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OnePlus 3T review: New processor, bigger battery, and a bit more expensive

By James Lu - 15 Jan 2017
Launch SRP: S$799

Benchmark Performance, Battery life, and Conclusion

Benchmark Performance

The OnePlus 3 is powered by Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 821 quad-core processor and this is one of the earlier phones to sport it. This is an updated version of the 820, with clock speeds on the two high-power processing cores bumped up to 2.35GHz from 2.15GHz. The Adreno 530 GPU also received a small boost to 652MHz, up from 624MHz on the OnePlus 3. Other than that, the two SoCs are identical in features and capability.

  OnePlus 3T OnePlus 3 Huawei Mate 9 LG V20 Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Apple iPhone 7 Plus
  OnePlus 3T OnePlus 3 Huawei Mate 9 LG V20 Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Launch SRP
  • From S$799
  • From S$699
  • From S$898
  • From S$998
  • From S$1098
  • From S$1248
Operating system
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with Oxygen OS 3.2.4
  • Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow with Oxygen OS 3.2.4
  • Android 7.0 Nougat with EMUI 5.0
  • Android 7.0 Nougat with LG UX 5.0+
  • Android 6.0 Marshmallow
  • iOS 10
Processor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 (dual-core 2.35GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6GHz Kryo)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (dual-core 2.15GHz Kryo & dual-core 1.6GHz Kryo)
  • Hisilicon Kirin 960 Octa-core (4x 2.4GHz Cortex-A73 & 4x 1.8GHz Cortex-A53)
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 quad-core (dual-core 2.15GHz Kyro & dual-core 1.59GHz Kyro), 14nm process
  • Samsung Exynos 8890 octa-core (quad-core 2.3GHz Cortex- M1 & quad-core 1.6GHz Cortex-A53), 14nm process
  • Apple A10 Fusion quad-core 2.33GHz processor
Built-in Memory
  • 6GB RAM
  • 6GB
  • 4GB RAM
  • 4GB RAM
  • 4GB RAM
  • 3GB RAM
Display
  • 5.5-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi) / Optic AMOLED
  • 5.5-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi) / Optic AMOLED
  • 5.9-inch / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (373ppi) / IPS LCD
  • 5.7-inch Main / 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (513ppi) / IPS Quantum Display
  • 2.1-inch Secondary / 160 x 1,040 (513ppi) / IPS Quantum Display
  • 5.5-inch / 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (534 ppi) / Super AMOLED
  • Always-On Display
  • Edge Screen
  • 5.5-inch Retina HD / 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401ppi) / IPS
Camera
  • Rear: 16-megapixel, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash, 1/2.8" sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size
  • Front: 16-megapixel, f/2.0, 1.0 µm pixel size
  • Rear: 16-megapixel, f/2.0, phase detection autofocus, OIS, LED flash, 1/2.8" sensor size, 1.12 µm pixel size
  • Front: 8-megapixel, f/2.0, 1/3.2" sensor size, 1.4 µm pixel size
  • Rear: Dual 20-megapixel (monochrome) + 12-megapixel (RGB), f/2.2, OIS, Leica optics, phase detection, laser autofocus, dual-LED flash
  • Front: 8-megapixel, f/1.9
  • Rear (Standard): 16-megapixel, f/1.8, optical image stabilization, laser autofocus, 75-degree field of view
  • Rear (Wide): 8-megapixel, f/2.4, laser autofocus, 135-degree field of view
  • Front: 5-megapixel, f/1.9, 120-degree field of view
  • Rear: 12-megapixel with f/1.7 aperture and smart OIS
  • Front: 5-megapixel with f/1.7 aperture
  • Rear: Dual 12-megapixel, (f/1.8, 28mm & f/2.8, 56mm) with phase detection autofocus, OIS, and quad LED (dual-tone) flash
  • Front: 7-megapixel, f/2.2 FaceTime HD camera
Connectivity
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual band), Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, DLNA, USB Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (dual band), Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, DLNA, USB Type-C, USB 3.1 Gen 1
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, DLNA, WiFi Direct, Bluetooth v4.2
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, A-GPS, GLONASS, LTE CAT 9/3G/2G
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac (2.4 + 5GHz), 4G+ LTE Cat 9 (up to 450Mbps), Bluetooth 4.1, VHT80, MIMO (2x2), GPS, GLONASS, NFC, Screen Mirroring
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, hotspot, Bluetooth v4.2, A2DP, LE, GPS, GLONASS, Lightning connector
Storage Type
  • 64GB internal storage
  • 64GB internal storage
  • 64GB internal storage
  • Expandable up to 256GB via microSD
  • 64GB internal storage (UFS)
  • 2TB (MicroSD)
  • 32GB internal storage (UFS 2.0)
  • 200GB (MicroSD)
  • 32 / 128 / 256GB internal storage
Battery
  • 3,400mAh
  • Dash Charge
  • 3,000mAh
  • Dash Charge
  • 4,000mAh
  • 3,200mAh
  • Removable
  • 3,600mAh
  • Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging
  • 2,900mAh
Dimensions
  • 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.4 mm
  • 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.4 mm
  • 156.9 x 78.9 x 7.9mm
  • 159.7 x 78.1 x 7.6mm
  • 150.9 x 72.6 x 7.7mm
  • 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm
Weight
  • 158g
  • 158g
  • 190g
  • 174g
  • 157g
  • 188g


Sunspider Javascript

SunSpider JavaScript measures the browsing performance of a device when processing JavaScript. It not only takes into consideration the underlying hardware performance, but also assesses how optimized a particular platform is at delivering a high-speed web browsing experience. 

The OnePlus 3T was quite a bit faster than the OnePlus 3, although it trailed slightly behind the Huawei Mate 9, and was much slower than the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Apple iPhone 7 Plus. In actual usage, the 3T was smooth and responsive when it came to web browsing, and I didn't notice it to be any slower or laggier than my iPhone 7.

 

Quadrant

Quadrant is an Android benchmark that evaluates a device's CPU, memory, I/O and 3D graphics performances. As this is an Android benchmark, the Apple iPhone 7 Plus is not included. The OnePlus 3T showed pretty decent gains over the OnePlus 3, although it still trailed quite far behind Samsung's Galaxy S7 Edge.


 

 

3DMark Sling Shot

3DMark Sling Shot is an advanced 3D graphics benchmark that tests the full range of OpenGL ES 3.1 and ES 3.0 API features including multiple render targets, instanced rendering, uniform buffers and transform feedback. The test also includes impressive volumetric lighting and post-processing effects. We're running this benchmark in Unlimited mode, which ignores screen resolutions.

The 3T's gains weren't quite as pronounced here, although the higher clock speeds on both the processor and GPU still gave it a slightly higher score. The iPhone 7 Plus remains the reigning champion in this benchmark.



 

Battery Life

Our standard battery test for mobile phones has the following parameters:

  • Looping a 720p video with screen brightness and volume at 100%
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity turned on
  • Constant data streaming through email and Twitter

The OnePlus 3T has a 3,400mAh battery, compared to 3,000 on the original OnePlus 3. The larger battery resulted in a nice increase in battery life, with the 3T lasting just over 14 hours on our video looping benchmark. This puts it very close to the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge and Huawei Mate 9.

Like the 3, the 3T is equipped with OnePlus' Dash charging technology. This is basically OnePlus' version of QuickCharge, and will get the battery to around 60 percent in about 30 minutes.

 

Conclusion

The original OnePlus was one of the best phones of last year, and the refreshed 3T version keeps it as relevant as ever. While it isn't an upgrade for existing OnePlus 3 owners, it keeps OnePlus right at the head of the pack in the tightly contested S$600-800 price bracket, with benchmark performance and battery life that rivals and exceeds more expensive phones from the likes of Huawei, LG and ASUS. 

The biggest drawback to the original OnePlus 3 was a lack of storage space, with only 64GB internal storage and no microSD card slot. While the 3T still doesn't have expandable storage, at least there's a 128GB option available now.

OnePlus is also rumored to be releasing an Android 7.0 Nougat update for the 3T soon, which will make it a great alternative to Google's Pixel XL smartphone. The Pixel XL uses the same 821 processor as the 3T, but as it isn't officially available here, it costs nearly twice as much (current street prices for the 128GB Pixel XL are around S$1,300).

In this price range, the only real competition for the OnePlus 3T is the 821-powered Xiaomi Mi5s, which also isn't officially available locally, and the newly announced Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017). On paper, Samsung's A7 looks like it will be tough competition thanks to its expandable storage, IP68 build, and always-on display, but it remains to be seen if Samsung's mid-range Exynos 7880 processor can beat the mighty Snapdragon 821.

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8.5
  • Design 8.5
  • Features 8
  • User-Friendliness 8
  • Performance 9
  • Value 8.5
The Good
Improved benchmark performance
Longer battery life
Display is now more neutral out of the box
128GB storage option
16-megapixel front camera
The Bad
No expandable storage
Slightly more expensive
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