OnePlus released the OnePlus 3T just five months after it launched its predecessor, the OnePlus 3, so it could keep offering the latest and greatest specs.
As a result, the OnePlus 3T is priced at $450 – that’s $50 more than the OnePlus’ $400 price tag, but still considerably less than other top Android smartphones like Samsung’s Galaxy phones or Google’s new Pixel.
While the upgrades make the OnePlus 3T a better phone than the 3 overall, it didn’t necessarily shine in every single area.
See how the OnePlus 3T stacks up against the OnePlus 3, as well as the other top Android phones.
The OnePlus 3T is physically identical to the OnePlus 3 in every single way, which means it’s still one of the best looking phones you can buy.
The new “gunmetal” color replaces the lighter “graphite” option.
It looks better than the Google Pixel (in my opinion).
The sapphire glass protecting the camera was also upgraded to better resist crack and scratches.
Having tougher glass protecting the camera is always going to be a good thing, even if it wasn’t a problem on the OnePlus 3.
The OnePlus 3T has an updated processor, which helps open and run apps slightly faster than the OnePlus 3.
I wasn’t expecting much of a difference between the OnePlus 3 and 3T’s performance despite the 3T’s superior processor, but I was surprised to find that apps opened with more immediacy after tapping them on the OnePlus 3T than they did on the OnePlus 3.
The OnePlus 3T’s battery is also slightly larger, but it didn’t make a perceivable difference in overall life.
The front camera was also upgraded from eight megapixels on the OnePlus 3 to 16 on the 3T, but I was surprised to find the OnePlus 3 actually took sharper selfies.
See what I mean?
OnePlus claims the OnePlus 3T’s front camera takes better photos in low-light situations. That’s true — the 3T’s selfie is less grainy — but the 3’s selfie is still sharper.
OnePlus also updated the back camera to record smoother videos, but the difference is slight, and the Pixel still records smoother videos with less stutters.
Otherwise, the OnePlus 3T’s rear camera is the same as the OnePlus 3, which means it’s OK, but not quite up to snuff with other top Android smartphones.
I would rather OnePlus improved the rear camera than the front camera, as it’s decidedly more important unless you’re an avid selfie taker.
Here’s the same photo taken with the Google Pixel, which looks dramatically better. In fact, it looks stunning.
Should you upgrade to the OnePlus 3T if you have the OnePlus 3, which was released just five months ago?
The OnePlus 3T’s processor and battery improvements are the only upgrades worth considering, and they’re not substantial enough to warrant an upgrade from the OnePlus 3.
Would I buy it?
If my Android phone was starting to show its age with slowing performance and I was on the market for a new phone, it would be a tough race between the OnePlus 3T and the Google Pixel.
The OnePlus 3T looks better, and it’s $450 price tag is more tempting than the Pixel’s $650 base price.
I’m also a great fan of OnePlus’ signature alert slider, which you can set to silent, ring, and “do not disturb.” You won’t find that on any other Android phone.
Software-wise, OnePlus rightfully chose to keep the pure Android aesthetic with its own Oxygen OS skin, which is generally better than the skins that Samsung, LG, and HTC have on their phones. Yet, the OnePlus 3T still won’t get updates as quickly as Google’s Pixel. In fact, the OnePlus 3T ships with Android 6.0 while the Google Pixel (and the LG V20) ships with Android 7.0.
At the end of the day, I’d go for the Pixel for the timely updates directly from Google, as well as its superior camera.