Cutting-edge features, powerhouse performance, an incredible screen, flagship powerwithout a crazy flagship price  – all these factors explain why a large crowd of phone enthusiasts were willing to queue up for several hours on a chilly November Thursday to buy the new OnePlus 3T.

Outside London’s central O2 Oxford Street store, some buyers waited for over three hours to get their hands on OnePlus’s latest smartphone, with O2’s angels providing refreshments and the OnePlus team dishing out T-Shirts and stopping to talk phones. Inside, O2’s team set up contracts and sold PAYG phones over the counter, with nearly everyone in the queue going home with one of OnePlus’s beautifully designed backpacks as a bonus gift. OnePlus experts were around to talk phones and exchange tips, while fans could take part in the Dash Charge Challenge; a motion-controlled 3D runner game played out on a six-foot vertical screen. Collecting sparks of energy and dodging red blocks took some pretty active hip-wiggling, but the day’s highest scorer, Ricky, went home with a free OnePlus 3T. Ryan Fenwick, OnePlus’s Head of Communications, was pleased to see so many people queuing up. ‘Android phones aren’t necessarilythe kind of productsthat people want to come and line-up for, but what we’ve seen with OnePlus is that, anywhere we go, we get a pretty good turnout. We’ve got nobody but our amazing community to thank for that.’

Why? You only had to speak to those in-line to find out. Right up at the front of the queue, Rahul had been waiting for over three hours to buy the 3T. ‘It’s the functionality, the way it looks’ he said. ‘You get a flagship phone at half the price – it’s really good.’ He’d decided on a OnePlus phone having tried his brother’s OnePlus 3, but had opted to go one better. ‘It’s exciting’ he said as the first customers were allowed in store. ‘I just want to get in there.’

Rob, meanwhile, was making the switch from iOS. ‘I’ve had an iPhone for eight years and this year I’m upgrading, but it’s nearly £1,000 for the new iPhone and it’s basically the same as the one I’ve had for the last two years. It’s time to change.’ Rob had seen reviews of the OnePlus 3 and planned to buy that, but couldn’t resist the lure of the new 3T. ‘It’s compelling’ he said. ‘Line it up next to the Google Pixel XL and it’s basically neck and neck in terms of technical specifications, but less than half the price….value for money and the reviews I’ve read are definitely pointing me in this direction.’

‘The OnePlus 3T is, for the specification and the price, the most advanced phone out there’ said Oz, a student at nearby University College, London. ‘It has 6GB of RAM and the latest processor, but it’s still £150 cheaper than the nearest rival phone.’ ‘OnePlus gives you value for money’ he explained, ‘and there’s more of a focus on what the user gets out of it.’ Oz feels that where other manufacturers make you pay through the nose for extra storage then lock you into their own ecosystem, OnePlus always puts its users first.

Moaad was another keen buyer. ‘I want to get a new 3T. I wanted to get the 3 to begin with, but I’ve waited for a while to see what would come out by the end of the year.’ For Moaad, it’s OnePlus’s integration of brilliant hardware and dazzling software that makes its phones so special. ‘I like the Oxygen OS – I think it’s brilliant – and I think the specs are really good for the price.’

The OnePlus 3 remains an amazing phone, but the 3T goes even further, with features like its Dash Charge feature, which gives you enough power to last the day in just half an hour. Faster, cooler and safer than other fast-charge technologies, it can charge your phone at the same steady rate even when you’re involved in processor-intensive tasks like playing games. Meanwhile, the upgraded 3400mAh battery – a 15% increase on the OnePlus 3 – gives you enough juice from a full charge to get you through one day and into the next.

That’s not the only cutting-edge feature in the new 3T. With the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor, running at 2.46GHz, plus a colossal 6GB of RAM, it leads the field in terms of raw performance, handling every task you throw at it without a stutter and running the most demanding games with butter-smooth frame rates and everything maxed out. The 3T also matches the OnePlus 3’s stunning 16MP rear camera with a new 16MP front-facing camera, optimised for HD live streaming and low-light shooting, with the same Smile Capture feature to ensure you get the best shot, every time.

OnePlus’s Ryan Fenwick sees these advances as a crucial part of OnePlus’s success. ‘Our business model and I think our user-friendliness is something that people really like’ he told us, ‘but I think it’s the quality of the product that really drives everybody to buy it. As long as we keep making the best quality products – the hardware, software, all of that together in one package – we’ll have a phone that you can’t really beat.’

Click here for more details on the OnePlus 3T