OnePlus, ever since their inception, have been top shelf at creating hype around their upcoming products. They have certainly sucked me in each time and except for the first device (the OnePlus One) have left me disappointed every time. Their motto is #NeverSettle which has garnered them much publicity, but unfortunately not all of it good. Combined with the small buying power they have or phone components it’s not hard to see why they are updating their flagship phone merely five months after it was released.
This morning OnePlus officially announced the incremental update to their OnePlus 3, which has some impressive specs. The new phone, taking the place of the OnePlus 3, in their lineup is the OnePlus 3T and brings a few advantages over its predecessor. The 3T has a newer processor, sporting the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 — the same as in the Pixel phones although the 3T is clocked higher at 2.35GHz compared to the 2.15 in the Pixels. The 3T also has a battery that is 13% bigger than the 3 at 3400mAh and the front camera has been bumped from 8MP to 16MP (because we all need 16MP selfies?) and video recording now has EIS (it is a Qualcomm thing, not specific to Pixel devices). The rear camera is now covered in sapphire glass to protect the sensor that is the same as in the OnePlus 3.
— OnePlus (@oneplus) November 15, 2016
The OnePlus 3T will run their Oxygen OS, a ROM that is very similar to many custom AOSP-based ROMs out there and unfortunately will be based on Android 6.0.1 at release, with Android 7.0 promised by the end of the year. OnePlus are very developer-community friendly and as such release sources very quickly (they are already online!!) so expect Nougat ROMs available for the 3T very soon — especially with beta versions of OxygenOS for the OnePlus 3 floating around out there. The North American version will be released on the 22nd of November and the European and Asian version on the 28th Of November. Prices vary from region to region but the US version is US$439 for the 64GB version and US$479 for the 128GB version.
Unfortunately for us Aussies once again it will not be released officially here and also will NOT support ALL Australian LTE bands. The US version supports bands 1,2,4,5,7,8,12,17 and 30 and the European version bands 1,3,5,7,8,20,38 and 40. Just as the OnePlus 3 missed the relatively important (to some) Band 28, the OnePlus 3T does as well.
So OnePlus have added a small processor bump, slightly bigger battery and a bigger front facing camera. What is the point you ask? Well, consider that OnePlus are a very small company and as such they have less buying power than other companies and need to go where the prices and availability take them so it may well be easier for them to change/bump specs than it would be to continue with the same specs for 12 months before the OnePlus 4 is released. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has said that:
At OnePlus, we are constantly striving to provide a better product and user experience for our customers, who are some of the most discerning and tech-savvy users in the world. We developed the OnePlus 3T to bring significant improvements with new technology that is available today, so that our customers do not have to wait for the best possible user experience.
OnePlus will of course spin it how they want to spin it and early adopters will continue to complain but I do not see anything wrong with releasing a second phone that is nearly identical to the first one 6 months later. They do not have the size required to run two high end SKUs side by side (such as Samsung with their S and Note devices) and as such to stay relevant need to continually refresh their offering.
Is it a good deal for Aussies? It depends on how much you want that Band 28. Most who have phones without this band fail to notice much if any difference but it is certainly not idea. Of course there is also the cost. To get the European version here (which fits our LTE bands the best) it is 479EURO which for a direct conversion is AU$736. By the time you factor in grey market importers taking their cut, shipping etc the cost will be closer to $900. And then once you get it here there is a distinct lack of warranty support for it. Is it worth the hassle? In my opinion you can get an LG V20 for just over the $1K mark and a Moto Z for just under. Both are very good phones, support all our LTE bands and have local warranty support.
Are you interested in the OnePlus 3T? Do you have a phone without Band 28? Do you notice any signal dropoff?