Nov 16, 2017

OnePlus 5T: What you need to know

By Unboxed

OnePlus peeled back the curtain on its brand-new Android smartphone, the OnePlus 5T, at an event in Brooklyn, New York today. (Eager OnePlus fans each paid $40 to attend—just think how much a certain Cupertino company could make if it charged Apple-esque prices at the door...)

A number of early pundits are commenting that the OnePlus 5T is the smartphone that the OnePlus 5 should have been. Just looking at the new device's specs—and considering the OnePlus 5 launched a mere five months ago—we can't fault the comparison. Some reviewers were able to get an early look at the OnePlus 5T; here's a quick recap of what they're most excited about.

(If you're already sold on OnePlus' new smartphone, Internet sleuths have already found a few fun ways to cut the price of your order when the OnePlus 5T launches November 21.)

EverythingApplePro: "It really is a pretty dang big display"

Don't let his handle fool you. Yes, EverythingApplePro got an early, hands-on look at the OnePlus 5T—the first time he's ever received a smartphone on the day of its official debut. His first impressions?  The smartphone's 6-inch, 2160×1080 AMOLED is huge. Though its resolution (really, its 18:9 aspect ratio) is a bit strange, that doesn't detract from the quality of the display, especially compared to the older OnePlus 5. 

It's presumed that that the smartphone's AMOLED display is from Samsung, which means a higher-quality image than what you'd get from another manufacturer's OLED panels (like the iPhone X, which uses a Samsung OLED, versus Google's Pixel 2 XL, which uses an OLED panel from LG).

EverythingApplePro: "It still looks pretty dang sharp, must better than the [OnePlus 5] here as well. It's very bright for an AMOLED, definitely seems like a clear winner here over the LCD, even at the same high brightness."

Dave Lee: "I gotta be honest; I thought Face Unlock would be bad..."

One big difference the OnePlus 5T has over the OnePlus 5 is the smartphone's fingerprint sensor, which moves from its front to its rear. According to Dave Lee, that's a welcome change—given the smartphone's size, keeping it on the front would make the device feel extremely top-heavy to unlock, even though it is a little trickier to unlock your smartphone when it's resting on a desk or table.

OnePlus has also built facial recognition into the OnePlus 5T, which gives users an extra—and easier—way to authenticate into their devices. As for how secure it is, though...

Dave Lee: "I am amazed by how good it is. I haven't been able to test it thoroughly in terms of how secure it actually is, but it is fast—significant faster than Apple's Face ID, which is weird, but at the same time kind of expected, since this thing doesn't have nearly the security in terms of how many facial points its measuring.  It's very, very fast. It's pretty much instant."

GSMArena Official: "Initial shots look sharp and detailed in daylight"

Like a number of flagship smartphones, the OnePlus 5T comes with a dual-camera setup for rear-facing photos. However, OnePlus doesn't use the standard arrangement of a wide and telephoto lens; rather, the OnePlus 5T has a single 16MP primary lens and a secondary 20MP lens that's specialized for low-light photography. Both lenses share the same aperture (f/1.7), but the primary lens has a pixel size of 1.12μm, whereas the secondary lens has a pixel size of 1μm.

In other words, your OnePlus 5T doesn't have an optical zoom—which OnePlus sacrifices to the altar of low-light photography. As The Verge notes, it'll be interesting to see how the secondary lens actually performs for dimly lit shots, given that its biggest advantage over the primary lens is mainly megapixels. It doesn't have OIS, nor can you manually switch to it whenever you want. The smartphone decides when the environment is dark enough to need it.

GSMArena Official: "It'll be interesting to see how much improvement there is for night shots. There's also 4K video stabilized with EIS. It's butter-smooth, but a bit cropped on the sides." 

The official OnePlus Reveal: get the popcorn

If you missed today's official reveal of the OnePlus 5T—or didn't want to pay $40 to see it live—the company has already made the two-plus hour ceremony available for viewing online. Yes, it took OnePlus more time to debut its smartphone than some companies take to reveal an entire product line.

And we would be remiss if we didn't award House OnePlus -100 points for clearly censoring its "uncensored first reactions" video.  Come on, people.  If you can't even get that right, we're slightly more nervous about the smartphone...