OnePlus 8T Review: 'T' Stands For Terrific

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The OnePlus 8T checks all the right boxes, while it costs significantly less than most other flagships.

OnePlus 8T
$749 / €599 / £549
Rating
star star star star star
Pros
  • Gorgeous 120Hz display
  • Buttery-smooth performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Insanely fast charging
  • Well-optimized software
  • Really good camera performance
  • Quality build (materials)
Cons
  • No wireless charging
  • No official IP rating

OnePlus supplied us with a review unit of the OnePlus 8T, but didn’t have a say in our opinion, nor did they see this review before you. We’ve been using the device for over a week before forming an opinion.

The OnePlus 7T was an extremely popular smartphone. OnePlus managed to attract people with a great combination of high-end specs / features, and a great price point. Well, the company did it again this year, as the OnePlus 8T hits all the right spots. The device is more affordable than the OnePlus 8, and it even improves upon that phone in some ways. In other words, it offers more than the regular OnePlus 8, which is something you’ll realize in our OnePlus 8T review.

It is worth noting that the OnePlus 8 Pro is still positioned as the company’s flagship, alongside the OnePlus 8T. The OnePlus 8 Pro does offer some features the OnePlus 8T does not, such as wireless charging, for example. Other than that, a higher-res display (which is a difference you’ll be hard-pressed to notice), and a newer main camera sensor, there’s really no reason why you shouldn’t go for the OnePlus 8T instead. This is a great smartphone, even if it cost more than it does that would be the case. That being said, let’s dive into it, shall we?

High-end look and feel

OnePlus is no stranger to making well-built, sturdy phones, even though they are made mostly out of glass. The OnePlus 8T is no different in that regard. This smartphone comes with an aluminum frame, placed in-between two sheets of Gorilla Glass, for protection. The phone is quite slippery in the hand, as were its predecessors. Chances are you’d want to keep it inside a case, otherwise you may drop it. The OnePlus 8T is not a small phone, so using it without a case, as slippery as it is… that’s certainly not a great idea. To each its own, though, some people like this feeling, and don’t really appreciate cases, which is something I can understand.

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The OnePlus 8T does resemble the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, but it’s a bit different. It’s still curved on the back, but it feels a bit thicker in the hand than it actually is. This phone is only 8.4mm thick, and it feels thicker than the OnePlus 8 Pro. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t feel too thick or anything, it’s just a different feeling. The device is a bit lighter than the OnePlus 8 Pro, at 188 grams, which is something your pinky finger will appreciate when holding the phone with one hand. The device is wider than both OnePlus 8 phones, though, at 74.1mm… though it’s not too wide or anything of the sort.

There is a single display camera hole included here

The phone does include a display camera hole in the top-left corner, and its size is the same as the one on the OnePlus 8, at least to my eyes, as I don’t have any official info on that. The phone does include a flat display, unlike its siblings, and its bezels are quite thin. Curved glass is placed on top of its flat display, so don’t worry about your fingers getting stuck to the sides. Using this flat display is actually really enjoyable, and I experienced no issues with accidental presses or anything of the sort. It is worth noting that the phone does not feature official IP rating, but it can handle some water without a problem. We were told it can get caught in the rain without issues, so don't worry about it, just don't go swimming with it.

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Some of you are probably wondering if the phone is a fingerprint magnet. Well, I’ve used the Aquamarine Green variant of the device for over a week at this point, and I can say that this variant is excellent at repelling fingerprints. I cannot speak for the Lunar Silver model, though. The back side of my review unit is kind of glossy, so I expected plenty of fingerprints despite the fact OnePlus’ employee said that won’t be the case. Well, he was right, this phone did an excellent job of repelling / hiding them. All in all, OnePlus did a really good job in the design department. Some may say that the design is uninspired, and that OnePlus decided to play it safe here. That may be the case, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing… and it was kind of expected.

The display is gorgeous… it's flat, OLED, and 120Hz

The OnePlus 8T comes with a 6.55-inch fullHD+ (2400 x 1080) Fluid AMOLED display. That display offers a 120Hz refresh rate, and it is protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass. We’re not sure which variant yet, but it’s either 5 or 6. No matter which one it is, though, it is well protected. This display offers an aspect ratio of 20:9, in case you were wondering. In other words, it is the same display resolution and aspect ratio as the OnePlus 8. The difference here is in its refresh rate, as the OnePlus 8 offers a 90Hz panel. This display is also flat, unlike the ones OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro sport.

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That flat display is probably what most people will appreciate, especially those that like to use their phones without a case. I do prefer curved ones, but I do believe I’m in a minority. Chances are you won’t have issues with accidental presses here, just be careful not to drop the phone due to its extremely slippery nature. The display is not only sharp enough, but you’ll hardly notice the difference in resolution between that one, and the one on the OnePlus 8 Pro. It does get bright enough outdoors, while the viewing angles are also great. The colors on this panel are vivid, and the blacks are deep, as you’d expect out of an OLED display. I don’t have a single complaint when it comes to this panel, to be quite honest, as it does support HDR content as well.

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This phone is buttery smooth at every step

OnePlus’ smartphones are usually praised for their great performance, and long shelf life because of it. Well, the OnePlus 8T is not different in this regard, the phone is blazing fast. I cannot stress that enough. If you’ve used the OnePlus 8 or 8 Pro, you’ll know what I’m talking about. This phone cuts through everything like butter, and during my usage, I haven’t experienced a single instance of a slowdown. I did notice a couple of skipped frames when throwing something extra-heavy on the phone, but that was only a split-second thing, and not something many people would notice. This is, without a doubt, one of the fastest phones I’ve ever used.

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The phone is incredibly smooth, and its 120Hz display only helps the matter

OnePlus’ animations and the phone’s 120Hz refresh rate display definitely help in that regard. OnePlus did an excellent job with animations on this device, they’re fast enough not to make the phone feel slow, and they’re also so smooth as well. You do have an option to disable them, if you want, though. By doing that, you’ll speed the device up even more, it will open everything instantly. The Snapdragon 865 is the main hardware reason why this phone can run so smoothly, along with the phone’s UFS 3.1 (Gen1) flash storage, of course. The LPDDR4X RAM that OnePlus included here is not the fastest out there, as LPDDR5 is available, but that’s not a difference you’ll notice at all.

Gesture navigation is also really well-executed here, and you can even remove that horizontal white line at the bottom if you want. If you’re annoyed by that, you can completely remove it, and get to use the phone’s entire display for content. All that, in collaboration with great haptics, makes the phone a joy to use. No matter if you like gaming, if you’re heavy on media consumption, or are just a regular user who does everything moderately… this phone will have you covered in the performance department.

Stellar battery life with insanely fast charging, but only wired

OnePlus’ smartphones are well-known for really good battery life. Is that the case with the OnePlus 8T as well? Well yes, yes it is. The phone actually offers excellent battery life. That huge 4,500mAh battery on the inside can handle the phone’s flagship SoC, and fullHD+ 120Hz display without a problem. The company’s optimization definitely has something to do with it as well. I was constantly getting great battery life, and I’ve been using the phone for over a week before I wrote this review.

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Even if you’re a power user, this phone should be able to handle anything you throw at it. I’ve fired up a few games just to see how they run, even though I’m not a gamer. They performed great, but I haven’t played them enough to see the impact on battery life. I did use the phone for a ton of other stuff, though, I even downloaded some torrents via Flud, just to put some extra strain on the battery. My usage included watching a lot of videos on YouTube, fired up some videos via MX Player, browsed a lot, took a lot of pictures, processed images, processed video, and so on. I did basically anything you can imagine, even transferred files both via WiFi and USB.

The battery life was stellar during my usage

The phone constantly offered excellent battery life. I decided to try to drain it all the way, and was unable to do it in one day. The phone did manage to go over the 8-hour screen-on-time mark, well into the second day. Around 2-3 PM I finally managed to kill it (second day), at which point it had over 8 hours and 30 minutes of screen on time. Even if you, by some miracle, manage to kill the phone before the end of your day, this phone does support 65W fast wired charging. It does ship with a 65W charger in the box, by the way. Wireless charging is not included, so keep that in mind.

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Very few of you will miss wireless charging with charging speeds like this, though. This phone can go from 0 to 58-percent charge in only 15 minutes. In 39 minutes, you’ll be able to charge the battery completely, from 0 to 100-percent. With charging speeds like this, and the longevity this phone offers, battery life should never be an issue… ever. OnePlus did an excellent job here, that’s hard to deny. Do note that you can recharge this phone with chargers from previous OnePlus devices as well. You can also fast-charge other devices with this charging brick, such as your Nintendo Switch, for example. OnePlus also included quite a few temperature sensors here, and you’ll find a larger vapor chamber in the OnePlus 8T, a 285-percent larger than in the OnePlus 8 series.

The camera performance is really excellent… but a step below the best

The OnePlus 8T includes four cameras on the back, and one on the front. Now, the company has opted to utilize an older 48-megapixel sensor for its main camera here. It is using the Sony IMX586 sensor, the same one used on the OnePlus 8. The OnePlus 8 Pro uses that sensor as well, but for its ultra-wide angle camera, not the main camera. Its main camera sensor is Sony’s IMX689 sensor. That is one of the reasons OnePlus was able to keep this phone’s price tag in check. Before you start complaining, here me out, as OnePlus did a great job improving the performance of the IMX586.

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OnePlus has been utilizing this sensor for quite some time now, and it seems to have a firm grasp on its optimization. I did notice that the performance of the main camera here is better than what my OnePlus 8 offers. Well, at least compared to what it offers on Android 10, as those are the camera samples I’ve compared. Android 11 did arrive on the OnePlus 8 in the meantime, and it remains to be seen how it compares in that regard. I don’t doubt that these improvements that were made on the OnePlus 8T will reach the OnePlus 8 as well, though. The OnePlus 8’s camera performance was good from the get-go, but OnePlus has been constantly improving it.

OnePlus spent a lot of time optimizing the Sony IMX586 sensor

The OnePlus 8T is basically the culmination of quite a bit of work with the Sony IMX586, as even the OnePlus 7 and 7T series devices shipped with that camera sensor. In any case, the pictures from this phone are really good. They’re not the best in the market, that’s for sure, but very few people will have complaints here. If you’re not coming from a superior camera smartphone, or are not nitpicking, this camera will serve you really well. I’ve captured quite a few camera samples to show you, and they’re all included on Flickr via the link below, at the end of this section.

Daytime photos turn up really great

Pictures during the day are bright, vivid, and well-balanced. I did not notice that the white balance got messed up at some point at all. In some instances, the phone was a bit more aggressive with sharpening, but it never pushed too hard. Details at the edges of the object you’re shooting tend to be a bit softer from time to time, but it’s not a big issue, and it doesn’t always happen. There’s plenty of detail in these images, though on some of them the saturation did get turned up a bit higher than I’d want. It’s not extremely high, but it’s something worth noting. Even with some close-ups that I shot (no macro mode), the phone did an excellent job. Like 90-percent of these images were taken in auto mode (point and shoot). For some, I did use tap-to-focus, and some have been taken with the phone’s Nightscape feature for low light photography. You will notice the difference.

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Do note that the phone does an excellent job of brightening up scenes in auto mode as well. You won’t feel the need to fire up Nightscape in the vast majority of low light scenarios, unless you’re in a really dark place. In fact, you may not feel the need to do it at all, as the phone can do it on its own now, when it feels the need to. The phone did struggle with street lights on one occasion only (in a low light situation), while it did an excellent job every other time. This is something I’ve noticed on the OnePlus 8 as well, at first, but OnePlus quickly fixed it. So, don’t worry too much about it.

Low light doesn't disappoint, just don't expect miracles

Images in low light do end up being quite bright, while enough detail is preserved as well. The OnePlus 8 Pro does perform better in low light, without a doubt, but this will be more than enough for most people. If you’re planning to shoot a ton of low light images, chances are you’ll be looking elsewhere either way. The OnePlus 8T can handle such shooting scenarios, though, it can handle them really well. The phone is also equipped with an ultra-wide camera, a macro camera, and a monochrome camera as well. It is using its main camera sensor to shoot black and white images, though, with the help from its monochrome camera.

The Super Stable Mode has been improved compared to the OnePlus 8 series, while the Video Portrait Mode has been added. The phone can shoot slow-motion video at XXX, while it can also shoot 4K video at 60 FPS. 4K video at 60 FPS is good, but the 1080P video at 60 FPS still looks better overall, I’d say. That’s at least my preference here. The front-facing camera is nothing to write home about, but it’ll get the job done, that’s for sure. It balances images nicely, and as long as there’s some light in the shot, don’t worry about that. Its lens is also wide enough.

OnePlus 8T review

Android 11 is here, and OxygenOS 11 is one of the best iterations of Android out there

One of the main reasons OnePlus smartphones get recommended so often when Android phones are concerned is the company’s software. OxygenOS has been excellent since it launched, and it’s often regarded as one of the best (if not the best) Android skin. Is that the case with OxygenOS 11? Well yes, yes it is. OxygenOS is the biggest step away from stock Android thus far, but that’s not an issue at all, quite the contrary. I personally really like what OnePlus did here. It’s far easier to use OnePlus’ apps with one hand now, as it he UI in general. OnePlus borrowed some ideas from Samsung’s One UI here, but it did not stray away from stock Android that much.

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AOD is finally here, and it's great

OxygenOS that you love is still here, very much so. Quite honestly, I did not feel a huge change when moving to OxygenOS 11, other than the fact it’s easier to use the phone with one hand now. For the most part, this is still a minimalist approach to Android, with some great features. AOD (Always On Display) feature has finally been added, and many people will like it, that’s for sure. OnePlus also added some interesting AOD styles to use, and two caught my eye. One comes with a vertical line that comes with no breaks at first. The more you unlock your phone during the day, the more horizontal lines you’ll see on that line / beam of light. The other style actually mimics your wallpaper. It will create a sketch of your wallpaper by using white lines on a black background, which is quite neat.

Zen Mode has been improved, the same goes for Game Space, etc.

OnePlus also improved its Zen Mode here, even though I didn’t use it much, to be quite honest. The Game Space has also been improved, and the feature that caught my eye the most is the touch-rejection feature that was introduced there. You will also get the most important changes Android 11 offers here. Your chat app messages will now be separated into the ‘Conversations’ section in the notification shade, while all the other notifications will be placed below it. That’s a great change that I underestimated at first. It’s so great to have this separated in the notification shade, that’s for sure.

The company's new font is actually pretty good too

OnePlus also rolled out its new font with this update, the so-called OnePlus Sans (replacing OnePlus Slate). This new font brings forth thinner letters. I found this to be a bit odd at first, but after a day or two, I got used to it, and now I love it. Everything is easier to read now, at least to me, and I do believe I read faster. Do note that you can still use Google’s Roboto font if you want, you can change it in the Settings. OxygenOS 11 is all about customization, so there are tons of stuff like that that you can change.

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Speaking of customization, the Dark Mode has been improved even further. You can now access a quick toggle for Dark Mode, and you also have some new options for it. If there are some apps that don’t use dark mode by default on your phone (third party apps), chances are you’ll be able to force them into dark mode. There is a special section included under the ‘Display’ section in the ‘Settings’ app. It’s called ‘Manage apps in dark mode’, and you can force apps into dark mode from there. I was able to do this for over 90-percent of apps on my phone.

This software combines Google & OnePlus features, and it's great because of it

These are only some of the changes / new features that you’ll find in OxygenOS 11. Some of them are brought to you by OnePlus, others by Google… but this is definitely a winning combination. This software, in combination with the phone’s hardware, creates an extremely fluid phone, which offers a great-looking UI, which is full of customization as well. OxygenOS 11 is one of the best Android skins, period… if not the best one. In fact, I’d argue OxygenOS even trumps stock Android, as it simply offers some useful features stock Android does not have… but that’s a completely different story. The point is, if you’re into great software, you cannot go wrong with OxygenOS.

The audio is good… speakers are loud, while the sound is full

The OnePlus 8T comes with stereo speakers. It also supports Dolby Atmos sound, and all in all, you’re getting good audio performance here. These speakers are quite powerful, they’re loud, and quite sharp. The distortion is barely noticeable at the very highest of volumes. The performance is actually extremely similar to what we’ve seen with the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, if not identical. Those phones had really good audio performance, so that’s a good thing. Very few of you will find an issue with these speakers.

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Now, in terms of audio over headphones. This phone does not include a headphone jack. You’ll need to utilize a Type-C port, or connect wirelessly. If you do either, with a good pair of headphones, you’ll get a really good audio experience here. There’s enough bass, but it’s not overpowering. Vocals are also quite clear, the sound is well-balanced through-and-through. There’s not much more you can ask for from the OnePlus 8T in this regard. If you’re not a nitpicking audiophile, you’ll be perfectly happy with the performance.

The OnePlus 8T is well-worth your hard-earned cash

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So, the question is, is the OnePlus 8T worth the money? Yes, yes… and yes. If you want to buy a flagship in the current market, and are unwilling to spend obscene amounts of cash in order to do it… the OnePlus 8T is one of the very few options you have, that checks all the right boxes. This phone has quality build with quality materials. Its display is gorgeous, and 120Hz, on top of that. It is flat, and that is what most people prefer. The camera performance is really, really good, as is audio performance. Performance in general is stellar, as is the company’s OxygenOS 11 UI. Battery life is excellent as well, and insanely fast charging is included. The bottom line is, this phone is well-worth your hard-earned cash.