You probably know the OnePlus formula by now: top of the line specs (mostly), with some corners cut here and there in order to achieve the price. The display's always been in the latter category with OnePlus devices, and the 6T is not an exception. Important note: we mean the resolution, and not necessarily quality, although we'll get to that in a minute.
Competing high-end handsets (with the notable exception of Huawei's P-series) all go QHD+, but OnePlus stays with 1080p+. This looks bad on paper, but our long-term reviews aren't about comparing spec sheets, rather how a device actually feels in use. And on that note, the OnePlus 6T's panel is actually very good. As in, you won't notice the resolution being less than any competing handset unless you're holding them side by side and really, really trying. And let's not forget that while it ships its flagships with higher-res panels, Samsung makes them run at 1080p+ resolution by default anyway.
In terms of quality, this is not a record-breaking screen you're getting on the OnePlus 6T. If you're interested in the technical nitty gritty and standardized tests, our review provides those in droves. Over here we'll only say that we've been really happy with it in day to day use. It looks good, it gets plenty bright (as well as dim when necessary) indoors, and it's even legible in the sun, although it can't compete with the best in that area.
The auto-brightness works well, and on the off chance you don't agree with what it's doing you can just manually adjust the slider and that setting will be remembered the next time it encounters the exact same level of ambient light - this is a neat feature built into Android 9 Pie that is one of those "how could we ever live without it" things. Still, much like with the OnePlus 6, we found ourselves needing to manually adjust the brightness down in dimmer places more frequently than with other phones.
If you don't like the default color profile, there's a few to choose from in Settings (including sRGB and DCI-P3) and you can also manually tweak with a Cold/Warm slider. The Adaptive mode should, well, adapt to the color temperature of the ambient light, but like in the Default mode, we found the whites way too bluish for our taste. We assume that a lot of people like them that way, otherwise why would every manufacturer under the sun (except Apple and Google, to an extent) have them like that out of the factory?
Night Mode cuts on the blue light, and like in any modern smartphone you can choose the intensity and also make it run on a schedule every day. The only thing we can say about this is that it works. The same is true for Reading Mode, which makes the display monochrome, although we have to confess not having ever used that except to check that it does in fact work. It feels a bit strange to buy a device with a wonderful color screen and then make it monochrome, but perhaps you'll find this more useful.
OnePlus' Ambient Display isn't always on, which is a bit controversial as the whole point of an AMOLED screen is that this would have a marginal effect on battery life. The company isn't okay even with that, so its implementation wakes up when you touch the screen or you move the phone. It also shows you notifications as they come in (for a split second or two). However, there's no always on clock on the display or anything like that. It's an interesting middle of the road implementation, this, and we guess it's better than nothing, but we still wish OnePlus would go the whole way and just have it on at all times - let's say opt-in and with a notice, when you turn it on, that it will deplete your battery in standby faster (we wouldn't mind even seeing a percentage of how much faster here).
As we mentioned in the Design section, you can "turn off" the notch in Settings, and since this is an OLED display that works very well as the black surrounding it blends in very well. But with a notch this small, and this neatly rounded, you may find yourself not even wanting to do that, especially if you're a bit OCD about symmetry because that way the top "bezel" becomes much bigger than the bottom one.
Also bad for OCD sufferers: the top corners of the display are rounded differently than the bottom ones, for reasons that we can't quite comprehend. And the way it's done for the bottom ones means that in apps which have buttons near them, these are almost at the point of being cut off - go figure!
One of the biggest changes in the 6T compared to its predecessor is the in-display fingerprint sensor. This is the first time OnePlus has gone with something like this, so we thought it was worthy of a subchapter of its own.
Let's get a few things out of the way first. This sensor is definitely slower than the rear-mounted one in the OnePlus 6, there's no getting around that. At the same time, it's also got a huge cool factor going for it. Yes, more and more phones these days have such sensors, but still the majority of handsets people own don't. The fact that it's on the front of the handset will be very much appreciated by some, as you can use it even when you don't have easy access to the phone's back - like when it's on a table or something.
The good thing about the sensor is that it gets better the more you use it. The bad thing about it is that it's going to take some getting used to. If you enroll your fingerprint at different angles, and if you remember to slightly push against the glass, and to wait a tad more than you'd have to for a traditional sensor, then you'll be fine and unlocking, and while not blistering fast, it will be fast enough.
Forget any of those aspects and you're in for a frustrating experience. "Your mileage may vary" applies here very much - some people get a hang of it immediately, while for others it's more of a struggle.
We did manage to improve its performance by taking advice from our community and we re-enrolled the fingerprint in a dark room which made a huge difference for us in day to day usage both in terms of responsiveness as well as accuracy.
There's also face unlock which is much faster but a lot less secure, since OnePlus isn't using any fancy technology like Apple and some other companies. This is just the selfie cam based implementation, but the company has definitely improved upon the dreadful system that Google once half-baked into Android. It won't unlock if your eyes are closed, for example, but someone with a picture of you could still theoretically get access to your phone, so it's up to you to figure out if that is a downside you can live with.