(Pocket-lint) - OnePlus 3T is the latest phone from the original market disruptors, and comes as one of our most highly recommended smartphones of the year. It essentially took what was great about the OnePlus 3 and made it faster, and last longer.
Similarly, the iPhone 7 Plus is an improved version of the 6s Plus, which in itself was an improved version of the 6 Plus.
Both phones are available to buy now, but come with hugely different price tags. The question is: does the difference in experience justify the price gap?
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 Plus: Design
- OnePlus is curved and narrower
- Both made mostly from aluminium
- iPhone 7 Plus is IP67 rated
The OnePlus 3T’s chassis is hewn from a single piece of aluminium, giving a solid, sturdy feel. It measures in at 152.7 x 74.7 x 7.35mm and weighs just 158g. Its fingerprint sensor is built into the front frame beneath the screen, while the bezel around the display is impressively slim. There’s a Type-C port next to a speaker grille and 3.5mm jack on the bottom edge.
As for colour options, you get to choose between a gunmetal grey and soft gold variant. The latter of those isn’t available to buy just yet, and will only be available with 64GB storage.
Switching to the iPhone 7 Plus, and we’re looking at another all aluminium chassis, but with a different, flatter design. At 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3mm, it’s noticeably wider and taller, which makes it a little harder to hold in one hand. Like the OnePlus, it has a fingerprint sensor built into its front-mounted home button.
Unlike the OnePlus, the iPhone 7 Plus has IP67 certification, which means it's resistant to water and dust. It’s also available in a stunning Jet Black colour option, which swaps the traditional anodised metal finish for a more glossy lacquer. It’s pretty, but very prone to scratching and collecting fingerprints.
Being Apple, there’s no Type-C connection on this phone, instead there’s the usual proprietary Lightning port which Apple uses in several of its smaller products.
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 Plus: Display
- Both 5.5-inch screens
- Both 1080p resolution
- AMOLED vs LCD IPS technology
The OnePlus 3T sports a 5.5-inch screen using the same AMOLED technology found in its predecessor, the OnePlus 3. This 1080p display features dual polarising layers to help it be more visible in daylight. All this is packed behind a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass 4.
Apple’s biggest phone has the same screen size and resolution as the 3T, except it uses LCD IPS technology which isn’t quite as vibrant. Whites are cleaner, and colours are more natural and accurate, but it does lack the contrast and punch of its competitor.
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 Plus: Camera
- iPhone has dual 12MP system
- 3T has 16MP front and rear cameras
- Both have OIS, 4K video
Compared to the iPhone, OnePlus’ main camera is a pretty standard affair. It’s a 16-megapixel sensor built into a camera with both optical and electronic image stabilisation for blur-free shots. It takes images quickly and can shoot video up to 4K resolution.
Apple went with an interesting dual camera 12-megapixel setup on the back, where the secondary lens is a telephoto zoom lens capable of giving you 2x zoom without losing any detail. It’s also paired with a quad LED true tone flash, for better party shots.
The iPhone is very much a point and shoot affair, while the OnePlus gives you manual controls to give you a more fine-tuneable experience when shooting photos.
As for results, the iPhone tends to take better photos quickly and more consistently, although similar photos side by side show very little difference in overall quality.
Switching to the front cameras, and OnePlus decided to cram in 16-megapixels into the selfie snapper, while Apple has been more restrained with its standard seven megapixel system.
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 Plus: Hardware
- iPhone has A10 Fusion processor
- OnePlus has Snapdragon 821 chip
- OnePlus has 6GB RAM and Dash Charge
The OnePlus 3T’s spec sheet makes for impressive reading and performance. With its Snapdragon 821 processor and 6GB RAM, it can cope with any task you can throw at it. It also has a large 3,400mAh battery to get it way past one day of moderate use. When it’s empty, you can charge it up super quick with the Dash Charge adapter which gets it from 0-70 per cent in thirty minutes.
Apple went with its latest custom chip in the iPhone 7 Plus. The A10 Fusion chip is quad core, and paired with 3GB RAM. It may not look much compared to the OnePlus, but it easily outperforms the Snapdragon in Benchmarking tests, and results in very smooth and fast performance in daily use thanks to Apple’s control over hardware and software optimisation.
Because of this optimisation, the 7 Plus’ 2,900mAh battery is capable of lasting just as long as the OnePlus’ battery, but it doesn’t charge anywhere near as quickly.
OnePlus sells the 3T in both 64GB and 128GB variants, while Apple sells the 7 Plus in 32GB, 128GB and 264GB versions.
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 Plus: Software
- iPhone runs iOS 10
- OnePlus runs Android Marshmallow
Like the last model, the OnePlus 3T runs a customised version of Android Marshmallow. The company’s software, known as OxygenOS, comes with lots of customisation choices, including changing icon size and shape, as well as the ability to lock individual apps behind fingerprint authentication requests.
iOS 10 is Apple’s latest version of the iPhone operating system, and ships on the 7 Plus, complete with the new version of the Messages app, stickers, emoji and updated Mail app. There’s also the new Maps app which is more proactive at suggesting routes, and a Home app for controlling all your HomeKit enabled smart home products.
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 Plus: Price
- OnePlus 3T starts at £399
- iPhone 7 Plus starts at £719
The OnePlus 3T is available to buy now and starts at £399. Although more expensive than its predecessor, it’s still far cheaper than Apple’s flagship phone, and is available from OnePlus direct or from O2 in the UK.
Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus starts at £719 and is available from a plethora of retail stores and carriers, both on the high street and online.
OnePlus 3T vs iPhone 7 Plus: Conclusion
The OnePlus 3T is smaller, and more comfortable to hold in one hand, has a higher resolution camera, charges much, much quicker and has a larger starting storage capacity.
The iPhone on the other hand performs slightly faster, gets more speedy software updates and is available to buy in more places.
In truth, both phones are fantastic, but there’s a huge difference in pricing. OnePlus’ largest 128GB storage costs £439, while the same storage option of the iPhone 7 Plus costs £819. While the iPhone may be a better all rounder, it’s nowhere near its competitor when it comes to value for money.