OnePlus is one of the first words out of my mouth. Since 2013 the company has made impressive phones and sold them at impressively low prices. The OnePlus 5T is the latest in that lineup,
and it's also the most expensive one to date. I'm Mr. Mobile, now let's see if it's worth it.

The OnePlus 5T is a dead ringer for its predecessor, the OnePlus 5. And if you saw my review on that phone, you'll know that's not exactly a compliment. Not that this hardware is unattractive, it's sleek and it's slim, and all metal. Which those who don't like glass phones will appreciate, and it feels well-made, if super slippery. My objection to this design is that it's essentially a repackaged version of the R11s from Oppo, a company that shares a corporate parent with OnePlus. I talked about this in my OnePlus 5 reviews.


OnePlus 5T Review


so I won't belabor the point. I'll just say it would be nice to see this distinctive company return to distinctive designs. The first area of the 5T that stands out from its forerunner is in the display. The screen has gotten a boost to six inches, and a new stretched aspect ratio. Though it maintains the same pixel density and AMOLED screen technology. Call me an oldtimer, but I really don't mind OnePlus' consistent refusal to upgrade its screens to Quad HD resolution. It helps keep the costs down I imagine. And I don't think most people really notice it.

Presumably, it also plays a part in this phone's solid battery life. More on this in a minute. To slim down the bezels enough to get a high screen to body ratio OnePlus had to move the fingerprint sensor to the back. If you're one of the folks who hate a rear sensor, there is a consolation prize in the form of the fastest damn Face Unlock feature I've ever used. There are no fancy sensors here, just some custom software that uses the selfie camera to analyze your face.

I have not been able to fool it a photograph, but OnePlus admits it's probably not as secure as Samsung's Iris Scanner or Apple's Face ID, so you can't use it to authenticate for, say Android Pay. But as a quick way to unlock your phone when you don't wanna fumble for that fingerprint sensor, I'm surprised how fast and reliable it is. The 5T's other big shakeup comes in the form of a slightly repackaged camera. The primary shooter around back is the same one as the OnePlus 5 from the sensor to lens. But the secondary shooter has been swapped out for another 20-megapixel camera.

It's telephoto lens exchanged for a standard lens, the aperture now as big as the primary. All this is meant to give the phone a dedicated low-light eyeball; a camera it can switch to in the dark. Now I love this idea, but the small pixel size and the lack of optical stabilization mean it really isn't good at what it's designed for. The phone's software seems to know this, as it almost never puts that second camera to use, preferring the primary shooter in all but the darkest settings. So I echo the sentiments of Andrew Martonik over at Android Central.

I'd have preferred a better single camera to this somewhat mediocre dual shooter. True, that means we'd sacrifice the portrait photo feature, but I can't even begin to pretend to care. Just like every other portrait mode, this one is mediocre at best. My design complaints aside, this is a pretty good camera. It captures pretty quickly, and occasionally even has moments of greatness that transcend its troubles. That's also true of the front-facing camera, which is again, the same module from the last phone.

I was surprised at how well the electronic stabilization compensated for the lack of OIS. This sample was shot before the phone received an update refining that stabilization. I think it was pretty excellent, to begin with. Here are a few more samples, before we hit the home stretch. Let's bring it home with a tour of the fundamentals. Software performance is almost perfect, responsive to a fault. OxygenOS is one of my favorite versions of Android. It blends smart features from other phones with original enhancements to give you a device you can customize completely, from accent color to notification LED without sacrificing the speed that makes it feel so much more expensive than it is. Voice calls are good, and the battery life is too.

My screen-on time ranges from three hours to six hours per charge, depending on what I'm using the phone for. But the important takeaway is that this is an all-day 16-hour smartphone. And Dash charging continues to live up to its name. I forgot to charge my review unit one night and by the following afternoon, I was down to 14%. A half-hour on the Dash charger got me back up to 67%, more than enough to finish the day. And yes, this charger comes in the box, alongside an included case. Factor in the headphone jack and the OnePlus 5T is basically the perfect iPhone alternative, for those in search of more value on the Android side.

But the lower price doesn't come without sacrifices. There's no dust or water resistance here, nor wireless charging. There's just one downward firing speaker. A strange software hiccup means that I can't run the stock Twitter app without it crashing for some reason. And OnePlus has made some big missteps in the privacy arena recently. Missteps it swiftly addressed, but which might still give buyers pause. I'll link the details in the description. And atop those pitfalls.

This is the most expensive OnePlus yet, starting just a buck short of $500. In a world where you can get an LG G6, or last year's Google Pixel for less, it's increasingly tough to overlook OnePlus' ever climbing price tags, especially given its recent two phone a year release cycle. From where I'm sitting, this is the last time the company can hike its prices without a significant upgrade in design or camera Until that sequel drops though, you'd hard-pressed to find a phone with the potent mix of power, performance, and price that the OnePlus 5T brings to the table. So I say: buy it if you're in the market for a discount smartphone that doesn't feel like one.