When the OnePlus 3 came out, the world was a very different place.
The UK wasn’t leaving the EU, Toblerones were still proper triangles and the cheesy Wotsit Trump wasn’t filling the US government with villains that wouldn’t look out of place in an Avengers movie.
A new, slightly scary world demands a new phone, but thankfully OnePlus hasn’t gone all alt-right on us with the 3T. This is just a OnePlus 3 with a few extras - but that also means the price has gone up from S$520 to S$550.
Are those extras worth the S$30 extra? In all honesty, no.
This phone loses some of the stone cold bargain status of the now-discontinued OnePlus 3, but at around S$300 less than some rivals, it’s an easy 5-star verdict for this classy Android.
Update 26/05/2017: OnePlus has discontinued the 3T in the runup to the launch of its new flagship, the OnePlus 5. That means no new stock is being made, but you might be able to snap up one of the last few if you hurry. With more powerful hardware and a dual rear camera, the OnePlus 5 is likely to cost quite a bit more than the 3T does now, so this could be your last chance to grab a OnePlus bargain.
OnePlus 3T vs 3
Arriving less than half a year after the OnePlus 3, the 3T seems as premature as Christmas decorations in September. So how's it any different?
At first glance you won’t notice any at all, apart from the new gun metal color. It’s still slim, all-aluminium and a real looker that can sit next to S$1000 phones without looking even remotely cheap. Just like last time.
You really have to dig to find the changes, like those tasty bits of brownie in a tub of Ben & Jerrys. First, the OnePlus 3T has a new Snapdragon 821 CPU. The last version had a Snapdragon 820, and this one is just a tad faster (10 per cent according to chip chef Qualcomm).
Will you notice the difference day-to-day? Of course not, but Geekbench 4 shows there is at least a real change. The OnePlus 3T scores 4398 points (1899 per core), the OnePlus 3 4012. That’s an increase of between 9-10 per cent, just as promised.
Just in case OnePlus tried to save a few pennies by using lower-quality parts this time around, we also dug into memory and storage speeds. True to form, OnePlus has actually made some improvements. RAM is now an eyeball-melting 16870MB/s quick, up from 15624MB/s in the OnePlus 3.
Again, won’t really notice the difference, but just look at how big those numbers are. Big.
OnePlus sent us the 128GB version of the 3T, a new option, and while its storage is a wee bit slower than that of our 64GB OnePlus 3, it still has almost SSD-like speed. For the nerds out there, it reads at 418MB/s and writes at 173MB/s.
Next up, let’s deal with what looks like the most important change: the battery. The OnePlus 3T has a 3410mAh cell, a nice chunk bigger than the OnePlus 3’s 3000mAh.
We setup a bit of a stamina obstacle course to see whether there’s really much of a difference, starting with a movie, and then 3D gaming for a more demanding test.
The results are disappointing. Sorry, everyone. Two hours of playing a video stored on the internal storage lopped 15 per cent off the OnePlus 3 battery and 17 per cent off the OnePlus 3T. That’s right, the new phone’s battery seems to drain faster.
We then gave them another blast back up to 100 per cent charge using the super-quick Dash charger and set them to run Real Racing 3 for 30 minutes. Yet again, the result wasn’t as hoped, with the OnePlus 3T ending up with 85 per cent charge and the OnePlus 3 87.
With current software at least, it looks like the OnePlus 3T lasts slightly less long than the OnePlus 3. However, part of this may come down to a tightening-up of how the newer phone reports exactly how much battery has left. That’s our only hope.
Either way, using the phone normally rather than as part of a weird stamina drag race, its longevity is very similar to the OnePlus 3’s: you’ll get a full day as long as you don’t hammer the phone too hard.