I can’t but mention the fact that the OnePlus 8T is one of the coolest piece of tech released this year and with nearly all big smartphones already done chunking out devices for the year with Apple already done with its iPhone 12 line-up, Samsung through with the Galaxy Note, Huawei with the Mate 40 series, OnePlus 8T definitely fit into the box of “Best smartphone in 2020”.
If you want me to prove that to you, well that’s what this post is all about. And while there are some cons, there are surely some pros which makes this a pretty decent device.
For starters, the OnePlus 8T sports the same high-end Snapdragon 865 chipset which is also found on the previous OnePlus 8 Pro which is considered as the peak of OnePlus smartphones in 2020 but we all know how the Chinese brand does its things.
What I’ve noticed in the past is the fact that OnePlus is usually making up for those lags and forgotten features on its devices for the “T” models. Like the previous OnePlus 7 series, the OnePlus 7T got almost all the updates to balance this up.
The OnePlus 7T Pro was so good that we argued if the OnePlus 8 was necessary when it debuted earlier this year. And the same seems to be the case with the new OnePlus 8T which means it might just be the ultimate as well making us question whether the OnePlus 9 will be relevant next year (assuming that’s the route OnePlus wants to take).
I said so because you should note that sometimes buying another OnePlus device can be tasking because they’re usually similarly related in terms of their features and specifications making you wonder whether you should opt for the expensive model or just stick with the cheaper ones.
The design this time around is quite different from the OnePlus 8 series and despite running the same Snapdragon 865 chipset with X55 5G modem technology, there are still some difference in their performances.
Should I say that paying a total of US$150 is all you need to get the better performing OnePlus 8 pro or would you rather stick with the updated OnePlus 8T which also has the same storage space and the same 48MP primary camera…well the choice is yours.
Speaking of the difference between the OnePlus 8 Pro and this one, the OnePlus 8T has a 6.55-inch display which is by the way an AMOLED display with some premium level of features also going for it.
The resolution of which is then toned down to 2400 x 1080 unlike the 3168 x 1440 found on the 8 Pro meanwhile the cool thing is the sharpness of the screen which is better than the one found on the iPhone 11 which is just 1792 x 828 pixel at least that should give you an idea of how good the display of the OnePlus 8T is but more on that later on.
Another noticeable thing about the new device is the fact that it’s redesigned to being flatter at least on the front while the back is still a little bit curvy with a different camera module design resembling the ones found on the 2020 Galaxy smartphones or Huawei devices or basically almost all other Android devices out there because everyone is merely copying the other in the industry but I’m not here to judge anyone.
Moving on, OnePlus decided to also remove the 3X optical zoom camera from the 8T but gave it a dedicated 5MP macro lens instead which really did well when tested out.
Also the camera got cranked up enough to 4,500mAh compared to the previous OnePlus 7T which had a smaller 3,800mAh battery and most of all the inclusion of the 65W Warp Charge which gets you to 100% in less than 40 minutes makes this a good deal…”IF” you are not concerned about the absence of wireless charging.
You get the point now, OnePlus basically remove this feature, add that, remove this, add that which make can make purchasing their devices tough to buy sometimes because you’re basically asking yourself “Why not just add all these features on one device and maybe call it the Ultra or Ultimate” instead of spreading them across multiple devices.
Don’t judge the Chinese brand. They probably have a good reason for this kind of decision. So let’s talk about what makes the OnePlus 8T such a fascinating smartphone you should consider buying before the year ends.
Hardware and design tweaks
One obvious design tweak in the OnePlus 8T and its predecessor is the changes made to the camera module and that’s the removal of the circular module which is being swapped out for the rectangular module found on different Android devices today.
The device also has a 3D Corning Gorilla Glass wrapped at its back which is now much more glossier than the previous model and it’s slightly lighter in weight but with a little bit thicker at just 8.4mm
120Hz refresh rate is one of the things that drew my attention towards the device and OnePlus also ousted the olden teardrop notch at the center-top of the device for a hole-punch cut-out located at the top left-corner of the device’s display.
At the top is where you have the Dolby Atmos secondary speaker located while the bottom is where there is the USB Type-C for power and data transfer as well as a Dual nano-SIM slot all at the bottom of the device.
The 6.55-inch AMOLED display has really thin bezes around it and the display is very crisp though not in the levels of the US$1000 smartphone but doing regular things such as gaming, surfing the web, watching videos etc. all gets well on the display and thanks to its 120Hz refresh rate, this makes gaming experience breezy without any stutter whatsoever.
You might also notice that there is no fingerprint scanner at the back of the device well that’s because this is 2020 and smartphone makers barely do this any longer except for Google. The OLED display allows for the under-screen fingerprint sensor while the 16MP is good enough to work with the Android facial recognition technology to keep your device safe from intruders. Z
Android 11 out of the box
The fact that this device runs the latest Android 11 operating system out of the box is one of the coolest things about the OnePlus 8T which I really enjoy. And if your smartphone supports the new software, you’d be better off upgrading to the modern technology.
Laced upon the Android 11 OS is the new OxygenOS also and mind you, the latest Android 11 OS isn’t even available on the more expensive OnePlus 8 Pro which is one of the perks you get for purchasing a new device.
And because of the heavy tweaks OnePlus made to Android to customize it to its own Oxygen OS, that kind of take away the cues of the real Android experience and here you are left with duplicates of numerous applications on the device.
Gmail, Gallery app, Calendar app etc. all duplicated because OnePlus wants to have its own also. The problem isn’t with OnePlus only but majority of Android smartphone makers including Samsung. The current exception would be Huawei as the company seems to have gone a different path making the AOSP its own and even working towards releasing its first phone with the Harmony OS on it.
But anything other than the duplicates, I was fine with my experience with the new Oxygen OS running on the Android 11 platform. The user interface, animation, everything seems well in place and thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate which auto-smoothen everything out for me.
There are some unique features found on the operating system which includes the likes of Gaming Mode that let you focus more on gaming which makes the experience so smooth and then there is the Zen Mode which help in cutting down screen time reducing the time you spend with the device when it reaches about 20 minutes.
Then the Dark Mode which is the new norm in most devices and even applications around the internet which can be accessed through the drop down.
Then there is the always-on ambient display which can be used to quickly check important things such as day, time, battery and incoming email status. It can be modified to work with tapping on the screen or when the device is being lifted up.
Let’s talk about the cameras
The good thing about the new OnePlus 8T is the camera specification which is pretty decent and works very well. While there are some noticeable upgrade from the previous model, there is now a 2X zoom which is based on extra pixels provided by the large 48MP sensor on the device.
There is also a dedicated macro lens camera on the device but you also get a sort of gimmicky 2MP monochrome camera which is meant to help provide the extra details needed to taking better pictures.
You can either shoot with the entire 48MP or tone it down a bit to the recommended 12MP whose image output uses 4 pixels at a time for a much improved dynamic range.
Taking pictures around my location and the output of these images are just very great meanwhile there is one caveat which I find to being somehow bad at least from a professional photographer’s point of view and that is the over-saturated image outputs which I don’t find to be natural at all.
OnePlus also included a dedicated 16MP ultra-wide angle sensor which has a pretty wide 123-degree field of view which translates to 6-degrees more than 7T and the iPhone 11.
Then there is the portrait mode which is quite effective bot at the back and the front facing 16MP sensor. Because of the big sensor, there is a good object separation between the fore-object and its background allowing for a great edge detection as well as bokeh blur which doesn’t require you do too much during post production…that’s if you decide to use the device for professional photography.
Moving to videography, the OnePlus 8T is also pretty great here. Even though you might still need to get yourself a tripod or a gimbal to make things more professional looking, the OnePlus 8T is able to capture slow-motion videos with the resolution of 1080P at 240FPS and then there is the 720p at 480FPS.
In comparison, the iPhone 11 Pro can shoot at 240FPS but not at 720P. There is also the quality of the slow-motion video captured which is quite brilliant even though it’ll require you use it in a well lit environment.
And away from the slow-motion to other cool features you get on the OnePlus 8T, there is the Video Portrait Mode which is an AI-based system that allows you to take 1080p video and as well as high-quality still pictures of objects.
You might not need to use too much accessories with the OnePlus 8T when vlogging for example because the audio input system is also very great producing a really crisp audio output via its stereo speakers.
There is also the capability of shooting 4K 60 FPS video which looks great on the phone but viewing it via 4K TV, it still looked very cool.
And finally, there are both OIS and EIS on the primary sensor which makes the overall image and video of high quality. This adds stability to the video and even the image is pretty great as well.
Battery and performance
Now on to the performance of the OnePlus 8T, it’s worth noting that this is a really superior smartphone. I wouldn’t say its faster than the Snapdragon 720G chipset in the Pixel 5 but its obviously fast. I’m talking about a Snapdragon 865 chipset. The type found on the high-end Galaxy Note 20.
Meanwhile the Geekbench number of the device is slightly behind the iPhone 11’s A13 Bionic chipset and that based on the platform both devices run on. The iOS is memory efficient and fast while Android is by the way.
In terms of the battery, there is a big 4,500mh Li-Po battery cell onboard which I must confirm as being really awesome and works well. My only concern is the longevity of the battery over the period of 3 or 4 years considering the blazing fast charging.
FYI, this device can reach 100% under just 40 minutes with the 65W fast charger that comes with the device out of the box.
With 5G network connectivity, it still great because the Snapdragon 865 SoC is built to handle this kind of functionality.
If you buy the OnePlus 8T through T-Mobile, it’ll come with an official IP 68 rating, which means it can handle dust and being submerged in 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. However, unlocked models from Amazon and OnePlus’s website will not have that rating. They should, though, be able to handle rain and other water splashes.
This is to say that the OnePlus 8T is a very decent smartphone with really interesting perks to it. While it sits in the mid-range price point of US$650 but below US$700.
Great video resolution and powerful chipset that is good enough to enhance the performance of the device is one of the cool feature and perks you get with the OnePlus 8T and that is why you can opt for it in case you want to upgrade but do not want to spend too much.