OnePlus 5T Smartphone Review: Audio
Author:Soomal
Source:eng.soomal.com

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OnePlus 5T is the full-vision version OnePlus 5, except that, high performance remains. OnePlus had been a strong performer among smartphones without separated DAC. Let's have a look at the latest one.

OnePlus 5T uses Qualcomm SD835 processor, but the CODEC is unknown, it could be WCD9341. Good audio I/O provided by Qualcomm SoCs guarantees clean sounds. But it still may sound awful by some manufacturers.

OnePlus 5 is able to run at different Android versions. Our OnePlus 5T is running on H2OS, which all others sold in China Mainland are. H2OS is an ultra-light OS, for most built-in apps are provided by 3rd party developers. The default music player is Netease Cloud music, not a modified version, the same as what you download from any markets.

We start to add USB audio device compatibility test and Bluetooth decode supported test as the popularity of smartphone external device. We choose Musiland MD30 Plus as our audio device, using SuperDSP platform that is compatible with UAC2.0. Another one is Matrix Mini-i Pro 2S, adopting XMOS program. The reason why we choose these two is that they can display the current sampling rate on screen. We will add more devices in the future.

Testing Smartphone iPhone X iPhone 8 Plus Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Samsung Galaxy S8+ Huawei Mate 10 vivo X20 Plus OnePlus 5T
Musiland MD30 Plus Auto Switch Sampling Rate Auto Switch Sampling Rate Locked to 48kHz or 192kHz Cannot Work Properly Locked to 96kHz Locked to 48kHz Locked to 48kHz
MATRIX Mini-i Pro 2S Auto Switch Sampling Rate Auto Switch Sampling Rate Locked to 48kHz or 192kHz Locked to 48kHz or 192kHz Locked to 96kHz Locked to 48kHz Locked to 48kHz
Comment greater than or equal to 96kHz will be locked to 192kHz, others are locked to 48 kHz

OnePlus 5T will lock to 48kHz connecting with external USB audio devices, so it will SRC in playing 44.1kHz audios. Android smartphones would meet the same problem, Google should add a few codes.

By convention, we use professional sound cards to record sounds, combining with common analysis, to provide quantitative results. The maximum output level of Mate 10 is -11dB, lower than most competitive products.

Something abnormal happened during test. It looks like SRC problem. However, the problem comes from Netease Cloud Music, which occurred in our OnePlus 5 and HTC U11 tests. It is quite weird that Netease Cloud Music SRC in some versions, while some versions not, confusing us twice on OnePlus. So we used Hiby Music for the rest of our test.

Testing Item 44.1kHz 48kHz OnePlus 5
Noise Level, dB -97.1 -97.2 -97.3
Dynamic Range, dB 96.8 97.1 97.0
Total Harmonic Distortion(THD), % 0.0039 0.0039 0.0021
Intermodulation Distortion, % 0.0045 0.0043 0.0009
Stereo Crosstalk, dB -96.5 -97.3 -96.5

All tests are passed using Hiby Music, except Hi-Res, as was expected. Except output level downgraded 6dB, the distortion indicates are worse.

In real hearing experience, OnePlus 5T is not as good as OnePlus 5, for lacking power, tinny sound stage, and somehow shill in the mid-to-high frequency. It could be even worse when using the default Netease Cloud Music. It is really a surprise that OnePlus back step in audio performance.

We know, it is impossible to demand high audio performance for all smartphone manufacturers, but it is not that excessive to fulfill potential. At least, do not go backward.

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