Updated! Most phone makers wait a year before updating their flagships with better specs and a letter (think iPhone 6 and 6s).
Not so OnePlus, the upstart vendor from China that helped foment the unlocked revolution with well-crafted, affordable devices that are sold direct and touted through social media.
The company is now in its third year and on its third flagship, the aptly named OnePlus 3, which has been roundly lauded as one of the best Android phones $399 can buy.
But just five months after its debut comes the OnePlus 3T, which does its predecessor one better (actually three better) with an upgraded chipset, improved imaging system and a bigger battery, all for just $40 more.
“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,” said founder/CEO and ex-Oppo exec Pete Lau. “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.”
Specifically, Lau & Co. replaced the 3’s Snapdragon 820 processor with Qualcomm’s updated Snapdragon 821 — the same employed in Google’s way pricier Pixel and Pixel XL phones — for faster processing speeds and greater power efficiency.
To further fuel the phone, the 3T carries a 3,400 mAh battery, representing a 13 percent boost over its predecessor’s 3,000 mAh powerpack.
On the photo front, the 16-megapixel rear camera received an updated electronic image stabilization (EIS) algorithm for smoother video capture, plus a protective layer of sapphire glass, while the front selfie-shooter was bumped up to 16MP from 8MP.
OnePlus also added a 128GB storage option to its standard 64GB of onboard memory, which will sell for $479, another $40 step.
What stays the same is the single-slab aluminum alloy construction; 5.5-inch 1080p AMOLED display with Gorilla Glass 4 screen; 6GB of RAM; proprietary Dash rapid charging through a USB Type-C port; and OxygenOS, the company’s modified Android overlay.
“We see them as two versions of the same phone,” spokesman Eric Zarshenas told TWICE.
U.S. sales of the OnePlus 3T will commence on Nov. 22 at OnePlus.net, as the company begins phasing out its forerunner.
But both phones will receive over-the-air updates to Android N (Nougat) in December, and will remain on the same software update schedule going forward, Zarshenas said.