OnePlus 3T, Day 2

Posted on April 12, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, Hardware with 29 Comments

OnePlus 3T, Day 2

While it’s easy to get excited by the shiny new bauble that just arrived in the mail, sometimes you just need a single day to gain new perspective. Not in this case: One day later, I’m still really impressed by the OnePlus 3T.

I quickly recapped my initial experiences with the OnePlus 3T yesterday. Since then, I’ve gone through the self-inflicted, tedious process of manually installing the apps I want and need, and then arranging the home screens how I like as well.

I’ve mentioned in the past that I prefer iOS to Android generally, and that’s certainly true. But one of the areas in which Android has iOS beat is home screen customization: You can arrange icons as you like—I prefer them on the bottom of the screen, where they are easily accessible—and of course Android supports commingling widgets and app icons on the home screens.

I still haven’t swapped out the SIM, though I will likely do so today. Tied to that, I’ll need to move my Microsoft Authenticator codes to this new phone as well, but that will be easy enough.

I noted yesterday that the OnePlus 3T comes with Android N 6.x. I had read that it had been upgraded to Nougat, and looking online I see that is indeed the case. But my phone, nonetheless, is “stuck” on the older version. Turns out the culprit is the United States of America: If I were in almost any other country I would have gotten the upgrade already.

A cool weather app. But it doesn’t provide a widget for some reason.

So the workaround is to use a VPN app to fool the phone into thinking I’m in Canada, or Germany, or some other cool place, and then check for updates. Apparently, I’ll get the upgrade immediately. And then turn off the VPN.

I’m not one hundred percent sure I even want to do this, and I don’t honestly see a huge difference between the Android version on the 3T and the more current one on the Pixel. But I can’t leave well enough alone, and I probably will end up giving it a shot.

One thing I was able to do already, however, was test the OnePlus 3T’s low-light camera capabilities. And it is as had been reported elsewhere: It’s not honestly terrible in low-light, but it offers nowhere near the quality of what is possible with the Pixel XL (or the Nexus 6P).

Pixel XL:

OnePlus 3T:

By which I mean, with a Pixel XL, I can focus on a small lit area in an otherwise very dark scene, and the resulting photo is often pretty amazing. With the OnePlus 3T, the resulting photo is generally just acceptable. Not terrible. But not up to the quality of the Pixel.

Pixel XL:

OnePlus 3T:

What it does, basically, is blow out the light source so that it’s a light blob. With the Pixel, that light area is almost always nicely focused and clear instead.

Pixel XL:

OnePlus 3T:

Granted, my testing was limited: We had just experienced the third warm day in a row, so my wife and I hung around outside last night for a bit. And thanks to a candle, some indoor lighting, and a lantern, I was able to pitch the two devices head-to-head.

So I guess the way I’d describe this, for now, is that the Pixel takes superior low-light shots. And the OnePlus 3T takes decent low-light shots.

Beyond that, the device is holding up. It’s attractive and well made, and a good size. The Kevlar case I bought is grippy, and adds to the positive impression. And the front fingerprint reader has worked quickly and reliably so far.

More soon.


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