The Good The OnePlus 3T battery lasts longer, takes clearer selfies, and has 128GB storage.
The Bad Cheaper than the OnePlus 3, the 3T now competes directly with the best phones.
The Bottom Line This is our new favorite Android budget, but if you have OnePlus 3, you don’t need an update.
Editors’ Note: June 2017 issue OnePlus 5 , OnePlus discontinues production of 3T and will no longer actively sell the phone. You can read An overview of the OnePlus 5 CNET is here .
If it doesn’t break … make it a little better.
At least, that’s how OnePlus says with the OnePlus 3T – a phone that appears only five months after the company launched its OnePlus 3 flagship in June.
The OnePlus 3 was our favorite mid-range phone until this 3T came out. I have no idea why the company is in such a hurry to replace its already beautiful phone so soon after its launch, but there you have it. And here you have a phone that is a new difference in its category. Oh, and don’t worry – 3 are far from outdated.
Compared to the 3, the 3T has a darker gray color and a new 128GB storage option (also comes with a black version of the special edition). He has a faster processor, a larger battery and a better front camera. It’s also garbage that is more expensive than $ 439 or £ 399 for the 64GB variant and $ 479 or £ 439 for the 128GB model. (OnePlus is not available in Australia, but it translates to about $ 580 and $ 632.)
Do not panic for OnePlus 3 owners. You’re just short of extra battery life and better selfies. Plus, all new 3T software will soon be available to three owners. Read more about how the 3T differs (including our specification and end-of-price chart), and check out our full OnePlus 3 overview for an even deeper dive.
The OnePlus 3T’s darker shade of grey
Still just as fast, and now it lasts longer
Previously, OnePlus 3 was fast – it was ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5 and HTC 10 in terms of diagnostic testing. This time around, 3T beats 3 in the same benchmarks and as fast as Google Pixel and LeEco LePro 3 – two newer phones that have the same Snapdragon 821 processor as the 3T.
As for actual use, the camera opens and takes the picture in seconds. You scroll through the webpage and go to the phone without delay. The keyboard is as fast and responsive as you expected. If you plan on downloading many apps and storing photos and videos, you may want to get a 128GB version to get yourself a breathing room. An almost full 64GB phone can slow down later.
OnePlus gave the 3T a larger battery than the 3: 3,400mAh instead of 3000mAh. As expected, it lasts longer. In our lab tests, 3T took an average of 16 hours for continuous video playback and 56 hours noticeable 2.5 hours longer than 3.
The battery still uses its own Dash Charging OnePlus technology, which quickly recharges the battery without overheating. Within 30 minutes, the phone was charging up to 57 percent, and after an hour the reserve was 93 percent. Full charging took about 1 hour 35 minutes. It’s about 20 minutes longer than 3, but it makes sense given the size increase.
It takes the best selfies
The front camera on the OnePlus 3T jumps from 8 to 16 megapixels, and should work in low light. The selfies I took looked smoother and clearer than the 3’s, and this was especially noticeable when I zoomed in or cropped a photo. Although no OnePlus phone recorded this in dim lighting, I noticed less graininess and digital artifacts on the 3T than 3. You can check the differences of the images below. (Both photos are not editable, but the 3T on the left needs to be resized.)
As far as the rear camera is concerned, it has hardly changed in terms of photo quality. OnePlus said it had improved its image stabilization capabilities for video, but when I tested it and watched the video side by side, I didn’t see much difference between them as far as “stability” goes.
The software is customizable for everyone
OnePlus wanted to give the 3T a little more in the software department, so we’ll get more gesture control. You can now switch your phone to mute the call and take screenshots by sliding three fingers down. You can also change the shape of your icons and assign a password to individual applications for added security. The file manager application, usually a clunky application on Android phones, has a facelift and is easier to navigate. All these changes will soon come to OnePlus 3.
OnePlus members will notice that the Shelf page for shortcuts and contacts has also been converted. No more banner image, and now it reminds me of the Apple iOS 10 widget panel with its widgets on a white background. I’m not a fan of any look, but change will not slow you down.
3T is running Android 6.0 Marshmallow, but OnePlus has said that both 3 and 3T will be upgraded to 7.0 Nougat in the near future.
There is one more feature that hasn’t come out yet, but will be out soon. This is called “advanced screenshots” and it allows you to take screenshots of web pages or text messages on a full page, even if you only see part of it on the screen. I’ll be glad to see it when it launches.
Do I have to get the OnePlus 3T if I …?
- Already own the OnePlus 3: No. Aside from the battery boost and some slightly better selfies, the 3T isn’t a phenomenal upgrade. And remember, you’re going to get those software updates too. Rest assured, the 3 isn’t an obsolete device that you need to run out and replace.
- Already wanted to buy the OnePlus 3: Yes. Its updates are worth the extra money. And if you have room in the budget, go with the 128GB variant.
- Didn’t want to buy either, but want a phone in this price range: Yes. The 3T has all the things we already love about the 3, plus all those goodies I mentioned. I strongly recommended the 3 when it came out and feel the same way about this iteration. Compared to other $400 phones that have been recently released, it has a better user experience and camera than the LePro 3, and it’s faster than both the Motorola Moto Z Play and Alcatel Idol 4S.
- Didn’t want to buy either, but can spend a bit more: Depends. Even if money’s no object, you really wouldn’t be “compromising” much if you got the 3T. That said, the Google Pixel has a way better camera. It’s deeply integrated with Google’s ecosystem too, so you’ll get faster Android updates and Google’s nifty Assistant AI. But again, it’s pricey. The Pixel XL (which has a 5.5-inch display like the 3T) with 128GB costs $869 or £819 — that’s almost twice as much as the 3T.
OnePlus 3T suits up in special-edition black
Comparison of OnePlus 3T specifications
|OnePlus 3T||OnePlus 3||LeEco LePro 3||Motorola Moto Z Play||Alcatel Idol 4S||Google Pixel XL|
|Display size, resolution||5.5-inch; 1,920×1,080 pixels||5.5-inch; 1,920×1,080 pixels||5.5-inch; 1,920×1,080 pixels||5.5-inch; 1,920X1,080 pixels||5.5-inch; 2,560×1,440 pixels||5.5-inch; 2,560×1,440 pixels|
|Pixel density||401ppi||401ppi||403 ppi||403 ppi||534 ppi||534 ppi|
|Dimensions (Inches)||6.01×2.94×0.29 in||6.01×2.94×0.29 in||5.96×2.90×0.29 in||6.16x3x0.28 in||6.06×2.97×0.28 in||6.1×2.98×0.34 in (at its thickest)|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||152.7×74.7×7.35 mm||152.7×74.7×7.35 mm||151.4×73.9×7.5 mm||156.4×76.4×6.99 mm||153.9×75.4×6.99 mm||154.7×75.74×8.58 mm (at its thickest)|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||5.57 oz; 158 g||5.57 oz; 158 g||6.24 oz; 177 g||5.82 oz; 165 g||5.26 oz; 149 g||5.92 oz; 168 g|
|Mobile software||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow||Android 7.1 Nougat|
|Processor||2.35GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 821||2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 820||Qualcomm Snapdragon 821||2.0GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 625||1.8GHz + 1.4GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 652||2.15GHz + 1.6GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821|
|Storage||64GB, 128GB||64GB||64GB||32GB||32GB||32GB, 128GB|
|Expandable storage||None||None||None||Up to 2TB||Up to 200GB||None|
|Battery||3,400mAh (nonremovable)||3,000mAh (nonremovable)||4,070mAh (nonremovable)||3,510 mAh (nonremovable)||3,000mAh (nonremovable)||3,450mAh (nonremovable)|
|Fingerprint sensor||Home button||Home button||Back cover||Home button||Back cover||Back cover|
|Special features||Notifications toggle, dual-SIM, Dash Charging||Notifications toggle, dual-SIM, Dash Charging||Access to LeEco’s streaming platform with Live button||Moto Mods connector, NFC, Turbo Charging||Boom Key (programable key), reversible OS, dual-SIM||Google Assistant built-in, unlimited cloud storage, Daydream VR ready|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$439 (64GB), $479 (128GB)||$399||$399||$450||$400||$769 (32GB), $869 (128GB)|
|Price (GBP)||£399 (64GB), £439 (128GB)||£329||Converts to £325||£344||£385||£719 (32GB), £819 (128GB)|
|Price (AUD)||Converts to AU$590 (64GB), AU$652 (128GB)||Converts to AU$530||Converts to AU$520||AU$594||AU$470||AU$1,269 (32GB), AU$1,419 (128GB)|