Despite a whip-smart Warp Charge 65 charger and butter-smooth operations, we look at yet another OnePlus sequel — the fourth release in a pandemic year
There was a time when smartphone releases used to be anticipated. Of course, much of the suspense was a result of savvy marketing. But a brand released one phone a year. And, there weren’t any ‘leaks’, so to speak. Now, phone release schedules are like the Fast and Furious movies; by the time one comes out, you can be fairly certain that the next is on its way. Do not get swayed by phrases like ‘one last ride’; the ‘ride’ might be nearing its end but none of the smartphones, in the foreseeable future, are likely to be the ultimate one.
The OnePlus 8T is not. It is the fourth smartphone OnePlus has released this year. There was OnePlus 8; a week later came the flagship OnePlus 8 Pro. Then OnePlus Nord, a ‘midrange’ phone which was a wild card for the brand. Now, as predicted since the launch of the annual ‘T’ series in 2016, we now have OnePlus 8T (starting from ₹42,999), which is difficult to categorise. That, per se, is not a big concern.
- Screen size & weight: 6.55”; 188 g
- Resolution: 2400 x 1080 pixels 402 ppi (Fluid AMOLED)
- Camera: Rear: 48+16+5+2 MP; Front: 16 MP
- CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
- RAM and Storage: 8GB/12GB & 128GB/256GB UFS 31.1 2-LANE
- Battery: 4500mAh (non-removable) Warp Charge 65 (10V/6.5A)
But it begs the question: why do we need another phone so soon? If you don’t want to get into all that and want to know only about 8T, here goes.
Adept as usual
There are no big surprises with the 8T and that is not necessarily a bad thing. Most of its features, of course, are present in its three predecessors released this year. It is perhaps better to repeat what has been working so well for the brand.
The 8T has all the solid features that we have come to expect in a OnePlus phone. Ready with Android 11 and OnePlus’ minimally-designed Oxygen OS, the device also has great display and processor, super-quick refresh rate, fast charging, and more.
The 6.55-inch phone (available in Lunar Silver and Aquamarine Green) has a flat display, compared to the curved edge top of its cousin, 8. With the Snapdragon 865 processor backed by an 8 gigabyte RAM, you seldom experience a lag and overheating. The AMOLED 2400×1080 display comes with a refresh rate of 120 Hz. The operations, hence, are butter-smooth. But compared to the shift from 60 to 90 Hz, the 90 to 120 Hz increment is almost unnoticeable, unless you are gaming. It’s not like we are running programs to find new sub-atomic particles on our smartphones.
Among the most impressive things about the 8T is its combination of 4,500 milliampere-hour battery and a Warp Charge 65 charger, a match for Oppo’s fast-charge tech. You can use this charger for tablets and other smartphones, too. But the 8T does not support wireless charging. In 15 minutes, the charge surged from 15 to 68%, which was enough to last a day (full charge in 38 minutes). You hardly need to be away from your phone anymore (but it’s good if you do, at least for a while — in which case, you can use the digital well-being feature or the Zen Mode).
Same old peeves
You know what is coming, don’t you?
Yes, the camera, indeed. The 48-megapixel Quad Camera is one of the key selling points of 8T. The broad, rectangular four-camera-plus-two-flash strip is a departure from OnePlus’ usual vertical three-camera set-up. The extra camera in the 8T is a 2 megapixel monochrome sensor for taking black-and-white photos. It saves you from an additional step(s) of making the photo black and white. But I did not find it significantly better than a good black-and-white filter.
You might find it easier to take close-up shots though as the macro lens has been upgraded from 2 megapixels to 5 megapixels. The 48-megapixel main lens and 16-megapixel wide lens are unchanged. You can get way better pictures with minimum effort than you would with most midrange phones. But, if you compare the camera to iPhone’s or Pixels’, it falls short.
Is there is a flickering hope for the return of the 3.5-millimetre AUX headphone jack in phones that are and above midrange? We should probably start a hashtag campaign or a candle-light march to bring it back.
Like the previous versions, it does not have an IP rating for water resistance either; though OnePlus continues to promise that the device can withstand inclement weather.
Overall, if you already got the 8, 8 Pro, or Nord, you need not kick yourself, for the 8T is not significantly better than its antecedents.