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Review: OnePlus 5T

Hardware Software Wrap-Up Comments  6  

Dec 12, 2017, 12:30 PM   by Eric M. Zeman   @phonescooper

Editor's Choice

The latest smartphone from OnePlus is an attractive, affordable premium device. The OnePlus 5T is the latest handset to adopt the 2:1 aspect ratio and offer a dual-camera array. With a Snapdragon 835 under the hood and OnePlus' tasteful tweaks to Android, the OnePlus 5T is an appealing blend of price and performance. Here is Phone Scoop's in-depth review.

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Is It Your Type?

The OnePlus 5T tweaks the winning formula of the OnePlus 5 by adding a 2:1 display and adjusting the dual cameras. If you want near-flagship performance at less-than-flagship cost, the OnePlus 5T is an affordable option to Galaxys and iPhones.

Body

Editor's Note: The OnePlus 5T is nearly identical to the OnePlus 5, with only a few minor hardware changes. Some of the text below is carried over from our earlier review of the 5, though all relevant portions have been updated to reflect the changes.

The 5T is very similar to the OnePlus 5 from earlier this year. In fact, other than the revised aspect ratio of the screen and relocated fingerprint sensor, the devices are nearly identical.

OnePlus 5T  

The 5T is a metal-and-glass slab that comes in black. It has gently rounded corners and a smooth shape. The front includes 2.5D curved glass and it sits in an aluminum chassis that wraps around the back and all four sides. The 5T borders on generic, yet the simple lines are appealing in their own way. Antenna lines appear along the top and bottom edges, but they are hardly noticeable. I like the matte finish.

The 5T is above average in terms of size for a modern handset. OnePlus stretched the height by a few millimeters to accommodate the 6-inch, 2:1 screen. The 5T is tall at 6.15 inches, but the width isn't too bad at under three inches. The profile is very slim, so it fits in pockets with ease. Some people may struggle to use the phone one-handed. Anyone looking for an all-screen phone should expect a device to be about this size. The weight is a few grams more than the older 5, but it's not bad.

Hand Fit

Hand Fit

What it comes to materials and build quality, the 5T competes well. There's no question the front curved Gorilla Glass 5 is excellent, and the aluminum chassis feels strong and sturdy. The pieces are fitted together perfectly. The phone conveys confidence and quality.

The 5T has a plain black face with no branding. The metal grille of the earpiece speaker is practically invisible, though the user-facing camera is rather obvious. I'm really happy OnePlus reduced the bezels on the 5T; the forehead and chin above and below the screen are tight. The 5T doesn't quite deliver a bezel-less experience of some devices, but it's much more appealing than the OnePlus 5. OnePlus was forced to move the fingerprint reader from below the screen to the rear. This allowed the company to adjust the screen ratio without increasing the size of the phone too much.

I've long appreciated the ringer switch on OnePlus handsets and I'm happy to report it's still available on the 5T. The three-position switch is tucked into the left edge and it lets you control the phone's sound (on / vibrate / silent). This is a great feature that more phones should offer. The switch has a ribbed texture that makes it easy to find, and the action is perfect.

Alert Slider

Alert Slider

The volume toggle is just below the ringer switch on the left edge. It has a decent profile and length. Travel and feedback are okay; I was hoping for more snap. You'll find the screen lock / power button on the right edge of the phone. The button is small, but it has a good profile anad delivers pleasing feedback. The SIM card tray is tucked above the screen lock button on the right. The metal tray supports up to two SIM cards, but it doesn't accommodate memory cards.

A USB-C port is positioned on the bottom edge. It's flanked by the 3.5mm headphone jack and the speakerphone. Surely some will be happy about the headphone jack, a feature that's becoming rare on high-end devices.

Bottom Edge

Bottom Edge

The rear aluminum panel is curved gently. The center section of the metal is mostly flat, though it rounds off near the side edges of the phone. It's simplicity at its best. The fingerprint reader is indented just a tiny, tiny bit. I didn't have any trouble finding it while testing the phone. The dual camera array is in the upper-left corner. The camera module is raised quite a bit from the metal surface, which means the phone sits unevenly on hard surfaces.

Camera Bump

Camera Bump

Thanks to the all-metal chassis, you cannot open up the OnePlus 5T. The battery is inaccessible, but this shouldn't surprise anyone at this point.

This phone is not waterproof, which is a major bummer. It's not rated rugged, either; you may want to wrap it up in a case.

The evolution of OnePlus' handsets has been swift. The company adopted the 2:1 aspect ratio screen for its flagship in lockstep with the competition. The high-quality materials and the svelte design ensure that the 5T is hard to ignore.

Screen

OnePlus is the most recent phonemaker to jump from the 16:9 aspect ratio to 2:1 (18:9) for its high-end device. The 5T's screen measures 6 inches across the diagonal and offers full HD+ resolution, or 2,160 by 1,080 pixels. High-end 2:1 screens from Samsung, LG, and Google may offer quad HD+ resolution, but I think the 5T does just fine with the pixels it has. I was pleased with pixel density, and on-screen elements look sharp.

The display relies on AMOLED technology to provide its luminescence. I found the screen to be plenty bright for normal use. It handled indoor and outdoor duties without difficulty. The automatic brightness controller is very aggressive at raising the brightness when outside. That's great for visibility, but can impact battery life. Colors look good on the screen and are mostly accurate. Viewing angles are very good; there's very little color/brightness change when you tilt the phone.

OnePlus included a calibration tool so you can set the screen to your preferred appearance. There are four preset hues, and one custom for adjusting white balance and color saturation.

Display  

Signal

OnePlus sells the 5T unlocked with wide support for GSM/LTE networks here in the U.S. and abroad. It supports most of the major LTE bands used by AT&T and T-Mobile, even bands 29, 30, and 66. (The phone lacks CDMA 1900 and LTE band 13, so it won't work well — if at all — with Verizon and Sprint.) You'll find speedy technologies such as Cat. 12 LTE, three-channel carrier aggregation and 256QAM.

I tested the phone on both AT&T and T-Mobile and came away impressed. The phone handily latched onto AT&T and T-Mobile's 4G networks and remained there throughout testing. Data speeds were robust, but didn't reach the peaks I've seen from today's best phones. In real world terms, the OnePlus 5T was able to stream video via YouTube and music via Spotify with no trouble. I saw little to no buffering and didn't experience any dropouts or pauses. It's a good data phone.

As for making phone calls, the handset was able to patch through on the first dial each time I made a call. Calls stayed connected over miles of highway driving.

Sound

I'd rate call quality as very good. The earpiece produces clean calls that are free of distortion and noise. As with the 5, I wish volume were just a bit better. I had to keep the volume set to the maximum in order to hear calls in most places. Voices sound nice and crisp, even if they're not quite loud enough. People I spoke to through the OnePlus 5T said I sounded very good.

The speakerphone is more prone to distortion when cranked up, and — like the earpiece — needs to be set all the way up most of the time. The speakerphone was hard to hear in moving cars and other noisy spaces, but it sufficed for use at home.

Ringers and alerts could be a little louder. The vibrating alert is one of the best.

Battery

The OnePlus 5T carries over the 3,300 mAh battery from the OnePlus 5. After several weeks of testing there's no doubt that this battery is well-matched to the phone. The result is a handset that I had trouble draining during a day of rigorous testing. Most people should be pleased with the battery life they get from the OnePlus 5T.

The handset includes the standard Android power-management tool. It can help a bit if you suddenly find yourself at 10%. The OnePlus 5 also includes a new tool called App Priority. The phone's software will close or put into low-power mode apps that it thinks aren't being used.

More importantly, the 5T supports OnePlus' Dash Charge technology (5 volts at 4 amps) for rapid power-ups. It charges faster than any other phone I've tested.

Battery  

Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, WiFi

You'll find Bluetooth 5.0 aboard. When it came to connecting to headsets, speakers, cars, and other devices, the OnePlus 5T got the job done. The phone paired with little effort. Phone calls passed through my car's hands-free system were decent.

Music, on the other hand, sounded amazing when streamed to my favorite headphones. The phone supports aptX HD, which is the newest high-resolution stereo Bluetooth codec. As long as you have a compatible piece of audio gear, expect your ears to be happy.

The GPS radio and Google Maps got along like bosom buddies. The 5T was able to pinpoint my location within just a few seconds, and accuracy was as good as about 15 feet. The phone managed real-time navigation with no trouble.

The NFC radio supports Android Pay and also helps it pair with Bluetooth accessories.

The dual-band WiFi radio supports 2x2 MIMO for faster throughput if you have a solid WiFi router. The WiFi worked amazingly well no matter what hotspot I hopped on.

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Comments

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This forum is closed.

ReschDMD

Dec 16, 2017, 10:52 AM

OP 5T notification light

I have had my OP 5T for a few weeks now and I really like it (coming from a Nexus 6p), but I wanted to clarify something on the notification light from the review.

With OxygenOS you can pick one of 8 colors for notifications and opt to turn on or off per app (e.g. you want SMS to flash, but not weather channel), but it is just one color. The review makes it sound like you can pick colors for various things: "There's also an LED indicator light, which can be set to blink specific colors for specific types of messages or other notifications."
In practice 3 of the color choices are "battery full, battery charging, battery low" and the 4th choice is "default notification."
to clarify- this is not like Cyanogen in the OP One where you had ...
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