OnePlus 6T: Mixed Feelings


Does the new OnePlus 6T feature formidable changes? Conchita Fernandes finds out.

OnePlus 6T

Generally, with second iterations, OnePlus has, in the past, like in the OnePlus 5 and 5T, introduced distinguishable changes, especially in the function and purpose of the dual lens camera. For instance, the OnePlus 5 was designed for portraiture and the 5T for better low light shooting. With the 6T, however, the camera seems to be unchanged from that of its predecessor. So what’s different about the new phone? Let’s find out…

Same Features with Slight Changes
With regards to image viewing and shooting, the 6T features a bigger 6.41-inch display, a tiny notch, and a bigger battery (3700mAh). The rest of the features are largely the same as the OnePlus 6, but with the addition of a new algorithm in the camera to optimise settings to recognise faces, text, food and night scenes.

The 6T features the Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm processor, a dual lens camera on the rear (16MP f/1.7 + 20MP f/1.7) and a 16MP f/2 camera on the front. The main 16MP f/1.7 camera (Sony IMX 519 sensor) comes with OIS, EIS and PDAF. The secondary 20MP f/1.7 camera (Sony IMX 371 sensor) only has PDAF. The rear camera also has dual LED flash, can record 4K and 1080p videos at 30fps and 60fps, and 720p videos at 30fps. You can also record super slow motion videos at 1080p 240fps and 720p at 480fps. The front camera allows you to record 1080p and 720p videos at 30fps. Night mode and Studio Lighting are the latest additions to the camera’s existing features.

The OnePlus 6T is at its absolute best in the day time. It is fast and gets the exposure right, too. I barely had to edit this photograph for detail recovery. Photograph/Conchita Fernandes

Features that Missed the Mark
OnePlus phones, at least the last few iterations that I’ve tested, have been extremely fast. I’ve been very pleased with the overall quality of photographs, with regards to its reproduction of colour and details (especially in low light situations, in the latter). The 6T is also great in these aspects. However, the HDR mode in phone produced images that were warmer than usual, with the orange and yellow tones heightened. I had to specially correct for this when editing the photographs.

The new Studio Lighting feature, present for the front and rear cameras, was a complete miss, for me. It’s a built-in feature in the camera’s algorithm, and cannot be disabled. What I’ve understood from the way it works is that it activates when a face appears in front of the camera, wherein it simulates a studio lighting setup. I didn’t see any difference in the portraits that I shot, especially the ones that I made in low light.

The Night mode, too, was a miss. It was claimed to have been designed to work better than the primary rear lens, in low light. The output was dismal. The images were smoothened to a point where details were lost. There was also an unusual cast that appeared over the photographs. Moreover, while in the mode, the camera takes a little over a second to capture the image. So you are expected to remain absolutely still throughout. But even in this state, there is inevitable shake, which then reflects in the final photograph.

Moreover, the inferences that I had made of the Portrait Mode in the OnePlus 6 remains to be true even in the 6T. It was a bit of a hit or miss, where at times the camera blurred out parts of the shoulder or hair that were supposed to be in focus.

This image was shot in the HDR mode, wherein the colours appeared warmer than usual. The purple blanket had lost most of its purple sheen, and the oranges and yellow tones in the image were heightened. What you see here is the corrected version. Photograph/Conchita Fernandes

Who is the Phone For?
Though the new camera features are underwhelming, it certainly does not diminish the camera quality of the 6T. It is still just as good as the OnePlus 6. The larger display and battery is definitely a plus. But is it enough to bank on these factors? Also, if you already own the OnePlus 6, does it make sense to upgrade?

At the time of writing this review, the OnePlus 6 was out of stock on Amazon, and will no longer be available. The OnePlus 6T is priced at Rs. 37,999, for the 6GB RAM 128GB version, which is a good price, considering its storage capacity. So if you’re someone wanting to buy their first OnePlus phone or wanting to upgrade from a much older version, then the OnePlus 6T is the way to go.

SPECIFICATIONS 16MP + 20MP f/1.7 dual lens camera, 16MP f/2 front camera, 6.41-inch display, Snapdragon 845 Qualcomm processor, Rs. 37,999.
WHAT WE LIKE Fast phone, RAW shooting in the Pro Mode, good detail reproduction
WHAT WE DISLIKE Both the Studio Lighting feature and the Night mode have been underwhelming
WHY BUY IT Anyone wanting to buy their first OnePlus phone or upgrade from a much older OnePlus device. The price tag too, for a 128GB version, is great.
CAMERA FEATURES 16MP+20MP dual lens, poor Studio Lighting and Night mode 20/25
IMAGE QUALITY Good reproduction of details and colours, even in low light 25/30
VIDEO QUALITY 4K at 30fps/60fps, and Full HD videos at 30fps/60fps 13/15
HANDLING Easy to hold, intuitive interface 14/15
SPEED & RESPONSIVENESS Extremely speedy phone with no lag 14/15


Tags: better photography, Conchita Fernandes, Cellphone Review, OnePlus, January 2019, oneplus 6T