OnePlus 7T Review: Not very new, but still one of the best phones you can buy


After putting the smartphone world on notice with the best-in-class OnePlus 7 Pro six months ago, OnePlus is back with another smartphone, the OnePlus 7T. In the US, this device will be sold alongside the OnePlus 7 Pro, and there’s not a huge price difference between the two devices. The older 7 Pro is still $669, and the newer 7T is $599—only $70 cheaper.

That price difference does leave a lot of room for differentiation, and sure enough, the 7T is a very similar phone to the 7 Pro. On the one hand, that’s a great thing. The OnePlus 7 Pro is one of the best smartphones you can buy, and now the OnePlus 7T is also one of the best smartphones you can buy. But even though the 7T is a great device, it isn’t that new or exciting. Let’s quickly go over what’s different.

Design

Whenever Google, Apple, or Samsung release a smartphone, they usually release two versions of the same phone in different sizes. The OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 7 Pro feel a lot like that same strategy, just with two different designs instead of two different sizes and released, inexplicably, six months apart. Those design differences are mostly in the display, the selfie camera, and the rear camera arrangement. Other than that, you’d have to whip out a pair of calipers or a benchmark tool to discern any kind of difference between the two devices.

SPECS AT A GLANCE: ONEPLUS 7T
SCREEN 6.55-inch, 2400×1080 (402 ppi), 90Hz AMOLED

(516ppi, 19.5:9 aspect ratio)

OS Android 10 with OnePlus’ OxygenOS skin
CPU Eight-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+

Four Cortex A76-based cores (One 2.96GHz, three 2.41Ghz) and four Cortex A55-based cores at 1.78GHz

RAM 8GB
GPU Adreno 640
STORAGE 128GB or 256GB
NETWORKING 802.11b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS, NFC
PORTS USB 3.1 Gen1 Type-C
CAMERA Rear: 48MP main camera, 12MP 2x telephoto, 16MP wide-angle

Front: 16MP

SIZE 160.9×74.4×8.1mm
WEIGHT 190g
BATTERY 3800mAh
STARTING PRICE $599
OTHER PERKS quick charging, optical in-display fingerprint sensor, water resistance, dual SIM

The OnePlus 7 Pro is still the more impressive phone, with a motorized pop-up camera that enables an unblemished, all-screen front design with no notches. The 7T takes a different path and uses a minimal “water drop” notch to house the front camera, just like the previous OnePlus phones, the OnePlus 6T, and OnePlus 7. Preferences may vary here. Some Internet commenters have theorized that the 7 Pro’s pop-up camera might be “fragile,” and while there is zero evidence to back up this claim, (the camera can actually support 49 pounds of weight, and someone once even used it as a bottle opener) some people may want the peace of mind that comes from zero moving parts. Other people really dislike notches and might prefer the notchless design of the 7 Pro.

The lack of a notch was one of the truly unique aspects of the OnePlus 7 Pro. With zero blemishes on the display and an all-screen design, the 7 Pro achieved what might be seen as the ideal smartphone form. In the future, it’s probable that all slate-style phones will look like the OnePlus 7 Pro; it’s just a matter of whether that happens thanks to pop-up cameras, under-display cameras, rear displays, or some other camera solution. With a notch design, the OnePlus 7T looks like a lot of other smartphones out there, including old OnePlus devices like the OnePlus 6T and OnePlus 7. OnePlus has always had the best notch design since the OnePlus 6T, given that it is small, unobtrusive, and fits inside the normal status bar. This year the notch is even smaller—OnePlus says the notch shrank 31% from the 6T version.

The two phones also differ in the screen design. The 7 Pro has a screen that curves along the sides, like a Samsung phone, while the 7T has a regular flat display. I’ve never seen a justification for the curved screen other than some people think it “looks cool,” but it does come with the downside that it distorts the sides of apps. I prefer my apps to be flat and undistorted, but others may feel differently.

The rear camera designs are different thanks to the new camera assembly on the OnePlus 7T. The 7 Pro had a pretty minimal vertical strip of cameras, while the 7T has a giant circle that houses all the lenses. Both camera bumps stick out about the same amount overall, but I can see preferring the smaller overall bump of the OnePlus 7 Pro.

The two phones do differ slightly in their measurements, with the 7T losing about a millimeter and a half off the top and sides compared to the OnePlus 7 Pro. This isn’t really enough to qualify the 7T as “smaller,” and it isn’t something you’d notice unless you had the two phones side by side. Phone size tiers typically see about 4mm shaved off the sides of the phone and 6-7mm taken off the height on the smaller model—for example, comparing the Galaxy S10+ and Galaxy S10 or the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11. With only 1.5mm of difference in both directions, the 7T and 7 Pro are not significa