With in-display fingerprint scanner and speedy performance, this is the smartphone that brings all-screen design up a notch
The OnePlus 6T proves that cutting-edge technology doesn’t have to
cost the Earth, bringing an in-display fingerprint scanner and a tiny
notch for just £500.
OnePlus has kept things simple for years, offering top specifications
for budget prices. The price has slowly crept up to not-quite-so
budget, but the level of refinement and technology has also improved.
The OnePlus 6T builds on the already excellent OnePlus 6, by further cutting away anything that isn’t screen. The gorgeous, crisp and colourful OLED display is a smidgen bigger at 6.41in, with a smaller chin at the bottom and a tiny teardrop-shaped notch at the top.
It’s an impressive design and proves that notches for the selfie
camera don’t have to be that intrusive. It looks a little like a widow’s
peak but is rapidly forgotten about, and you can even hide it in a
black bar if you hate notches. The earpiece speaker is embedded in the
rim at the very top of the phone above the camera and works fine when
you’re on the phone.
Centrally located about 2cm up from the bottom of the screen is a
hidden in-display fingerprint scanner that lights up in wild electric
green colour when active. That leaves the frosted or polished glass back
free of intrusions apart from the camera and LED flash.
The smooth, curved glass back feels nice in the hand and isn’t as
slippery as some, but it will slide off furnishings if you’re not
careful. The glass meets the metal sides with a little lip on both the
front and the back of the device, which doesn’t feel quite as well
finished as its predecessor.
At 74.8mm wide, 8.2mm thick and 185g in weight, the OnePlus 6T is ever so slightly narrower, thicker and heavier than its predecessor, but is narrower and 23g lighter than the iPhone XS Max and around the same dimensions all round as Google’s Pixel 3 XL.
The bottom of the phone has symmetrical speaker grilles, one of which
is for show, and the USB-C port, making the 6T the first from OnePlus
without a headphone socket.
Overall it’s a sleek design that’s so understated it’s almost a little plain in the frosted midnight black colour.
- Screen: 6.41in full HD AMOLED (402ppi)
- Processor: octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845
- RAM: 6 or 8GB of RAM
- Storage: 128 or 256GB
- Operating system: OxygenOS based on Android 9 Pie
- Camera: 16MP + 20MP rear dual camera, 16MP front-facing camera
- Connectivity: LTE, dual sim, Wi-Fiac, NFC, Bluetooth 5 and GPS
- Dimensions: 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2mm
- Weight: 185g
Speed and longevity
The OnePlus 6T has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor, 6 or 8GB of RAM and at least 128GB of storage as the OnePlus 6 launched in May, and as such performs exactly the same in general usage.
The OnePlus 6T flies along, matching or exceeding rivals for raw
speed of launching apps, switching between apps and launching the
camera. Gaming performance is also top notch using OnePlus’s new gaming
mode and smart boost systems speeding up game loading. Frame-rates were
super smooth even over an hour or so playing Shadowgun Legends.
Battery life is solid but not exceptional. With relatively heavy use
it would last 30 hours between charges, lasting from a 7am morning alarm
on day one and stretching till gone 12-noon on day two.
That was while using it as my primary device, sending and receiving
hundreds of emails, messages and push notifications, listening to five
hours of music on Bluetooth headphones, watching an hour of Netflix, 30
minutes of gaming and shooting about 15 photos.
The OnePlus 6T charges pretty quickly via the fast charger that comes
with it, reaching a full charge in around 90 minutes – but it doesn’t
have wireless charging.
OxygenOS is OnePlus’s customised version of Android, this time based on the latest Android 9 Pie.
As with previous versions, OxygenOS 9 is a slightly refined version
of the standard Android experience, made to be as responsive as possible
while adding some much-needed customisations.
For instance, you have a choice of standard home, back and overview
navigation buttons, Google’s new gesture button or OnePlus’s swipe
gestures which are superior to Google’s efforts and remove the need for a
navigation bar at the bottom of the phone. You can also edit which
icons appear in the status bar, change the colour of the interface and
other bits and pieces.
The ability to duplicate some apps, such as Facebook, Instagram,
WhatsApp and Uber is useful if you have multiple accounts tied to
different phone numbers, and particularly useful for those who put two
sims for two phone numbers in the phone.
In many ways, OxygenOS is closer to the lean and clean “stock”
Android championed by enthusiasts than Google’s version of Android on
its Pixel smartphones.
The big new thing for the OnePlus 6T is a fingerprint scanner
embedded in the screen. It’s the second such device to ship with one
after the Huawei Mate 20 Pro in October, but it is slightly faster and more accurate.
A spot that is slightly bigger than the one on the Mate 20 Pro
lights up on the screen where you have to press your thumb to unlock
the device or app and then pulses with a futuristic green glow as it
scans your print.
You have to press your thumb or finger a little harder on the screen
than you normally would on a rear-mounted sensor, and it is ever so
slightly slower than the best of the old generation of sensors, but it
works very well if you get it in the right spot.
Getting it in the right spot without looking at the phone takes a
little getting used to, but within a couple of days I was able to pull
off no-look unlocks round 90% of the time.
There’s also a very fast face unlock system using the selfie camera, but it isn’t 3D and so is less secure than rivals such as Apple’s Face ID or Huawei’s 3D face unlock.
The OnePlus 6T has the same 16+20-megapixel dual-camera system on the back as the OnePlus 6,
and performs similarly, producing some really nice, well detailed
images in good light. Low light performance is good, but not quite up to
par with the best from Samsung, Huawei, Apple or Google.
The new nightscape low light mode does a good job of eliminating
hand-shake from long-exposure shots. The selfie camera is also pretty
good, but can be a little washed out and soft on detail in poor
lighting. Portrait mode works as advertised.
Overall, the camera on the OnePlus 6T is good, but not quite the very
best. Most will be very pleased, particularly if upgrading from a
- When you use the fingerprint sensor the night mode for the
display is disabled temporarily and then fades back in once you’ve
unlocked the phone
- The phone comes with a screen protector already on it
- The single bottom-firing speaker is loud and has a relatively
large amount of bass for the phone, but is easily blocked while playing a
- OnePlus’s alert slider switches between silent, vibrate and ring and is still brilliant
The OnePlus 6T costs £499 in mirror black with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
The variant with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage is available in mirror or midnight black for £529, while the variant with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage is available only in midnight black for £579.
For comparison, the 128GB Huawei Mate 20 Pro costs £900, the 64GB Google Pixel 3 XL costs £869, the 128GB Samsung Galaxy Note 9 costs £899, the 64GB iPhone XR costs £749 and the 64GB iPhone XS Max costs £1,099.
OnePlus phones have always been good for the money, offering top
specifications in well-built devices, but not pushing the boundaries of
That’s changed for the OnePlus 6T. It is pushing what’s possible with
the popular all-screen design using a tiny, attractive teardrop notch
and a smaller chin, and it’s a better phone for it. But it is the
introduction of a cutting-edge in-display fingerprint scanner, and
making it work really well for as little as half the price of an iPhone XS, that is most impressive.
Sure, the camera isn’t quite as mind-blowing as the very best,
there’s no wireless charging, it doesn’t have any of the fancy 3D face
systems of some and it looks a little plain, but everything else is top
notch. Even the software experience is excellent.
At £500, you have to spend an awful lot more money to get a better phone than the OnePlus 6T.
Pros: good battery life, great screen, excellent
performance, dual-sim, good camera, Bluetooth 5, great software, tiny
notch, in-screen fingerprint sensor, alert slider
Cons: glass back but no wireless charging, no IP water resistance rating, no expandable storage, no headphone socket
1 OnePlus 6T Review: You’d Have To Spend Double To Get Better Than This Photos