We’ve become accustomed to OnePlus launching a new device twice a year. For the past few generations, the ‘T’ series has been that end-of-year upgrade to its flagship phone, usually offering a more powerful processor and one or two other improvements.
2019’s upgrade came early. Perhaps too early. Considering how little time passed between the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro launch and the release of the 7T, it certainly seemed that way. But in this particularly instance, it ended up feeling like a welcome update. After all, the OnePlus 7 was barely different to the OnePlus 6T.
A quick look over the 7T’s design, specs and cameras, and there’s no way this would ever be mistaken for its predecessor. It’s a bold look on a phone that makes bold claims about performance. Could this model, on balance, be the best OnePlus to buy?
- Frosted Silver and Glacier Blue colours
- Dimensions: 160.9 x 74.4 x 8.1mm
- Weighs: 190 grams
- Curved glass back
Starting with the 7T’s most obvious point: its back. In previous years, OnePlus has prided itself on the minimalist, symmetrical look of its rear panel. The cameras are usually placed vertically, in a small protrusion right in the middle of the phone. Those days are most definitely gone with the OnePlus 7T (or at least temporarily paused).
Until the Huawei Mate 30 launch, we hadn’t seen a camera hump like this since the days of old school Nokia PureView.
That’s to say, beauty is definitely in the eyes of the beholder. It’s still symmetrical, sure, but it dominates the space. We’re of the opinion that – just like Marmite – you’ll either love it, or hate it. What you can’t do, is ignore it.
What we really like about the 7T is the finish, texture and shape of the glass on the back. Our review model is the glacier blue, which is slightly lighter and cooler than the Nebula Blue from the 7 Pro. It’s got that frosted look, which means it’s not slippery and glossy. It’s a similar texture to the latest iPhone 11 Pro series phones, offering a little more grip and more resistance against fingerprint smears.
The fact that it curves towards the edges, and that the phone is only 8mm thin, means it’s certainly less bulky and feels a little lighter and better balanced in the palm than the 7 Pro does. Despite that, it’s still larger than an iPhone 11 Pro Max or XS Max, so this OnePlus is obviously not a small device.
It’s noticeably taller and more square than the 6T and 7. It still has rounded corners, but they’re slightly tighter than the previous models, with the screen corners also having that same tighter appearance, giving it a more rectangular shape. And we like that, along with the visual impact offered by the longer aspect ratio display that dominates the available surface area.
Other notable changes to the 7T include the removal of the drilled holes to the left of the USB Type-C port on the bottom edge. Instead, OnePlus has put the SIM tray there, just like on the 7 Pro. Other than that, it’s all quite standard. There’s the ever-useful alert slider that lets you switch between silent, vibrate and sound modes, plus the ever-present power button and volume rocker on the left side.
As usual, the one notable design exclusion is any official IP rating against water and dust resistance. But again, OnePlus doesn’t play those games, much in the same way as Motorola has no official rating (yet does coat its phones’ interiors with resistive material).
Fluid AMOLED display
- Flat 6.55-inch 20:9 aspect ratio AMOLED display
- HDR10+ with 1000 nit peak brightness
- 2,400 x 1080 resolution
- 90Hz refresh rate
- Teardrop notch
OnePlus 7 Pro was the first phone from the manufacturer to include a 90Hz display, and notably, the regular OnePlus 7 didn’t have it. For the ‘T’ series, both phones went with the higher refresh rate. OnePlus 7T has the 90Hz panel designed for smoother animations and response times.
This panel isn’t QuadHD like the 7T Pro, though, it’s still a Full HD+ variant with a 20:9 aspect ratio, but it also supports HDR10+ for maximum brightness, colour gamut and contrast ratio, making it even better for watching your favourite Netflix shows on.
Despite not being a QuadHD resolution panel, it still offers a fantastic experience. Colours and contrast are top notch in Vivid mode, appearing more saturated and lively than the OLED panel on the iPhone XS Max.
In the display settings you can choose to have it in Natural mode, which reduces the saturation, or you can use the Advanced mode and choose the AMOLED Wide Gamut, sRGB or Display P3. There’s also the option to adjust the colour temperature, so you really can get the panel looking the way you prefer if you’re particularly fussy about these things.
One advantage to having this screen over the display on the Pro model is the fact that it’s completely flat. There are no curved edges to distort the colours or image. What’s more, there’s less likelihood of accidental touch gestures activating or hindering an action on the phone.
As for that faster refresh rate display, it can be hard to tell in daily use how much smoother it makes animations in general. You have to look with quite a lot of focus, although side-by-side with a lesser phone and you’ll see. Then again, OnePlus phones have always felt fast, as that’s the company’s MO.
Speed and longevity
- Snapdragon 855 Plus processor
- 8GB RAM + 128GB storage
- UFS 3.0 flash memory
- 3,800mAh battery
- 30W Warp Charge
OnePlus reason for having a T-series phone every year is to be sure that it’s offering the fastest, smoothest performance it can bring in a smartphone, ensuring it’s ahead of the pack. For 2019, that means equipping this phone with Qualcomm’s flagship processor, the Snapdragon 855 Plus.
It might not have the sharper display of the 7T Pro, but we think the 7T is the best OnePlus phone on balance, regardless of cost. The big, flat and skinny-bezeled screen on the front is gorgeous, the battery lasts, the performance is speedy, and the cameras are fun to play with.
However, yet again in the cameras department we’re left feeling it could be a bit better. For a phone that’s supposed to punch above its weight and compete with the premium big-name phones, some of the inconsistencies and issues here are frustrating.
With that said, if you don’t need the absolute best camera available then you will love the OnePlus 7T. Literally everything else about it is fantastic.
There aren’t many phones out there that match the feel of speed and fluidity you get from a OnePlus phone. There also aren’t many that strike that balance between clean and customisable software. And that’s always been the joy of OnePlus’ smartphones, which in the 7T is brought to the fore once more.