OnePlus 3T unveiled: Mid-cycle upgrade seems well worth the modest upcharge

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OnePlus 3T looks a lot like the OnePlus 3, but its upgrades seem well-worth the minor upcharge

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A new and improved OnePlus 3 has just been announced, but don't write it off as a mid-cycle money grab. The new OnePlus 3T makes incremental improvements where it counts.

The upgrades, which come five months after the original release, include a faster processor, higher resolution front camera, a bigger battery and updated color variants – for only US$40 more. The original OnePlus 3 retailed for $399; the new price point is $439. There's also a new 128GB storage option (over the base model 64 GB) for $479.

The 3T's grown-up chipset has higher clock speeds. Its Snapdragon 821 processor hits 2.35 GHz to the OnePlus 3's Snapdragon 820/2.2 GHz. The front camera – which was already a relatively crisp 8 MP – has been doubled to an industry-leading 16 MP. That's more than many rear-facing smartphone cameras, and should make for some of the sharpest selfies around.

The battery capacity has been boosted from 3,000mAh to 3,400mAh. The OnePlus 3 already had impressive battery life, so the size increase comes off more as a bonus than a much-needed fix.

The OnePlus 3T also launches with Oxygen OS 3.5, OnePlus 3's customized version of Android Nougat. This OS advantage will only be temporary, as the Marshmallow-running OnePlus 3 is expected to receive the Oxygen/Nougat update before the end of the year.

From the exterior, the two are almost exactly the same, with the exception of color variants. OnePlus 3 was available in silver or soft gold, but the 3T offers a darker gunmetal tone in lieu of silver.

As with the original OnePlus 3, the 3T is still subject to a few limitations. Since it is not offered by any U.S. carriers, it must be paid for in full up front. It's not CDMA compatible, which means LTE-only networks. Still, the 3T seems to carry on the OnePlus tradition of offering a lot of phone at a fraction of the cost of its high-end competitors.

OnePlus 3T becomes available on November 22.

Product page: OnePlus 3T

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