The OnePlus 5T really isn’t that old, but its was still overtaken recently by the latest addition to the family. Its shiny new sibling, the OnePlus 6, launched after just 6 months of 5T in the spotlight. It’s hard to believe that it’s still less than a year old, because it’s still one of the best Android handsets available.
Despite some refinement making the 6 model an easier sell, we think it’s still worth your hard earned dollars. Here are 5 reasons the OnePlus 5T is still well worth purchasing.
It’s one of a few high-end phones that is almost all metal. Yes, the glass sandwich style does look good, but a metal phone is more my tastes. It’s even amazing to think that we’ve flipped from predominantly talking about metal and chamfered edges to curved glass as the choice for devices in less than two years.
That full metal jacket does mean that wireless charging is a no-go — but you get something that feels strong and sturdy (the OnePlus 6 doesn’t add this feature either). To me, glass — even if Gorilla Glass 5 claims to be even stronger than before — just conjures up images of a ‘scratch magnet’ and being potentially fragile. Dings and nicks are still a worry, but subjectively, I’d wager that it’s not quite as much of an issue.
The machined aluminum body feels amazing when you hold this phone. I think there’s clearly a reason we see Apple stick to the brushed metal finish on their Macs. It just feels expensive, so I’d suggest keeping it safe from bumps and scrapes.
Another design choice was the fingerprint scanner placement. Placing it on the back is ideal for quick, out-of-pocket unlocks. Moving from the front to the back allowed for that enlarged screen round front, too — which is another huge selling point by itself.
So the Oneplus 5T feels expensive, but the price is now way closer to affordable if you buy used or refurbished. For around two-thirds of the price of the 6, you can pick up the 8GB RAM variant of the 5T — it’s even got its own range of colours to choose from too.
You’re also getting all that build quality and great looking 1080p screen for a more affordable entry point than when the 5T first went on sale. That’s a lot of power for the entry fee. Even more so when you consider how lightweight the changes made by OnePlus’ OxygenOS.
One of the most underrated alterations to Android over the past 5 years, OxygenOS takes all of the best pieces of plain old stock, then adds a thin veneer of dazzle alongside some extra useful features. Anything added still feels like a benefit or useful to the end user. There’s no unnecessary AR emoji or obviously gimmicky functions that you’ll likely only use once. Instead, changes to the stock experience are seemingly thoughtful and useful in the real world.
Some obvious software tweaks include: a reading mode, night mode, navigation gestures and the shelf. The latter being a replacement to the seldom-used Google Now feed — at least in my use case. Because these changes require very little resources, the day-to-day experience of using the 5T feels slick, smooth and snappy. Some of that is bound to be due to the RAM, but a hefty and overblown skin can lead to unnecessary lag — which can ultimately destroy the enjoyment of a handset from day-one.
Not having wireless charging isn’t a huge loss with the addition of the proprietary Dash Charge. Super fast charging that can go from 0% to 50% battery in less than 30 minutes. It’s literally the fastest smartphone charging system on the market. No phone manufacturer can compete. Wireless charging is a nice thing to have, but when you can give yourself an extra few hours of usage in less than 15 minutes, it’s a fair compromise.
The charge brick and USB-C charge cable are also simply gorgeous. Personally, I think this gets overlooked by many reviewers, but it’s attention to these minor details that makes me believe the company really do care about every aspect of their products.
The notch trend has quickly bridged the gap from iOS to Android with OnePlus adding the notch to their own latest model — although very much tastefully. If you’re not a fan of the notch, then this is still the most powerful OnePlus device without the recessed in-screen camera.
It means that videos and full-screen operation is not punctuated with a darkened portion and therefore ruining your Netflix or Youtube binging session. The notification bar is more uniform, no weird splitting of notification icons like found on phones with a notch.
Where to get the OnePlus 5T
The OnePlus 5T is unavailable directly from OnePlus since the release of the OnePlus 6, but you can still get this impressive smartphone via online sites such as Amazon and Swappa.