When a phone is in its initial release cycle, several bugs can often hang around and impact a reviewer’s phone experience.
So, two months after, the OnePlus 8t was initially released after many software patches.
I’m finally bringing you my review of the OnePlus 8t, and let me say right up front. This phone is nearly perfect.
Let’s chat about it in terms of design, and I’ve got to say this might be my favorite looking and feeling phone of 2020, but that strictly applies to the Lunar Silver model.
Which are the ones that I’ve got, so with this model, you get this beautiful matte and frosted finish on the back, which looks and feels incredible, and I like the colorway as well.
It isn’t this in your face the blue that’s become super common in smartphones this year?
It’s much more subtle, and in some scenarios, as the name would suggest. It looks more silver than blue, which I think looks pretty.
I even like the look of that freshly designed camera unit on the back as well, and so overall, it’s just a nicely designed back of the phone now.
Aside from the back, we also have glossy metal rails around the edges of the phone. The buttons are incredibly tactile and clicky as they are on most OnePlus phones, and then what makes the phone even better.
From a design standpoint compared to the OnePlus 8 pro released earlier, this year is that flat display that makes usability so much better.
In my opinion, speaking of that display, the 8t gets a bump up from the 90hz panel found on the regular OnePlus 8, and now we have a 120hz panel, which puts it right in line with the OnePlus 8 pro.
In terms of speed and fluidity, albeit with a slight bump down screen resolution, but you really cannot tell unless you’re a pixel peeper as with all of the OnePlus higher-end phones.
The 8t’s display gets lovely and bright, and while the colors do have that slightly oversaturated, look to them straight out of the box.
If you head into the display settings, I’ve found setting the screen calibration to sRGB has made it look much closer to the pixel flagship panels that I’ve always loved because of how they render colors.
A fantastic display top-shelf stuff for sure, and I’m happy to report that speakers and haptics on this phone are also incredible.
You get that dual speaker set up with audio coming out from the earpiece, as well as the bottom-firing speaker and the haptics, which are right up there with the best.
If anything, I would say that the haptics could be dialed back a little bit to make them that a little bit more subtle, and I’m sure this could be addressed in software.
In comparison, we’re on the topic of software, the OnePlus 8t ships with android 11.
That made me a bit nervous because OnePlus infamously redesigned quite a bit of the Oxygen OS skin with the android 11 update, and when I saw screenshots and videos posted online a few months ago, when OnePlus 8t was launched.
I did not like what I was saying but believe it or not, and I’ve come to enjoy it. This version of Oxygen OS in some parts of the UI is not quite the Oxygen OS.
I knew and loved it from before android 11, but it’s also definitely not as bad. As I once feared, it’s still far superior to Samsung’s One UI skin.
No offense Samsung but the inclusion finally event always-on display and a dark mode toggle in the quick settings been enough to make me enjoy the software experience.
In fact, given how superior the OnePlus launcher is in regards to customization. I honestly think the software is what could keep me using this phone as my primary device.
From now on, touching on performance. In terms of specs, this phone is stacked, and the performance is an ultra-smooth excellent experience.
This is the first time that I’ve enjoyed using an in-display fingerprint sensor. I took some of your advice on board, and I enrolled my thumb twice.
I think this has seen some significant improvements enough to make me enjoy having an in-display fingerprint sensor.
This is very much so a first for me now in terms of battery for a 5G phone constantly running at 120 hertz. Keep in mind I’m a user who likes to set my display fairly brightly throughout most portions of the day.
I would say it’s a minus, maybe b plus the battery. On average, I’m getting five and a half to six hours of screen on time each day, and I’ve never killed it in a day though I have gotten fairly close on one or two occasions, so it’s definitely not a more than one-day battery for a user like me but a solid performer nonetheless.
As expected, with the non-pro versions of pretty much any OnePlus device, one of the biggest areas that leave little to be desired are the cameras.
I think my biggest gripe with the camera performance of the OnePlus 8t is with how it captures images of people.
I’m someone who likes to take many portrait photos of my kids or friends and family. I just find that the portrait photos were taken on the OnePlus 8t just have this unrealistic but also somewhat unpleasant look.
Now that said, I’ve actually found that installing the GCam mod on this phone has improved the portrait photos situation.
Considerably enough to make it almost a non-issue for me. You can hopefully see on screen the differences in how the GK mod processes its portrait photos versus how OnePlus processes them, and I just vastly prefer how the GCam mod does it.
There is also a version of the game mode that allows you to access the ultrawide camera.
I’ll leave a link to that specific version down in the bottom but aside from portrait photos and just general images of people, the OnePlus cameras perform really decently.
Just make sure that you give the sensors a lot of light, and you’ll be able to capture some awe-inspiring results.
If you’re in any scenario where there are less than optimal lighting conditions, then that’s where the images will start to fall apart.
The video also performs reliably well, particularly from the main sensor, and so really, in conjunction with the GCam port, I’m pretty well satisfied with the camera experience on this phone.
Two main features are missing from the OnePlus 8t because it’s not their top-end pro model, and they are an IP rating and wireless charging.
Firstly, an IP rating is neat here nor there. For me, OnePlus still puts in most of the protection that allows their pro models to get that IP rating with their lower-end phones.
They just don’t pay for the rigorous testing process, and so this is kind of a non-issue for me, but wireless charging for me is a missed opportunity, and it’s what makes this phone down just one peg from being pretty much the perfect phone for me now, it’s not a deal-breaker.
I would have loved it had OnePlus thrown in even just a slow wireless charging coil, and that’s how they could have differentiated it from their pro models.
This one has slow wireless charging. The other has fast happy days, but sadly, it’s not here, and I do think OnePlus has missed a trick by not including it on this phone, so with all things considered the OnePlus 8t has actually become my new main device.
It’s the first phone of the year to finally convince me to switch permanently from last year’s pixel 4 x l.
We’ll see over extended use how I handle the slightly subpar camera performance. Still, aside from that, I’m feeling good vibes about this phone, and if you’re looking for an upgrade, well, this phone is an excellent bet.
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