OnePlus 6 and 6T 2020 re-review: These phones were built to last

OnePlus 6 and 6T 2020 review
(Image: © Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

2018 was a big year for OnePlus; the OnePlus 6 and 6T allowed the company to increase its market share in the value flagship segment. The OnePlus 6 was the first OnePlus phone to offer a metal-and-glass design, and the 6T became the first with an in-display fingerprint reader — and the first to ditch the 3.5mm jack.

Both phones offered a more premium design as OnePlus sought to differentiate itself in this area. With the OnePlus 6 retailing for $529 and the 6T launching at $549, OnePlus had to nail the design and feature-set to compete effectively in this segment, and it managed to do just that.

The OnePlus 6T was an important device for OnePlus' ambitions in the U.S., because it was the first phone the company sold via T-Mobile. The carrier partnership allowed OnePlus to break through the mainstream barrier in the U.S. as the company sought to gain market share in the country.

I switched back to the OnePlus 6 and 6T for a few days to see how either device holds up. Here's what you need to know about OnePlus' 2018 phones, and how they fare in 2020.

OnePlus 6 and 6T What's still going strong

OnePlus 6 and 6T 2020 review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The OnePlus 6 and 6T are based on the third iteration of OnePlus' design language. The first wave was with the Sandstone finish of the OnePlus One and OnePlus 2, and the second iteration was the metal phase that included the OnePlus 3/3T and 5/5T. With the OnePlus 6 series, OnePlus switched to a glass-and-metal design that has continued into 2020.

The OnePlus 6 and 6T set the stage for OnePlus' design ambitions.

The design itself has been updated in the last two years as phones got taller and OnePlus started using curved panels, but the aesthetic is largely the same. There's a familiarity to the design that became evident as I switched back to the OnePlus 6T from the OnePlus 8 Pro. The flowing curves, the positioning of the alert slider above the power button on the right, and the matte coating on the glass back are identical.

That said, the OnePlus 6 and 6T feel different in-hand because of their size. They're shorter and wider than the OnePlus 8 series, and they serve as a reminder as to just how tall phones have gotten over the last two years. It just feels more comfortable to use the OnePlus 6 and 6T, as there's no awkwardness with a curved display or issues with adjusting your grip to access a tile from the notification pane.

OnePlus introduced a lot of gorgeous color options over the last six years, and the OnePlus 6 Red and the OnePlus 6T in Thunder Purple are right up there with the Blue Marble OnePlus Nord and the Glacial Green of the OnePlus 8 series in terms of bold design. The red hue of the OnePlus 6 is still just as striking, and I love the meticulous attention to detail on the OnePlus 6T Thunder Purple, with the two-tone finish extending to the mid-frame. These phones have aged very gracefully, and they look great two years later.

The OnePlus 6 stood out for the wrong reasons when it launched because of the wide cutout that housed the camera module and the earpiece. Most phones released in the first half of 2018 had this notch, and it defined that generation of smartphones. By contrast, the hole-punch cutout that's ubiquitous these days feels much more elegant.

Going back to the OnePlus 6 made me realize how much I miss the physical fingerprint sensor.

The OnePlus 6 also had the distinction of being the first OnePlus phone with a vertically-arrayed camera housing at the back. With even budget phones these days offering quad cameras at the back, the dual sensors on the back of the OnePlus 6 and 6T feel almost quaint.

On that note, it was nice to be reacquainted with the fingerprint sensor at the back of the OnePlus 6. As much as I like a seamless design and enjoy the novelty of using an in-screen fingerprint module, it's just easier to use a physical capacitive sensor to unlock the phone. Oh, and the OnePlus 6 has the distinction of being the last OnePlus phone with a 3.5mm jack. I don't miss the analog port anymore, but like the physical fingerprint sensor the 3.5mm jack feels like another relic of a bygone world.

OnePlus 6 and 6T 2020 review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Phone manufacturers collectively decided to get rid of the 3.5mm jack to push their Bluetooth products that netted them better margins, and we acquiesced. The result is that instead of plugging a pair of headphones into a phone and just playing music, we now constantly fiddle around with Bluetooth pairing settings and hope that things work out the first time around.

What the OnePlus 6 ultimately reveals is the tactility that's missing on phones these days. We used to press a physical sensor to unlock our phones and plug headphones into the 3.5mm jack to play audio. Now we rely on an optical sensor that's embedded underneath the glass, and tap a few buttons to pair headphones. Technology has come a long way in the last two years, but in the name of progress, we ended up with phones that feel more sterile than ever.

But I digress; let's get back to the subject at hand. While the OnePlus 6 was notable for being the last phone from the manufacturer to offer a 3.5mm jack and physical fingerprint sensor, the 6T had a lot going for it too. The waterdrop cutout was easier on the eyes, the in-screen fingerprint sensor was in line with the times, and the seamless design at the back allowed OnePlus to unleash its creativity, which led to the stunning Thunder Purple option. The phone was also the first from OnePlus to offer 128GB of storage as standard.

OnePlus 6 and 6T 2020 review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The OnePlus 6 and 6T are just as great to use now as they were back in 2018, and a lot of that has to do with the powerful hardware coupled with software optimizations. Performance is a key tenet of all OnePlus phones, so it's no wonder that two-year-old phones like the OnePlus 6 hold up well in this regard.

The OnePlus 6 and 6T don't feel slow in 2020, and that's all down to OxygenOS.

Both the OnePlus 6 and 6T feature the Snapdragon 845 chipset, and it is still going strong. You don't really see any slowdowns in day-to-day use, and while the experience isn't as fluid as the OnePlus 8 series, it is evident that neither phone is short on power. OnePlus outfitted both devices with LPDDR4X RAM modules and UFS 2.1 storage modules, and the hardware combined with the optimized user interface with OxygenOS make the OnePlus 6 and 6T a joy to use in 2020.

The display is another facet of the hardware that holds up just fine. The AMOLED panel on the OnePlus 6 and 6T has vibrant colors and a lot of customizability, and you get all the new software features thanks to OxygenOS.

The software side of things is where OnePlus came into its own in the last two years. Both the OnePlus 6 and 6T have received two platform updates, and are on Android 10. The devices are also continuing to get regular security patches, and that's set to be the case for at least one more year.

The OxygenOS experience is similar to what you get on OnePlus' latest phones. You get all the exciting features that OxygenOS 10 has to offer, including a system-wide dark mode, Android 10's navigation gestures, fine-tuned notification controls, and improved permissions. Combine that with all the features OnePlus introduced in the last 12 months — a built-in screen recorder and Zen Mode just to name a few — and the software is what keeps these phones chugging along smoothly in 2020.

OnePlus 6 and 6T What hasn't aged well

OnePlus 6 and 6T 2020 review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The OnePlus 6 and 6T feature a 16MP main camera and a 20MP secondary sensor at the back, and a 16MP shooter up front. The one thing that was immediately evident when using these phones is how unremarkable the cameras are in 2020.

The cameras are starting to show their age now.

These days, $500 phones give you much more versatility in terms of lenses, and the final image quality is also better thanks to higher-res sensors and pixel binning. Having said that, the OnePlus 6 and 6T fare well enough in daylight and well-lit conditions, but they struggle in low-light environments.

Coming from a 120Hz screen on the OnePlus 8 Pro, I observed an infinitesimal delay when launching an app or scrolling through long-form content on the OnePlus 6 and 6T. 90Hz and 120Hz panels have transformed phones in the last 15 months, and you'll only appreciate just how much of a difference they make once you go back to a standard 60Hz screen.

Then there's the issue of haptics. OnePlus started adding a decent vibration motor with the OnePlus 7 Pro, so the haptic engine on the OnePlus 6 and 6T is mediocre.

OnePlus 6 and 6T Two years later

OnePlus 6 and 6T 2020 review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The OnePlus 6 and 6T have aged very well in the last two years. The combination of powerful hardware and optimized UI means they're reliable in day-to-day use, and they're continuing to get regular updates.

The design language is still pretty modern, but the phones are starting to show their age with regards to the cameras. And with 90Hz and 120Hz panels breaking into the mainstream with the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, there are great options available in the market if you're looking to upgrade.

The OnePlus 6 and 6T set the tone for OnePlus' journey into the premium category. The devices allowed the Chinese manufacturer to overtake Samsung in India in the premium category, and nearly two years later, OnePlus still sits at the top of the summit.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • I use the Oneplus 6 as my daily driver since 2 years ago and it is still as fast as it was on the first day, just running short on battery (this model only have 3300mA battery) but that is short of mitigated by its really fast charging. Camera is still good (reviewers tend to exaggerate on its low light is actually quite fine) just missing the versatility of a wide angle camera. Being said that, recently I have been able to compare it with a Poco F2 pro and the screen (which I always thought as a good one) looks shy when seeing side by side. To sum up, if I decide to change phone, main reasons would be: 1. Battery 2. Screen. 3. Cameras versatility (not quality)
  • I miss my OP6. That was a sad day when I left it on my car while getting gas and drove off ... I replaced it with an OP7 Pro. Hate it. I'd much rather have the OP6.
  • Other than the curved display, which I am not a fan of, what do you hate about the 7 Pro?
  • I still use my Avengers one they definitely make great phones and Oxygen OS is always fluid.
  • Bought the 6T first month of release. Absolutely love everything about it. As said earlier, still feels as fast as it did the day out of the box. Unfortunately I'll be changing phones in 2021 due to Omnipod Horizon (hybrid closed loop insulin system, I'm a type 1 diabetic). They are going to allow you to use your phone as the remote for the whole system, but unfortunately they are only using Samsung phones (they say because Knox) When that system comes out I'll be switching. I'll miss OnePlus, but the ability to not carry any other device except for my one cell phone will be a game changer for my quality of life. Until then, I'll keep enjoying the software awesomeness of my 6T.
  • This obsession with 90hz and 120hz display is ridiculous, I don't use 90hz on my 7T and I don't notice any difference 60hz and 90hz, plus I save a bit of battery life and to say that the OnePlus 6 hasn't aged well because of the highier refresh rates on newer phones is just ridiculous, unless you're a gamete then 90hz and 120hz is unnecessary for the average user who don't care or know what refresh rates are.
  • Beno, I'm gonna have to agree with you on this. Even when people were handed two phones and told one was 60Hz and the other was 90Hz, they could not figure out which was which. They CAN tell the difference between 60Hz and 120Hz, but my question is "What purpose does it serve?". It's eye candy. I'd be fine with it if more phones had two and three day battery life, but with most of them struggling to make it through the day, making battery life worse for bragging rights and eye candy is illogical. That "infinitesimal delay" that was perceived by Harish is the CPU taking longer to respond. The CPU response and touch response are independent of what rate the screen updates. The time difference between 60 and 120 Hz is 16.6666667 milliseconds, and humans cannot reliably detect that small of a difference by visual observation.
  • Exactly and this is why I turn off 90hz mode on my 7T as I cannot tell enough of a difference between 60hz and 90hz as the 7T is just as smooth and fast with either.
  • Yea, My wife an I both rock the 6 and 6T, we have both had them for 2 years now and they work great, I still to this day get some remarkable night shots from these devices. Altho with the latest update some camera issues have been showing up, like dirty lense shows up often and portrait mode doesn't work at all. Other than that it feels snappy and fast.
  • Interesting article and well-timed! I got as far as a pre-order with Amazon for the Nord, but the more I looked at it I realised I was better just sticking with my OP6! I really like the simple OxygenOS interface and the alert slider, so would have been happy to stick with them but unfortunately only the 8 Pro is offering wireless charging. I've therefore decided to just stick with my OP6 and add an after-market Qi wireless charging receiver to add the functionality to my existing phone.
  • I'm glad I'm not the only one. The Oneplus Nord really drew my attention however I don't think there's enough reasons to justify forking the money over.
  • Honestly if a flagship phone can't work well for at least 2 years something is wrong. 
  • Agreed. Mine is working very well, despite Android Central calling it a terrible phone.
  • They didn't call iphones terrible..... more like terrific, better than android, and not made in Taiwan.....
  • I think the term Android Centralused for your HTC U12+ is broken and they weren't alone, PocketNow and Michael Fisher was also critical of your phone but it must have clearly had some issues, you gotta admit that. I felt the same way about my old 6s Plus with iOS 11 which was the worst experience I'd had with an iPhone and my 6s Plus even felt slower because of iOS 11.
  • I'm still rocking my 1+6T. I haven't upgraded partly because there's no phone that I find worth upgrading to. But also, the hardware/software on this phone is amazingly powerful even 2 years later. Holding on to this for another year!
  • Love my 6T. Got it on the first month with T-Mobile's deal so at $280. Crazy! Sideloaded with GCam so picture qualities are great too. I don't see myself getting an 'upgrade' until Google or OnePlus really blows me away with the price. I can't stand the OS on other Android phones. Oxygen OS is too good.
  • The 6 is my phone and I really like it. I got it on a black friday special so the price was awesome. I use it all day, in every way. It works perfectly. In terms of devices and value returned on money spent--this phone is a champ
  • And's red....and it's spectacular
  • Great to see all the OnePlus 6/6T users still satisfied with they're device,My 6T is as fluid and precise as it was on the day of purchase.This phone is an absolute beast!never hiccup'd at all!I heard rumors of the 8T showing up on benchmark unless it has something super game changing I will keep waiting.eventually I will upgrade and when I do there will be a few OnePlus devices to choose from.😎
  • I am using Oneplus 6 and my wife is still using Oneplus 3 and I must say these phone were built to last in all the aspects. However, since the software update which brought Android 10, we are observing very fast battery drain. Just before update, the battery performance was good. Though fast charging saves the day but this is a great example of how a good hardware is made obsolete by bad software. May be my wife would need an upgrade next year.
  • I sympathize with your battery drainage issues. That really sucks ! Perhaps you can think about rolling back your updates to Android 9 Pie by finding the APK for that online and updating manually ? Then you can go back to having better battery life. I mean functionality wise I'm sure Android 9 Pie is still perfectly fine.
  • If you compare a phone with 2018 with today's phone, you bet there will be differences. The important fact is that despite 2 years, it is still worth using because there isn't any slowdown. And moreover , refresh rates weren't considered by Oneplus until OP7 pro, so the comparision saying coming back to 60hz is senseless. If it was omitted when others were using it in 2018, it would make sense to add something about it. You could have mentioned the fact that the secondary camera in these phones is totally wasted because it is just used for depth sensing and nothing else. That was a concern ever since the phone launched. And also the fact that the quality of pictures and details are comparatively more in a Gcam installed than the stock camera which makes me use the gcam more.
  • I've gone from OnePlus 1 to 3 to 6T. Still very happy with my 6T, possibly waiting for the 9 to keep my intervals consistent :P
  • Almost same. 1, 3, 6 here. If they do with the 9 what they did with the 8 (killed the value proposition), Ima stick with Pixels from now on. Or bring the Nord to North America. Wife went 1, 5, 4XL. The software tweaks that make the phone more usable are amazing, not to mention better camera software.
  • Were they though? My 6T constantly invents new problems that it wants to have. They might be small but extremely inconvenient. There are times where my phone would just shut down and holding the power button would just cause the phone to vibrate until finally after a few minutes it would turn back on. Most recently, my phone just turns off while I'm using an app and shows me my lock screen. This happens at least 3 times every hour. Finally, the most annoying of all is that whenever I try to log into one of the hotspots of optimum or any other company, it just doesn't work. I'll press sign in many times but nothing happens. Having things like this happen multiple times everyday in my opinion strongly disputes this claim that the 6T was built so we'll to last without any issues. Annoying software/hardware bugs like this shouldn't exist in a phone for that claim to be true.
  • Yes they were. You just pointed out a single device that is wrought with bugs and functional issues. That speaks to YOUR device, not everyone else's. In all manufacturing, whether that be vehicles, appliances, watches, cameras, phones, etc., there are always going to be bad apples in production. Two years in and my 6t experience is going well. Other posters and users have similar impressions. Their experiences are just as legit as yours. The majority luckily picked up strong devices. You weren't so lucky. You got a bad apple. It happens.
  • The 6T is an excellent phone. I have no notable problems with the phone. It just works. The fingerprint scanner seems to get better with time, as well. My complaint, however, is the glass back. Mine is shattered and I've had a case on it since day one. Why would you make a phone out of glass?! In what universe does that seem like a good idea? I'll definitely buy a plastic shelled phone next time, be it from OnePlus or Google.
  • This time OnePlus changed my mindset. I always believed that OP has exclusively great products. But due to no reason my OP 6 becomes a piece of paper weight. No physical problems ever occured to my OP6 in 1.5 years but suddenly it starts showing its colours. It had a problem of intermediately power off and on issues. And the service center is saying that we cant do anything. Company gave you a year of warranty. Now you have to replace the mother board to continue using the device. I didnt spend 35000/- for 1.5 year of usage of a mobile phone. I am a student and only i know how much it takes to gather 35000/- and spend on a mobile. The company knows how to fool their customers. Dont go with the One Plus phones seriously until you have extra money to waste. Genuine User Review. They do not knows you after selling their product. Nor their service centers ever answers your call. You cant do anything. You just sits and blames yourself that in which bad time you thought to purchase a horrible smart phone known as ONE PLUS.
    "Inko b ban kardo india mein Hon'ble PM sir.."
  • So you had a bad experience. We get it. It sucks. But it happens. It's hardly indicative of what most people should expect.
  • Still enjoying my OnePlus 6 as well - it still performs well enough for my needs and has the rear fingerprint reader, headphone jack and notification LED. Although I have a nice Sony BT headset, I still use the headphone jack here and there and appreciate its inclusion. GCam does improve the camera experience, but I would appreciate a better one when I finally do upgrade. I foresee holding onto this phone for another couple of years. I gave my dad my OP3T and installed LineageOS 17.1 (based on Android 10). OnePlus still offers a great out-of-warranty battery replacement program (it still supports the OnePlus One for repairs).
  • OnePlus are useless pieces of ****, my 7T is still on the May security patch and we're almost in August. Thank goodness I'm getting an iPhone 11 Pro Max next week and I'm giving away my 7T and getting a cheap Chinese phone (which WON'T have anything important on it) I'm done with OnePlus and their pathetic updates (security updates) policies and I'm done with Android and it's shortcomings, apps being unoptimised, poor software support along with being difficult to use beyond the basics and fragmentation. **** OnePlus and their phones.
  • OnePlus is good only if you can use abs and install LineageOS. If you are not nerd like this, iPhone is your best choice.
    I still use OnePlus 3T with LineageOS 17.1 (Android 10) getting all latest updates.
  • Yep, still using the 6T. When OP stop doing updates I'll put Lineage on it. I feel no great need to upgrade. Maybe because I use it as a phone, primarily the speed of display doesn't factor into it for me.
    as for the camera, it works OK. I have a proper camera if I want to take a shot for anything other than online posts.
  • I use my OP6 for over two years now and I am thinking to change it for Nord mostly for camera, battery and screen (in this order of importance) would you think it's a good idea to swap OP6 for Nord?
  • Don’t think they were anything special IMO
  • My OnePlus 6 is still fundamentally good. Do a complete wipe once a year. The only issue now is that the battery is starting to fade (OnePlus diagnostic app shows at 85%, Accubattery 81%). I did buy a replacement and hopefully will be able to swap it out without breaking the rear glass.