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T-Mobile OnePlus 6T vs OnePlus 6T - what's the difference?

The OnePlus 6T is available directly from T-Mobile, but don't expect the exact same experience as the unlocked model.

Published onNovember 1, 2018

OnePlus announced its latest flagship smartphone, the OnePlus 6T, earlier this week. While the phone is being sold unlocked directly by the company on its website, it’s also being sold by T-Mobile as well.

This is the first time a U.S. carrier has sold a OnePlus device. However, some of you might be wondering if there are any differences between the T-Mobile OnePlus 6T and the unlocked OnePlus 6T. Turns out, there are a few.

Let’s take a look. 

T-Mobile OnePlus 6T is single SIM, Unlocked OnePlus 6T is dual SIM

oneplus 6t tmo

The biggest hardware difference between the T-Mobile version of the OnePlus 6T and the unlocked version is the T-Mobile model is a single SIM phone. You can only put one SIM card in the phone: a T-Mobile SIM card.

The unlocked version of the OnePlus 6T is a dual SIM device. It can hold two SIM cards inside. Many people, particularly those who travel a lot on business, like dual SIM phones because they can have one SIM for personal calls, and another for work purposes.

An unnamed OnePlus rep told PhoneArena the T-Mobile version of the OnePlus 6T has just one SIM card slot because it’s “very rare” for people in the U.S. to need an extra. That may be true, but it’s still a bit disappointing.

T-Mobile OnePlus 6T is carrier-locked

t-mobile oneplus 6t trade in

Because the T-Mobile OnePlus 6T only has one SIM card, it will also be carrier-locked. That means if you purchase the OnePlus 6T from T-Mobile, you can’t use it on any other network while you are paying off the device.

Once the device is fully paid for, you can request a network unlock which will allow you to use the phone on another carrier. However, there is a waiting period between the unlock request and the time when you’ll actually get unlocked.

On the flip side, the unlocked full-price version of the OnePlus 6T from the company itself not only works with any GSM network (including T-Mobile and AT&T), but it is also the first OnePlus device to support Verizon‘s CDMA network.

T-Mobile OnePlus 6T vs Unlocked OnePlus 6T — Software Differences

To its credit, the T-Mobile version of the OnePlus 6T does not have a carrier logo on the back of the phone. However, you will still see the familiar T-Mobile logo, with its trademark magenta background, as part of the boot animation when you start the phone.

In addition, the bootloader in the T-Mobile OnePlus 6T is locked. If you purchase the phone at full price from the carrier or finish paying off the phone with monthly installments, the bootloader can be unlocked. OnePlus has the details of how to unlock the bootloader on its forum pages.

Speaking of software, the T-Mobile OnePlus 6T doesn’t have too much of the usual carrier bloatware. Besides the bootloader unlock app, T-Mobile has only pre-loaded its own carrier app on the phone, along with the Unlock app which unlocks the phone from the network after you have paid off your T-Mobile OnePlus 6T. However, both the T-Mobile app and the Unlock app can’t be uninstalled without modifying the software in some way.

The network version also has the Google Discover/Google Now Feed on the left-most homescreen, while the unlocked version is stuck with the OnePlus Shelf screen. The manufacturer told Android Police the Google Discover screen was limited to the T-Mobile variant — it didn’t elaborate on whether it’ll be coming to the unlocked version at all.

Finally, the T-Mobile OnePlus 6T version also asks the owner to sign up for purely optional data collection during the phone’s initial setup. Again, this is an option — you don’t have to sign up for this feature.

T-Mobile OnePlus 6T vs Unlocked OnePlus 6T — Updates

A photo from the OnePlus 6T pop-up event in New York City.

OnePlus posted in its official forums about the launch of the OnePlus 6T on T-Mobile to give its fans a roundup of all the big news. In that statement, the company admitted Android updates will come at a slower pace to the T-Mobile variant of the device as compared to the unlocked version.

However, the company didn’t say how much of a time disparity there will be between the two models. We did find though that the T-Mobile variant is already behind on updates when you take it out of the box on launch day, November 1. While the unlocked variant is on OxygenOS version 9.0.4 the T-Mobile variant is on OxygenOS 9.0.0.

Buying the T-Mobile OnePlus 6T versus buying the unlocked T-Mobile OnePlus 6T

OnePlus 6T cameras

T-Mobile is only offering the mirror black edition of the OnePlus 6T, with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of onboard storage. You can get it online or at one of T-Mobile’s retail stores for the full price of $579.

The carrier is also offering up to $300 off the price of a OnePlus 6T with an eligible phone trade-in, including all of the older OnePlus phones. If you trade in your phone, you can get the OnePlus 6T for as low as $279, or $11.67 per month for 24 months on T-Mobile’s Equipment Installment Plan.

If you buy the phone directly from OnePlus in the U.S., you have some more hardware, color, and pricing options. You can get the OnePlus 6T for $549 with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, in mirror black. The version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage costs $579, the same as the T-Mobile version, but you can choose between mirror black and midnight black colors. Finally, you can get one with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, for $629, in the midnight black color.

Now that you have all the info on the differences between the T-Mobile OnePlus 6T and the unlocked OnePlus 6T, which version will you pick?

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