OnePlus 7T full review
Following a flurry of teasers from OnePlus itself, the company took to the stage at an event in New Delhi, India to reveal the iterative upgrade to the current line-up, the OnePlus 7T. As with previous “T” iteration smartphones, the OnePlus 7T sports upgraded internals, but there’s much more to it this time around.
We’ve spent a lot of time texting, calling, snapping and gaming on the OnePlus 7T, and here’s our full review.
Price & Availability
OnePlus has always offered high-end smartphones at a discount price, and that's not changed with the introduction of the OnePlus 7T. The company's latest smartphone will set consumers back a pocket-friendly £549 in the UK, and considering just how similar it is to the £699 7T Pro, this represents great value for money.
A top-tier display
For us, it’s not the internals but the display of the OnePlus 7T that really steals the show – and it’s not just because of that buttery smooth 90Hz refresh rate on offer, although it does help.
The OnePlus 7T sports an upgraded 6.5in Fluid AMOLED display – up from 6.41in on the OnePlus 7 – and ships with a new 20:9 aspect ratio too. It’s detailed, boasting a resolution of 2400 x 1080 (402ppi), and with a claimed 1000nits max brightness, we’ve found that it’s more than bright enough to be used in sunny environments without issue.
You’ll also find HDR10 certification, another feature of the OnePlus 7T Pro, which provides improved contrast ratio when watching HDR content on Netflix and YouTube. Combine that with a new-generation display panel which OnePlus claims cuts blue light by 40% and you’ve got a comfortable mobile viewing experience.
But, of course, it’s the upgraded refresh rate of the OnePlus 7T that has everybody talking. The 90Hz refresh rate makes the 7T feel more responsive in use, even if you’re just swiping through Twitter or reading your favourite website (Tech Advisor!) in Chrome. Everything seems smoother, and it provides a premium mobile experience when compared to most smartphones on the market at the moment.
The in-display fingerprint reader is back with the OnePlus 7T, and it’s faster than ever. That’s mainly due to enhanced algorithms powering the technology, but whatever the reason, the end result is that fingerprint scanning now takes less than a second and hardly ever rejects a registered fingerprint. In fact, we’d go as far as to say that it’s amongst the fastest and most responsive in-display fingerprint scanners we’ve seen to date.
Display tech-aside, the OnePlus 7T display is as near to bezel-less as you’ll get without ditching the front-facing camera or implementing a pop-up solution like of the OnePlus 7 Pro. You’ve still got the waterdrop notch that houses the front-facing camera, but it’s around 30 percent smaller than that of the standard OnePlus 7 and less noticeable than other notched smartphones available in 2019.
Alongside the new display, the OnePlus 7T sports an enhanced design that sets it apart from the standard OnePlus 7, but this isn’t evident by looking at the front of the device. You see, it’s on the rear that you really notice a change – more specifically, the inclusion of a large circular central camera housing instead of the rounded rectangular housing of the older model.
The circular housing is polarising; while we like the way that it hides the triple camera setup instead of highlighting it, others seem to think it’s a little too big. We don’t imagine it being a deal-breaker if you’re not a huge fan though, especially with the range of high-end features on offer from the 7T.
The phone is also covered in OnePlus’ anti-glare glass and sports the company’s fourth-gen frosted matte glass finish, providing a rather unique look. You might want a OnePlus 7T case, though.
The new Glacier Blue colour option is great at catching the light, but it’s not as reflective and in-your-face as the mirror-finish smartphones on the market. That subtlety is appreciated by us, and it also means that it’s not as much of a fingerprint magnet as its mirrored counterparts either.
It’s also impressively thin at only 8.1mm – down from 8.2mm of the standard OnePlus 7 – and feels relatively lightweight in the hand too, measuring in at 190g. Fans will also be glad to know that the much-adored Alert Slider is back too.
A serious upgrade in the camera department
As mentioned above, the OnePlus 7T features a triple rear-camera setup, up from the dual-camera setup of the standard OnePlus 7. The OnePlus 7T’s main sensor is actually the same as that of the OnePlus 7 Pro – it’s 48Mp, with an f/1.6 aperture, Optical Image Stabilisation and a seven-element lens to provide a high-end mobile shooting experience.
As you’d expect with a camera boasting those specs, the performance is impressive – images are generally detailed, well-balanced and avoid unnatural contrast levels. There’s also pixel-binning tech at work to enhance the quality of images taken, although there is also a Pro mode that allows you to take full 48Mp RAW images if you desire.
Alongside the main sensor you’ve got an 117-degree ultra-wide 16Mp camera with a six-element lens to capture more in your shot, but much like the 12Mp 2x telephoto lens, there’s only Electronic Image Stabilisation on offer across photo and video shooting modes.
OnePlus claims that the wide-angle camera of the 7T can be used by third-party apps like TikTok, but we imagine this will have to be added on a per-app basis and, of course, there aren’t any that support it pre-launch.
We’ve skimmed across the headline specs of the cameras because it’s the software that really helps you get the most out of them. First up, the OnePlus 7T can utilise the ultra-wide-angle sensor to provide a new macro shooting mode that can take photos of subjects only 2.5cm away from the lens, capturing minute details that would’ve been lost on a standard smartphone camera.
OnePlus’ Nightscape mode is also present in the OnePlus 7T, but unlike smartphones before it, you’ve now got a choice between taking images using the main 48Mp sensor or the ultra-wide sensor, helping to capture more of the scene in dimly-lit conditions.
However, during testing we’ve found that there is a noticeable difference in the quality of images produced by the two sensors, with the f/2.2 aperture of the ultra-wide lens not quite up to the job – even with algorithms and post-processing tech to layer multiple images into a single low-light shot.
The OnePlus 7T also boasts enhanced performance in the Portrait mode, which now features two focal lengths – standard and telephoto – with easy switching between the two, making it easier to frame your shot. There’s also improved post-processing, especially with regards to depth measurements and backlight compensation, giving the finished images a more professional look.
The issue is that there are limited customisation options – you can’t tweak the intensity of the blur either during shooting or in the Gallery app, and there are no lighting effects to choose from either. The only optional feature is beautify, which softens out the skin of the subject of your portrait shot.
On the video front, you’ve got the ability to shoot up to [email protected] via the rear cameras, and there’s also a dedicated slow-mo mode with the ability to shoot at either [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] depending on what you want to capture.
There is stabilisation present by default, but it's nowhere near as impressive as the competition so OnePlus decided to turn it up a notch with Super Stabilisation, a new feature you can toggle via the video section of the camera app to provide a super stabilised video akin to that produced by the GoPro Hero7 Black. The mode works incredibly well, producing impressively stabilised wide-angle footage even when we were intentionally shaking while walking, but there’s a bug in the pre-release software that renders the videos useless.
As seen in the above video sample, there’s a weird central distortion to all Super Stabilised videos. We really hope that OnePlus fixes this issue before launch as it’s incredibly noticeable and ruins the overall professional look of the footage. We’ll update this section if/when OnePlus fixes the issue.
Another issue with the video aspect of the OnePlus 7T is the omission of the ultra-wide-angle lens.
While you’re free to shoot video with either the main or telephoto lens, we can’t currently find any way to record video using the ultra-wide angle camera aside from using the heavily-cropped (and currently broken) Super Stabilisation mode. We hope that like the Super Stabilisation issue, this is a bug that’ll be fixed prior to launch.
Flipping over the OnePlus 7T, you’ll find a front-facing 16Mp fixed-focus selfie camera capable of recording [email protected] with EIS. It offers support for the built-in Portrait mode, although you won’t be able to shoot front-facing super-stabilised video or take low-light images.
Still, though, it’s a detailed snapper that will suffice for the likes of selfie-taking, Snapchatting and video calling.
It performs like a high-end flagship
Moving beyond the display and cameras, the OnePlus 7T, like all iterative “T” upgrades before it, offers a faster chipset.
Specifically, the OnePlus 7T sports Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855+ CPU alongside the Adreno 640 GPU. It's among the first to do along with phones like the Asus ROG Phone 2.
There's 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. While other manufacturers offer several versions of the same phone with varying RAM and storage options, OnePlus has decided to keep it simple and offer a single version of the OnePlus 7T.
Of course, with specs like that, it should come as no surprise that the OnePlus 7T is incredibly fast in use, which is complemented by the 90Hz refresh rate of the display. No matter what you’re doing on the OnePlus 7T, whether it’s taking selfies, scrolling through Twitter or playing mobile games, you’re unlikely to experience even the slightest bit of lag.
We ran a series of benchmark tests to help you get an idea of how fast the OnePlus 7T is compared to the competition, and we break those results down in the chart below:
Fairly standard connectivity
The OnePlus 7T features most of the connectivity options you’d expect, including Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC and GPS, but unlike the standard OnePlus 7, there’s no dedicated 5G variant of the smartphone. That means you’ll be stuck on your network’s 4G LTE band, even if you’re one of the few people that currently have access to the faster 5G connectivity.
You’ll also find a USB-C port for charging with built-in OTG support, although those hoping that the OnePlus 7T would re-introduce the 3.5mm headphone port will be sorely disappointed.
Impressive battery life and speedy charging
Battery life is an area where the OnePlus 7T excels, boasting a 3,800mAh battery that we’ve found during testing can last a day with ease, even with tweeting, snapping photos and playing the odd game here and there. This is backed up by the Geekbench 4 battery benchmark test at a standard brightness, which saw the OnePlus 7T last 9 hours and 17 minutes. That's just under 4 hours longer than Samsung's Galaxy Note 10 lasted.
Even if the 7T needs a top-up during the day, the Warp Charge 30T support (aka 30W fast charging) should get you untethered in no time. OnePlus claims that it’ll provide 50 percent in 20 minutes, 70 percent in 30 minutes and 100 percent in an hour and we’ve found this to be fairly accurate during our testing:
- 20 minutes: 46% charge
- 30 minutes: 69% charge
- 53 minutes, 23 seconds: 100% charge
The good news is that any 30W charger should provide those speeds as OnePlus claims that the charging enhancements are all internal, with the battery of the 7T being more efficient and less resistant than previous generations.
As usual, there's no wireless charging here.
OxygenOS 10 enhances the Android experience
Speed is a focus for OnePlus, and this is evident in the software. The OnePlus 7T ships with Android 10 running OxygenOS 10, the company’s own take on Android. While we’re generally against manufacturer UIs, OnePlus is one of very few companies that has created a UI that truly compliments stock Android.
OxygenOS 10 features over 370 optimisations, ranging from animations to unlock speed and gesture support, to enhance the overall OnePlus 7T experience. It’s not so far from stock Android that you’re unsure of how to use it, but it certainly has its own individual (and heavily customisable) style.
OxygenOS 10 utilises AI like many smartphones in 2019, but in a different way. Rather than using it in gimmicky ways, OnePlus uses built-in AI to learn which apps you use most and intelligently display information from those apps on your lockscreen. This varies depending on the apps you use, but we’ve seen calendar reminders and media playback information appear without any prompt from us.
Zen Mode has also made a return in OxygenOS 10 allowing you to lock yourself out of your phone (but still take photos or receive calls) if you need to force yourself to have a break. However, you can now extend the downtime in 10-minute increments up to an hour at a time, perfect for situations where you want to switch off and avoid the temptation of mindlessly scrolling.
And like other Android manufacturers including Asus and Nokia, OnePlus has a regular update commitment with the OnePlus 7T, offering two years of OS upgrades and three years of security patches.
The OnePlus 7T is a phenomenal smartphone that bridges the gap between the company’s standard and Pro lines, featuring a large 6.55in AMOLED display with speedy 90Hz refresh rate and HDR10 support, a triple-camera setup on the rear consisting of a wide, ultra-wide and telephoto lens and rapid 30W charging that boosts your phone to almost 50 percent in just 20 minutes.
The design is eye-catching without being too in-your-face, and the lightweight form factor makes it feel good in the hand too.
Admittedly it’s not the perfect smartphone with a slightly buggy Super Stabilised video mode and a 60fps cap on games despite the 90Hz refresh rate, but there’s still a lot to be excited about with the OnePlus 7T – especially at a sub-flagship price point.
OnePlus 7T: Specs
- 160.9 x 74.4 x 8.1mm
- 6.55in AMOLED display
- HDR10 support
- 2400 x 1080 (402ppi)
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+
- Adreno 640 GPU
- 8GB RAM
- 128GB storage
- 3800mAh battery
- 30W fast charging
- In-display fingerprint scanner
- Dual stereo speakers
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Wi-Fi 5
- Triple rear camera setup (48Mp, 16Mp ultra-wide and 12Mp telephoto)
- Up to [email protected] video
- HDR support
- Front-facing 16Mp camera
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