The OnePlus 7T review

0
105

The OnePlus 7T brings a 90Hz screen for less than $600

OnePlus just announced the new OnePlus 7T, a follow-up to the OnePlus 7, which was released in global markets (but not the US) earlier this year, and the OnePlus 6T from last year. The 7T has a lot of the same features as its sibling, the OnePlus 7 Pro, but it’s a little smaller and costs less. You’ll be able to buy the 7T from OnePlus or T-Mobile in gray or blue starting on October 18th for $599, making it about $70 to $100 less than the 7 Pro.

That lower price doesn’t mean the 7T is any less of a phone than the 7 Pro, however. In fact, it shares so many features with the 7 Pro (and even a couple of tricks that the larger phone doesn’t offer) that I think most people would be better served by the 7T.

OUR REVIEW OF ONEPLUS 7T

VERGE SCORE 8.5 OUT OF 10

GOOD STUFF

  • 90Hz screen is a joy to use
  • Smaller and less expensive than the OnePlus 7 Pro
  • Excellent performance
  • Android 10 out of the box with useful software enhancements

BAD STUFF

  • Camera can’t quite compete with more expensive phones
  • A smaller OnePlus phone is still a pretty big phone
  • Battery life is only average despite large capacity
  • No wireless charging

Buy for $599.00 from OnePlus

The most important thing about the 7T is the new 90Hz display, which has trickled down from the 7 Pro. The screen itself is a little smaller and has a slightly lower resolution than the Pro’s — it’s a 6.55-inch 1080p OLED panel — but it’s just as glorious to use, thanks to that high refresh rate. Every interaction is exceptionally smooth. It’s really something you have to see in person to appreciate. I’ve been using the phone for the past week, and I have yet to notice an instance where I felt like the lower resolution was a problem. It’s still very sharp, and the screen has great color and brightness overall. A new boosted sunlight mode will even get it up to 1,000 nits of brightness in direct sunlight, making it easier to see, and it supports both HDR10 and HDR10+ protocols.


The 7T doesn’t have a fully uninterrupted display like the 7 Pro because it doesn’t have a motorized pop-up selfie camera. Instead, it puts the front camera in a small waterdrop notch at the top of the screen. OnePlus claims this notch is 31.6 percent smaller than the one on the 6T and 7, and I haven’t found it to be annoying or obtrusive at all.

Like the 7 Pro, the 7T has an optical fingerprint scanner embedded in the display, which is perhaps the fastest and most reliable in-screen fingerprint scanner I’ve used yet. OnePlus tells me that, although it’s using the same hardware as the 7 Pro, the scanner has been enhanced with software tweaks to be more accurate and even faster than before.

OnePlus 7 Pro (left), OnePlus 7T (right).

The 7T also drops the aggressively curved sides of the 7 Pro and moves to a 20:9 aspect ratio, both of which have the effect of making it a bit easier to hold in my hand than the Pro model. This is still a large phone, but it’s not too large, like the 7 Pro tends to be. The back of the phone is a smooth matte glass, which looks stunning but tends to be more slippery than OnePlus’ glossy phones.

The back of the phone is home to a new three-camera setup housed in a rather giant protrusion that reminds me of the old Nokia Lumia 1020. Like many other phones available this year, the 7T has a standard camera, an ultra-wide angle, and a telephoto. It’s basically the same camera system as the 7 Pro, including the 48-megapixel main sensor that mostly outputs 12-megapixel images, though the telephoto is just a 2x zoom instead of the longer 3x reach of the 7 Pro. It won’t match what the best cameras on the market can do, but I think many people will be very happy with its results. Dieter has a lot more on the camera in his review of the OnePlus 7 Pro, so head over there for more info and impressions, as they basically all apply to the 7T as well.

The 7T does have one new camera trick: a super macro mode that lets you focus as close as one inch (2.5cm) away from a subject. It’s a fun trick, though it can be challenging to use, as it’s hard to get a sharp picture that close to your subject. But it’s something the 7 Pro can’t do at all, so put that down as a point in the 7T’s column.

Inside the 7T is Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, which is technically faster than the 855 in the 7 Pro, but you’d be hard-pressed to tell a performance difference between the two. Like the 7 Pro, the 7T is one of the fastest Android phones you can buy, with no lag or stuttering anywhere to be found. The 7T available for purchase in the US has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage; a 256GB model will be available in India and China. As with prior OnePlus phones, there’s no microSD card expansion, but 128GB is a generous amount for a $600 phone.

AGREE TO CONTINUE: ONEPLUS 7T

Every smart device now requires you to agree to a series of terms and conditions before you can use it — contracts that no one actually reads. It’s impossible for us to read and analyze every single one of these agreements. But we started counting exactly how many times you have to hit “agree” to use devices when we review them since these are agreements most people don’t read and definitely can’t negotiate.

To use the OnePlus 7T, you need to agree to:

There are also several optional agreements that you need to get past during setup:

  • Participation in the User Experience Program
  • System stability reporting
  • Push notifications for surveys and product updates
  • Built-in app updates for the phone, contacts, and settings apps

In total, there are four mandatory agreements and four optional agreements for the OnePlus 7T.

Another advantage the 7T has over the 7 Pro is even faster wired charging. According to OnePlus, the new Warp Charge 30T is up to 23 percent faster than the Warp Charge 30 that’s on the Pro, and it should charge the 7T’s battery from 0 to 100 percent in just 60 minutes. In my tests, I was able to go from 22 to 87 percent in 30 minutes, which is impressive, but you’ll have to use the included charging brick and cable to get these kinds of speeds.

The 7T also has impressively loud stereo speakers. They aren’t quite as good as the Galaxy Note 10’s or iPhone 11 Pro’s, but they still sound pretty nice. You won’t find a headphone jack or USB-C to headphone dongle in the box, unfortunately, so you’ll have to rely on Bluetooth headphones for private listening or pick up a dongle to use your wired headphones.

The 7T is launching with Android 10 and OnePlus’ OxygenOS version 10, making it one of the first phones to launch with Google’s latest software. You can choose between Android 10’s new gesture interface or the standard three buttons. But if you were a fan of OnePlus’ gestures, I’m sorry to report that those are no longer available. OxygenOS does have a dark mode, but it doesn’t let you change the theme automatically based on sunrise and sunset, which is something I missed from Google’s dark theme.

One new thing in OxygenOS 10 that I particularly like is the Chromatic Reading Mode, which desaturates the screen to make it easier to read, but doesn’t turn it fully monochrome like before. I like using this in the Pocket or Kindle app, and you can choose the older style full monochrome version if you prefer that.

Given all of the things the 7T has going for it, is there anything not to love about this phone? For starters, in my week of testing, I only got average battery life, with about four to five hours of screen time, even though the phone has a big 3,800mAh battery. I don’t think this is a huge problem; most people will be able to get through a full day with the 7T, but if you saw that stat and were hoping for a multiday monster, this ain’t it. It’s clear that the 90Hz screen takes a hit on battery life, and you can ramp it down to 60Hz if you want. But I think it’s totally worth the trade; the 90Hz screen is one of the main reasons to consider this phone.

The 7T also has the familiar OnePlus complaints: it doesn’t support wireless charging (which might not matter to you, but it matters to me); it doesn’t have an official IP rating for water and dust resistance; and you can’t expand the storage with a microSD card. It also tends to aggressively shut down apps when I’m not using them, which is something the company says will be changing. I mostly notice this when I’m using Android Messages on my computer, and I can’t send or receive messages until I wake the 7T. Also, while this phone is definitely smaller than a 7 Pro and is slightly easier to hold, it still might be too big for some people.

But I can forgive and forget a lot of those things when I consider the fact that I’m getting this great screen and this fast performance for $600. We are expecting Google to put a similar 90Hz display in the upcoming Pixel 4, but I guarantee that won’t be available for anywhere near the price of the 7T. You can’t even get a 90Hz screen on any phone from Samsung, Apple, LG, Huawei, or others, outside of niche gaming phones.

In fact, when I compare the 7T to any other phone right now, even the 7 Pro, I’m not sure anything can touch this combination of display, performance, and price.

Leave a Reply