OnePlus phones have become the de-facto choice when it comes to the mid-range premium smartphone space. But lately, brands like Samsung and Realme among others have started showing interest in this space. OnePlus then may have to look at rewriting its playbook. It’s formula has largely remained unchanged – offer solid performance at a reasonable price, a differentiating design, and a streamlined Android experience. Now, the company is gearing up to launch its next flagship series. If rumors are anything to go by, we are likely to see the OnePlus 8 series launch sometime in April.
It has been almost six months since the launch of the OnePlus 7T in India. Till date it remains a competitive product in this price segment. But has it aged well? Is it still a sound investment today? Or should you simply wait for the upcoming OnePlus 8? I have been using the OnePlus 7T for over five months now, and here’s my long-term review.
Watch: Samsung Galaxy S10 Lite vs OnePlus 7T Pro Camera comparison
Design, build, display
First things first, the OnePlus 7T still has one of the best designs in its segment as it purely focuses on minimalism and simplicity. Its Glacier Blue color model will easily grab anyone’s attention. Unlike many smartphones these days, the 7T feels quite light and thin. The curved glass back also makes it easy to handle it. However, it is better to slap a case on it to protect the beautiful metal and frosted glass back design of the device.
With time, you might notice slight gouges in the glass that you might not be able to rub off. This will happen if you keep the phone in a pocket or bag with keys or anything sharp. Also, the fingerprints are slightly visible, which could be considered as a secondary reason to use it with a case. The back camera module doesn’t sit flush with the body, but the case makes it equal and it protects it against scratches.
While you will not notice scratch marks from day-to-day use without a screen protector, I will still recommend you to have it. The handset ships with a low-quality screen protector and one shouldn’t rely on that as if you drop it will crack very easily. Nevertheless, the handset feels very solid. Do note that there is no 3.5 headphone jack here. One of my friends bought this phone without being aware of the fact it lacks audio jack and then she said, “I don’t want to spend more on a pair of wireless headphones.”
There is no USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box either, so you will either have to buy a headphone adapter or USB-C earphones. While the OnePlus 7T doesn’t officially come with an IP rating, the phone can handle some splashes, as per our usage. This doesn’t mean that you can take it to shower or pool.
The device has a tall footprint, which might be an issue for one hand usage. It features a waterdrop-style notch, which is among the smallest I have ever seen on any phone. The tiny notch is not at all intrusive and you won’t notice it much in dark mode. Its tall form factor and the thin borders around the screen give more screen space and good enjoyable experience with its vibrant screen.
OnePlus started the trend of high refresh rate, which is gradually trickling down to other mid-range phones too. The 7T’s display supports 90Hz refresh rate, which makes the experience smooth. The OnePlus 7T has a 6.55-inch AMOLED FHD+ display, which supports HDR 10+.
Performance, software and more
OnePlus phones are known to deliver impeccable performance. The same is also the case with the OnePlus 7T. It is a no-brainer, and the blend of Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC, UFS 3.0 storage, and OxygenOS makes the experience blissful. You may argue that the handset doesn’t pack the newest Snapdragon 865 SoC. But, in day-to-day use, the SD855 Plus is still blazingly fast. In my time of use, the handset never showed the signs of slowing down.
Do note that the base 8GB RAM variant only comes with 128GB storage, and there is no option to expand the storage. This is likely to be an issue if you have a lot of photos, files, documents and videos on your phone. Don’t forget that each graphic-intensive game also occupies more than 1GB storage space. OnePlus does offer Cloud Storage for the Gallery (5GB free), but this might not be enough. The 256GB variant will cost Rs 2,000 more, but at least you are getting double storage space.
As for security, the in-display fingerprint reader works fine. It may not be the quickest solution, but at least it is accurate. There’s also an option of face unlock. For audio, the smartphone packs stereo speakers. If you’re in a small room, then the speakers can get impressively loud making binge-watching much more enjoyable. However, you will notice a slight distortion at high volumes.
Another top reason for buyers to opt for OnePlus phones is their close to stock experience and streamlined Android experience. OxygenOS is one of the most reliable Android skins out there that gets frequent and timely updates. It is almost bloatware-free, smooth, offers a bunch of accessibility features, and lots of customization options.
There are features like expanded screenshot, Parallel apps, built-in screen recorder, customizable reading mode and accent color, quick reply, App Locker and more. The company promises that it will roll out the much-awaited Always-on Display feature via a future update. The handset is also up-to-date in terms of the latest Android OS, however, the OnePlus 7T is still on the January 2020 security patch. While this might not hinder your experience, the company should make sure that the phone is up-to-date in terms of security.
When it comes to photography, the OnePlus 7T continues to hold its own. We recently compared its cameras with rivals like Realme X50 Pro, iQOO 3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Lite. Despite launching last year, we found that OnePlus’ phone offers slightly better camera experience than its closest rivals. Going forward, the company is expected to make massive improvements in this department.
The OnePlus 7T has a 3,800mAh battery, which can easily survive the day on a single charge. If you charge the phone in the morning, you will more often than not be left with about 35 percent battery at night. At night, you will have to charge it if you plan to watch movies or play games. During the day, I used social media apps, did a bit of casual gaming and browsing, and watched a few short videos. If you are not pushing the phone to its limits, then the device will last more than a day. However, you will have to charge it the next morning.
The handset ships with Warp Charge 30T fast charger, which is quite impressive and handy. If you are in a hurry and your phone’s battery is very low, the fast charger will help top the battery from 2 percent to around 42 percent in 20 minutes.
Is OnePlus 7T still the best in its segment?
In my opinion, the OnePlus 7T remains a great deal even today. At Rs 34,999, it oozes quality and has a good set of cameras for daylight photography. It is blazingly fast and comes with a 90Hz AMOLED display, and good battery life with 30W fast charging support. Do note that the 4G handset lacks a headphone jack, wireless charging, storage expansion, and IP rating. If you are still fine with these, then you are good to go. It is however worth noting that the upcoming OnePlus 8 series is widely expected to improve on these departments. This brings us to the next question.
Should you wait for the OnePlus 8?
If you are looking for a 5G-ready OnePlus phone with Snapdragon 865 SoC, then you can wait for the OnePlus 8. However, the leaks and rumors suggest that the OnePlus 8 will offer specifications similar to that of the 7T, excluding the battery and chipset. But all these are also likely to have an impact on the upcoming smartphone’s price tag.