OnePlus 6T vs. OnePlus 6 vs. OnePlus 5T vs. OnePlus 5: Should you upgrade?

OnePlus 6T review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The self-proclaimed “flagship killer” has come a long way over the last few years, with an aggressive policy of turning out new smartphones every six months. OnePlus has consistently offered close-to-cutting-edge specs at knockout prices that undercut the competition.

It looks as though the OnePlus 6T is the best phone the company has ever turned out, but how does it measure up to its predecessors? We decided to pit it against the last three OnePlus releases to see precisely what has changed and to help you decide whether it’s time to pull the trigger on an upgrade.

Specs

OnePlus 6T
OnePlus 6 OnePlus 5T
OnePlus 5
Size 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm (6.2 x 2.94 x 0.32 inches) 155.7 x 75.4 x 7.8 mm (6.13 x 2.97 x 0.31 inches) 156.1 x 75 x 7.3 mm (6.15 x 2.95 x 0.29 inches) 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm (6.07 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches)
Weight 185 g (6.52 oz) 177 g (6.24 oz) 162 g (5.71 oz) 153 g (5.40 oz)
Screen size 6.41 inches 6.28 inches 6.01 inches 5.5 inches
Screen resolution 2,340 x 1,080 pixels (402 ppi) 2,280 x 1,080 pixels (402 ppi) 2,160 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi) 1,920 x 1,080 pixels (401 ppi)
Operating system Android 9.0 Pie Android 8.1 Oreo Android 7.1.1 Nougat Android 7.1.1 Nougat
Storage space 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 128GB 64GB, 128GB
MicroSD card slot No No No No
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay Google Pay Google Pay Google Pay
Processor Snapdragon 845 Snapdragon 845 Snapdragon 835 Snapdragon 835
RAM 6GB, 8GB 6GB, 8GB 6GB, 8GB 6GB, 8GB
Camera Dual 16MP and 20MP rear, 16MP front Dual 16MP and 20MP rear, 16MP front Dual 16MP and 20MP rear, 16MP front Dual 16MP and 20MP rear, 16MP front
Video 2,160p up to 60 fps, 1080p up to 240 fps, 720p up to 480 fps 2,160p up to 60 fps, 1080p up to 240 fps, 720p up to 480 fps 2,160 at 30 fps, 1080p up to 60 fps, 720p at 120 fps 2,160 at 30 fps, 1080p up to 60 fps, 720p at 120 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C port 3.5mm audio jack, USB-C port 3.5mm audio jack, USB-C port 3.5mm audio jack, USB-C port
Fingerprint sensor Yes, in display Yes, on back Yes, on back Yes, on front
Water resistance No No No No
Battery 3,700mAh

Fast charging

3,300mAh

Fast charging

3,300mAh

Fast charging

3,300mAh

Fast charging

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support T-Mobile, AT&T T-Mobile, AT&T T-Mobile, AT&T T-Mobile, AT&T
Colors Mirror Black, Midnight Black Midnight Black, Mirror Black, Silk White, Amber Red Midnight Black, Lava Red, Sandstone White Midnight Black, Slate Gray
Price $550 $530 $500 $480
Buy from OnePlus Discontinued Discontinued Discontinued
Review score 4 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Performance, battery life, and charging

OnePlus 6T review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

If you’re looking for an area of compromise where OnePlus scrimps to keep its costs down, you won’t find it in the performance department. The OnePlus 6T and OnePlus 6 both have the virtually ubiquitous Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor inside, which you’ll also find in everything from Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9 to Google’s Pixel 3. The older OnePlus 5T and 5 have the previous year’s Snapdragon 835, which is slightly slower and less power efficient.

All of them come with 6GB or 8GB of RAM, which may be overkill unless you’re a major multitasker. Storage has been upped from 64GB or 128GB to 128GB or 256GB in the newest phone. OnePlus is not keen on the humble MicroSD card slot, so you won’t find one in any of these phones.

The 3,300mAh battery found in the OnePlus 5, 5T, and 6 has finally been upgraded in the 6T to 3,700mAh. Even accounting for the larger display, that should provide a boost to stamina. All of these phones support fast charging, but you won’t find any Qi wireless charging support.

Winner: OnePlus 6T

Design and durability

oneplus 5 vs 5t vs 6
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

We think this is a category where you can see the clearest evolution of the OnePlus range. We felt the OnePlus 5 was aping the iPhone a little too closely, but the fingerprint sensor moved around back in the 5T. The OnePlus 6 did adopt the notch, but it was smaller than the iPhone X’s and the central camera module and fingerprint sensor on the back gave it a feel of its own. The OnePlus 6T is perhaps its most distinct phone yet, with that teardrop notch, the slimmest of bottom bezels, and an in-display fingerprint sensor. It’s a refined, attractive design that’s going to turn heads.

Water resistance is an area where OnePlus has cut corners. While most flagship smartphones nowadays can be submerged without damage, there’s no IP-rating for any of these OnePlus phones. The OnePlus 5T and OnePlus 5 both had aluminum frames and backs, but the newer duo are glass front and back, so durability is definitely an issue here. It should be noted the OnePlus 6T is wrapped in Gorilla Glass 6, which is the most durable version from Corning yet.

Something that’s sure to disappoint some people is the lack of a traditional headphone port in the OnePlus 6T, especially since all the other phones here have a standard 3.5mm audio jack.

Winner: OnePlus 6T

Display

OnePlus 6T review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The shift in the display from the OnePlus 5 through to the OnePlus 6T mirrors wider industry trends. We’ve gone from a 5.5-inch display with a 16:9 aspect ratio to a 6.4-inch display with an 19.5:9 ratio, which has prompted a resolution shift from 1,920 x 1,080 pixels to 2,340 x 1,080 pixels. Interestingly, all these phones have essentially the same pixel density and they’re all AMOLED screens. The extra size isn’t the only benefit of the OnePlus 6T’s display though, it’s also brighter, with better color accuracy and more software tuning options than its predecessors.

Winner: OnePlus 6T

Camera

OnePlus 6T review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

On paper, it looks like these phones all have the same exact camera setup, a dual-lens 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel main camera and a 16-megapixel front-facing camera. There have actually been a few jumps in the hardware quality, with newer sensors, and lots of developments on the software and tuning side that mean you can see concrete improvements. The camera in the OnePlus 6 is definitely better than the cameras in the 5 and 5T. The OnePlus 6T also features some new artificial smarts for scene recognition and improved portrait and low-light capabilities, but we’ve yet to test it against the OnePlus 6, so we’re not yet sure if there’s any discernible jump in quality.

Only the 6 and 6T have super slow motion video support.

Winners: OnePlus 6 and 6T

Software and updates

oneplus 6 tips and tricks face id 3

With Android 9.0 Pie out of the box, the OnePlus 6T has a clear advantage. The OnePlus 5 and 5T can both be upgraded to Android 8.1 Oreo, which is what the OnePlus 6 launched with, and they will eventually get the update to Android Pie. The OnePlus 6 has received the Android 9.0 Pie update already. All of them have OxygenOS on top, which offers various customization options and shortcuts that you won’t find in stock Android. We expect the 6T and 6 to have a similar shelf life in terms of updates, so there’s no dividing them here.

Winners: OnePlus 6 and 6T

Special features

OnePlus 6T review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The in-display fingerprint sensor enabled OnePlus to hit new heights with its design in the 6T, but most of the other special features are nothing new for the range. As mentioned, OxyegnOS offers lots of gesture shortcuts and customization options, and there’s also a special gaming mode to prevent interruptions and ensure your gaming sessions are as smooth as possible.

Winner: OnePlus 6T

Price

Price has always been a major selling point for the OnePlus range, but it has been creeping higher with each new phone. We’ve gone from $480 for the basic model of the OnePlus 5 up to $550 for the OnePlus 6T, but that’s still great value compared to other flagships on the market. OnePlus also discontinues its older phones as soon as the new ones are released, so there’s no option to go back and buy an older model unless you can find some remaining stock from another seller.

The OnePlus 6T is also available now from T-Mobile, giving you another place to buy it from. It’s also compatible on Verizon — a first for OnePlus — making it the most accessible OnePlus phone ever.

Overall winner: OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T is the best phone that OnePlus has made so far, but it’s very, very similar to the OnePlus 6. We’re talking about some extra battery capacity, a better design, and a slightly bigger display. If you already have the OnePlus 6, then you should hold onto it for a while. For people with the OnePlus 5T or OnePlus 5, the 6T is going to be a more tempting upgrade, and you can add faster performance and a better camera to the list of temptations.

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