OnePlus 7T review: The best of Android for under $600

Android Central Verdict

Bottom line:The OnePlus 7T continues the company's legacy of releasing affordable, high-end Android smartphones. This one has all of the good aspects of the 7 Pro but forgoes the curved-glass, bezel-less display for something more traditional, and more usable. Superlative software, a versatile camera system, and excellent performance make for one of the best phones of the year so far.

Pros

  • +

    Well-designed, with premium materials

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    Excellent battery life

  • +

    Consistent and versatile cameras

  • +

    OxygenOS 10 is awesome

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    Price is right

Cons

  • -

    Lacks official IP rating

  • -

    No wireless charging

  • -

    Loses the OIS in telephoto from the OnePlus 7 Pro

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Let's get right to the point: the OnePlus 7T is the best $600 phone you can buy in the U.S. It's got the chops to compete with devices nearly twice its price and, like its larger and more expensive OnePlus 7 Pro counterpart, makes cuts in areas that are largely understandable.

What may be confusing for some people is where the 7T fits into the company's growing phone lineup: it's replacing the OnePlus 6T in the U.S., where the OnePlus 7 never went on sale; and in countries where the OnePlus 7 is currently available, it'll replace that one, too.

In other words, the 7T is the phone that OnePlus should have (and probably wanted to) released in May. But it's here now, ready to compete with the $699 iPhone 11 (opens in new tab), the now-$699 Galaxy S10e (opens in new tab), and whatever price Google decides to make the Pixel 4 in October.

Thankfully, there are few caveats for the price you're paying here. This is the OnePlus 7T review.

OnePlus 7T Design & Performance

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CategoryOnePlus 7T
Operating SystemAndroid 10
OxygenOS 10
Display6.55-inch
2400x1080 (402 ppi)
20:9 — 90Hz
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 855+
Octa-core
7nm
Up to 2.96GHz
RAM8GB
Storage128GB
Cameras48MP main sensor, 12MP telephoto, 16MP ultra-wide
Battery3800 mAh
Warp Charge 30T
30W fast charging
Dimensions160.1 x 74.5 x 8.1 mm
Weight190 grams
ColorsFrosted Silver
Glacier Blue

When thinking about whether to consider the OnePlus 7T over another Android phone, ask yourself: what do you need from your phone? Do you need water resistance or wireless charging? If so, look elsewhere.

If neither of those features is paramount, the 7T should be in your running. Simple as that. There's very little here to criticize, and here in North America where the OnePlus 7 (which was really a OnePlus 6TT) never went on sale, this is the true successor to last September's big release.

The phone is almost as tall as the OnePlus 7 Pro, owning to a 20:9 aspect ratio that keeps the Fluid AMOLED screen tall and narrow and, mercifully, much easier to hold and use in one hand. On paper, the differences are only a few millimeters and grams, but in daily use, the effect is significant.

Some of the improved usability is also owed to flat glass over the 1080p display, a tenet I far prefer over the visually arresting but otherwise unhelpful curved glass of the 7 Pro. But you still get an all-metal chassis — beautifully outfitted with a chromatic blue hue highlighted in a soft matte finish. I usually wear my OnePlus phones in cases, but I had to use this one naked — and so far, no drops.

The 7T continues the tradition of the teardrop notch that debuted with last year's OnePlus 6T, a much more practical but less visually arresting design next to the 7 Pro's slide-up camera and the lack of screen bezel that accompanies it. I'm happy with that decision, too: the teardrop is inoffensive in its symmetry and means I don't have to wait a second for the motor to kick in every time I want to take a selfie. Less party trick, more pragmatism.

Like all OnePlus phones before this one, there's a mute slider to switch between silent, vibrate, and "arrest this person right now" loud, which is convenient. Like the 7 Pro, the stereo speakers carry significant volume but are restrained by the tiny resonance chambers, leading to thin output with no bass. I'd rank the speakers in the middle of the pack; nowhere near as good as Razer's bombastic front-facers or LG's bass-heavy boom boxers, but they get the job across. A lack of a headphone jack also means reaching for that pair of Bluetooth headphones (and OnePlus makes a pretty damn good pair of those, too, now in olive green (opens in new tab).

OnePlus says its goal was to bring as many of the 7 Pro's features to the 7T as possible, so you'll find an AMOLED display and a 90Hz variable refresh rate, a feature that, once you use it, you never want to go back to a phone with a traditional 60Hz panel. The new panel is a double-edged sword, though: it's got fantastic and accurate colors, but I could barely make out what's on the screen outside, despite OnePlus claiming it can hit 1,000 nits while on Auto mode.

Using the 7T is a joy. It's among the first phones released in North America with Qualcomm's new gaming-focused Snapdragon 855+ SoC, which pushes speeds 15% faster than the SD855 most flagship phones have sported since the Galaxy S10 debuted in February. In reality, I noticed no discernible performance difference between the 7T and its "slower" 7 Pro counterpart (there's a rumored 7T Pro launching later in October with a Snapdragon 855+ upgrade among other minor improvements) but it's reassuring to know that the phone has additional headroom to maneuver around graphically-intense games or onerous video editing projects if need be.

OnePlus also brought the same high-quality vibration motor that debuted in the 7 Pro, along with the excellent optical in-display fingerprint sensor — two small additions that have an outsized influence on the experience.

Despite "only" offering the OnePlus 7T with 8GB of RAM, this is among the fastest phones I've ever used.

OnePlus is defying its own flexibility a little bit this time around by only releasing one RAM and storage variant of the 7T — 8GB of DDR4 RAM and 128GB of UFS 3.0 memory. That means you get more RAM and the same storage for $599 over the equivalent 7 Pro, which comes with 6/128GB for $669. But the OnePlus 6T cost $549 when it debuted last November, so despite staying under that important $600 price point, the 7T is still more expensive than its predecessors.

OnePlus 7T Cameras

Let's cut to the chase: you are likely here to find out whether the OnePlus 7T has a good enough camera experience to justify the cost. And I'll tell you that there's a lot to be happy about here, but a couple of reasons to hold off, too.

First, this is a very similar setup to the OnePlus 7 Pro, though the module is circular with a horizontal loadout of lenses, a layout much more striking and imposing than the vertical strip on the 7 Pro. The star of the show is still the Sony IMX586, a relatively large mobile sensor packing 48 megapixels that uses some light combination tricks to create high-quality 12MP captures.

It's the sensor found in most "affordable flagships" this year from the ASUS ZenFone 6 to the Honor 20 series to the OPPO Reno 2 and the aforementioned OnePlus 7 Pro. It's a good part — putting out clean photos with extremely versatility, since its interpolation feature can be disabled in well-lit environments to eke as much detail as possible out of all 48 megapixels.

OnePlus is still using the combination of optical and electronic stabilization on the main sensor, and for the most part it works really well in poorly-lit environments, allowing the shutter to stay open for relatively long periods without significant blur. OnePlus has also done tremendous work on its color science, producing photos that don't exaggerate hues or flatten detail but still produce realistic, fantastic-looking shots.

Direct comparisons

The OnePlus 7T accentuates the reds in the flower to an unrealistic degree — this is an end-of-season flower that doesn't quite pop the way OnePlus makes it out to seem — but it's a beautiful, balanced shot nonetheless. All three phones pick up an extraordinary amount of detail.