The OnePlus 6T is OnePlus’s current top phone, and the company is known for building excellent smartphones priced aggressively (~$580). Known for its “Never Settle” moto, the brand is now available at T-Mobile stores, making it one of the best option available to consumers. Learn more: what is our Camera IQ score?
Camera Specifications and Uber HW Camera Score
- Rear Camera System (1 camera)
- Primary: 25mm, f/1.7, 16 Megapixel, OIS
Note: the secondary rear camera of the OnePlus 6T is just a 20 MP Bokeh sensor, which helps compute the depth information for out of focus blur.
Despite having a single lens, OnePlus has a relatively strong rear camera system, especially when it comes to value for the price. Learn more: what is our camera hardware score?
Image Quality Analysis
Important: let’s clarify some terminology we’ll be using:
- “image processing”: software work that improves the image data quality
- “image filtering”: software work that changes the style (aesthetic) of the photo.
- “context photo”: a great approximation of what we see
- Including how dark the scene actually is
- Only to provide the context of the shot.
- Not a quality benchmark
A note about the Uber IQ Camera Score: our camera scoring system is based on four “Pillars” or sub-scores that provides much-needed nuance: day, night, zoom and ultrawide photography.
Daylight Photography: 186
In Daylight photography, the OnePlus 6T performs extremely well, with great details and good exposure. It is able to outpace nearly all the 12 MP mobile cameras in details, thanks to its good use of its superior 16MP resolution. However, users will have to tolerate a slightly unnatural look due to image filtering.
It scores as high as the iPhone XS in daylight photo, but for different reasons: the iPhone XS keeps a very natural look with great texture preservation, but the OnePlus 5T is sharper and can capture details and even colors that the iPhone might have a hard time with.
On a sunny day shot (hotel view, below), the OnePlus 6T captures a more natural-looking image than the Pixel 3, although both phones tend to use color-filtering to make images more pleasing in their own styles. The OnePlus 6T also has a bit better details than the Galaxy Note 9.
If you take a closer look at the image, you can see how the OnePlus 6T takes advantage of its slightly higher resolution to pull ahead when it comes to details and sharpness. It is particularly obvious when looking at the bottom-half of the photo. Check the plants and railguard details.
Context ShotThe white house with a strong sun illumination is a challenging scene for HDR because the luminosity between shadow and light is so vast. In general, the OnePlus 6T does very well, but we’re using this photo to also illustrate a slight “haze” effect that softens the image. It might be due to a multiframe HDR alignment issue, but it shows up from time to time. You have to know what to look for.
In the scene below, most high-end phones would be very well, but the OnePlus 6T can pick up the red colors of the bush in the center of the photo better than others. Again, details are visibly higher, even though the image filtering is visible.
A cropped view of the scene is a great illustration of how different the OnePlus 6T and iPhone XS are, despite sharing the same top Daylight photo score: The OnePlus 6T has better edge details, while the iPhone XS does a slightly better job at capturing materials texture (inside details).
In diffuse low-light settings, the OnePlus 6T performs very well and goes head to head with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, which ranks higher than Pixel 3 and iPhone XS for night-shots. In general, the Mate 20 Pro will have less noise, but the OnePlus 6T has a more natural color rendering.
In extreme low-light situations such as this 0.5 LUX shot of these bottles, a closer look at the image shows fairly visible noise and loss of details. For example, the Pixel 3 is just behind the Huawei Mate 20 in these conditions when it comes to noise and details, but does a better job of preserving the color hues.
Samsung’s Galaxy Note 9, S9 and S9+ will outperform the OnePlus 6T in low-light photos. This is where Samsung’s f/1.5 aperture and lens design makes a visible difference.
In this diffcult cityscape night shot, the OnePlus 6T shows a masteful camera color tuning as it captures more accurate colors than the both the Google Pixel 3 and the iPhone XS out of the box.
In fact, the color-tuning of OnePlus is very similar to the Galaxy Note 9’s in low light. Both phones capture life-like colors with excellent dynamic range and details. However, the Note 9’s noise level and detail preservation cannot be matched by the OnePlus 6T.
In the cropped photo below, you can see a few interesting challenges on the left half of the image: the OnePlus 6T is having difficulties with the roof of the yellow building, and the edge of the blue building to the extreme left.
Overall, the OnePlus 6T is still one of the best low-light camera available, and certainly the best we’ve tested at the ~$580 price point (unlocked, no contract).
Without a dedicated zoom lens, the OnePlus 6T has to rely on software processing, and it shows. The image is significantly filtered. For example, the iPhone XS and its 2X zoom can capture a much more natural looking image with actual details of the furry texture.
The Google Pixel 3, another single-lens design is just a bit better, but also look very filtered and make the furry detail look coarser than they are in reality. The Mate 20 Pro (and P20 Pro) are the clear-cut zoom reference at the moment.
The same situation is true with other types of textures that are easier for filters to deal with. The OnePlus 6T performs better than phones like the LG G7, Pixel 2 and of course the OnePlus 6. However, Pixel 3, Mate 20 Pro, iPhone XS, and Samsung Series 9 stay ahead.
The crop view above shows that despite having a very good image processing for a single-lens camera, it is hard to compete with a dedicated 2X optical zoom camera like the Galaxy Note 9. Therefore, the split view below shows that a 3X zoom takes thing to the next level. Look at the window mesh, or the painting detail on the wooden object.
Ultrawide Photography: N/A
The OnePlus 6T does not have an ultrawide (~16mm lens), so we will have to wait for the next-generation OnePlus handsets that may have such a feature.
Conclusion and Uber IQ Camera Score
The OnePlus 6T has an impressive camera and if you take pricing into consideration ($580 today), it’s fair to say that OnePlus did not settle, on the contrary.
In daylight, it takes the level of detail to the highest we’ve seen yet. In low-light, this mobile camera captures very agreeable photos with well-preserved colors, without excess filtering. This is a style that could attract iPhone or Samsung users to the OnePlus platform because the camera tuning sticks to a realistic scene.
However, without hardware support for zoom and ultrawide photography, the OnePlus 6T can’t reach the top of the charts, which is dominated by mobile cameras with more powerful or versatile hardware configuration.
|Uber IQ Camera||Sub-scores|
Learn more: what is our Camera IQ score, and full rankings
Filed in Camera Benchmarks, Editorspick, Mobile Camera Reviews, OnePlus and OnePlus 6T.. Read more about