OnePlus is back with the OnePlus 8T, its fourth release this year. “Ultra Stops At Nothing” is the tagline this time around. For a phone that brings no performance jump over its predecessor, those are bold words. Can the new 120Hz OLED display and Warp Charge 65 charging tech be enough? Find out in Android Authority’s OnePlus 8T review.
About this OnePlus 8T review: I spent a week with the OnePlus 8T as my main device. It was running Android 11 with Oxygen OS 11. The build number was 11.KB05BA. OnePlus supplied the OnePlus 8T review unit to Android Authority.
OnePlus 8T review: Who is this phone for?
The OnePlus 8T is an entry-level flagship smartphone with a top-tier chipset. Its speed, made possible by the clean software experience and flagship processor, is among the best of any smartphone. It lacks crazy good cameras, an IP rating, and a unique design, instead focusing more on pure speed and fluidity.
At $749, the OnePlus 8T is competing with the Google Pixel 5, Asus Zenfone 7 Pro, and Samsung Galaxy S20 FE. These are devices with plenty of power for the dollar, but OnePlus has had success in this area. The OnePlus 8T also goes against OnePlus’ own Nord and OnePlus 8, which have only been released a few months ago.
Design: Flagship or mid-ranger?
- 160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm
- Glass and metal build
- Optical in-display fingerprint scanner
- Stereo speakers
If you’ve ever held a OnePlus Nord in your hand, you’ll feel right at home with the OnePlus 8T. From the curved rear glass to the flat display, to the shiny metal rails, the two feel very similar. What has changed from the OnePlus 8? The rear camera module has been relocated to the left-hand top corner, and the buttons have moved down ever so slightly.
Continue reading: OnePlus Nord buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know
These small changes add up to make the OnePlus 8T feel more generic. It doesn’t stand out as its own design. Instead, it blends into the hundreds of other smartphones from the mid-range to the high-end. Not to say that this is a poorly designed phone by any stretch, but it won’t stand out on a shop display next to the competition. More importantly, it won’t stand out compared to the significantly cheaper OnePlus Nord.
Taking a tour of the device, there’s a single microphone on the top. On the bottom, there’s a dual SIM tray, a USB-C port, a microphone, and a speaker. On the left side, there’s a volume rocker. The right side presents the signature OnePlus mute toggle and the power button. On the rear, in the top left-hand corner, there’s a rectangular quad-camera bump. It doesn’t protrude all that much, though is the first from the firm to sport a wider rectangle shape.
The OnePlus 8T feels great in the hand, but sports a generic design and no IP rating.
The OnePlus 8T feels great in the hand. The frosted glass back is very smooth and can be slippery if you’re not careful. That said, it’s great at keeping fingerprints off. The shiny side rails are fairly grippy and nicely offset the satin back. The buttons are very tactile, the mute toggle is as satisfying as ever, and the optical in-display fingerprint scanner is quick and accurate.
Related: How fingerprint scanners work
Unfortunately, the OnePlus 8T doesn’t have an IP rating. At this price point, OnePlus should have included it, especially given that this device costs $50 more than its predecessor. It’s not all bad news, though. The haptics are crisp and tight, which is crucial in giving a flagship phone a premium feel.
The OnePlus 8T’s stereo speaker setup, comprised of an amplified earpiece and a bottom speaker, sounds rather good. It gets loud and doesn’t distort until the last two ticks of volume. Even then, it’s not as much as you’d think. The sound signature is full, with plenty of detail.
Display: Balancing speed and quality
- 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED
- 2,400 x 1,080 pixels
- 120Hz refresh rate
- Supports sRGB and Display P3
- 20:9 aspect ratio
The 6.55-inch Full HD Fluid AMOLED display hasn’t increased in size or resolution compared to the OnePlus 8, but it has enjoyed a nice jump in refresh rate to 120Hz. Finding a perceivable speed difference between this and a 90Hz panel is tricky, but compared to a 60Hz display, the OnePlus 8T’s feels especially fast. This is most noticeable in scrolling, and OxygenOS 11’s new animations accentuate it.
The display balances speed, sharpness, and accuracy brilliantly.
The AMOLED screen packs plenty of punch and great contrast. The panel gets quite bright at 471 nits, which makes it easily viewable outdoors. Thanks to the switch to a flat display, glare is less of a problem on the 8T than the OnePlus 8, too. I noticed this under direct indoor-light as well as out in the sun.
See more: AMOLED vs LCD: differences explained
The phone ships with the screen set to Vivid mode. This is the best all-around mode as it keeps colors saturated but doesn’t go overboard. Other options include Natural and Advanced. Within the Advanced menu, you can pick between wide gamut, sRGB, and Display P3 color spaces.
Overall, the OnePlus 8T’s panel is a well-rounded offering. It’s not the sharpest, fastest, or most color-accurate. However, it does a good job of balancing the three and it’s one of the better screens in its class.
Performance: No need for a chipset upgrade
- Snapdragon 865
- Adreno 650
- 8/12GB LPDDR4X
- 128/256GB UFS 3.1 storage
- 4,500mAh battery
- Warp Charge 65 charging
Processor: Super snappy
OnePlus decided not to upgrade its T-series device to a Plus-series chipset this time around. This means that the OnePlus 8T is not faster or more powerful than the OnePlus 8. However, I never felt like the OnePlus 8T needed a faster chipset.
It’s also worth noting that others in this price range — the Asus Zenfone 7 and Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro — have taken the same approach by opting out of the Plus-model chipset. Instead, all three are using the cheaper Snapdragon 865 and allocating budget to other things. That’s not really surprising considering the fairly minimal, GPU-focused updates the Snapdragon 865 Plus brings over the Snapdragon 865.
OnePlus, like its rivals, opted out of the Plus-model chipset. The phone is still super snappy.
Even compared to the Snapdragon 765G-equipped OnePlus Nord, you’re not going to notice much of a day-to-day speed increase, unless you regularly push your phone. This isn’t to say that the Snapdragon 865 isn’t fast. If you’re a power user or a mobile gamer, however, the 865 will deliver more frames and more power.
The OnePlus 8T is plenty fast for anything and everything you’d use it for. Our OnePlus 8T review unit was the lesser 8GB RAM and 128GB storage model. It felt silky smooth throughout the review period. I played a combination of 2D and 3D games, scrolled endlessly through social media, and took a load of photos. Nothing was able to slow the OnePlus 8T down.
Related: Snapdragon 765G vs Snapdragon 865
Battery: A day and a half on a charge
The battery has been bumped to a 4,500mAh cell, which provides solid battery life throughout. On heavier days, I saw almost six hours of screen-on time with 20% of the battery left over. On lighter days, this phone was a two-day device. My usage included a mix of LTE and Wi-Fi connectivity, 50-100% brightness, and a solid half-hour of video consumption per day.
Warp Charge has enjoyed an upgrade, too. The OnePlus 8T ships with a Warp Charge 65 USB-C charger in the box. This brick was able to charge the phone from zero to 100% in 39 minutes in our testing. This isn’t the fastest we’ve ever tested, but it’s an improvement over the OnePlus 8’s 63-minute top-up time.
Sadly, the OnePlus 8T does not feature wireless charging, which is a real knock against any flagship phone in 2020.
Like other Snapdragon 865 phones, the OnePlus 8T supports 5G connectivity of the sub-6GHz variety.
Software: A breath of fresh air
OnePlus’ Oxygen OS is beloved for its balance of stock smoothness and third-party features. However, with the OnePlus 8T, the firm has changed the skin’s layout and appearance.
The OnePlus 8T ships with Oxygen OS 11, based on Android 11. The skin takes a new direction with a minimal look and some tweaked animations. The first standout change is the new Always On Display. Instead of a plain, centered setup, the new version is offset with new clocks and a battery percentage logo. There are three new modes coming — Bitmoji AOD, Canvas AOD, and Insight AOD. Unfortunately, only the latter was available on our OnePlus 8T review unit. Insight AOD shows you a breakdown of how many times you’ve unlocked your phone throughout the day in a funky graph.
Continue reading: Everything you need to know about Oxygen OS 11
The new animations within Oxygen OS 11 include scrolling to the bottom of a page and it bouncing at the end. OnePlus has also made one-hand optimizations to accommodate smaller hands. This mostly includes moving the notification shade and settings menus further down the screen.
One new feature that I found annoying is the new smooth brightness update. It attempts to smoothen out the transition from bright to dim and vice versa when using the manual brightness slider. It sounds great on paper, but in reality, there’s a massive delay. This makes it hard to set the brightness level just the way you want it. This seems like a ridiculous “feature” and it feels like OnePlus is trying to reinvent the wheel. You know what they say: If it ain’t broke…
Oxygen OS 11’s new features are great. All apart from the reinvented brightness slider.
Oxygen OS 11 looks and feels great to use with some cool new features and a clean new look. It’s a shame that the brightness slider mars an otherwise great experience.
Camera: Long in the tooth
- 48MP, f/1.7, IMX586, OIS
- 16MP, f/2.2, IMX481, 123-degrees FOV, ultrawide
- 5MP, f/2.4, macro
- 2MP, f/2.4, monochrome
The OnePlus 8T improves on its predecessor with a new, higher-resolution macro sensor, and the addition of a monochrome sensor to round out the quad rear setup.
The first thing you notice when taking photos with the OnePlus 8T is how much contrast is being forced into each photo. It doesn’t affect every photo, but the majority of mine came out overly contrast-heavy — like someone had messed up the structure slider. This results in rather moody-looking images even on sunny days.
The OnePlus 8T’s camera system is still lagging behind the competition at this price point.
There’s not a lot of dynamic range since the camera processing seems to want to crush shaded areas at any given opportunity. This carries over to the ultra-wide sensor, which while still a good camera, is softer than the main setup. Colors look rather realistic if a tad oversaturated. This means that you end up with photos that are fun to look at as opposed to being hyper-realistic.
There’s an okay amount of sharpness, but nothing crazy. Digital sharpening is evident in a couple of the outdoor pictures that I took in a garden center. Thankfully, noise reduction hasn’t been overdone. That means that images come out looking clean, rather than like oil paintings. The Nord suffered from this issue quite a bit.
Night mode photos were rather soft due to poor focus. The OnePlus 8T managed to capture a lot of light, even in extremely challenging lighting conditions. I took these in the middle of the night and there’s still a surprising amount of detail. In areas like foliage, however, there does seem to be a lot of denoising to the point of blurring objects together. Overall, a mixed night mode experience.
The OnePlus 8T takes portraits and selfies adequately. The former have a realistic focus roll-off from the front to the back of the image. There were a few hiccups with edge-detection — particularly of my friend’s hair where the camera couldn’t work out if it was part of the foliage or not!
Selfies come out clean with minimal noise, and without overdoing the noise reduction. Similarly, my skin wasn’t smoothened out, though I did have to disable skin smoothening in the settings menu first. Selfie portrait mode photos also suffered a bit from poor edge-detection. That said, the realistic focus roll-off continues here.
The Ultra HD 60fps video footage came out very contrast-heavy. Saturation and contrast are pushed to the max. As a result, the footage isn’t particularly clean nor realistic. The image stabilization worked pretty well, though, so it’s not all bad news.
The OnePlus 8T does better than the OnePlus Nord in that it doesn’t mush out noise. It distorts far less, too. That said, I wasn’t overly impressed with the OnePlus 8T’s camera. It seems like only Google, Apple, and Samsung really know how to do camera processing at this price-point. It’s a shame because the phone feels very much like a flagship in every other regard.
Check out the full-resolution OnePlus 8T camera samples in this Google Drive folder.
OnePlus 8T specs
2,400 x 1,080 (20:9)
120Hz refresh rate
In-display fingerprint sensor
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865|
|RAM||8GB / 12GB LPDDR4X|
|Storage||128GB / 256GB UFS 3.1|
|Cameras||Rear Quad Camera:
48MP, ƒ/1.7, 0.8µm, OIS, EIS
5MP macro, 3cm focal length
16MP ultrawide, ƒ/2.2, 123° FOV
Warp Charge 65 (10V/6.5A)
No wireless charging
|IP Rating||None for unlocked model
IP68 rating for T-Mobile version
|Software||Oxygen OS 11
|Dimensions and weight||160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm
Value for money
- OnePlus 8T: 8GB/128GB — £549/Rs 42,999
- OnePlus 8T: 12GB/256GB — $749/£649/Rs 45,999
The OnePlus 8T has launched in Europe, the US, and India, though the 8GB/128GB model is not available in the States. At $749, the more powerful OnePlus 8T is competing with the $699 Pixel 5 and Galaxy S20 FE, and the $799 iPhone 12 in the US. This is rather stiff competition for the OnePlus 8T, especially with the price increase from OnePlus 8’s $699 price tag.
Those aforementioned Android rivals sport significantly better camera systems and cost $50 less in the US, while the iPhone 12 is just $50 more. The Pixel 5 will give you the best camera system but will leave you with a lesser processor and display. The Galaxy S20 FE will be the better package deal with a more rounded feature set and will even match OnePlus’ three years of software support. The iPhone 12 is yet to be released, but based on previous generations we can expect some stellar camera quality and at least equal performance for less than the OnePlus 8T.
The OnePlus 8T costs Rs. 42,999 in India, which puts it in line with the Rs. 39,900 iPhone SE, Rs. 41,999 Realme X50 Pro, and Rs. 39,999 Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro. The Apple device is going to give you better long-term software support, wireless charging, a superior camera, and a more pocket-friendly size, but features an aged design. The Realme device will deliver similar performance, build quality, and cameras, but for slightly less money. The Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro offers a faster display, a better main camera, similar performance, and a bigger battery for a little less cash also.
In the UK, the OnePlus 8T has fierce competition. Since the UK gets the cheaper (and the better deal) £549 model, it’s cheaper than the £599 Pixel 5, £699 Galaxy S20 FE, and the £799 iPhone 12. This puts it a lot closer to the £379 OnePlus Nord — OnePlus’ mid-range offering. If you’re in the UK and you’re eager to pick up a OnePlus 8T, I urge you to pick the 8GB RAM model over the 12GB one. Unless you really need 256GB storage, the £100 saved is hard to argue with.
Overall, the OnePlus 8T feels more like a boosted Nord than a cut-back OnePlus 8 Pro. With that in mind, the OnePlus 8T is a great deal in India and the UK, but not so much in the US. It’s a shame that the lesser option isn’t available in the US, but OnePlus, for whatever reason, fragments its product stack across regions.
OnePlus 8T: The verdict
OnePlus 8T is a quick, solidly-made flagship smartphone. It’s got a great display, fast charging, and brilliant software. Unfortunately, its uninspiring design and middling camera performance make it feel rather incomplete.
If you’re not too fussed about the cameras, the rest of the phone is solid. The jump in price seems to have gone towards the 120Hz display and 65W charging — both of which are valuable additions.
For many, the OnePlus Nord is going to be the better buy.
However, if you don’t desire either of those, the far cheaper OnePlus Nord is the significantly better buy. For half the price, you get a capable display, good battery life, okay camera, and solid speed.
Going forward OnePlus desperately needs to up its game when it comes to camera processing. As prices creep up, so does the stiffness of the competition. When you’re in-line with the Pixel 5 and iPhone 12, you’re going to need to try a lot harder than this.