The OnePlus 6T has landed at Vodafone UK! Find out what makes it a speed, camera and battery champ in our exclusive interview...

With a refreshed design, refined software and hardware tweaks aplenty, the new OnePlus 6T is an excellent update to the already-great OnePlus 6, and a more than worthy contender when it comes to which phone you’ll slide into your pocket next.

If it’s already sounding like the phone for you, you can now grab yours for £42 a month (with £29 upfront cost) on a Vodafone Red Extra Plan, including unlimited texts, unlimited minutes and a massive 16GB of data!

But what big ideas shaped the 6T, and what does it do that others don’t? We’ve been catching up with OnePlus co-founder, Carl Pei, to find out. Here’s his take on why the OnePlus 6T is the pinnacle of what Android has to offer…

OnePlus 6T: Key specs

Display: 6.41-inch Optic AMOLED, 2340 x 1080p resolution
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 845, 6/8GB RAM
Storage: 128/256GB
Rear Camera: 16 + 20-Megapixel dual lens
Selfie Camera: 16- Megapixel
Battery: 3,700 mAh

Upgrades aplenty

“OnePlus have been community-centred from the very beginning,” says Carl. He’s harkening back to the company’s early days, when OnePlus was set on making ‘flagship killer’ budget phones with only the features that fans wanted to see. And, in 2018, that ethos hasn’t changed, even if the tech has:

“With the fans help and feedback,” he explains, “we build premium-crafted handsets that offer the fastest and smoothest experience through the technology inside.”

In this case, the technology in question is a mix of speed, power and software enhancements over previous OnePlus handsets that go together to make the 6T one of 2018’s most compelling phones. For Carl, that starts with the display (“our biggest screen to date”), but this year it’s more about what’s underneath it than the panel itself…

“For the launch of the OnePlus 5T in November 2017, we moved from a 5.5 inch, 1920 x 1080p screen to a 6.01 inch 2160 x 1080p display, as we were very aware of the trend for a larger screen, slimmer bezels and more immersive viewing experience.

“But for the OnePlus 6T, we’re really excited to bring the community one of the fastest in-screen fingerprint scanners on the market.” Yep, that’s right: the OnePlus 6T lets you place your thumb directly onto the screen to unlock it, using some clever in-display sensing knowhow:

“The Screen Unlock uses an optical camera set under the screen,” Carl explains, “to detect your fingerprint data through light. And the particular colour of light chosen has been tested to be the best for both accuracy and durability.”

It’s very cool, but that in-screen print reader also has an added benefit: it allows the ‘notch’ – a feature that has become a design hallmark in modern flagships – to shrink down to a tiny teardrop on the 6T. It’s got us thinking: could the same camera tech that makes the fingerprint reader work also one day power an in-screen selfie camera?

The display, on the OnePlus 6T, is now the largest OnePlus has ever delivered at an 86% screen-to-body ratio. This has been achieved due to an elegantly crafted ‘notch’ that has slimmed down considerably, and thinner bezels on the bottom and sides. The next big thing surely, has to be an in-screen front-facing selfie camera to eliminate the bezels and ‘notch’ all-together?

“There are prototypes of this type of technology,” Carl says, “but we believe that any new technology has to serve the real needs of people. [An in-screen selfie camera] is undoubtedly very cool and futuristic, but if it can’t capture the same quality as a normal selfie camera, then you’re sacrificing quality and experience for a gimmick.”

In other words? OnePlus only includes a feature if it knows its phones – and its fans – will benefit. Which brings us nicely onto the software side of things…

Software smarts

OnePlus’ own take on Android goes by the name of OxygenOS. And it’s a light touch; the experience you get with a OnePlus phone is nearly stock Android, with just a few clever tweaks and changes laid over top.

“We only add or improve on the existing Android experience if we see a real-world benefit for our users,” Carl tells us, “or if we can adjust something to feel more intuitive.” Photography fans will be pleased to hear, then, that a lot of those tweaks for the 6T’s software, focus on making the camera an all-round champ.

“We’ve implemented a host of OxygenOS updates to the camera algorithms for things like better face detection,” he says. “Nightscape mode, meanwhile, uses fast capture in just one second for night city scenes, while scene detection is now tuned to better identify text in images, better detection for night scenes, and for emulating the right light for food photography – all for a more professional shot.”

Likewise, gamers – that’s the Fortnite addicts among you – will also be pretty happy with OxygenOS’ tweaks: “We’ve also added in an option within gaming mode to offer floating notifications.” According to Carl, these “keep you up to date with what’s happening,” without breaking the flow of gameplay. Nice.

Building a loyal fanbase

OnePlus 5, OnePlus 5T, OnePlus 6, OnePlus 6T… Is it easy to predict the future of OnePlus phones? We couldn’t let Carl go without asking what’s coming next:

“OnePlus ‘T’ versions are never a guarantee,” he says. “We look at the industry and see what advances in hardware there have been that would benefit our users – if we feel there is technology which can significantly improve the user experience, we will create a ‘T’ version.”

And beyond that? He repeats that it’s all about the OnePlus community – and what they want to see in future devices. And that, he believes, is what’s helped the company carve out a fanbase of incredibly loyal phone owners:

“The future is exciting, but we’re focused on the user experience above all else,” he says, “and for the OnePlus community, it’s important for us to build only what matters. We innovate intelligently, and make sure that the technology implemented within OnePlus devices is always powerful and durable – from the day you take your device out of the box, through to day 100, day 200, and beyond.

“Our core philosophy has been the same since day one, with our intense focus on real user needs. If we continue to build great products, people will continue to use them. But we always have more work to do,” he says in closing, “and we’re excited for a big 2019.”

Does the OnePlus 6T sound like your next phone? You can pick one up from Vodafone UK right now!