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OnePlus 5T review: it’s all about that screen

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With the OnePlus 3T, we got virtually the same body as the OnePlus 3, but packed with a new processor, more RAM, and a bigger battery. This year though, there isn’t a new processor available from Qualcomm yet, and the 6-8 GB of RAM offered in the OnePlus 5 was already the highest the industry had ever seen. So many naturally wondered what OnePlus would do this time to entice customers to buy a new device just five months after the previous one. This time around, it’s all about the display.

With the OnePlus 3T, we got virtually the same body as the OnePlus 3, but packed with a new processor, more RAM, and a bigger battery. This year though, there isn’t a new processor available from Qualcomm yet, and the 6-8 GB of RAM offered in the OnePlus 5 was already the highest the industry had ever seen. So many naturally wondered what OnePlus would do this time to entice customers to buy a new device just five months after the previous one. This time around, it’s all about the display.

Right out of the box, the OnePlus 5T just screams premium. OnePlus knows how to make a statement and the company has gone all out on packaging design. Pulling off the lid we find the full-screened device up front, with the iconic red and white Dash Charger and cable nestled underneath.

There aren’t any additional dongles, cables or earbuds included, but the inclusion of a headphone jack is a more than welcome trade-off. While most companies seem to be moving away from the headphone jack in favor of USB Type-C and Bluetooth audio, OnePlus sticks to the basics to give consumers what they actually want. While it might be nice to offer a USB Type-A to USB Type-C adapter for data transfer as Google does, it’s not the end of the world since account-based backups have become so good.

Turning to design, the OnePlus 5T is essentially the same as its predecessor, but still recognizably new. The new 6-inch screen occupies a much larger amount of the front of the device, which is a welcome change for 2017. Because of this, the fingerprint reader has now been moved to the back. This will almost certainly be a controversial move, but it was necessary in order to maintain the form factor OnePlus wanted to utilize.

Even though OnePlus is packing a huge display in a body that isn’t much larger than the display itself, the device doesn’t feel too big. Everything in Oxygen OS scales nicely to the new 18:9 aspect ratio, and you probably wouldn’t notice a difference in content unless you booted up a video and saw the option to expand it to cover the whole display.

The camera bump is now slightly more pronounced, since the company no longer had room to fit all the components behind the top bezel. While this change is definitely noticeable, it isn’t a deterrent by any means, and the edges are now rounded as opposed to the sharper angles housing the OnePlus 5 camera.

The biggest selling point of this device over the OnePlus 5 is obviously the display, so it only seems fair that we cover that in a bit more detail.

The OnePlus 5T is using a 6″ 1080p Optic AMOLED panel from Samsung with a Diamond Pentile arrangement, and I have had very few problems with it. The lowest brightness setting gets down to just 2.1 nits, which is dark enough that I can’t see it at all outside, but I’m happy the setting exists since I love to read in bed at night.

You don’t have to worry about using the OnePlus 5T outside either, since this is one of the most contrasty displays on the market. The maximum brightness caps out at around 440 nits, which is pretty average, but the sunlight contrast ratio is where it really shines, only being beat out by the iPhone X in lab testing done by GSM Arena.

Some features of the display will be familiar, while others have been updated to align with the updated OxygenOS look. For example, the 5T’s version of an Ambient Display is really easy on the eyes and brings up an elegant readout of any notification that comes through. The one gripe that could be leveled against this feature is that it wasn’t converted into an Always on Display, a la Samsung – after all, this is an AMOLED screen.

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