The OnePlus 5T is the newest phone from OnePlus, and it improves on the company’s 2016 flagship, the OnePlus 5, in lots of ways. Whereas the OnePlus 3T was a relatively subtle upgrade over the OnePlus 3, the OnePlus 5T makes much bolder moves.
Without further ado, here’s everything that’s new on OnePlus 5T and OxygenOS 4.7, its Android-based operating system.
One of the OnePlus 5T’s main attractions is the display. OnePlus’s flagship trades the OnePlus 5’s 5.5-inch FHD 16:9 display for a 6-inch FHD 18:9 Full Optic AMOLED display. It’s roughly the same width as the OnePlus 5, but it’s taller, which means it can fit more content at once.
The OxygenOS 4.7, the latest version, makes good use of the added real estate. Sunlight Display automatically adapts the screen’s brightness to use cases such as browsing the gallery, taking a photo, recording a video, and gaming. And in addition to a proper Adaptive Screen Mode, the OnePlus 5T comes with three other display profiles: Default, sRGB and DCI-P3.
But the OnePlus 5T does not come with an Always-On mode like other recent flagships. Instead, it has a basic screensaver function that activates when the phone’s plugged in.
In our short hands-on time with the OnePlus 5T, we found the display to be a noticeable upgrade over the OnePlus 5. It boasts vibrant colors and great viewing angles, though we do wish it had a higher resolution.
The switch to a bigger screen necessitated changes to the chassis.
In order to accommodate the OnePlus 5T’s larger display, OnePlus had to trim down the top and bottom bezels of the device. While the OnePlus 5T is nowhere close to a true “bezel-less” device, it features slim bezels that compare favorably to the Pixel 2 XL, LG V30, and other edge-to-edge devices.
The dimensions of the OnePlus 5T’s unibody (156.1 x 75 x 7.3 mm) differ marginally from the OnePlus 5 (154.2 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm), as well. It’s also slightly heavier (162g vs 153g), though you’d be hard-pressed to notice the extra weight.
One thing you will notice, though, is the lack of capacitive keys. OnePlus 5T does away with OnePlus’s signature touch-sensitive home button, replacing it with on-screen navigation keys.
The OnePlus 5T’s fingerprint sensor resides on the back of the device. OnePlus says it’s on par with the OnePlus 5’s front-facing sensor, and we’ve been happy so far with how easy and comfortable it is to reach.
The overall camera package on the OnePlus 5T is similar to that of the OnePlus 5, but with one major difference: The OnePlus 5T has a better secondary sensor on the rear (20MP Sony IMX 376K, f/1.7 aperture, 1.0 µm pixel size), which works in conjunction with the 16-megapixel primary sensor (16MP Sony IMX 398, f/1.7 aperture, 1.12 µm pixel size). OnePlus claims to have enhanced low-light photography on the 5T by leveraging the secondary sensor in low-light conditions (under 10 lux), a claim which we’ll thoroughly test in the coming weeks.
Other highlights include OnePlus’s proprietary Intelligent Pixel Technology, which merges four pixels into one to reduce noise and enhance clarity, and Portrait Mode, which creates a depth-of-field bokeh effect by blurring the background while keeping the foreground in focus.
It’s worth noting that the secondary camera on the OnePlus 5T is not a telephoto lens camera like that of the regular OnePlus 5. It remains to be seen how that’ll affect the phone’s zoom quality.
First things first: Given that the OnePlus 5T doesn’t have capacitive buttons, you’re limited to software keys. But they afford a lot of customizability. You’re able to change the navigation bar and the order of the buttons, for example, and assign different long press or double tap actions to each key.
The navigation bar on the OnePlus 5T has been slightly tweaked, as well. The icons are different, and they’re placed closer together. You also get an optional “hide” button like the one found on recent Samsung flagships, but OnePlus’s version activates with one tap instead of two, making it much more intuitive.
OnePlus chose to color the navigation bar a light grey instead of offering a completely dark theme that would’ve taken advantage of the phone’s AMOLED display, which saves power by switching off dark pixels. This light grey color is the default option, and on the OxygenOS ROM that ships with the device, there isn’t a way to achieve a completely dark navigation bar system-wide.
You get dark-themed navigation bars on dark-themed apps, but only OnePlus’s applications. Dark-themed third-party applications show the default light grey navigation bar, which really looks out of place with the dark theme enabled.
Fingerprint Sensor Gestures
The OnePlus 5T’s new fingerprint sensor placement opens up new possibilities. OxygenOS’s support for fingerprint gestures lets you swipe down to pull down the notification shade, and long press while inside the camera app to take a photo.
OnePlus is touting the revised face-unlock capabilities of the OnePlus 5T, but it doesn’t appear to be much better than the stock Android approach and certainly not as advanced as competing alternatives. OnePlus’s solution doesn’t employ special hardware or software like FaceID on the iPhone X, and the display needs to be turned in order for it to work. That said, it’s still a fast and convenient way to unlock your device.
Aspect Ratio Compatibility Mode
OxygenOS also has a whitelist that forces apps into 16:9 compatibility mode if they do not support the phone’s 18:9 aspect ratio.
The OnePlus 5T lets you enable screen flash when using the front camera, which basically uses the display as a substitute for a front-facing flash. And the phone’s front camera comes with Auto HDR support.
You can also double tap the power button to quickly take a picture when the screen is off. A double tap of the power button bypasses the lockscreen, opens the camera app, and snaps a picture, making it easier to take spontaneous shots.
The OxygenOS Gallery app now has a mapping feature that lets you search for images based on the location where they were taken.
Previous OnePlus devices had a boot menu that provided one-tap access to a restart button, a power button, and other options. The OnePlus 5T gets rid of this feature.
Stay tuned for more OnePlus 5T coverage!
Rojenx is a leading concept artist who work appears in games and publications
Check out his personal gallery here