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?

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

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?

OnePlus 8T rear hero shot

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
  • 160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm
  • 188g
  • 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.

OnePlus 8T bottom view
OnePlus 8T top view
OnePlus 8T left view
OnePlus 8T right view

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

OnePlus 8T front hero shot

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
  • 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

OnePlus 8T bottom half of the display

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

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.

OnePlus 8T Geekbench 4 score
OnePlus 8T anTuTu score
OnePlus 8T 3DMark score

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

OnePlus 8T charger and cable

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

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{0ab330907ab55d1d247a5e46cbfc213f668b37838ccb2fc637c3c0da5f4ad964} 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{0ab330907ab55d1d247a5e46cbfc213f668b37838ccb2fc637c3c0da5f4ad964} brightness, and a solid half-hour of video consumption per day.

OnePlus 8T first battery screenshot
OnePlus 8T second battery screenshot

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{0ab330907ab55d1d247a5e46cbfc213f668b37838ccb2fc637c3c0da5f4ad964} 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.

Related: Charging habits to maximize battery life

Like other Snapdragon 865 phones, the OnePlus 8T supports 5G connectivity of the sub-6GHz variety. A special Verizon model also supports the much faster mmWave 5G connectivity.

Software: A breath of fresh air

OnePlus 8T quick settings and notifications close up

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
  • Android 11
  • Oxygen OS 11

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.

OnePlus 8T ambient display settings
OnePlus 8T default AOD
OnePlus 8T new insight AOD
OnePlus 8T alternative AOD

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.

OnePlus 8T stock home screen
OnePlus 8T stock second home screen
OnePlus 8T stock quick settings panel
OnePlus 8T stock app drawer

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

OnePlus 8T rear quad camera bump

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority
  • Rear:
    • 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
  • Video:
    • 4K 60fps, FHD 240fps
  • Front:
    • 16MP, f/2.4, IMX471
  • Video:
    • 4K 60fps

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.

OnePlus 8T main camera sample of a car dealership
OnePlus 8T ultrawide camera sample of a car dealership

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.

OnePlus 8T outdoor camera sample of some flowers
OnePlus 8T camera sample of some colored peppers
OnePlus 8T camera sample of a delicious salad

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.

OnePlus 8T camera sample of a ceiling
OnePlus 8T camera sample of netting above a garden center
OnePlus 8T camera sample of a store outside

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.

OnePlus 8T night mode camera sample of a factory at standard exposure
OnePlus 8T night mode shot of the side of a house
OnePlus 8T night mode shot of a bike with side light at night

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!

OnePlus 8T outdoor portrait of a camera operator
OnePlus 8T outdoor portrait of a camera operator backlit

OnePlus 8T portrait camera sample of a top lit fake plant on a table
OnePlus 8T camera sample indoors of a drink on a surface with portrait mode

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.

OnePlus 8T porch selfie camera sample
OnePlus 8T dimly lit indoor selfie portrait camera sample
OnePlus 8T portrait camera sample outside in an HDR test

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

 OnePlus 8T
Display6.55-inch AMOLED
2,400 x 1,080 (20:9)
120Hz refresh rate
In-display fingerprint sensor
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 865
Storage128GB / 256GB UFS 3.1
CamerasRear Quad Camera:
48MP, ƒ/1.7, 0.8µm, OIS, EIS
5MP macro, 3cm focal length
16MP ultrawide, ƒ/2.2, 123° FOV
2MP monochrome

16MP, ƒ/2.4, 1.0µm, EIS, fixed focus

Warp Charge 65 (10V/6.5A)
No wireless charging
IP RatingNone
SoftwareOxygen OS 11
Android 11
Dimensions and weight160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm
ColorsLunar Silver
Aquamarine Green

Value for money

  • OnePlus 8T: 8GB/128GB — £549/42,999 Rs
  • OnePlus 8T: 12GB/256GB — £649/$749/45,999 Rs

At $749, the OnePlus 8T is competing with the Pixel 5, Galaxy S20 FE, and the iPhone 12, as well as some value-oriented players like Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro and the Asus ZenFone 7 Pro. This is rather stiff competition for the OnePlus 8T, especially with the price increase from OnePlus 8’s $699 price tag.

You shouldn’t really consider the OnePlus 8T as an upgrade from the OnePlus 8. At a base level, the two are very similar and unless you hate curved screens, this won’t be an upgrade. Coming from something like a OnePlus 6T however, you will notice the doubling in refresh rate and faster internals.

The OnePlus 8T sits between the more fleshed-out OnePlus 8 Pro and the cut-down OnePlus Nord. It shares the chipset, the main camera, and the display refresh rate with its bigger sibling. However, it shares the display resolution and design aesthetic with the Nord.

The OnePlus 8T entertains stiff competition, yet it doesn’t do much to stand out.

The one thing missing from the OnePlus 8T at this price is a flagship camera. From my time with it, it didn’t feel like a flagship camera experience. This lets down an otherwise very competent setup.

OnePlus 8T: The verdict

OnePlus 8T rear angled hero shot

Credit: Ryan-Thomas Shaw / Android Authority

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.

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