OnePlus smartphones from last year were kind of confusing for me. Breaking their traditional two-phone-a-year policy, they had a total of 4 devices under the OnePlus 7 lineup in 2019. Among the four, the one I got for myself was the 7T. And since then, I have been using it as my primary phone and here is what I have to say about it. This is our long term review of the OnePlus 7T!
OnePlus 7T Specifications
- OS: Android 10 with OxygenOS 10.0
- Display: 6.55-inch (2400 x 1080 pixels) Full HD+ 20:9 aspect ratio Fluid AMOLED display with 90Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ sRGB color gamut, DCI-P3 color gamut, 3D Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection
- SoC: Snapdragon 855 Plus
- CPU: Octa-Core (1 x Kryo 485 at 2.96GHz + 3 x Kryo 485 at 2.42GHz + 4 x Kryo 385 at 1.8GHz)
- GPU: Adreno 640 GPU
- RAM: 8GB LPDDR4X RAM
- Storage: 128GB (UFS 3.0) storage
- SIM: Dual SIM (nano + nano)
- Primary Cameras:
– 48MP rear camera with Dual LED Flash, f/1.6 aperture, 1/2.25″ Sony IMX586 sensor, 0.8μm pixel size, OIS, EIS, 4K 60fps, Super Slow Motion 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960fps
– 16MP 117° ultra-wide sensor with f/2.2 aperture, 2.5cm macro
– 12MP telephoto lens with f/2.2 aperture for 2x optical zoom
- Front Camera: 16MP front-facing camera with Sony IMX471 sensor, f/2.0 aperture
- Fingerprint sensor: In-display (optical)
- Dimensions: 160.94×74.44×8.13mm
- Weight: 190g
- Audio: Stereo Speakers, Dolby Atmos
- Connectivity: 4G VoLTE, WiFi 802.11 ac (2.4GHz + 5GHz) 2×2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS + GLONASS, USB Type-C
- Battery: 3800mAh with Warp Charge 30T fast charging
- Colors: Glacier Blue, Frosted Silver
Design & Build
Okay, now let’s get started! First, I’ll be talking about the phone’s build quality. So, how has the glass & metal design held up, you ask? I’d say pretty good! And weirdly enough OnePlus has gone with the older Gorilla Glass 5, instead of the Gorilla Glass 6 on this one. However, I have to admit that I have dropped it a few times flat on the display and nothing major has happened to it, so yeah, it’s pretty durable.
To some extent, it is maybe because of the case that comes with it though. The case protrudes on the sides a little bit which has saved the phone from suffering any significant damage when I dropped it a couple of times. Accidentally of course!
And frankly, even if the phone had suffered some damage, I’d go claim the breakage insurance wherein I’m only liable to pay 25% of the screen replacement cost. This handy benefit further strengthens the appeal of the OnePlus 7T in Nepal.
More on design, I love this matte-like blue finish mainly because it looks different from the other phones in the market. Additionally, it also helps prevent smudges to some extent. However, I have been using it with the case so, that’s there.
Also, the 7T is not large and heavy like the OnePlus 7 Pro.
The 7T feels way more ergonomic and it’s partly because it lacks the pop-up camera. I think we are going to see lesser phones with pop-up cameras in 2020, except OPPO, who just patented a side pop-up camera.
On another note, the one thing that I dearly missed on the 7T (or every other OnePlus phone to begin with), is an IP rating. It does have its SIM tray sealed with a rubber gasket, but that is something that we find on much cheaper Redmi phones as well.
So whenever it’s raining here in Kathmandu, and it’s raining a lot even in the winter these days, I have to take some drastic steps like keeping it secured under a plastic pouch.
So, I think OnePlus absolutely has to incorporate the IP rating in the forthcoming OnePlus 8 to step up their game in the flagship territory. And talking about stepping up their game, the company did listen to the community by including a pair of some awesome stereo speakers. Judging their quality, I think these are one of the best ones out there. Not quite at the level of the iPhones, but it’s really really good.
Overall, the design is pretty standard, it’s nothing extra and there isn’t a lot of things to complain about except for the fact that the camera bump is a bit too sharp though I’ve not had any inconvenience because of it.
The one thing I am glad is the fact that OnePlus 7T has inherited the 90Hz panel and the HDR10+ compliance from the Pro model. And no, I don’t mind the phone not having a QHD panel like its elder brother because this panel has excellent quality regardless. With a brightness that peaks at 525 nits, the display is very bright which is the reason I have been able to enjoy watching videos and playing games while basking in the sun this winter.
And what I have loved about the display is its smooth transitions across the elements of the UI thanks to the superior refresh rate panel. Even endlessly scrolling through Instagram feels very smooth. It does not have the curved screen like the 7 Pro, but honestly, it didn’t bother me at all.
And although I am happy that this one has a notch adaptation rather than a pop-up camera; it would have been better if they could have gone with a punch hole or something. But I guess, they are saving it for the future.
Moving on, the night mode here in the settings comes with a color temperature slider and a light slider, you can choose between cool to warm color temperature and the amount of light on the screen. Since I’m someone who reads a lot at night, this feature has really been a blessing for me.
One thing I don’t understand though is why do OnePlus smartphones don’t have Always-On Display (AOD)? They do have an ambient display that pops up when you lift the phone, but why not an AOD?
You know, whenever any update arrived in the 7T, among other things, I hoped for an always-on display to be there too. But never has my expectation been a reality!
Anyways, moving on, the in-display fingerprint sensor is still working really fine. It’s not ultra-sonic like Samsung’s but when it comes to speed, it’s tough to beat this one. And even though the face unlock feature on it is blazing fast as well, the fingerprint sensor has been my go-to unlock mechanism for the two months I’ve had with it which didn’t give up on me even once!
Getting into the cameras, I was using the Galaxy Note 10 Plus before. And when I switched to the 7T, I felt a big difference in their capabilities because as someone who is clicking pictures of everything I see, I was expectedly let down by the photography performance on the 7T.
The cameras, by no means, is “bad”. But the performance of the flagship cameras on such a “flagship killer” smartphones are yet to match their flagship counterparts. Maybe the OnePlus 8 that is rumored to come with the Sony IMX686 sensor will have better performance and optimization than its predecessors.
Don’t get me wrong, the triple cameras on this one do give off fine images. I love the details that the phone captures.
The wide-angle and 2X telephoto lens also does an okay-ish job.
And I found the Portrait images becoming better in OnePlus phones than they were before. The phone uses its telephoto lens by default to take portraits and the results are satisfactory. Edge detection is not the best in tough areas like the hair, but keeping the nitpick aside, they turn out pretty okay.
The company has given out a few updates for its cameras though. For instance, you can use the nightscape feature in wide-angle mode too.
Now, this is a good feature to have and I found the nightscape doing an amazing job in wide-angle shots and in normal images as well.
I mean, it does the right amount of corrections and makes the image pop out. You can also switch between normal and wide-angle in the same video which I found to be pretty darn useful.
Macro photography is also possible on the OnePlus 7T despite the lack of a dedicated macro lens.
Via the ultrawide lens, the macro images’ quality is slightly better compared to other phones out there.
However, I found selfies not to be the best part of the 7T camera. The skin tone does not look very good, to say the least. The pictures are not bad but other phones do better than the 7T I think. However, it does manage to pull out an impressive level of detail.
Apart from this, portrait selfies from OnePlus 7T are commendable as well with a fine level of edge detection.
Enough of the negatives. What the 7T nails is video stabilization from 1080p/30fps and all the way up to 4K 60fps, thanks to the OIS. You can even shoot 4K videos from the wide-angle lens which is great especially when switching from normal to wide-angle because you won’t have to worry about the degrade in quality.
But even so, the 7T cameras are still not up to flagship-level and I think this is the one aspect the company has huge potential to improve. Overall, if you look at the cameras, they are taking small steps in improving the camera performance in their offerings but unfortunately have quite not reached the point where people could actually applaud it.
Okay, if not cameras, the performance is all I could ask for. And this is why I like OnePlus smartphones; they always offer the latest of chipsets and give the best of performance. Now, pair the Snapdragon 855+ with OxygenOS and a 90Hz screen, the OnePlus 7T easily becomes one of the best gaming phones right now, especially at this price.
I played my favorite games at the highest of settings with practically zero stutters. And I like it that the company has improved on the haptic feedback in some games which makes the gameplay even more fun.
And games like Alto’s Odyssey even support the higher 90Hz frame rate, which makes the experience even more distinguishably pleasant.
The OxygenOS is also one of my favorite skins because of the clean, no-nonsense experience it delivers. And as mentioned earlier the 90Hz screen makes it more fluid than ever. In fact, I used other phones whilst using this one side by side and those other phones eventually kind of lack the punch and the flow.
I love the gesture animations in the 7T; they are super smooth and I got used to it in like 15 minutes of using them. So, I’ve had a blast of experience basically because the UI is so clean and it has just the right number of things it needs.
But one thing that didn’t sit well with me is the fact that I haven’t even received December’s security patch at the time of recording this video. In comparison, the Note 10 has already received January’s security updates! What’s happened here? This is a little disappointing because OxygenOS is something that is next to stock Android and the updates should’ve rolled out much-much faster.
About the battery life, it has been good. On the day when I don’t game a lot, the battery lasted me for a pretty good amount of time, which would be like around 20% left before I go to sleep.
But playing games with the 90Hz refresh rate does take a hit at the battery. As a result, the battery was not quite enough to last me throughout the day during such usage.
In compensation, you get the 30-watt WARP charging (or Warp Charge 30T as OnePlus likes to call it). So, even if you run out of juice in the middle of the day, you can take it from 0-67% in half an hour, which I think is amazing.
And as someone who forgets or doesn’t get to charge my phone in the morning almost every day, so if you are like me, you’d be very happy using the 7T.
However, the phone doesn’t charge in an hour as one would expect. The last 5% takes some 15-20 minutes to charge. So this means that the phone goes from 0-95% in 55 minutes, while you gotta wait considerably longer to get it to a full 100%.
So, overall, having used the OnePlus 7T for such a long time, I’ve had one of the best smartphone experiences ever. The best things about the 7T are definitely the display and the performance. I love how OnePlus has focused so much on the experience, rather than just the hardware.
But, now that the OnePlus 8 rumors have been surfacing, should you go for the 7T? The OnePlus 8 is said to have Snapdragon 865 that will have 20% better performance and the new Sony IMX686 sensor with much better camera prowess. And this is where things get really messy with OnePlus phones. I think they should stick with the 2 phones a year policy.
Nevertheless, as a OnePlus 7T user, I would still recommend this phone. The company is also offering some discounts right now, especially here in South Asia. And although there is a fair amount of competition with the Asus ROG Phone II and Realme X2 Pro, for me, OnePlus phones are special because of their software experience.
Though the Rog Phone II and X2 Pro are a couple of tough cookies in terms of hardware, what they lack is an equally good software experience, which is where OnePlus kicks in.
OnePlus 7T – Pros & Cons
- A smooth 90Hz AMOLED display
- Blazing fast performance plus OxygenOS
- Decent battery life with fast charging
- Ergonomic design and great grip
- Photography could use some work
- The camera bump should’ve been a little thinner
- A QHD+ display would’ve been better