I've now spent a month with the OnePlus 6T -- see my full review -- and I can't put it down. It offers a flagship experience at a price $300 to $400, or more, less than Android flagships and even has features that those more expensive devices don't.
If you are looking for an affordable Android smartphone, I can't say enough good things about the OnePlus 6T. T-Mobile sells the OnePlus 6T in retail stores so you can even go see one in person before you purchase it. It earned its way into the top five of my 10 best smartphones list and every day it confirms this status.
After purchasing my own Mirror Black one at T-Mobile, OnePlus sent along a Thunder Purple one to test out and it is stunning. The Silk White OnePlus 6 was my favorite material design of a smartphone ever, but that has been replaced by the Thunder Purple OnePlus 6T. Unfortunately, I no longer see this model available on the OnePlus site, but the Midnight Black one also offers a matte finish glass back so feels much like the Thunder Purple model.
No phone is perfect and for $579 (the 8GB/128GB model I bought) there are some compromises. The OnePlus 6T doesn't support wireless charging, it doesn't have an official dust/water resistant rating, and the second rear camera doesn't provide wide-angle or zoom capability. However, there are a lot more features provided than missing and a few of these are minor features that many may not care about.
As I look back over the last month of use and towards the future, here are several reasons I love the OnePlus 6T:
- Price: While the OnePlus 6T starts at $549 (6GB RAM/128GB internal), I bought the $579 model since that is the only one T-Mobile sells. Compare this to the $999 I paid for a Note 9 and it is striking how much value is provided at a reasonable price by OnePlus.
- Fit, finish and design: The OnePlus 6T has an extremely high quality build that makes it easily feel like a $1,000 phone. The curved glass back, metal buttons, aluminum edges, and feel in your hand is awesome.
- Alert slider: Apple iPhones have a barely accessible ringer switch to turn the ringer on or off. OnePlus provides a very nice three-way alert slider with texture so you can easily manipulate it on the upper right side. It's awesome to quickly switch modes with a single slide and you can even customize what occurs in each of the three modes.
- Updates: Android users often lament the latency on updates and some Android makers rarely provide updates. I have some review devices with security updates from August and September, but thankfully OnePlus is committed to users. The OnePlus 6T is running the November security update with OxygenOS 9 being powered by Android 9 Pie. Some new phones recently launched with Android 8, looking at you LG.
- Outstanding reception: My daily Sounder commute passes through the outskirts of many cities and spends much of the time in weak T-Mobile signal areas. It's a good test for reception on phones and after testing more than 10 phones in 2018, the OnePlus 6T is the RF champion. It even beats out the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and if you are in an area with a weak cellular signal, you can count on the OnePlus 6T to help you make that call.
- Minimal bezels: The OnePlus 6T has an 86 percent screen-to-body ratio with a minimal teardrop notch for the front-facing camera. It reminds me of my old iPhone X where it felt like the device in my hand was all screen and I love this optimzation of the display.
- Long battery life: I miss using the S Pen on my Galaxy Note 9, but in my daily experience the battery of the OnePlus 6T lasts me longer and it's been tough for me to give up on the 6T and go back to the Note 9. I regularly see more than six hours of screen-on time on the OnePlus 6T.
- Fast charging: While the battery does last longer than many Androids I have tried, the OnePlus 6T has fast charging via a proprietary A/C adapter. It charges up faster than Samsung phones and provides about 50 percent in 30 minutes. Unlike Apple's terrible policy, OnePlus includes the fast charger in the box with the OnePlus 6T.
The OnePlus 6T is also one of the first phones to launch with an in-display fingerprint scanner. It works well, but is honestly not as fast as a rear fingerprint scanner. However, it has performed well and in combination with face unlock does let you access your phone quickly.
While I find the OnePlus 6T to be nearly perfect and the folks at CNET gave it an 8.9/10 rating, it is universally lauded by the press. The Verge wrote that the OnePlus 6T is the best Android phone to buy, Mashable stated that nobody builds a phone with so much bang for the buck, and a Business Insider writer switched from being a long-time iPhone user to Android thanks in large part to the OnePlus 6T.
The OnePlus 6T is fantastic and with my wife's Galaxy S8 randomly hanging up calls, changing sounds, and acting up, I am about to switch her over to the T-Mobile variant of the OnePlus 6T. If you are looking for an affordable Android phone with better than flagship performance then go get one now.
Previous and related coverage:
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