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The Lab - OnePlus 6T Review - by Menasheh

  1. Menasheh The Lab - OnePlus 6T Reviewer Nov 1, 2018

    Menasheh, Nov 1, 2018 :
    [​IMG]

    Hello OnePlus Community!

    I am Menasheh, a computer science student in New York. Traditionally a buyer of “cheap” Motorola phones, I had a falling out with their customer support team. They told me it would cost $125 to replace a mildly cracked screen. They also warned me that if I dared replace it myself, that would void the warranty. Silly me, I had expected minor cracks to be covered under the warranty. I decided to stop fooling myself about “saving” money by buying lower end Motorola devices. Just get a OnePlus 6 and use it for 3 years, I told myself. And yeah phones shouldn’t need cases, but apparently they do. So I bought the OnePlus 6, a case, and the tempered glass screen protector to make sure the phone would be protected. I tried my best, but after one short month there was this OnePlus 6T Lab contest, and the rest is history.

    Unboxing
    As the saying goes, first impressions are last impressions. So while the physical packaging may get tossed to the trashcan minutes after unboxing, the unboxing experience has the potential to completely change the way the customer approaches the brand on a subconscious level. OnePlus definitely puts their best foot forward here. As I unboxed this OnePlus 6T, I had the opportunity to relive the moment of my original OnePlus 6 unboxing, and I paid attention specifically to the differences that I noticed for the OnePlus 6T. I’ll first go through the parts of the experience which were more or less the same, and then highlight the differences I specifically noticed.

    The OnePlus packaging is of premium quality. The outer box has a smooth matte feel and a beautiful white and grey texture. Various branding elements accentuate the loud simplicity of that box, focusing on the white and offwhite as well as red. There’s the OnePlus logo, the number 6 referring to the 6/6T family of phones, the OnePlus 6T logo, with the T in a red hexagon. And the slogan, “Unlock The Speed.”

    Removing the plastic packaging, I hold the box by the cover and let the inner box slowly slide out. The inner box fits snugly, and it takes almost ten seconds. But then, the OnePlus 6T is there, in all its glory.
    [​IMG]

    Okay, most of its glory. Still has a few stickers on it and needs to be set up.

    The phone rests in a plastic holder which fits it perfectly. I pick it up carefully, remove the stickers, and place it to the side. There’s a hole in the plastic underneath, I use that to pick up the little cardboard box it’s embedded in. From my recent OnePlus 6 unboxing I knew what to expect inside: An entry-level basic gray transparent case, and tucked inside it, some more documentation. There’s a card with the sim tray ejector, which I use to harvest my sim from the OnePlus 6 and insert it into the OnePlus 6T. There’s a safety information booklet, which I flip through briefly and notice two consecutive sections labeled “Driving Safely,” neither of which seem to contain warnings specifically about driving. There’s also an important warning on another page not to put the device in a microwave oven. Be careful, guys! There’s also a folded “Unlock the Speed” poster with some basic description of the phone’s hardware features in five languages and some cute OnePlus branded stickers, for anyone who’s into those.

    Back in the original packaging, is the charger and charging cable each rest snugly in custom-molded plastic cutouts for their likeness.
    [​IMG]
    After confirming that the charger is the exact same model as the one I got with the OnePlus 6, I leave it in the packaging and continue to set up the phone.

    Setup
    Remove stickers, power on, pretend to have read the terms and conditions, the usual. Then I got a little bit confused, because Google offered to install my apps, and I was planning to use OnePlus’s app for phone migration, OnePlus Switch. So I started the default android app installation from backup process, but then started OnePlus Switch in the middle. Apparently it makes a wifi network on the destination phone and the other connects to it for the duration of the data transfer. It transferred my apps, music, and settings. I didn’t have to manually change an obscure setting like the custom DNS one again, which was great because manually typing a long DNS address can be annoying. And while WhatsApp and Telegram even transferred their accounts with zero setup, banking apps for example still required logging in and setting up again. However, the OnePlus Switch app made the transfer significantly less painful than it usually is to switch devices.

    Retrospective: Appreciating Differences
    I left some of my reactions out of the unboxing which I’ll get back to now. First of all, without being 100% sure of the specs just yet, the biggest differences I knew about were the lack of headphone jack and the Screen Unlock. To me, the headphone jack was a big enough deal that I originally decided to purchase the 6 and consciously ignore the upcoming 6T. You can’t charge and listen at the same time in just one port, even if the type C bullets would maintain the audio quality that only wired connections currently provide. So I quickly ran my eyes down to the bottom of the device to see what they did with the extra space. Perhaps if there were two USB C ports, this problem could be ignored? But no - in the place of the 3.5mm headphone jack lay… another speaker? I couldn't clearly determine that there was stereo audio, and I thought they took out the audio jack to save space for the battery? Confusing.

    There was a renewed focus on the community in the packaging. The outer red cardboard focused on the community, as well as with the fingerprint logo representing the onscreen fingerprint reader.
    [​IMG]
    There was also a little card divider between the inner box with the phone and the lower section with the accessories. I’m used to OnePlus branding being cute, and making me smile. “OnePlus,” “Best Buds for Life,” “Unlock The Speed.” So I was kind of surprised when the message on the divider card was… “Invitation Letter?”
    [​IMG]
    However, the inside was a personal invitation to join the OnePlus Community, which was a nice touch. I feel like the community aspect is one which can set OnePlus apart. The letter specifically mentioned the company’s focus on the user, what we as users want in a phone. So why, then, I can’t help but wonder, did they get rid of the headphone jack?!

    Another detail to appreciate about OnePlus is the fact that the phone comes with a plastic screen protector and case by default. I am unaware of other manufacturers doing that. It is a step in the right direction, at the very least.
     
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2018

    #1
  2. Menasheh The Lab - OnePlus 6T Reviewer Nov 1, 2018

    Menasheh, Nov 1, 2018 :
    [​IMG]
    Screen Unlock

    When I first switched from a phone without a fingerprint scanner to a phone with a fingerprint scanner it was game-changing. Instead of using my banking apps exclusively from a computer, where I could use free password manager solutions like google chrome or password gorilla, it suddenly became convenient and secure enough to log in to these apps from my phone. With my Motorola device, I even unlocked the phone by pulling the phone out of my pocket with my thumb on the scanner.

    When I upgraded to the OnePlus 6, the scanner got a little bit less convenient. OnePlus prioritized screen-to-body ratio and put the scanner on the back. I would pull out my phone and it would still be off. In order to unlock it, I had to manually press the power button with the camera specifically aligned to my face, in which case it would unlock instantly, not even showing the lock screen as the Face Unlock processed my face through the front camera. Face unlock was fast, but the fingerprint scanner was less convenient. If I wanted to unlock the phone with the scanner, I had to shift the phone in my hand so that my index finger extended back toward the fingerprint sensor. And I always had a little bit of worry that I'd overshoot the sensor and get fingerprints on the cameras.

    The OnePlus 6T's Screen Unlock is an attempt to remove that bit of annoyance generated by the need to shift the phone in your hand on the way to the sensor. By placing it under the screen, it's now in a place that I can reach with my thumb from my normal phone-holding position.

    [​IMG]

    It works by shining a bright green light on your finger and catching the reflection of that off your fingerprint.

    [​IMG]

    The animation around the green circle is mostly gimmicky. If you have smaller fingers and try to unlock in a dark room at night, the contrast between the bright green light and the rest of the screen might surprise you, and the animation can help with that, but mostly it's just trying to be cool. You can change the animation in settings to one of three options.

    [​IMG]

    In practice, it is significantly slower than the fingerprint sensor on the 6. However, it takes less time for your finger to reach it, so it kind of balances out. Although the speed has improved with software updates over the past week or so, the face unlock is so much faster that I at first figured I would only use the fingerprint scanner for logging in to secure apps only, but not for unlocking the device. After using it over the past couple weeks, I've found myself using the fingerprint sensor to unlock more than face unlock because I can reach it from my normal hold on the device.

    Overall, the new Screen Unlock feature prevents any reason to put your fingers near the camera lens. It makes it easier to unlock the device without shifting the phone in your hand. But it also makes the unlock process a little bit slower, and makes the availability of the sensor dependent on software instead of hardware. This can cause issues: A few times when the fingerprint sensor prompt was up and the phone screen timed out and locked. After I unlocked the phone again, the fingerprint login to the app wasn't available until I closed and opened it again. Another example is if a banking app logs you out and has a little dialog informing you that it logged you out. On the 6, I would just put my finger on the hardware sensor and it would log back into the bank's app. But with the software based availability of the OnePlus 6T's fingerprint sensor, I have to press okay on the "we logged you out" message and only then is the fingerprint sensor available. Also, because there's no physical difference on the screen where the fingerprint sensor belongs, it takes some getting used to before you'll be able to get it accurately without needing to manually align your finger/thumb with the proper location.
     
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2018

    #2
    SagariS7, Venky61, buntycubal and 3 others like this.
  3. Menasheh The Lab - OnePlus 6T Reviewer Nov 1, 2018

    Menasheh, Nov 1, 2018 :
    [​IMG]
    Battery
    The OnePlus 6T has a 3700 mAh battery, and advertises a day’s power in half an hour with OnePlus Fast Charge. Does that hold true in the wild? Let’s dive in to that.

    Right now, mine is 97% charged and estimates a day and a half of usage left.

    [​IMG]

    If I plug it in now, it charges at 730 mA, as measured by Ampere:
    [​IMG]

    At first glance that appears to be quite low. However, do not worry. Charging a device’s battery is kind of like refilling a cup of water from your kitchen sink. If you leave the sink on maximum power, the water overflows the cup. And if you stop the water abruptly, the cup will have some empty space at the top where the water immediately bounced out as soon as it landed. This is physics, and it works in a similar way for batteries. Once the charge gets close to full, it has to slow down for the last few percent. Indeed, when the battery is on 19% it charges much faster:
    [​IMG]
    3330 mA is much better, and makes it possible to literally get a day’s power in half an hour. If your phone is as low as zero percent, half an hour can get you up to 40-50% and should be enough to last a normal day. Of course, if you keep the screen on the whole time or use video editing apps the whole day it may cause trouble, but for most people in most average situations a half hour of charge can realistically cover your power needs for the day.

    Here’s another screenshot of the battery stats:
    [​IMG]
    So In that scenario I got 7.5 hrs of screen on time from a charge. Awesome!

    What changed from the OnePlus 6? First, there’s no notification light. Although that uses battery, I doubt it used very much at all. That’s one light as opposed to the thousands on the screen. The screen is a little bigger, which conceptually would cause a slight drain on battery. Additionally, the Screen Unlock feature means that it’s more important that the screen turn on when you lift the phone. That feature was off by default on the OnePlus 6 due to worry of battery drain, but now for Screen Unlock it defaults to on, so that the in-display fingerprint sensor can be actively checking for your finger.

    Overall, the battery has performed wonderfully. The extra 400 mAh more than accounts for the drain from the ambient display. The battery feels like it lasts just a little bit longer than the 6’s does. In my day to day, I do not have to worry about the battery. When I happen to be sitting at my desk I plug it in, and it charges quickly enough that I don't need to have range anxiety about the battery. I charge when it's convenient, and that's that.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018

    #3
  4. Menasheh The Lab - OnePlus 6T Reviewer Nov 1, 2018

    Menasheh, Nov 1, 2018 :
    [​IMG]
    Software

    Coming from the OnePlus 6, I was excited to see what the differences would be on the OnePlus 6T. However, about two weeks after I got the new device, OnePlus pushed an OTA update to the OnePlus 6 which all but eliminated most of the software differences. Wow!

    In any case, here are my thoughts on the pros and cons of OnePlus 6T software, in absolutely no particular order:

    Pros:
    OnePlus Launcher
    With the OnePlus launcher and it's "shelf," you get a notes widget and app, recent contacts and recent app widgets, a dashboard of device status such as data usage, available storage, and battery. There’s even a card-storage app which I use to keep the barcode of my library and store membership cards, removing the need to keep those in my pocket.

    Hidden Space
    You can hide apps from the app drawer which you don't need or want to see. For example, I use Google Voice exclusively for testing, so I hide the messages app. It's still there, but it doesn't get in the way when I'm searching for something I actually use in the main app space.

    Back animation
    For some reason, Google decided that it made sense to click a triangle for back, circle for home, and square for recent apps. Since that doesn’t actually make logical sense, there are options: Either that android default, a weird transparent thing which you can slide for recent apps, and navigation gestures. I personally use navigation gestures, as I find that the extra screen real-estate at the bottom of the screen is worth the slight learning curve. You have to swipe up from the left or right bottom edge of the screen for back, and up from the middle edge for home. If you don’t let go of a swipe up from the middle, that’s how you get to recent apps. Anyone who borrows my phone for a minute has to be taught that. There are both pros and cons to that. ;)

    Since I use navigation gestures, I noticed something cool when you swiping up the middle to return to the homescreen. If the app you were in has a shortcut on the homescreen, the animation will show the app shrinking into that location on the homescreen where the shortcut is, instead of just shrinking into the center of the screen. I think that's cool, and while practically it makes no performance difference, I think it falls in line with Google's design focused on the material aspect of apps. So when I open an app the shortcut grows to take over the screen with that app, and when I close it the app retreats into the shortcut. It makes sense to the subconscious brain more than any other smartphone feature.

    Private DNS
    In Wifi and Internet settings, there is the option to set a custom DNS server. Many carrier-locked devices lock all non-vpn internet traffic to their DNS servers and they can track you this way. OxegynOS lets you avoid this issue by setting your own. I use 1dot1dot1dot1.cloudflare-dns.com.

    Screen Modes
    You've probably heard of OxegynOS's various modes for screen and RAM management:
    Night Mode, Gaming Mode, and Reading Mode.

    Night mode reduces the blue light in the screen's color profile to help prevent that light from affecting melatonin production and making it harder to sleep. If you're familiar with the Twilight app, it's basically the same thing, just built in directly to the phone, with the option to turn on automatically from sunset to sunrise. Super convenient.

    Gaming Mode supposedly optimizes the CPU/GPU and RAM for maximum gaming performance, limiting access to RAM or even the network to other apps so that your game can utilize the device's full power. There are also settings focused on minimizing disturbances from calls and notifications. You can either toggle gaming mode manually from the settings drawer or add apps to a list which will automatically enable gaming mode when those apps are in focus. Pretty convenient, once you set it up. It would be nice if it would also automatically add apps based on their play store categorization as a game. As of this writing, it doesn't do that.

    [​IMG]

    Reading mode is the only one of the three I don't actually use (so you can count this a con). While it's supposed to make the screen black and white and less straining on the eyes for reading, the lack of color in icons tends to bother me. I use chrome and kindle for reading. Kindle's screen management is good enough for me, and reading mode doesn't really add enough benefit to outweigh monochroming the parts of whatever I'm reading which aren't text.

    Adaptive Screen Brightness
    The adaptive brightness feature, where the screen brightness changes automatically based on the detected lighting, works better than any I've had before. On some cheaper devices I found myself manually adjusting the brightness very often. With the 6T, it's correct enough most of the time that I rarely need to change it.

    System Theme Options
    The 6T defaults to the Light color theme, while the 6 defaulted to Colorful. At first this caused me confusion. Now I've switched to dark, in the hope that it will improve the battery life. In any case, these three options should let you find something you're happy with the aesthetics of. If you choose light or dark, you can set a custom accent color.

    Face Unlock
    Face unlock is incredibly fast. Super, super convenient.

    Scheduled Power On/Off
    If the battery weren't big enough, this feature can automatically shut down your device overnight. For example, I have mine set to turn off at 8pm and on at 6am. (You can also set it to wake the device for any alarm, as opposed to just one specific time.)

    Parallel Apps
    Parallel Apps allows you to create a second copy of an app with separate data. This is useful for apps which only let you stay logged in to one account at a time, but you might have a separate work and personal account, for example. While it's a cool feature, I personally haven't found the need for it.

    Phone and Contacts App Design
    The phone and related apps are well designed, with pleasing line patterns. Pointless functionally, but pretty.

    Cons:
    Insecure Default Notification Setting
    By default, all notifications are shown on your lockscreen. While it's possible to hide them, restricting lockscreen notifications from showing sensitive content, it's not the default. That means anyone with physical access to your locked phone can get SMS activation codes from your notifications, for example.

    Face Unlock Security
    Face unlock might be used by a malicious user against me. If someone turns on the device and points it to my face, they can get in so fast that I might not even notice. I also have not tested it with photo prints, but that's also a potential security risk.

    No Battery Percentage in Circle Indicator
    One feature I really miss from CyanogenMod is the ability to have a battery circle with a numeric percentage inside as a battery level indicator. While the 6T has the option of a battery circle, and an option to show the percentage in the status bar, they take up two different icon spaces and cannot be just one icon with a circle and a number inside it as CyanogenMod/LineageOS has. On a device where the little notch reduces the status bar icon real estate, combining these two indicators in one would be a logical step to maximizing the use of this space which I wish OnePlus would have taken.


    Tethering/Hotspot Data Accounting
    While the wifi hotspot and bluetooth tethering work fine, I don't see any measurement of this logged in the data usage section. While the total amount of data goes up, there's no entry for "tethering and portable hotspot" usage as I've seen on CyanogenMod and motorola ROMs.

    Pocket Mode vs. Water Resistance
    OnePlus advertises water resistance to a point. While you shouldn't take your phone swimming, it should be fine to check your texts in light rain without worry of the device malfunctioning. In my experience, however, the phone's behavior was a little weird in light rain. I think it was a problem reconciling the feature where the phone rejects input if it is likely to be in a pocket with water resistance. Although the phone didn't get damaged during use in light rain, it kept showing a screen saying "pocket mode" for a second or two, as droplets confused the proximity sensor. (If you aren't worried about pocket swipes than you can simply turn off pocket mode in the settings to mitigate this issue.) Come to think of it, on the old OnePlus 6 ROM, I used to be able to cover the top corner of the device and see this pocket mode information. Now, with recent OTA updates, I don't see that at all - is the pocket mode feature even working?

    No per-app Screen Time Management
    While Android devices don't really have anything like this yet, the latest iOS lets you see not only how much battery was spent on particular apps, but how much screen time. This is a focus on the user as opposed to the device, and it can help users set healthy limits for themselves. I would love to see OnePlus implement this feature ahead of the rest of the Android ecosystem.

    No Easter Egg
    In stock android you can tap the Android Version number a bunch of times to find some surprise content. In OxegynOS, there's a much nicer about screen, but I wasn't able to find an easter egg. Tapping the android version opens some dialog with more specific information, but that is all.

    Quick Launch
    There is a feature where you can hold down the screen unlock area and access shortcuts to apps and particular app features. However, it feels too unnatural for me to use it. Maybe it's just that I don't want to spend another second with my thumb down, or maybe I naturally expect to have to move my thumb in the opposite direction to move the selected shortcut in the direction I expect. In any case, I don't use this feature.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018

    #4
    SagariS7 and irfanalinawaz like this.
  5. Menasheh The Lab - OnePlus 6T Reviewer Nov 1, 2018

    Menasheh, Nov 1, 2018 :
    Conclusion
    The OnePlus 6T is a high-value device at its price. But then again, so is the OnePlus 6. The difference basically comes down to personal preference between the following differences:

    OnePlus 6T:
    Convenient but slower Screen Unlock + Larger Heavier Battery + Smaller Notch / Centered Front Camera
    vs.
    OnePlus 6:
    Faster Fingerprint sensor in an inconvenient location + Smaller Lighter Battery + Larger Notch / Off-Center Front Camera Notification LED + 3.5mm Audio Jack

    OnePlus toots its own horn plenty for relentless focus on the user. Yet in this case, OnePlus apparently ignored the user about headphone jacks in favor of screen unlock. Last March, 88% of twitter respondents said they like headphone jacks. And in the two years before that, similar percentages liked headphone jacks. Did they poll Screen Unlock and get 88% before they replaced the headphone jack? In any case, I eagerly await the 2019 version of that Twitter poll. That's a dare, OnePlus.

    Do you think the users can or will force OnePlus to return the jack on the OnePlus 7, or does OnePlus understand the user even more than they understand themselves, in an Apple-esque way? Or maybe users will like the Screen Unlock enough that they will break the mantra of Never Settle, settling for a phone without a headphone jack?

    And where does the whole smartphone industry go from here? How much improvement is even left for the OnePlus 7? Maybe 5G capability, faster screen unlock, but what else?

    If you have any comments on my review or the thought topics I just mentioned, please reply on this thread. Thanks!
     

    #5
    SagariS7, O1541265098695 and Meet@321 like this.
  6. pdxtechy Froyo Nov 3, 2018


    #6
    buntycubal likes this.
  7. meatandy Nougat Nov 4, 2018

    meatandy, Nov 4, 2018 :
    Thanks for your unboxing , Did you receive a tempered glass screen protector in your review kit ?
     

    #7
    buntycubal and Menasheh like this.
  8. Menasheh The Lab - OnePlus 6T Reviewer Nov 4, 2018

    Menasheh, Nov 4, 2018 :
    I did not. just the preapplied plastic one
     

    #8
    meatandy likes this.
  9. Seagal_aikikai Gingerbread Nov 5, 2018


    #9
  10. aris Jelly Bean Nov 5, 2018


    #10
  11. P1541425975753 Cupcake Nov 5, 2018

    P1541425975753, Nov 5, 2018 :
    Actually it's getting unlocked while anyone drags it upside.
    Can you please send any solution for that?
     

    #11
  12. Menasheh The Lab - OnePlus 6T Reviewer Nov 5, 2018

    Menasheh, Nov 5, 2018 :
    Really? I don't have that issue.

    Maybe you don't have the device set to lock in the first place?
     

    #12
  13. P1541425975753 Cupcake Nov 5, 2018


    #13
  14. G_Darkkrider93_nzFQ Eclair Nov 5, 2018


    #14
  15. Menasheh The Lab - OnePlus 6T Reviewer Nov 6, 2018

    Menasheh, Nov 6, 2018 :
    Hi guys, if there's something you think I left out or want to know specifically would be good if you'd post here.
     

    #15
    meatandy and buntycubal like this.
  16. G1541704917424 Cupcake Nov 8, 2018


    #16
  17. Menasheh The Lab - OnePlus 6T Reviewer Nov 8, 2018

    Menasheh, Nov 8, 2018 :
    There's the included usb c to 3.5mm Jack or you can buy bullets with usb c
     

    #17
    meatandy likes this.
  18. JelleZon KitKat Nov 8, 2018


    #18
  19. Q1541397260198 Cupcake Nov 9, 2018

    Q1541397260198, Nov 9, 2018 :
    I am not getting 4K video recording in 6T as it was available in my one plus 6 and while making slow motion video the picture keeps shaking and its not clear.
     

    #19
  20. C1541881112667 Cupcake Nov 10, 2018

    C1541881112667, Nov 10, 2018 :
    do you know if there is a way to turn down volume on notifications from apps and such while leaving ringer up?
     

    #20