The OnePlus 6T has a secret weapon, and it’s not what you think

OnePlus 6T review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Amazing tech isn’t the killer feature of the brand new OnePlus 6T, such as the in-display fingerprint sensor or the new Gorilla Glass 6 protection, which should survive multiple bumbles and fumbles. Neither are this fantastic smartphone’s drool-worthy good looks, nor a price tag that will make you do a double take, the real breakthrough here.

No, that would be a partnership OnePlus announced with T-Mobile, as well as support for Verizon’s network – both of which make the OnePlus 6T the most accessible phone for U.S. consumers ever for the company. That’s a big deal, because it means the brand can finally stream through the public consciousness. Yes, within the tech world, OnePlus has become an established, reputable brand in a relatively short period of time. But ask most Americans if they’ve heard about it and you’ll see shrugs.

It’s something we’ve asked OnePlus almost every time the company has launched a phone: When will you get a U.S. carrier on board?

OnePlus smartphones have previously supported only the GSM network, which meant they were compatible with AT&T and T-Mobile, and not Verizon or Sprint. Even then, you couldn’t go to a store to see these phones in action; the company has never sold them through a carrier, just on its site.

You need carrier support to break through the duopoly that is Samsung and Apple, especially because most Americans buy their phones this way or through retail stores.

“Brick and mortar stores will still be one of the main channels for smartphone sales,” Jeff Fieldhack said in a Counterpoint Research report on smartphone sales in the second quarter of 2018. “Physically touching and testing high-end devices is still important for the consumer as flagship [average selling prices] continue to climb. … While Amazon is doing well, carriers still have the upper hand. Online sales will continue to grab small amounts of market share, but it will not spike outside of key flagship launches, holidays, and special online sale days.”

Increased carrier support means more people will be conscious of the OnePlus brand.

OnePlus is putting its latest phone into 5,600 T-Mobile stores around the country. And the T-Mob won’t just be displaying and advertising the phone; it’s also offering to shave $300 off the price if you trade-in a select device (the supported list is long), bringing an already affordable flagship phone to a truly unbeatable price.

Better yet, T-Mobile is offering financing so you can pay the phone off in easy, monthly payments. (The only trade off with the T-Mobile deal? It’s for the mirror gloss variant with 8GB RAM and 128GB of storage, and it lacks dual-SIM support.)

Then there’s Verizon support. Verizon has more than 150 million subscribers in the U.S., allowing OnePlus to reach millions more it couldn’t before — and grow from there. The OnePlus 6T will still need to be bought from OnePlus’ site, but it’s not a barrier anymore as you can simply throw in a Verizon SIM card for cellular service to kick in. The phone supports Verizon’s LTE band, including support for VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling.

OnePlus 6T review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Increased carrier support means more people will be conscious of the brand, and the T-Mobile partnership will allow those interested to try the phones in stores before they buy. This doesn’t just impact the U.S., as OnePlus has added more carriers around the world. It now supports 233 carriers in 74 countries. In the U.K., the phone will be available in EE and Vodafone stores alongside the O2 network.

This also couldn’t be a more perfect time for OnePlus. Smartphone prices are rising. Even the OnePlus 6T costs a little more than the OnePlus 6, but it’s still a fraction of what you’d pay for an iPhone XS or a Galaxy Note 9. U.S. consumers hold onto their phones for an average of 2.83 years before they decide to upgrade, according to HYLA Mobile Inc., reported by the Wall Street Journal, and it’s partly due to rising prices. Wider network support means OnePlus can show consumers they do not need to pay upwards of $700 for a good phone.

In our review, we described the OnePlus 6T as “everything you want at half the price,” and it’s true. You get the same processor that powers the Galaxy Note 9; there’s a big battery that will easily get you through a full day; and the 6.4-inch screen covers almost the entire front of the phone. The downsides are it only has a decent camera, there’s no headphone jack, no proper water resistance, and the new under-glass fingerprint sensor isn’t as reliable. These are minor problems, though … because everything else about the OnePlus 6T makes this one of the best value phones you can buy right now.


You forgot all about these 5 phones of 2018. Prepare to forget them again

The best phones of the year are memorable, exciting, and ones we all want to buy. But what about the others? We're not talking about bad phones, we're talking about forgettable phones -- ones that aren't even bad enough to be remembered.

OnePlus's 5G phone should arrive in May 2019, may cost up to $850

OnePlus will be among the first companies to put the new Snapdragon 855 processor into a phone, and will also release a separate and more expensive 5G phone in 2019 with the help of U.K. network EE.

On a budget? We found the best affordable smartphones you can buy

Here are the best cheap phones for anyone working with a tight budget, whether you're a fan of stock Android or marathon battery life. Find out what you can get for under $500 or far, far less as we round up the best budget smartphones.

The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition comes with 10GB of RAM, and supercar style

OnePlus has partnered with McLaren F1, creating the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition. With 10GB of RAM and all the usual top-level hardware, this new flagship killer comes with some new design touches.

Apple's iOS 12.1.1 makes it easier to switch cameras in FaceTime

After months of betas, the final version of iOS 12 is here to download. The latest OS comes along with tons of new capabilities, from grouped notifications to Siri Shortcuts. Here are all the features you'll find in iOS 12.

5G Coverage

Curious about the many ways 5G will change and enrich your life? Here’s our guide to all things 5G.
Social Media

Instagram could be making a special type of account for influencers

Instagram influencers fall somewhere between a business profile and a typical Instagram, so the company is working on developing a type of account just for creators. The new account type would give creators more access to analytical data.

The Galaxy A8s is Samsung's first with a hole-punch camera cutout

Samsung is building exciting, technologically innovative midrange phones, and the latest to be revealed is the new Samsung Galaxy A8s, which may give us an idea of what the new Samsung Galaxy S10 will look like.

Looking for flexible and inexpensive phone service? Check out our favorite MVNOs

Looking to switch from a major carrier to something a little more affordable? Luckily, there are a ton of great MVNO options to choose from. Check out our guide to the best MVNOs, from Boost Mobile to Google Fi.

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…

Puma revives its classic 1986 smart shoe, complete with high-tech heel hump

More marketing stunt than serious effort to dominate the smart shoe space, Puma is about to re-release its classic RS-Computer Shoe. The high-tech footwear from 1986 was a breakthrough at the time, despite its unsightly heel hump.
Smart Home

Uber Eats is testing a system for cheaper meal delivery

You know how Uber Pool offers cheaper trips if riders share a car? Well, Uber Eats is currently testing the same idea for meal delivery, and it could mean cheaper orders for customers.

New Apple Watch begins saving lives one week after getting EKG feature

The Apple Watch Series 4 was updated almost a week ago with a new feature that allows users to take electrocardiogram tests -- and already it seems like the new feature is saving lives.

The best smartphone stocking stuffers for a very techy Christmas

If you've got a tech-loving smartphone enthusiast to buy for, we can help you out. Here's a selection of top phone accessories that would make amazing stocking stuffers so you can have a very Merry Christmas.