Working at Android Central for all these years has given me a little insight into a few things. The biggest is that there are three types of Android users: people who just want a decent smartphone, enthusiasts who love what Samsung does on the hardware front and enthusiasts who only want "pure" Android from Google.
OnePlus is making flagship phones now. Real flagship phones.
Yes, there is plenty of crossover such as people who love Samsung's hardware but wish it ran Pixel software, but for the most part, we all fit into one of those three categories. It's all good — a little bit of rivalry keeps things interesting and keeps companies that make phones on their toes. Thing is, there's also a fourth group that's gaining traction as launch pricing for these gadgets reaches and exceeds the $1,000 mark: people who appreciate Samsung-level hardware or Google-style software but aren't going to part with a grand to get either unless their socks are knocked off.
And that is where the OnePlus 7T comes in.
OnePlus has always been the master at delivering a product that seems to be worth more than you paid for it. A few years back that meant delivering a good solid phone that was priced like a budget model, but the company has slowly shifted. And from everything I can see, the OnePlus 7T is the point where you get a full-blown flagship that's hundreds less than the competition's best. In other words, the Note 10 is over $900 — and we expect the Pixel 4 XL to be about the same — but you can buy a OnePlus 7T for just $599.
The OnePlus 7T might be cheaper than the 7 Pro, but I think it's the better phone.
And the 7T might be the "best" OnePlus 7 model. Compared to the OnePlus 7 Pro, it has a flat display, a faster CPU, better cameras all around, Android 10, and no fidgety pop-out camera. It also keeps the same 90Hz display and costs less. I can't deny that the Pro has features that might make someone want it over the "regular" 7T, but even then you'll be saving money compared to a Note 10 or, presumably, a Pixel 4. OnePlus has its stuff together and is making some of the best phones you can buy today at any price.
Right about now is when fans of the Samsung brand will be headed to the comments to tell me I'm crazy or something. But I'm not knocking the Note 10 or saying it's not a great product. Ditto for the Pixel 4 fans — we haven't seen it yet but it will probably be a helluva phone. If either device ticks the boxes just the way you like, then you should probably buy one and enjoy the heck out of it. I want you to enjoy it and believe it or not, nobody here at AC has any preference about the phone you like — we like them all and have a vested interest in you liking them, too. Besides, even a "bad" Android phone is pretty damn good.
I'm just saying that Google needs to really wow people if it wants them to choose a more expensive Pixel 4 over the OnePlus 7T and its just-right price tag. I don't think Jedi Knight hand motions controls or Face Unlock is going to cut it, and since the 7T ships with Android 10 and you can have one in your hot little hands in less than a month, it's hard to recommend the Pixel 4 over it. Maybe I'm wrong and Google will show off the "one more thing here is this killer feature that you can't live without" during the launch presentation, but unless that thing is worth a couple of hundred bucks, it won't make a difference.
I guess we wait for the Pixel 4a to see one worth the price.
The OnePlus 7T is one of the best phones you can buy this year.
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.
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