The OnePlus 5T is the upgraded version of the OnePlus 5, a phone that launched just a short few months ago, not long before the cold and inescapable darkness of a cruel winter draped its lacy bleakness across London like a discarded funeral veil.
As the OnePlus 3T totally replaced the 3 in stores, so too does the OnePlus 5T usurp the original 5, retaining the old £449 price tag while ushering in some choice improvements.
Chief among them is the new aesthetic. At 6.01-inches, the screen is the biggest ever on a OnePlus phone, and brings the handset in line with the recent shift to ultra-wide, bezel-averse, phone-filling displays.
On paper the 1080p resolution falls short of the Ultra HD displays found on more expensive flagships, but in practice you really need to ogle the thing to spot the difference, and the trade-off allows the OnePlus 5T to squeeze a near-magical lifespan out of its battery. With normal use you could go two days on this thing before it needs a recharge. Colours on the AMOLED screen are punchy and lush, too.
The original OnePlus 5 was lauded for cramming top-end specs into a mid-price phone, and for the most part those specs haven’t changed. The camera’s largely the same, with a dual-lens setup that’s now geared towards low-light conditions rather than optical zoom. Facial recognition now allows you to unlock your phone using your personal skull-meat.
The ceramic fingerprint scanner has been ousted from the phone’s front – there’s no longer room – and now lives on the back of the device, where fingerprint scanners are supposed to go. And the usual OnePlus trademarks return: a physical slider for switching between silent, do not disturb and ring modes, and Dash Charging, which gives you hours of power in minutes. There’s a headphone jack too, if you’re keeping score. Remember those?
As a stepping stone along the way to whatever phone OnePlus is working on next (I’d hazard it ends in “six” and rhymes with “BumFuss”), the 5T continues to be an outstanding Android phone in most areas, but falling out-of-step in some others.
Unlike the best offerings from Samsung, Google and Apple, it’s not certified-waterproof. And while OxygenOS has been further tuned in delightful ways, it’s built on the previous version of the base Android operating system. The screen also attracts fingerprint smudges, to the extent that I began to think I’d become greasier since using it.
These issues aside, the OnePlus 5T is the absolutely best phone you can buy for under £500. And with rivals racing one another to be the first to require a small mortgage to buy a phone, that’s a pretty enviable position for OnePlus to hold.
£449 - 6GB RAM + 64GB storage
£499 - 8GB RAM + 128GB storage
Dimensions: 156.1 x 75 x 7.3mm
Material: Anodized Aluminum
Operating System: OxygenOS based on Android™ 7.1.1 Nougat
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (Octa-core, 10nm, up to 2.45GHz)
GPU: Adreno 540
RAM: 6/8GB LPDDR4X
Storage: 64/128GB UFS 2.1 2-LANE
Ports: USB 2.0, Type-C, Supports USB Audio Dual nano-SIM slot, 3.5mm audio jack
Battery: 3300 mAh (non-removable)
Screen size: 6.01 inches
Screen resolution: 1920x1080 (401 pixels per inch)
Screen type: AMOLED
Rear cameras: 16MP f/1.7 and 20MP f/1.7
Front camera: 16MP f/2.0