Updated on Wednesday, November 7, 2018:
OnePlus rolled out a minor update to all 6T devices that included "improvements for Screen Unlock." After updating to the latest software, I sure feel the need to point out a key improvement. As I had mentioned in my review earlier that the in-display fingerprint scanner wasn't quite snappy, I now stand corrected. The latest software update has certainly made the in-display fingerprint scanner a lot faster and accurate. This update definitely makes the 6T's headline feature justify its spotlight.
OnePlus 6T comes in two identical shades, Mirror Black and Midnight Black. As much as I miss the Silk White, the Mirror Black is certainly a charmer. OnePlus handed a complete review bundle, which not only includes the phone but also its cases ranging from Sandstone to silicone and such, USB Type-C Bullets earphones and a phone holder.
The unboxing experience with the OnePlus 6T is one of its kind and gives a premium iPhone-like feel. It's hard to believe the smartphone only costs half as much as the new iPhones seeing how delicately it is packed, complete with a note from the company's co-founder. Love the personal touch.
But the premium experience doesn't end with the unboxing. It stays with you, something I experienced during the course of my review. Setting up the OnePlus 6T was a breeze, with the option to take a complete back-up from an older phone. But that's nothing new for a OnePlus smartphone, so let's get right to the review.
OnePlus 6T comes in Midnight Black and Mirror Black shades. There are three variants, 6GB+128GB, 8GB+128GB and 8GB+256GB, priced at Rs 37,999, Rs 41,999 and Rs 45,999, respectively.
There isn't much that is changed here from the 6, but the 6T has welcoming as well as disappointing changes. OnePlus phones have always been artistic in nature and a visual delight and the 6T adds to those values. The seamless glass back design gives a premium feel, something I talked about in my OnePlus 6 review. By the looks of it, OnePlus 6T can easily give big brands a solid run for the money.
But let's not forget what you miss. The 6T upgrade came without a 3.5mm headphone jack and the handset's thickness and weight is slightly increased. But that doesn't mean the phone can be called bulky or it gets difficult to handle. It still has the best ergonomics in the plus-size phones category with an immaculate fit.
Quite frankly, ditching the 3.5mm headphone jack didn't hurt as much as the fact that the 6T came without IP certification or even wireless charging. I would have been happier wiping the fingerprint smudges on the glass back if the phone actually came with wireless charging, but the company might be reserving the big changes for next year's upgrade (fingers crossed).
OnePlus 6T has increased the display size without actually increasing the overall dimensions of the phone. There's now a 6.48-inch display instead of a 6.28-inch screen in the 6. The extra screen real estate is obtained by reducing the notch size as well as the chin. Both these decisions make the 6T's display look incredible.
The Optic AMOLED is still one of the best we've seen in the price range and the Full HD+ resolution may seem low on paper, but it doesn't feel outdated. There are deep blacks, bright and vibrant colours to give you that cinematic viewing experience on a phone unless you are comparing the 6T against Samsung Galaxy Note 9 on the colour gamut, you're good to go.
I did not have trouble viewing the display (always set on adaptive brightness) under low light or harsh lighting conditions. From binge-watching TV shows on Netflix to playing PUBG Mobile, the details were intact and I loved it.
But we know all that from the OnePlus 6. The one thing that immediately demands attention in the OnePlus 6T's display is the integrated fingerprint scanner.
OnePlus said that it had a working prototype wherein it had an in-display fingerprint scanner in the OnePlus 5T. But the company decided against it and it sure was a smart move. The in-display fingerprint scanner is the headline feature of the OnePlus 6T and a good one at that.
It shows the company's commitment to stay ahead of the trend as only a handful of devices offer the technology. But the downside to that is that the in-display fingerprint scanner is still not perfected.
Between OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T, the fingerprint scanner on the former is much efficient and faster. Pitting the 6T's in-display fingerprint tech against others is a different story altogether. Sure, the fingerprint authentication is slower than OnePlus 6's rear-mounted sensor, but it is only by a fraction of a second.
OnePlus claims the 6T's new biometric can unlock the device in 0.38 seconds and it's true most of the times. At some occasions, it felt like the sensor took longer than that. If you can overlook the speed, the 6T's in-display fingerprint scanner is quite efficient. There were barely any instances of failed attempts.
Ever since the fingerprint sensors moved to the back of the device in iPhones to Galaxy phones and every other smartphone, we all are so accustomed to reaching out to the rear sensor. It took a while for me to adjust to the new front-facing sensor. My finger would automatically reach out to the back of the phone trying to unlock the device, only to realise the 6T comes without it. But this is not a deal breaker in any way as using the device for a week will get you used to the new position.
Even though I wasn't blown away by the 6T's new fingerprint sensor, the classic face unlock came to the rescue most of the times. As I mentioned in my OnePlus 6 review, the face unlock is the best I've seen in a smartphone and unlocks the device in a flash. Once I set up the face unlock, I was rarely asked for my PIN.
What I really love about the 6T is the bold approach towards a new technology, which is going to be the primary biometric security solution on smartphones within the next year. By offering this tech in the 6T, OnePlus is strengthening its position and letting the world know it is ready for the next big technology revolution.
OnePlus 6T's camera hardware remains unchanged from the OnePlus 6. The dual 16MP+20MP rear camera setup captures photos with the same details as we had seen in the OnePlus 6, which were a huge improvement over the predecessors. But what's new in the 6T is the new Nightscape mode. I tested it, and found it to be underwhelming. Besides reducing noise and improving the dynamic range, the 6T's night mode algorithm doesn't add much value to images.
Since the Nightscape mode in 6T captures 10 images and stacks them over one another to gain maximum details and exposure, it takes a while to process a single image. While doing so, I had to keep my hands steady as even a slight jitter would make the image blurry. I was able to achieve better results on the Pro mode, but those who want a one-click solution to clicking photos in extreme low-light conditions, this new mode can come in handy. Luckily, this is software based and OnePlus can always add improvements to the feature.
Up next is the portrait mode, which has received a minor improvement. The company said that it has worked with noted portrait photographer, Kevin Abosh, to achieve those perfect portraits on OnePlus 6T. Yes, the difference is visible, but don't go ahead and start comparing it against the new Pixels or iPhones.
The portraits shot on the 6T appear warmer and look appealing. The camera can actually differentiate between the subject in the foreground and the background that needs to be blurred. Overall, I wasn't disappointed by the results and it sure will keep you clicking many of those social media-worthy DPs.
The overall camera performance hasn't changed much. Here are the samples taken straight out of 6T's camera roll:
I'm so very impressed by the battery improvement on the 6T, it is going be the reason why I would recommend this phone to many. From 3,300mAh to 3,700mAh is quite a jump in battery size and adds those valuable hours to the phone towards the end of the day. Dash Charging is the icing on the cake as it can charge the phone from 0-90 in just an hour. I have always talked highly of Dash Charge and the fact that users get it on a device priced so low. Samsung, Apple and others who do not offer a similar fast charging technology should learn a thing or two here.
OnePlus 6T's upgraded battery easily lasts a full day without entering power saving mode. With 4G on at all times, calls, messages, social networking, GPS, a bit of gaming, music and media streaming, I managed to get an on-screen time of up to 7 hours, which is brilliant. With controlled usage, users can go well over a day without charging the phone.
Undoubtedly the best. OnePlus doesn't cut corners on this front and it has made a name for itself for this reason alone. OnePlus 6T is one of the best performing smartphones one can buy, and this is regardless of any price category. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 chipset with 8GB RAM (our review unit) in the OnePlus 6T delivers optimum, lag-free performance - something it shares with the predecessor. Playing PUBG Mobile or Fortnite on 6T is an experience of its own. The handset maintains consistency in delivering the same experience throughout the gameplay without dropping frames or even heating at any point.
As if things weren't fast enough on the OnePlus 6, the company added a new feature called Smart Boost in the 6T. Launching apps is definitely faster with this mode turned on under OnePlus Laboratory setting. Instead of using the phone's storage to launch apps, Smart Boost pushes frequently-used apps that are big in size to the RAM. As a result, faster app launch times. I noticed the difference while laughing PUBG Mobile on the 6T as it beat even the OnePlus 6 in terms of speedy launch time.
The rest of the configuration on the 6T remains unchanged, so everything from Wi-Fi, 4G VoLTE, Bluetooth, hotspot and other connectivity is perfect.
OnePlus has done what no other OEM did with the OxygenOS by delivering a near-stock Android experience. The OxygenOS is the doorway to the ultimate user experience and the 6T delivers the best there is. Running the latest Android 9 Pie-based OxygenOS 9.0, OnePlus 6T couldn't deliver a better user experience.
OxygenOS is ideal for those who want something other than stock Android, but not get too carried away with a truckload of customisations. OnePlus has hit the gold spot in the software space.
OxygenOS on OnePlus 6T comes with some tricks of its own. I could change accent colours, use iPhone X-like gestures to navigate and much more. My favourite feature was the revamped Gaming Mode, which now shows transparent notifications to prevent intrusion. There are other useful features like hidden space for apps, individual app locker, new recent apps menu and more. But the overall UI is fluidic and smooth, contributing heavily towards the best user experience on a mobile device.
The OnePlus 6T review unit came bundled with the new Type-C Bullets earphones, which are not included in the box. But I had to chance to try them out and found them to be a perfect pair. But since my preference lies in wireless gears, having that tangling wire from my pocket, around the neck, to my ears, wasn't convenient at best. From a purely quality standpoint, the new Bullets are not too bad, but I would recommend leveraging the Bluetooth Audio codec LDAC for a richer experience.
As for the stereo, it's a hit and miss affair. The sound is great, even on maximum volume, but the problem with it is the placement. The stereo is right next to the Type-C charging port, which means it can easily be blocked while holding the phone in landscape mode, which is mostly the case while playing games or watching videos where sound is essential. While front-facing speakers can fix the issue, users can try adjusting the holding position for an immediate solution.
OnePlus 6T is great, no doubt. But there's tough competition out there. If you're already on the OnePlus 6, you can skip this for the OnePlus 7 next year. There are several solid selling points, such as great premium design, no-compromise performance, excellent battery life and the best software there is to offer. But the downsides include no headphone jack, water or dust resistance certification, wireless charging support and a headline feature that still needs some tweaks.
Users will love the extra screen real estate on the 6T and it easily compels you to invest that Rs 30,000 plus without regrets.