OnePlus 3T review: Still the best damn phone for less than Rs 30,000
How do you improve a phone which was has won plaudits no less than six months before? That's the question that
As it builds on top of the solid fundamentals of the OnePlus 3, you get a phone which is very well made, attractive to look at and just something that you'll be proud to whip out in a social setting. The new colours give the phone a little more character, which is another nice thing as the design ages more gracefully.
The performance of the phone is absolutely sublime. If you're a spec-sheet junkie then OnePlus already had you covered with its Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 chip and 6GB RAM. But even if you don't care for all these intricacies, all you need to know is that this is a phone which will keep up with the best in the business, if not, run circles around them in daily performance. Yes, it may not be as fluid as a Google Pixel or an iPhone 7, but it sure does feel faster than Samsung's Galaxy S7 which means it is plenty fast and more than good enough.
Gaming, running multiple apps simultaneously or even running processor intensive apps, this phone manages things well. It doesn't heat up greatly and sure as hell doesn't come close to exploding like the ill-fated Galaxy Note 7.
The biggest improvement in the OnePlus 3T from the OnePlus 3 is the battery life. It gets a 14 percent bigger battery which stands at 3,400mAh, an upgrade from the 3,000mAh battery on the OnePlus 3. It shows its true colours almost immediately as this phone consistently lasted me more than 14 hours in a day. Coupled with the amazing dash charger, you could basically achieve almost full charge in less than an hour, which would mean that you'd never be running short of gas. I'd also advice getting the dash charger for your car if you drive a lot. This phone will amaze you with its longevity.
You still get the same 16-megapixel rear camera which includes optical image stabilisation and phase detect auto-focus. In addition to this, OnePlus now adds a sapphire cover glass on the lens and the new Qualcomm processor helps the phone drive a new breed of electronic image stabilisation which works great for videos as witnessed in the Google Pixel.
To be clear, the OnePlus 3T doesn't have a camera that can compete with the Pixel or even the iPhone 7 for that matter, but if your metric for comparison is a Nexus 6P or a HTC 10, then this phone's snapper comes close. It takes great shots in low-light which are more than usable, and the sapphire glass ensures that it takes very sharp close up shots -- which may include food photography or close up views of flowers. Overall sharpness of the camera is also better, which can only be identified on a high resolution screen. It also locks focus at a rapid clip which means that often you'll not miss a shot.
OnePlus also makes very clean software. It may not provide the latest Nougat Android build, but its Oxygen OS is one of the cleaner and smoother ones around. OnePlus says that the update to Nougat is coming in December itself. On the OnePlus 3T Oxygen OS also looks more streamlined and for sure makes more sense, especially its unique content aggregation shelf section.
The bad isn't bad per se, but it is more of a case of boring. For starters, the design is basically the same, which may not appeal to people. The performance too, isn't a user experience changing leap from what one got on the OnePlus 3.
One of the upgrades -- the 16-megapixel front facing camera isn't much of an upgrade and in low-light situations at times the added resolution turns into a downgrade as the average pixel size gets reduced which means more noise creeps in. Basically, in some cases selfies look poorer than the OnePlus 3.
And lastly, as I mentioned above, you're still stuck on Android Marshmallow which isn't the best or the latest experience at the minute. OnePlus says the update to Nougat is coming this month, but we will judge it on that when it actually happens; as of now you're getting a phone which is running a year old operating system.
If you're thinking about buying the 128GB model, then this is no cheap phone. At 34,999, it is not exactly value for money what OnePlus's products normally try to project. And at Rs 29,999 for the 64GB version, there is minimal motivation for someone to spend the extra 2 grand because the OnePlus 3 is so damn good. Furthermore, these phones aren't exactly easy to procure as during its first sale the phone was sold out within a matter of minutes.
No matter what, the thing is with all these updates is that the OnePlus 3T takes the crown of the best phone for less than Rs 30,000. Of course, this applies to the OnePlus 3T 64GB version, but it takes the crown by just a smidgen. While saying that, I'd like to say the big upgrade from the OnePlus 3 to the OnePlus 3T is the radical improvement in battery life, if you don't care much for that then you can perhaps save the extra Rs 2,000 and go for the older OnePlus 3.