The dual-camera setup found on the back of the OnePlus 6T is not up to par with other 2018 flagships, Android and otherwise, French imaging experts at DxOMark report, citing their extensive review of the latest “Never Settle” smartphone. While the mobile photography experience offered by the OnePlus 6T is far from underwhelming and is certainly the best imaging solution the Chinese manufacturer devised to date, it simply doesn’t offer as much as other high-end devices released over the course of this year. The OnePlus 6T hence scored 98 on DxOMark’s non-finite scale, being rated below the likes of the Huawei P20 Pro, HTC U12+, Samsung Galaxy Note 9, Google Pixel 3, and the Xiaomi Mi MIX 3. Apple’s iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR were also found to sport superior primary cameras, according to the same source.
“Definitely not the best” still doesn’t mean “bad”
DxOMark estimates the overall imaging capabilities of the OnePlus 6T are on par with last year’s Google Pixel 2 lineup and just slightly above those of the 2017 iPhone X. And while the sum of its camera parts and software isn’t greater than what its latest rivals are offering, the OnePlus 6T can still deliver great results and even manages to stand out in certain aspects such as autofocusing of stills, color retention, and exposure compensation. The smartphone’s flash performance has also been rated as stellar and on par with other ultra-premium devices released throughout this year. Regardless, the handset struggles with low-light conditions, something OnePlus claims it’s been focusing on with the last several generations of its mobile products, though apparently with limited success. Image noise is hence a massive problem, as is a wide variety of artifacts observable in photographs taken in less-than-optimal lighting conditions. Those limitations are a significant hindrance seeing how mobile photography often requires quick reactions and shooting in imperfect circumstances, so while the OnePlus 6T is capable of rivaling its contemporaries on a bright sunny day, it falls behind in most other scenarios, DxOMark concluded.
Other minor issues observed during the company’s inspection included violet white balance casts present in virtually every testing scenario, color inconsistency and artifacts in high-dynamic scenes, and blur artifacts caused by moving background objects in the smartphone’s portrait mode. The said functionality designed to deliver realistic-looking bokeh that makes the subjects pop out is inconsistent in general and has issues with tracing the actual focus of one’s shots in all but the most perfect of circumstances, which is a critique that’s been aimed at previous OnePlus-made Android handsets as well. As far as filmmaking is concerned, the OnePlus 6T impressed with its consistent stabilization and autofocusing capabilities but exhibited issues when used for panning shots by delivering jerky movement, particularly in regards to high-detailed textures which sometimes moved independently of the rest of the scene.
The lack of optical zoom is another major shortcoming of the newest OnePlus handset and while its digital zooming capabilities are far from unusable, they’re a significant downgrade over what most of its rivals are presently offering. Ultimately, consumers interested in a high-end device that still offers above-average price-to-value ratio should be more than pleased with the OnePlus 6T, as numerous reviews already pointed out, but anyone who prioritizes mobile photography when shopping for a handset would do well to look elsewhere if they’re truly interested in the very best the industry has to offer.
Let’s try that again
OnePlus will almost certainly be looking to improve the imaging capabilities of its Android smartphones over the course of 2019, continuing its existing focus on mobile photography, likely in acknowledgment of the criticism aimed at its existing solutions. Outside of the camera department, its devices have been rivaling and even surpassing those from other manufacturers in recent years, with responsiveness and battery life being one of their main selling points. As the firm now also has a distribution partnership with T-Mobile US, it’s set for continued growth moving forward seeing how it’s now enjoying large-scale access to the world’s largest market for high-end smartphones. OnePlus already confirmed it will be launching a 5G-ready handset in 2019 independently of its main lineups, meaning the company is planning to debut no fewer than three devices over the next twelve months. Whether any one of its upcoming products manages to surpass its contemporaries on the mobile photography front remains to be seen but as its devices are expected to continue becoming more expensive on an annual basis and its sales are still growing, the Chinese firm should soon have access to a much larger R&D budget allowing it to pursue those ambitions with greater tenacity.