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OnePlus 8T buyer's guide: Everything you need to know
The OnePlus 8T was one of the company’s high-end smartphones of 2020. The device is a subtle upgrade over the OnePlus 8 that launched earlier in the year. Below, you’ll find everything you’ll ever want to know about the handset!
Editor’s note: We’ll regularly update this OnePlus 8T guide with more tips, resources, and details. Stay tuned!
OnePlus 8T at a glance
OnePlus launched the 8T at its fall hardware event on October 14, 2020. Historically, OnePlus issues a T-series upgrade to its earlier flagships in the second half of the year, so this launch wasn’t surprising. What was surprising, though, is that the company didn’t also launch a OnePlus 8T Pro. OnePlus decided to skip that model that year.
Here are the most notable upgrades of the 8T over the OnePlus 8:
- A 120Hz display refresh rate instead of 90Hz
- 65W wired charging instead of 30W
- A quad-camera system instead of triple-cam
- Android 11 skinned with Oxygen OS 11 out-of-the-box
- Two new colorways
Other than the changes above, the OnePlus 8T is very similar to the OnePlus 8. It has the same processor (Snapdragon 865), RAM/storage configuration options, and a very similar overall design. Because of the upgrades, however, the 8T now is an “inbetweener” for the series, sitting above the OnePlus 8 but still below the OnePlus 8 Pro.
The OnePlus 8T launched at $749 in the US for the Lunar Silver or Aquamarine Green colorways. Either color comes with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. However, the phone is a lot cheaper now since it’s been on the market for quite some time. Scroll down further in this article for pricing and availability options throughout the rest of the world.
The phone directly competes with the OnePlus 8 and the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE in the US. Outside the US, it’s in direct competition with those two and the Poco F2 Pro and the Xiaomi Mi 10T. Keep in mind that successors of most of these phones have already been announced and are great alternatives to the OnePlus 8T as well, although they may cost you more.
You should avoid the OnePlus 8T if you want:
- Wireless charging
- An IP rating against water and dust
- The fastest processor available
- Tons of internal storage and the ability to expand it
- The best camera you can get
Is the OnePlus 8T worth buying?
OnePlus fans who already shelled out for a OnePlus 8 or 8 Pro probably don’t need to upgrade to the OnePlus 8T. OnePlus 8 owners would be gaining a slightly better camera, faster charging, and a higher display refresh rate, but most other aspects would remain the same. Meanwhile, OnePlus 8 Pro owners would lose out on wireless charging, an IP rating, and get a weaker camera. They would only really gain faster wired charging speeds.
Buyers who haven’t yet purchased a phone might find some good things about the OnePlus 8T. Its incredibly fast charging speed sets the phone apart from the competition. While it doesn’t have the latest and greatest processor (the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1), it will still be capable of doing pretty much anything you need a smartphone to do, including high-performance gaming. It also will be relatively “future-proof” since it supports 5G connections.
However, keep in mind that OnePlus traditionally has trouble delivering high-quality photography results with its phones. This trend continues with the OnePlus 8T — more in the camera section below.
Also, note that the OnePlus 9, launched in March 2021, is now the better overall phone at this price point. It’s been out for nearly a year, which means that discounts are easy to find, or the OnePlus 8T is easy to get without paying its list price. And, if you live in India, the OnePlus 9R is better than the 8T in multiple ways.
The OnePlus 10 Pro has also already been launched, but it costs quite a bit more.
We generally don’t recommend buying two-year-old devices, but the OnePlus 8T is still a great phone overall that can be had for an affordable price.
What the experts are saying about the OnePlus 8T
Android Authority’s own Ryan Thomas-Shaw reviewed the OnePlus 8T and was left with mixed feelings. There’s a lot to like about the phone, such as the fantastic display, the high-speed charging, and the excellent software package. The phone’s performance is smooth, and the battery life is solid. Every OnePlus flagship is known for these features, and the 8T is no different.
Unfortunately, he also finds the OnePlus 8T doesn’t do enough to stand out. Ryan says the design is uninspired, and the average camera performance is out of place for a 2020 flagship. It feels like an iterative update over the OnePlus 8 series, and the OnePlus Nord offers more value for money.
Our own C. Scott Brown largely agrees with Ryan as well. He says that the OnePlus 8T isn’t a bad phone by any stretch of the imagination, and the 120Hz display and the 65W fast-charging are impressive. Unfortunately, OnePlus’ previous releases offer far more, either in terms of features or value for money. He concludes by saying that a “good enough” phone for $750 won’t cut it anymore when considering the competition.
What other reviewers think
We also summarize what reviewers from other publications have to say about the OnePlus 8T to give you a complete overview of the phone.
- Cnet’s Lynn La has a lot of good things to say about the OnePlus 8T. She says the phone’s 120Hz display is vibrant, sharp, and an absolute winner. She was also impressed with its cameras and liked the more streamlined and clean interface of the latest version of Oxygen OS. However, she says that the phone’s price isn’t right, with the cheaper and quite similar, OnePlus 8 proving to be an enticing alternative.
- Tech Radar’s James Peckham says OnePlus’ “T” iterations have always been iterative, and the 8T follows along the same lines. It doesn’t do enough to truly stand out compared to the 8 series, but it is an excellent phone overall and a compelling option when pitted against similar flagships.
- Tom’s Guide’s Roland Moore-Coyler was let down by the OnePlus 8T’s comparatively high price tag and disappointing camera performance. He says that the performance, the 120Hz display, super-fast charging, and the software are all excellent but might not be enough to stand out from the crowd. However, he mentions that the 8T will be a great buy if the camera performance improves with software updates and the price drops below the $700 mark.
What AA readers think of the OnePlus 8T
Before the OnePlus 8T launch, we ran two different polls for the phone. The first we’ve got is a simple choice: do our readers want the 8T, or would they rather go with the OnePlus 8 Pro? Obviously, choosing the former will save you some cash while you lose out on some features, while the latter will do the opposite.
The results of that poll are in the chart below. However, this poll ran well before OnePlus officially announced the 8T, so these answers are based on pre-launch rumors.
The poll suggests that most Android Authority readers would like the cheaper OnePlus 8T over the OnePlus 8 Pro. However, you can’t ignore how close the results are.
In another poll, we asked whether readers were interested in the 8T or the then-new Google Pixel 5. The latter phone has a much weaker spec sheet when compared to the 8T while still carrying a similar price tag. However, the Pixel 5 will get faster software updates and has a better camera when compared to the 8T.
Here’s how Android Authority readers answered that poll:
As you can see, this poll was split right down the middle. Although the OnePlus 8T edged out for the lead, it shows that a terrific camera system and fast software updates are two essential features to our readers.
OnePlus 8T specs
Even though the OnePlus 8T is a powerful phone, it’s certainly not the most powerful handset of 2020. Below, you’ll find the official specs of the 8T as compared to the OnePlus 8.
|OnePlus 8T||OnePlus 8|
2,400 x 1,080 resolution
20:9 aspect ratio
120Hz refresh rate
In-display fingerprint sensor
2,400 x 1,080 resolution
20:9 aspect ratio
90Hz refresh rate
In-display fingerprint sensor
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
8GB / 12GB LPDDR4X
8GB / 12GB LPDDR4X
128GB / 256GB UFS 3.1
128GB / 256GB UFS 3.0
48MP, ƒ/1.7, 0.8µm, OIS, EIS
5MP macro, 3cm focal length
16MP ultra-wide, ƒ/2.2, 123° FOV
16MP, ƒ/2.4, 1.0µm, EIS, fixed focus
48MP, ƒ/1.78, 0.8µm, OIS, EIS
2MP macro, ƒ/2.4, 1.75µm
16MP ultra-wide, ƒ/2.2, 116° FOV
16MP, ƒ/2.0, 1.0µm, EIS, fixed focus
Warp Charge 65 (10V/6.5A)
No wireless charging
Warp Charge 30T (5V/6A)
No wireless charging
None for unlocked model
IP68 rating for T-Mobile version
None for unlocked model
IP68 rating for Verizon version
Oxygen OS 11
Oxygen OS 11
Dimensions and weight
160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm
160.2 x 72.9 x 8.0mm
Lunar Silver, Aquamarine Green
Interstellar Glow, Glacial Green
What’s up with these 65W charging speeds?
There are several differences between the OnePlus 8T and other 2020 OnePlus phones, but the star feature is the 65W wired charging speed. OnePlus brands it as Warp Charge 65.
OnePlus says this allows you to charge from empty to full in 39 minutes, which our testing backs up. It’s using the slogan “A day’s power in a quarter-hour” because you can get from empty to 58% capacity in just 15 minutes. While that’s incredibly fast, we’ve seen slightly faster times with other 65W charging systems we’ve seen on phones. There are also faster-charging phones on the market right now, including the latest OnePlus 10 Pro with its 80W charging speeds.
The OnePlus 8T should charge faster than any other smartphone the company has launched.
Technically-minded folks might be concerned about how those speeds will affect the longevity of the internal battery. To be clear, ultra-fast charging speeds like this degrade battery longevity quicker than slower charging speeds. To compensate for this, the included 65W charger (when used with the included USB-C-to-USB-C cable) uses 12 different thermal monitors to slow battery degradation. What isn’t clear, though, is how effective this is.
Related: How fast charging really works
Additionally, there are two batteries in the OnePlus 8T. Combined, they pack the equivalent of a 4,500mAh cell. However, in theory, the two separate cells should help prevent degradation of overall battery life.
The included 65W charger can also charge other devices at high speeds. If you have a laptop that charges via a USB-C port, you’ll likely be able to use it with this charger, for example. For this to work, however, you’ll need to use the charger in tandem with the in-box cable.
Finally, all OnePlus 9 series devices also have Warp Charge 65 chargers and capabilities.
Are the OnePlus 8T’s cameras any good?
The OnePlus 8T has four rear cameras. It features a primary 48MP sensor, a 16MP wide-angle lens, a 5MP macro camera, and a 2MP monochrome sensor. Around the front, the selfie snapper comes in at 16MP.
The camera system is sound, but it’s far from great. In his review, Ryan said that most photos taken with the main sensor came out overly contrast-heavy. This resulted in rather moody-looking images, even on sunny days.
We weren’t overly impressed with the OnePlus 8T's cameras.
The wide-angle camera is a bit softer than the main one. It’s a good camera overall, although the colors are oversaturated. Whether that’s a good or a bad thing depends on your taste. On the other hand, the amount of sharpness is okay, but nothing crazy.
In low-light situations, the OnePlus 8T is a mixed bag. The camera setup can capture a lot of light and detail, but images come out relatively soft due to poor focus.
How is the OnePlus 8T battery life?
The OnePlus 8T comes with a 4,500mAh battery, which provides a solid battery life, according to our tests. We saw around six hours of screen-on time with above-average usage during our review periods and still had 20% of battery left. With regular use, the 8T was a two-day device for the most part.
The standout feature of the OnePlus 8T is its 65W fast charging. The phone delivers on OnePlus’ claims and charges from zero to 100% in 39 minutes. Unfortunately, the 8T foregoes what many consider to be a standard flagship feature at this point — wireless charging.
As mentioned earlier, the regular OnePlus 9 has the same battery capacity, the same wired charging speed, and also features wireless charging. This makes it a better buy for anyone concerned about power versatility.
Is the OnePlus 8T fast enough?
In 2019, with the OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro, the company upped the processing speed compared to the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro. The OnePlus 7 series had the Snapdragon 855, while the 7T series had the Snapdragon 855 Plus. Unfortunately, OnePlus didn’t do that in 2020. The OnePlus 8T has the same processor as the OnePlus 8.
That puts the 8T slightly behind the curve of other phones launched in the latter half of 2020. The Asus ROG Phone 3, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra, and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 launched with the Snapdragon 865 Plus. That processor will be nominally faster than the vanilla SD865.
However, that extra boost in speed will hardly be noticeable during everyday usage. Unless you are nitpicking benchmarks, there will be no perceptible difference between the SD865 and SD865 Plus. For the average user, the OnePlus 8T should be blazing fast.
That being said, if you are a big gamer, rely a lot on emulators, or consistently perform processor-heavy tasks on your smartphone, it might be better for you to spend your money on something with a newer chipset, like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. You will have to spend quite a bit more for a phone like that, though.
OnePlus 8T vs OnePlus 8 vs OnePlus 8 Pro
As mentioned earlier, the OnePlus 8T now exists as an inbetweener device. It has more and better features than the OnePlus 8 but isn’t quite as powerful as the OnePlus 8 Pro. Here’s a quick summary of what’s different for each device. If you don’t see an aspect listed here, that means it’s exactly the same across both devices.
- Display: The OnePlus 8 has a 90Hz refresh rate, which is not as good as the 120Hz rate of the 8T. This will enable the 8T to have smoother scrolling and better gaming framerates for specific titles that support it. The 8T’s display is also flat, unlike the OnePlus 8’s curved display. Other specs are the same.
- Storage: Although both the OnePlus 8 and 8T come in the same storage configurations, the 8T has a slight advantage. It has UFS 3.1 speeds, which will make it nominally faster than the OnePlus 8 when it comes to data movement.
- Camera: The primary sensor on the 8T is almost the same as the OnePlus 8. The 8T’s ultrawide lens has a slightly larger field of view, and the macro lens is of better quality at 5MP when compared to the 3MP sensor on the OnePlus 8. The OnePlus 8T also adds a new fourth lens that the vanilla OnePlus 8 doesn’t have. It’s a monochrome sensor that should help with capturing better black-and-white photos.
- Battery: The OnePlus 8 has a slightly smaller battery capacity when compared to the 8T. The OnePlus 8T will charge much faster than the OnePlus 8 due to the new Warp Charge 65 charger.
- Size: The OnePlus 8 is slightly smaller and lighter when compared to the 8T.
OnePlus 8 Pro
- Display: The OnePlus 8 Pro has the same 120Hz refresh rate as the 8T, but the Pro variant has a larger display at a higher resolution (1440p). The OnePlus 8 Pro also has a curved display, while the 8T’s is flat.
- RAM and storage: The OnePlus 8T has slightly faster data-writing speeds than the OnePlus 8 Pro since it runs the UFS 3.1 standard. However, storage capacities are the same for both devices. As far as RAM goes, the 8 Pro has a slight advantage as it uses LPDDR5 while the 8T uses LPDDR4X. Neither of these stats should make much of a difference for the average user.
- Camera: The OnePlus 8 Pro’s quad-camera system captures better shots than the 8T’s quad-camera system. The 8 Pro has a telephoto lens which the 8T does not. Additionally, the 8 Pro has a higher-quality ultrawide sensor. That all being said, the 8T has a wide-angle lens with a larger field of view, and its monochrome sensor will probably be more helpful to people than the 8 Pro’s color filter lens.
- Battery: For all intents and purposes, the two phones have the same battery capacity. However, the 8T will charge faster since it has the new Warp Charge 65 standard. The 8 Pro, on the other hand, has the option for charging wirelessly, which the 8T does not support at all.
- Durability: All variants of the OnePlus 8 Pro have an IP68 certification, ensuring that it is resistant to water and dust. The unlocked models of the OnePlus 8T have no certifications related to the elements. However, the T-Mobile version of the 8T does have an IP68 rating.
- Size: The OnePlus 8 Pro is larger and heavier than the 8T.
OnePlus 8T Cyberpunk 2077 Limited Edition
After teasing the device for a while, OnePlus finally launched the OnePlus 8T Cyberpunk 2077 Limited Edition in collaboration with CD Projekt Red in late 2020. OnePlus themed the special edition device to match the AAA video game’s color scheme and design palette and used the neon yellow Cyberpunk color to highlight the phone’s edges and buttons.
OnePlus redesigned the back panel, which now comprises three parts: a great-looking large camera housing, a central portion made of AG glass, and a bottom section that comes with a carbon black finish.
The user interface has been overhauled as well to include custom animations. For example, the fingerprint unlock effect corresponds to the eye scanning mechanism in the game; the charging animation simulates the process of hacking; the app icons are redrawn in bright neon colors. The phone’s edges also light up a neon blue when it’s turned on.
OnePlus has also added two new camera filters, and Cyberpunk 2077 music is used for ringtones and alerts. You also get exciting extras in the box, including a case that lights up and a phone user manual that doubles as a poster.
Things remain the same in terms of specifications, though. The special edition phone also has the Snapdragon 865 processor, backed by 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.
The OnePlus 8T Cyberpunk Limited Edition was only available in China, priced at 3,999 Chinese yuan (~$600). It did not see a wider release following the launch of the OnePlus 9 series.
OnePlus 8T Concept
OnePlus announced the 8T Concept phone on December 21, 2020. What makes it unique is that the phone’s entire back panel uses something OnePlus calls “Electronic Color, Material, and Finish” — or ECMF for short — which allows the back of the device to change color depending on certain circumstances. You can check out what this looks like in action in the video above.
When it comes to specs and features, the 8T Concept is more or less the same as the regular OnePlus 8T. But since it’s a concept phone, you won’t be able to get your hands on it. The phone exists only as a publicized prototype to show how OnePlus could potentially use this technology in future products — learn more about it here.
OnePlus 8T software
When you take the OnePlus 8T out of the box, it is not preloaded with the latest iteration of Oxygen OS. It runs Android 10, but the phone has already received both the Android 11 and Android 12 updates.
There’s no word on what’s next, but we expect the software support to stop here, at least when it comes to OS updates. That means the OnePlus 8T likely won’t get the Android 13 update. If that’s a problem for you, buying a newer phone is the way to go.
What are some good OnePlus 8T alternatives?
The OnePlus 8T appears to be a stellar phone for its price. However, other phones with similar specs for a comparable price might be a better fit for you. Additionally, phones with weaker specs will save you some cash.
Here are some alternatives you should consider:
- OnePlus 9 ($590): The OnePlus 9 is a newer phone than the OnePlus 8T. As such, it has some upgraded features, most notably the latest Snapdragon 888 chipset. It also has a better camera system (even though it doesn’t have a macro lens) and supports wireless charging. It also has a list price lower than the 8T. This makes the OnePlus 9 the universally better buy in 2021 if you are looking for a OnePlus phone and don’t have the cash for a Pro-level model.
- Samsung Galaxy S21 FE ($599): The Galaxy S21 FE is probably the best direct alternative to the OnePlus 8T on the market. It’s a successor to the S20 FE and packs updates across the board. It offers wireless charging, an IP rating, and Samsung’s robust update policy. Really, the only things that definitively make the 8T the better buy are the ultra-fast wired charging and the option for more RAM. If these things don’t matter to you, though, you should absolutely check out the Galaxy S21 FE.
- Samsung Galaxy S21 ($625): This phone is newer than the OnePlus 8T and features a 2021 chipset. That will make it much more powerful than the 8T. However, it is also more expensive. For that extra $50, though, you get wireless charging, an IP rating, a better camera system, and more. Essentially, the Galaxy S21 is like a Galaxy S20 FE but with more power.
- Google Pixel 6 ($599): If you waged a specs war between the Pixel 6 and the 8T, the Pixel 6 would come out on top. It packs Google’s biggest redesign in years, with a worthy upgrade to the camera setup. You get a 50MP main lens and Google’s new Tensor chip under the hood. Best of all, it’s tough to beat the midrange price for a flagship device.
- Xiaomi Mi 10T (€390): Our readers in the US don’t have access to this phone, but our international friends should pay it some attention. It has a lot of the same specs and even ups the ante for the display refresh rate by bumping it up to 144Hz. It’s also capable of 65W wired charging speeds (although the in-box charger will be slower). If you can deal with the trade-offs, this is a good option that will save you a bit of scratch. Keep in mind that the Xiaomi 11T series has recently been launched, meaning that its predecessors are now cheaper.
Should you buy the OnePlus 8T now or wait?
Now that we are into 2022, the OnePlus 8T is beyond “last year’s model.” As a result, it’s not so easy to find anymore and you should grab it given the chance.
When it comes to the all-important ratio of specs to value, the OnePlus 8T just can’t keep up anymore. The OnePlus 9 has a lower list price and better specs and features. The OnePlus 9R — though exclusive to India — is basically a OnePlus 8T for hundreds less. Additionally, the Galaxy S21 and Xiaomi Mi 11 trump the 8T in multiple regards at around the same price point.
However, since the OnePlus 8T is older, it is easier to find it at discounted prices. If you want to save as much as possible while still getting a powerful device, the OnePlus 8T might be worth a look. If you are ready to spend around $750 on a new phone, though, skip the 8T and get a OnePlus 9 instead.
Where to buy the OnePlus 8T
The OnePlus 8T is available in the United States and many other countries.
In the US, the phone only has one configuration and two colorways. Initially available for $750, the phone can now be had for just $350. You can choose between the Aquamarine Green or Lunar Silver colors, but either one comes with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Other countries will have access to a lower-specced (and cheaper) configuration of 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.
The easiest way to buy a OnePlus 8T is directly from OnePlus.com. Just click the buttons below to grab it.
The phone is also available via Amazon.
The phone launched at $1,099 CAD in Canada but is now available for $539 CAD. That’s for the same 12GB/256GB color configurations as in the US. In the UK, the 12GB/256GB model in Aquamarine Green comes in at £549. The memory configurations are locked to specific colorways.
The OnePlus 8T is available in the United States, Canada, Europe, the United Kingdom, India, China, and Hong Kong.
Frequently asked questions
Q: Where’s the OnePlus 8T Pro?
A: OnePlus declined to create a Pro variant of the 8T, so it does not exist.
Q: What are the differences between the unlocked and T-Mobile versions?
A: There are three main differences. The T-Mobile version has a different name (OnePlus 8T Plus), an IP68 rating against water and dust, and support for the 2.5GHz band of its 5G network.
Q: What kind of 5G networks are supported?
A: If you buy the phone unlocked or from your carrier, it will only support Sub-6GHz networks. The only exception is the T-Mobile version, which supports that carrier’s 600MHz and 2.5GHz bands.
Q: Does the phone have a headphone jack?
A: No, OnePlus no longer includes 3.5mm ports on its flagships.
Q: Does the OnePlus 8T have a microSD card slot?
A: This is something OnePlus has never offered with its flagships.
Q: What colors are available?
A: There are two colors: Lunar Silver and Aquamarine Green. Each color is locked to a RAM/storage configuration in some countries, so your color choice could be crucial.
Q: Is the OnePlus 8T waterproof?
A: There is no IP rating with the unlocked variant of the 8T, which means there are no guarantees against water or dust. However, the T-Mobile version of the phone does have an IP68 rating.
Q: Does the phone support wireless charging?
A: No. The only 2020 OnePlus phone with wireless charging is the OnePlus 8 Pro.