Today OnePlus announced the OnePlus 3T, a smartphone that succeeds the OnePlus 3 as the company's flagship smartphone. This move may be unexpected for some, given that the OnePlus 3 only launched back in June of this year, meaning that its time as OnePlus's flagship phone lasted only five months. However, as technology moves forward, it makes sense to update devices appropriately even if the changes do not align with the yearly cadence that we've come to expect for mobile devices.

While the OnePlus 3T does succeed the OnePlus 3, owners of the OnePlus 3 do not need to fear that their device has been relegated to a position as a legacy device. As one might guess from its name, the OnePlus 3T is merely an iteration on the OnePlus 3 in order to take advantage of some technological improvements that have come along since the OnePlus 3's development cycle. Before going any further, I've made a chart comparing the OnePlus 3 and 3T so it's clear which aspects of the phone have changed.

  OnePlus 3 OnePlus 3T
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 Qualcomm Snapdragon 821
GPU Adreno 530
RAM 6GB LPDDR4
Display 5.5" 1920 x 1080 PenTile AMOLED
Size / Mass 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm, 158g
Battery 3000 mAh 3400 mAh
Rear Camera 16MP 1.1 μm Sony IMX298, f/2.0, OIS
Front Camera 8MP 1.4 μm Sony IMX179, f/2.0 16MP 1.0 µm Samsung S5K3P8, f/2.0
Storage 64GB UFS 2.0 64/128GB UFS 2.0
I/O USB 2.0 Type-C connector, 3.5mm audio
Connectivity 802.11a/b/g/n/ac + BT 4.2, USB-C, GPS/GNSS
Software Android 6.0.1
OxygenOS 3.2.7
Android 6.0.1
OxygenOS 3.5.1
Price 64GB: 399 USD 64GB
439 USD
439 EUR
399 GBP
599 CAD
3299 DKK
3388 HKD
4295 SEK
128GB
479 USD
479 EUR
439 GBP
639 CAD
3599 DKK
3788 HKD
4795 SEK

For the most part, the OnePlus 3T is essentially the same phone as the OnePlus 3. Both share the same ports, the same rear-facing camera, the same display, the same dimensions, and the same RAM configuration. What changes have been made are mostly improvements to internal components. Most notable is the move to Snapdragon 821, which helps keep OnePlus at the same level as the competition as far as processing power goes. OnePlus is using the standard MSM8996 Pro, which brings the peak CPU frequency to 2.35GHz and the peak GPU frequency to 653MHz, which will push performance slightly ahead of the OnePlus 3.

Moving beyond the SoC, the battery is definitely the next area of interest. OnePlus has maintained the size and mass of the OnePlus 3, but the battery capacity has increased 13% from 3000 mAh to 3400 mAh. Without a teardown it's hard to say whether this is owed to improvements in battery density, or improvements to the phone's internal layout, but given that the total platform power of the phone shouldn't be changing it should bring a noticeable improvement in battery life.

The last large change from the OnePlus 3 is the front-facing camera. The OnePlus 3 used Sony's IMX179, which is an 8MP sensor with 1.4 µm pixels paired with an f/2.0 lens. The OnePlus 3T bumps the resolution up to 16MP through the use of Samsung's S5K3P8 sensor with 1.0 µm pixels and the same aperture.

In addition to the changes mentioned above, the OnePlus 3T comes in a different set of colors and storage configurations than the OnePlus 3. The OnePlus 3 came in a standard aluminum finish, and only had a 64GB model. To differentiate it from its predecessor, the OnePlus 3T comes in a gunmetal grey finish and a gold finish, with the former shipping in 64GB and 128GB, and the latter only in 64GB. With all these changes also comes a roughly 10% increase in price, and it'll be interesting to see how the Android community feels about the balance of the price increase and the improved specifications.

The OnePlus 3T will be available for sale in the United States on November 22, and in Europe on November 28. With its launch, the OnePlus 3 is being sent to end-of-life status from a manufacturing perspective. However, the OnePlus 3 and 3T are viewed as essentially the same device from a software perspective, meaning that while you will no longer be able to buy the OnePlus 3, OnePlus plans to bring software updates to both phones. When the OnePlus 3 receives a stable release of OxygenOS 3.5.1 both devices should be updated on the same schedule going forward, with an update to Android Nougat expected to ship before the year is over.

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  • Bob Todd - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    A $40 increase for a small SOC refresh/slight battery bump/FFC tweak doesn't seem like a good value. But $80 for those same changes and an additional 64GB of storage is pretty nice. It's interesting that the rumor about the main driver for the update (display panel shortage) and the associated switch to IPS LCD turned out to be false. The lack of an update for the rear camera that was also rumored is a bit of a bummer, although the image quality might be more of a software problem than a hardware one. Not that it is terrible, but certainly not as good as my 6P. Reply
  • UtilityMax - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    Still, the 440USD sticker price is a far cry from the 300USD Oneplus One introduced two years ago. Now that was a value. Reply
  • Aerodrifting - Tuesday, November 15, 2016 - link

    I see the battery as the only weakness of this phone. Wish they could put in a 4000 mAh like the xiaomi. Reply
  • close - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    I don't think they actually changed the volume of the phone or the internal layout so 4000mAh is pretty unattainable without Note7 results.

    "it's hard to say whether this is owed to improvements in battery density, or improvements to the phone's internal layout"
    Maybe they just increased the voltage of the battery from 4.35V to 4.4V for a modest 13% increase in the exact same package. Redesigning the insides of the phone isn't a cost effective solution for such a modest refresh.
    Reply
  • Samus - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    To summarize: anybody spending more than $439 on an Android phone is officially a moron.

    This is the phone.
    Reply
  • philehidiot - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    I dunno. There has always in the world of tech been a pretty exponential increase in cost at the top end for marginal improvements. It's just that with some very good marketing (mostly from Apple initially) they have managed to make these top end products almost the norm. I think if you want a camera that's as good as it can be, you're going to have to go with one of the more expensive devices as the extra cost is primarily in manpower and time testing and tweaking the camera to operate as you intend in all scenarios. This is one area where Oneplus is going to fall down just because they want to keep the price down. Does this mean the camera is crap? No. It's perfectly serviceable but there are those who will want something that they don't have to fiddle with occasionally to get decent results and that's where the money goes. Things like the slightly weird memory management is another example of this - development requires a lot of time and manpower. The other big flaw is the lack of expandable storage. For me, that's a killer and I expect some other people will feel the same way. Reply
  • UtilityMax - Saturday, November 19, 2016 - link

    The new OP3T has a version with 128GB priced at under 500USD. This will probably satisfy most people who wanted expandable storage instead. Reply
  • Meteor2 - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    Yep. Well, so long as they keep their promise to release a Nougat update in December. That gave my 5X a considerable improvement in battery life (when not being used) and functionality (mainly being able to reply straight from notifications). Reply
  • Meteor2 - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    Actually even if they break their promise it doesn't change its position as 'best Android phone'.

    I would like to see an Anandtech review of the ZTE Axon 7 though.
    Reply
  • UtilityMax - Wednesday, November 16, 2016 - link

    So are you saying that Nougat is good? It seems like too many people have been complaining about it on 5X forums, so I have been holding off the Nougat upgrade on my 5X. Reply

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