At this point, it may be hard to keep track of how many phones OnePlus has released this year. All you need to know, though, is that the OnePlus 7T isn’t as “premium” as the, but it’s still made of the best bits. That includes the 90Hz screen, a triple rear camera that takes excellent low-light shots and a fast-charging battery. It also has the latest Android 10 out of the box and it’s cheaper to boot, at just $599. (UK pricing is unavailable at this time, but that’s about £485. The phone won’t be sold in Australia.) It will be available unlocked and, in the US, through T-Mobile too. The phone will also work on Verizon and AT&T, but not Sprint.
At that price, the OnePlus 7T competes with the $750 Galaxy S10E, the $599 Pixel 3 XL (now discounted in the US since its Pixel 4 XL sequel is due out Oct. 15) and its own counterpart, the OnePlus 7 Pro, which starts at $669. Because the OnePlus 7T packs so much high-end hardware while remaining $150 cheaper than the Galaxy S10E, I prefer the OnePlus 7T based on value alone. And compared to the Pixel 3 XL, the 7T is also newer, takes nighttime photos as good as the Pixel, and has more storage.
But if you’re eyeing the OnePlus 7 Pro, and it’s within your budget (it’s $70 more than the 7T), I say go for it. It’ll update to Android 10 “very, very soon” according to OnePlus, and it has a slightly bigger battery compared to the OnePlus 7T. Plus, there’s no denying that its pop-up camera is just plain cool.
Though the OnePlus 7T looks similar to the 7 Pro, there are some specific differences that make it a little less stylish, a little less premium. The OnePlus 7T, for example, has a lower screen resolution (1080p instead of 1440p on the 7 Pro) and as mentioned above, it has a teardrop notch for the front-facing camera. While the notch is smaller than the ones on the OnePlus 7 and 6T, the 7 Pro’s pop-up camera is niftier. The phone’s triple rear cameras are also encased in a large circle, reminiscent of Motorola Moto phones. The design doesn’t hinder anything functionally, but it’s just not as pretty as the slim oval the OnePlus 7 Pro has.
Given the design tweaks though, the OnePlus 7T retains many of the 7 Pro’s excellent features, particularly its 90Hz display. Instead of refreshing the usual 60 frames per second, the 7T refreshes at 90. A few gaming phones have higher refresh rates (the Razer Phone 2 has a 120Hz display, for instance), but even as a nongamer, I enjoy how much zippier and smoother the phone feels scrolling through things like web pages and apps.
With its 48-, 12- and 16-megapixel rear cameras, the OnePlus 7T takes vibrant and sharp photos. Its new Macro mode allowed me to take pictures of objects closer and much more in focus than before. (Though its prompt of holding the phone “2.5cm away” from said object is comically difficult to gauge in real life. That’s about an inch, for reference.)
The phone’s Night Scape mode at times took sharper photos than the Pixel 3’s Night Sight. Faces, for instance, were blurrier on the Pixel 3 and I could see finer details and textures on the 7T. But the Pixel 3 does have the edge on white balance — it handled colors much more accurately than the OnePlus 7T in the dark. The 7T’s camera interface also doesn’t make it clear that I needed to hold the phone still immediately after tapping the shutter. Rather, I saw a subtle ring encircling the shutter circle, which I covered most of the time with my hand. The true low-light winner, however, was the new iPhone 11. Not only did the iPhone 11 take sharper images, but colors were as accurate as the Pixel 3 too.
Portrait shots were also great. The fallout between the foreground and background looked smooth and natural, and you can now take portrait photos with the wide-angle camera as well. In addition, the OnePlus 7T’s wide-angle camera took bright and sharp landscape photos, and the pictures didn’t show much warping around the corners, as wide-angle cameras tend to do. As for the 16-megapixel front-facing camera, selfies in ample light looked good. But when I took a selfie in a dimly lit bar, the “flash” (which was really the screen) took rather long, making me hold the phone up for a beat or two longer than I would have liked.
Note that some time after the OnePlus 7T’s Sept. 26 launch, the phone will get 4K, 30fps ultrawide video capture as well as super slow-mo at 960fps, all via a software update.