Mobiles & Tablets

OnePlus 8T: Tweaked and positioned

Mala Bhargava | Updated on October 18, 2020 Published on October 15, 2020

Give a little, take away a little. The mix of specs on this phone adds to your buying choices

It doesn’t seem like it’s been six months since the OnePlus 8 and its Pro sibling were launched. But they were — to the day. Now right on cue, we have a OnePlus 8T which has been tweaked to sit between the two previous devices. To be honest, there isn’t a stark difference between all these close members of the same family which makes it very difficult to anyone to choose. No doubt a OnePlus 8T Pro will come along sometime to add to the confusion. Or choices, depending on which side of the table you’re on.

 

Interestingly, you can’t go very wrong if you were to pick up any one of the recent OnePlus phones. Not unless you’re a power user who won’t compromise on any of the latest specs in which case you head for the Pro model. If you’re on a budget, you opt for the OnePlus 8 or tighter still, the Nord. The OnePlus 8T now floats somewhere in the mix. Whatever the price point, they’re now all fast, kitted with great software, and among the most powerful phones. For distinction, one spec or the other is taken away and a few are put in.

The 8T turns out to be smaller than the 8Pro and almost the same size as the OnePlus 8. It comes in two colours: aquamarine green (reflective) and lunar silver (frosted) which is quite distinctive. Neither shows up fingerprints. On the back, there’s two OnePlus logos, the graphic and text, and a camera assembly that looks a lot like it’s come from other phones and not that much like it belongs on a OnePlus.

Super screen

The display is flat, something that users rather like because it’s easier to handle. It’s a 6.55-inch 2400x1080p AMOLED which is lower than the 8Pro, but borrows from that phone a 120Hz refresh rate. It gets an A+ rating from DisplayMate. It also has a wider brightness range. It’s a really good and responsive display. The tiny hole for the camera is pushed over to the side in a way that really makes it unobtrusive. Viewing is enhanced with dual stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos.

Blink-of-an-eye charging

The battery has been boosted to 4,500mAh and is actually now two batteries on the inside. There’s 65W fast charging and it tops up from around 10 per cent (by which time you’ll get a system alert) to 100 per cent in about 37 minutes. One doesn’t need overnight charging any longer. You can easily set it to charge on waking up and pick it up by the time you leave. If you’re going anywhere in the pandemic. There’s no wireless charging but they worry over that more in the US than they do in India. I have a few wireless chargers and tend to ignore them completely. There’s also no official waterproof rating though a few raindrops won’t ruin the phone.

Powered up

Not surprisingly the 8T doesn’t skimp on specs. It has 8GB/128GB and 12GB/256GB options with the Snapdragon 865 running both. It has UFS 3.1 storage. There’s no memory card slot, no 3.5mm headphone jack, and no IR port. All the specs would have seemed like brute force if it hadn’t been for the fact that it’s running Android 11 with its own OxygenOS 11 keeping pace and a ton of new customisations and features. The UI seems to have now been freshly inspired by Samsung’s OneUI which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it has lost a little of the simplicity of previous versions. However, it is what it is, since that’s the way forward for OnePlus phones. This is a device that takes whatever gaming you throw at it without getting heated up. Other phones I’m reviewing turn hot with the mere shooting of two or three photos.

The primary camera on the 8T is a Sony IMX 586 48MP with OIS and an f/1.7 aperture. It shoots rather nice detailed photos. The sensor isn’t new to OnePlus phones so there’s no leap in photography here. The 8Pro has the edge with the main lens. There are some companion lenses such as an ultra-wide that shoots 123-degree images, a 2MP macro lens and a 2MP monochrome lens that most people believe is unnecessary. It aids the main lens to take some interesting black and white photos. A special telephoto lens would have been more welcome. In general, if you’re considering buying the 8T, go by the main sensor and not the additional ones that make up a ‘quad camera’ setup.

OnePlus is particularly proud of its Nightscape which lights up indoor photos quite nicely though it also adds a bit of a yellow tinge. The front camera is a 16MP and does a fair enough job without as much smoothing as we’ve sometimes seen. The video mode has a new feature that blurs out the background while keeping the subject in portrait focus but doesn’t work with 4K from the front camera.

I strongly feel that the little bit of tweaking done to force the 8T to stand out in the Series 8 line up is a little confusing, causing a buyer to over-think. But I’ll say again, that any recent OnePlus is incredibly fast and smooth with a powerful software experience.

Price: 8GB+128GB is ₹42,999 and 12GB+256GB is ₹45,999

Pros: Powerful hardware, 120Hz display, newest software, extremely fast charging, camera gives detailed pics from main lens

Cons: No IP rating, on the large and solid side, has lost its signature OnePlus look, underdone extra camera lenses, confusingly incremental

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Published on October 15, 2020
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