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#7DayReviewChallenge : OnePlus5T - The Unassuming Bea5t - Review

  1. subashchandran
    Eclair Nov 26, 2017

    subashchandran , Nov 26, 2017 :
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    I'm going to start the review with an explanation of the title, and the essence of what it means to go "Beast mode"

    OnePlus5T is an unassuming beast. You don't see it having it all or winning it all, but for what it packs and where it gets going there is no other better phone than the 5T.

    Day1 - Unboxing:

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    Having used the 1,2,3 and 3T before I was excited about this phone especially due to the move to 18:9 aspect ratio which I have grown to love after using LG-G6 and Mi-Mix2 in the past months. The anodized aluminum unibody design is timeless and very re-assuring when held. There is no unsightly off-color buttons or antenna lines that stand apart, its one seamless black slab. I was expecting a bigger camera bump but since I didn't use the Oneplus5 this seemed not that big of a deal to me.

    I appreciate the thin profile of the phone despite the fact that it packs 3300mAh and has to use metal(thicker) material. Both the G6 and MiMix are substantially thicker and heavier(in-feel) devices. The buttons on the OnePlus5T are top notch and the press feedback is awesome. I am a fan of the alert slider and was missing that as a profile switcher from the 3T days. I'm glad OnePlus continues to keep that marquee button in their products.
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    What's in the Box:

    • OnePlus5T with plastic screen protector installed
    • Clear TPU case (Nice touch @OnePlus)
    • Dash Charger Brick and USB-C Cable
    • SIM tray ejector tool
    • Some manual/booklet
    • The box had another pamphlet with reviews "what websites are saying" - sadly this was for the OnePlus5 and not the 5T - I'd have preferred not to include this at all.
    I ordered the sandstone black cover, I'd have to admit I liked the 3T cover better. This is well made, but kind of sticks out tad more than before. I would agree this offers scratch protection for the screen, but its probably just me. I'll most likely get a thin and "im-not-even-there" style matte black case later on.

    Boot up and setting the phone up was quick and easy and I was up and running in no time. I appreciate that the setup process was not interrupted by the update prompt even though there was an update available (I was notified later on after setting everything up). I began to see what everyone was cribbing about the navbar color immediately during the setup. I had my setup done in landscape and on the screen where you select restore and stuff, the screen UI was awkward. Black bar on top, glaring white navbar on the left.. it just felt not in sync. OnePlus might have to work on how to better integrate the navbar according to what is shown on the screen (see image below)

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    Day2 - Design/Display:

    I spent about 2 hours setting up the phone the way I like it and found the display to be very crisp and color-accurate. I have been using LCD displays for a while now and have kind of forgotten my 3Ts punchy colors and sharpness. Despite being a FHD+ display the panel kicks *** and is miles above the G6/PixelXL2 panels I have used recently. I tested the panel for viewing angles and this seemed very close to the Samsung made SuperAMOLED+ displays on the S8/Note8 phones - and thats a mighty compliment to the display by all means. The text is displayed very crisply and is extremely readable.

    General setup and UI video.


    I have a lot of complaints on the navbar implementation. I can understand the intentions to not cause burn-in etc.. but I don't think it works right as is. I had to painstakingly setup the navbar to work well through an app : Navibar
    I setup black as the default coor for navbar and I had to review each app and setup overrides (do not detect option) so that for those which work fine with white color OR the ones which correctly detect the navbar color stay the same.

    Oxygen OS is still the best OEM implementation of Android that does not deviate from the stock android design ideology and only adds the most useful features to an already excellent mobile OS platform. The light theme is particularly delightful and fresh on screen. I have always used the darkest possible theme and app setting on my previous OnePlus and other AMOLED devices, but this was probably the fist time I went all light/white - which in retrospection is actually due to the display and 18:9/Screen-body-ratio. All light/white looks good on the device - as it fills up the whole screen.

    DisplayAlbum - Images of the screen in all its glory
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    Since i was recently using MIUI, i was longing for a clean android experience where simple things like notifications, heads-up and in-line reply - WORKS LIKE A CHARM.. just the way it should

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    I also setup a rounder corners app since I got used to that look from the other 18:9 phones i used in recent times. Subtle rounded corners looks great on the 5T given that it has a nice curved corners.

    Day3 - Camera:

    I expected a decent camera (having used a 3t before) and back then 3t could hold its own 70% of the time against the S7edge and iPhones, but had lacked the oomph/wow factor in the images it produced. The 5t is a huge improvement over 3t (I guess this is due to the fact that i did not use op5). The images are crisp, well lit and razer sharp in good to average lighting conditions. More often than not I have been mighty impressed with the OOB images from the camera and I have not been editing them on snapseed because I didnt feel the need to - thats a testament to the camera processing on this phone (OnePlus has come a long way here).

    Good lighting:

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    Moderate/Tricky Lighting and conditions:

    I expected things to go down south as it did on the 3T on similar lighting conditions. Seattle is a particularly tricky place to get good evening shots as its mostly grey and gloomy and camera's dynamic range becomes a big factor when shooting in Seattle. The camera did a good job detecting the need for HDR on the streetcar shot below (It notifies on the camera UI that its using HDR). Given the gloomy and dim conditions I was very impressed with the picture. I was unsure about composition when the streetcar was moving so I long pressed the shutter - With HDR on, it took about 4 shots in very quick succession (Thats impressive speed, slightly better than S7edge camera). The other 2 images below are in bright to moderately dim indoor conditions with multiple colorful stuff in the frame to meter. I have to admit that in indoor warm lighting the blue tones take a serious hit and ends up grey-er than normal. On the 3rd image below there was so many small tiny details on those objects and I was blown away by the sharpness and details on that image given that the lighting was only moderate.

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    Low Light and severely-low/dark lighting conditions:

    I did read the op5 reviews early on and part of the reason why i skipped that was due to the low light camera performance (and lack of 18:9 screen). I wouldn't say they have blown me away here but I was getting more wow-worthy images out of this camera setup than the previous oneplus phones. 7/10 times I ended up not having to re-shoot the image or edit for sharpness and noise reduction. The first image below is a 7 AM (yeah thats how Seattle is in the morning) night lit building shot of the amazon bioshperes - the shot came out very very sharp and with excellent details. The lights were too bright so I am not surprised by the blown highlight spots, but the details on the greens/plants inside could have been better.

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    The next 2 images were taken in very poor lighting conditions. The first one is from under the kitchen cabinet where its the darkest corner and I know there is nothing going on here, but this is was shot i was MOST impressed with from this camera. there was absolutely no light in there but the outcome was a very pleasingly clear and crisp/usable image of my shiny cookie jar and hot chocolate cups.
    The last one below is a photo with a faint one LED light source on a toy, i have linked the full lighting image for comparison of colors on the toy - in short: yeah it does better, but image processing needs lot of work on super dark conditions color noise and smudgy artifacts are visible.

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    Regular lighting shot of the above toy for comparison: https://i.imgur.com/cM9dPnM.jpg

    Portrait mode and Macro:

    This is an exciting feature and I was completely not expecting such results (DSLR-esque bokeh). Granted this is my first portrait mode equipped camera phone (as a daily driver), and I was thinking that the G6s wide angle was the best second camera option until this happened. I am going to let the sample images speak for itself.
    In short:
    • Very pleasing subtle bokeh
    • Color rendition on macros is "phenomenal"
    • Sharp... sharp as a needle.
    • No glaring smudgy artifacts on portrait mode when lighting is good.
    • very close focusing distance
    • did I say sharp.. its freaking sharp - just look at the chipmunk picture below, those hairs can give you a paper-cut by just looking.

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    Day4 - Performance:

    TODO - work in progress

     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2017

    #1
  2. mattam24
    Honeycomb Nov 26, 2017

    mattam24 , Nov 26, 2017 :
    But is this not just optical illusion? You use the light theme just to cover up navbar design faults! For me the loss of capacitive buttons (which OP5 has and which is still available on the OnePlus website) is unforgivable. That's why I bought the OP5 in the first place. Also the fingerprint sensor on the back is a disaster. For me it is a downgrade from OP5.
     

    #2