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OnePlus 8T Review: A Next-generation’s flagship killer

Following the high profile launch of the OnePlus 8 series smartphones earlier this year, OnePlus is now back to the scene with the all-new OnePlus 8T powerhouse which will be out to prove itself as the next flagship-killer in town.

OnePlus 8T

Priced at S$899, the OnePlus 8T is currently the most affordable flagship phone launched in Singapore during the past three months. It arrives just in time to bring us additional option over the recently announced Realme X50 Pro 5G (Review) and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE.

However, in such a saturated smartphone market, does the OnePlus 8T has what it takes to stand out of the crowd? Let’s find out in the following OnePlus 8T review!

Design & Display

If you look back at all the past OnePlus devices, trust me, you can hardly find one model with a poor design. That’s because OnePlus has always put design in the forefront besides focusing solely on churning out the best specs.

The OnePlus 8T once again, impresses with a fresh outlook that looks startlingly different from last year’s OnePlus 7T, as well as the more recent OnePlus 8 series devices.

OnePlus 8T Rear Design

More specifically, the company had chose to ditch the elongated camera design which we saw on almost all OnePlus devices, for a slightly more conventional rectangular camera housing which has been trending since the start of the year.

OnePlus 8T Camera Design

For the Ultramarine Green variant that I’ve received for review, its back panel’s glass has a glossy finish instead of the matte-frosted glass on the OnePlus 8 Pro. Due to its glossy nature, its rear panel also has an iridescent appearance that shifts color between Green and Blue depending on the amount and angle of incident light.

Just like any other OnePlus devices, the new OnePlus 8T certainly feels solid and premium on hand thanks to its glass back (Corning Gorilla Glass 5) which doubles up as an additional layer of protection against scratches and accidental drops.

On top of that, it also has 3D curves that run along the sides of its rear panel which vastly improve my overall grip. Coupled with its relatively lightweight of 188 grams and 8.4mm thin profile, the OnePlus 8T is really great for one-handed use.

Upfront, the OnePlus 8T will be retaining the usual hole-punch design for its display. However, unlike the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, it will settle for a flat display instead of a curved one.

OnePlus 8T Front Design

The front display of the OnePlus 8T will be a Fluid AMOLED panel that comes with support for FHD+ screen resolution and HDR10+ contents. As expected from an AMOLED panel, its front display is really vibrant and colors are punchy as well. It also offers sufficient peak brightness to ensure the screen is always visible when you’re outdoor.

To take things further, its front display also supports a buttery-smooth 120Hz screen refresh rate which will put it on par with other more expensive flagship models including Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and the OPPO Find X2 Pro (Review).

The high refresh rate makes the user interface flows really smoothly when you’re switching between apps or swiping the home screen. In fact, the difference between the 60Hz refresh rate on my current daily driver and the 120Hz refresh rate on the OnePlus 8T is so prominent that really need some time to get use to the lower refresh rate again.

Performance

Although earlier speculations suggested that the OnePlus 8T may be equipped with the latest Snapdragon 865+ chipset, but it was eventually proven to be nothing more than a falsehood.

The OnePlus 8T will be powered by the same flagship Snapdragon 865 chipset which is also used in the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. In terms of overall performance, there isn’t really a stark contrast between the Snapdragon 865 and Snapdragon 865+, so its natural for OnePlus to opt for the former in order to keep its price competitive.

The Snapdragon 865 chipset can easily handle all the graphic intensive game titles you find in the Play store, and is able to deliver a smooth gaming experience with consistent frame rates even at the highest graphic settings.

Likewise, the processor also manages image processing really well. As such, you won’t encounter those occasional screen freezes while you’re out on a day taking pictures. Other than that, the OnePlus 8T also doesn’t has any notable overheating issue during prolonged gaming runs that could lead to a drop in frame rates or inconsistent performance.

In the memory department, the OnePlus 7T will be armed with up to 12GB RAM, which in my opinion is certainly an overkill for most users who typically needs around 8GB RAM at most.

That’s probably why OnePlus introduces both 8GB and 12GB variants with the latter targeted towards a small group of power users who need the additional headroom for multitasking.

Camera

Coming to its photography aspect, the OnePlus 8T employs a holistic quad camera system at the back which will be lead by a 48 megapixels (f/1.7 aperture) primary shooter alongside three other auxiliary cameras that include a 16 megapixels (f/2.2 aperture) ultra-wide lens, 5 megapixels (f/2.4 aperture) macro camera, as well as a 2 megapixels (f/2.4 aperture) depth sensor.

OnePlus 8T Default Camera Sample -1
Default Camera Sample #1
OnePlus 8T Default Camera Sample -2
Default Camera Sample #2

Just like its other OnePlus 8 series counterpart, the 48 megapixels primary shooter make use of 4-in-1 pixels binning technique to produce 12 megapixels shots by default. In general, photos taken by the primary shooter exhibits good dynamic range and color contrast. Likewise, retention of details including fine textures are also fairly well handled by the camera.

OnePlus 8T Night Mode Sample
Night Mode Sample

For night shots, the OnePlus 8T also comes with a dedicated Night mode to help illuminate the scene. Images taken using the Night mode feature has good exposure that makes the scene looks realistic. Other than that, it also grasp well with highlight and shadow details as well. Most importantly, the autofocus system is also responsive and accurate in both bright and darker environment.

OnePlus 8T Ultra-wide Sample #2
Ultra-wide Sample #1
OnePlus 8T Ultra-wide Sample
Ultra-wide Sample #2

Moving to its ultra-wide shots, its undeniable that the OnePlus 8T is among the best within its price range. Color reproduction is fantastic with good color depth as seen in the different shades of Green from the above.

OnePlus 8T Ultra-wide Sample -2
Cropped Section Of The Ultra-wide Sample Above

In fact, you can even see how well the level of details are preserved as buildings and structures from afar remain visibly clear when you zoom into the image.

For zooming, the OnePlus 8T lacks a dedicated telephoto lens. Therefore, the device will be limited to 10x digital zoom. Although its slightly behind other flagship phones in this aspect, but I honestly feel that 10x zoom is more than sufficient for most users including myself.

OnePlus 8T 2x Zoom Sample
2x Zoom Sample
OnePlus 8T 5x Zoom Sample
5x Zoom Sample
OnePlus 8T 10x Zoom Sample
10x Zoom Sample

Images taken between 2x to 5x zoom are generally usable, but of course wouldn’t be as flattering as those taken by the default mode. One thing to note is that the OnePlus 8T manages the noise level of its zoomed images pretty well. Therefore, images doesn’t appear grainy at the maximum zoom level.

OnePlus 8T Close-up Sample
Close-up Sample

In terms of close-up shot, the OnePlus 8T did a decent job in this aspect as well. Images taken has smooth and natural background blurring effect and exhibit accurate edge detection of its subject. However, its dynamic range appears slightly narrow.

Finally, its camera department will be rounded out by a 16 megapixels camera at the front that clicks images with natural color tone along with ample of details. Although it doesn’t has a dedicated depth sensor for selfies, but its portrait mode still works perfectly.

Battery & Charging

Keeping its lights on will be a massive 4,500mAh battery that can easily last through the day with at least 20% to 30% battery remaining under normal usage. On average, it offers more than 6 hours of screen time with a single charge which is definitely more than sufficient.

The headlining feature however, is the 65W Warp Charge fast-charging solution that charges the device from 0 to 100% within a short span of just 39 minutes. Currently, 65W charging rate is the highest among all smartphones in the local market which will put the OnePlus 8T ahead of its competitors including the more expensive iPhone 12 series and Samsung Galaxy Note20 series smartphones.

In fact, fast-charging support remains a pretty underrated feature among phone makers. At current stage, only a handful of smartphones from OnePlus, OPPO and Realme have charging rate that hits the 65W mark. Most of the major OEMs in the local market still stick to around 20W – 30W fast-charging that takes you more than an hour for a full charge.

With the 65W fast-charging support, you practically do not have to worry about forgetting to charge your phone overnight. Even if you charge device when you wake, it will get you at least 90% battery life by the time you prepare to head out. That will be the moment you start to appreciate the faster charging speed.

The OnePlus 8T however, lacks of wireless and reverse charging support but I believe those aren’t any deal breaking features for most of us.

Verdict

The OnePlus 8T is no doubt a next-generation’s flagship killer that brings all the highly coveted specs sheet at an accessible price point for the consumers.

Its S$899 price tag makes it a great alternative to other more expensive flagship phones, as well as other premium mid-ranger phones in the local market that cost around the same price range.

Somehow, it also shape up to be an attractive upgrade towards it own OnePlus Nord mid-ranger as it brings higher refresh rate, more powerful processor, faster charging speed among many others for an additional S$250.

If you’re interested, the OnePlus 8T is now available for purchase on Shopee.

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