OnePlus 7T Review
In a world of big and bad pro, plus and premium smartphones, the OnePlus 7T is Baby Bear: just right. Coming alongside a refresh of OnePlus’s own surprising ‘pro’ phone, the 7T brings top-of-theline specs, high-end features, and flagship-calibre performance at a price point that undercuts pro and non-pro phones alike.
All of which begs the question: why do we even need ‘pro’ phones? Curved screens, better cameras, and faster charging have become the hallmarks of ‘pro’ phones, but the OnePlus 7T doesn’t feel any less complete or cutting-edge without the OnePlus 7T Pro’s edge-to-edge screen or pop-up selfie cam. If anything, the existence of the 7T Pro makes the OnePlus 7T seem like an even greater value than it is.
With a Snapdragon 855+ processor, 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a 6.5in 90Hz display for £469, I can’t think of a reason why someone would choose to spend an extra £100 on the 7T Pro. Or an extra £290 on the Pixel 4 XL for that matter.
The same old missing features Before we get into what the OnePlus 7T has, let’s talk about what it doesn’t have: wireless charging and IP-rated water resistance. Still. (Neither does the OnePlus 7T Pro, so that’s not a reason to upgrade.) It’s something of a punchline at this point, but for a phone that purports to be a flagship killer, it’s becoming more and more of a glaring omission – especially since the competition includes the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Apple iPhone 11, both of which include wireless charging and IP68 water resistance in their leastexpensive models.
As far as the latter goes, OnePlus claims that its phones do have some degree of water resistance but doesn’t want to its users to pay for the certification through higher priced phones. However, it doesn’t actually offer any specifics as to how long and deep you can dunk your OnePlus 7T, so I wouldn’t recommend taking it swimming.
The lack of wireless charging continues to be a head-scratcher, especially since OnePlus currently leads the wired charging pack. The 7T introduces OnePlus’s new Warp Charge 30T, which will fill up roughly 70 per cent of the phone’s 3,800mAh battery in about a half hour.
The proprietary tech puts the fast-charging wizardry in the charger rather than the phone to deliver a sustained 30-watt charge for longer without risk of overheating. And you won’t need to buy a separate plug to enjoy it – OnePlus supplies a 30-watt 30T charger and cable in the box, besting the bundled powered adaptor in the Note 10+ (25 watts), iPhone 11 Pro (18 watts), and Pixel 4 (18 watts).
Of course, wireless charging is about convenience, not speed, and if you’re coming from a phone that has it, the inability to quickly pop it on a charging pad while you work or sleep will surely stand out. Add to that the fact that the Warp Charger and cable are among the biggest I’ve used – and you won’t get the same guaranteed speeds and protection without them – and you’ll definitely feel its omission in the 7T.
A faster display makes all the difference If you can overlook those two missing features, however, the OnePlus 7T is inarguably one of the best Android phones you can buy. The front is very similar to the 6T, with a teardrop notch and slim but visible bezels all around. It’s not quite as striking as the curved displays on Galaxy Note 10+ or the OnePlus 7T Pro, nor as symmetrical as the iPhone 11, but it’s still one of the best-looking phones around.
Around the back, the OnePlus 7T eschews its traditional pill-shaped camera array for a eye-catching circle. It’s as distinctive as the iPhone 11 Pro’s bump – and just as extrusive – and like its premium peers, OnePlus has filled it with a trio of lenses. As phones inch closer to the day where the front will be all screen, the rear case is increasingly where a phone’s unique character can be found, and the OnePlus 7T certainly stands out.
The OnePlus 7T has a 6.55in Full HD (2,400×1,080) OLED display that’s bigger than basically every competitor, save the Note 10+ and OnePlus 7T Pro.
If you like big phones, the 7T is pretty much the perfect size. While it’s less than two-tenths of an inch smaller than those phones, the OnePlus 7T is much more comfortable to hold and use with one hand.
The bezels also help in that regard, limiting the accidental touches that are all too common with ‘infinity’ screens.Full OLED display
Even without fancy curved edges, however, the OnePlus 7T has an excellent OLED display. It’s a bit brighter than the 6T (a max of 875 nits of brightness versus 800 on the 6T) and looks great when OnePlus’s ‘Nuanced dark’ theme is switched on. Like the 6T, an optical in-display fingerprint sensor is still the only secure biometric authentication method, and it’s greatly improved over its predecessor.
I’d still prefer a physical sensor or 3D facial recognition like the Pixel 4, but the in-display sensor here isn’t nearly as finicky as it is on the 6T.
Like previous OnePlus panels, it’s not quite on the level of the Galaxies and iPhones – and it still doesn’t have an always-on display option, opting to once again rely on a lift-to-wake ambient display – but it has one thing those displays don’t have: a 90Hz refresh rate. The OnePlus 7T isn’t the first phone to sport a 90Hz display, in fact it’s not even the first OnePlus phone to have it. But you won’t find another phone that offers it at this price, and when you try it out, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it.
We spend a lot of time talking about the processors in our phones – and the OnePlus 7T certainly has an excellent one – but when you’re dealing with touchscreens, the response is as important as the completed action. The OnePlus 7T’s 90Hz display increases the refresh rate by 50 per cent to make taps,
swipes and scrolls feel incredibly fast, which amps up the overall speed of the phone, especially when gesture navigation is turned on. It’s like Apple’s ProMotion display for the iPad Pro, but it’s even more dramatic at this size and price point. It’s the kind of feature you’d expect in a thousand-pound ‘pro’ phone, not a £469 one, and really gives the OnePlus 7T a leg up on its higher-priced competitors.
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The reasons to not buy a OnePlus phone are rapidly shrinking. Where design, carrier support, and camera were all detriments on previous models, OnePlus has turned those from cons into pros over the past few models, and the £469 OnePlus 7T is a phone any manufacturer would be proud to call a flagship. Yes, it’s missing wireless charging and bona fide water resistance, and Android diehards will miss the alwayson display, but it is able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Android greats in every other category. For 40 per cent less than the Galaxy S10+, Pixel 4 XL, and iPhone 11 Pro, OnePlus no longer should be the brand to consider if you don’t want to spend a lot. It should be the phone you get even if money is no object.
- Three rear-facing cameras
- 128GB/256GB storage
- Selfie camera
- Android 10, OxygenOS 10.0.7I
- No Wireless charging