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OnePlus 3T Review - Better Late Than Never

The OnePlus 3T isn't a new phone, but nearly everyone is still raving about its outlandish price-to-specs-ratio. Why? On paper, this handset still has the ability to rival nearly every major modern flagship in the world for nearly half the price.
OnePlus 3T Review - Better Late Than Never
OnePlus 3T review

For the review part 1: OnePlus 3T Unboxing And First Impressions

It's the reason why we are so glad that this handset finally and officially landed in the Philippines. So, without any further delay, here's the rest of our review.

Display Quality

Multitouch test
Multitouch test

For indoor use, the 5.5 inch FHD Optic AMOLED screen is amazing to use. Sharpness is on point at 401 pixels per inch and colors are great. It's vibrant, punchy, but far from being oversaturated. Images also have great depth, dynamic range, and deep blacks. Viewing angles are also outstanding.

Great screen with punchy and accurate colors!

For outdoor use (especially in bright daylight situation), it is decent to use and fairly readable. However, it isn't as bright compared to most modern flagship phones we tested.

It has screen calibration, accurate adaptive brightness, and 10 points of touch to complete the experience. By the way, touch response is extremely good here, better than most flagship phones.

Audio Quality

OnePlus is still using a single speaker setup on the 3T. Quality is okay, has some good details, airiness, and punch. However, it is far from being the loudest around. It's just average in clarity and loudness at best. Highs are peaky at times too.

Even without marketing its HiFi audio capabilities, OnePlus 3T is HiFi!

When your favorite high-quality earphones or low-powered headphones are plugged, results are wonderful. It ranks among the cleanest and nicest smartphone we tested for playing HiFi audio. Sound signature is flat and clarity is on point. Bass reproduction is okay and mids are mostly full sounding. Soudstage has good depth too and distortion is minimal on loud volume levels. Like the regular OnePlus 3driving power isn't the loudest around.

For calls, microphone quality still did an decent job. Voice from calls are clean and the voice recordings are fine. Most won't have an issue here for sure.

Battery

Coming from the original OP3 with just 3,000 mAh of juice, OnePlus decided to increase the capacity of the one found with OP3T at 3,400 mAh. As a result, battery life is much better.

Major improvement, longer battery life!

On a regular work day, we were able to use it from 6 am to 9:30 pm on just a single charge. That's over 1 hour better than before. We also get a screen on time of around 8 hours which is excellent for a flagship smartphone. Even when playing games and running mobile data at the same time, battery doesn't drain that quick. To extend the battery life, using the default Android power saving mode would help as well.

Note: For unknown reasons, our PC Mark work battery life test kept on crashing.

Due to the increase of battery capacity, charging time from 0 to 100 percent increased as well. It is still super fast at around 1 hour and 30 mins using the proprietary 4A Dash Charger. To achieve that speed always, only use the designated dash charge cables. 

Camera

16 MP main camera!

Behind, OnePlus 3T is still equipped with the same capable 16 MP f/2.0 IMX298 sensor w/ PDAF, OIS, and LED flash by Sony. It isn't the highest-end around, but its a safe type of camera sensor commonly found with the older flagships like the Huawei Mate 8 and Xiaomi Mi 5.
The simple camera interface
The simple camera interface

The OnePlus 3T still has the easy to use simple camera interface loaded with useful modes. You can use either the HQ or auto HDR to increase image sharpness and take photos with better colors and highlights depending on the situation. Then it has panorama and the manual camera settings. Grids for guide is also present.
Manual camera interface
Manual camera interface

For the manual camera, you can enjoy manual focus, up to 30 seconds shutter, ISO 3200, and different white balance modes to achieve great results. Shutter and focus speed is also close to flagship grade. Doing close-up shots won't be a problem at around 3 inches near the subject.


The camera performance is great for the price!

For the picture quality, results are amazing considering how low OnePlus priced this one for a phone loaded with monster-like specs. It isn't on the level of the Galaxy S8, but it can compete with most in its class. 

Primarily, picture are sharp and vibrant in good lighting conditions. It has a warmer type of color tone w/ good saturation too. Using the HQ mode is also amazing, but you can't use it together with the HDR mode. Use the HDR mode when lighting isn't great though.

In low light, the camera is still inconsistent. Sometimes results are great with good dynamic range and little grains, but there are times that it'll really struggle. Still acceptable for something so affordable though. Using the flash would help most of the time.

Rear Camera Samples

Normal vs HDR
Normal vs HDR
HQ mode
HQ mode
Close-up HQ
Close-up HQ
Daylight auto HDR
Daylight auto HDR
Indoor
Indoor
Night yellow light
Night yellow light
Concert lowlight
Concert lowlight
Long exposure
Long exposure
Flash sample
Flash sample

For selfies, the upgraded 16 MP f/2.0 Samsung 3P8SP w/ PDAF sensor is impressive. It has several levels of beautification, timer, and grids. However, there's no tap to focus function or even screen flash.

Selfie camera is excellent!

Quality-wise, it ranks among the best single selfie camera we tested. It can produce outstanding stills for daylight with great clarity, detail, colors, and depth for a selfie camera. Even in lowlight, it can occasionally produce great shots. As expected, there will be grains and loss of detail in super-lowlight conditions.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie
Indoor selfie harsh lighting
Indoor selfie harsh lighting
Lowlight selfie
Lowlight selfie

On video recordings, the OnePlus 3T is also capable. At the back its 16 MP camera has OIS and an improved EIS. It still can record up to 4K in quality, but has a limit of 10 minutes. It's pretty stabled and not that shaky in quality. But we preferred using the 1080p at 60 fps more due to its better overall quality. In front, it has the ability to record decent 1080p as well, but it doesn't have good focus and tracking.

Video Samples


Performance

Beastly scores!
Beastly scores!

For the price, OnePlus 3T is a monster. As a matter of fact, its Snapdragon 821 chip w/ Adreno 530 and 6 GB RAM achieved higher benchmark scores most flagship smartphones we tried. As a result, speed one of the fastest around, animation is swift, and multitasking is easy.


Even gaming won't be a problem with this beast. You can play all the heavy 3D games in the market in all-high settings most of the time. There's no signs of lag even after prolonged hours of use. Thermal management is also great.

Oxygen OS is truly light and efficient!

The Oxygen OS on top of Android Nougat is also a joy to use. Like its older brother, it has Nexus level in terms of simplicity and ease of use. It has a stock Google Now like interface where you won't find any annoying bloats.

It has the ability to choose hardware or on-screen buttons, the file manager is easy to use, there are gestures like double tap to wake and 3 finger screenshot, and the fingerprint scanner for security.

To complete the experience we never had an issue with connectivity and telephony. LTE works, Bluetooth is okay, and SMS / call signal is decent.

Pros - Solid design, Snapdragon 821 is still one of the speediest around, 6 GB RAM, good thermal management, capable back and front cameras, 4K video recording ability, long battery life, USB OTG, Oxygen OS is clean and fast
Cons - Display isn't that bright, single speaker is not that strong, non-expandable internal storage, no touch to focus and screen flash for selfies

Verdict

Yes, its better late than never! Why? As of this writing, the OnePlus 3T is still the smartphone to beat in the sub PHP 25K region. Even with its few flaws, this device is clearly the most powerful smartphone in its class.  A good update to OnePlus 3 overall.

Let's all be glad that something this great and affordable is now officially available in here in the Philippines.

Build / Design - 4.5
Display - 4.5
Audio - 4.25
Battery - 4.5
Camera - 4.25
Performance - 4.75

Average - 4.45 / 5
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