Back in June, OnePlus launched their new flagship smartphone, the OnePlus 3. I've had an interesting relationship with the OnePlus 3 due to certain decisions that were made regarding its display and some parts of the operating system before the phone initially launched. Since that time, OnePlus has made significant improvements to both of these aspects, and in my follow up piece I concluded that the OnePlus 3 should be considered by all smartphone buyers, even ones who were ready to pay $700 or $800 for a flagship phone from another company.

Earlier this month, OnePlus surprised a number of people in the Android community by launching a successor to the OnePlus 3. This move isn't in line with the yearly cadence that we've come to expect for their smartphones, which makes it all the more interesting. The name of this new phone is the OnePlus 3T, and based on that name one can already see that it represents an evolution of the OnePlus 3 rather than a revolutionary upgrade. As the OnePlus 3's successor, the OnePlus 3T simply serves to update certain aspects of the phone's hardware in order to take advantage of technology improvements that have been made available since the OnePlus 3 was originally developed and released.

This review focuses on the aspects of the OnePlus 3T that differ from its predecessor. Because of that, I recommend reading over my review of the OnePlus 3 if you're interested in other aspects of the phone like the camera quality. Before moving on, I've collected all the specifications for the OnePlus 3 and 3T in the chart below to make it clear which parts have changed and which have remained the same.

  OnePlus 3 OnePlus 3T
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 820
2 x 2.15GHz Kryo
2 x 1.6GHz Kryo
624MHz Adreno 530
Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
2 x 2.35GHz Kryo
2 x 1.6GHz Kryo
653MHz Adreno 530
Display 5.5" 1920 x 1080 PenTile AMOLED
Size / Mass 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm, 158g
Battery 3000 mAh 3400 mAh
Rear Camera 16MP 1.1 μm Sony IMX298, f/2.0, OIS
Front Camera 8MP 1.4 μm
Sony IMX179, f/2.0
16MP 1.0 µm
Samsung S5K3P8, f/2.0
Storage 64GB UFS 2.0 64/128GB UFS 2.0
I/O USB 2.0 Type-C connector, 3.5mm audio
Connectivity 1x1 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.2, USB-C, GPS/GNSS
Software Android 6.0.1
OxygenOS 3.2.8
Android 6.0.1
OxygenOS 3.5.1
Price 64GB
399 USD
439 USD
439 EUR
399 GBP
599 CAD
479 USD
479 EUR
439 GBP
639 CAD

For the most part, the OnePlus 3T is the same as the OnePlus 3. The size and mass are both the same, the display is the same, the rear-camera is the same, and the connectivity is the same. Internally OnePlus has made some changes to certain components. The most obvious change is the new SoC, with Snapdragon 820 being replaced with a faster Snapdragon 821 chip, while the RAM remains a healthy 6GB of LPDDR4. The battery capacity has also increased from 3000mAh to 3400mAh, which is a 13% increase without any change in the size or mass of the phone. The last major change is the new front-facing camera, which has moved from the 8MP 1.4µm Sony sensor on the OnePlus 3 to a 16MP 1.0µm Samsung sensor. In addition to the changes across all models, OnePlus has also introduced a 128GB SKU for users who need more storage. All of these changes also come at a higher price, with the 64GB model starting at $439, up from $399, and the 128GB model coming in at $479.


As far as its design goes, the OnePlus 3T is mostly unchanged from its predecessor. I'm quite a fan of the OnePlus 3's design, so I don't feel that there was any need to change it significantly. The relatively thin body and the tapered back design make it far more usable with one hand than other 5.5" smartphones like the Pixel XL or the Moto G4. Being made from a single piece of aluminum, the chassis has none of the seams that the OnePlus One and OnePlus 2 had, and it feels incredibly solid in the hand. Unlike certain other vendors, OnePlus has also taken the time to actually align the various ports and buttons on the sides of the chassis instead of placing them wherever is convenient without any regard for aesthetics or usability.

Beyond the purely physical aspects of the design, I think OnePlus's design decisions regarding the placement of controls also makes the phone easier to use than competing devices. Having been using the OnePlus 3 since launch, I can say with certainty that OnePlus is on the right side of history by putting the volume rocker on the left side of the phone along with a physical switch for toggling notification settings. I also really appreciate having capacitive navigation buttons instead of wasting space on the display with on-screen buttons sitting above a bottom bezel that could easily fit physical ones. Putting the fingerprint scanner on the front of the phone as part of the home button also makes it simple to turn on and unlock the phone, even if it's sitting on a table.

The only aspect of the design that has changed from the OnePlus 3 is the color of the phone. The OnePlus 3 was originally available in a standard silver aluminum finish and later came in a gold finish, while the OnePlus 3T comes in a gunmetal grey finish and a gold finish from the start. The gold finish is only available in a 64GB capacity, while the gunmetal has both a 64GB and a 128GB version. For this review the 128GB gunmetal model was sampled, and I think it's a nice look for the phone. It's certainly not as dark as Apple's black iPhone 7 finish, but it's visibly darker than the OnePlus 3's aluminum and helps to distinguish between the two. I wouldn't have minded if OnePlus had also kept the standard silver finish available, as I think it looked rather nice as well, but I don't think the gunmetal is such a dramatic change in color that users will be bothered by silver being unavailable.

Display: Re-Revisited
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  • AbRASiON - Thursday, December 1, 2016 - link

    Still no wireless charging? It's nearly 2017,.........
  • negusp - Thursday, December 1, 2016 - link

    Its not really necessary especially with quick charge. I mean, its a relatively useful feature but few people use it and its a hassle to incorporate.
  • Saihtam - Tuesday, December 6, 2016 - link

    "No wireless charging in nearly #NextYear" doesn't really make sense.

    Wireless charging has been out there for years now and it kind of sucks.
    I had it on my Nexus 5 but I don't miss it one bit since migrating to the OnePlus 3 with Dash Charging.
  • leexgx - Wednesday, January 18, 2017 - link

    i like wireless charging but never used it myself (i guess main issue is 500ma charge compared to 2-3A on Quick charge 2-3 phone) guess its good for overnight charge or when your at work you put it down on the charge pad saving the USB port from repeated use and accidental damage

    with my CUBOT H1 had fast charge as takes like 3 hours to charge from empty but lasts 7 hours "Real" screen on time so less an issue , the S5 charges 90% in about 1hour (i have to charge it again once or twice in the day due to my use, most people seem to have to recharge once in a day to top it up)
  • kyaaaaaaaaaa - Friday, December 2, 2016 - link

    Is there a chance that they will ever use a physical home button again? Also if there is one more camera shutter button and all buttons are all programmable it would be GREAT.
  • sinsin - Monday, December 5, 2016 - link

    One area that wasn't touched was wheather the new ISP for 821 improves the camera experience?
  • blomquist - Tuesday, December 6, 2016 - link

    Why do you still use this meaningless display tests. I've found every iPhone to have a mediocre screen since I got my private Nexus 5. Since then I had a Honor 6 Plus, a Oneplus X an now I'm using a ZUK Z2 Pro. Provided from my company I had a Iphone 4, 5 and now a 6s - How blind eyed has one to be to not find the iPhones having a mediocre display? I mean they are really shitty, the Honor 6+ still beats them all regarding the display quality.
  • vampyren - Monday, December 12, 2016 - link

    This top of the line phone cost $439 and the conclusion focuses on $40 price increase :) its just funny. I understand the comparison against the base prist of OP3 but still.
  • RACE9f - Wednesday, December 14, 2016 - link

    a glowing review. Having been trying to buy this since the day this article came out, it seems the phone is vaporware. the support for this firm is really shaky, they only answer a phone call even occasionally and will not take any email unless you already have bought one!
  • danitkd - Tuesday, January 3, 2017 - link

    Why in srgb the white is yellow than in ntsc (profile default?)

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