I’ve been using a OnePlus phone as my daily driver for the last 6 months, whilst I have had other devices to use alongside this, it has often been the OnePlus that stayed in my pocket the longest for a few reasons.
So when I was invited to London to get hands on the new OnePlus 7T Series, I was really excited to see what the upgraded devices would offer over the already impressive older versions.
OnePlus kindly sent me a 7T device to use for the next two weeks, and I had my main SIM card in the whole time to get the full experience of battery life and performance on a day-to-day basis.
The good thing about OnePlus phones is there more recent devices are dual SIM, which allows me to use both my personal and work SIM at the same time.
During my two weeks with the device I used both SIMS the whole time, and this has an impact on battery performance as I will talk about later, but wanted to be upfront and say I was using the two at the same time and based my time around this.
Design and display
OnePlus have always impressed with their design, and this is exactly the same with the 7T with large display and small notch on the front with a nice slim design and stand out camera on the back for all to appreciate.
To help keep costs down the 7T features a water drop, or Dewdrop notch instead of the motorized pop up camera found on the Pro version, this was mainly to keep the cost down and it’s so small you hardly even notice is there anyway so was a good compromise.
The screen is a decent 6.55 inches in diameter is a 1080p display but still keeps that 90hz refresh rate which people have come to love on the OnePlus 7 Pro, this is one of the key standout features that make OnePlus different, although others are starting to catch up such as Google with their Pixel 4.
Whilst it’s only a full HD panel at 1080p resolution not a Quad HD such as the Pro, I didn’t really notice much difference, especially in day-to-day use, plus having a 1080p display helps improve battery performance because unless you’re a very happy gamer you won’t really notice a difference but will appreciate the extra battery life you get as a result.
Because of the on-screen controls, there is very little bezel around the sides and bottom, and is very very minimal up top which just houses the earpiece and the small notch for the front facing camera.
As with the OnePlus 7 Pro, there is a fingerprint sensor built into the screen that is faster than ever and really enjoyable to use, I did however find I was using the Face Unlock feature more but this was more of a personal choice.
I will cover more on the selfie camera in the main camera section of this review later on including some sample photos and videos
Looking up at the top of the device you have one of the dual microphone setup which allows for stereo sound recording and also acts as noise cancelation when in voice calls.
On the bottom you get the downward facing stereo speaker which produces very loud and clear audio, this is extremely useful when watching video playback such as Netflix or YouTube but also acts as a great speaker phone for voice calls.
Next to this you have the USB-C port which is used for data transfer, but more importantly charging which now includes the 30T fast charging support which charges the phone from 0 to full in around 40 minutes, crazy fast and great as long as you use the supplied charger and cable in the box.
Whilst you get this super fast Warp Charge feature, you do unfortunately lose out on wireless charging which is not built into the 7T.
Next to the charging port you get the SIM card tray which pops out using a pin, this allows you to access the dual SIM trays where you can use either one or two SIM cards at the same time, however there is no expandable memory support so you’re have to depend on internal or online storage only, but it is nice having two SIMs in one phone which be handy for people like myself who have a work and personal SIM.
Something lacking is a headphone jack which seems to be very common these days, however also missing in the box is a USB-C headset, or even an adapter to use your own, instead you either have to use an existing pair if you have or go for a Bluetooth option.
Over on the left side you just get the volume up and down buttons which as you would expect just control the system volume as well as voice call volume when in a call.
Over on the right hand side you get the power button which when double tap quick opens the camera if you need to take a quick photo without pressing the on-screen button
You also get one of the features of a OnePlus phone that many take for granted but is actually really handy to have, and that is a three-way switch allowing you to quickly switch between Normal, Vibrate and Silent mode with a quick flick.
Over on the back first of all you will notice the attention to detail in the colour, my one I was sent was the Blue and it looks amazing, a real stand out design sure to catch the attention of friends and family.
The camera design has also changed from the vertical lens setup to a new circle with the three cameras in landscape, it looks different but in a good way and really stands out against what other manufacturers are doing.
The back is made from glass using Gorilla Glass 5 for extra protection, this is very slippy without a case but it also keeps the weight down at just 190g, however there is no wireless charging which is a shame as mentioned earlier.
One thing I must say again is the phone is VERY slippy when not in a case, thankfully OnePlus give you a free one in the box that’s also clear so you can show off the colour and not worry about the phone slipping from your hands, although of course there will be many other case designs out there if you wanted something different.
Having a good camera on a smartphone can be for some people one of the biggest decision makers when making a purchase, with many out there (myself included) not owning a standalone camera and using their phone for everything.
OnePlus are always improving their camera setup with software updates, but often it is the actual cameras themselves that make the biggest improvements as there is only so much you can do with software.
Looking over on the back you have a triple camera setup which features a main 48 megapixel lens for capturing detail, a 12 megapixel telephoto lens for zooming in to your subject, and finally a large 16 megapixel super wide angle lens with 117 degree field of view for getting even more in to that important photo such as a landscape or group shot.
Having this new updated wide angle camera also adds an all important super macro mode which lets you get really close up for some amazing detail with a simple tap on the mode when in the camera screen.
The camera interface is very easy to understand and navigate through, on the left-hand side you have controls for the flash, timer, changing the camera viewer size and enabling the super macro mode.
On the opposite side you have a slider to navigate through the difference modes such as portrait, nightscape, video etc.
You will see in the camera UI screenshot a toggle that has 1 tree on one side, and 3 trees on the other, this is where you tap to switch between the wide angle or telephoto cameras depending which you need.
Night mode has been given a big upgrade in Nightscape with some of the best low light photos I have taken on a phone, although not quite up there with the magic of the Pixel or what Huawei have right now, what OnePlus have managed to produce is a very capable all round camera experience, even in poor lighting.
Overall image quality captured was excellent, in fact one of the best I have had on a smartphone thanks to the impressive sensors used and some clever software.
The front facing camera is 16 megapixels and also includes features such as HDR for better photos as well as using the screen as a selfie flash to help with lighting.
Quality is very good and is more than decent enough for social media sharing which will be the main use.
Video mode is great for video calling services such as Google Duo, WhatsApp or Skype which were all tested with pleasing results.
Video mode is very good when in good lighting, quality does go up to 4K resolution if you want all need to use this however standard HD is good enough for most situations.
Stabilization is also very good as I found when recording video handheld with no tripod and there is even a super steady mode which tops out at 1080p but is great for when you are walking or unsteady.
Below are a few samples to check out.
Performance and battery
When it comes to performance, OnePlus have always impressed with plenty of RAM, processing power and storage to cope with even the most demanding of tasks including heavy gaming.
Once again the company stand out with the 7T including 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, all running on the new Snapdragon 855+ processor which is more than capable.
I’ve got much more into mobile gaming recently thanks to Pokémon Go and more recently Call of Duty Mobile, these games ran fantastic on the display and smooth as anything thanks for the 90 Hz refresh rate which made everything look so much clearer, so much smoother and a much better experience than I’ve had on other devices.
The processor of choice as mentioned earlier was the Snapdragon 855+ and this brings with it performance improvements as well as battery optimization, which was very well received and handled on this device with Oxygen OS help keep things run as best possible at all times.
What the 7T does lack is 5G, but for most people this won’t be a bad thing because 5G is not widespread at the moment, especially here in the UK and it will be at least a year until 5G becomes more mainstream
It does mean however if you are looking for a 5G phone right now, you will have to look elsewhere, but for most people 4G is still plenty quick enough for most tasks with network improvements to have happened over the years.
Using a Vodafone and Three SIM card in my device, the 4G performance was excellent, especially as it has carrier aggregation also known as 4G+, this gets me speeds upwards of 100Mbps even in the little town I live in in the South West.
The battery is a fixed 3800mah capacity and does a great job of getting me through a day, even with using 2 SIM cards most of the time accessing lot of data, taking photos, and using social media I found I was easily able to get through one day of use charging at night.
The Warp Charge 30T out-of-the-box does a great job at getting you from zero to 100 in around an hour however as mentioned before, you do lose wireless charging.
When it comes to storage you get 128GB of built-in memory which is plenty for most people these days, and if it’s not enough you can always get expandable storage fire online services such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
Unfortunately there is no memory card support on this device so if 128GB is not enough you’ll have to look for some cloud storage but I think for most people this will be plenty.
Overall performance was very impressive, having used many phones this year both personal and for reviewing situations, I have to say that the OnePlus 7T is up there with one of my top 3 performing phones at the year and one of my most enjoyable experiences both software performance and hardware.
There are many different skin versions of Android available, however it is OnePlus’s version which they call Oxygen OS that often gets great feedback from its users
This is because the company actually listens to feedback and makes improvements based on real life situations that the customers have reported.
The OnePlus 7T comes with Android 10 out of the box which is the most latest version and with it brings all the new security improvements you would expect as well as a new way of navigating called gestures.
There is a whole load of customization options available from changing between light and dark theme as well as changing the accent colours icon packs and font choice just to name a few.
The good thing with OnePlus is they don’t bog the phone down with bloatware, instead only include there switch app allowing you to transfer content from one device to another, they are not fussed about making health apps or well-being apps, instead you can download one of the multiple versions from the play store instead they just give you a clean Android experience.
OnePlus were actually one of the first companies who gave people dark mode and since there are many other manufacturers have jumped on board.
Whilst the Pixel phones run a stock version of Android that many people like including myself, it is actually Oxygen OS on the OnePlus devices that offers most people a better experience, and it’s something I have come to appreciate a lot more since testing newer devices.
It is very easy to get sucked in by thinking high price tags means better value for money, however OnePlus once again breaks the mold with an amazing device price that costs just £550 unlocked without contract.
I’ve always been impressed by OnePlus devices having used the OnePlus 6, OnePlus 7 Pro, and now the OnePlus 7T, each of these have been great in their own right, but the 7T is the best of the bunch.
The biggest feature this phone lacks for someone wanting to future-proof themselves is of course 5G, however with 5G coverage not being widespread at the moment, this is something that the company can look at for the OnePlus 8 or another future device is coming out next year when coverage is much more widely available, for now it helps keep the price down.
The two areas I was impressed with the most was the improved camera quality, especially in low light conditions this was a massive upgrade over the OnePlus 7 Series and the jump in megapixels on the wide angle camera has made a big improvement, plus it’s nice to see the wide angle option sticking around, something a lot of people use these days and will be more popular now Apple have started using them too.
Another area I was impressed with was of course the display thanks to the 90 Hz super smooth refresh rate which makes the whole experience smooth, fast, lag-free, and just felt much better than I had on a lot of other devices, even more expensive ones such as the Samsung Note 10+ 5G costing over £1000.
Battery was also very decent, this was having both SIM cards in the device at the same time which drains the battery even faster because it’s looking for two networks.
However using this for both home and personal use I was impressed with the battery performance usually lasting me a day.
If you’re looking for a top end device with great camera great battery, superb user experience and the latest tech and the OnePlus 7T is for you without a doubt.
The only reason not to consider this phone is if you want to have 5G on your current phone and don’t want to wait, however I don’t think that will be many people, and for that reason the OnePlus 7T has to be one of my top 3 phones of 2019.
Thanks again to OnePlus for loaning the device and to be able to review here.