OnePlus 8T vs. OnePlus Nord: Which should you buy?

OnePlus 8T review
OnePlus 8T review (Image credit: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

OnePlus 8T

OnePlus 8T

The OnePlus 8T is one of the fastest phones you can buy today. The Snapdragon 865 chipset delivers incredible performance in gaming, there's 5G connectivity, insane 65W fast charging, Android 11 out of the box, 12GB/256GB configuration by default, and a sublime 120Hz AMOLED panel. The phone misses out in a few areas, but in terms of performance, the 8T is the obvious choice.

OnePlus 8T

Performance king

Stunning 120Hz AMOLED display
Android 11 out of the box
65W wired charging
Snapdragon 865 with 5G connectivity
12GB RAM and 256GB storage by default
Costly by comparison
No IP rating
No wireless charging

OnePlus Nord

OnePlus Nord

The Nord delivers a lot of the same features as the 8T, but the value on offer makes it a standout device. The phone has the same 48MP IMX586 sensor as the 8T, you get a 90Hz AMOLED panel, 30W fast charging, and there's 5G connectivity as well. If you want to maximize the value, the Nord is a much better option — provided you can get your hands on it.

OnePlus Nord

Insane value

Excellent value
Same 48MP camera as 8T
90Hz AMOLED display
Snapdragon 765G with 5G connectivity
30W fast charging
Not available in the U.S.
Plastic mid-frame
No water resistance

OnePlus has plenty of options on offer if you're looking for a new phone, and in the 8T the manufacturer is introducing 65W fast charging and subtle tweaks to the design. What makes things particularly interesting with this generation is that OnePlus also has the Nord on offer, with the mid-range phone delivering standout value. So let's take a look at how these phones differ and what device you should consider if you're in the market for a new phone.

OnePlus 8T vs. OnePlus Nord: You'll find a lot of similarities here

The Nord debuted earlier this year to much fanfare, and it continues to be one of the best value-focused phones you can buy today. What I like the most about the device is that OnePlus hasn't left out too many features here, and as a result you get a 90Hz AMOLED screen, 5G connectivity, a great 48MP camera at the back, all-day battery life, and 30W fast charging.

The Nord delivers incredible value, but the 8T just takes things to that next level.

There are a few areas where the Nord comes up short. The phone has a polycarbonate back and is powered by the Snapdragon 765G chipset, and while it is plenty good for day-to-day use, it does not measure up to the Snapdragon 865 on the OnePlus 8T.

The OnePlus 8T includes premium materials in its construction, with a glass back and front and aluminum mid-frame. Both devices look nearly identical in terms of color even though the Nord is technically dubbed Blue Marble and the OnePlus 8T getting the Ultramarine Green color variant, but the green hue is very subtle and the phone has more in common with the blue tones of the Nord.

So in that context, the Nord actually makes a strong case for itself. Sure, you miss out on a glass back, but that means the phone is lighter and should that little bit more durable.

OnePlus 8T review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

The OnePlus 8T has a sublime 120Hz AMOLED display, and the fact that it has a flat display without any curves makes it a delight to use. The Nord also has a flat display, and the 90Hz AMOLED screen is one of the best in the mid-range segment. Honestly, there's little difference between 90Hz and 120Hz, and I don't have any issues with the panel quality on either device.

With a 120Hz display and the latest internal hardware, the OnePlus 8T is a performance monster.

Another differentiator is that the OnePlus 8T has stereo speakers, with the Nord offering a single speaker at the bottom. Coming to the hardware side of things, the Nord is powered by a Snapdragon 765G chipset, with the 8T offering the flagship Snapdragon 865. You won't see a lot of difference between the two phones in day-to-day use, and with the Snapdragon 765G offering 5G connectivity, you don't miss out on the latest connectivity standard.

The only is when playing games; the Snapdragon 765G doesn't quite hold its own against the Snapdragon 865 in this particular regard. The Nord has 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage as standard, and there's a 6GB/64GB variant that's exclusive to India. The OnePlus 8T, meanwhile, comes with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage by default in the U.S., and you can get your hands on an 8GB/128GB option in global markets.

The biggest differentiator for the 8T is that it has 65W fast charging, with the Nord offering 30W fast charging. The 4500mAh battery on the 8T charges from zero to full in just 39 minutes, alleviating the need for overnight charging. It's a shame that the phone does not have wireless charging, but the sheer speed with Warp Charge 65 means you won't miss it.

OnePlus 8T review

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

You won't find too many differences between either phone on the camera front. Both the OnePlus 8T and Nord feature the same 48MP Sony IMX586 primary camera, and the resultant shots are nearly identical. The 8T has a slender edge because of the Snapdragon 865, but for the most part, you're going to see the same caliber on shots from both phones.

In fact, the Nord has a slender edge in this segment thanks to its dual front cameras. With a 32MP camera at the front joined by an 8MP wide-angle lens, the Nord offers much more versatility.

The software is where things get particularly interesting. The OnePlus 8T comes with OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11 out of the box, and that means the phone will automatically receive an update to Android 13 in a few years time. The Nord, meanwhile, is based on Android 10, and will likely miss out on the Android 13 update.

OnePlus 8T vs. OnePlus Nord: Specs

With the Nord sharing a lot of the same features as the OnePlus 8T, it's interesting to see just where these phones differ. Here's a detailed breakdown of the hardware powering the OnePlus 8T and Nord:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 OnePlus 8TOnePlus Nord
Operating systemAndroid 11OxygenOS 11Android 10OxygenOS 10.5
Display6.55-inch 120Hz Fluid AMOLED2400x1080 (20:9)HDR10+Gorilla Glass 56.44-inch 90Hz Fluid AMOLED2400x1080 (20:9)HDR10+Gorilla Glass 5
ChipsetSnapdragon 8651 x 2.84GHz A773 x 2.42GHz A774 x 1.80GHz A557nmSnapdragon 765G1 x 2.4GHz A761 x 2.2GHz A766 x 1.8GHz A557nm
GPUAdreno 650Adreno 620
Storage128GB/256GB UFS 3.164GB/128GB/256GB UFS2.1
MicroSD slot
Rear camera 148MP (IMX586), 0.8umf/1.75, OIS4K at 30fps48MP (IMX586), 0.8umf/1.75, OIS4K at 30fps
Rear camera 216MP wide-angle, f/2.25120-degree field-of-view8MP wide-angle, f/2.25119-degree field-of-view
Rear camera 35MP macro, f/2.42MP macro, f/2.4
Rear camera 42MP monochrome, f/2.45MP portrait lens, f/2.4
Front camera 116MP, f/2.41080p video, fixed focus32MP, f/2.45 (IMX616)0.8μm, EIS, fixed focus
Front camera 28MP wide-anglef/2.45, 105-degree field-of-view
Connectivity5G Sub-6, SA and NSAWi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1AptX HD, NFC, A-GPS5G Sub-6, SA and NSAWi-Fi ac, Bluetooth 5.1NFC, AptX HD, A-GPS
ChargingUSB-C 3.1Warp Charge 65 (10V/6.5A)USB-C 2.0Warp Charge 30T (5V/6A)
AudioUSB-CStereo speakersUSB-CSingle speaker
Water resistance❌Only on T-Mobile version
SecurityIn-display fingerprint (optical)In-display fingerprint (optical)
Dimensions160.7 x 74.1 x 8.4mm188g158.3 x 73.3 x 8.2 mm184g
ColorsUltramarine Green, Lunar SilverBlue Marble, Grey Onyx

OnePlus 8T vs. OnePlus Nord: Two exciting options

OnePlus Nord

Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Apoorva Bhardwaj / Android Central)

Normally, the OnePlus 8T would be the default option if you're looking to upgrade to a new OnePlus phone. But the existence of the Nord changes that dynamic. The phone offers an incredible value, and you're not really missing out on any core features.

The Nord has a 90Hz AMOLED screen, and it is great in day-to-day use. The Snapdragon 765G is obviously not as fast as the Snapdragon 865, but you won't see any lag whatsoever, and gaming performance is very decent for the amount of money you're paying for the phone.

The OnePlus 8T just isn't good enough value against the Nord.

Then there's the fact that the Nord shares the same 48MP primary camera as the OnePlus 8T, giving it an added advantage. OnePlus should have done more to differentiate the 8T on the camera front; even though the phone has a flat 120Hz AMOLED screen and insane 65W fast charging, the camera itself is strictly average for what the phone costs.

The Nord also has 32MP + 8MP dual cameras at the front, and the wide-angle lens makes a lot of difference when taking selfies. Sure, the phone is made out of polycarbonate, but the fit and finish is on par with the OnePlus 8T.

The OnePlus 8T has standout features of its own, with the 65W fast charging a fantastic addition. The 120Hz AMOLED panel is also one of the best in this segment, and the 8T is one of very few phones that let you use Android 11 today.

Ultimately, the deciding factor is availability. The Nord isn't on sale in the U.S., so if you want a new OnePlus phone in the country, you'll have to pick up the 8T. But if you're in India, the UK, or the 30 other countries where the Nord is available, you're better off picking up the mid-range option.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.