THE latest smartphone from the tech buffs at OnePlus has arrived – but is it enough to topple the iPhone 12?
I’ve been using the OnePlus 8T for a few weeks now, and it has seriously impressed me, especially when you consider its wallet-friendly price tag.
OnePlus 8T – what is it?
The OnePlus 8T is the latest and greatest smartphone from OnePlus, a tech firm based in Shenzhen, China that consistently punches above its weight.
It came out in the UK on October 23 – the same day that Apple released its newest mobile, the iPhone 12.
Like OnePlus’s previous offerings, the 8T boasts a gorgeous design and top-end specs but at an affordable price.
“With the OnePlus 8T, we’re offering pro-level capabilities for even more users across our flagship smartphone portfolio,” CEO Pete Lau said during the handset’s virtual unveiling earlier this month.
“The OnePlus 8T offers an impressive overall package of powerful hardware and smooth software.”
OnePlus 8T – design
OnePlus consistently makes great looking phones, and the 8T is no different.
It boasts a glass back firmed up by shatter-resistant Gorilla Glass, and like the new iPhones features a metal frame.
As a result, the mobile feels premium, which is a breath of fresh air from some of the plastic-based handsets that also populate the mid-range market.
Diverging from previous designs, OnePlus has chosen to stick the rear camera module in the top left corner.
The cameras on previous models have stacked down the middle, and again the move away from this lines the 8T’s design along the likes of the latest Apple and Samsung smartphones (which is unlikely to be by accident).
Probably the biggest change from April’s OnePlus 8 is the shift to a “retro” squared-edge design with a flat screen that doesn’t curve over the sides.
Apple made a similar move with the iPhone 12 and for my money it makes mobiles much easier to hold on the bus or a tube carriage – though the harder edges do take some getting used to.
When it comes to colours, OnePlus has gone with two options: Lunar Silver and Aquamarine Green.
I like the silver, but the green is a little garish for my tastes (though I’ve always preferred a muted colour for my smartphones).
All in all, OnePlus hasn’t reinvented the wheel with the 8T’s design but the switch to squared edges gets a big thumbs up from me.
OnePlus 8T – camera and features
When it comes to features, OnePlus has gone big on two things: Lightning-fast charging and a glorious display.
Let’s start with the former. The OnePlus 8T is loaded with a 4,500mAh battery, which is a step up from the 4,300mAh cell in the OnePlus 8.
I found that the phone can comfortably make it through a day of heavy use, and I often went to bed with a good 10 to 20 per cent charge remaining.
The battery life isn’t world beating, but it doesn’t need to be thanks to OnePlus’ latest Warp Charge technology.
Thanks to a new 65W charging brick that comes in the box, the 8T is capable of juicing up with “a day’s power” in just 15 minutes.
In practice, I found the mobile could get up to about 50 per cent charge in 15 minutes, or 90 per cent in just half an hour.
This is incredibly impressive – it’s miles faster than any phone I;ve ever used – and completely changed how I used the phone.
I no longer left it on charge overnight, instead juicing it up when I hopped into the shower in the morning, or while I was at work.
Onto the display. OnePlus consistently hits the high notes with its phone screens and the 8T is no different.
Measuring a mammoth 6.55 inches, as I mentioned earlier the AMOLED display is flat instead of curved, just like the new iPhones.
Unlike the iPhones, however, the 8T boasts a whopping 120hz refresh rate – meaning the display refreshes itself more time per second.
This makes the mobile an absolute dream to use for gaming, giving you crisp, smooth graphics even when playing high-intensity games.
The screen is bright, and boasts 2400 x 1080 resolution – more than enough to watch movies on without losing out too much on quality.
While the 8T’s display and charging capabilities are impressive, the rest of its specs aren’t all that much to write home about.
The phone’s quad rear camera system, for instance, is decent but doesn’t come close to the latest Apple or Samsung phones.
That features a 48MP main camera flanked by 16MP ultra wide and 5MP macro lenses.
A new “monochrom” lens helps you take snazzy photos in black and white, while OnePlus has given night mode an upgrade.
The monochrom lens, however, failed to impress me. I found I was able to get black and white snaps of similar quality using a simple Instagram filter.
OnePlus 8T – price
Now we get down to what makes the OnePlus 8T worth considering: The price.
The phone starts at just £549, making it a great option for anyone working to a stricter budget.
However, unlike a few years ago, OnePlus now has a lot of work to do to pry consumers away from the likes of Samsung and Apple.
Both of those firms have announced low-priced smartphones with flagship features this year in the form of the iPhone 12 Mini and Galaxy S20 FE.
Each of those is priced at £699 – just £150 more than the 8T. Convincing consumers to break away from these beloved brands will take some doing.
OnePlus 8T – final verdict
The OnePlus 8T is a bit of an awkward middle man in the smartphone world.
It’s got great specs – but not the best in the market – and is pretty reasonably priced, but is far from the cheapest smartphone out there (OnePlus’ very own OnePlus Nord comes in at roughly £200 less).
What you’re left with is a cracking phone that won’t appease the tech-heads who are after bleeding-edge tech and won’t be cheap enough for someone looking for a budget mobile.
I love the design, and the screen is as impressive as ever. The charging, too, is a borderline game changer.
However, the 8T’s cameras and battery life can’t match up to the likes of the iPhone 12 and Samsung Galaxy S20.
Should you buy it? Maybe. If you’re looking for something that’s a little cheaper than the iPhone 12 but with cracking features, go for it.
However, I think for most people there’s a mobile out there that better suits their needs.
In other news, Apple unveiled the latest iPhones this month, including the company’s first 5G mobile.
Apple recently unveiled the latest version of the Apple Watch – its cheapest smartwatch in years.
And, there’s a new iPhone homscreen in iOS 14, and fans are divided over it.
What do you think of the new OnePlus mobile? Let us know in the comments!
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