The T upgrade from OnePlus has always been controversial. Some might say the six-month release cycle is unnecessary and happens too soon. However, OnePlus claims it only does it when there is significant room for improvement. With the OnePlus 6T now official, certain OnePlus 6 owners may feel hard done by. But how much of a difference does the upgrade actually bring?
Build and form factor
From afar, the OnePlus 6T is very similar to the OnePlus 6. It brings the same anodized aluminium finish with a blend of glass. While we still see Gorilla Glass 5 at the back of the device, the front comes with the new Gorilla Glass 6 for added fall damage protection.
The front also sees a slightly larger 6.41-inch Optic AMOLED display. It is still a 1080p resolution panel with a pixel density of 402 but slightly more immersive thanks to a reduction of the bottom chin bezel. The notch also sees a large reduction in size with the tear-drop like cutout only housing the front 16MP camera among other ambient sensors and most notably, omitting the LED notification light. For control, the usual volume, power and alert slider make a return. But we still do not see the inclusion of stereo speakers for media consumption nor certified water and dust resistance. And with its T upgrade this time around, OnePlus has decided to remove the 3.5mm headphone jack in favour of a dongle that is provided out of the box.
In-screen fingerprint scanner
One of the most striking changes on the OnePlus 6T is the fingerprint scanner. The hardware scanner usually found on the back is gone and is replaced by an in-screen fingerprint scanner. OnePlus claims to provide the fastest unlocking experience using this technology with a time to unlock of 0.34 seconds.
While this is a relatively new feature to have, it has been seen on other phones from Vivo, Oppo and most notably on the recent Huawei Mate 20 Pro. The principle behind all of these is similar where a light sensor under the screen is used to read your fingerprint. Security wise, the scanner offers the same level of safety but we will have to wait whether or not the scanner provides the same convenience as a hardware scanner.
Power and optimization
OnePlus takes pride in delivering the most refined Android experience on the market. We think its Oxygen OS is the perfect combination of Android 9.0 Pie and incremental features. Whilst still rocking the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and up to 8GB RAM, OnePlus worked on refining software. Its new gesture-based navigation is said to be smoother and drops less frames. The company has even taken strides to improve gaming performance on the phone. With a more consistent gaming experience compared to other flagships, the phone is ideal there too. But against the OnePlus 6 from earlier, you will not see drastic changes.
A bigger change is seen in battery capacity. The OnePlus 6T comes with a larger 3,700mAh battery which may provide better battery backup. Of course, the battery also supports OnePlus’ proprietary 20W Dash Charge but unfortunately doesn’t come with wireless charging capabilities.
Like much of the user experience, it is once again software improvements that come with the OnePlus 6T in this area. The core camera hardware still remains a dual 16 and 20MP setup with an f/1.7 aperture. Nightscape is an improvement to low-light photos similar to Huawei’s night mode. It uses algorithms to reduce noise and improve detail in night time photos. An impressive aspect about this is that the feature will only take up to two seconds to work as opposed to other competitors where you would have to stand still for up to five seconds. Interestingly, this function will also be coming to current OnePlus 6 owners via a future software update.
Another improvement is with portraits. The OnePlus 6T offers a feature called Studio Lighting. This modifies brightness and facial tones to emulate an effect you could get with professional studio lights. Aside from this, OnePlus also claims the 6T improves on HDR performance and bokeh in portraits.
Availability and pricing
The OnePlus 6T will be exclusively available in the UAE market via Souq.com with pre-orders starting on October 31. The site has the device in mirror black and midnight black. Both pack 128GB of storage, with the 6GB mirror model available for Dh2,249 and the 8GB midnight device for Dh2,399.