OnePlus has made a name for itself among Android enthusiasts by launching inexpensive phones with cutting-edge specs, but that’ll only get you so far. With the OnePlus 6T, the company is finally getting in bed with US carriers. The 6T goes on sale today at T-Mobile and online as an unlocked phone. The phone starts at $549, and OnePlus and T-Mobile have made the carrier version a very attractive deal despite some definite drawbacks.
The OnePlus 6T is an evolution of the OnePlus 6 with a glass body, Snapdragon 845 ARM chip, and a dual camera array. It also has Android Pie out of the box. OnePlus has slimmed down the bezels around the screen, and the infamous display notch is now just a tiny water drop-shaped cutout for the front-facing camera. The rear-facing fingerprint sensor is completely gone — OnePlus is the first company to launch a phone in the US with an in-display fingerprint sensor. However, many will lament the loss of the headphone jack with the 6T.
The unlocked 6T comes in both shiny and matte black glass versions. Storage starts at 128GB this time instead of 64GB, but the $549 base model has 6GB of RAM. For $579 you get 8GB. There’s also a 256GB storage upgrade for $629.
The unlocked phone is only available from OnePlus’ website, but this is clearly the “better” version of the phone. It’s dual-SIM and works on unlocked GSM/LTE networks like T-Mobile and ATT. It also supports Verizon’s LTE network for the first time. Although, Verizon won’t sell it in its stores.
T-Mobile’s OnePlus 6T is the shiny “Mirror Black” phone with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM for $580. It’s locked to T-Mobile’s network and only has one SIM slot. This is standard for carrier phones, but it’s all new for OnePlus. For tinkerers, the T-Mobile variant is even less desirable. The bootloader cannot be unlocked, so you’re stuck with the official software, and updates will have to go through T-Mobile before they hit the phone. That also means you can’t join the OnePlus beta program with the T-Mobile 6T.
Even with that long list of deficiencies, the T-Mobile version will be the best choice for a lot of people. You can get the phone on a monthly payment plan $24.17 for 24 months, and you can get up to $300 off when you trade in your old phone. T-Mobile offers the max trade-in value for all OnePlus phones, even the OnePlus One from 2014.
If you’re in the market for the OnePlus 6T and don’t know which one to get, the unlocked variant is the safer long-term bet.