Let’s get this out of the way: in the battle between iOS and Android, I have always been team iOS. I’ve always been team Apple, really. I genuinely don’t have any personal biases towards any company though as I’m sure people won’t believe.
But if there ever came a day that a company other than Apple released a better phone with a better ecosystem, I’d abandon my iPhone. That day still hasn’t come for me, but I recently got closer to that day than ever before after hearing about the OnePlus 6T.
The OnePlus 6T to me embodies everything that a solid iPhone competitor should be from the perspective of an iPhone owner.
What immediately turned me on to it was the design. It doesn’t look like any other phone on the market including the iPhone, thanks in part to that clever teardrop notch — but more on that later. After the design, I noticed the impressive specs, and what pulled it all together is the unbeatable price.
By now, Android owners are probably cussing me out — that there have been several Android phones to date that not only match iPhone but exceed it in power and capability. The Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL are two obvious examples.
I’m not here to argue over what the best phone on the market is though. In fact, there is no doubt in my mind that overall the Pixel 3 is a much better phone than the OnePlus 6T.
What intrigues me about the OnePlus 6T is how the company seems to have a fundamental focus, strategy, and altogether solid understanding of the marketplace and its place in it. This is something Google doesn’t exactly achieve with its Pixel line.
The OnePlus 6T does the Notch with purpose
Look at the iPhone X and iPhone XS, and it’s fairly easy to see how the notch makes sense. Apple filled every single part of the screen that can physically be filled with a display. The rest is shoved in the “notch” — front-facing camera, sensors, speaker, and all the Face ID tech.
Now, look at the Google Pixel 3 XL. It has a pretty large notch at the top, but then a huge lip at the bottom with a speaker and plenty of additional room. The notch on that phone is solely there to be trendy, rather than in accordance with any legitimate design strategy.
The designers could have put far more thought into maximizing space on the front side of the phone or even just removing the notch altogether like on the smaller Pixel 3, which I find far more appealing. Why cut into the display if you still have space left to use?
OnePlus 6T nails this in a way the Pixel 3 XL just does not. In fact, I’d argue the 6T has an even nicer notch than the iPhone. Apparently, a lot of millennials might agree.
It has a simple teardrop design with the camera perfectly positioned in the centre. It’s elegant, it doesn’t obstruct the display very much, and it fills the rest of what possibly can be a display, with a display.
It makes perfect sense. The only exception is the very tiny lip at the bottom, but it seems highly likely that is there due to the limitations of LCD technology vs. OLED. (This is the same reason why the iPhone XR has a larger bezel than the iPhone XS.)
The 6T’s notch is thoughtful, minimal, and elegantly adds character to the phone. It’s a nice improvement over the OnePlus 6 as well. It’s not trying to look exactly like the iPhone — in fact, it looks nothing like the iPhone.
That’s not only respectable, but it’s a smart move. The world doesn’t need another iPhone wannabe, and the 6T is in a league of its own.
The price can entice just about anybody
Aligning perfectly with that concept, the price of the OnePlus 6T is another reason that it’s truly in its own class. In a world where top-of-the-line smartphones are starting at least $899 and extending well past the $1,000 mark, 6T brings a gun to a knife fight.
The new flagship OnePlus phone starts at just $549. Want to add some more RAM and double your storage? It’s just $80 more to $629.
Even Apple’s “affordable” iPhone this year, the iPhone XR, doesn’t come close to touching the 6T. Comparing base models, $749 is $200 more and only comes with 64GB of storage instead of the 6T’s 128GB.
And consider this: an out-of-warranty screen replacement for an iPhone X and XS costs the same as the entire 6T: $549. If you drop your phone and break the screen, you might as well just go buy a 6T for the same price.
More than the design, the price is what really caught my attention about the 6T. It’s so refreshing in today’s landscape. There is something about the 6T that is positioned so humbly as well. It does not even entertain the Pixel or iPhone elitists; it just swoops in with a price that turns heads without being braggadocious.
OnePlus 6T does not compromise
Low price is inherently easy to accomplish if you think about it. It wouldn’t be hard to make a $200 smartphone, but the phone would imaginably have cheap parts, poor construction, and slow performance.
Fortunately, the 6T achieves the most important part about building a cheap smartphone: it does not compromise.
The handset comes with a minimum 6GB of RAM, minimum of 128GB of storage, a fast-charging battery, an 8-core Snapdragon CPU, Bluetooth 5.0, a 16MP camera, and an in-display fingerprint sensor. Yes, you read that last part right, the fingerprint sensor is now built into the display.
The point is this phone is not half-baked. These are premium features in a $549 phone. Sure, reviews indicate the camera could be better, and fingerprint sensors don’t quite match the technological breakthrough that is Face ID, but these features are more than good enough.
As an iPhone user for over ten years and an observer of the smartphone industry, the OnePlus 6T puts up a solid fight because it fully understands itself. It’s not trying to be the best phone on the market, just the best value.
Dollar for dollar, the OnePlus 6T is the best phone on the market. The number of features and performance packed into this phone at $549 is unheard of. The positioning is genius. OnePlus simply says “Hey, we have a terrific phone at a seriously incredible price.” and frankly, no one else in the industry can make that claim right now.
Technology writer and Apple enthusiast for over 10 years now. Also digital marketing and design. Previously of Guiding Tech, Cult of Mac, iPhoneHacks, TUAW, Neowin, and more. Extracurricular activities include music, food, and memes.