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OnePlus 7T review: The best smartphone value of 2019

matt-miller-headshot.jpg
Written by Matthew Miller on
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9.3/10

OnePlus 7T

Spectacular
Pros
  • Affordable prices for specs
  • Extremely responsive
  • Latest Android software
  • High quality design, fit, and finish
  • Loud stereo speakers
Cons
  • No dust/water resistance
  • No wireless charging
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At this time of year we see high end flagships announced by Samsung, Apple, and Google with prices for the larger devices starting at $899. OnePlus entered the fray with one of its most affordable phones in the past couple of years with the OnePlus 7T.

While the OnePlus 7 Pro was released five months ago, the OnePlus 7T ends up as a phone many of us like using better due to the flat display, more affordable price, and latest Android specifications. We see a single RAM/internal storage option, which is unusual for OnePlus, with another release officially on T-Mobile in the US.

CNET: OnePlus 7T review: High-end specs and Android 10 for $600 (8.8/10 rating)

The OnePlus 7 Pro has a pop-up front-facing camera, curved front display, and slightly larger form factor. It starts at a price $70 higher with RAM/storage options making it up to $150 more than the OnePlus 7T. Some may question the need for having the 7T, but with official US carrier support it is likely to sell very well at $599.

Specifications

  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus
  • Display: 6.55 inch 2400 x 1080 pixels resolution AMOLED (402 ppi)
  • Operating system: OxygenOS based on Android 10
  • RAM: 8GB
  • Storage: 128 GB internal with UFS 3.0
  • Cameras: 48 megapixel main camera with OIS, 12 megapixel telephoto camera, and 16 megapixel ultra-wide lens with 117 degree field-of-view. 16 megapixel front facing camera with f/2.0 aperture.
  • Wireless technology: LTE Advanced, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS/GLONASS/GALILEO
  • Battery: 3.800 mAh battery with Warp Charge 30T fast charging adapter in the box
  • Dimensions: 160.94 x 74.44 x 8.13 mm and 190 grams
  • Colors: Glacier Blue and Frosted Silver

Hardware

The front of the OnePlus 7T is dominated by the 6.55-inch display and thankfully it is not curved on the edges like Samsung phones and the OnePlus 7 Pro. There is a very small teardrop notch for the front-facing camera with minimal bezels around all four sides. The OnePlus 7T offers a very high screen-to-body ratio that makes it a wonderful device for media consumption and gaming.

Speaking of the display, it continues with the awesome 90 Hz refresh rate that helps make Android a much better experience. It has 1,000 nit brightness and a 20:9 aspect ratio. The in-display fingerprint sensor continues to be faster and more reliable than Samsung's version.

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The OnePlus 7T is one of the few phones we see with the Snapdragon 855 Plus processor. I was expecting to see this in the Pixel 4, but that didn't happen. The 855 Plus offers 15% faster graphics rendering than the 855.

In the past people have complained about the haptics of OnePlus phones. OnePlus improved the haptics on the OnePlus 7T with a larger vibration motor and an improved driver. Dolby Atmos powered stereo speakers also sound awesome on the OnePlus 7T and I enjoyed video content without headphones over the past couple of weeks.

The three-way ringer switch continues on the upper right side and I'm very pleased that this stand-out feature remains. The back matte finish glass is awesome and it's rare to see any other smartphone offer such compelling design elements. It feels much more expensive than the $599 price.

Also: OnePlus 7 Pro review: Long battery life, quick performance, and impressive display make it compelling for business users

The triple rear camera system performs about the same as the vertically-aligned triple rear camera system on the OnePlus 7 Pro. I've seen many complaints about the camera, but I've been able to capture some great photos with it and when comparing it to the $1,000 flagships I don't see radical differences. The biggest difference in camera performance is seen in low light conditions.

There is an all-new macro mode that supports shooting from as close as 2.5 centimeters. I'm a huge fan of taking macro shots as it lets you capture a world we often overlook.

OnePlus 7T review: in pictures

Software

Oxygen OS is a fairly stock Android experience and the version in the OnePlus 7T is based on Android 10. There are customization options, including custom accent colors, dark theme, and more. Navigation options are also under your control so you can move around the phone as you desire.

OnePlus has Zen Mode that lets you setup times to take a break from using your phone. You can choose break durations ranging from 20 minutes to 60 minutes with daily reminders and Zen mode notifications. Achievement badges can be earned for Zen Mode completion with access to all of your stats too.

It's great to see OnePlus provide an image gallery, voice recorder, and camera application. Very few extra apps or utilities are included. You can also choose to hide the Shelf, which I do since I have yet to find enough utility for it on a OnePlus phone.

Price and availability

The OnePlus 7T will be available for $599 in two colors starting on October 18 at OnePlus and at T-Mobile stores in the US. There are also many cases, cables, and headsets available for the OnePlus 7T.

Daily usage and conclusions

Due to the nature of writing about smartphones here on ZDNet, I tend to buy and test out just about every phone available today. I often tell people I would buy and use a 5.8 inch iPhone model if I truly had to make a choice to use just one phone. However, if I wanted to save hundreds of dollars and go with an Android phone I would buy a OnePlus device. The performance, quick updates, gorgeous design elements, decent battery life, and more make devices like the OnePlus 7T a solid smartphone to get work done.

Battery life has been solid, but there is also fast charging with the included Warp Charge 30T charger so you can top off quickly if you use it for many hours during the day. Five to six hours of screen-on time is typical on a full charge.

At $599 it is hard to complain about this phone. I was able to capture great photos in good lighting and think it will serve well for most people. I plan on much more testing of the OnePlus 7T too as I continue to test its performance and keep it updated.

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