OnePlus 6T vs. OnePlus 5T: Should you upgrade?

OnePlus 6T

OnePlus 6T

The OnePlus 6T introduces a few new features, including an in-display fingerprint sensor and a notch up top to maximize the display real estate. The camera and underlying hardware have been improved as well, and thankfully OxygenOS hasn't changed too much.

OnePlus 6T

The latest tech

Bigger display
Larger 3700mAh battery
In-display fingerprint sensor
128GB storage as standard
No headphone jack
In-display sensor is slow

OnePlus 5T

OnePlus 5T

The OnePlus 5T has aged very well, and the hardware in particular doesn't look out of place as we get to the end of 2018. The Snapdragon 835 platform is still plenty capable, as are the cameras. The OnePlus 6T offers more refinement overall, but the 5T continues to be a great phone.

OnePlus 5T

Still going strong

Better for one-handed use
Headphone jack
Snapdragon 835 is still fast
Fingerprint sensor is reliable
Still on Oreo
No water resistance

The OnePlus 5T is two generations behind, but you wouldn't notice that from the spec sheet. The phone still has a lot going for it, and while the 6T offers better hardware and a more immersive screen, there really isn't much different between the two devices.

Should you upgrade from the OnePlus 5T to the OnePlus 6T?

OnePlus' release cadence means we can look forward to two phones every year, with the T refresh bringing subtle tweaks over the full-cycle release. The OnePlus 5T debuted at the end of last year, offering an 18:9 display, thinner bezels, a rear-mounted fingerprint sensor, and a new secondary camera designed to take better low-light photos.

A year on, the formula hasn't changed much. The OnePlus 6T retains a similar design as the OnePlus 6 while introducing a more immersive display thanks to a narrower cutout, and it's the first OnePlus phone with an in-display fingerprint sensor. The base model also comes with 128GB of storage as standard, and the larger 3700mAh battery eliminates any worries about the device running out of power before the end of the day.

OnePlus has been trimming the bezels on the display with every generation, and that's immediately evident when you put the OnePlus 6T next to the 5T. The 6T has a narrower notch that houses just the front camera module, and the ultra-thin bezels at the bottom combine to create an immersive experience when using the screen.

The OnePlus 6T has a better camera and more immersive display, but the overall experience hasn't changed much.

The 6T comes with a larger 6.41-inch display even though the overall size of the phone hasn't increased all that much from the 5T (which has a 6.01-inch screen). The screen quality is identical between both models, with OnePlus continuing to offer great AMOLED panels on its devices. The extra screen real estate makes a tangible difference when reading text on the device, and the notch is small enough that it isn't an annoyance anymore.

Coming to the performance side of things, you're not going to notice a lot of difference between the two devices. OnePlus has done a magnificent job with OxygenOS, and when you combine the lightweight skin with the capabilities of the high-end Snapdragon chipsets, you get some of the fastest phones in the market.

The Snapdragon 835-powered 5T is just still as fast as it was when it debuted a year ago, and I don't see any lags or slowdowns in day-to-day use. The Snapdragon 845 offers more grunt, but there isn't a huge difference in performance, at least not enough to warrant upgrading from the 5T.

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CategoryOnePlus 6TOnePlus 5T
Operating systemAndroid 9.0 PieAndroid 8.1 Oreo
Display6.41-inch Optic AMOLED, 2340x1080 (19.5:9)Gorilla Glass 66.01-inch Optic AMOLED, 2160x1080 (18:9)Gorilla Glass 5
ProcessorSnapdragon 845Adreno 630Snapdragon 835Adreno 540
Rear camera 116MP (IMX 519), 1.22-micron, f/1.7, OIS4K/60, 720p/480p video16MP, 1.12-micron, f/1.74K/30fps, 720p/480p video
Rear camera 220MP (IMX 376K), 1-micron, f/1.720MP, 1-micron, f/1.7
Front camera16MP (IMX 371), 1-micron, f/2.016MP (IMX 371), 1-micron, f/2.0
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPSWi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS
AudioUSB-CSingle speaker3.5mm headphone jackSingle speaker
ChargingUSB-CDash ChargeUSB-CDash Charge
Water resistanceNo ratingNo rating
SecurityIn-display fingerprint sensorRear fingerprint sensor
Dimensions157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm185 g156.1 x 75 x 7.3 mm162g
ColorsMirror Black, Midnight BlackMidnight Black, Lava Red, Sandstone White

The front camera is identical between the two devices, but the rear camera on the 6T outshines the 5T. The 6T also comes with a new Night mode feature that allows the device to take much better shots in low-light conditions, an area where OnePlus devices have struggled in the past.

The OnePlus 5T is still on Oreo, but that should change in the coming months.

Coming to the software, the 6T runs Pie out of the box, whereas the 5T is still on Android 8.1 Oreo. OnePlus has gotten much better at updates over the course of the year, and with the OnePlus 6 picking up the stable update, the 5T is undoubtedly next on the list to receive the latest version of Android.

The larger display and improved cameras on the 6T do seem enticing, but if you're rocking the 5T and want to maximize value, you're better off holding onto it for one more generation. The phone continues to be one of the fastest around, and the rear fingerprint sensor is faster and more reliable than the in-display solution on the 6T. Then there's the fact that you're losing out on the 3.5mm jack on the 6T, which is a deal-breaker for a subset of the community.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is Android Central's Senior Editor of Asia. In his current role, he oversees the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, networking products, and AV gear. He has been testing phones for over a decade, and has extensive experience in mobile hardware and the global semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.