OnePlus 3T vs Samsung Galaxy S7: In the battle between these two Android titans, which handset comes out on top? We weigh up specs, features, and price to help you decide on your next smartphone purchase.
WHAT IS THE ONEPLUS 3T?
The OnePlus 3T is the latest smartphone from Chinese startup OnePlus, and was announced on November 15. It’s a spin-off of the OnePlus 3 that was launched earlier this year, with minorly upgraded specs. But its predecessor was quite the beast, so we’d expect the OnePlus 3T to be similarly impressive.
Design: As far as design goes, the OnePlus 3T is very attractive, boasting a metal design with ‘Gunmetal’ and ‘Soft Gold’ colour options on offer. At 158g, it’s hardly heavy, although it’s a touch above the Galaxy S7 (152 grams). It’s also quite the slim offering, with a profile of just 7.35mm.
Screen: You’ve got a 5.5-inch Full HD display on an AMOLED screen, which means this is a larger phone than some may be used to, and certainly bigger than the Galaxy S7. The screen on the OnePlus 3 and 3T is much better than the dull OnePlus 2 display, although we lean towards the Galaxy S7 display on account of its higher QHD resolution, which makes it a great choice for VR.
Software: Both handsets run on Android Marshmallow, which isn’t the latest version of Google’s mobile OS – that would be Nougat. The Galaxy S7 launched before Nougat was available, but it does seem a shame that the OnePlus 3T didn’t arrive with the new software on board. But neither phone runs stock Android, in any case. OnePlus uses OxygenOS, which is a very light skin with a handful of added features, such as a quick-access tray. And Samsung’s TouchWiz skin is heavier, but relatively nippy and packed with additional features, including split-screen apps, a feature otherwise only available through Nougat.
Hardware: Where the OnePlus 3T has a real advantage over many of its rivals is hardware. It runs on Qualcomm’s brand new Snapdragon 821 chip, which means that once the OnePlus 3T gets the Nougat update, it will have access to Google’s Daydream virtual reality platform. The Snapdragon 821 is also 10% faster than the 820. Elsewhere, OnePlus has kitted its new phone out with a lofty 6GB of RAM, 64GB or 128GB of storage, and a sizeable 3,400mAh battery that offers “a day’s power” after just 30 minutes of charging. It also connects via USB-C, which is a new reversible connector that replaces the old Micro USB port.
Camera: Finally, the OnePlus 3T comes equipped with front and back cameras, both of which offer 16-megapixel image resolutions and f/2.0 apertures. The primary camera has a slightly larger pixel size, and comes fitted with OIS (optical image stabilisation), however. Unfortunately, we can’t speak to the OnePlus 3T’s photography credentials until we complete our full review – stay tuned.
Here are the OnePlus 3T specs:
- Screen: 5.5-inch | 1,920 x 1,080 pixels | 401ppi pixel density | Optic AMOLED
- OS: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow (OxygenOS skin)
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 (2.35GHz) | Adreno 530 GPU
- Storage: 64/128GB
- RAM: 6GB
- Primary Camera: 16MP | f/2.0 | 1.12um pixel size | OIS
- Secondary Camera: 16MP | f/2.0 | 1.0um pixel size
- Battery: 3,400mAh | “A day’s power” in 30 minutes
- Port: USB-C
- Dimensions: 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm
- Weight: 158 grams
- Colours: Gunmetal, Soft Gold
You can buy the OnePlus 3T in the UK for £399/$598.5 (64GB) or £439/$658.5 (128GB) starting on November 28.
WHAT IS THE SAMSUNG GALAXY S7?
The Galaxy S7 is Samsung’s current flagship phone, after the Galaxy Note 7 met an untimely – and fiery – end last month. It launched back in March, but it’s still a fine handset that’s hard to knock, even by late-2016 standards.
We gave the Samsung Galaxy S7 a 5/5 score, praising the handset’s stunning looks, great camera experience, microSD slot, IP68 water resistance, and excellent display. Here’s our verdict: “Stunning. Samsung has just raised the bar for every other Android device. Simply put, if you want to buy a new phone right now, this is the one to pick.”
Design: Samsung’s top-end phone is certainly attractive, shipping in five popular colour options and sporting a glass front and back, with a metal trim. It’s lighter than the OnePlus 3T, but it’s also about 0.55mm thicker – hardly noticeable, but a fact nonetheless. It’s also completely waterproof, which is a huge sell for the clumsy – or us oft rained-upon Brits.
Screen: One of the best things about the Galaxy S7 is its display; you’re getting a high-res QHD panel measuring 5.1-inches, which is easy enough to get along with. The display is bright, colourful, and super sharp, but we’re not sure whether the OnePlus 3T has trumped it – hold on for the full review.
Software: The Samsung flagship runs on the same basic operating system – Android 6.0.1 – as the OnePlus 3T, but you get Samsung’s TouchWiz skin overlaid. While the skin used to be deeply unpopular generally, Samsung has refined it in recent years, making it fast, attractive, and crammed with largely useful features.
Hardware: Unfortunately, where the Galaxy S7 begins to look dated is on the hardware front. Samsung kitted the Galaxy S7 out with the latest processor at the time, the Snapdragon 820 – as well as its own equally powerful Exynos 8890. But the OnePlus 3T has access to Qualcomm’s newer and more powerful Snapdragon 821. The performance difference isn’t huge, but as we mentioned above, the later chip supports Google’s Daydream VR platform. The Galaxy S7 also has smaller storage options (32/64GB), and less RAM too, with 4GB of memory on board. That set, the TrustedReviews Galaxy S7 is still running fine after many months of use, and doesn’t struggle to cope with powerful apps or games. The 3,000mAh battery also provides a full day of use, with a 60% charge taking just 30 minutes. The OnePlus 3T has a bigger battery, but we won’t know how well it performs for a little while yet.
Camera: The camera is one of our favourite things about the Galaxy S7. The 12-megapixel rear-facing shooter came equipped with Samsung’s new DualPixel technology, which makes the autofocus lightning fast. It’s also got a wider f/1.7 aperture than the OnePlus 3T on both the front and back cameras, as well as larger pixels. The megapixel count is down on both snappers, but megapixels are just a way of describing how large an image a camera can produce, rather than being any measure of quality. In any case, we’ll need to wait for a full review before we can say for sure whether the OnePlus 3T beats the Galaxy S7’s class-leading camera.
Here are the Samsung Galaxy S7 specs:
- Screen: 5.1-inch | 1,440 x 2,560 pixels | 577ppi pixel density | Super AMOLED
- OS: Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow (TouchWiz skin)
- Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (2.15GHz) | Adreno 530 GPU
- Storage: 32/64GB
- RAM: 4GB
- Primary Camera: 12MP | f/1.7 | 1.4um pixel size | OIS
- Secondary Camera: 5MP | f/1.7 | 1.34um pixel size
- Battery: 3,000mAh | Non-removable | 60% charge in 30 minutes
- Port: Micro USB
- Dimensions: 142.4 x 69.6 x 7.9mm
- Weight: 152 grams
- Colours: Black, White, Gold, Silver, Pink Gold
You can buy the Samsung Galaxy S7 in the UK at Amazon for £473.80/$710.70, well below its review price of £569/$853.5.
ONEPLUS 3T VS GALAXY S7: WHICH PHONE SHOULD I BUY?
It’s a tricky match-up between these phones, because both handsets are fantastic on paper.
At first glance, the OnePlus 3T appears to edge out on hardware, but we’re not convinced that moving from the Snapdragon 820 to the Snapdragon 821 provides any meaningful improvement to the user experience. And the extra RAM on the OnePlus 3T is nice, but it’s hardly a necessity right now. In fairness, the Galaxy S7 camera still appears to outclass the OnePlus 3T shooter, at least in terms of raw specs.
With slick design, impressive hardware, and similarly solid software, both the OnePlus 3T and Galaxy S7 will suit most Android fans. If you care most about phone photography, the Galaxy S7 may be the handset to pick. But if you’re keen on getting Daydream VR in the near future, the OnePlus 3T is the clear winner.
What may sway some users is pricing. With the OnePlus 3T, you can get the top-storage variant (128GB) for about £30/$45 cheaper than the Galaxy S7 with base storage (32GB). That significant pricing disparity makes the OnePlus 3T a very attractive choice, although you may have to contend with OnePlus customer service, which has a reputation for being frequently lacklustre.
It’s also worth considering that we’re expecting the Samsung Galaxy S8 to launch in late February, so if you’re a Samsung loyalist who’s keen on getting next-gen specs, it may be worth holding out until then. After the Galaxy Note 7 recall debacle, you can bet that Samsung’s next flagship will be out to impress on all fronts.