OnePlus 6T hands-on: Plenty of upgrades, one huge compromise

OnePlus 6T

When the OnePlus 6T was launched in India, the company’s product manager Szymon Kopeć quite brazenly asserted that they don’t know how to make cheap phones. Although this was said apologetically to those asking it to make affordable Redmi-like devices, what the statement made unmistakably clear was that the brand was out to challenge the big guns like never before. This effectively means that the philosophy of catering to a niche market which the company has prided itself on ever since its inception, has now morphed into a mainstream approach involving active competition with the likes of the flagship iPhone, Galaxy and Pixel devices.

In other words, OnePlus is likely to be seen mimicking other companies more than ever before. With this argument considered, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the 6T has given the headphone jack a miss. After all, most of its rivals have also taken this step in lieu of promoting their wireless earphones. While it hurts to see this industry trend spreading more and more, we must also appreciate the OnePlus 6T for what it does have – a bold feature set that tempts you as a consumer. In our short hands-on session with the phone, we figured it to be a huge improvement over the OnePlus 6, an already strong handset that is still drawing praises for its amazing offerings.

OnePlus 6T Back

The heavily lit hands-on area was an absolute hotbed for reflections and fingerprints both on the front and back glass surfaces of the 6T. But as soon as the screen was switched on, the brilliance of its 6.41-inch AMOLED display took over. Even more pleasing to see was the interesting little waterdrop notch at the top. If this is the only compromise required to tender a full-screen bezel-less front surface, then we’re sure many wouldn’t mind its presence. This subtle design change makes a huge difference when it comes to the attractiveness of the phone.

A look at the rear surface reminded us that the fingerprint scanner has shifted to the front again, and is now placed underneath the display. Setting it up didn’t take much time, and using it was also pretty simple. All you need to do is place your finger in the lower third of your phone, and it will get unlocked instantly. OnePlus prides itself on the quick response time of this assembly, and it definitely should. It felt faster than any other in-display fingerprint scanner in the market right now. A truly OnePlus touch is that the device offers the ability to change the animation you see when you unlock the phone using your fingerprint.

OnePlus 6T Screen

In an obvious bid to compete with Google’s Night Shot technology, OnePlus has blessed the 6T with a Nightscape mode (also available for the OnePlus 6 now via a software update). In low-light scenarios, this mode reduces the shutter speed to capture more light and also lowers the ISO to keep the noise down. And in order to deal with shakes, it merges multiple photos together to create a sharp final shot. We couldn’t test this feature thoroughly, so you’ll have to wait for the full review to know how well it fares.

What we did try out was the dual camera setup of the 6T which includes a 16MP + 20MP pairing. This is essentially the same arrangement as that of the OnePlus 6; so there wasn’t much difference in the results. Apart from depth effects for portraits, it can now also provide studio lighting effects. During our short period of testing these, we found them to be gimmicky more than anything. And then there’s Google Lens integration; a good thing to boast about, but a feature that’s seldom used.

OnePlus 6T Fingerprint Scanner

The 6T’s battery has expanded its capacity to 3700mAh, which is just 300mAh short from the golden 4000mAh mark. Naturally then, you can expect long hours of usage from the device. To extend the phone’s battery life, OnePlus has also done some software optimizations of its own. Prime among them is Sleep Standby, a feature that notices when you’re sleeping and decreases the background processes during that period. This, along with the increase in battery capacity, results in 23 percent more battery life than the OnePlus 6, which is really impressive.

A few weeks back, OnePlus became the first company after Google to dish out the Android 9.0 Pie update for its phone. Not surprisingly then, the 6T ships with the latest software at its core. Some new Oxygen OS goodies are also present here. Prime among them is Smart Boost, which provides faster app launch speeds. Now on a phone using a Snapdragon 845 processor and 8GB of RAM, this won’t be noticeable during everyday use, but you’ll certainly feel this feature’s presence when you launch heavy games. Speaking about games, the company’s gaming mode has received some minor changes as well. And OnePlus has retained its spectacular video editing feature that lets you splice footage together in a breeze.

OnePlus 6T Rear

With the 6T, OnePlus has gotten rid of its 64GB base storage option. This means the 6GB RAM variant will ship with 128GB of storage, while the 8GB version will come with 256GB or 128GB of space. Dual SIM support is present there onboard. There’s still no microSD card slot to take advantage of. And fans will have to continue waiting for a OnePlus device that’s completely waterproof. But all that aside, the 6T certainly looks like an extremely attractive offering with a hard to believe starting price tag of Rs 37,999. If you’re okay with its omission of a headphone jack, you’re not likely to find any other reason to dislike it.

The OnePlus 6T will go on sale from November 1 onward exclusively through Amazon India and the company’s official website. The 8GB RAM model with 128GB memory will sell for Rs 41,999, while the 8GB RAM device with 256GB space will be going for Rs 45,999.