OnePlus 6 vs OnePlus 5 and 5T: Should you upgrade?
The OnePlus 6 is now available to buy and it’s easily one of the best deals in tech. But should you ditch your OnePlus 5 or OnePlus 5T ?
OnePlus tends to release a main flagship each year, followed by a slight revision in the winter. For example, last year we got the OnePlus 5 in Q2 and then the OnePlus 5T 6 months later.
So how does the OnePlus 6 compare to both the 5 and 5T? Let’s take a look.
OnePlus 6 vs OnePlus 5/5T – Specs and performance
The sales pitch for the OnePlus 6 revolves around the tagline ‘The Speed You Need’, which seems a little odd considering OnePlus handsets have never disappointed in the performance stakes. The big update this time around is the new Snapdragon 845 powering the phone, rather than the 835 used last year.
RAM remains the same at 6/8GB across all models, while storage now comes in 64/128 and 256GB. Both the OnePlus 5 and 5T were available in 64 and 128GB sizes. Having used the OnePlus 6 we can say this is one of the fastest phones you can buy right now.
Related: Best cheap phones
Another update to bring the OnePlus 6 more in line with other 2018 flagships is an updated camera array. Like the 5 and 5T, the 6 boasts two cameras on the rear of the device, both with OIS (optical image stabilisation). The camera setup is similar to the 5T, with a 16-megapixel main sensor and a 20-megapixel secondary unit. The OnePlus 5 did things a little differently, using the secondary camera for lossless zoom – this isn’t case here.
OnePlus said the pixels in the new sensor are 19% bigger than those in the 5T, and pictures are better. Low-light snaps are brighter and produce less noise.
|OnePlus 6||OnePlus 5T||OnePlus 5|
|Processor||Snapdragon 845||Snapdragon 835||Snapdragon 835|
|Display||6.2-inch FHD+||6-inch FHD+||5.5-inch FHD|
|Battery||3300 mAh||3300 mAh||3300 mAh|
|Camera||16MP + 20MP||16MP + 20MP||16MP + 20MP|
All three phones have a 16-megapixel selfie camera, benefit from portrait modes and can shoot 4K video. Where the OnePlus 6 offers improvement is the fact that it can shoot a minute of 480fps at FHD resolution and 4K at 60fps.
There’s the same size 3300mAh battery in each and that works with Dash Charge to give you what OnePlus claims is a day of power with a 30-minute charge. It would have been nice to see some improvements to battery size or Dash Charge with the 6, however.
We found each of the phones lasted about the same time, with a top-up needed after a particularly taxing day.
A year is a long time when it comes to phones and this is obvious when you look at how the OnePlus’ display has evolved in that time. The OnePlus 5 shipped with a standard 5.5-inch 16:9 screen with a chunky bezel, while the OnePlus 5T reduced the bezel and went with a 6-inch 18:9 panel. The OnePlus 6 features a 19:9 6.2-inch screen, and – yes – it does have a notch.
Some things about the display remain unchanged, though: it has a 1080p resolution, Optic AMOLED tech and the ability to switch colour profiles. It can perform a neat software trick, too, in which the display turns to monochrome in reading apps such as Kindle.
The screen here is great: colourful, detailed and big enough to binge through some Netflix on a plane.
OnePlus 6 vs OnePlus 5/5T – Software
One of the biggest benefits of the OnePlus phones is their approach to software. Instead of clogging up Android with useless extra features, OnePlus keeps things as close to stock Android as possible. Oxygen OS looks similar to Oreo on a Pixel, but with a couple of neat tricks added. You can alter icons, turn on a dark mode and have greater customisability at your disposal.
The software across OnePlus devices remains similar, and even the tweaks that have come in the OnePlus 6 will likely filter down to older devices.
Related: Best smartphones
Android P has just been announced by Google and you’ll be able to install the early beta version on your OnePlus 6. This should also mean that an update to P will be faster when it’s released properly.
OnePlus 6 vs OnePlus 5/5T – Design
Easily the biggest update with the OnePlus 6 is the design. This is the first OnePlus that feels well designed, offering a significant improvement over the OnePlus 5 and 5T. Instead of the metal body of previous devices, much of the OnePlus 6 is now glass. Whether this will harm durability remains to be seen, but it makes for a far more attractive phone.
Like all OnePlus phones, the 6 features a handy alert-slider and – unlike lots of flagship phones these days – a headphone jack, so you’re not only restricted to Bluetooth audio. There’s a USB-C port on the bottom too.
Although heavily rumoured in the run up to launch, the OnePlus neither boasts Qi wireless charging nor an IP rating for water-resistance. The lack of wireless charging maybe something you can accept with a handset at this price, but the waterproofing is odd. OnePlus has said the phone can be used in a wet shower room or in the rain without causing damage; new seals have been added to keep water out. However, the device doesn’t hold an officially tested IP67/68 rating in the way of the iPhone X or Samsung Galaxy S9.
You’ll be able to pick up the OnePlus 6 in either Mirror Black or Midnight Black at launch, with a white version arriving at a later date. Previous OnePlus handset have always be available in black; both the 5 and 5T could be bought in white, too, although in limited quantities. The 5T was also available in red for a short while.
OnePlus 6 vs OnePlus 5/5T – Verdict
It’s only been a year since the launch of the OnePlus 5, but the OnePlus 6 feels like a significant step forward. Not only does it look a whole lot better, but hopefully the improvements to the camera make a big difference too.