OnePlus 8T Review: Hit and Miss
With the Pro model essentially missing from this year’s fall lineup for OnePlus, all eyes are on the OnePlus 8T, which seems to be sitting comfortably between the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. It borrows a number of features from the OnePlus 8 Pro, including a basic camera sensor and display, but also adds new features like 65W faster charging and UFS 3.1 storage. As OnePlus has said year after year, the T-series capitalized on new developments that broke down in the second half of the year. Hardware, like chipsets and other components, also become cheaper in the second half of the year, and the overall offer pays much more for the money than the products launched in the first half of the year. The OnePlus 7T combines high refresh rate displays from its Pro siblings and has done almost the same thing by becoming one of the best priced flagships of 2019. OnePlus 8T Pro does not show the light of day, the price of OnePlus 8T is too high to prove itself in the liability market. Can it be successful? Find out –
With the OnePlus exiting the speed-band variant of the Snapdragon 865, the OnePlus 8T’s benchmark scores have remained the same as its predecessor. Interestingly, the OnePlus 8T went back to using LPDDR4X RAM instead of the LPDDR5 used in both the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro earlier this year. After a detailed forum post on how the latest RAM module improves operating speed, it certainly feels like a compromise on paper and benchmark scores also reflect that when compared to the OnePlus 8. This may sound weird, but speed bumps can frustrate those who buy a OnePlus flagship thinking it’s the latest and greatest.
Fortunately, real-world performance is reassuring, and indeed a proof of the fact that benchmark scores and real-world usage are different. The low scores should ideally indicate that the OnePlus 8 should feel faster than the OnePlus 8T, but set the refresh rate to 90Hz on the 8T and we guarantee that you won’t see any difference in the speed at which the phone boots and unlocks. And launches the app. This is definitely a good thing because OnePlus 8 was already pretty fast and got the job done effortlessly. The 120Hz refresh rate is the only thing that seems to differentiate the phone usage experience. It’s just as smooth as the OnePlus 8 and the Pro 8.
Dual stereo speakers make the episodes much more immersive in the container, with higher, audible sound separation. The on-screen fingerprint sensor works just as fast as the 8 Pro, but you won’t even need to use it if you have Face Unlock enabled. Storage is also burning fast. All the photos I clicked on the phone were transferred in less than 5 minutes It had about 4GB of data.
OnePlus flagships offer the best gaming experience ever available without the extra buttons and triggers found on a typical gaming phone. And the OnePlus 8T is no different, and unlike the OnePlus 8 Pro, it doesn’t overheat. I’ve tried my hand at a few rounds of Call of Duty: Team Death Match on mobile, and it’s really the best it can get right now. After developing the habit of playing COD on ROG Phone 3, I didn’t notice any major difference in gameplay except for missing AirTriggers. Touch sensitivity and large surface area make it suitable for quick rotation and targeting, and almost accurate response time with a good Wi-Fi connection.
The game runs at 60 FPS with 100% stability and it warms up a bit after three matches. Now, despite the 120Hz display, none of the mainstream Android games will run at 120FPS. Fortnite promises 90FPS, but this is likely to be at the expense of poor quality graphics.
The OnePlus 8T gave me the opportunity to fully explore the new OxygenOS 11 and this is the real attraction of using the device. Not so flagship hardware, because now that I’ve tasted the same experience in mid-range hardware, there’s reason to believe that spending over Rs 40,000 won’t make much of a difference in the overall experience that comes with the OnePlus smartphone.
Nevertheless, OxygenOS 11 still avoids Nord, the only 8 Series with it so far. There are improvements across the board, some incremental and some game-changing, such as always-on displays. This is the big missing part that makes OxygenOS the best Android skin in my book. It disappeared from the OnePlus 6, and returned to the OnePlus 8T with more power. This is called an ambient display and it is always on and now shows a minimal view of how many times you unlock the phone throughout the day.
OnePlus removed the OnePlus slate font and replaced it with Sans, which took me a while to get used to. Menu title is large and bold, sub-menus have rounded corners; You can customize the size of the icon, the color accents
There’s also a pull-out game bar that you can use to toggle settings on the fly, quick access to Google home devices, and more. It’s not a big visual upgrade and the UI still feels just as smooth, sleek and fast. I doubt OnePlus can do much more here.
In place of the OnePlus 8T, we now have three OnePlus smartphones using the same 48MP camera sensor, including the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus Nord. This, in turn, seems to be quite ‘volatile’ for the OnePlus when the competition has already moved to the larger sensors. I felt that the performance was stuck for this reason. The ultraviolet camera is the same as before, but now has a larger macro camera and a 2MP monochrome lens.
Hardware results in camera performance, not something groundbreaking. The output is so much better than the OnePlus Nord, but nowhere near the results of the OnePlus 8 Pro. Both the OnePlus Nord and the OnePlus 8 Pro carry a warm hint of daytime photos, which is exactly what the 8T gets. The colors are nicely balanced, and even with a predominance of green in the frame, the white balance is not off.
OnePlus 8 Pro
The level of detail of photos taken with the initial 48MP camera is similar to that of the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus Nord. You can crop by at least 2x without losing too many details. The overall sharpness, including the center and edges, is equally good, and the dynamic range 8P is shy of what it can create with its large sensors.
The ultraviolet lens also produces sharp, clear photos because the light source is adequate and not directly in the frame. During the day, the 16MP shooter produces sharp details in the center, with very little distortion in the corners. Colors are quite consistent with primary to ultraviolet lenses.
The good thing is that the ultraviolet lens now works with Nightscape mode and there is a definite improvement in using the lens in low light. Don’t think the iPhone is standard, but at least you’re able to get a lot more light through smaller apertures now, damn the details.
Nightscape mode using the primary lens is now faster than ever, and pushes the brightness of the frame to make it look like the morning. I’m guessing there are fans of this effect, but personally, I like to keep my photos normal and by default Nightscape mode doesn’t allow it. You need to dial the exposure level to reduce the brightness at the expense of dark shadows.
OnePlus 8 Pro
The OnePlus 8T comes with a larger macro lens, even the 8 Pro simply uses the primary camera to take macro shots. Focus problems have been observed in macro cameras. It rarely got the details from the flower I was trying to capture.
Overall, the performance of the camera is disappointing. Not that the photos are sharp and not detailed. But the camera performance of the OnePlus smartphone seems to have hit a plateau. The 8T camera could have done better with a larger sensor, and we’re not sure if it’s cost-effective, using a stock of older sensors that stuck to the OnePlus with a camera sensor launched two years ago, even smartphones like the Mi. 10 and the Vivo X50 Pro were invented using large sensors and new stabilization methods. OnePlus’s flagship lineup doesn’t have that glow this year. So if you are planning to get OnePlus 8T for camera performance, there are better options in the same price range.
The battery is where the OnePlus 8T will embarrass all the other OnePlus flagships. After years of sticking to 30W fast charging, the 8T Hyperfast embraces 65W fast charging, and what an impact it has! This isn’t the first time we’ve seen 65W fast charging on a smartphone before. OnePlus’s BBK siblings Realme and Oppo have already rolled out smartphones with the technology and you can get that speed for Rs 14,999. On the OnePlus 8T, the 65W only adds to the long list of flagship features and makes it more attractive in competition. You will have trouble removing the 4500mAh battery on the 8T anyway. Optimizations keep battery drains extremely conservative when you’re doing simple tasks like texting, Twitter browsing or even video calling. This is how my morning usually goes, and from 100%, the battery goes to only 93% after a normal morning routine.
Even with heavy use on Netflix, including gaming, streaming content and lots of photo and video capture, the OnePlus 8T lasts until the evening. And the moment the charge hits 15%, you can plug it in for 10 minutes and bring the battery level up to 50%. Total time to charge the phone at full capacity is more than 30 minutes. Trust me, this is a game-changer.
Design and display
Another place that has seen big changes is design. The OnePlus 8T is now in line with the design philosophy of the OnePlus Nord. The OnePlus switches to a glossy glass finish and uses a wide camera module in the top corner, with four cameras and two flash modules. The frame is made of aluminum and feels quite elastic. The phone is just as heavy as the OnePlus 8 Pro, and it gets heavier when you put it on the cover. The punch-hole camera, speaker layout and alert slider have been retained since its predecessor, and fortunately, the screen is now flat, and shows no flashes or color changes along the edges. Sadly, the OnePlus 8T is not water resistant and is IP68 certified like the OnePlus 8 Pro.
When it comes to the display, it really feels like the best panel we’ve ever seen on a OnePlus device. The 6.55-inch AMOLED display is tuned to create bright and saturated colors with deep black and high contrast. Using the phone in dark mode is fascinating, and watching HDR videos on YouTube is just as captivating. Netflix hasn’t certified 8T yet, but it won’t take long. The panel is also ideal for gaming because claiming touch sampling rate can hit at 240Hz. But here’s what’s missing – although the panel refreshes at 120Hz, there’s no MEMC chip inside the 8T for scaling up to 120 fps video like the OnePlus 8 Pro. The resolution on the 8T panel is also low. As a result, the OnePlus 8 Pro’s display appears to be the best, but I prefer the flat screen over the sharply curved edges.
The last row
With the smoothest display, hyperfast charging and a premium design, the OnePlus 8T 2020 offers almost everything from smartphones. Only the camera keeps it from challenging the indomitable people of the market, even its own pro siblings. What it has to offer is one of the best value for money devices. The 8 + 128GB variant has been launched at Rs 42,999 and goes up to Rs 45,999 for the 12 + 256GB variant compatible with Xiaomi Mi 10 and OnePlus 8. The OnePlus 8T is suitable for gaming, movie watching and quick use, if the camera is not the highest priority. It’s not as ergonomic as the Mi 10 or OnePlus 8 because of its weight and thickness, but boy is it fast!
Photo by Pratik Khatri