What to expect from the OnePlus 5T

OnePlus 5 on desk

In less than one week, Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus will officially unveil the OnePlus 5T, its next smartphone, at a special event in New York City. Baring any major surprises, however, it’s unlikely the announcement will provide any major revelations about OnePlus’ next smartphone.

Even in an era in which major smartphones are an open book prior to release thanks to a variety of leaks, the lead up to the OnePlus 5T’s official announcement has been something else, with several outlets breaking embargo to publish their hands-on with the upcoming smartphone.

With so many leaks available online, MobileSyrup has collected the most informative ones in one place. What can one expect from the OnePlus 5T?  In short, OnePlus’ next smartphone is all about a new bezel-less screen.

Bezels are so yesterday

Ahead of the release of the OnePlus 5, some rumours suggested the OnePlus’ then latest smartphone would somehow feature a bezel-less screen like the Galaxy S8. Those rumours, however, were quickly disproven.

In an interview with The Verge’s Dan Seifert just before the phone’s launch, OnePlus CEO and co-founder Pete Lau confirmed the OnePlus 5 would not include a bezel-less screen, noting the company didn’t possess the resources to secure the necessary display components to make a bezel-less device.

“This is something we want to try,” he said at the time. “But we don’t currently have the resources or access to those displays.”

Five months after it pushed out the OP5, OnePlus has seemingly found a way to make a bezel-less device.

According to several different sources, including the almost always reliable Evan Blass and a last minute leak from ZDNet Germany, the OnePlus 5T will feature a 6-inch display. In a tweet dated to October 25th, Blass confirmed OnePlus was developing a device that would feature an 18:9 aspect ratio. At the time, he didn’t refer to the upcoming smartphone as the OnePlus 5T. However, Blass later tweeted an image that showed the top half of an unreleased device, which he referred to as the OnePlus 5T.

In addition to aligning OnePlus with its more well-financed competitors, the OnePlus 5T gives the company the opportunity to address one of the major issues to take away from the OnePlus 5.

When the OP5 first launched, some users quickly noticed that its display produces a distinctive ‘jello‘ effect when quickly scrolling through walls of text. Looking through the phone’s kernel, XDA Developers discovered the scrolling effect occurs due to the fact the OnePlus 5’s screen is aligned backward.

With the OnePlus 5T, OnePlus has the chance to both modernize the design of its flagship smartphone and resolve one of the more unusual design quirks to affect a smartphone in recent memory.

A second chance at a great camera

Additionally, the OP5T will also include a slightly different camera configuration than its predecessor.

In a tweet dated to October 25th, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei shared an image that he almost certainly took with the OnePlus 5T. The choice of subject matter, a dark scene with a disco ball, is telling.

One of the major issues with the OnePlus 5’s camera was its low-light performance. In short, the camera underperformed in less than ideal lighting conditions due to a sensor package that over emphasized pixel resolution. Further adding to the OnePlus 5’s poor low light performance was the absence of optical image stabilization (OIS) and a second telephoto lens that, at f/2.6, wasn’t particularly fast.

Based on a leaked spec sheet, OnePlus has made one major change to the 5T’s camera package. The OnePlus 5T’s second telephoto lens now features a f/1.7 aperture lens that’s approximately a full stop faster than the f/2.6 lens found on the OnePlus 5’s second camera. In addition, the second camera now features a different Sony sensor. OnePlus has replaced the IMX 350 found on the OP5, opting instead for the IMX 376K.

In practice, it’s unlikely the OnePlus 5T will fare significantly better than its predecessor in less than ideal lighting conditions. While the improvements to the phone’s telephoto camera are appreciated, OnePlus has stopped short of making more meaningful changes that would make the OnePlus 5T a low-light contender, likely because they would have increased the price of the phone.

A headphone jack, here for at least one more stay

Elsewhere, the OnePlus 5T will include many of the same features found on the OnePlus 5 (when it comes to processor, RAM and storage specs, the OnePlus 5T is identical to its predecessor).

In two separate blog posts, Pete Lau detailed the other features OnePlus fans can expect to make their way to the OP5T.

In his first post, published on November 2nd, Lau confirmed the OnePlus 5T will feature a 3.5mm headphone jack. “Every feature, removed or added, is based on our understanding of user needs. For the time being, we think it’s best to stick with the headphone jack,” writes Lau in the post. Lau even included a render of the bottom of the OnePlus 5T in his post to prove a point.

In his second post, published on November 8th, Lau revealed the OnePlus 5T won’t feature inductive charging. Lau states a variety of reasons for the company’s decision. Essentially, however, OnePlus’ reasoning boils down to the fact the company believes its Dash Charge fast-charging technology makes for a better charging solution than either Qi or PMA wireless charging.

One topic Lau hasn’t addressed yet is whether the OnePlus 5T will feature water-proofing. More so than inductive charging, water resistance is the one feature it felt like the OnePlus 5 was genuinely missing, especially when compared to other high-end smartphones. Unfortunately, based on the leaked spec sheet I mentioned earlier, the 5T won’t add waterproofing.

All in all, in contrast to the OnePlus 3T, which improved upon the OnePlus 3 by adding a Snapdragon 821 processor, a higher capacity 3,400mAh and a higher resolution front-facing camera, the OnePlus 5T is a more marginal update to the OnePlus 5.

New phone, same price tag

Thankfully, a lack of new features is not all bad news. According to a report from TechRadar, the OnePlus will not charge more for the OnePlus 5T than it currently does for the OnePlus 5, at least not in the U.K. We’ll have to see if that rumour holds up, but it’s good news for anyone that’s interested in checking out OnePlus’ new phone.

Should more information about the OnePlus 5T make its way online, we’ll make sure to update this post.

Source: Carl Pei, Evan Blass

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