OnePlus have historically been an enthusiast brand, and have never shyed away from this. From the invite system of the first OnePlus devices to the software (previously preloaded with the fan favorite custom ROM CyanogenMod, currently using OnePlus' enthusiast-friendly, clean OxygenOS skin), every aspect of OnePlus as a company, down to the ethos of "Never Settle", has screamed enthusiast.
Today, OnePlus unveiled the latest chapter in their story; the OnePlus 5T. Let's take a closer look at the device, and see if it's really the device for the modern enthusiast to snap.
Not a hardware upgrade
The phone itself is unsurprisingly similar to its predecessor, the OnePlus 5, in terms of internals. this is nothing surprising; a "T" series OnePlus device is only meant to be a mid-cycle iterational upgrade, so there's little to no benefit to upgrading to the OnePlus 5T from the OnePlus 5.
At its core, it remains the same smartphone as the OnePlus 5.
The device packs the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa-core processor, the same 6 or 8GB of RAM, the same 64 or 128GB of internal storage, the same 3300mAh non-removable battery and the same superfast Dash Charging that Emily Ratajkowski wants you to try out. So not a huge internal upgrade at all; at its core, it remains the same smartphone as the OnePlus 5. Which is not a bad thing. The whole point of iternational, mid-generation upgrades is minor refinements for the sake of the consumer buying now; and with smartphone launches spread across the year, small changes to help keep with the times can make all the difference to making a manufacturer's offerings compelling.
But not a carbon copy
Don't get it twisted; this is not a repackaged OnePlus 5. A common complaint regarding the OnePlus 3T was that it was basically a repackaged OnePlus 3 with a new SoC inside. And given the fact that the chassis and the vast majority of the components were identical, that was a valid complaint.
This interational refresh help keep OnePlus' offerings up to scratch with its competition.
However, that is not the case here. The OnePlus 5T is distinct from the OnePlus 5 in a multitude of ways that are visible from a mile away. This is not a repackaged OnePlus 5. Some pretty huge strides have been made here; the change to a 6' 18:9 2160x1080 AMOLED display and a virtually bezel-less chassis to keep up with 2017's design trends being one of them. At the time of the OnePlus 5's announcement, the LG G6 and Samsung Galaxy S8 had already been on the market for a few months, making the OnePlus 5's bezels look noticeably dated – and given that nearly phone announced since has followed suit, OnePlus were left alone in the pouring rain on this one. This change to the 18:9 aspect ratio will help alleviate those concerns for buyers who were put off by the large bezels of the OnePlus 5, and ensure that it's up to scratch for the next few months of smartphone competition. Also, it has a headphone jack. I repeat – it has a headphone jack.
Nice job, OnePlus. We appreciate that.
Another stride made here was in the camera department. The secondary camera is now a dedicated low-light sensor, so your nightlife photos of your – ahem – interesting encounters will look clearer and better than ever before.
Aside from that, the fingerprint sensor was moved to the rear where it's nice and reachable (and FAR from the camera, coughs Samsung). So while this might not be the upgrade made for OnePlus 5 owners, this still makes a substantial upgrade for those who are still hanging onto a OnePlus 3 or OnePlus 3T.
Ok, that's nice and all but what does this do for enthusiasts?
Glad you asked. The answer is a lot.
For starters, let's talk about OxygenOS. OnePlus' Android skin is fairly clean and offers very little in terms of their own apps. While they have included the odd addition, such as a weather app and a camera app, it's nowhere near the level of bloat you see on devices from LG or Samsung. On top of that, OxygenOS offers a layer of additional customisation in some areas, making it very alluring for the user who just wants to make the odd tweak here or there.
Custom ROMs might just be available for the OnePlus 5T by launch – an achievement previously unheard of.
Atop of this, OnePlus is doing plenty for custom ROM and recovery development from the get-go - great news for the Android enthusiast community. The device is bootloader unlockable, which is already great news, but OnePlus hasn't stopped there. They have published the kernel sources and device trees for the OnePlus 5T already, which is an amazing feat given the fact that many manufacturers take months to publish said sources for devices. This will allow for the development of custom ROMs like LineageOS from before the device even releases, meaning by the time it's in people's hands, custom ROMs and custom recoveries might already be available – something unheard of these days. OnePlus is making sure that this is the phone for the Android purist and the Android enthusiast. OnePlus are trying hard to be the Nexus' of today, and they aren't doing a bad job.
Did we mention that it has a headphone jack?
Shut up and take my money!
Not so fast. Preorders for the OnePlus 5T open on November 21st, when you can grab the device for $499 (€499, £449). However, do note that there might be more than meets the eye. As we saw with the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, it's worth waiing for reviews to pour in before grabbing a device, in case any crippling hardware defects surface; better safe than sorry. If you need a place to go to find out more, be sure to stay tuned with us at ModMy, or wait over for our friends at Android Central for a full review – or, if YouTube is your schtick, wait for MrMobile to hit you with his thoughts.
What do you guys think? Will you be grabbing a OnePlus 5T over the course of the next few weeks? Is this the enthusiast flagship of the future? Let us know in the comments, or post over in the forums with your thoughts.