Monday , November 30 2020

Competitors Have Caught Up In Value But OnePlus Software Still King




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The OnePlus 6T has a 6.4-inch OLED display.Ben Sin

The OnePlus 6T is the fifth phone from the upstart brand I've tested in a professional capacity, and this is the toughest one to judge.

It's not because the 6T is not good, or a step backwards. Well, it's the best OnePlus phone yet. But it's trickier this time around because the circumstances around the phone have changed.

For years, OnePlus phones were undoubtedly the best value on the market. Other phones that run on the same Snapdragon chipset almost always cost several hundred dollars more, and other phones in the mid-tier market were significantly less powerful. But Huawei and Xiaomi, through the brands Honor and Poco, have ramped up their efforts at going after the mid-tier market that OnePlus had all in itself.

The 6T has a frosted glass back that looks and looks nice, but offers no wireless charge.Ben Sin

The 6T is still a relatively good value, but it is no longer "the best value on the market," unless you live in America where you have no official access to Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo phones.

Fortunately for OnePlus, it still has another thing going for it: the best software in all of Android.

The most intuitive and customizable version of Android anywhere

The 6T's OxygenOS, which runs on top of Android 9, is a joy to use. It's clean and unintrusive, resembling stock Android, the way Google has envisioned it, but has much more customization options and thoughtful little touches that even Google did not think of.

For example, it has always bugged me that some smartphone software, including Google's stock Android, Huawei's EMUI, and Apple's iOS, require me to swipe from the very top of the screen to pull down the notification shade (an action that's impossible to do easily with one hand unless you're an NBA player). OnePlus' OxygenOS allows me to swipe down from anywhere on the screen, making the action significantly easier to pull off. It sounds like a little thing, but when I use the OnePlus 6T with one hand on the street, I feel much more confident that I will not drop the phone because I do not have to constantly adjust my grip and contort my hands to reach the upper corners of the screen the way iPhones require me to.

That's just one of but dozens of reasons I love OxygenOS. Another feature I think is the ability to control music by drawing a shape on a sleeping screen. With almost any other phone, trying to change tracks on Spotify is at least a two step process that requires first waking up the phone. The 6T lets me do it with the screen remaining all the time.

Of course, the software is blazing fast too. I called the last two OnePlus device the smoothest and zippiest phone I've ever used, and the 6T keeps that streak going. Other phones are not slow, but compared to the 6T, apps take a split second longer to load, the animation of closing apps does not happen immediately. To be fair, part of this is OnePlus "tricking" my eyes with shorter animations, but it's also due to lean software and ample amount of RAM.

So while other brands have matched OnePlus in value, no one has done it with the software yet. There's one more selling point for the 6T, but only in the US: It's the first phone with an in-display fingerprint reader available to go on sale officially there. For the rest of us who have access to Vivo or Huawei phones, this feature is not new, but to Americans, the chance to try a fingerprint reader embedded underneath the screen is exciting.

Solid all around, but familiar

Everything else about the phone is good as usual, but a bit boring and expected in 2018, the most crowded and flooded year for smartphones yet. It does not help that the 6T is very similar to the 6 in terms of build, with the same camera hardware and chipset. There's a smaller notch, but it does not serve any practical purpose other than look a bit better than the previous notch.

The smaller notch, which we've seen on Vivo and Oppo's devices already.Ben Sin

Most of the shortcomings of the 6 carry over to the 6T too. The single speaker grill still pumps out puny sound. There is still no wireless charge, and the haptic engine is still below par compared to the excellent vibration motors inside the iPhones and LG phones.

Really good camera in most situations

As mentioned earlier, the camera hardware is unchanged – 16-megapixel main lens with a large micron pixel size of 1.22 and a 20-megapixel depth-sensing lens – & nbsp; OnePlus has tweaked the software and added a new AI-powered night shooting mode that is very similar to what Huawei is offering. OnePlus' version does not work as well – often I can not even see the difference between a normal shot and one shot with the night mode. But overall, the 6T's camera is strong – during the day, it can capture images super sharp and crisp, and can hang with anyone. At night or in low light situations, the 6T can usually produce images that appear "brighter" or "better" than what the iPhone XS can do – if you're posting it straight to Instagram, where it will almost certainly be viewed on a screen smaller than 7-inches. If you do not shoot images and pixel peep, iPhone XS's shots have more details and appear less processed. In the side-by-side comparisons below, you can see that the 6T generally holds its own against Apple, but loses to Huawei in every shot.

The twin camera set-up of the 6T.Ben Sin

The iPhone image has the most natural color, but looks the most bland on social media.Ben Sin

Notice Huwaei's image grabbed more lighting out of a very tough shooting situation. The 6T has an admirable job, however.Ben Sin

A sample image taken with the 6T.Ben Sin

The 6T can also shoot very sharp 4K / 60fps videos, but the stabilization is not on par with what the iPhone XS or LG V40 can do. But in the end I am judging the 6T against flagship phones that cost hundreds of dollars more. Comparing to its peers in pricing, such as Honor Magic 2 or Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, I think the 6T is slightly superior in most major areas, especially in software.

How great is the 6T? Depends on who you are

Ultimately, there are two ways to judge the OnePlus. & Nbsp; If you live in the U.S. full time, the 6T is absolute, by miles, the best value possible. There is nothing else available officially inside America that offers a high screen-to-body ratio, an in-display fingerprint reader, and insane chargeing speeds origin of this charging tech), and this attractive price tag.

The charging speed of the 6T is among the best in the industry.Ben Sin

The OLED panel is crisp, but not the brightest.Ben Sin

But if you live everywhere else, then there's a lot of competition. The Honor Magic 2 and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 or Pocophone can make a reasonable claim for being a better value than the 6T. But as I said, the 6T still has the best software around and the most polished package overall among that group. Still, the competition is so, so tough. Chinese brands are in a full blown war.

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The OnePlus 6T has a 6.4-inch OLED display.Ben Sin

The OnePlus 6T is the fifth phone from the upstart brand I've tested in a professional capacity, and this is the toughest one to judge.

It's not because the 6T is not good, or a step backwards. Well, it's the best OnePlus phone yet. But it's trickier this time around because the circumstances around the phone have changed.

For years, OnePlus phones were undoubtedly the best value on the market. Other phones that run on the same Snapdragon chipset almost always cost several hundred dollars more, and other phones in the mid-tier market were significantly less powerful. But Huawei and Xiaomi, through the brands Honor and Poco, have ramped up their efforts at going after the mid-tier market that OnePlus had all in itself.

The 6T has a frosted glass back that looks and looks nice, but offers no wireless charge.Ben Sin

The 6T is still a relatively good value, but it is no longer "the best value on the market," unless you live in America where you have no official access to Huawei, Xiaomi, Vivo, Oppo phones.

Fortunately for OnePlus, it still has another thing going for it: the best software in all of Android.

The most intuitive and customizable version of Android anywhere

The 6T's OxygenOS, which runs on top of Android 9, is a joy to use. It's clean and unintrusive, resembling stock Android, the way Google has envisioned it, but has much more customization options and thoughtful little touches that even Google did not think of.

For example, it has always bugged me that some smartphone software, including Google's stock Android, Huawei's EMUI, and Apple's iOS, require me to swipe from the very top of the screen to pull down the notification shade (an action that's impossible to do easily with one hand unless you're an NBA player). OnePlus' OxygenOS allows me to swipe down from anywhere on the screen, making the action significantly easier to pull off. It sounds like a little thing, but when I use the OnePlus 6T with one hand on the street, I feel much more confident that I will not drop the phone because I do not have to constantly adjust my grip and contort my hands to reach the upper corners of the screen the way iPhones require me to.

That's just one of but dozens of reasons I love OxygenOS. Another feature I think is the ability to control music by drawing a shape on a sleeping screen. With almost any other phone, trying to change tracks on Spotify is at least a two step process that requires first waking up the phone. The 6T lets me do it with the screen remaining all the time.

Of course, the software is blazing fast too. I called the last two OnePlus device the smoothest and zippiest phone I've ever used, and the 6T keeps that streak going. Other phones are not slow, but compared to the 6T, apps take a split second longer to load, the animation of closing apps does not happen immediately. To be fair, part of this is OnePlus "tricking" my eyes with shorter animations, but it's also due to lean software and ample amount of RAM.

So while other brands have matched OnePlus in value, no one has done it with the software yet. There's one more selling point for the 6T, but only in the US: It's the first phone with an in-display fingerprint reader available to go on sale officially there. For the rest of us who have access to Vivo or Huawei phones, this feature is not new, but to Americans, the chance to try a fingerprint reader embedded underneath the screen is exciting.

Solid all around, but familiar

Everything else about the phone is good as usual, but a bit boring and expected in 2018, the most crowded and flooded year for smartphones yet. It does not help that the 6T is very similar to the 6 in terms of build, with the same camera hardware and chipset. There's a smaller notch, but it does not serve any practical purpose other than look a bit better than the previous notch.

The smaller notch, which we've seen on Vivo and Oppo's devices already.Ben Sin

Most of the shortcomings of the 6 carry over to the 6T too. The single speaker grill still pumps out puny sound. There is still no wireless charge, and the haptic engine is still below par compared to the excellent vibration motors inside the iPhones and LG phones.

Really good camera in most situations

As mentioned earlier, the camera hardware is unchanged – 16-megapixel main lens with a large micron pixel size of 1.22 and a 20-megapixel depth-sensing lens – but OnePlus has tweaked the software and added a new AI-powered night shooting mode that is very similar to what Huawei is offering. OnePlus' version does not work as well – often I can not even see the difference between a normal shot and one shot with the night mode. But overall, the 6T's camera is strong – during the day, it can capture images super sharp and crisp, and can hang with anyone. At night or in low light situations, the 6T can usually produce images that appear "brighter" or "better" than what the iPhone XS can do – if you're posting it straight to Instagram, where it will almost certainly be viewed on a screen smaller than 7-inches. If you do not shoot images and pixel peep, iPhone XS's shots have more details and appear less processed. In the side-by-side comparisons below, you can see that the 6T generally holds its own against Apple, but loses to Huawei in every shot.

The twin camera set-up of the 6T.Ben Sin

The iPhone image has the most natural color, but looks the most bland on social media.Ben Sin

Notice Huwaei's image grabbed more lighting out of a very tough shooting situation. The 6T has an admirable job, however.Ben Sin

A sample image taken with the 6T.Ben Sin

The 6T can also shoot very sharp 4K / 60fps videos, but stabilization is not on par with what the iPhone XS or LG V40 can do. But ultimately I'm judging the 6T against flagship phones that cost hundreds of dollars more. Comparing to its peers in pricing, such as Honor Magic 2 or Xiaomi Mi Mix 3, I think the 6T is slightly superior in most major areas, especially in software.

How great is the 6T? Depends on who you are

Ultimately, there are two ways to judge OnePlus. If you live in the U.S. full time, the 6T is absolute, by miles, the best value possible. There is nothing else available officially inside America that offers a high screen-to-body ratio, an in-display fingerprint reader, and insane charging speeds, and this attractive price tag .

The charging speed of the 6T is among the best in the industry.Ben Sin

The OLED panel is crisp, but not the brightest.Ben Sin

But if you live everywhere else, then there's a lot of competition. The Honor Magic 2 and Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 or Pocophone can make a reasonable claim for being a better value than the 6T. But as I said, the 6T still has the best software around and the most polished package overall among that group. Still, the competition is so, so tough. Chinese brands are in a full blown war.


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