The OnePlus 6T will go down as the best iterative upgrade OnePlus has launched in the last three years. Albeit sporting a similar design as its predecessor, the OnePlus 6T comes with some exciting new features which we haven't seen on any OnePlus smartphone in the past. The new features OnePlus 6T brings to the table when compared to the OnePlus 6 are the in-display fingerprint sensor, bigger battery (something which OnePlus fans have been asking for years now), smaller teardrop notch and a slightly bigger display, and finally, it lacks the 3.5mm headphone jack.
The Fingerprint-on-Display (in-display scanner, as OnePlus calls it) is the fastest one I have seen on any smartphone till date and the 6T is the also the best battery phone OnePlus has ever launched. And yes, these upgrades come at a slightly higher price. Last year, OnePlus surprised many by not increasing the price of the OnePlus 5T, but this year, in India, the price of the 6T has been bumped by Rs 3,000 and it now starts at Rs 37,999. While the price hike seems to be a smaller one, it's a big deal for OnePlus as a brand and the consumers as we can now expect the next generation OnePlus device could likely start at Rs 40,000. But let's save that discussion for a later date and discuss my experience with the OnePlus 6T.
OnePlus 6T Review: Design and Display
The OnePlus 6T boasts a similar design as the OnePlus 6- except for the absence of fingerprint scanner on the back and a new teardrop notch on the front. The phone still has a glass back which is prone to fingerprints and scratches, but on the brighter side, OnePlus is bundling a TPU case inside the retail box. There's no fingerprint scanner on the rear side, so the OnePlus logo is moved to the top and it now sits right below the LED flash module. When taken into hands, the glass back feels premium, and at the same time, it's way too slippery. But the OnePlus 6T is not alone as all the smartphones with a glass back including the high-end Apple iPhone XS, XS Max are slippery in nature.
Moving onto the front, the OnePlus 6T has a slightly bigger 6.41-inch Full HD+ display on the front which carries a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels and 19.5:9 aspect ratio. In contrast, the OnePlus 6 featured a 6.28-inch Full HD+ display on the front. What's the difference? Well, the panel itself is the same, but the 6T boasts the modern teardrop style notch on top of the display. OnePlus also claims that it reduced the size of the chin by a small margin. Thanks to these changes, the 6T has a screen-to-body ratio of 85.6% as opposed to the 83.8% on the OnePlus 6. Another change which the company made is by upgrading the protective layer to Gorilla Glass 6 which is the latest one from the house of Corning.
The display on the OnePlus 6T is the best one in this price range. It's an AMOLED panel and offers excellent viewing angles along with deep blacks. Gaming or viewing multimedia is a treat on this handset.
OnePlus 6T Review: How Good is the Fingerprint-on-Display?
Well, this is probably the most exciting feature on the new OnePlus 6T. During the launch event of OnePlus 6T, the company revealed that it considered using an in-display biometric scanner on the OnePlus 5T itself, but back then, the technology was not ready for mainstream usage, and OnePlus decided not to include it. But OnePlus has tweaked the technology for around a year now and has integrated it inside the 6T.
Right off the bat, it's not as quick as the physic scanner present on the OnePlus 6, but it's the fattest in-display scanner I have seen on any smartphone till date. I have tested this technology on the Vivo V11 Pro and Vivo NEX in the past and both the phones were too slow in unlocking.
Recently, I travelled to Bengaluru for Xiaomi's Mi Home 2.0 Experience Store launch and got a chance to play around with the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition which also boasts an in-display scanner. Thankfully, I had the OnePlus 6T along with me and immediately after noticing the Mi 8 EE, I fired up the Settings app and registered my fingerprint. Without any surprise, the OnePlus 6T was faster in unlocking compared to the Xiaomi Mi 8 Explorer Edition because the latter was launched almost six months ago and the in-display scanning technology is getting better with every passing day. So it' safe to assume the OnePlus 6T has the fastest in-display scanner right now on any smartphone.
Another cool feature added by OnePlus is the unlocking animations. OnePlus allows its users to select three unlocking animations- Cosmos, Wave and Stripe. My personal favourite one is the Cosmos.
OnePlus 6T Review: Hardware and Software
To me what matters in a smartphone is User Experience and OnePlus also focuses on the same. The OnePlus 6T packs the best hardware available right now in the Android mobile industry- Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chipset and up to 8GB of RAM (no 10GB RAM, save it for the OnePlus 7). As always, there's no microSD card slot either, but the base variant now comes with 128GB of onboard storage, so unless you're a storage hogger, you won't miss the microSD card slot absence.
The 6T ships with Android 9 Pie-based OxygenOS 9.0.2 out of the box, but since the launch, it has received two software updates- OxygenOS 9.0.4 and OxygenOS 9.0.5. The first update brought some improvements to the camera while the second update improved the fingerprint scanner unlocking speed.
More importantly, the OnePlus 6T lacks the 3.5mm headphone jack which is a deal breaker for many including me. However, to address that issue, OnePlus launched an affordable Type-C Bullets earphones at Rs 1,490 in the country. Additionally, it's bundling a Type-C to 3.5mm adapter inside the retail box. Oh yes, stay tuned for the review of the OnePlus Type-C Bullets earphones.
OnePlus 6T Review: Battery Life
When the OnePlus 6T launched, most of you must've been excited to check out the new in-display fingerprint scanner. But I was eagerly waiting to see how the battery performs on the 6T because it ships with a massive 3700mAh unit- a 400mAh larger battery than the OnePlus 6. After using the device for more than a week, I can confidently say that the OnePlus 6T is the best battery phone OnePlus has ever made. The phone delivered me a day's worth of battery life with ease and during my entire review period, I was on 4G network itself. Even on a 4G connection, the device offered me over five hours of screen-on time without any hassle. OnePlus also confirmed that it made various software optimisations to improve the battery life on the 6T.
Then there's the OnePlus' trademark fast charge technology. Yes, it's no more called Dash Charge as the company ran into some regulatory issues in Europe recently. The 3700mAh unit on the OnePlus 6T can be fully charged from 0% to 100% in around 90 minutes.
OnePlus 6T Review: Cameras
The OnePlus 6T retains the same cameras as the OnePlus 6, but to make some differences, OnePlus has introduced software features. On paper, the OnePlus 6T has a 16MP primary sensor on the rear with f/1.7 aperture, 25mm wide-angle lens, 1.22µm, Optical Image Stabilisation, Electronic Image Stabilisation and PDAF. The primary sensor comes paired with a 20MP secondary depth sensor which also has an aperture of f/1.7. The secondary sensor comes into play in low-light situations and it also helps in capturing depth information. Technically, this is the same camera setup as the OnePlus 6. Up front, the 6T has a 16MP shooter, which again, is the same camera found on the OnePlus 6.
But what's new? Well, nothing, to be honest. The OnePlus 6T introduces two new software features- Nightscape and Studio Lighting- both the features already rolled out to the OnePlus 6 via a software update. The Nightscape mode on the OnePlus 6T helps in capturing better images in low-light, and it works for some extent. The Studio Lighting is a feature which yields better Portrait shots.
In daylight, the OnePlus 6T captures images with great detail levels, excellent dynamic range, but in low-light situations, the phone renders images with noise. This is where the new Nightscape mode comes into the picture. The Nightscape mode on the OnePlus 6T is capable of rendering better images in low-light situations, but the noise in the photos is still visible. The camera app interface is also pretty much the same, nothing has changed in the six months.
Talking about the video recording, the 6T is capable of shooting 4K videos at 30/60fps, 1080p videos at 30/60fps and 720p videos at 30fps. The phone is also capable of shooting super slow-motion videos of 1080p quality at 240fps and 720p videos at 480fps.
OnePlus 6T Review: Connectivity
Moving onto the connectivity options, the OnePlus 6T offers Dual 4G, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n/ac (2x2?MIMO), Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX and aptX HD support, NFC, GPS, GPS, GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo and USB 2.0 Type-C port. Cellular connectivity wise, the phone has 5CA Cat 16 for downlink speeds and is capable of achieving 1 Gbps speeds, and for uplink, it has 4CA and can achieve up to 150 Mbps upload speeds.
OnePlus 6T Review: Conclusion
Overall, OnePlus has delivered yet another excellent smartphone in the form of OnePlus 6T. For me, it's the go-to Android smartphone right now. It has a few downsides- no 3.5mm headphone jack, cameras are not as good as the Pixel 3 or the iPhone XS, but the 6T is an excellent value for money smartphone. The software experience on the OnePlus 6T is better than any other Android smartphone right now, the build quality is premium too and OnePlus addressed the battery issue with the 6T.
Talking about the pricing, the OnePlus 6T's base model with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is available at Rs 37,999. The other models- 8GB+128GB and 8GB+256GB can be purchased for Rs 40,999 and Rs 45,999 respectively. If you're in the market for a smartphone around Rs 40,000, the OnePlus 6T should be your choice.
If you're a OnePlus 6 user and confused whether to get a OnePlus 6T, then you should probably stop thinking about upgrading. The OnePlus 6T is basically a OnePlus 6 with some notable upgrades. The core features of the handset are still the same- software experience and camera, but what has improved is the battery life. If you care about that additional one hour of screen-on time, then consider upgrading to the OnePlus 6T, but again, there are no upgrade programmes by OnePlus.