Yes on paper this doesn’t look a major change and synthetic benchmarks don’t show a major difference between the 821 and the 820 – but the key here is efficiency. The Snapdragon 821 runs much cooler than the 820 so it doesn’t throttle as much and can consistently run at full speed when needed. It also uses less power helping to preserve battery life and has specific optimisation for traditional Android weak spots like web browsing scrolling.
How the OnePlus 3T performance compares to the lightning fast Snapdragon 821-equipped Google Pixel will be fascinating to see since many of the Pixel’s improvements were claimed to stem from Android 7.1 when the 3T will (disappointingly) ship with Android 6.0.1.
2) Camera – Love Thy Selfie.
The OnePlus 3T also features an enhanced camera over the OnePlus 3, but not where you might expect.
While the decent 16MP and 4K video capable rear shooter of the OnePlus 3T adds ‘Intelligent Pixel Technology’ which reduces noise in low light, plus a sapphire lens and improved EIS (electronic image stabilisation) the core Sony sensor with f/2.0 aperture remain the same.
The OnePlus 3 has a tweaked rear camera and major front camera upgrade over the OnePlus 3.
Instead the bigger change is to the front camera which makes the jump from 8MP to 16MP and adds ‘smile capture’ for automated snap taking when you grin. OnePlus promises a major advance in image quality here which could be a big hit with the selfie obsessed, as long as it bears out.
3) Design & Size – Eerily Familiar.
OnePlus has chosen not to change the external design of the OnePlus 3 with the OnePlus 3T by even millimetre or gram:
OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T – 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.4 mm (6.01 x 2.94 x 0.29 in) and 158 g (5.57 oz)
While perhaps dull, I’d argue this is a good thing since you’ll find the same high quality aluminium chassis on the 3T which feels good in hand and provides a more tactile grip than the competition. The colours have been tweaked slightly so you’ll now have ‘gunmetal’ replacing ‘graphite’ (it’s a darker grey) while the soft gold option remains.
The OnePlus 3T display is perfectly good, but it is unchanged from the OnePlus 3 and doesn’t compete with the best smartphones.
4) Displays – Same Old, Same Old.
The OnePlus 3 doesn’t have the best display on the market (it’s perhaps one area where its budget roots start to show) and this also hasn’t been changed with the OnePlus 3T:
OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T – 5.5-inch, Optic AMOLED panel, 1080 x 1920 pixels (401 ppi pixel density) and Corning Gorilla Glass 4
OnePlus did issue a firmware update shortly after the OnePlus 3 was released to address inaccurate colours and this panel is unlikely disappoint in isolation. Especially when considering the biggest selling point for both phones…
Yes the OnePlus 3T is more expensive than its predecessor, but not by much considering the core improvements to speed, camera and battery life. Power users will also find a new 128GB option.
The OnePlus 3T is slightly more expensive than the OnePlus 3, but it’s still incredible value.
6) Bottom Line.
OnePlus is likely to be both criticized for upgrading a five month old phone and praised for committing to the bleeding edge for only a moderate price rise. I can see both sides to this, but I lean towards the latter.
As such if you have a OnePlus 3 there’s not enough reason to upgrade to a OnePlus 3T, but if you’re on the lookout for a new phone and are targeting a bargain then the OnePlus 3T looks set to be the best of them all.
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