OnePlus 5 vs. OnePlus 5T: Is it worth making the upgrade?

OnePlus 5T Main
The OnePlus 5T is finally here, and as the name suggests, it’s a revised version of the OnePlus 5 released earlier this year. This time around, OnePlus put a lot of focus into embracing the popular “bezel-less” design, as you’ll see some pretty thin edges around the 6-inch screen.

Those with the original OnePlus may be wondering whether or not they should upgrade, so what are the differences? Is the OnePlus 5T the better phone? We pit OnePlus 5 vs. OnePlus 5T to find out.

Specs

OnePlus 5

OnePlus 5

OnePlus 5T

oneplus 5 vs 5t oneplus5t front thumb
Size 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25 mm (6.07 x 2.92 x 0.28 in) 156.1 x 75 x 7.3 mm (6.15 x 2.95 x 0.29 in)
Weight 5.39 ounces (153 grams) 5.7 ounces (162 grams)
Screen 5.5-inch AMOLED 6.01-inch AMOLED
Resolution 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401 pixels per inch) 2,160 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi)
OS Android 7.1.1 Nougat Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Storage 64GB or 128GB 64GB or 128GB
SD Card Slot No No
NFC support Yes Yes
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
RAM 6GB or 8GB 6GB or 8GB
Connectivity GSM / CDMA / LTE GSM / CDMA / LTE
Camera Front 16MP, Rear Dual 16MP and 20MP Front 16MP, Rear Dual 16MP and 20MP
Video 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 60fps, 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 30fps, slow motion 720p at 120fps 4K at 30 fps, 1080p at 60fps, 1080p at 30fps, 720p at 30fps, slow motion 720p at 120fps
Bluetooth Yes, version 5 Yes, version 5
Fingerprint sensor Yes Yes
Other sensors Gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, proximity Gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, proximity,
Water Resistant No No
Battery 3,300mAh 3,300mAh
Charger USB Type-C USB Type-C
Quick Charging Yes Yes
Wireless Charging No No
Marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Color offerings Black, gray Midnight Black
Availability Unlocked, OnePlus OnePlus
DT Review 4 out of 5 stars Hands-on review

Perhaps surprisingly, the OnePlus 5 and the OnePlus 5T are largely the same under the hood. They both are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, which is the same processor in phones like the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and the Google Pixel 2 XL, and both offer options for either 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage or 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. There’s no MicroSD card support in either of these phones, so if you’re buying one you’ll want to get the amount of storage you want.

Both use the latest Bluetooth 5 standard, and feature NFC. These are both excellent-performing phones, and they’re capable of handling anything you throw at them — just like any other Android flagship smartphone. This one’s a tie.

Winner: Tie

Design, display, and durability

The design and display are two main points of difference between these two phones. For the OnePlus 5T, OnePlus has jumped on the “bezel-less” screen bandwagon — where the edges flanking the screen are minimized. That means the screen size is now 6-inches, but the overall phone’s body isn’t much bigger than the 5.5-inch OnePlus 5.

The edge-to-edge design looks great and it’s pretty similar to phones like the Huawei Mate 10 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy Note 8. But because of the larger display and smaller bezels, the aspect ratio is now 18:9, and OnePlus also moved the fingerprint sensor to the rear like many Android phones. This is a big change for OnePlus fans, but don’t worry, there’s another way to unlock the phone on the 5T — facial recognition. That’s right, you can unlock your phone at lightning fast speeds on the OnePlus 5T, but you should know it’s not as secure as Apple’s Face ID on the iPhone X.

The 2,160 x 1,080 pixel resolution on the 5T is slightly higher too, though the OnePlus 5 may look slightly sharper because both phones have the same pixel density — 401 pixels-per-inch. The OnePlus 5 has a 1,920 x 1,080 pixel resolution, with a 5.5-inch screen. It doesn’t look as contemporary as the OnePlus 5T, because of its chunky edges around the screen. Otherwise, the rear of both phones look exactly the same (minus the fingerprint sensor).

As far as durability goes, there’s no water-resistance on both the OnePlus 5 or OnePlus 5T. The good news? Unlike most 2017 smartphones, there’s no glass back so you have less of a chance of cracking it.

The larger display, while keeping a similar frame, and the modern design mean the OnePlus 5T wins this one.

Winner: OnePlus 5T

Battery life and charging

OnePlus 5 soft gold
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The two phones have exactly the same 3,300mAh battery capacity, but OnePlus said both will last the same length of time. It’s surprising, considering the OnePlus 5T needs to power a higher-resolution and larger screen, but the company is confident in its claim of offering similar battery life. We’ll have to take their word on it for now, but we’ll definitely be testing this further in our review.

You’ll find the same fast-charging technology on both phones. OnePlus’ own Dash Charge is a speedy way to juice up your phone, and it claims to give users a day’s power in half an hour of charging.

While we expect the OnePlus 5’s battery to last slightly longer, we’re going to have to wait and test the OnePlus 5T’s battery life before awarding a winner here. The difference will likely be minimal either way.

Winner: Tie

Camera

oneplus 5 vs google pixel back 3
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

While you’ll find dual cameras on both phones, the OnePlus 5T makes some changes that may not necessarily be better. The main camera is 16-megapixels on both, but gone is the telephoto lens on the OnePlus 5T. Instead, there’s a 20-megapixel standard lens with a much wider f/1.7 aperture that’s meant to improve low-light photos. This lens still helps with Portrait Mode, as it helps to capture some depth, but the only other way it can be used is if you’re in a low-light environment.

Sadly, that means the OnePlus 5T does not feature 2x optical zoom. You’ll find the same 2x zoom option on the camera, but this is the inferior digital zoom.

The front-facing cameras are the same, packing 16 megapixels. We liked the camera on the OnePlus 5, and we expect a similar experience on the OnePlus 5T. Portrait Mode may not work as well, but we should see some improvement in low-light. We’ll need to test more to find out. For now, it’s a tie.

Winner: Tie

Software

how does fast charging work
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

OnePlus does have its own Android overlay, but the changes are relatively minimal and OnePlus doesn’t mess with any of Android’s core features. They do seem to make a few notable visual changes, but they are pretty small — and in our review of the OnePlus 5, we said the experience is very similar to that on the Google Pixel, except it’s more customizable.

The OnePlus 5T ships with Oxygen OS 4.7, which is based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. OnePlus said the Android 8.0 Oreo beta will launch to consumers by the end of the year, and the official rollout will occur in the first quarter of 2018. That’s also when the OnePlus 5 will get it too, so you’re not getting any advantages here with the OnePlus 5T.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

When the OnePlus 5 launched, it was available starting at $480, with the 8GB/128GB model coming in at $520. OnePlus has bumped the price of the OnePlus 5T a little — the phone is available starting at $500 instead of $480, and the higher capacity model will cost $560. That’s not a huge price increase, and it does make sense considering the new features.

OnePlus typically stops selling their previous device when they introduce a new phone, so you may only be able to buy the OnePlus 5 from other retailers or as a used phone. While the OnePlus 5T is slightly more expensive, given you’re going to be able to easily purchase it directly from OnePlus, we’re making it the winner.

Winner: OnePlus 5T

Overall winner: OnePlus 5T

The OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T are remarkably similar phones, but there are some clear advantages to going for the newer device — namely the better design and larger display. Not only that, but the new phone is very close to the price as the older OnePlus 5.