The Chinese enthusiasts brand has been less about killing flagships in recent years and more about constructing a high-end phone for a slightly less high in price. 30 versions, in particular, have always been about refinement rather than an overall. So we can also tell you that if you have a one plus 6 there’s really no good reason to get this device instead this phone is more about those who want a cheaper alternative to the iPhone 10s or the pixel 3 but can this phone really compete with the season’s flagships or should you walk the more well-worn path this time around.
Design language is the elegant droplet notch at the top of the display that replaces the previous boxier notch. It’s impressive because it holds an RGB sensor a distant sensor and the front-facing camera. There’s also a sliver of an earpiece at its top. Sadly there was no space for an LED light so now you have to do without it.
There’s still an option to hide the knotch but unlike before if you don’t it crops into videos when you fullscreen them. It’s a small notch and it’s really not too intrusive but it should really be up to the user to decide whether it cuts into content or not.
Our midnight black version has a smooth matte back that uses the one plus is unique anti-glare coating. It’s the same material as on the six and it smudges easily. You might initially mistake it for metal but it’s actually made of a material oneplus is calling 3d glass.
Still there’s no wireless charging the 6t feels really comfortable to hold and like in previous years the buttons are nice and clicky. Conveniently for right-handed users the alert slider is also on the right but it’s still a bit stiff. There are also new animations that pop up telling you what mode you just selected.
The phone feels durable and well-made and the screen uses Gorilla Glass 6. Again there’s no IP rating though it looks like a few drops won’t harm it.
- Body: 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm, 185 g. Aluminum frame, glass back, 2.5D Gorilla Glass 6 display glass. Mirror Black, Midnight Black schemes.
- Display: 6.41″ Optic AMOLED, 2,340×1,080px resolution, 19.5:9 aspect ratio 402ppi; sRGB/DCI-P3 color space support.
- Rear cameras: Main camera: Sony IMX 519 1/2.6″ sensor, 16MP, 1.22µm pixel size, f/1.7 aperture, phase detection autofocus, OIS, EIS. Secondary camera: Sony IMX376K sensor, 20MP, 1.0µm pixel size, f/1.7 aperture. 2160p/60fps video recording, 1080p/240fps or 720p/480fps slow motion
- Front camera: Sony IMX 371 sensor, 16MP, 1.0µm pixel size, f/2.0 aperture; EIS; 1080p/30fps video recording.
- OS/Software: Android 9 Pie; OxygenOS custom overlay.
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845: octa-core CPU (4×2.7 GHz Kryo 385 Gold & 4×1.7 GHz Kryo 385 Silver), Adreno 630 GPU.
- Memory: 6/8GB of LPDDR4X RAM; 128/256GB UFS 2.1 2-LANE storage.
- Battery: 3,700mAh Li-Po (sealed); Fast Charge (formerly Dash Charge) proprietary fast charging (5V/4A).
- Connectivity: Dual nano-SIM; 5-Band carrier aggregation, LTE Cat.16/13 (1024Mbps/150Mbps); USB Type-C (v2.0); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo; NFC; Bluetooth 5.0, supports aptX and aptX HD.
- Misc: Under-display fingerprint reader; single speaker on the bottom; tri-position Alert Slider.
The one plus 6 has oxygen OS with Android Pi on top. Fans of light Android will appreciate how clean it is. A rest assured it still includes traditional oneplus elements like the shelf and the gaming mode which has been updated to allow floating notifications and other customizations while gaming. There is also a beta feature called smart boost. It stores data from games in RAM and it should improve app startup times. Like before you can choose a custom accent color for the system and it’s especially noticeable in the notification shade. There’s one area I can easily say oxygen OS beatstock Android and it’s in terms of navigation options. It has navigation buttons the pixel navigation with the pill or gestures.
Gestures free up the most space and are generally quite intuitive the gesture for the task switcher in particular is also more fluid than on the 6 and feels closer to the one on the iPhone. It’s also easier to activate split screen mode. With future updates one plus should include the ability to long press the power button to activate the Google assistant.
Oneplus has a dual camera setup that has one main sensor in a secondary one that helps with some stuff. It’s still one of the weirdest dual camera setups out there the secondary camera has the same focal length as the main one and covering it with a finger doesn’t appear to change the image quality. Leading us to question is existence to begin with.
In daylight images have awesome colors and a stellar dynamic range this is thanks to that image stacking the camera employs. The level of detail is pretty good too just not the best. Despite the 16 megapixel main camera having the same sensor as before 1 + promises image improvements thanks to better scene recognition. Is that true well some of the time here during sunrise the 6t presents a dreamier scene. At noon on the other hand shots didn’t differ all that much shots of people in particular are supposed to be much improved but we found practically no difference between the 6 and a 6t.
Blur and portrait mode is convincing though you’ll have to take portraits by standing very close to your subject thanks to the 25 millimeter equivalent lens.
There’s now a new night mode in the camera app. It does pseudo long exposures but results are nothing like what we’ve seen with the Hawaii p20 or the Xiaomi me makes 3. The benefits are subtle and the camera shake is a huge issue. It and most of our attempts until we switch to a tripod. The phone however would detect the tripod and switch to longer exposure shooting. Film pseudo mode producing sharper and better exposed night shots without the night shot mode low-light photos are okay to. Color saturation and bright lights are well preserved thinks about always on image stacking HDR but the level of detail is not flagship grade.
Video quality hasn’t changed much from the oneplus 6. V videos are nice and detailed with wide dynamic range and good color reproduction. However 4k video is at 30 frames per second are automatically stabilized. This means that they’re both cropped and less sharp than videos shot at 60 frames per second. Though the stabilization is quite good when walking you can’t switch it off and you have to convert your 60fps videos to 30fps if you want crispier footage and full HD dynamic range and colors are also excellent but once again you’ll get sharper footage if you shoot at 60 frames per second.
The 16 megapixel front camera has a lens with the 25 millimeter focal length. Selfies are generally nicely detailed but if the HDR mode kicks in the image becomes a lot softer. Dark areas are often rendered straight black which can be quite noticeable on those with dark hair. Portrait mode works well here too but you’ll find the same halos as on the 6.
Should you buy it or not?
So that’s pretty much everything we were able to test and the week we had with a 6t sure it’s not way better than the one plus 6 but it is the one plus phone to buy especially as supplies of old oneplus phones tend to dry up as oneplus releases new devices.
More importantly this phone is not less than or almost a flagship. With the high quality construction the butter smooth gestures and the light UI it’s easily on par or better than other flagships in terms of daily use. This time around it even shares the traitorous lack of a headphone jack. Oneplus also does some things better than the competition. It actually has a cutting edge under display fingerprint reader which still feels slow but is the fastest and most reliable one we’ve seen. Battery life is better and even the notch is smaller which is especially nice in comparison to the pixel 3s helicopter pad of a notch. It’s basically missing an IP rating and more advancements in the camera department but if you can live with that we definitely recommend it to buy.