Opening the OnePlus 3T smartphone box feels like deja vu. The packaging is great, just as in the case of the earlier OnePlus 3 phone. Nor has the phone manufacturer, OnePlus, changed much when it comes to the aesthetics and design of the newer phone, though the darker gunmetal colour looks quite swanky.
The real change is under the hood. The company has replaced the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor with the newer Snapdragon 821. While the claimed 10 percent performance gain might not seem like a huge improvement, it does change the phone's day to day experience.
As it is, OnePlus 3 was a powerhouse of a phone with 6 GB RAM. While the new phone is running on Android Marshmallow with ColorOS customisation, the Snapdragon 821 processor is better suited for a Android Nougat 7.0 update than its predecessor. While OnePlus hasn't yet said anything about Daydream support, the hardware is in place for them to build the platform.
I used the OnePlus 3T for 36 hours and, in that period, the phone was flying. Social media and email apps were a breeze, opening almost the moment you pressed the icon. The games were a joy to play with, though I have a problem with the bottom speaker which is too feeble and is likely to get covered by the user's palm most of the time.
The second big change in OnePlus 3T is in the battery size. OnePlus 3T has a battery capacity of 3400 mAh, upped from the previous 3000 mAh. But the surprising thing was the lack of any change in the phone's design. I asked Vikas Agarwal, OnePlus' India head, about this.
"We have been working on this battery for months. We have changed the design ground up. Although the technology is still Lithium ion based, the battery design allowed us to pack more juice into a smaller package," he said.
OnePlus 3T comes with the Dash Charger which is rated at 4A and charges almost 60 percent of the battery in 30 minutes. That's a healthy boost in half an hour, enabling the phone to last through the day.
The third major change is in the phone's selfie camera. OnePlus has replaced the 8 MP Sony sensor with a 16 MP Samsung sensor. Going by first impressions, the photos in OnePlus 3T do seem a little better than in OnePlus 3. But, I will have to compare the photos taken from the back sensor to see if the change is worthwhile.
Some minor changes have been made in the rear camera as well. There is now a sapphire glass protecting the lens and the Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) software has been upgraded to help capture low light images in a better way.
The 64 GB version of OnePlus 3T costs ₹29,999, just two grand more than the OnePlus 3, and the 128 GB version costs ₹34,999. The specs and the software suggest that, given the price point, it can give tough competition to the Galaxy S7s and Pixels. Full review coming up soon.