This is yet another department, which OnePlus approached with the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" mentality and thankfully so. A 5.5-inch panel still seems to be right in the sweet spot for many mobile users - especially on the Asian markets.
As for the choice of 1080p resolution, at the risk of fueling the seemingly endless flame war on the matter, we still firmly believe that you don't need more pixels. Plus, there is the battery life benefit of using the lower screen resolution, and with OpenGL ES 3.1 gaming becoming even more advanced in graphics, the GPU will appreciate the extra breathing room. Just stick around for the graphics benchmarks if you don't believe us.
The AMOLED panel in question comes courtesy of Samsung and is specially made for the OnePlus, hence the Optic AMOLED moniker. Still, it looks just as gorgeous as any other Samsung Super AMOLED panel, and unless you place it next to a QHD phone, the difference between the two is hardly noticeable. Sure, the diamond pentile pixel arrangement isn't the best possible choice, but the screen more than makes up for that with its great contrast.
What we will touch upon instead is the VR argument. Yes, 1080p is not ideal for virtual reality, and yes, OnePlus does have a VR headset, of sorts - the Loop VR Headset. However, the company has made it clear that from its standpoint, strapping a phone to your forehead is more of a gimmick than a viable approach to VR in its current form, and as such is not considered a priority. We agree, these are some rather mixed messages they are sending, but then again, the VR headset in question is merely a fancy Google Cardboard-style viewer, so the whole thing is more for show and marketing than anything else.
Anyway, back to the Optic AMOLED panel. It offers a quite respectable 401ppi, and at 439 nits at full blast, it is bright enough for most scenarios. That is even a few nits brighter than the 433nits, which we managed to register on the original OnePlus 3. Contrast is naturally great, given the AMOLED technology and the perfectly deep blacks associated with it.
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Sunlight legibility is superb. The panel on the OnePlus 3T surpasses most of Samsung's 2015 offers in this respect and is up to par with its current models.
Along with the choice of screen resolution, color accuracy was another big point over which the OnePlus 3 was criticized. Punchy AMOLED colors are somewhat more appealing to a broader customer audience, which was the reasoning. However, OnePlus quickly found a way to offer a more accurate color rendering mode - called sRGB.
With the OnePlus 3T the option is more easily accessible. It does a great job of delivering accurate colors, with an average deltaE as low as 2.8 and a maximum of 5.5. The image does look a bit bland in this mode, so if the punchy screen is what you are after, then the default mode can deliver plenty of that.
The OnePlus 3T is a Dual-SIM device, just like its sibling and predecessor. It takes two nano SIM cards, and neither of the SIM slots is a hybrid one, and it won't take a microSD. However, we are a lot more willing to let it slide this time around since there is a 128GB version.
There is LTE on board as well. It comes courtesy of Qualcomm's current flagship chip, the Snapdragon 821, with Cat.6 speeds of up to 300 Mbps downstream and a rich combination of HSPDA and LTE bands, making the OnePlus 3T a truly global device.
There's a full set of a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi standards on both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot and DLNA media sharing on supported TVs and PCs. There is also Bluetooth 4.2 added to the mix.
The USB Type-C connector is quickly becoming the industry standard and OnePlus was quite ahead of the curve in this department, adopting it as far back as the OnePlus 2. However, we still can't get over the fact that there is a USB 2.0 controller, standing behind this modern connector.
Changing gears quickly, as if to wash away the minor USB disappointment, the 3,400 mAh battery in the OnePlus 3T is quite the engineering feat. The most impressive thing about it is that the extra battery capacity doesn't come at the expense of neither added weight nor volume.
The OnePlus 3T managed to clock in a really impressive 83 hours of endurance rating. This is even more impressive when we consider what we have seen from previous OnePlus phones - 66 hours on the OnePlus 3, 61 hours total on the OnePlus 2 and exactly 66 hours on the original OnePlus One as well. This is a solid achievement by the OnePlus 3, as it does have a smaller battery than its predecessors. However, the OnePlus 3T makes really good use of the extra 400 mAh as well. Standby times saw the biggest improvements, while things like web browsing, video playback and 3G talk time, came out just as optimized as in previous OnePlus software iterations.
As for charging, there is the excellent Dash technology. We already touched upon it briefly, and the hype really is justified. If you use the Dash charger and cable included in the box, you can quickly pump up to 20W of power into the OnePlus 3T.
The technology also rules out overheating, which one could naturally expect with such a current going in the phone. On the technical side of things, this is achieved through a clever segmentation system, which allows the sub-parts of the battery to be charged independently in parallel (Oppo's VOOC charging).
The Dash system is so efficient that it practically eliminated the need for overnight charging while we tested the device. 30 minutes on the charger consistently got us from a dead battery up to 60%. Not only that but 60% in 30 minutes was valid both for the OnePlus 3 and the new "T" variant, despite the difference in battery capacity.
The battery testing procedure is described in detail in case you're interested in the nitty-gritties. You can also check out our complete battery test table, where you can see how all of the smartphones we've tested will compare under your own typical use.
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