, the continues ’ rapid iteration of what it means to be a flagship smartphone. Following the OnePlus 3 and 3T releases last year, after the launch of the OnePlus 5 this summer there was a suspicion that the Shenzhen-based company would have a ’T’ version for 2017. And here it is.
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Three Fabulous Things About The New OnePlus 5T
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The reasoning behind the 5T is pretty simple. If there are new features available for users, why wait a whole year to bring them out when they could be put on the market right now. That’s the argument made by CEO Pete Lau as he showed off the new features and improvements made to the device. I’ve spent some time with a OnePlus 5T ahead of the launch, and while I’m not ready to write a full review, there are three major elements that stand out for me.
The Huge Screen
Three Fabulous Things About The New OnePlus 5T
Although the OnePlus 5T takes up roughly the same physical space as the OnePlus 5, the screen has been increased from 5.5 inches to 6.1 inches. The increase in size is due to the shrinking of the top and bottom bezels and switching to an 18:9 ratio screen instead of a 16:9 screen. OnePlus has (perhaps a touch belatedly) caught up with fashion.
Running at 1080×2160 resolution, the 5T remains in the 1080p resolution window while other manufacturers push out to 2K, but there has to be a point where the lower price of the OnePlus flagship has an impact. In day to say use the lower resolution has far less impact than you might expect.
The ‘immersive screen’ dominates the front of the handset and with OnePlus retaining the main chipset and hardware specs inside the handset, the screen not only makes the 5T stand out, but almost justifies the replacement of the OnePlus 5 on its own.
Looking For Security
The new screen means the fingerprint sensor that is pretty much mandated by Android has been moved to the rear of the handset. Thankfully it’s in a central position and well away from the dual-lens camera system. It also has the nice touch of being able to call up your notifications with a quick swipe down the sensor (and a swipe up to dismiss them). It’s a nice touch that makes for a one-handed approach – out the pocket, unlock, swipe down to fully list the notifications, and then swipe away. It’s natural, fast, and appreciated.
It also means that OnePlus can join the new-found party of facial unlocking. The OnePlus 5T can be set up to unlock when the software recognises your face. The handset does not have the plethora of sensors the iPhone X has, so the system is restricted to using the forward facing camera and analysing over 100 data points on a 2D image to decide whether to unlock the handset if the system is turned on.
In use I found there to be a perceptible pause (OnePlus say recognition time is around 400 ms). Accuracy in recognising my features is good, but with no extra hardware low-light proves tricky for the system, I’ve not went out of my way to try to fool it (beyond a few selfies, which failed). You also need to be relatively, but not perfectly, square on to the 5T for it to work. This reads as being restrictive, and it is. You need to make a positive decision to show your face to the lens, but the system does work, although note that I’ve only been testing it for a few days.
Setting up this process also brings up a curious warning that the system is not as secure as either a PIN or a fingerprint – so much so that apps like Android Pay or my banking apps will still require PIN or fingerprint, rather than a confirmed face. Like much of the Android ecosystem, you can balance convenience against security. For me, using my face to unlock while having the fingerprint for ‘secure’ functions is a good compromise.
There Will Be No Comparisons
The final feature is the price. OnePlus has kept the 5T in line with that of the OnePlus 5 – £449 in the UK for the 6GB RAM 64GB variant, and £499 for the 8GB/128GB model – both of which only come in Midnight Black (US pricing starts at $499 for the 6GB model). The OnePlus 5T is pretty much a straight switch for the OnePlus 5. For all the talk of more pixels and a higher potential price, the almost identical pricing (only the US price has risen slightly) is a welcome surprise.
Unfortunately the decision that ‘bigger is better’ can only be assumed. With the OnePlus 5’s production run at an end the marketplace will not have a head to head of ‘fingerprint front or fingerprint rear’ to answer the question of what consumers prefer.
A full review of the OnePlus 5T will follow later this month.
Disclaimer: supplied a for preview purposes.