Beautiful 120Hz display • Big battery with rapid charging • Solid camera redesign
No wireless charging • Too tall to use with one hand • Charging cable is too short
The OnePlus 8T is a cheaper redesign of the OnePlus 8 Pro that largely hits the sweet spot for specs and price.
Budget devices like the iPhone SE and Google Pixel ‘a’ series prove that it’s usually a good idea to wait for cheaper revisions of new phones. Why pay for an expensive flagship when you can get something close to the same thing for less money later? And the same is also true for OnePlus.
Launching on Oct. 23 for $749, the newest OnePlus handset is a slightly revised and more affordable version of the $899 OnePlus 8 Pro that Mashable’s Brenda Stolyar gave high praise earlier this year. Certain specs like display size, resolution, and battery have been pared down in order to reach a more agreeable price point, but without a drastic decrease in quality.
The world certainly isn’t lacking in mid-to-high-range smartphones right now, but Android devotees who want a great screen and unbelievably quick charging should at least give the OnePlus 8T a gander.
The Good: Excellent display, Warp Charge is the real deal, less ugly camera array
In case you aren’t fully up to speed with the world of OnePlus phones lately, the 8T is a middle step between the $699 OnePlus 8 and the 8 Pro. Its 6.55-inch display is the same size as the 8, and it also shares an identical 2400×1080 resolution (402 ppi). For reference, the 8 Pro measures in at 6.78 inches with a much larger 3168×1440 resolution. For what it’s worth, the lower pixel count on the 8T didn’t bother me. Streaming content in 1080p looks fantastic and vibrant, even if it’s not especially cutting edge.
One major difference, however, is that the 8T bumps the refresh rate up to 120Hz from the 90Hz figure seen in the OnePlus 8. This brings the refresh rate in line with the 8 Pro, and is easily one of the biggest selling points of the 8T. Whether you’re scrolling through Twitter or playing high frame rate mobile games, this is a gorgeous and smooth display that’s as good as anything you’ll get for $749.
Speaking of gaming, the OnePlus 8T is pretty good at that. Fortnite doesn’t support high frame rate modes at the moment, but even at 30FPS, it looks sharp and vibrant on the 8T’s display. Ditto for Genshin Impact, a game so gorgeous I can’t believe it’s running on a phone. Lastly, PUBG Mobile supports both high frame rate play and HDR, running smoothly and looking excellent in the process.
You can optionally bump the display down to a lower refresh rate if you want to save battery life, but I never felt the need to do that in my time with the OnePlus 8T. Battery drain, even at 120Hz, is impressively slow here, as I could easily get through at least 12 hours on a single charge as long as I stuck to basic activities like social media and the occasional YouTube video. That’s great, but what’s even better is what happens when you start running low on juice.
OnePlus included a 65-watt Warp Charge-compatible power adapter that actually meets the lofty expectations set by its name. On my first day with the phone, I let the 8T get down to about 10 percent battery before plugging it in and setting a timer. When the timer was up about 30 minutes later, the 8T’s battery was sitting pretty at 100 percent.
That’s pretty remarkable and could totally change how you engage with your phone’s battery. Going from nearly dead to fully alive in the time it takes to get ready for work in the morning is pretty darn nice. As someone who has to keep a slightly older iPhone plugged in for much of the day, it made me jealous.
The battery’s excellence is, thankfully, not a sign that performance has been reduced at all. It uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor as the OnePlus 8 Pro, achieving similar results according to Geekbench 5’s metrics. The 8T scored around 890 for single-core performance and 3,150 for multi-core performance. For reference, the 8 Pro came in at 900 and 3,272, respectively, so the 8T is only marginally worse when pushed to its limits than its more expensive sibling.
In layman’s terms, that means I never experienced notable hitching or slowdown while performing everyday tasks. It’s quick and responsive at doing just about everything. That includes unlocking, as the excellent in-display fingerprint sensor returns from the 8 Pro. It’s the most responsive fingerprint sensor I’ve ever used, never failing me once no matter how I rested my thumb on it. Face unlock works quickly, too, if that’s your groove.
Perhaps the biggest physical difference between the 8T and the 8 Pro is the appearance of the rear camera array. The more expensive Pro model came with a freakish-looking vertical camera stripe in the top center part of the phone’s backside, while the new 8T rearranges everything into a rectangular bump in the upper left corner reminiscent of recent Samsung flagships.
As for the camera itself, the OnePlus 8T’s four rear lenses differ slightly from the ones present on the 8 Pro. The main 48MP sensor (f/1.7) is nearly the same as the 8 Pro’s, but the 16MP ultra-wide-angle lens is a downgrade from the 48MP one found on the older phone. The telephoto and color filter lenses have also been swapped out for macro and monochrome lenses.
It’s still a solid camera setup thanks to options like Nightscape low-light photography, but amateur photographers might gravitate towards the 8 Pro instead. There doesn’t seem to be a massive difference, but there’s enough of one that it’s worth pointing out.
One final thing to note is that the 8T does support sub-6GHz 5G. I wasn’t able to test out the 5G support during the review period, but if that’s a selling point for you, it’s important to know the 8T has your back.
The Bad: A little too tall, no wireless charging, included cable is too short
The latest OnePlus offering is a generally excellent Android device considering its cost is below what we consider “flagship prices” these days, but it’s not without a few minor faults. In our 8 Pro review, we noted that it felt too big to operate with one hand. And while the 8T is roughly 5mm shorter on the vertical end, that’s still the case.
It isn’t difficult to arrange your home screen so it’s both attractive and usable one-handed, but plenty of apps aren’t really built that way. Social networks like Twitter and Instagram use every inch of the screen, basically requiring two hands to operate unless you’re built like an NBA player. It’s not actively unpleasant, but OnePlus could stand to make the next one just a bit shorter.
OnePlus also left wireless charging out this time around, presumably to keep the price down. It’s not a major blow to a phone that only needs to sit on a charge for 20 to 30 minutes to get through a day. But some people prefer wireless charging and they won’t be served by the OnePlus 8T. Nor will people who don’t sit close to power outlets, as the USB-C cable included in the box is so comically short that you’ll be better off buying another one. I sit about four feet away from where the adapter is plugged in and I still couldn’t actually use the 8T while it was charging because of this.
The OnePlus 8T isn’t much more than a revised and discounted 8 Pro, but it doesn’t need to be. At just $50 more than the starting price of the regular OnePlus 8, it brings near flagship-level performance and specs. If you haven’t used a phone with a 120Hz screen yet, this could be a great entry point. You’ll soon figure out why so many people value that in their electronics: It makes basic everyday activities like web browsing, social media, and mobile gaming look noticeably better.
To top it all off, you get one of the fastest battery charges around and optional 5G support. The only things holding the 8T back are minor inconveniences like an overly vertical display, a lack of wireless charging, and a hilariously short packed-in charging cable.
Apple, Samsung, and Google might get more of the spotlight here in the United States, but OnePlus and the 8T deserve at least some of your attention if you’re in the market for a spiffy new Android handset.