Mobile Technology

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

OnePlus 3T looks a lot like the OnePlus 3, but its upgrades seem well-worth the minor upcharge
OnePlus 3T looks a lot like the OnePlus 3, but its upgrades seem well-worth the minor 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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OnePlus 3T looks a lot like the OnePlus 3, but its upgrades seem well-worth the minor upcharge
OnePlus 3T
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OnePlus 3T
The OnePlus maintains the 5.5-in, 1080p screen from the standard OnePlus 3
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The OnePlus maintains the 5.5-in, 1080p screen from the standard OnePlus 3

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.

OnePlus 3T
OnePlus 3T

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.

The OnePlus maintains the 5.5-in, 1080p screen from the standard OnePlus 3
The OnePlus maintains the 5.5-in, 1080p screen from the standard OnePlus 3

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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