One of the companies we’ve been closely tracking since its inception is OnePlus. The brand started off with the OnePlus One, a phone not many people knew about, but one that took the tech world by storm. With a focus on great design, top-notch specifications and a consumer-centric approach that was unseen before. The OnePlus One had no ads on TV or the web, needed an invite to be purchased and even sourced most of its new OS from a popular custom ROM called CyanogenMod. While a great smartphone, the OnePlus One did more than introducing the world to the brand, it brought the whole concept of affordable flagships.
Now, 10 devices later, the brand has evolved a lot. With every new device, marketing is big and so is the hype. The company has shifted to a biannual update cycle and even has its own fresh new OS now. However, the brand still sticks to its unique formula of making premium devices. And after the success of the OnePlus 7 series, mere months later, we now have the OnePlus 7T.
We reviewed the device extensively and analysed not just how good of a phone the OnePlus 7T is, but also how great of an upgrade it is, and whether you should upgrade if you already have a OnePlus 7. Do remember this, though. The 7T is a successor to the OnePlus 7 and not the OnePlus 7 Pro. That would be the OnePlus 7T Pro that was launched later separately.
The OnePlus 7T is a big phone, just like the OnePlus 7. It is slightly taller, thicker and heavier too at 190 grams. That is justified by the bigger screen and the slightly bigger battery. The front of the device still has a dewdrop notch, but it is visibly smaller than the 7, and one of the smallest we’ve seen. There are thin, small bezels across the sides and the top, and a slightly thicker bezel on the bottom edge. The screen is flat like the OnePlus 7 and the curved screen from the 7 Pro is not adopted here. In fact, the 7T is barely distinguishable from the OnePlus 7 from the front.
The back of the device is where the real differences start appearing. There is the much loved frosted matte back with a blue gradient finish that we really love. The small dual-camera module of the OnePlus 7 is replaced by a large circular triple-camera module that protrudes quite a bit. Below the camera module is the OnePlus logo and near the bottom edge is the branding, both in white font.
The left edge of the phone just has the volume rockers while the right edge carries the power button and the signature textured OnePlus alert slider above it. The dual-Nano SIM slot, USB-C port, primary microphone and speaker grille goes on the bottom, while the top only has a secondary microphone.
Build quality is great on the phone, with the metal frame around the device and a sturdy glass on the front and back that is protected by Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and 5 on the back. The OnePlus 7T feels very premium in the hand, and that is thanks to its amalgamation of aesthetics and a supreme build. Full marks here.
The OnePlus 7T has a beautiful 6.55-inch screen on the front with a small notch on the top. The resolution here is 1080 x 2400 and that gives you roughly 403 PPI at an aspect ratio of 20:9.
One of the most loved features from the OnePlus 7 Pro makes it to the 7T, and it is now one of the two cheapest phones offering 90 Hz refresh rate, the other being the Asus ROG Phone II. The feature is also here to stay as the brand announced that all their future products will have a 90 Hz screen. Coming from the OnePlus 7 Pro, a noticeable element is that battery drainage while keeping 90 Hz on the whole time is a lot lesser. This is likely a combination of the new optimisations as well as the lower resolution on the 7T. However, if this is something you don’t really fancy, you always have the option of switching back to 60 Hz.
But that’s just specs, the real magic is when all the above elements add up to give you a screen that offers an experience that has to be felt to comprehend. The colours are deep, vivid and punchy thanks to the AMOLED panel, and you can even dive deeper in the settings to configure RGB levels to your liking. Viewing angles are great too. The maximum brightness goes up to 1000 nits and we could see the display fairly clearly under direct sunlight, even while wearing a pair of tinted sunglasses. That says something!
Pull out the phone at night before bed and the super bright screen goes super low, with a night mode feature that acts as a filter for blue light and helps protect your eyes and your sleep.
Your entertainment needs are taken care of and enhanced by support for HDR10+. This allows you to stream content on YouTube, Netflix and Amazon Prime in real-time HDR, to produce stunning visual clarity. The screen is also protected by Gorilla Glass 6, and also comes with a pre-installed screen protector.
The OnePlus 7T combines the flat design and compact size of the 7 with the 90 Hz refresh rate from the 7T and is easily one of our favourite screens on smartphones right now.
Oneplus’ OxygenOS is known for its near-stock, clean interface that is still feature-packed. But the brand surprised us when the device was launched with Android 10 pre-installed. This, at a time when only the older Pixel devices had access to Android 10, makes the OnePlus 7T the first smartphone to sell off the shelves with the new Android version.
With OxygenOS 10, the device has access to all the new Android features including minute permission controls, scrubbing through music from the notification panel, and smart replies. The smart replies feature is something we really love. It gives you intelligent quick replies to conversations on apps like WhatsApp, right from the notification bar. All aesthetic customisations of the OS are now put under one tab in the main settings panel.
There are numerous OxygenOS features to love like the completely customisable UI, Zen Mode, DC Dimming and gesture support. That being said, OxygenOS is still clean and fluid as ever. There is no bloat at all, and the weightlessness is something you will feel during the day-to-day performance on the device.
One thing that set the OnePlus 7 apart from the 7 Pro was the dual-camera setup, which while quite good in its own right, lacked the ultra-wide capabilities of the triple-camera setup of the OnePlus 7 Pro. Well, the good news is that the OnePlus 7T borrows the triple-camera setup from the 7 Pro. There is a big, circular module on the back with three lenses and a dual-tone flash, all safe behind a layer of glass. The module does protrude quite a bit, and the edges are sharp, but in our opinion, the new design looks great.
The triple-camera setup lets you take super high-res 48MP pictures with the main lens, zoom in on a subject using the 2x telephoto lens, or take a 117-degree FOV shot with the ultra-wide lens.
The new macro-mode is the highlight here and so we’ll begin right there. The pictures capture details that even the human eye miss out, and we ran out of adjectives describing how great the experience was. You can now focus on subjects as close as 2.5 cm from the lens, which is insane. What’s even better is you can use all three lenses while in the macro mode, allowing you to take macro shots with 2X optical zoom, or wide-angles. Here are a few samples to show you just what we are talking about.
The primary lens is a 48 MP Sony IMX586, f/1.6 lens that features phase detection auto-focus and optical image stabilisation. This is the go-to lens for most of your photography needs. Colours are accurate yet have the right punch of saturation to them, and the lens can capture stunning detail, even in regular 12MP shots. Overall dynamic range seems improved over the OnePlus 7’s performance. The camera uses what the company calls the ‘Ultrashot Engine’ to obtain this, and it does the job quite well.
The camera UI is as intuitive as ever and offers a simple interface from where you can quickly get to specific modes like the Portrait, Slow-motion, Timelapse, and Nightscape among others. Holding down on the screen while pointing the camera at an object triggers Google lens and the Camera app can also detect QR codes, phone numbers, Email addresses and more, straight from the interface. Pointing the camera at these elements gives you a small link redirect on the bottom that can take you to the corresponding page. The one thing that ticked us a little bit is that taking an actual 48MP shot still requires you to go into Pro Mode. But we can forgive that considering the Pro Mode still gives you RAW image support.
Nightscape mode is still here and better than ever as you can use this low-light photography mode even on the ultra-wide lens now. However, the main 48MP lens will offer you the best overall shots when light is scarce. The low light performance is so good, we started liking low light photography a lot more than before.
Ultra-wide angle shots on the 16MP f/2.2 lens were great and while this isn’t the widest lens out there on smartphones, it does have PDAF and gets the job done brilliantly. While colours are great, the details, like most ultra-wide sensors, often take a slight hit on most shots. Using the flash with the ultra-wide lens is still forbidden. However the warp-correction around the edges is pretty good, and like we said earlier, night mode support on the lens makes up for everything it lacks.
Unlike the OnePlus 7, the OnePlus 7T has a proper 2x Telephoto lens and not a depth sensor in the name of the secondary lens. The 12MP f/2.2 lens does give you the added convenience of zooming in on a subject, usually far away, to get a better frame for the picture. A good addition, we found the lens most useful when combined with the new Macro Mode.
The front camera on the 7T is a 16MP f/2.0 shooter. Definitely not the highest megapixel count out there, but the camera does surprisingly capture great details. Low light performance on the front camera isn’t usually too good on most phones but we found the 7T excellent in this area. Portrait shots are quick and edge detection was very accurate most of the time.
Recording video on the OnePlus 7T is too good with the new super-stable mode that uses the optical image stabilisation to give you footage that barely shakes at all. Camera ups and downs are insanely soft and smoother while small jerks and regular shakiness is completely negated. While the regular video is recorded at 1080p, you can go up to 4K and even 4K at 60fps. Video on the front cam is limited to 1080p at 30 fps, but you do get electronic image stabilisation.
All of this makes the camera department undoubtedly the biggest update on the OnePlus 7T over the OnePlus 7.
Performance has been the core element of OnePlus devices right from the beginning, and the 7T does not differ. Talking specs, the phone comes with the latest Snapdragon 855+ SoC which is claimed to be about 15 per cent faster than the 855 on the 7 series. There is also 8GB RAM on both variants of the OnePlus 7T and there’s UFS 3.0 storage.
All that adds up to a phone that can do everything at blazing fast speeds; without the slightest feeling of being slow, or the odd frame-drop. The phone takes care of day-to-day tasks without breaking a sweat and can run over 10 apps at a time without refreshing any of them when you switch. There is just no slowing down in the media department either, with big video files playing easily and looking good while at it. The cherry on top is the 90 Hz refresh rate, which makes everything that’s already fast, feel even faster and smoother.
With UFS 3.0, data transfer through the USB-C port is super fast and so is the in-app performance, with big apps and games loading much faster. The benchmark score of the phone on Antutu is 3,89,482, which makes it the second-fastest phone right behind only the Asus ROG Phone II, which is a dedicated gaming device. The Geekbench score is 777 (Single-Core) and 2813 (Multi-Core)
The fingerprint on the bottom of the screen is an optical one that’s crazy fast, needing pretty much no time between the touch and the unlocking. This is no doubt the fastest fingerprint scanner we’ve seen.
Another key feature the OnePlus 7 missed out on was the beautiful yet powerful stereo sound found on the OnePlus 7 Pro. That’s taken care of here as the 7T comes with stereo sound with the large earpiece on the top edge doubling up as a secondary speaker. Dolby Atmos support means your sound is not just loud but also balanced, clear and crisp. Qualcomm’s aptX HD sound support means pairing the phone with aptX HD supported audio devices will produce unmatched sound quality.
In terms of connectivity, the OnePlus 7T supports 4G and VoLTE and can take two nano-SIM cards. There is support for Bluetooth 5.0 and Wi-Fi a/g/b/n/ac and both 2.4 and 5 GHz. There’s no FM radio but NFC is supported and so is dual-band GPS with support for A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO, and SBAS.
As good old Uncle Ben said, with great performance power, come great gaming responsibilities. Well, he may not have actually said that but he didn’t get to try his hands on the OnePlus 7T either. The phone is simply put a gaming beast. The Snapdragon 855+ SoC combined with Adreno 640 translates to effortless gaming with no lags whatsoever. We tested popular resource-heavy titles like PUBG Mobile and Call of Duty Mobile on the phone and were very pleased with the results.
PUBG, for example, can be run on HDR graphics at Extreme frame-rate, which is the highest possible combination on Android right now. Heating, however, could be an issue as the phone can get hot quickly with heavy games being played on max graphics.
Other factors that enhance the great gaming performance are the loud and crisp stereo speakers, the compact size and the great battery life.
The battery life on the OnePlus 7 was above average but nothing special. It, however, made up for that with its fast 20W Dash charging. That was bettered with the larger battery on the OnePlus 7 Pro, which ‘Warp-charged’ at 30W. With the 7T, you get the best of both worlds. The battery is slightly bigger than the OnePlus 7 at 3800mAh, and you get Warp-Charge 30T, a 23 per cent faster implementation of the 30W charging.
Charging is super fast and the company’s claim of 70 per cent charge in 30 minutes is no joke. A full charge on the phone takes less than an hour. Battery life is great thanks to optimisations and the 1080p screen also takes a smaller toll. That translates to you getting through a day’s use easily on moderate use, but you probably won’t make it through Day-2 without plugging it back again.
But let’s face it, the strong point of OnePlus 7T’s battery isn’t the amount of juice it can carry on a single charge but the fast top-up you can get by plugging it in, even for a few minutes, and that makes more sense for most people. Fun fact though, the new Warp-Charge 30T has got nothing to do with the new charging brick itself, which is the same one you will find on the 7 Pro. The difference is actually engineered inside the 7T itself, giving you faster charging speeds with the same brick. That means more accessory compatibility across the 7 series, without sacrificing speed.
The OnePlus 7T hits all the spots. It’s got the latest specs, has the OnePlus 7 Pro’s best features and costs a lot lesser than it too. In terms of sheer value for money, the OnePlus 7T is as close to the perfect smartphone as we have gotten so far.
The price of Rs 38,000 for the 128GB variant and Rs 40,000 for the 256GB arguably makes the OnePlus 7 Pro from just 4 months ago look over-expensive. With the speed, the latest Android update, a clean UI, exceptional camera abilities, super-fast charging and great gaming, the OnePlus 7T is the best OnePlus device out there right now. Perhaps one of the best premium smartphones out there too!...