The OnePlus 5T makes an appealing budget alternative to a flagship, with excellent hardware performance and impressive battery stamina. However, not all the flagship features are there, and we think more people will be bothered by the lack of wireless charging, QHD screen, waterproofing and a reliable camera than will be attracted by the trendy 18:9 aspect ratio or face unlock feature.
Nonetheless, this is a solid almost-all-rounder and very good value for the price -- just don’t buy it if photography is top of your list.
Great hardware, long-lasting battery, appealing price
Camera output is often grainy and particularly struggles in low light
Don’t go clubbing with the selfie camera -- you won’t get many usable shots.
Great hardware, long-lasting battery, appealing price.
Camera output is often grainy and particularly struggles in low light.
ONEPLUS HAS developed an unusual approach to hardware releases: they use a new flagship as almost a beta device, listening to feedback from people who bought it, then pulling it and releasing an even better version. It's a great way to ensure the final phone is the best it can be - but risks alienating people who bought the full-priced ‘test' version.
Of course, now that OnePlus has established this practice with the OnePlus 3 and 3T, it was fully expected with the 5 and the new 5T. Indeed, when the OnePlus 5 was suddenly ‘sold out' everywhere, the internet rumour mill went into overdrive that a 5T was on the way -- and indeed it was (there wasn't a OnePlus 4. It's in the tech void with Windows 9).
It seems this approach is working well for OnePlus: in its first six hours, the 5T became their fastest-selling device ever.
So after our glowing review of the 5, what do we make of its successor? Here's our full OnePlus 5T review.
To misquote Henry Ford, the OnePlus 5T is available in any colour as long as it's Midnight Black. Honestly though, handset colour choice matters less and less when everyone with any sense whacks the handset straight in a case -- and as ever, OnePlus has given us some lovely choices in the form of wood grain, carbon fibre, and plain-coloured silicone variants.
As before, the phone comes with a screen protector pre-applied, which saves you covering the lovely OLED screen in bubbles and creases from misapplication (anyone who can put a protector on without these problems is a straight-up robot, in our view). And as before, the handset is not waterproof, so don't use it for reading in the bath.
OnePlus tells us the 5T's slender aluminium unibody is covered with a three-phase black coating, followed by two sandblastings and an anti-fingerprint finish. Honestly, the result is fairly standard-looking for a metal phone, but it does have a satin-smooth feel and a scintillating sheen.
The ceramic, circular fingerprint pad sits in the centre back, above the fairly subtle OnePlus logo, and the dual camera lenses emerge from their own encased hump beside the flash unit. The back curves gently, as do the rounded-off corners, completing an ergonomically and aesthetically pleasing chassis that - let's be honest - somewhat resembles an iPhone 7 Plus. Well, give the people what they want, and evidently notched screens don't make the cut.
The left side of the handset features the textured alert slider and a pleasantly clicky volume rocker. The SIM tray is on the right edge with the power button below, and the speaker, USB-C charging port and headphone jack (yay) are all lined up along the bottom. None of which is groundbreaking, but it's surprisingly vexing when manufacturers deviate too much from this layout (looking at you, BlackBerry Motion ‘convenience key'. Tut).
The top and tail bezels on either end of the display have seen a considerable trim since the 5, and the physical home key with fingerprint sensor is gone altogether. Instead, we're back to software keys, with the fingerprint pad on the back. It's no great loss, and ceases being noticeable within a few minutes.
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