The latest smartphone from OnePlus, the OnePlus 6T, is here, and with it comes much of the same formula that OnePlus fans love about the company’s devices.
Part of that is a $US550 price tag that seems too good to be true for a high-end smartphone with the same specs as those that cost significantly more, like the $US740 Galaxy S9 Plus, the $US750 iPhone XR, the $US1,100 iPhone XS Max, the $US900 Pixel 3 XL, the $US720 LG G7, and the $US950 LG V40 (though I should also note that some of these phones’ prices have been reduced since their launch – the Galaxy S9 Plus, released in March, had an original price of $US840, for example).
So there has to be some fine print, right? There must be some catch that explains why the OnePlus 6T is significantly cheaper than much of the competition. Indeed, there are features that the OnePlus 6T doesn’t have that its competitors do, which could help explain its lower price tag.
Before I show you what the OnePlus 6T doesn’t have compared with its pricier competitors, you’ll notice that above I mostly mentioned the larger models in those smartphones’ lineups. I’m comparing the OnePlus 6T with smartphones with larger displays rather than those with standard sub-6-inch displays. That’s because if you want a smartphone with a smaller display, the OnePlus 6T, at 6.4 inches, wouldn’t be an option.
The goal here isn’t to dissuade you from considering the OnePlus 6T for your next smartphone – with the knowledge below, you can make an informed decision about whether it’s worth spending more on smartphones that come with these extra features.
Check out the features that more expensive smartphones have that the OnePlus 6T doesn’t:
The OnePlus 6T doesn’t allow for wireless charging.
The OnePlus 6T is one of the few high-end Android devices that don’t come with wireless charging.
The importance of wireless charging is up to you to decide. For me, it’s not a deal-breaker by any means.
It doesn’t have an official water-resistance rating.
High-end smartphones from big companies like Apple, Samsung, Google, and LG have official water-resistance ratings, usually indicated by the “IPXX” spec you’ll often see on a spec sheet.
The OnePlus 6T doesn’t have an official IPXX water-resistance rating, but the company says it’s confident that the phone can withstand light splashes like rain.
The OnePlus 6T has a lower-resolution screen than more expensive smartphones.
The OnePlus 6T has a 1080p resolution, while most other top-end smartphones have a sharper 1440p resolution.
That said, while using the OnePlus 6T, I never missed the sharper displays from $US750-plus phones. In fact, I never noticed that it wasn’t technically as sharp as others I’ve used.
Some high-end phone even set the default resolution to 1080p, even though the display is capable of 1440p resolution.
The OnePlus 6T has a single speaker, whereas most $US800-plus smartphones have stereo speakers.
This was perhaps the most noticeable thing about the OnePlus 6T compared with the high-end competition. It has a single loudspeaker, whereas most of the Android phones I’ve used in 2018 have stereo speakers. It does make a difference while watching videos, but it’s not a deal-breaker.
Other top Android phones that cost $US800 or more have a dedicated zoom lens, and some even have an ultra-wide-angle lens too.
The OnePlus 6T has a dual-lens camera system, but the secondary lens is dedicated to enhancing the background blur for portrait-mode shots. It doesn’t do anything else.
Other top smartphones with multiple-lens camera systems include dedicated optical-zoom lenses, like the new iPhones, Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Plus, and LG’s V40, which even has a third lens for ultra-wide-angle shots.
The OnePlus 6T has a single selfie camera, while some $US750-plus phones have two.
Some smartphone makers like LG and Google have added second selfie cameras to their smartphones. The LG V40 and the Google Pixel 3 XL both have a secondary selfie camera for ultra-wide-angle selfies – an actually meaningful feature for capturing more friends or scenery in the photos.
The OnePlus 6T comes with a standard single-lens selfie camera.
The OnePlus 6T doesn’t have adjustable portrait-mode background blur.
One of the big features that smartphone makers like Google and Apple touted during their smartphone announcement events was adjustable background blur in portrait-mode shots, either before or after taking the photo. Samsung and LG phones can do this too.
There’s no adjustable background blur on the OnePlus 6T in either case.
Samsung’s Galaxy S9 Plus and recent LG phones have a headphone jack, whereas the OnePlus 6T doesn’t.
OnePlus is the latest smartphone maker to drop the trusty old headphone jack, leaving Samsung and LG as the remaining holdouts.
So what does the OnePlus 6T have that makes it a better buy than other top $US800-plus Android phones?
- Anecdotally, the OnePlus 6T has one of the best battery lives of any smartphone I’ve used in 2018.
- It runs a clean, simple version of Android that gets updates faster than most Android devices, save for Google’s own Pixel smartphones.
- It has a gorgeous design that easily contends with smartphones that cost at least $US300 more.
- It runs on the same specs as top Android phones that cost $US750 or more. Sometimes it even exceeds those specs, and its performance is unrivalled.
- It has a fantastic camera.
- The water-drop-style notch on the OnePlus 6T is the smallest and most tasteful there is compared with the larger rectangular notch designs on other smartphones.
- The OnePlus 6T has a switch for silencing notifications, much like the iPhone. OnePlus phones are the only Android phones to come with such a switch.
- It has the fastest fast-charger.
I’d rather keep at least $US250 of my hard-earned money than have those extra features. But it’s up to you whether you think some or all of them are worth paying more for.
I should note that T-Mobile is selling only the $US580 OnePlus 6T, with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, starting Thursday. The base $US550 model available from OnePlus’ site has 6 GB of RAM and the same storage.