THE ONEPLUS 3T arrives just five months after the Chinese phone maker unveiled the OnePlus 3.
We’ve lined it up against another of 2016’s surprise smartphone releases, the Google Pixel XL. Ahead of our review proper, we ponder how the specs sheets compete on paper.
OnePlus 3T: 155x75x7.4mm, 158g, USB-C
Google Pixel XL: 154.7×75.7×8.5mm, 168g, USB-C
The two handsets are fashioned out of aluminium, save for the Pixel’s polished glass ‘window’ that takes up some of the rear.
They have near identical engine rooms and batteries, and we can’t fathom why the Pixel XL needs to be over 1mm thicker, especially considering that the other dimensions are pretty much the same.
Fingerprint sensors are present (in different places), and both handsets have USB-C connectivity.
The OnePlus 3T introduces a new ‘gunmetal’ colour variant, alongside the standard ‘soft gold’ model. Google offers the Pixel XL in ‘quite black’ and ‘very silver’.
OnePlus 3T: 5.5in 1920×1080 pixels, 401ppi
Google Pixel XL: 5.5in 2560×1440, 534ppi
Both phones have 5.5in displays protected by Gorilla Glass 4, but the Pixel XL wins the resolution battle. The only other difference lies in the display technology – the OnePlus 3T uses AMOLED, while the Pixel has an LCD panel.
OnePlus 3T: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow, Oxygen OS
Google Pixel XL: Android 7.1 Nougat
We imagined that OnePlus would use this opportunity to showcase Android 7.0 Nougat, but this wasn’t to be.
Instead the OnePlus 3T is equipped with the same Android 6.0.1 software seen on the OnePlus 3 before it. This means that the OnePlus 3T can’t currently support Google’s Daydream VR platform.
OnePlus has once again added its custom Oxygen OS skin. This time it’s a cleaner and more streamlined UI with resized app icons, customisable quick access icons, and added security with password or fingerprint protection for individual apps.
The Pixel XL uses the very latest Android 7.1 Nougat, and comes with Google Assistant, Pixel Launcher and the Allo and Duo messaging apps.
OnePlus 3T: Snapdragon 821, quad-core 2x 2.35GHz and 2x 1.6GHz, 6GB of RAM
Google Pixel XL: Snapdragon 821, quad-core 2x 2.15GHz and 2x 1.6GHz, 4GB of RAM
Both handsets use Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 821 processor. Some of the OnePlus 3T’s cores are clocked slightly higher so it will be interesting to see how that affects benchmarks. Although we suspect that the additional 2GB of RAM will have more of a bearing on things.
Qualcomm claimed that the chip is its fastest mobile processor yet, touting it as “10 per cent faster” and more power efficient than the 820.
OnePlus 3T: 16MP rear-facing, f/2.0, OIS, EIS, 16MP front-facing
Google Pixel XL: 12.3MP rear-facing, f/2.0, EIS, 8MP front-facing
The OnePlus 3T camera technology is built around a rear-facing Sony IMX298 16MP sensor (the same as found on the OnePlus 3). This time around, however, sapphire glass protection has been added, and the electronic image stabilisation system has been upgraded.
In our experience the 12.3MP sensor on the Pixel XL is a tough act to follow, so we’ll have to see how the different technologies fare when we stage a camera shootout.
The OnePlus 3T has added a second 16MP lens on the front, while Google’s model uses half the megapixels.
OnePlus 3T: 3,400mAh
Pixel XL: 3,450mAh
OnePlus claimed that the 3,400mAh cell will last “all day”, and that the included Dash technology provides a full day of use after just a 30-minute charge.
We’re already impressed by the stamina of the Pixel XL. The 3,450mAH cell carried us into a second day, and Google provides a very conservative 14 hours estimate for WiFi/LTE data use.
Google also trumpeted the Pixel’s ability to gain seven hours’ charge in 15 minutes.
OnePlus 3T: 64GB/128GB
Google Pixel XL: 32GB/128GB
The OnePlus 3T comes with 64GB of storage as standard, but this is also the first OnePlus handset to offer a larger 128GB model. The Pixel XL is available with 32GB and 128GB of storage (like the new OnePlus).
Neither has expandable storage. If that leaves a bad taste in your mouth the Google phone offers unlimited free online space for photos and videos via Google Photos.
OnePlus 3T: From £399
Pixel XL: From £719
The OnePlus 3T 64GB model is £399 SIM-free, while the 128GB model is £439.
Neither can hold a flame to the Pixel XL, though, with its stupendous £719 starting price. And at £819, the 128GB model is nearly £400 dearer than the OnePlus equivalent.
No matter how burned existing OnePlus 3 owners may feel, the OnePlus 3T undeniably offers more for the money. When you consider the many similarities with the Pixel XL (and the Pixel’s eye-watering asking price), it makes even more sense.
At the time of writing it commands a space reserved for only the highest-specced Android phones. µ
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