Any high-end Android phone should serve you well for at least two to two and a half years, even though OEMs would want you to switch year on year. There are others, still, that would want you to switch every six months. It all narrows down to how technologically sound a buyer is, and, whether or not he/she can afford it. While it’s always a good idea to stay updated — with the latest in hardware and software — it’s not always a necessity.
OnePlus launched the OnePlus 3T, an upgrade to the original OnePlus 3, in November last year so it could offer buyers something new and something more powerful, without actually having to launch another flagship phone. OnePlus did not want to make buyers wait for a whole year for something new and something more powerful which is, for the lack of a better word, commendable. The OnePlus 3T was good news. Not so much if someone had recently purchased the OnePlus 3 though.
OnePlus 3T Vs OnePlus 3
The OnePlus 3T is simply the OnePlus 3 with a faster processor and a bigger battery. There are a few other minor upgrades as well, but on the whole, the OnePlus 3T is still the OnePlus 3, only faster and with a better battery life.
The phone is powered by a 2.35GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor (over the original’s Snapdragon 820) coupled with Adreno 530 GPU. It is backed by a 3,400mAh battery, as opposed to the original that came with a 3,000mAh battery.
The OnePlus 3T is available in the colours: Gunmetal and Soft Gold and a new 128GB memory model which is exclusive to the former. At this point of time, the 128GB Gunmetal OnePlus 3T seems to be discontinued although OnePlus has reiterated that the phone will be back in stock in the days to come.
Moving on, OnePlus has also upped the front-camera megapixel count in the OnePlus 3T. It comes with a 16-megapixel front-facing camera as opposed to the original that came with an 8-megapixel selfie-shooter. In addition, the rear camera (which is the same 16-megapixel camera (Sony IMX 298) with PDAF, f/2.0 aperture and Optical Image Stabilisation as the one on the OnePlus 3) is assisted with EIS for enhanced stabilisation while shooting videos.
Everything else stays the same. Just like the original OnePlus 3, the OnePlus 3T boasts of a full-metal unibody and a front-mounted fingerprint scanner. Also, it retains the OnePlus 3’s (and OnePlus 2’s) Alert Slider which is basically a quick notification toggle (all, priority, and none) to quickly sort your app notifications. The OnePlus 3T comes with a USB Type-C port for charging and data-syncing purposes, a bottom-facing speaker out and dual-SIM (nano SIM) support.
The phone has a 5.5-inch full-HD AMOLED display with a 1920×1080 pixels resolution. OnePlus is, again, using a home-brewed Optic AMOLED display panel here. The phone comes with curved 2.5D Corning Gorilla glass 4.
It comes with 6GB RAM and supports 4G LTE and NFC connectivity options. The phone runs Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow-based OxygenOS out-of-the-box and is up-gradable to Android N.
The OnePlus 3T also supports the company’s in-house fast charging solution called Dash Charging and the accompanying Dash Charger is capable of charging the phone to up to 60 per cent in just 30 minutes.
So, the OnePlus 5 is on its way
As it should. The company’s next flagship phone — and hopefully not just an incremental update to the OnePlus 3T — will arrive this summer. The original OnePlus 3 was launched in June last year. We can expect OnePlus to launch the OnePlus 5 sometime in June-July. The company has already confirmed this and the fact that it will indeed be called the OnePlus 5 because of reasons both emotional and superstitious (and the fact that it seems to have already forgotten the OnePlus X).
OnePlus has so far remained very tight-lipped about the OnePlus 5. A few of its key ingredients have however leaked courtesy the World Wide Web. India Today Tech can independently confirm that the OnePlus 5 will come with a dual camera system on the rear, although, its exact functionality still remains a mystery to us. OnePlus shifting to dual cameras isn’t surprising. There’s only so much that a single camera can do. That’s besides the fact that the whole tech industry seems to be gradually shifting towards the new standard. Adding to the hype, a new report also goes on to suggest that the OnePlus 5 will come with a dual camera system on the front as well.
Going by the company’s track record, the OnePlus 5 should get Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 835 with at least 6 gigs of RAM under the hood. There are a few reports that OnePlus may put in 8 gigs of RAM inside the OnePlus 5, but we’ve all seen such reports before, and therefore it’s advisable to take every piece of that information with a pinch of salt. You’re better off with 6GB of RAM in a smartphone anyways. The OnePlus 5 is also likely to come with Android 7.1.1 Nougat-based OxygenOS out-of-the-box because well Android O isn’t out yet and OnePlus is known to be awfully slow with the whole skinning process. Chances are, just like it was in the case of the OnePlus 3, the OnePlus 5 would get O sometime later this year. Or maybe next year, we do not know for sure.
The OnePlus 5 is also likely to get a battery boost as also an upgrade to its sensational Dash Charging technology.
Paper specs are so yesteryear
Now that OnePlus has been around for a while, it must know and understand how the industry works. Building hype and sustaining it is the only way forward, because, there’s only so much that a year can add to fathom a smartphone upgrade. Apple’s iPhone is a classic example. We may go on and say not every iPhone warrants an upgrade, and yet, Apple comes up selling more and more iPhones each year.
Apple continues to sit up top in Fortune’s list of the world’s most admired companies — which is based on feedback obtained from some 3,800 executives, directors and securities analysts — now 10 years in a row at a time when the iPhone 7 didn’t exactly reinvent the wheel. You can argue all you want that the iPhone 7 wasn’t as revolutionary as the first iPhone (for its time) but come to think of it, a lot of people have actually spent their money on it. A lot of people will probably spend their money on the next iPhone as well. The hype is real.
Now I am not saying that OnePlus should do an Apple. It shouldn’t. It’s doing pretty well on its own terms. But, it should know, that hardware will take it only so far. Anybody can do that. Everybody is doing that. You can argue that OnePlus can do it at half the price, which is true. But, come to think of it, even OnePlus phones are getting more expensive by the year. The OnePlus 5, with a Snapdragon 835 and dual cameras, could be priced higher still. Would traditional OnePlus fans stick to it then? They just might. The bigger question is, would OnePlus 3/3T owners be game for taking the plunge? They might not.
The OnePlus 3T is already a fantastic smartphone. Near stock Android — coupled with 6 gig of RAM — gives it that edge. The OnePlus 5 would hopefully be better. But, if it’s better solely on the basis of on-paper hardware and cost more because obviously next-generation hardware will cost more, chances are it may not end up becoming a breakthrough product like its predecessor. Because 2017 is a lot about smartphone experiences rather than smartphone core hardware. Apple has been selling smartphone experiences for a while now. Samsung, a couple of years now. LG, well, it started off with gimmicks only to realise later that gimmicks without practicality means a no show.
As for OnePlus, it’s ticket to fame has always been its Nexus/Pixel-like software experience. Problem is, the company has trouble sustaining it.
If that wasn’t enough, the company irked many OnePlus 3 owners when it launched the OnePlus 3T (only six months after launching the OnePlus 3). It’s the same reason why potential buyers would want to wait for sometime before investing in the OnePlus 5. What if, a OnePlus 5T comes out of nowhere?
But, most importantly the OnePlus 5 will have to be ridiculously good to overshadow the OnePlus 3T and OnePlus can’t do it with paper specs alone. It’s time to grow up and cash in on the hype train.