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Best budget phone of 2016: OnePlus 3T

by Brandon Russell | December 26, 2016December 26, 2016 9:00 am PST

I wasn’t the only one confused by the arrival of the OnePlus 3T. Earlier in the year—June 14 to be exact—the Chinese startup released the OnePlus 3, a beautifully designed flagship that had everything going for it; it was affordable, powerful, and offered the latest version of OxygenOS.

Then it died.

Five months after the OnePlus 3 was released, a more powerful and refined version was unveiled. It’s not like the OnePlus 3 was suddenly bad, but who were we to say no to a more powerful version? Needless to say, we fell in love from the word go.

While the design remained the same, the OnePlus 3T came with a helping of differences, from its larger battery and faster processor to its 16-megapixel front-facing camera. The device was also available in a Soft Gold configuration with 128GB of storage. And, let me tell you, that’s the combination right there.

The best part? The device remained affordable, 6GB of RAM and all. The Gunmetal version with 64GB of storage retails for just $439, which is significantly cheaper than devices like the iPhone 7 and Google Pixel. You get a flagship device without the premium price.

The market is filled with devices that are cheaper than the OnePlus 3T, and a lot of them are very good. But, thanks to the Snapdragon 821 chip and 6GB of RAM, the device is as “future proof” as you’re going to get.

I will say this: The OnePlus 3T is still tough to find, a problem OnePlus still can’t overcome. Only the 64GB in Gunmetal is available, but it doesn’t ship for three weeks. The Soft Gold version, meanwhile, still says “coming soon.” I’d expect that to be very difficult to find when it finally launches.

The OnePlus 3T is certainly higher up on the budget spectrum, but you get a lot of phone for not a lot of money. And thanks to its gorgeous design, excellent software, and powerful guts, the device is our favorite budget phone of the year.

Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...