OnePlus 8T 5G Smartphone review: The T-series rules

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It is that time of the year. That time of the year when OnePlus comes out with its mid-series flagship, the phones that carry the T suffix. But then this is no ordinary year, this is the fourth phone from OnePlus in just about four months. That is quite unprecedented coming from the brand that likes to focus on one series at a time. But this year, the OnePlus 8T comes just a few weeks after the new OnePlus Nord budget phone. So where does this new flagship fit in?

Design of OnePlus 8T 5G

If you’ve ever held an OnePlus Nord in your hand, you’ll feel right at home with the OnePlus 8T. From the curved rear glass to the flat display, to the shiny metal rails, the two feel very similar. What has changed from the OnePlus 8? The rear camera module has been relocated to the left-hand top corner, and the buttons have moved down ever so slightly.

OnePlus 8T 5G Smartphone review- Design
OnePlus 8T 5G Smartphone review- Design

These small changes add up to make the OnePlus 8T feel more generic. It doesn’t stand out as its own design. Instead, it blends into the hundreds of other smartphones from the mid-range to the high-end. Not to say that this is a poorly designed phone by any stretch, but it won’t stand out on a shop display next to the competition. More importantly, it won’t stand out compared to the significantly cheaper OnePlus Nord.

Taking a tour of the device, there’s a single microphone on the top. On the bottom, there’s a dual SIM tray, a USB-C port, a microphone, and a speaker. On the left side, there’s a volume rocker. The right side presents the signature OnePlus mute toggle and the power button. On the rear, in the top left-hand corner, there’s a rectangular quad-camera bump. It doesn’t protrude all that much, though is the first from the firm to sport a wider rectangle shape.

Display: Balancing speed and quality

OnePlus 8T 5G Smartphone review- Display
OnePlus 8T 5G Smartphone review- Display

The 6.55-inch Full HD Fluid AMOLED display hasn’t increased in size or resolution compared to the OnePlus 8, but it has enjoyed a nice jump in refresh rate to 120Hz. Finding a perceivable speed difference between this and a 90Hz panel is tricky, but compared to a 60Hz display, the OnePlus 8T’s feels especially fast. This is most noticeable in scrolling, and OxygenOS 11’s new animations accentuate it.

Software: A breath of fresh air


The OnePlus 8T ships with Oxygen OS 11, based on Android 11. The skin takes a new direction with a minimal look and some tweaked animations. The first standout change is the new Always On Display. Instead of a plain, centered setup, the new version is offset with new clocks and a battery percentage logo. There are three new modes coming — Bitmoji AOD, Canvas AOD, and Insight AOD. Unfortunately, only the latter was available on our OnePlus 8T review unit. Insight AOD shows you a breakdown of how many times you’ve unlocked your phone throughout the day in a funky graph.

The new animations within Oxygen OS 11 include scrolling to the bottom of a page and it bouncing at the end. OnePlus has also made one-hand optimizations to accommodate smaller hands. This mostly includes moving the notification shade and settings menus further down the screen.

One new feature that I found annoying is the new smooth brightness update. It attempts to smoothen out the transition from bright to dim and vice versa when using the manual brightness slider. It sounds great on paper, but in reality, there’s a massive delay. This makes it hard to set the brightness level just the way you want it. This seems like a ridiculous “feature” and it feels like OnePlus is trying to reinvent the wheel. You know what they say: If it ain’t broke…

It’s true that the OnePlus 8T resembles the OnePlus 8 Series in its name, otherwise it actually resembles a OnePlus Nord Pro: its flat screen, rectangular camera and glossy back, but importantly, the OnePlus still offers a great user experience. Great in a “reasonable” price.

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