OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 3T: Should you buy the latest model, or track down a OnePlus 3?

There’s a new OnePlus phone in town: the OnePlus 3T. For half of this year, my smartphone reviews have been getting a bit samey. If it’s mid-high range, it’ll end with the phrase “…but the OnePlus 3 is better and cheaper.” Now, for variety, it looks like I’ll be saying “…but the OnePlus 3T is better and cheaper.”

But it’s not as cheap. OnePlus is putting a 21% price increase on the new model, and worse, it’s a direct replacement. That means you need to decide quickly whether to try and source a OnePlus 3 for its bargain RRP of £330, or buy a OnePlus 3T for £399..

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 3T: What’s staying the same?

Well, at a glance, most things to be honest. It looks the same (except you can get the OnePlus 3T in soft gold colour now), and the screen is still the same 5.5in AMOLED 1080p display. It still charges via a USB Type-C cable.

There are perfectly good reasons for the price hike, however, you just have to dig under the surface a little. Here are the key differences.

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 3T: Specifications

The OnePlus 3 has a staggering 6GB RAM, and the OnePlus 3T keeps it in place, alongside the 64GB of internal storage (though a 128GB model is also available, if you need more.) What’s different is the processor. While the OnePlus 3 used a 2.15GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, the OnePlus 3T will be powered by a 2.35GHz Snapdragon 821 processor.

That may sound like a small difference, but Qualcomm reckons the Snapdragon 821 series offers a decent boost to handset speed, as well as greater power saving options. Just one flagship handset uses the Snapdragon 821 chipset so far: Google’s Pixel range of phones. They get some pretty impressive scores in our benchmarks, and with the extra 2GB of RAM the OnePlus 3T is packing, you can be pretty sure it will be extremely fast.

The OnePlus 3 is extremely fast too, of course – I mean, it’s only been out six months, and technology can only come so far in such a short space of time. But if you want the very cutting edge, it has to be the OnePlus 3T.

Our review is in now, and we can give some proper answers over how much the specification change boost the OnePlus 3T over its predecessor, and the answer is… not a lot. In Geekbench, the increased performance manifested itself as a couple of hundred in both the multi-core and single-core tests:

In terms of graphical performance, as the two are virtually identical, their performance in GFBench GL on the Manhattan 3 benchmark was pretty much inseperable.



OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 3T: Battery life

The power saving options of the new processor will help battery life, but the OnePlus 3T gets more stamina still by upping the battery capacity by a decent amount. While the OnePlus 3 had a 3,000mAh battery, the OnePlus 3T’s grows to 3,400mAh.
On top of that, OnePlus is promising that this battery will charge faster too. How fast, exactly? The company says the OnePlus 3T will give you a full day’s battery life when plugged in for just half an hour.

The OnePlus 3 already had a very good battery (it lasted 16 hours and 56 minutes in our standard battery test.) Many people won’t need more than that, but who’s going to turn down an extra 13.3% of battery life?

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 3T: Cameras

Not much change on the main camera front, but it was already pretty good. You do get added electronic image stabilisation (EIS) and sapphire glass lens protection, but the real changes are on the front camera.

Yes, your selfies will have never looked so good. The 8 megapixel front-facing camera of the OnePlus 3 has been eschewed in favour of a 16 megapixel Samsung 3P8SP for the OnePlus 3T. It’s a fixed-focus camera with an f/2.0 aperture and 1.0um pixels.

OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus 3T: Price

This is the sticky point. When the OnePlus 3 first launched, it was a very attractive £309. Then Brexit happened, and it went up by £20 for UK customers thanks to the pound tanking.

Well, the OnePlus 3T gets a bigger price hike, hitting £399, but at least you’re getting demonstrably more for the increase this time. Whether or not you think it’s worth an extra £70 is another matter.

There’s also a 128GB option for £439 – double the space found in the OnePlus 3 and base OnePlus 3T. The option is handy, as neither have room for microSD cards: a rare blot on OnePlus’ copybook.

In short, it’s a small but significant upgrade, and it looks set to be the best performer at its £400 price point, but that’s still quite a price hike, losing some of its sheen. For now, the OnePlus 3 is a great handset at a generous price, but it’s hard to see the OnePlus 3T performing £70 better.

Of course if you want to be as future proofed as possible, or want the best of the best, then that £70 is arguably money well spent.

Keep an eye on Alphr for the full OnePlus 3T review when we get a handset to put through its paces.

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