bezels looks lovely, but makes a phone harder to hold. Only the mas­sive-handed will be able to reach their thumb to the top of the dis­play, and for us tex­ting with one hand is im­pos­si­ble.

But for £449, wow, what a looker. It is a more at­trac­tive and pleas­ing phone to use than the OnePlus

5, whose bezels now look an­ti­quated in com­par­i­son. And though the specs haven’t changed much, they re­main cred­i­bly high-end. Per­for­mance Un­like the OnePlus 3T, the 5T does not get a no­table bump over the pre­vi­ous gen­er­a­tion in terms of core specs. But with a Snap­dragon 835 and 8GB RAM in the £499 ver­sion we tested (and a per­fectly ad­e­quate 6GB in the cheaper model) that won’t prove a prob­lem for all your smart­phone needs.

A bench­mark of the hand­set against phones with sim­i­lar specs shows that the field is pretty well bal­anced. It’s worth men­tion­ing that the bench­mark speeds of the iPhone X (re­viewed on page 53) will beat any­thing An­droid for this year and prob­a­bly the next

cou­ple, but that the OnePlus 5T feels as fluid as an An­droid phone can feel other than the Pixel 2.

The OnePlus 5 scores higher than the 5T on a cou­ple of tests, but it is a tiny dif­fer­ence. OnePlus was also ac­cused of boost­ing the 5 for tests, so they may have stopped that when ev­ery­one no­ticed.

The 5T is the fastest phone we have ever used be­sides the Pixel 2 this year. Away from An­droid, this year’s iPhones are also ridicu­lously quick with Ap­ple’s new A11 Bionic chip. Dis­play The dis­play is al­tered with a 6.01in Op­tic AMOLED panel that uses a 2160x1080 res­o­lu­tion to cre­ate the 18:9 as­pect ra­tio. It takes up a whop­ping 80.5 per­cent of the front of the de­vice.

It’s a bright, colour­ful panel that is a smidge un­der Sam­sung-qual­ity, but as is usu­ally the case with OnePlus, it’s a bel­ter of a screen for the price. We found though that the auto-bright­ness set­ting is too ag­gres­sive and makes the screen too dim much of the time. The only changes are the dis­play, fin­ger­print place­ment, cam­era sen­sors and new face un­lock fea­ture. The lat­ter works stupidly fast but is less se­cure than Ap­ple’s Face ID, and akin to the same fea­ture on the Galaxy S8 in that it records a 2D im­age that can po­ten­tially be fooled by a de­cent qual­ity print out of your face. Ap­ple’s uses 3D map­ping, which can’t be tricked this way.

It’s also great that the 5T does not suf­fer from the jelly scroll ef­fect that plagues the OnePlus 5 still. The dis­play size and qual­ity is the best up­grade here.

Geek­bench 4

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