OnePlus 8T review: another winner from OnePlus

The OnePlus 8T packs in style, power, and ridiculous charging speeds

T3 Platinum Award
OnePlus 8T review
(Image credit: Future)
T3 Verdict

OnePlus has done it again: a superb smartphone at a very appealing price point. Although it has one or two weaknesses, and doesn't improve on its predecessors in any major way, the all-round package of the OnePlus 8T (and its retail price) mean that this is a winner.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    65W fast charging speeds

  • +

    Bright, sharp 120Hz display

  • +

    Cool always on display settings

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Better cameras out there

  • -

    No wireless charging

  • -

    Not a massive jump from the OnePlus 8

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The OnePlus 8T sees OnePlus on a roll. We've already had the excellent OnePlus 8, OnePlus 8 Pro and OnePlus Nord this year, and the OnePlus 8T is closing out 2020 in style as well – but how does this new flagship stack up against the rest of the competition?

Our OnePlus 8T review will tell you exactly that – we've been using the phone for a couple of weeks to test it in all the key categories. From OnePlus 8T battery life to the internal specs of the OnePlus 8T, this comprehensive review should answer all of your questions.

Price-wise, the OnePlus 8T is in that very crowded part of the phone market where the upper-to-mid-range phones sit, but in terms of specs and quality it's actually better than that – which is really how OnePlus first made its name in the industry back in 2014.

You do miss out on a few goodies, including full IP68 waterproofing and wireless charging, but you definitely get a lot of smartphone for your money with the OnePlus 8T. Read on to discover everything you need to know about the phone and what it's got to offer.

OnePlus 8T review: price and availability

The OnePlus 8T is out and available to buy now SIM-free in the UK from a variety of retailers, though it isn't yet available on contract. Check the pricing widgets on this page for the latest offers, but you're typically looking at around £550 for the 8GB RAM/128GB storage edition, and £650 for the 12GB RAM/256GB storage edition. In the US, only the second of those two configurations is available at the moment, and that will set you back in the region of $750.

OnePlus 8T review: design and screen

OnePlus 8T

(Image credit: Future)

OnePlus knows how to make a great-looking smartphone, that's hardly a secret – and in this case the impressive aesthetics start with a 6.55-inch, 1,080 x 2,400 resolution, HDR10+ AMOLED display. Colours are bright, details are sharp, and scrolling is super-smooth thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate. OnePlus continues to put out some of the best displays in the business as far as our eyes can tell, and the OnePlus 8T display is fantastic for everything from watching movies to playing mobile games.

Elsewhere the design of the phone is very appealing, albeit not much different to what we've seen before from the OnePlus brand. The rear camera shifts to the top left of the back casing – like the OnePlus Nord and unlike the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8 Pro – and your colour choices are Aquamarine Green or Lunar Silver, both of which we like (the one we had to review was the former).

Around the front of the device the display bezels are pleasingly thin, with a punch hole selfie camera notch up in the top left-hand corner of the screen. There's no headphone jack on this handset, but you do get dual stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support. As usual there's a dedicated mute switch on the side, together with the volume and power buttons – it's a OnePlus staple that we wish more phone makers would copy.

The phone is just 8.4 mm (0.33 inches) thick, a little thicker than the OnePlus 8 and a little thinner than the OnePlus 8 Pro. In fact, that's a good way to think about the OnePlus 8T overall – sitting in between the previous two flagships from April. Overall we've got no complaints about the design and build of the phone, and it feels very much like a flagship.

OnePlus 8T review: camera and battery

OnePlus 8T

(Image credit: Future)

The OnePlus 8T comes equipped with a four camera setup on the back: 48MP wide + 16MP ultrawide + 5MP macro + 2MP depth are the cameras involved. While it's not up there with the very best phone cameras on the market – there's no optical zoom, for example – the rear camera array is certainly no slouch, and it's going to get you some very good photos in most situations (including at night).

The ultrawide lens is of course very welcome for fitting more into a particular shot, while colours come across as well balanced and details are crisp and clear up to an impressive level of zoom. The night mode can be a little hit and miss, but it's more hits than misses, and being able to get usable shots in the dark is very welcome. Shutter speed is fast too, and for most people the camera setup won't disappoint.

The OnePlus 8T is also one of the first handsets to push fast charging speeds up to 65W, which means you can get a full charge from virtually nothing in just half an hour. No wireless charging is a shame, but the fast charging speeds are good enough to completely change your charging habits – there's no need to keep your phone plugged in overnight when you can just juice it up in 15-minute bursts during the day.

Otherwise battery life is great on the OnePlus 8T. It deploys some tricks to keep standby battery drain down to an absolutely minimum, and our two-hour video streaming test – at maximum display brightness by the way – knocked the battery down from 100 percent to just 90 percent, an excellent score. In day-to-day use the OnePlus 8T will easily get you through a whole day on a single charge, and unless you're using a lot of high-powered apps in the day (think GPS navigation and games), you won't need a recharge.

OnePlus 8T review: other specs and features

The OnePlus 8T comes equipped with a Snapdragon 865 processor – the best Android chip in the business this year, except for the Snapdragon 865 Plus. You also get 8GB or 12GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of internal storage (with no option to extend that via a memory card). It's also worth noting, aside from a slight improvement in the type of flash storage used, that these specs exactly match the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8 Pro.

As you would expect, the phone absolutely zips along no matter what you're trying to do with it – multiple browser tabs and demanding games are absolutely no problem for the OnePlus 8T. During the time that we had it, we didn't see any issues with lag or sluggishness, and the Geekbench 5 scores of 880 (single-core), 3137 (multi-core) and 3169 (OpenCL) bear that out.

As is the standard now, 5G is on board, and that makes it ready to access the top-tier speeds that are now rolling out in selected cities across the world. 4G is still more than enough for most people most of the time, but it's good to know that the OnePlus 8T is going to last you several years.

The phone comes with OxygenOS 11, and the software has long been one of our favourite alternatives to the stock Android that Google puts on its Pixels – it's well designed, it's subtle rather than flashy, and it has a lot of good ideas built into it. With the OnePlus 8T, those ideas extend to an always on display that you can customise in a variety of clever ways – with calendar events and media player status, for example.

OnePlus 8T review: price and verdict

OnePlus 8T

(Image credit: OnePlus)

OnePlus has launched three major phones this year – the OnePlus 8, the OnePlus 8 Pro, and the OnePlus Nord – and the OnePlus 8T is sort of a mix of all of them. It has the design cues of the Nord, and the power of the OnePlus 8 phones, and it's not quite as well specced as its predecessor the OnePlus 8 Pro (though the Pro model is also more expensive, don't forget).

The lack of any substantial jump from the phones that came before it is a bit underwhelming, but of course as it's later in the year, OnePlus can now put all of these components together at a cheaper price – and the asking price of the OnePlus 8T is one of the best things about it. Unfortunately for OnePlus, there are plenty of other great phones around at this price point, including the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE.

All of which might make it sound like we're ambivalent about the OnePlus 8T whereas in fact we love it. The price is super-competitive – especially in the UK – and in return for your money you get a brilliantly designed phone, stacks of power, a gorgeous screen, battery life that impresses, incredible charging speeds and a camera that's going to get you really good shots most of the time. When you look at it that way, it doesn't matter so much that it's not a huge upgrade over the OnePlus 8.

We only have five levels of star rating to pick from, so don't let the maximum score here give the impression that this is a perfect phone – you don't get wireless charging, and other phones beat it on camera quality – but for how much money you're paying this is undoubtedly one of the best smartphones on the market at the moment. The only question is whether the OnePlus Nord or OnePlus 8 Pro might be better for you.

David Nield

Dave has over 20 years' experience in the tech journalism industry, covering hardware and software across mobile, computing, smart home, home entertainment, wearables, gaming and the web – you can find his writing online, in print, and even in the occasional scientific paper, across major tech titles like T3, TechRadar, Gizmodo and Wired. Outside of work, he enjoys long walks in the countryside, skiing down mountains, watching football matches (as long as his team is winning) and keeping up with the latest movies.