Tech Shorts
Will the removal of the 3.5mm jack be a deal-breaker?

When OnePlus launched OnePlus 6 earlier this year, it called it its most sophisticated phone yet. Hardly six months later, it has followed it up with the 6T, with some noticeable upgrades. The biggest change on the OnePlus 6T is the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack and the provision of the in-display fingerprint sensor.

While most basic specifications have been kept the same, the 6T has seen some noticeable design upgrades. At nearly half the price, every flagship released by the Chinese smartphone maker, attempts to take on Apple and Samsung’s pricey flagships of the year. It was also the top selling premium smartphone in India over the last few quarters.

So, can the 6T take on the iPhone XR, XS, or the Galaxy Note 9, or the S9? Let’s find out.

Design and display

When compared to its predecessor, the 6T has much lesser bezels even on the bottom, which gives users more screen real estate. The notch too, on the smartphone, is a waterdrop notch, which is much smaller than what the 6 had. This also gives more space on the notification bar. It also massively improves the viewing experience. The waterdrop notch only houses the front camera. OnePlus 6T does not have the notification LED that the previous flagships carried.

The 6T is slightly heavier that the 6, but is very comfortable to hold.

Speaking of the overall design, with its all-glass body, it looks as sophisticated as OnePlus 6. But thanks to the smaller bezels, the 6T looks even better. The screen of the OnePlus 6T is protected by the latest Corning Gorilla Glass 6. As is the case with any glass back, the OnePlus 6T too, is susceptible to fingerprint smudges.

Another major design change on the 6T is the in-display fingerprint sensor. For first-time users, it is quite fascinating. OnePlus claims that this is the fastest in-display sensor in the world, which unlocks the phone in just 0.34 seconds. However, the speed of unlocking isn’t consistent. While sometimes, it does unlock quickly, there are instances where it takes longer to register your fingerprint and unlock the device. It is definitely not faster than the conventional sensor, but when compared to other smartphones such as the Vivo X21, which have the in-display fingerprint sensor, OnePlus is way faster.

The next big change is the removal of the 3.5mm headphone jack. But the company is providing buyers with a USB Type-C to 3.5mm adapter in the smartphone’s box. It has also launched Bullets earphones, which are now available with USB Type-C connectivity. While it may not entirely be a deal breaker, it definitely makes it harder to not have a 3.5mm headphone jack.

Performance

Coming to the performance, this is perhaps the best thing about a OnePlus smartphone. With the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, and RAM options of 6GB and 8GB RAM, OnePlus 6T is blazing fast. Have any number of apps open, the phone works just as fast.

In terms of the OS, OnePlus 6T runs on Android 9 Pie. This is the only other smartphone in India apart from Google Pixel 3 to receive Pie, and it is layered with the Oxygen OS. And while it does bring a few minor changes, another noteworthy thing about OnePlus 6T is that there is absolutely no bloatware. The Oxygen OS lets you make the most out of stock Android, while giving you ample options for customisation. Rest assured, you will never feel the need to add external launchers on a OnePlus device.

The battery too, is larger on the 6T at 3700mAh. On full charge, the smartphone lasted an entire day on moderate use. However, the Dash charge makes up for this.

Camera

There are very few changes made to the OnePlus 6T camera, as compared to that on the 6. The 20MP+16MP dual rear camera takes excellent shots. They look detailed, neat and capture colours very well. And like its predecessor, it comes with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS), which ensure that even while on a fast-moving vehicle, you can take very stable images.

The portrait mode, with the Bokeh effect, takes some very good portraits, at par with some of the best camera phones in the industry.

A new addition to the camera of the 6T is the Nightscape, which is on the app along with the ‘photo’, ‘video’ and ‘portrait’ options. While the Nightscpae mode manages to capture great detail in very low-lit areas, it often takes a lot of time to optimise the image and requires the user to hold the phone very still. Any movement blurs the image. So, while images in Nightscape come very well lit and are less grainy, it may prove difficult to hold the phone absolutely still each time.

The OnePlus 6T will be available in Midnight Black and Mirror Black in three variants and will retail at Rs 37,999 for 6GB+128GB, Rs 41,999 for 8GB+128GB and Rs 45,999 for the 8GB+256GB variant.

In conclusion, unlike the 5T, which had minimal changes over OnePlus 5, the 6T brings in some significant changes, and in a good way. So, should you get it? If you’re a OnePlus 6 user, it may not be worth an upgrade, just for a few design changes. But if you are planning to buy a premium smartphone, OnePlus 6T is the best choice. For the premium specifications it offers, at a price range of Rs 38,000-46,000, it’s almost half the price of Apple and Samsung’s flagships, and works just as well, if not better.  

Images: Shilpa S Ranipeta