OnePlus 7T review: blistering performance, bargain price

It’s almost perfect

OnePlus 7T review

Bottom Line

Editor's choice GeekSpinThe OnePlus 7T is an outstanding premium flagship that offers blistering performance at a bargain price.

Overall
4.8

Pros

  • Sexy design
  • Gorgeous screen
  • Unrivaled performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Stock Android
  • Incredible value

Cons

  • Telephoto camera lacks OIS
  • No wireless charging
  • No headphone jack

Performance and battery life

OnePlus phones are always fast — really fast — and once again, the OnePlus 7T delivers. Welcome to the new quick, powered by Qualcomm’s meanest and leanest SoC yet, the Snapdragon 855+ — and enhanced by that 90Hz display. This handset feels incredibly quick no matter what — whether you’re scrolling through social media or drifting around Asphalt 9. And while it’s not obviously faster than the OnePlus 7 Pro, it’s the first time I’ve ever been able to power through Gmail for several minutes without the UI lagging behind my fingers.

And while it’s not obviously faster than the OnePlus 7 Pro, it’s the first time I’ve ever been able to power through Gmail for several minutes without the UI lagging behind my fingers.

Anyway, between the speedy hardware and the new software (Android 10), the OnePlus 7T provides a delightfully fluid user experience that’s unmatched by other flagships. If that’s what you’ve been looking for, then skip the rest of this review and go buy this phone. Just keep in mind that there’s only one configuration available in the US: 8GB of RAM (LPDDR4S) and 128GB of built-in storage (UFS 3.0) with no SD card support. So while you’ll definitely be able to edit 360-degree video like the wind, you might run out of space doing it.

Despite packing a smaller 3800mAh cell and speedier processor, the OnePlus 7T appears to be as efficient as the OnePlus 7 Pro. This probably comes down to the lower 1080p screen resolution and newer OS (Android 10). Regardless, battery life’s been excellent so far. I spent my first two days using the OnePlus 7T on a single charge (turning it off at night), and that included taking most of the photos for this review. As such, I’m pretty confident most people will have no problem getting through an entire busy day on a full charge.

Speaking of charging, the OnePlus 7T support Warp Charge 30T, which is 20% faster than Warp Charge 30 but uses the same power adapter. So yeah, topping off will happen in a flash — as long as you don’t mind wires. Once again, there’s no support for Qi wireless charging here. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but at this point it’s pretty ridiculous for OnePlus to keep making flagships (no matter how affordable) without wireless charging. The ZTE Axon 10 Pro I recently reviewed offers wireless charging and costs $50 less.

As for the rest of the specs, the OnePlus 7T features a linear vibration motor for better haptics and a speedy third-generation optical in-display fingerprint sensor — just like the OnePlus 7 Pro. In the US, this handset works on T-Mobile (including band 71 / 600MHz / LTE Advanced technology – 4X4 MIMO, 256 QAM, carrier aggregation and LAA), AT&T, Verizon (LTE only), and partners. It packs CAT 18 LTE (global bands), WiFi 802.11ac (2×2 MIMO), Bluetooth 5.0 (with aptX HD), NFC, and A-GPS / GLONASS / BeiDou / Galileo, plus a whole bunch of sensors (accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light, proximity, and compass). Phew…

Software

The OnePlus 7T runs the company’s Oxygen OS 10.0, a nearly stock build of Android 10 with a custom launcher and some (mostly helpful) customizations — like that aforementioned chromatic Reading Mode. It’s also finely tuned for performance, with over 370 optimizations. For example, RAM Boost — carried over from the OnePlus 7 Pro — caches commonly used apps in memory for quicker launch times. The list goes on, but you get the idea. In all, this is one of the most refined builds of Android available on any flagship today.

Zen Mode — which was introduced with the OnePlus 7 Pro and encourages you to take a break and focus on life by temporarily disabling your phone — is now adjustable between 20 and 60 minutes. OnePlus is even launching a 21-day Zen Mode Challenge — such hippies! That’s nice, and I don’t want to kill the good vibes, but can we talk about this useless thing called Shelf? It replaces the Google Discover page to the left of the home screen. Why does it even exist? It’s crap. Please kill it with fire so I don’t have to install another launcher. Thanks…

And yes, before you run for the pitchforks, I know Shelf can be disabled, and that T-Mobile’s version of the OnePlus 7T offers the Google Discover page as the default. I’m just a cranky tech journalist with high expectations, OK? Also OnePlus — if you’re reading this — why do we need custom Calculator, Contacts, Gallery, and Messages apps? Why not use Google’s apps instead? You already have Google Photos installed, and it’s far superior anyway. I realize I’m nitpicking here, but you know I’m right.

Price and competition

Rejoice! You’ll be able to buy the OnePlus 7T for $599 directly from OnePlus in Glacier Blue or Frosted Silver starting Oct 18. And it goes without saying that if you’re shopping for an affordable flagship, you probably should — few other handsets are this well rounded at this price. If you’re looking for something with the same kind of blazing performance, but want more storage (256GB + microSD) and don’t care about photography, consider the $549 ZTE Axon 10 Pro I recently reviewed — you even get wireless charging.

Other affordable flagship options include the $499 ASUS ZenFone 6 (6GB / 64GB), which packs a headphone jack and quirky flip-up camera, and the $479 Nubia Red Magic 3 gaming phone (8GB / 128 GB), which sadly lacks NFC. If you’re abroad, consider the lovely $600+ Honor 20 Pro and amazing $400+ Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro / Redmi K20 Pro. Then of course, there’s the rest of OnePlus’ lineup, from the OnePlus 7 ($429 on Alibaba, 8GB / 256GB) to the OnePlus 7 Pro ($669 from OnePlus, 6GB / 128GB).

T-Mobile will also sell the OnePlus 7T beginning Oct 18, but I didn’t have pricing information at the time of writing. Until then, you can grab the awesome OnePlus 7 Pro from T-Mobile for $699 (8GB / 256 GB).

Myriam’s bottom line

Look, it’s kind of a no brainer. The OnePlus 7T is an outstanding handset, and at $599 it’s an absolute steal. You’re looking at a premium flagship through and through, with unrivaled performance, plus the kind of design, build quality, display, and battery life usually found on handsets costing hundreds more. It’s not the perfect phone, but it’s close. For me, a better telephoto camera with OIS and wireless charging would seal the deal.

Yes, I’d also love to see a headphone jack, notification LED, and official IP rating, but for better or for worse, the first two are rapidly disappearing from today’s flagships, and the third is OnePlus just being stubborn. It’s pretty clear from various informal tests that the company’s handsets are at least somewhat water-resistant. Ultimately, you can’t go wrong with the OnePlus 7T. It’s coming to T-Mobile, works on AT&T, and supports Verizon’s LTE network — who knows, it might even land on Sprint alongside the OnePlus 7 Pro.

Here’s my advice. If you want unrivaled performance or incredible value, just buy the OnePlus 7T. Otherwise, wait until Google’s Pixel unveiling on Oct 15 to decide — between the rumored 90Hz screen and new multi-camera system, I have good feelings about this one.

Helena’s bottom line

After spending several days with the OnePlus 7T, I’ve discovered that I actually prefer the OnePlus 7T over the OnePlus 7 Pro. This is mostly because I prefer a flat display over a curved edge display. I’ve also been pleasantly surprised to discover that its 1080p resolution display isn’t bothering me. Would I have liked to see a higher resolution display? Hell yes. But thanks to its 1,000 nits brightness and 90Hz refresh rate, the display is still really good. The notch is also minimal and not at all bothersome. And even though the 7T isn’t all that much smaller than the 7 Pro, it’s actually a lot easier to grip and hold.

Unsurprisingly, the performance on the OnePlus 7T is as good as it gets for a smartphone right now, making it an absolute pleasure to use. But like Myriam mentions – the camera is solid but there’s significant room for improvement, especially in low light. That said, I’ve really been enjoying using the new Super Macro Mode.

Overall, OnePlus has yet another winner here with the 7T.