A few days back, OnePlus launched its mid-year refresh, flagship smartphone, the OnePlus 7T. Similar to the rest of the “T” devices, the 7T arrives as a spiritual successor to the OnePlus 7 that was launched in May this year. It brings incremental upgrades and minor design tweaks, especially with the camera module. There are two variants – 8GB RAM with 128GB storage for Rs 37,999, and the other with 256GB storage for Rs 39,999.
As usual, you can buy it from OnePlus.in, offline Experience stores, and Amazon India. The OnePlus 7T will compete with other premium flagship smartphones such as the Asus ROG Phone 2, Xiaomi Redmi K20 Pro, and Oppo Reno 2 series to name a few. I have been using the OnePlus 7T as my primary smartphone for a little more than a week now and here is my review.
Improved design and refined build quality
First up, let’s talk about the design. Unlike most companies, OnePlus officially revealed the renders of the device days before the launch event. As noted previously, OnePlus 7T comes with “a new smooth matte surface” with a metallic finish. Buyers will get to choose from a Frosted Sliver and Glacier Blue color variants. The interesting part about the rear finish is that the device changes its gradient depending on the angle of the light. Also, it doesn’t attract a lot of smudges.
Straight down from the top, it showcases a muted tone of Steel Blue with a mix of Cadet Grey. However, as soon as you hold 7T against the light, you get a range of Sky Blue-like bright colors. The second significant change in terms of the design is the camera bump with the inclusion of three camera sensors. This change makes a smartphone case necessary to protect the edges of the bump any possible damage. It will also ensure that the back is leveled if you want to type with the 7T on a desk.
The bump may also be quite polarizing as it is not as clean a design as previous OnePlus devices. I did find the un-evenness of the back problematic but didn’t mind it much after slapping a case. So, it all comes down to personal use and preference at the end. The matte finish is slippery so one needs to be careful while using the phone without a case. Similar to the 7 Series, you get the volume rocker on the left with power and alert slider on the right. The top of the display features a speaker grill with the notch. The bottom part features a thick display chin with Type-C and speaker grill.
OnePlus 7T and the faster 90Hz display
Moving away from the design, the display is the second major change coming from the OnePlus 7 Series. In terms of specifications, 7T features a 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED display. It comes with FHD+ (2,400 x 1,080 pixels) resolution, 402 PPI pixel density, and 20:9 aspect ratio. However, the highlight of the display is obviously the all-important 90Hz fast refresh rate. We previously saw this key feature in the OnePlus 7 Pro display. OnePlus also revealed that this will be a standard in all its future devices. It has also made about 370 optimizations in the software to go with the 90Hz goodness.
Digging deeper, the display supports sRGB, and Display P3 color profiles. OnePlus has also added 3D corning gorilla glass on the device to protect against the damage. The OnePlus 7T comes with support for HDR10+ content and more than 1,000 nits peak brightness. We have already mentioned the notch in the design segment which means that there is no pop-up selfie camera. In addition, the company also clarified that the notch is about 31.46 percent smaller than the OnePlus 7 notch. This change is not really evident unless you keep both the devices next to each other.
The device also comes with the latest optical in-display fingerprint scanner for authentication. The display is quite impressive in terms of color reproduction and contrast. However, it does not seem to be as high-end as the one in the 7 Pro. We know this because the color reproduction and brightness take a hit when viewed from an angle. Keep in mind, the display is indeed brighter than the 7 Pro. The only difference is color reproduction at a angle. Most won’t notice this in regular usage. The company has also introduced a new colored reading mode.
Let’s first run through the specifications. You get the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ SoC with an octa-core CPU. It is clocked at up to 2.96GHz and is simply an overclocked version of the Snapdragon 855. It comes with Adreno 640 GPU, 8GB RAM and up to 256GB UFS 3.0 storage. All this helps the device zip through daily tasks. With each successive device, the company managed to unlock a new level of performance.
There was no issue multitasking between 18-20 apps at any given time and I could quickly jump into any app, picking up from where I left. A key feature that made its way down to the OnePlus 7T from the 7 Pro is the haptic feedback vibration motor. It is as impressive as it was on the 7 Pro and I am glad that it is present.
Other features include USB Type-C port with USB 3.1 Gen 1 protocol support, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth v5.0, and NFC. 7T also sports GPS and Dual 45 Nano-SIM slots for connectivity. It also comes with an accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light, proximity, electronic compass, and sensor core sensors.
The fingerprint scanner is as snappy as it was in the OnePlus 7 Pro. It is not as fast as the capacitive sensors but it is getting there. The stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos support offer impressive sound while consuming music or video content. It also offers crystal clear voice during calls and other communication with noise cancellation support.
I experience no lag or slowdown in extended gaming sessions of PUBG Mobile and the recently launched Call of Duty Mobile. OnePlus 7T allowed me to play PUBG Mobile at HDR graphics and high frame-rates. I could also push it to Very High or Ultra frame-rates at the cost of faster battery depletion. The game allowed me to play at “Very High” graphics quality and “High” frame-rates in Call of Duty Mobile. In addition to these, I was able to run Fortnite and Shadowgun Legends in High graphics settings.
The device was also able to maintain its temperature for a considerable amount of period. Pushing further, it did get quite hot but quickly returned to normal temperature after a short break of 15 minutes. It is worth noting that the heaviest of users will not face these temperatures. I did face a temperature warning while transferring 116GB data from OnePlus 7 Pro to the 7T. The temperature control feature will work as we saw on the 7 Pro. It will automatically reduce the brightness, turn off hotspot and flashlight in case the user forgot to.
OnePlus 7T Camera: Arrival of the third rear camera
The rear-camera sports a 48-megapixel primary camera with a Sony IMX586 sensor and f/1.6 aperture. It also comes with OIS for image and EIS for video stabilization. The rest of the sensors include a 12-megapixel camera with a telephoto lens and a 16-megapixel sensor with an ultra-wide lens. The company has also added a dual-LED flash unit on the back along with PDAF and CAF autofocus. The company has added a dedicated Macro Mode along with the inclusion of an ultra-wide lens and a telephoto lens. This provides users with enough flexibility when it comes to capturing a variety of images.
On the front, users get a 16-megapixel camera with a Sony IMX471 sensor for selfies. Talking about the video department, the rear camera supports up to 4K video at 60fps. OnePlus has also added a new “Super Steady Mode” for stabilized video and it surprisingly works well. The front sensor allows users to shoot up to 1080p at 30fps. Other features include improved night mode, night mode for ultra-wide mode, and video recording in all three modes.
After 5 months of research and tweaks, one would hope that OnePlus has made a significant leap in camera performance. However, that is not the case here with the OnePlus 7T camera. Before I jump into the details, let me clarify that the camera quite good. It captures good images in ideal lighting with spot-on exposure, dynamic range, and color reproduction. However, the balance between keeping the texture and eliminating noise seems to be off. You can check all the samples in the album embedded below.
As mentioned, the Night mode has received some improvement. Night images lack crisp details, have murky shadows with passable texture. Noise creeps in the final images in most lighting conditions in the ultra-wide mode. The macro mode manages to capture impressive images with good details and noise control.
Moving to HDR images, the camera does a decent job of automatically detecting challenging situation to capture multiple frames Front camera captures decent selfies in ideal lighting conditions with good background isolation in the portrait mode. It is also worth noting that the front camera does not come with beauty mode enabled out of the box. Overall, the 7T captures good enough images across the range. But, they need to improve to a significant degree to compete with the competition.
OxygenOS 10 and Android 10: Software on OnePlus 7T
Moving to the software section, this is likely to be the strongest suit of OnePlus 7T. The device comes with Android 10-based OxygenOS 10 out of the box. As reported in the past, it is the first device in the market to ship with the Android 10 upgrade. The company has not added any bloatware with the OS limiting things to only bare essential apps. These include select Google apps, Game Space, Netflix, File Manager, OnePlus Calculator, Gallery, and OnePlus Camera app. In addition to this, the company has also added a number of unique services and India-centric features to users.
The first software service is OnePlus cloud storage service known as “OnePlus Cloud Gallery”. OnePlus users will get 5GB free storage space to store their images and videos. In addition, the company will also offer an additional 50GB storage space to new buyers for the first year. OnePlus also added a new software feature called “Work-Life balance”. Beyond this, it has also partnered with Gupshup to bring a number of new Smart SMS features in the OnePlus “Messaging” app.
Other software features include Cricket scores in shelf and international roaming. We have covered all these features in detail in a past report. OnePlus also revealed that it is set to launch OnePlus Pay in 2020 during the OnePlus 7T launch. It also comes with September 5, 2019, Android security patch and OxygenOS 10.0.3.HD65AA out of the box.
It is worth noting that I was facing some lag and jittery-ness in the UI with some camera focus issues at night. However, OnePlus just rolled out a new software update on October 1 fixing UI and camera issues. The company also clarified that this update will come out of the box in retail devices.
The 7T features a 3,800mAh battery along with the new Warp Charge 30T Fast charging technology. The company claims that this technology offers an even faster 30W charging speed. It also claims to charge 0 to 70 percent battery in 30 minutes. During my testing, I was able to charge the device from 0 to 100 in just an hour. During my daily usage, the battery backup was just about adequate while offering 8-8.5 hours of battery backup.
The time was reduced to 6.5-7.5 hours on continuous gaming, but that may be a stretch. My usage includes 1.5-2 hours of gaming, 18-20 photos, 1-1.5 hours of video streaming on Netflix or YouTube. Other aspects of my use include 4-5 email accounts on sync along with WhatsApp and Telegram messages throughout the day. The slight reduction in the battery can be attributed to the 90Hz display. But, slightly accelerated battery consumption can easily be ignored because of the improved Warp Charge 30T.
Verdict: Should you buy the OnePlus 7T?
Similar to most T upgrades, I wish that the company had launched the device five months back. This is what OnePlus 7 should have been with a careful mix of “best of both worlds”.
If you recently purchased the OnePlus 7 or the 7 Pro, the existence of the 7T is likely to annoy you. This is because it is the fine middle ground where 7 Pro buyers would have saved the money. It also would have presented OnePlus 7 buyers with a more comprehensive set of camera and display features. If you are a OnePlus 6 user, or any phone before that, then the 7T makes for an ideal upgrade. Anyone with newer devices should wait for the next generation.
Beyond this, 7T is a good balancing act when it comes to the price and features. It has enough to separate itself from the sub-Rs 40,000 smartphone market. However, the device does come with its weak points. Your decision to buy the 7T will also depend on what you really want. If you want the top of the line performance with the best hardware and guaranteed software updates, 7T is for you. If you want the best of the line camera then we would suggest you look at Google Pixel, Samsung Galaxy S or Note series. Of course, it will cost you considerably more money.