OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7: We take a look at OnePlus’ upgraded flagship, the OnePlus 3T, to see how it compares to the smartphone giant that is the iPhone 7.
OnePlus has gone and upgraded it’s main smartphone with a load of new hardware and software additions, and it looks like a very capable device indeed.
The Chinese company has already managed to impress with its affordable handsets that come packing high-end internals, and its latest release looks set to be no different.
Of course, no matter how affordable and capable your phone is, comparisons to Apple’s iPhone are inevitable. So we thought we’d go ahead and get that out of the way for you, dear readers. Read on for our full comparison.
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 – Design
OnePlus’ latest offering comes in either Gunmetal or Soft Gold, and is carved out of a single slab of premium space-grade aluminum alloy. At 7.35mm, the metal unibody is light and thin, but not quite as thin as the iPhone’s 7.1 mm body, or the iPhone 7 Plus’ 7.3mm. There’s not much in it, though.
There’s also a curve across the back of the 3T, from top to bottom, with a rounded curve on the edges, giving the whole thing a sleek finish. The iPhone 7, on the other hand, hasn’t changed much in terms of design from the iPhone 6S. That’s not the end of the world, though, as the phone is one of the best designed handsets ever released.
Related: iPhone 7 review
It also comes in several different colour options, from the shiny Jet Black or the matte Black, to Silver, Gold, and Rose Gold. The edges are rounded, like the OnePlus 3T, and both phones feature antenna lines running along the rear top and bottom – though, the iPhone’s are curved to follow the edge of the case.
Round the front, things look very similar. Both phones have moderate bezels, along with a home button that houses the fingerprint scanner. Ports are similar too, with the OnePlus packing a USB Type-C connection, while the iPhone comes with its own version: a Lightning port.
OnePlus has chosen to keep the headphone jack on its device, while Apple notoriously discarded that old 3.5mm port on the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. In that sense, the 3T might just win you over if you’re not quite ready to relinquish your favourite pair of wired headphones just yet.
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 – Display
The OnePlus 3T’s 5.5-inch AMOLED display more closely matches the iPhone 7 Plus’ 5.5-inch LCD screen, at least in terms of size. Resolution on both is exactly the same too, with Apple and OnePlus providing a Full HD display (1,920 x 1,080) on each handset.
The iPhone 7, however, comes with a less impressive 1,334 x 750 resolution, but that’s on a 4.7-inch screen, so the pixels are packed tighter together. Judging by the pixel-per-inch density, sharpness is likely to be very similar on all these handsets. However, while the 3T and 7 Plus are matched at 401ppi, the smaller iPhone 7 only manages to reach 326ppi. It’s not a massive difference, but worth noting.
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Whatever the case, there’s no denying OnePlus’ use of AMOLED tech will likely provide deeper blacks and better energy efficiency – though we did notice on the OnePlus 3 that colours seemed slightly overcooked, and we’re intrigued to see whether that’s the same on the 3T.
The LCD panel in the iPhone 7 uses a backlight, so blacks won’t be quite so inky. That said, the iPhone still manages to produce some stunning images, that we said look ‘richer than ever before without looking fake’. Apple’s display manages to reproduce realistic and nuanced pictures, but we did notice whites have a slight pink tinge to them.
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 – Hardware
Despite the OnePlus 3T’s affordable price tag, the phone itself is, like all other OnePlus handsets, formidable in the hardware department. The OnePlus 3 was no slouch, of course, but this latest instalment comes with a number of hardware upgrades which, on paper at least, put it ahead of the iPhone in the performance department.
First up, the Snapdragon 821 processor is Qualcomm’s latest, and should ensure a fluid user experience. Apple’s A10 chip certainly isn’t to be overlooked, however. The A10 is largely responsible for the fast performance of the iPhone 7, which we dubbed “the most powerful phone we’ve ever used”.
Related: OnePlus 3 review
There’s no doubt that the 3T and iPhone are somewhat evenly matched in the processor department then, but when it comes to RAM, the former outdoes its competitor by a mile. OnePlus has packed a whopping 6GB of LPDDR4 RAM into the 3T, dwarfing the iPhone 7’s 2GB and the 7 Plus’ 3GB. We’re intrigued to see how the extra helping of RAM works with the Snapdragon 821, as we might just see the OnePlus edge out the stellar iPhone 7 when it comes to speed.
Storage is slightly different on either handset, with the 3T offering either 64GB or 128GB of internal memory, while the iPhone 7 comes in 32, 128, or 256GB storage tiers. You’ll pay a lot more as the storage increases, though, so bear that in mind.
Another area where things differ is the battery. Apple’s 4.7-inch iPhone is always going to come with a smaller battery than the 5.5-inch 3T, so it’s no suprise the 1,960mAh cell is a lot less capacious than the 3,400mAh offering on the 3T. Even the iPhone 7 Plus comes with only a 2,900mAh battery.
It’s worth mentioning the iPhone’s battery is one of, if not the worst aspect of the phone overall. We found the handset would barely get us through a day, and we’re sure OnePlus will provide something markedly better on the 3T – though, we’re yet to fully test it out.
Also of note is the newly improved Dash Charge on the OnePlus 3T, which the company says will provide a day’s worth of charge in an hour and a half.
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 – Software
Apple’s latest mobile OS, iOS 10, offers a much improved mobile experience over its predecessor, and comes with deeper 3D Touch integration, tweaks to the control centre, and a modernised lockscreen. You’ll find the best possible app ecosystem on iOS, plus it comes with improved bundled apps such as Music and News.
It’s also designed to work with the phone’s hardware, whereas Android is obviously Google’s own OS that OnePlus has used on the 3T, before placing its own Oxygen OS skin over the top.
The company says the Oxygen aspect has been refined this time around, while the Android foundation is still 6.0.1 Marshamallow. There’s a load of small tweaks to the proprietary skin that OnePlus has used here, but on the whole it was never too intrusive an addition anyway. We found, with the OnePlus 3, that things worked very well, and the best parts of Android have been preserved. We expect the same, if not better, of the OnePlus 3T.
Which you prefer, then, will likely come down to whichever OS you’re most used to. Both these handsets offer great user experiences, and it’s difficult to pick an outright winner.
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 – Camera
Despite its battery woes and lack of major design improvements, the iPhone 7 still manges to maintain the series’ reputation for standout cameras.
There’s a new six-optic lens on the Apple handset, along with OIS (optical image stabilisation) and a wider f/1.8 aperture, which all results in improved low-light performance. The low-light shots even managed to top the impressive camera on the Galaxy S7 in our tests – though the well-lit shots, while great, weren’t quite as good as those taken with the Samsung handset.
You can also shoot video at 4K or 1080p, and the front-facing camera, or FaceTime camera, comes with a 7-megapixel sensor, so selfies look better than on the previous model.
Turning to the OnePlus, then, the previous OnePlus 3 came with a Sony IMX298 16-megapixel sensor on the rear, and an 8-megapixel setup on the front. This time around, the Chinese firm has upped its game, doubling the megapixels on the front-facing shooter and adding a few extra features round the back.
The OnePlus 3’s main camera already produced great shots, with lifelike colours and good saturation even in drab indoor lighting, which is where phones often struggle the most. The phone also came with OIS, making it easy to keep your shots sharp at night. On the 3T, there’s now an updated Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) algorithm, to allow for more stable videos.
Seeing as the OnePlus 3 produced colourful photos with excellent sharpness and superb contrast, the OnePlus 3T should offer at least the same, if not better. We’re yet to test it out, but it seems safe to assume your selfies will look a whole lot better this time around, too.
It doesn’t look like OnePlus has done enough to catch up to Apple, however. The improvements are there on the 3T, and it’s sure to be a great shooter, but there’s no doubt Apple clinches this one.
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 – Price and release
The iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are both available now, with the former starting at £599, while the latter starts at £719. Those prices obviously go up if you start adding more storage.
The OnePlus 3T on the other hand, comes in at a comparatively merciful £399 for the 64GB option and £439 for the 128GB variant. It’ll be available in the US from November 22, while Europe will have to wait until November 28.
Related: Best iPhone 7 deals
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 – Summary
Apple somewhat let fans down this year, with the iPhone 7’s poor battery life and lack of major design changes. In that sense, the OnePlus 3T doesn’t have to do much to outdo Apple’s handset.
With a much lower price and equivalent, if not better hardware, the 3T is easy to recommend. However, if you’re used to the iPhone and its iOS UI, or you’re looking for a standout camera, you may well be better off with Apple’s flagship.
For us, the OnePlus 3T offers greater value for money, and with all the new improvements, provides a better reason than ever to make the switch from the iPhone.
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Let us know which phone you think comes out on top in the comments.