OnePlus 3T camera review: We test the OnePlus 3T’s updated 16-megapixel rear camera and all-new 16-megapixel front-facing camera featuring Samsung sensor tech, to see how they compare to the best Android phone cameras out there. Here’s our full OnePlus 3T camera test and review.
The original OnePlus 3 boasted a solid if not-quite-perfect 16-megapixel camera, which OnePlus has updated for the shiny new OnePlus 3T. Now you get improved image stabilisation as well as a new sapphire glass cover, to help protect it from scratches and scrapes. Around the front of the phone you also get a new 16-megapixel Samsung sensor camera, for snapping gorgeous selfies.
Read next: OnePlus 3T vs OnePlus 3, what’s different?
Here’s our full OnePlus 3T camera review complete with photo and video samples, so you know whether to splash out on this excellent handset. And check out our in-depth OnePlus 3T review for more on this excellent mobile.
OnePlus 3T camera review: Camera UI and modes
The camera app hasn’t changed much at all between the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T, so you still get a pleasingly streamlined and user-friendly experience.
If you want a no-fuss shooter, then the good news is that you can basically just point and shoot. The phase detection autofocus quickly locks onto your subject and in decent light your photo is captured pretty much instantly, when you hit the on-screen shutter button.
Good news if you take a lot of impromptu shots too, as the OnePlus 3T’s camera app can be quick-loaded with a double-tap of the power button. Handy.
You can toggle the flash, HDR and HQ (quality) modes there on the main screen, and manually focus with a tap of the viewing window. Manually focusing also allows you to mess around with the brightness levels, as with most camera phones.
If you want to swap camera modes, just poke the icon in the corner of the display. From here you can switch to the video mode - a bit of a clunky way to do it, and we’d prefer a shortcut on the main screen, but hey ho. You also get a choice of slow-mo and time lapse video, as well as a panorama photo feature and full manual controls. The latter lets you tweak shutter speed, white balance, ISO levels and so on, for just the right results.
You can also shoot RAW images with the OnePlus 3T camera, which is awesome if you want super-high-res results that can be quickly and easily tweaked on the go. This can be turned on in the settings menu; RAW image capture is deactivated by default, to save storage space.
OnePlus 3T camera review: Photo tests and samples
After using the OnePlus 3T’s camera for a few days, we’re definitely impressed with the results, just as we were with the original OnePlus 3.
In reasonable light, you can capture some serious detail and accurate colours. High contrast scenes are usually well handled, thanks in part to the solid built-in HDR. The speedy focus and dependable sensor combine to create good-looking shots on auto mode, with no need for the user to step in and start manually tweaking features.
Motion is well handled unless the light is low, so you can snap kids and pets without too much blurring.
Sadly the OnePlus still isn’t a match for the very best camera phones when it comes to low light shots. The Google Pixel phone and Galaxy S7 both shoot brighter, more detailed photos when the lights grow dim. Of course, the OnePlus 3T still does a pretty admirable job and results are far from rubbish. And at this price point, we’re not too shocked.
Here’s our OnePlus 3T camera photo samples gallery, so you can see the results for yourself. Click on a photo to see it full-sized.
OnePlus 3T camera review: Video tests and samples
When it comes to recording video, the OnePlus 3T is a clear step up from the original OnePlus 3.
As before, you can shoot in Full HD resolution (up to 60 frames-per-second) as well as full 4K, if you want Ultra HD footage. Detail levels are strong and the lens copes well with sudden changes in light and focus. And thankfully we didn’t experience any of the audio issues that we had with the OnePlus 3.
However, while it's just as strong as the likes of the Galaxy S7, the quality of the image stabilisation still lags a little behind some full-priced rivals. If you move and shoot at the same time, any video shot with the OnePlus 3T will be bumpy and jarring. Try to be as still as possible and results are good.
Here are some video samples shot with the OnePlus 3T.
OnePlus 3T camera review: Selfie camera
That 16-megapixel front-facing selfie camera captures some seriously impressive detail, which may or may not be a good thing depending on the state of your mug. We’d recommend avoiding selfies after a heavy night, as those bags will show up all too clearly.
At all other times, the selfie camera is a solid snapper. In decent light, you’ll get sharp, accurate results that look good when blown up onto a television. And even in low light, the camera captures a fair amount of detail, with not too much grain. However, there’s no kind of flash feature, unlike on rival snappers like the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S7, so in very dark environments you may as well not bother.
Check out our guide to the best camera phones for our round-up of the greatest smartphone snappers right now, and our OnePlus 3T vs Galaxy S7 vs Google Pixel camera comparison to see how the 3T stacks up against the best shooters of the year.
You can grab the OnePlus 3T exclusively from O2 from £31 per month right now.