At this point, it may be hard to keep track of how many phones OnePlus has released this year. All you need to know, though, is that the OnePlus 7T isn't as "premium" as the OnePlus 7 Pro, but it's still made of the best bits. That includes the 90Hz screen, a triple rear camera that takes excellent low-light shots and a fast-charging battery. It also has the latest Android 10 out of the box and it's cheaper to boot, at just $599. (UK pricing is unavailable at this time, but that's about £485. The phone won't be sold in Australia.) It will be available unlocked and, in the US, through T-Mobile too. The phone will also work on Verizon and AT&T, but not Sprint.
At that price, the OnePlus 7T competes with the $750 Galaxy S10E, the $599 Pixel 3 XL (now discounted in the US since its Pixel 4 XL sequel is due out Oct. 15) and its own counterpart, the OnePlus 7 Pro, which starts at $669. Because the OnePlus 7T packs so much high-end hardware while remaining $150 cheaper than the Galaxy S10E, I prefer the OnePlus 7T based on value alone. And compared to the Pixel 3 XL, the 7T is also newer, takes nighttime photos as good as the Pixel, and has more storage.
But if you're eyeing the OnePlus 7 Pro, and it's within your budget (it's $70 more than the 7T), I say go for it. It'll update to Android 10 "very, very soon" according to OnePlus, and it has a slightly bigger battery compared to the OnePlus 7T. Plus, there's no denying that its pop-up camera is just plain cool.
Editors' note, Oct. 1: After conducting final battery tests, we increased the OnePlus 7T's battery rating from 9 to 10, and its overall rating from 8.6 to 8.8.
OnePlus 7T vs. OnePlus 7 Pro: What's different
- The OnePlus 7T has a teardrop notch instead of a pop-up selfie camera.
- The OnePlus 7T has a slightly smaller, 6.55-inch screen compared to the 7 Pro.
- The OnePlus 7T's telephoto camera has 12 megapixels, while the 7 Pro has an 8-megapixel telephoto camera.
- The OnePlus 7T has the newer Snapdragon 855 Plus, compared with the 7 Pro's Snapdragon 855 processor.
- The OnePlus 7T employs OnePlus' updated charging technology called Warp Charge 30T.
- The OnePlus 7T has a smaller battery: 3,800 versus the 7 Pro's 4,000 mAh.
- The OnePlus 7T comes in two new colors: frosted silver and glacier blue.
Design: Not as elegant as OnePlus 7 Pro, but still sleek
Though the OnePlus 7T looks similar to the 7 Pro, there are some specific differences that make it a little less stylish, a little less premium. The OnePlus 7T, for example, has a lower screen resolution (1080p instead of 1440p on the 7 Pro) and as mentioned above, it has a teardrop notch for the front-facing camera. While the notch is smaller than the ones on the OnePlus 7 and 6T, the 7 Pro's pop-up camera is niftier. The phone's triple rear cameras are also encased in a large circle, reminiscent of Motorola Moto phones. The design doesn't hinder anything functionally, but it's just not as pretty as the slim oval the OnePlus 7 Pro has.
Given the design tweaks though, the OnePlus 7T retains many of the 7 Pro's excellent features, particularly its 90Hz display. Instead of refreshing the usual 60 frames per second, the 7T refreshes at 90. A few gaming phones have higher refresh rates (the Razer Phone 2 has a 120Hz display, for instance), but even as a nongamer, I enjoy how much zippier and smoother the phone feels scrolling through things like web pages and apps.
Other design takeaways
- The OnePlus 7T doesn't have a headphone jack and unlike previous models, the phone won't come with a headphone dongle included.
- Like previous models, the OnePlus 7T isn't officially IP rated for water resistance. But OnePlus says it's as water resistant as the OnePlus 7 Pro. When we tested that phone's water durability in August, it survived 30 minutes in a tank of tap water, which is impressive given that phones rated IP68 are usually able to survive the same test. The 7T eventually conked out after being submerged in a 3-foot-deep chlorinated pool.
- The OnePlus 7T has an in-display fingerprint reader to unlock your screen. If you don't like using your fingerprint, you can still use a PIN or your face for security (but not for authorizing digital payments).
OnePlus 7T's triple cameras take great low-light shots
With its 48-, 12- and 16-megapixel rear cameras, the OnePlus 7T takes vibrant and sharp photos. Its new Macro mode allowed me to take pictures of objects closer and much more in focus than before. (Though its prompt of holding the phone "2.5cm away" from said object is comically difficult to gauge in real life. That's about an inch, for reference.)
The phone's Night Scape mode at times took sharper photos than the Pixel 3's Night Sight. Faces, for instance, were blurrier on the Pixel 3 and I could see finer details and textures on the 7T. But the Pixel 3 does have the edge on white balance -- it handled colors much more accurately than the OnePlus 7T in the dark. The 7T's camera interface also doesn't make it clear that I needed to hold the phone still immediately after tapping the shutter. Rather, I saw a subtle ring encircling the shutter circle, which I covered most of the time with my hand. The true low-light winner, however, was the new iPhone 11. Not only did the iPhone 11 take sharper images, but colors were as accurate as the Pixel 3 too.
Portrait shots were also great. The fallout between the foreground and background looked smooth and natural, and you can now take portrait photos with the wide-angle camera as well. In addition, the OnePlus 7T's wide-angle camera took bright and sharp landscape photos, and the pictures didn't show much warping around the corners, as wide-angle cameras tend to do. As for the 16-megapixel front-facing camera, selfies in ample light looked good. But when I took a selfie in a dimly lit bar, the "flash" (which was really the screen) took rather long, making me hold the phone up for a beat or two longer than I would have liked.
Note that some time after the OnePlus 7T's Sept. 26 launch, the phone will get 4K, 30fps ultrawide video capture as well as super slow-mo at 960fps, all via a software update.
Software: Android 10 right out of the box
The OnePlus 7T runs Android 10, making it one of the first phones, if not the first, to run the latest OS out of the box -- even before Google's own Pixel 4, which is launching Oct. 15. With Android 10, you'll get stricter privacy controls and new navigational gestures. OnePlus' minimalist OxygenOS is layered on top, meaning you'll really just have a nearly stock version of Android on your phone, giving it a simplicity I quite like.
In an effort to curb phone usage, OnePlus 7T still has Zen Mode, which makes all aspects of your phone inaccessible except for making emergency calls and taking photos. At first, Zen Mode lasted for only 20 minutes, but now you can set this duration from 20 minutes to an hour. Though stricter than, say, Google's Digital Wellbeing feature, it's useful if you really want to clamp down on screen time.
Reading mode, which previously would turn all the colors of your screen to black and white to reduce eye strain now has an additional color mode. Images and photos will look muted and sepia-toned, but you can still discern color hues as opposed to the other stark black and white mode.
Finally, the OnePlus 7T's native phone gallery lets you file away certain photos and save them into a hidden folder. This is great for sensitive or mortifying pictures you wouldn't want someone to accidentally swipe or scroll to when handing over your phone. (Let's be honest, it's for dick pics and naked selfies, but you do you!)
OnePlus 7T performance and battery
The OnePlus 7T's Snapdragon 855 Plus processor is said to be 15% faster at rendering graphics than the regular 855, but on the whole I didn't notice much of a speed difference between it and the 7 Pro with day-to-day usage. Playing graphic-intensive games felt just as smooth, and while the phone was lightning quick at launching and quitting apps, surfing the web and taking photos, it didn't feel notably "faster."
For CNET reviews, we usually run Geekbench (which is now on a new, fifth iteration) and two tests on 3DMark to benchmark a phone's processor. After running into some issues downloading 3DMark at first, I was able to carry out 3DMark's Slingshot Unlimited test. (I couldn't, however, run Ice Storm Unlimited, which we run, too.) Given this though, you can see that on 3DMark, the OnePlus 7T comfortably beat out all three phones. And on Geekbench 5, the OnePlus 7T was slightly faster than the OnePlus 7 Pro on paper, and easily edged out the Galaxy S10E and Pixel 3 XL.
During our battery tests for continuous video playback on airplane mode, the phone lasted an average of 16 hours, 11 minutes. That's an excellent score and is longer than the OnePlus 7 Pro, which lasted 15 hours, 15 minutes. It's also about on par with the Pixel 3 XL, which clocked in 16 hours, 49 minutes. None of these phones, however, lasted as long as the Galaxy S10E, which played for 17 hours before it ran out of juice.
The OnePlus 7T's Warp Charge 30T technology is an updated iteration of the Warp Charge 30, which first debuted last year on a special-edition OnePlus 6T. Warp Charge charges fast -- when I plugged in my completely drained phone, it was at 34% after 15 minutes, 68% after 30 minutes, and at about an hour the phone was fully charged.
OnePlus 7T versus the competition
OnePlus 7 Pro: Again, if you have the extra $70 to spare, I prefer the 7 Pro over the OnePlus 7T. The extra processing power on the OnePlus 7T isn't that noticeable in day-to-day usage, and along with an Android 10 update, the 7 Pro will receive some of the updated software features that was launched on the OnePlus 7T (more Zen Mode intervals, chromatic Reading Mode and hidden photos) as well.
Samsung Galaxy S10E: I love the Galaxy S10E's design and smaller size, and it has bilateral charging, expandable storage and a longer-lasting battery (despite being lower capacity). But at $750 (£669, AU$1,199), it's more expensive than the OnePlus 7T. It also doesn't have a third, telephoto camera. To me, the Galaxy S10E's advantages don't outweigh the price difference and I prefer the OnePlus 7T.
Pixel 3 XL: In anticipation for the Pixel 4, Google deeply discounted the Pixel 3 XL in some markets. In the US, for example, it costs $599 (64GB) and $699 (128GB). But even with the price cut, I'd go for the OnePlus 7T. It has double the amount of RAM, the 128GB model is cheaper and it can take great low-light shots (which was the Pixel 3's biggest advantage before other phone-makers caught up).
OnePlus 7T specs comparison
|OnePlus 7T||OnePlus 7 Pro||OnePlus 7||Samsung Galaxy S10E||Google Pixel 3 XL|
|Display size, resolution||6.55-inch AMOLED; 2,400x1,080-pixels||6.67-inch AMOLED; 3,120x1,440-pixels||6.41-inch AMOLED; 2,340x1,080-pixels||5.8-inch AMOLED; 2,280x1,080-pixels||6.3-inch OLED; 2,960x1,440-pixels|
|Dimensions (Inches)||6.34 x 2.93 x 0.32 in||6.4 x 2.99 x 0.35 in||6.21 x 2.94 x 0.32 in||5.6 x 2.8 x 0.27 in||6.2 x 3.0 x .03 in|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||160.94 x 74.44 x 8.13 mm||162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8 mm||157.7 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm||142 x 70 x 7.9 mm||158 x 76.7 x 7.9 mm|
|Weight (Ounces, Grams)||6.70 oz; 190g||7.27 oz; 206g||6.42 oz; 182g||5.3oz.; 150g||6.5 oz; 184g|
|Mobile software||Android 10 with OxygenOS||Android 9 with OxygenOS||Android 9 with OxygenOS||Android 9.0 with Samsung One UI||Android 9 Pie|
|Camera||48-megapixel (standard), 12-megapixel (telephoto), 16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle)||48-megapixel (standard), 8-megapixel (telephoto), 16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle)||48-megapixel (standard), 5-megapixel (telephoto)||12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle)||12.2-megapixel|
|Front-facing camera||16-megapixel||16-megapixel||16-megapixel||10-megapixel||8-megapixel (standard); 8-megapixel (wide)|
|Processor||2.96GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus||2.84GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||2.84GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855||2.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845|
|Storage||128GB||128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB||64GB, 128GB|
|RAM||8GB||6GB, 8GB, 12GB||6GB, 8GB||6GB, 8GB||4GB|
|Expandable storage||None||None||None||Up to 512GB||None|
|Battery||3,800 mAh||4,000 mAh||3,700 mAh||3,100 mAh||3,430 mAh|
|Fingerprint sensor||In-screen||In-screen||In-screen||Power button||Back cover|
|Special features||90Hz display, dual-SIM, Warp Charge 30T||90Hz display, pop-up selfie camera, dual-SIM, Warp Charge||dual-SIM, Dash Charge||Wireless PowerShare,water resistant (IP68), Fast Wireless Charging 2.0||Water resistant (IPX8), wireless charging support, Pixel Buds USB-C headphones in the box|
|Price off-contract (USD)||$599||$669 (128GB/6GB); $699 (256GB/8GB); $749 (256GB/12GB)||Converted: $617 (128GB/6GB); $678 (256GB/8GB)||$750||Lowered to $599 (64GB); $699 (128GB)|
|Price (GBP)||Converted: £485||£649 (128GB/6GB); £699 (256GB/8GB); £799 (256GB/12GB)||£499 (128GB/6GB); £549 (256GB/8GB)||£669||£869 (64GB); £969 (128GB)|
|Price (AUD)||Converted: AU$890||Converted: AU$962 (128GB/6GB); AU$1,006 (256GB/8GB); AU$1,076 (256GB/12GB)||Converted: AU$914 (128GB/6GB); AU$1,005 (256GB/8GB)||AU$1,199||AU$1,349 (64GB); AU$1,499 (128GB)|