But then what does it do — it goes and launches an upgraded version of the same phone less than 6 months later for an extra 2k. So what does one do? How does one choose because these upgrades aren't game-changing — they don't radically alter the experience of the phones because they look the same, perform quite similarly and run the same software.
Key differences :-
1. OnePlus 3 has a the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor while the OnePlus 3T has the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor. Essentially, this new processor is just 10 percent faster as per Qualcomm's claims. The Snapdragon 821 also adds support for Android Daydream View, but that's something the OnePlus 3T doesn't support.
2. The OnePlus 3 has a 3,000mAh battery with Dash Charging technology, while the OnePlus 3T has a 3,400mAh battery which is almost 14 percent larger. It also has the dash charging technology.
3. OnePlus 3 uses the Sony IMX 298 sensor which is a 16-megapixel snapper in tandem with optical image stabilisation and phase detect autofocus. The OnePlus 3T uses the same stack, but it has added a sapphire lens cover. The new Qualcomm processor also enables a new breed of software based electronic stabilisation for video.
4. The OnePlus 3 has a Sony 8-megapixel sensor while the OnePlus 3T has a 16-megapixel sensor on the front sourced from Samsung.
5. OnePlus 3 is offered only in a 64GB model which costs Rs 27,999 on Amazon India. The OnePlus 3T is offered in 64GB and 128GB model which cost Rs 29,999 and 34,999 respectively.
Who are these difference meant for?
Essentially, these differences are there to extend the life of the OnePlus 3 design language before OnePlus comes out with a redesigned phone. This is to make sure that the phone can keep up with some of the newer phones like the Google Pixel or the Xiaomi Mi Mix - most of these phones are based on the new Qualcomm 821 chip.
Questions you need to ask yourself before making the choice :-
1. Do I need my phone to last a full day on a single charge without a charger?
If the answer is a resounding yes, then you must opt for the OnePlus 3T. It offers a significant boost in battery life over the OnePlus 3 which in my tests amount to more than 20 percent. Even with the OnePlus 3 it is possible to last a day but you'd need the odd dash charging session. With the OnePlus 3T even with heavy usage you wouldn't need that.
2. How important is the camera? What kind of images do you shoot?
While the camera is more or less the same, the upgrade to the sapphire lens cover on the OnePlus 3T means that it takes better macro shots. If you're the type of person that does a lot of food photography or takes photos of flowers from a close distance, this will be a nice upgrade. Electronic stabilisation also makes sure that the OnePlus 3T takes smoother videos, but if you're trying to take videos in dim environments with loud volumes, then both phones are equally hapless.
3. How important are selfies?
Here's the thing, both phones take similar selfies. The enhancement in the resolution of the camera has done little to improve the quality of selfies. They look quite similar which basically means that the phones take decent and usable selfies for sharing on social media.
4. Do you need more memory? Do you like to store all you content locally?
If the answer is a yes, then obviously the 128GB model of the OnePlus 3T will come in handy. At the same time, one has to be mindful of the fact that it costs Rs 34,999, which is Rs 5,000 more than the 64GB model of the OnePlus 3T and Rs 7,000 more than the OnePlus 3.
5. I want the OnePlus 3, where should I buy it from since it is available on Flipkart and Amazon?
In the case you settle in on the OnePlus 3, then in case you where planning on buying it for just Rs 18,999 on Flipkart, then we'd advise to not. Instead, you should buy it from Amazon India which has an official partnership with OnePlus to sell the phone in India. On Amazon India, of course, the phone costs Rs 27,999, but it is the one and only place to buy an authentic OnePlus 3 which will be eligible for after sales support. One really doesn't know how Flipkart has managed to procure these cheaper OnePlus 3 units and there is no guarantee on how it intends to provide after sales.
Other than these differences, there isn't much in way of life changing differences between the two phones. Their performance is similar, they have the same screen size, resolution and technology and they run basically the same software; so much so that they will get the update to Android Nougat at the same time.