OnePlus 3T review

I previously wrote about never getting another Samsung phone, and I kept my word. However, my faith was tried, because several Samsung phone models still have user-replaceable batteries, which are becoming frustratingly rare in the mobile phone industry. I would really like to be able to replace the battery with ease, but in the end of the day, that’s the least of my worries when using an Android phone on a daily basis.

I did consider an iPhone, but since they ditched the headphone jack, I could no longer expect Apple to include them in their future models either. Sucks to have base the choice of a software ecosystem on a stupid headphone jack, but that’s actually a damn important feature to me. I use studio monitor headphones with my Android phone all the time, and using a dongle or investing in bluetooth headphones (which would have to be charged every single day), wasn’t an option. Apple is really doing a good job pushing me away from its ecosystem. I still have a MacBook Pro 2011 model, because they haven’t come up with a better laptop ever since. My next laptop is most probably a PC, unless Apple changes its strategy, but I find that highly unlikely. Tim Cook is, unfortunately, taking the company down the drain. But back to the topic at hand…

I have previously owned an HTC Desire HD, which offered a far better user experience than the Samsung Galaxy S4 Active, that I bought after the HTC stopped receiving updates. The Samsung phone also stopped receiving updates about a year ago, so I thought that the device would soon become obsolete. I develop websites, so I should have the latest OS version to test my sites with.

My lengthy phone feature wishlist

  • Frequent software updates
  • A fingerprint reader
  • Stock Android, Cyanogenmod, or something very close to it
  • A great camera (with manual settings)
  • A wonderful display
  • No physical buttons, but separate touch buttons would be fine
  • Lots of storage space
  • Quick charging
  • A headphone jack!
  • No bloatware
  • A fast processor and lots of RAM
  • A user-replaceable battery
  • A reasonable price tag

So, after comparing lots of phones – the LG G5, Motorola Moto Z, Huawei Honor 8 and Google Pixel being the alternatives, I finally decided to go with OnePlus 3T. I watched countless reviews on YouTube, and many reviewers compared the OnePlus 3T to Google Pixel, which is a great achievement for a phone that costs half as much.

OnePlus 3T had just been released, and it seemed to meet almost all of my requirements. I would prefer the phone to be smaller, because sometimes it’s too big to be operated by just one hand. The battery is not user-replaceable, but it can be replaced (using the right tools), so this is really not an issue…at least not for now.

Customization heaven

Having used the OnePlus 3T for a couple of weeks now, I’ve been very impressed by it. Unlike Samsung phones, there is no bloatware in the OnePlus 3T. You can actually choose which apps you want to keep! It’s a shame that most of the manufacturers cripple their Androids by adding needless junk apps. Users shouldn’t need to worry about the bloatware, when deciding on a phone model.

The behavior and placement of the OS navigation buttons (back, app switcher, etc.) can be configured in the OxygenOS settings, which is really nice. You can have it your way. I guess this is part of the “Never Settle” thing, and for the most part, OnePlus really lives up to their slogan. Oh, and the ability to choose a dark theme for the OS is also very nice!

One thing that I was also worried about, was the quality of the headphone jack on the OnePlus 3T, but I found it to be of very good quality. It’s even better than on the Galaxy, even though that’s also very nice. The fingerprint reader works almost every time, and it’s a much more intuitive way of unlocking your phone, than typing a PIN number, and much safer than any other unlocking method currently available.

In my two-week history with the OnePlus 3T, I’ve already received two operating system upgrades, and they’ve installed effortlessly. It’s a flagship model, so it should receive the most attention from OnePlus developers. I hope that they’ll continue rolling the updates for older models (OnePlus 1 and 2) too, because it sucks to have to abandon a perfectly fine phone, just because it doesn’t get any software updates anymore. I’ve had to do that twice already. Maybe OnePlus is different in that sense. That remains to be seen.

The user experience of the OnePlus 3T is smooth, the build quality is great and the photos look beautiful. All in all, I think it’s a wonderful phone.

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