OnePlus 8T 5G Smartphone Full Review

As a sequel to the OnePlus 8, the OnePlus 8T is exactly what it needs to be: bigger, badder, beefier, and better.

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Tshaka Armstrong
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January 20, 2021
9 min read

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What makes for a good series? Better yet, what makes for a great series? Blade and Blade 2 come to mind. Oh, wait. No, no, there was no third movie. We just pretend that one doesn't exist. Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Lovecraft Country on HBO. What do they all have in common? The same thing the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone has in common with the OnePlus 8. Each is just as good as the previous iteration. But arguably, they take what came before them, improve on it, and give you something better. The OnePlus 8 smartphone is a magnificent device. But unlike The Matrix, the sequel is definitely better.

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OnePlus 8T 5G hardware

For the sequel of the OnePlus 8, you're gonna get Android 11 and an improved OxygenOS 11 that is based on Android 11. But those aren't the most important things you get in the way of improvements over the original. Let's start with the hardware because that's where you're gonna see the biggest improvement.

First, the 4,500 milliamp-hour battery. OnePlus doubled your pleasure so you can double your fun, and took the Warp 30T charging to Warp 65. So now you can do in under 40 minutes, what took you a little over an hour previously.

When I first plugged up the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone to test its rapid charging in a timed 30 minute test, the battery went from 9% to 82% using the new charging system. So that's 73% charged in just 30 minutes.

The big upside to that is heating management. With my trusty thermal gun, I measured the phone at the start and after 30 minutes of charging, and the temperature was just about a three degree difference. Of course, I measured it with the case off. And the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone’s temperature has been pretty consistent every time I've charged the phone. It only jumped between two and four degrees over the course of charging, even when I've charged it from almost zero to 100%. But what about the battery and daily use? On the fringe of 5G coverage here with T-Mobile's network, this battery put up some solid stats.

In my benchmark testing, the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone saw nine hour screen on time, and approximately 20 hours off the charger. In my real-world use, things got better for me, with the phone seeing a little over five hours screen on time, with 24 hours off the charger. That is some very solid battery life.

But what makes it so solid isn't just stamina. Even if you hammer this battery more than I do with only 30 some odd minutes to charge it to 70%, you can afford to throw caution to the wind, disregard FOMO, and use the phone to its max potential. Whatever that means for you.

OnePlus 8T 5G camera details

But there's more to the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone than the juice. you're gonna get a quad-camera system with a Sony sensor, 48-megapixel main camera. A Sony sensor, 16 megapixels ultra-wide, macro camera, and a monochrome camera.

The main camera captured some beautiful images in my testing and appears to handle trouble spots even better than before.

This pink flower was being hit directly by sunlight. And with other cameras I've tested recently, the highlights would be all blown out in this scenario, leaving little detail on the veins of the flower pedals. But if we zoom in a bit and magnify the image, you can see that there's still quite a bit of detail in this image, despite the amount of light hitting it.

On a sunny beach day, I took more pictures of brightly colored flowers on the boardwalk, and the phone's different cameras handled them well.

In these images, the camera does a solid job of handling the contrast of the whitewater, keeping details in the foam when you zoom in. Also, that 48 megapixels shooter keeps a great detail when you crop into a picture.

In this picture, there's a man with a bike. Zooming in, you can make out his mask, earbuds, and flip-flops.

But what about capturing moving objects? Out on my patio, I took these photos of the thistles of a basil plant that was blowing in the wind. The thistles were moving vigorously. And despite that, the camera still captured images of them, which were in focus and detailed.

The macro camera captured serviceable images, which had decent detail. The better your lighting conditions, the better images you're gonna get out of it. What was even better this time was low-light captures. The main sensor with the fixed aperture of F1.7 does very well in low light by itself.

On the first evening I had the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone, I was laying in the bed in relative darkness, watching TV, and took this photo. Not bad. Night mode did make it better for sure.

But it was out in the streets that the quality of the low-light captures became more apparent. In this space between two buildings, I took photos with the main sensor and the ultra-wide sensor.

Ultra-wide sensors are known for not being solid low-light shooters, but this one actually did a pretty good job before turning on night mode. Night mode definitely improved the image, but before using it, it wasn't bad.

Here's the main sensor with night mode off, and with it on, in that same location. My Metro stop and extreme grandpa statue test brought it all home though.

At the Metro stop, the palm fronds kept their detail, and the palm tree trunks in the foreground, whose edges often soften, when lesser night mode cameras capture them, are nice and crisp.

At my grandpa statue, you get contrast in the pages of the book the little girl is holding. The edges of the statute are relatively crisp. And though you get grain when you zoom into the image, all things considered, this is actually pretty good. So those are these still images.

OnePlus 8T 5G video capture

OnePlus said they also improved the video capture. Walking around at night, there was quite a bit of jitter. But during the day, the results were better. The jitter was still there, just not as noticeable.

One item worth noting was that I was shooting in CINE mode at 4k, but when I turned on the super steady feature, which only shoots in 1080P at 30 frames, the results were definitely better, marginally better, but there was definitely a difference.

One thing OnePlus added to their video shooting was the ability to add background blur when you're shooting with human faces in the video. Yes, it takes that portrait mode artificial intelligence and applies it to video. I'm happy with both the indoor and outdoor samples I shot. So I'm kind of in a darkened room. I'm using video portrait mode. So it'll be interesting to see what that looks like. Obviously, I have the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone turned around, so I can't see what the image looks like on this display.

Okay, I am now outside testing out the video portrait mode, seeing how these depth sensors and the AI actually bokeh or give you that blurred background effect. Let's see how effective it is outside. It isn't a feature I'd be using that often, but it's nice to know it's there and that it actually looks pretty good. So that's a dive into the hardware on the back of the phone.

OnePlus 8T 5G walkaround

The bottom of the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone is where you'll find the microphone, USB-C port, SIM tray, which does not support removable storage, and one half of the stereo speaker pair.

Right side of the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone is where you'll find the power button, slash, hot key, which you can assign shortcuts to. For me, it's the power button and camera launcher with a double press.

Above that is the alert slider, which as I've stated before, every Android phone should have. The left side of the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone is the volume rocker.

Top of the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone, you get one more microphone.

Front of the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone, you get a 16 megapixel Sony sensor front facing camera, which supports face unlock. The camera is, again, a competent shooter, which actually does a decent job of compensating for overexposed backlit images like it did here.

Portrait mode with the front shooter looks fine in good lighting conditions, but in the dark, it can look a bit artificial in its aggressive edge detection.

In this shot, it looks like I've been cut out of the image and superimposed. Not a bad thing per se, but worth noting for those looking for a more natural-looking low light bokeh.

Now let's talk about the other two items on the front of the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone, which are standout in this class: the display and the other half of that stereo speaker pair.

OnePlus 8T 5G display

This is a six-and-a-half inch, full HD plus 2,400 by 1080 fluid AMOLED display, running at 120 Hertz. And it looks gorgeous. The Witcher looks beautiful on this display. The depth of field in the banquet scene comes alive like on no other display, except for much pricier ones. The images are bright, and the color palette looks just like it should. Thanks to Display P3 support. Our Planet: Coast Seas looks spectacular.

On really bright displays, the turtle, though well saturated, has its highlights overdriven. While on OnePlus 8T 5G Smartphone’s display, everything looks natural yet vibrant. The best displays give you the feeling that you're watching the content through a window, like you're right on the set, watching The Witcher being filmed. Or Our Planet, where you're actually diving with the cameraman and watching these things through your goggles.

OnePlus 8T 5G speakers

And the stereo speakers on this phone get loud. I'm inclined to say that, however, they designed the phone, you feel the phone's body act as a speaker box. You feel the bass and sound reverberate through the phone. You won't be needing to turn this up to hear music or dialogue.

In my sound test, the Urbance trailer maxed out at 82 and a half DB, averaging 76 DB. And that trailer had all the depth and layers it should have. Like I said with the Samsung S20 and Note 20 Ultras, a great display brings out the best in animation like this, imparting a 3D like quality to the well-crafted imagery from the studio.

Also on the front of the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone display, you get one of my favorite fingerprint scanners in the game.

As I've said with previous generation OnePlus devices, this one is pretty close to flawless, a joy to use, and now they've also included some shortcuts that you can assign to the fingerprint unlock in OxygenOS 11.

OnePlus 8T 5G user experience

And with the hardware out of the way, let's take a quick look at the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone user experience.

First, this is a 5G phone, which, on T-Mobile's network, has band support for both their sub six and mid-band two and a half gigahertz.

My 5G speeds around town were anywhere from 25 to 180 Mbps per second. The speeds really amped up when I drove to within a hundred yards of their two and a half gigahertz tower.

Pulling down upwards of 370 Mbps per second. Everything is fast on the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone.

I just updated my home router to a WiFi 6 router, ASUS ROG AX11000 to be exact. And with WiFi 6 support, the speed and lack of latency surfing the web or loading endlessly scrolling pages of GIFs and autoplay videos on Reddit was a pure joy.

The OS is magnificent, and one of the best UI experiences outside of Motorola. It's pretty close to pure Android, but with enhancements that don't get in the way, and serve as a solid compliment to Android 11.

Taking screenshots was always immediate thanks to the use of fast RAM, fast processor, and fast storage. The customization even has some fun new additions, like the always-on display insight screen, which gives you a linear timeline of how frequently you've unlocked your phone, and for how long you've had the screen on.

And my beloved shelf has returned to me. Just swipe down from the middle of the screen with the feature enabled, and you have access to that parking information and other shortcuts of your choosing.

And the photos app, there's a great shortcut for sharing. Take a pic, press on the gallery image icon in the lower right part of the screen, and your sharing wheel comes up. If you don't see the network you want to share to, just click more. And the sharing drawer opens up.

OnePlus 8T 5G final thoughts

So let's wrap the sequel up. OnePlus price has plussed up, but so has OnePlus camera quality, their AI, their user interface, and their battery management, or the lack of a need to obsess over battery management.

This is a sequel that doesn't disappoint but provides an option in this class of 5G phones, which is hard to pass up. Love you 3000. Yeah, that was cheesy, you know. But, I had to tie this to that whole Avengers: Endgame thing.

Hey, I'm Tshaka Armstrong. We don't take it lightly that you spent your time watching with us. If you have any questions about the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone, that I did not cover in this review, please leave them in the comments below. I love engaging with you guys. You're a fun bunch. I will get to them and answer them.

And as always, you can see all the information about rate plans and networks that you can pick the OnePlus 8T 5G smartphone on the main website, Regardless of which carrier, or site, we have that information for you over there. Thank you for watching. Catch you on the next video.

Tshaka Armstrong
Written by
Tshaka Armstrong
Tshaka is a nerd and Griot. Founder of the non-profit digital literacy organization Digital Shepherds, he’s also been a broadcast technology reporter, writer, and producer. In addition to being an award-winning broadcast storyteller, he’s also covered tech online and in print for everything from paintball gear technology, to parenting gadgets. He blathers on about his many curiosities on social media everywhere as @tshakaarmstrong.

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