So ya want one of them skinny bezel smartphones that are all the rage right now? It’ll cost you a pretty penny – unless you use your noggin and pick up a OnePlus 5T, that is.
This cut-price hero costs half the price of some top-end flagship phones, but still packs in all the features you’d want, like dual cameras, a super-speedy Snapdragon CPU, and Dash Charging to keep you topped up without having to wait around.
It also has one of the best versions of Android around, with OxygenOS adding great new features without making things so complex you’re scared to swipe beyond the home screen.
A few of ‘em are a bit hidden away behind the scenes – but we’ve been digging, to find them all and let you know which ones are worth using. Here are the top tips every 5T owner should know.
1) Make up for missing buttons
The 5T is the first OnePlus phone to ditch hardware buttons altogether – there just wasn’t any room for ‘em on account of the new bezel-busting screen. Instead, you get virtual on-screen keys. They’re just as customisable as the old hardware ones, though.
Start simple by swapping the Back and Recents keys – handy if you’re moving across from a Samsung phone, which has always flip-reversed its keys from the Android default. Head to Settings > Buttons and toggle the "Swap Buttons" switch to move Back to the right side of the screen, and Recents to theleft.
2) Set up custom button actions
You don’t have to stick to the standard Home, Back and Recents shortcuts. You can force them to pull double or even triple duty, with a second set of actions activated with a long-press, and a third that recognise a double-tap. There are a handful of shortcuts to choose from, including turning off the screen, activating voice search, opening the widgets shelf, waking Google Assistant, and opening/closing split-screen mode.
To make your personalised picks, head to Settings > Buttons and tap on the Long press or Double tap option that matches the button you want to tweak.
3) Hide on-screen buttons completely
On-screen buttons are handy and all, but they can get in the way of your apps – shrinking down the amount of usable screen space and generally being irksome.
So hide them instead: head to Settings > Buttons and tap "Hide the navigation bar". This adds a fourth icon to the navigation bar, which hides the whole thing when you tap it. Want your buttons back? Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and they’ll reappear instantly.
4) Easily reach the notification tray
An 18:9 screen is a whole lot taller than the 16:9 panels we’re used to finding on our phones, and can mean stretching a lot further to reach the notification tray. Not everyone has big enough hands to do it without some serious finger yoga, but you can save your muscles by using the fingerprint scanner instead.
Head to Settings > Gestures and tap on "Swipe fingerprint for notifications" – now a quick swipe down on the rear scanner with any of your digits (not just the one that unlocks the phone) will pull down the notification tray. A second swipe up will fold it away again, no stretching required.
5) Put your widgets on a shelf
Android is great for customising everything to your liking, but a mountain of separate home screens can make it tricky to find your favourite widgets. OnePlus lets you keep everything in one place with the Shelf, a home for all your widgets.
Swipe right from your main home screen to see a few OnePlus-specific widgets like recent contacts, recently opened apps and notes. Then you can start adding your own. It scrolls infinitely, so you can have everything in one place.
To add a new widget, tap the Plus icon in the bottom right corner, then tap Widget. Once you’re happy with your choice, press and hold until it pops, and drag it into position. To delete unwanted widgets, just tap and hold, then tap the cross icon to eradicate it from your list.
6) Slide your way to silence
Having to dig around the notification tray to toggle Do Not Disturb every time you step into the boss’ office can be a pain – or maybe not, if you aren’t hauled in there as often as we are. Still, the 5T makes this a much easier job with its Alert Slider. This three-stage precursor to the fidget spinner isn’t just fun to flick up and down, it toggles between loud, vibrate and silent profiles.
Out of the box, the top "silent" position mutes your music and ringtones, while the middle setting actively blocks messages and calls in Do Not Disturb mode. Any starred contacts can still get through, though, and repeat callers are given the OK too in case there’s an emergency. Finally, the bottom setting lets your favourite ringtone ring out loud and proud whenever you get a notification,
If you want to change these modes, give it a flip and tap the cog icon that appears near the top of the screen to jump straight to the right Settings screen.
7) Relax your retinas with night mode
Been struggling to get a good night’s sleep recently? It could be because your phone is pumping blue light into your eyeballs just before you’re heading to bed. Which isn’t good. Use Night Mode and the 5T will strip out this light, giving things a warmer, yellow hue that won’t leave you counting sheep.
The 5T has an automatic mode, just like the OnePlus 5 does – which is miles better than having to manually toggle it on and off every night like you did on older phones. Head to Settings > Display and tap Night Mode, then select "Turn on automatically" and choose either a specific time, or leave it on sunrise-to-sunset. You can dial the effect up or down too, in case it’s a little too yellow for your liking.
8) Feed your inner bookworm with Reading mode
An AMOLED panel is great and all, but for reading, E-ink still has the edge in viewing angles and bright light legibility. The 5T’s Reading mode helps close that gap a little, scanning the room with the phone’s ambient light sensor and adjusting the colour temperature on the fly. It only works with specific apps, though.
Go to Settings > Display and tap Reading mode to toggle it on manually, or choose from a list of your installed apps and have it activate automatically whenever you open a particular app.
9) Play in peace and quiet with Gaming D’N’D
Getting interrupted with a flurry of notifications is no fun when you’re madly trying to crush candies or clash royale-ly, so silence ’em with the gaming-specific Do Not Disturb mode.
Head to Settings > Advanced and tap on Gaming Do Not Disturb. Now you can selec specific apps to mute all incoming notifications when you’re playing, without having to toggle a setting on or off after every play session.
10) Get the full picture with a long screenshot
Mobile web pages are long, scroll-heavy receipt rolls of text and photos that rarely fit into a single screenshot, but you don’t have to take a whole bunch by yourself – let the phone do the heavy lifting for you.
Snap a screenshot as usual, by squeezing the power and volume down keys, and then tap the icon at the bottom of the screen when your preview appears onscreen. The phone then starts scrolling until it hits the bottom of whatever web page you’re looking at, ready to send as one single picture.
11) PICK YOUR PERFECT COLOURS
AMOLED screens can be ultra-vibrant and so colourful they make your eyes bleed. The 5T doesn’t have one of those, but you might still want to tweak how pictures and video look.
Head to Settings > Display > Screen Calibration and make your choice: there’s cinema-grade DCI-P3, long-time screen standard sRGB, and a custom colour that lets you raise or lower the colour temperature with a slider.
12) SWITCH ON SPLIT SCREEN
Split screen multitasking is very handy, but the way to activate it on Android isn’t always very clear – and it doesn’t help that the shortcut changes between phones.
On the OnePlus 5T, you’ll have to head to Settings > Buttons and add split screen mode as a double-tap or long-press gesture. The Android default is a long-press con the Recents key at the right of the screen.
Now whenever you open an app, triggering your shortcut will split the screen and give you a choice of your other open apps for side-by-side scrolling.
13) STRETCH APPS TO FIT THE SCREEN
An 18:9 aspect ratio is great and all, but not everything available in the Google Play store won’t fill all that space – leaving ugly black bars that defeat the object of a longer, skinnier screen. Good job you can stretch everything to fit, then.
Head to Settings > Apps > Full screen apps, and you’ll be able to choose from 16:9 and 18:9 ratios. Some apps work better when stretched out than others, so you’ll have to experiment, but you can set the ones that work to default to one ratio or the other without having to faff every time.
14) DOUBLE UP WITH PARALLEL APPS
It’s less of a big deal here in the UK, where our favourite apps like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all have multiple account switching built-in, but Parallel Apps makes things a lot easier if you do have something that won’t let you log in to several accounts at once.
Head to Settings > Apps > Parallel apps and you can choose which of your apps you want to duplicate. Not everything works, but chat apps are pretty well supported. Tap to choose the ones you want, and the Parallel one gets added to your app drawer.
15) STORE YOUR SECRETS FROM PRYING EYES
If you get sweaty palms at the mere thought of handing your phone over to someone for them to thumb through your photos, in case they find that stash of for-your-eyes-only pics, you’ll definitely want to move them all to Secure Box. It hides files and photos behind a second fingerprint scan or password – and not the one you unlock the phone with, either.
Open the File Manager app, then tap on Secure Box. and choose which files you want to store. Then they’ll disappear from your other apps, and you can safely share your phone with other people again, safe in the knowledge they won’t find your naughty snaps.
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