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OnePlus 7T one year later: It still holds up
2019’s OnePlus 7T was one of the most feature-packed devices released by the company in recent years. The phone was the pinnacle of the OnePlus experience. It delivered excellent value with all the specs you could want. In fact, in Android Authority’s OnePlus 7T review, we called it one of the best devices ever made by the company.
Twelve months since its launch, how well does the phone hold up today? More importantly, how well does that OnePlus 7T fare against the brand’s most recent affordable flagship, the OnePlus 8?
With the OnePlus 8T on the horizon, we take a long-term look at its T-series predecessor to see if the phone is still worth it one year later.
OnePlus 7T review recap
It’s been a year since the launch of the OnePlus 7T, and a lot has changed over at OnePlus since then. Before we take another look at the OnePlus 7T, why not check our video to see what we thought about the phone at launch? Prefer the written word? You can take a look at our OnePlus 7T review right here.
How well has the OnePlus 7T aged?
The pace of innovation is fast, but OnePlus hardware usually manages to stay abreast of the latest trends due to the forward-looking spec-sheet. The OnePlus 7T, however, surprises by surpassing the OnePlus 8 in several areas. In fact, the phone can handily keep up with some of the best smartphones available today.
Sure, the OnePlus 8 gets the newer Snapdragon 865 chipset, but to say that it is meaningfully faster would be a disservice. Paired up with 8 or 12GB of RAM, the OnePlus 7T’s Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset continues to fly through tasks. I had no issues with day to day use.
In fact, a year of software optimizations has made the phone particularly slick. I’ve been switching back and forth between the OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 8 for a while and there is no discernable difference in performance to the naked eye.
It also helps that the two phones are remarkably similar. The OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 8 sport very similar 90Hz Full HD+ panels, with the biggest difference being the switch from a notch to a camera cut out.
The OnePlus 7T and its successor are remarkably similar, making it an even better deal.
Elsewhere, the two phones have the same optical under-display fingerprint scanner, stereo speakers, and more.
One of my principal gripes with the OnePlus 7T was the middling battery life. The company has sorted that out with the larger 4,300mAh cell on the OnePlus 8. Where the former would start giving me range anxiety by late evening, battery life has never been a problem on the OnePlus 8.
Then there’s the lack of 5G support. If you are in one of the markets where the next-gen network is a current reality, the OnePlus 7T simply won’t cut it for you.
Is the camera still good?
Imaging is where things get really interesting. On paper, the OnePlus 7T has the better camera set up with a 48MP primary camera flanked by a 12MP telephoto shooter and a 16MP ultrawide camera. The camera on the OnePlus 7T was a competent performer at launch, so I was curious to see how the numerous updates over the course of a year would help it stand up against its successor.
The OnePlus 8 replaced the 7T’s telephoto lens with a 2MP macro camera. Additionally, the OnePlus 8 traded the wider f/1.6 aperture of the OnePlus 7T for a wider focal length which gets a little more in the frame.
Hardware specs aside, camera tuning is where OnePlus phones have traditionally suffered. I took out the OnePlus 7T with a year’s worth of updates and the OnePlus 8 running Oxygen OS 11 to see how well both phones perform.
Right off the bat, there are differences in how both cameras approach imaging. The OnePlus 7T produces a truer to life shot though there is still a bit of a saturation boost to add a bit of vibrance to the foliage. OnePlus has made strides to reduce the aggressive noise reduction with updates, but you can still observe a bit of smearing while pixel peeping.
The OnePlus 8 boosts exposure levels for a brighter shot and the color temperature is a smidgen too warm. Moreover, there is an additional layer of sharpening for more clarity.
Outdoors as well, the results are consistent. There are minor tradeoffs to be made between the two models, but by and large, OnePlus has done a great job of improving on the phone’s camera tuning. The OnePlus 7T’s shooters can handily match up with most 2020 affordable flagships.
Generally, I prefer the more neutral processing on the OnePlus 7T over the marginally overexposed images shot by the OnePlus 8, but the differences are fairly minimal.
Finally, the telephoto option on the OnePlus 7T blows away images shot by the OnePlus 8. The reasoning is simple: the OnePlus 7T has a dedicated 2x telephoto lens as opposed to the software-based digital zoom on the OnePlus 8.
Overall, the improvements made to camera tuning on the OnePlus 7T over the last year have made a great performer even better. The phone doesn’t just hold up. It manages to exceed its successor in several ways, and unless macro photography is a priority for you, the OnePlus 7T is definitely the better option.
OnePlus 7T vs OnePlus 8: What’s missing?
The list of differences between the two phones is short and boils down to three areas — battery, processor, and 5G support.
Of these, 5G is support should be the only real dealbreaker for most users. If you are in a supported region and want to pay the premium for bleeding-edge speeds, the OnePlus 8 is definitely the way to go.
Elsewhere, battery life has held up very well on the OnePlus was 7T. I am still able to manage a full day of use. You might, however, want to keep an eye out for the upcoming OnePlus 8T which is expected to pack an even larger 4,500mAh battery as well as support for blazing-fast 65W charging.
Is the OnePlus 7T still worth buying?
Of course, if you want the very best then you’ll want the OnePlus 8 Pro with its 120Hz display, telephoto camera, wireless charging, and IP rating for water resistance. Despite the OnePlus 8T’s imminent launch, OnePlus has confirmed there won’t be a OnePlus 8T Pro and that the OnePlus 8 Pro will remain its true premium flagship.
OnePlus 7T long term review: The verdict
The OnePlus 7T was a special phone at launch. A year in, it continues to remain one of my favorite smartphones ever. It struck an excellent balance between optics, performance, and value to stand out amongst the tough competition. That competitive advantage stands true today as well — even more so now that the phone has become more affordable.
The OnePlus 7T is still a special phone one year on.
In North America, you can nab a OnePlus 7T for as low as $429 which makes it a steal for the kind of hardware package you get. Meanwhile, in the UK and EU, the phone is available for just under and ~€529 respectively. Finally, in India, the phone costs a mere Rs.37,999 for the top-end variant.
Lack of 5G and the absolute best battery life aside, the OnePlus 7T can easily stand tall against today’s premium smartphones. In fact, it has the potential to exceed quite a few of them making it easy enough to recommend, provided you can get a good deal on it.