- The OnePlus 6T is now “the previous” phone now that OnePlus released its latest OnePlus 7 Pro.
- OnePlus is still selling the OnePlus 6T in the US in place of the regular OnePlus 7 – without the “pro” part – which will only be available outside the US.
- The OnePlus 6T is still a great option in 2019, and it’s cheaper than the OnePlus 7 Pro, as well as other “cheaper” Android options, like Samsung’s Galaxy S10e.
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In New York City, a lot of people around me are toting expensive flagship phones from big names in the smartphone business, like Apple and Samsung.
So when I was using the $550 OnePlus 6T, it felt like I was cheating. This smartphone did everything I wanted it to do just as well as the other top phones I had tried in 2018.
And after checking out the few phones from 2019 so far, even the recent OnePlus 7 Pro, I can’t say the OnePlus 6T feels like “last year’s phone,” at least when you consider its price tag.
Surely, something this good shouldn’t cost so much less than everything else, right?
Holding and using the OnePlus 6T feels like I know something that others around me don't, and that I'm getting away with something I shouldn't.
Check out what it's like to use the OnePlus 6T:
First of all, I'm very much aware of OnePlus and its phones, whereas a lot of people probably aren't.
OnePlus phones have been available to buy since the very first OnePlus One way back in 2014. And yet, I'd bet money that a lot of people have never heard of OnePlus.
That's largely because OnePlus phones before the OnePlus 6T were never sold by carriers in the US, which happens to be where the majority of Americans buy their smartphones. If it isn't at the carrier store, it likely doesn't exist in the average American smartphone buyer's mind.
But ever since the first OnePlus phone, the company has gained a small-but-growing fan base in the US. And now that a OnePlus phone is available to buy at T-Mobile's physical stores and website, awareness of OnePlus is likely to grow.
Still, those on Verizon and AT&T won't find the OnePlus 6T at their carrier stores, so that leaves a major chunk of American smartphone buyers who likely don't know about OnePlus phones. In that respect, OnePlus phones are still a secret.
The OnePlus 6T doesn't run noticeably slower than the top smartphones of 2018 or 2019.
The OnePlus 6T runs on the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 chip as most top Android devices from 2018 that cost $750 or more, like the Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, Google Pixel 3 XL, LG V40, and LG G7. That means the OnePlus 6T runs the Android operating system and apps just as well as those other top Android phones that cost $750 or more.
In fact, from my own experience, OnePlus phones tend to run slightly more quickly and more smoothly than those other top Android phones. That's likely because OnePlus phones run a comparatively light "skin" - an extra layer of software that runs on top of Android for extra features and design elements.
It also likely has to do with the extra RAM that OnePlus phones typically have compared to most top Android phones. The OnePlus 6T comes with 6 GB to 8 GB of RAM, which is on the higher end compared to most smartphones in general.
The extra RAM allows for more apps to be stored in the phone's short-term memory, which means smoother and faster switching between the apps you often use.
Whatever is going on, the OnePlus 6T runs as well - if not better - than the more expensive Android competition. It's tougher to gauge the performance compared to iPhones, as those run Apple's own chips and operating system. Either way, the OnePlus 6T definitely doesn't feel slower than the latest iPhones.
This thing looks just as good as all the others.
Despite its lower price tag, OnePlus didn't skimp on design, either. The OnePlus 6T has a sleek metal and glass design that looks and feels unique.
The back glass, for example, has a frosted matte finish, which looks and feels superior to smooth glass, in my opinion. Only the Pixel 3 smartphones have a similar finish on the back, but they're late to the party - OnePlus already brought the matte glass texture with the previous OnePlus 6.
The front surface has bezels around the display that might be wide by 2019's standards, but they're not much wider - if wider at all - than the $750 Galaxy S10e. Even the notch's water-drop design is unique, and it's small and unobtrusive.
The fingerprint sensor is also on the front of the OnePlus 6T, which is, overall, a better place for a fingerprint sensor.
The OnePlus 6T was the first smartphone that's available to buy in the US that came with a hidden "in-display" fingerprint sensor under the display, and it works surprisingly well! It's better than the fancy ultrasonic in-display sensor on the Galaxy S10.
I have some trouble when I'm in direct sunlight, and that's because of the way in-display fingerprint sensors work: They focus bright light around the sensor and finger to recognize your fingerprints, and bright external lighting apparently has a negative effect on this.
When I faced that issue on a bright sunny day, the OnePlus 6T's insanely fast face unlocking took over and unlocked the phone without issue. It's a great backup if you want it to be, or a great primary option to unlock the phone, too.
I should mention that the sharp, bright light that shines from the in-display fingerprint sensor is uncomfortably bright in a dark room, or when you're in bed getting ready to go to sleep. It's something you can avoid by setting your home as a "trusted place" in the Android menu, just to avoid using the fingerprint sensor altogether in the dark.
The OnePlus 6T has a great screen, even if doesn't have the same resolution as phones from bigger phone makers.
The OnePlus 6T has a 6.4-inch screen that's on par or larger than than the bigger models of smartphones out there, like the Galaxy S10 Plus, Google Pixel 3 XL, and LG G8.
It's a 1080p resolution display, but I can't say I missed the 1440p resolution from other premium flagships.
Larger models tend to cost more than the standard-size models. And yet, the OnePlus 6T offers a large display for a smaller price tag than even the smaller standard-size smartphones out there.
The camera is just as good as most smartphones, albeit with fewer features.
I'm just as happy with the OnePlus 6T's camera as I am with most other smartphones. In fact, I was happier with the OnePlus 6T's photos during a trip to Hawaii than the same photos taken with the Pixel 3.
With the OnePlus 6T, however, you don't get as many camera features as you would with a more expensive smartphone. For example, there's no zoomed lens for better close-up shots like you'd find on the Galaxy S10 or OnePlus 7 Pro, nor is there an ultra-wide-angle lens for capturing ultra-wide photos, like you'd find on the Galaxy S10, LG G8, or the new OnePlus 7 Pro.
The OnePlus 6T does have a second lens, but it's entirely dedicated to helping out with the blurry background effect for portrait mode shots. It doesn't do anything else. Despite this dedicated background blur lens, the OnePlus 6T doesn't let you adjust the background blur during or after you take a portrait mode shot.
I can take selfies that look just as good as most smartphones, but two Android phones in particular have extra selfie camera features that the OnePlus 6T doesn't have.
I'm not a big selfie taker, but they look just as good as most other top Android smartphones.
As I mentioned, there are two top Android phones that give me more selfie features, and they're pretty meaningful: The LG V40 and Pixel 3 phones have a secondary ultra-wide-angle selfie camera lens for ultra-wide selfies that let more people and scenery into a selfie.
And there are a variety of other features that the OnePlus 6T doesn't have compared to more expensive smartphones.
You can check out a full list of things that expensive smartphone have that the OnePlus 6T doesn't right here.
In a nutshell, you're not getting the following features in the OnePlus 6T that you'd find on an expensive smartphone:
- No wireless charging
- No official water resistance rating
- A 1080p resolution display versus the technically sharper 1440p displays on top Android phones
- No stereo speakers.
But having used the biggest and best smartphones of 2018 and 2019 so far, I can't say that I missed any of those extra features while using the OnePlus 6T.
While using the OnePlus 6T, I didn't miss any of those features I listed above.
Sure, there were times when an ultrawide camera lens would have been nice, and the single loudspeaker on the OnePlus 6T doesn't sound as good as the stereo speakers on other phones. But would I pay an extra $250 minimum for those features? Or any of the other features I listed above? No.
The only smartphone that outmatches the OnePlus 6T in design, performance, features, and value is the new OnePlus 7 Pro. Otherwise, you can look at Samsung's $750 Galaxy S10e, which offers nearly all the features in the $900 Galaxy S10. But then again, the Galaxy S10e costs $200 more than the OnePlus 6T, and I don't have any good reasons in mind why anyone would go down the Samsung route.
The OnePlus 6T is the best-kept secret in the smartphone world, and you should absolutely consider it.
If I bought the OnePlus 6T myself, I'd have this cozy feeling that I made the right decision. I just don't see the need to spend $750-plus for a sharper display, or wireless charging, or an official water-resistance rating.
Of course, I can't speak to those who do thoroughly value those features. If you do, then the OnePlus 6T isn't for you, and your best bets are phones like the Pixel 3 phones, Galaxy S10 phones, and the iPhone XR and XS phones, with a lean towards the Galaxy S10e.