I'VE BEEN quite vocal about my love for the OnePlus 5 over the last few months. It's easily my favourite phone of the year. But once again, OnePlus has decided that a second flagship in the space of six months is fair game and so enter the OnePlus 5T, launched in the UK this week.
So, is it as good? Well, we (by which I mean, the guv) will be doing a full review in the coming days, but here's the short and skinny for now.
The OnePlus 5T is essentially the same as the OnePlus 5. Let's be clear about this. If you are a OnePlus 5 owner, you don't need to feel too hard done by.
However, it does have some tasty new tricks that make it just a bit better if you've been holding out for a OnePlus 5 (which incidentally is now discontinued and only available while stocks last).
It's slightly longer, slightly wider, slightly heavier, but it retains its slender girth, though it does gain an unsightly bulge around the camera lenses. This accommodates a slightly upgraded camera with a wider aperture which should improve low light performance, but we'll have to save that for the full review.
The screen. It's an 18:9 jobbie, and the bezels have gone completely, in as much as these things can. I'm not one of these people that has been sobbing and beating my chest because I needed a bezel-less phone in my life, but nevertheless its lovely.
The screen itself is the same pixel density, it's just the ratios that have changed, but I did find that the light was slightly oversaturated compared to the older model so it may require some tinkering. As ever, there are lots of options for calibration in the settings.
The new cases are nice too - I've plumped for a bright red one which has a more rubberised feel that the OnePlus 5 range. I'm yet to open the pack to check if they're all like that.
There are things it hasn't got. It's still not waterproof, officially (though people who have had accidents do tell us both phones are very forgiving), and it's still not on Android 8.0 Oreo - a beta is imminent, a full version will appear next year, but not including Project Treble, the initiative designed to make it easier to add new functionality and patches without having to flash the lot.
The biggest coup in the software is the arrival of Face Unlock, ahead of anything similar to stock Android. And yeah, it works pretty well. It only seems to be able to recognise me with glasses on OR off, but that's pretty standard for facial unlocking so far.
The bezels also mean there are no hardware buttons and the fingerprint sensor has moved to the back. Ultimately, people will say they have a preference, but it's just what you're used to, within a day you'll forget you ever used it the other way. The lost hardware buttons take a bit more getting used to as typing sometimes means you hit a soft button by mistake, but again, it's just getting used to it.
Again, there's no microSD support, something that if it wasn't for the 128GB internal memory would drive me bananas, but the performance feels ever so slightly smoother, and OnePlus says it is focused on making sure it stays that way even after usage - it's a similar promise made by rival budget flagship brand Honor.
The important thing is the price hasn't changed. So if you're a new buyer, you're getting the newer phone for the same price of £499 (for the top end) - and let's face it that's a lot of phone for your buck compared with the Pixel 2 or iPhone 8.
However, let's be clear here, the OnePlus 5 is still a stunning phone and if the OnePlus 5T didn't exist, the OnePlus 5 would still be my phone of the year. It's a weird strategy to release an increment so soon, but existing users should feel too annoyed. It's all nice-to-haves - the fundamental phone is the same and it's just as good.
All that said, the OnePlus 5T… well… I'm looking at it in its lovely red jacket and thinking, it's Jessica Rabbit. The OnePlus 5 was Daphne from Scooby Doo. To be honest, I'd be perfectly happy with either. µ
The OnePlus 5T is also available from O2 stores on contract, plus there's a 64GB version to buy for £449. Certain O2 stores are also offering "swag" when you sign up. Check for details
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