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OnePlus 5 vs OnePlus 3T vs OnePlus 3: Should I upgrade?

We compare the fresh OnePlus 5 flagship phone with the existing OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3 handsets, to see whether those new features, updated specs and impressive dual-lens camera are enough to warrant an upgrade.

OnePlus has just launched one of the biggest and most anticipated mobiles of 2017, the OnePlus 5. Forget the Galaxy S8, HTC U11 and other flagship handsets. This latest phone from the Chinese manufacturer delivers premium specs and some incredible dual-lens camera tech, at a price that impressively undercuts the competition. In other words, it’s already looking like an ideal handset for demanding users, especially if value for money is an important factor.

So, should OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T owners consider an upgrade to the OnePlus 5? What new features can you expect and is the camera a big upgrade?

Our OnePlus hub is the definitive source of our reviews, guides and other essential features, including our long-term OnePlus 3 review and long-term OnePlus 3T review.

OnePlus 5 vs OnePlus 3T vs OnePlus 3: Specs

Phone OnePlus 3 OnePlus 3T OnePlus 5
Screen size 5.5-inches 5.5-inches 5.5-inches
Screen resolution Full HD 1920×1080 Full HD 1920×1080 Full HD 1920×1080
Fingerprint sensor? Yes Yes Yes
Water resistant? No No No
OS Android 6.0 (updated to 7.1) Android 6.0 (updated to 7.1) Android 7.1 Nougat
Processor Snapdragon 820 Snapdragon 821 Snapdragon 835
Memory 6GB 6GB 6/8GB
Storage 64GB 64/128GB 64/128GB
MicroSD? No No No
Battery 3000mAh 3400mAh 3300mAh
Rear camera 16-megapixel 16-megapixel 20/16-megapixel
Front camera 8-megapixel 16-megapixel 16-megapixel
Price £329 From £429 From £449

OnePlus 5 vs OnePlus 3T vs OnePlus 3: Design

The OnePlus 5 sports a similar metal design to both the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T, which were essentially twins with an identical body. Those 2016 handsets sport a full metal jacket, which proves suitably rugged to keep scratches at bay. The OnePlus 5 is just as rugged – at least, so it seems – but also more attractive, with sleeker curves, iPhone-style banding and a slender 7.25mm finish. This the slimmest OnePlus handset to date and definitely the most aesthetically pleasing.

In terms of colours, you have a choice of two similar hues – dark ‘slate’ grey and ‘midnight’ black. This secondary colour was only introduced to the OnePlus 3T in a limited edition run, so we’re glad to see it here from the off. Of course, we’d prefer a more vibrant choice or two as well.

None of these phones are water resistant and they all sport a responsive fingerprint sensor, housed beneath the screen.

Read next: OnePlus One to OnePlus 5, how the OnePlus phones evolved to perfection

OnePlus 5 vs OnePlus 3T vs OnePlus 3: Screen and media

We still love the OnePlus 3 and 3T’s punchy AMOLED 5.5-inch display, which has been retained for the OnePlus 5. It’s once again a Full HD panel, so the resolution and everything remains the same.

However, the new flagship sports a special Reading Mode, which uses an ambient light sensor to detect the environmental conditions and changes the colour temperature automatically. Basically it’s a smarter version of the current Night Mode, which can be assigned to specific apps such as the Kindle app, for a comfortable reading experience that’s closer to real paper.

You once again get a minimum of 64GB of storage space packed inside the new handset, with no support for microSD memory card expandability. However, the OnePlus 5 sports faster storage that’s up to 20 percent quicker than the older phones – or so says OnePlus.

That midnight black model of OnePlus 5 offers 128GB of storage space.

OnePlus 5 vs OnePlus 3T vs OnePlus 3: Features and OS

The latest version of Android (Nougat) comes pre-installed on the OnePlus 5, although the 3 and 3T have already been bumped up to Nougat courtesy of OTA updates. You’ll get the latest version of OnePlus’ OxygenOS overlay too, adding some bonus features to make life even easier.

You can expect a very similar user experience on all three of these phones. Each of them boast plenty of OS customisation so you can personalise your handset as much as you like. That includes full gesture support, so you can craft shortcuts to your favourite apps. The new OnePlus 5 also has a couple of little tweaks and additions, including a new gamer mode that prevents notifications from interrupting your entertainment.

Nothing revolutionary, so nothing really worth upgrading for on the software front.

OnePlus 5 vs OnePlus 3T vs OnePlus 3: Performance and battery life

OnePlus handsets always boast incredible performance for the price. The OnePlus 3 and 3T both sported the latest Snapdragon chipset at the time of their launch, the 820 and 821 respectively, backed by a mighty 6GB of memory. Even now, you can expect a silky smooth everyday experience and smooth running from the latest games.

Check out our long-term OnePlus 3 review and long-term OnePlus 3T review, to see how these great handsets have held up over time.

However, the new OnePlus 5 sports the all-improved Snapdragon 835 chipset. This is a much more significant jump over the 821 than the 821 ever was over the 820 (as the numbering kind of suggests). Not only do you enjoy faster performance, but also improved efficiency (for longer battery life), more impressive peak download speeds (up to 1Gbps) and all kinds of expanded potential, from increased security to strong camera feature support.

Read next: Snapdragon 835 vs 821 vs 820, what’s changed?

As for battery life, the OnePlus 3T and OnePlus 3 both offer over a day of use per charge – although not much more. We’re hoping that the OnePlus 5 can boost this somewhat, although it comes packing a 3300mAh cell, which is slightly more compact than the OnePlus 3T’s 3400mAh battery. Not surprising, given the thinner frame. Check back for our full OnePlus 5 review to see how this handset fares.

Still, Dash Charge quick charging is once again on board. So you can expect to get pretty much full power from an hour at the plug, with no overheating or other ill side-effects.

OnePlus 5 vs OnePlus 3T vs OnePlus 3: Cameras

The OnePlus 3 and 3T offered quite similar camera experiences from their 16-megapixel rear snappers. In both cases you can expect crisp and clean everyday snaps, although low light shots fade a little compared with rival smartphone snappers. Both can also record good-looking footage up to 4K resolution, boosted by OnePlus’ recent image stabilisation update.

The OnePlus 3T’s biggest upgrade was the 16-megapixel selfie camera, for capturing seriously detailed shots of your mug.

You can expect a big jump in terms of photo quality for the OnePlus 5. OnePlus has teamed up with DxO Labs to craft the new dual-lens 20/16MP snapper, which has an f/1.7 aperture lens for improved low light functionality. You can also expect sharper results thanks to that dual lens setup, using the new Portrait Mode.

All three phones here can shoot up to 4K resolution video and you have RAW image support, as well as manual controls. However, the OnePlus 5 does seem to deliver a faster autofocus compared with the older models.

Check back soon for our in-depth OnePlus 5 camera review and comparison.

You can grab the OnePlus 5 exclusively from O2 here in the UK, from £34 per month (or £36 for the Midnight Black version). Pre-order now and you will receive the phone from June 22.

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