OnePlus 8T - In the shadow of Samsung

The OnePlus 8T is the only new smartphone from OnePlus that will appear this fall. With this, the brand (at least for now) is letting go of the Pro series. What has remained is that the OnePlus 8T is a small upgrade compared to the OnePlus 8 from last spring. Is the OnePlus 8T the new best smartphone from OnePlus?

OnePlus 8T

Price From € 599,-

Colors green, silver

OS Android 11 (Oxygen OS)

Screen 6.55 inch OLED (2400 x 1080) 120Hz

Processor 2.84GHz octa-core (Snapdragon 865)

RAM 8GB or 12GB

Storage 128GB or 256GB (non-expandable)

Battery 4,500 mAh

Camera 48.16.5 megapixels (rear), 16 megapixels (front)

Connectivity 5G, Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6, NFC, GPS

Format 16.1 x 7.4 x 0.8 cm

Weight 180 grams

Website www.oneplus.com 7.5 Score 75

  • Pros
  • fast charger
  • Screen
  • Battery life
  • Performance
  • Negatives
  • Better alternatives
  • Macro camera
  • No wireless charging
  • No audio port

OnePlus is quite searching. After the brand was embraced by a small group of enthusiasts in the early years, OnePlus is trying to get more brand awareness and appeal to a larger target group. Without success, because while the new users are being fished in, the users from the first hour seem to run out the back door just as hard. This makes things messy at OnePlus: with the OnePlus Nord, the brand is trying again to apply the trusted low-price-good device formula with which the brand started.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus as an example

In the meantime, OnePlus is no longer subtle which brand they take as an example to sell their smartphones to the masses: Samsung. OnePlus clearly shows that with this new OnePlus 8T. This makes the smartphone a bit insignificant compared to the Galaxy S20 Plus and the smartphones from the OnePlus 8 series, which are also still offered.

It is quickly apparent that the copy work is not subtle. The positioning and layout of the rear camera island, the use of a front camera hole, and the appearance of the OxygenOS Android shell suddenly resembles Samsung's OneUI. OnePlus makes it so colorful that even the case of the OnePlus 8T fits around the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus, with cameras and all. Only the buttons on the side are placed slightly differently. Since the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus has about the same price at the time of writing, I will draw some more comparisons between the two devices. I got to test the 12GB RAM and 256GB storage version, which costs 699 euros. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus currently costs three tens more (€ 729,-).

OnePlus 8, 8 Pro and 8T

The OnePlus 8T comes next to the regular 8 series on the shelf of the smartphone maker and has features of both devices. There is a Full HD screen with a refresh rate of 120 hertz, the battery capacity (4,500 mAh) is the same as the Pro version. The smartphone is almost the same size as the OnePlus 8, with a 6.55-inch screen with a hole in the top left corner for the front camera. Little seems to have changed in the camera area at the rear: three lenses (wide-angle, macro and regular camera), flanked by a monochrome lens for support, to better estimate depth, for example. I will return to the camera in more detail later in the review.

The OnePlus 8T does not have the option of wireless (fast) charging. Inexplicable, because half a year ago a wireless fast charging system was shown with a lot of fuss. This is therefore only available for the OnePlus 8 Pro. The fast charger of the OnePlus 8T has been stepped up a bit. In fact. It is even powerful enough to charge many laptops with USB-C. Very impressive.

Of course, the OnePlus 8T runs on the latest Android version (11), which is covered by its own OxygenOS shell. OnePlus rightly receives a lot of praise for this shell, and admittedly, for me it also feels a bit like coming home when I test a OnePlus smartphone. However, there has been some criticism, how the system handles background processes, the appearance is increasingly inspired by Samsung's OneUI shell and bloatware from Facebook, among others, had made its way into the system. Fortunately, that last point is no longer the case. Plus point. Compared to other manufacturers, OnePlus has a good reputation when it comes to update support duration and speed, with at least three years of Android and security updates.

Screen

While testing previous OnePlus smartphones, I had the feeling that I had to choose: do I want a screen that looks nicer thanks to the higher refresh rate or an acceptable battery life? In practice I prefer the latter. With this OnePlus 8T, this balance is finally right, the battery lasts about a day and a half with the higher 120 hertz refresh rate switched on. Depending on how intensively you use the smartphone, of course. That is a lot better than the Galaxy S20 Plus, which can barely get through a day with the same high screen refresh rate. 120 hertz is in practice a nice extra, but don't miss out (in a figurative sense). You will be disappointed if it is a decisive reason for you to buy a smartphone.

The image quality of the screen is fine, and another striking fact: the screen is flat and has no rounded edges. The brightness and color reproduction are very good, and the image is also sharp enough thanks to Full-HD resolution. A higher 1440p resolution is barely visible on this screen size and is only an unnecessary burden on the battery.

Camera

The camera has always been OnePlus' weak spot compared to the competition. This is no different with the OnePlus 8T. That is not surprising, because the sensors used have largely remained the same. At the back you will find three cameras: a regular, wide-angle and macro camera, which offer enough photography options in terms of functionality. Think of the three zoom levels, portrait photography and night photography.

The quality of the photos is okay, but no more than that. In this area there is a huge gap with Samsung, which has better in order when it comes to camera. You will notice the difference in low-light photography. The wide-angle and regular lens take nice photos, it is nice that the differences are not so great in quality. The macro lens is frankly below par. Colors are faded and the image is grainy even with sufficient light. To be honest, I wonder why OnePlus does not choose to pay more attention to the quality of the photos and lenses and simply omit the macro camera.

Colors and details are captured so poorly by the macro camera that it is better to avoid them.

Alternatives to the OnePlus 8T

If you are in the market for the more expensive model of the OnePlus 8T, ask yourself why you don't choose the Galaxy S20 Plus. That device overshadows the OnePlus 8T in almost all areas, especially the camera. You could consider the OnePlus for the better battery life.

The variant of 599 euros is of course a bit cheaper than the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus. But here too you have good alternatives from Samsung, such as the Fan Edition of the Galaxy S20. The Xiaomi Poco F2 Pro is also a comparable smartphone, which is priced lower. The competition from OnePlus itself is also fierce. The device falls away a bit compared to the OnePlus 8 (cheaper, hardly different) and the OnePlus 8 Pro (more expensive, but with wireless charging and a better camera).

Conclusion: Buy OnePlus 8T?

The OnePlus 8T is an excellent smartphone, a safe choice, nothing wrong with that. Especially the screen, the excellent battery life and the smooth performance are points where the smartphone scores. Yet OnePlus makes dubious choices, making the existence of the OnePlus 8T debatable. Why would you choose this device over the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro? I couldn't explain it to you. As well as the fact that the Galaxy S20 Plus is just a much better choice for about the same price. The design and even the operating system are hardly distinguishable from each other anymore.

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