My thoughts on the OnePlus 8T so far.

  1. Bongzerker
    Froyo Nov 21, 2020

    Bongzerker , Nov 21, 2020 :
    I like this phone, so I'll start with the positive. Build quality is solid, the screen is bright and color accurate (though it has an ugly blemish - a hole punch camera in the top left corner), and it matches or beats out most other flagships on the market when it comes to specs (5G, Snapdragon 865, 12GB RAM, 256GB UFS 3.1 storage, 65W fast charging, stereo speakers, 4500mah battery). Camera quality is good, not better than that found on Google's Pixel series of phones but it's competitive with other brands like Samsung, Apple, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc. I'm using the phone on Mint Mobile which uses T-Mobile's networks, I have had no issues with coverage and receive strong 5G signal in my area as well. The phone is not too big too handle nor too small to media consumption on. There's no wireless charging but I don't care about that in the slightest, especially when the phone charges so fast.

    The fingerprint reader is amazing. OnePlus seriously has the best in-screen fingerprint readers in the industry. It's accurate, fast, and so easy to use. I do not know of a phone with a better fingerprint reader. The phone is capable of facial recognition but I do not trust facial recognition as no matter how good the technology; it can be used to quickly unlock your phone without consent. To each their own.

    Another fantastic thing about this phone is that OnePlus still allows customers to unlock the bootloader of the device. Many other US smartphone manufacturers no longer allow you to do this. Why does this matter? When the phone reaches end-of-life and no longer receives support from the manufacturer you can flash an alternate ROM like LineageOS. It also allows you to root your device if you're into that sort of thing. I personally think it should be criminal to sell a device with a locked bootloader. Can you imagine if you bought a laptop running Windows 8 but were artificially prohibited from upgrading to Windows 10? Many smartphone brands do the equivalent of this and I refuse to purchase their products because of it. Thank you OnePlus for respecting consumer choice and fighting e-waste.

    The phone's software is smooth and fairly close to a "stock" Android experience. Some tweaks are definitely made under the hood but OxygenOS is far from obtrusive and is highly customizable. Of course, having an unlockable bootloader means you have the freedom to load something else if you want. One thing I love is that unlike some other brands, OnePlus mostly relies on Google's own software suite of apps and doesn't attempt to force duplicate manufacturer-branded versions of things like e-mail software on the user. There are exceptions to this, special features such as "Zen mode" and OnePlus does have their own Gallery as well as a File Manager. I see the File Manager as a bit of an odd addition alongside the default Files app. My mentality is that device manufacturers shouldn't spend too much time on developing device-specific software. If a user has a problem with the default Files app they can find an alternative in the Play Store. I don't see it as necessary for OnePlus to include out of the box solutions to problems that may or may not exist for users. It's certainly not a bad app but it seems redundant. Keep it simple. Let people install what they want after they have the device in their hands. This is a minor grievance however. OxygenOS as a whole is smooth, responsive, and receives frequent updates. It's one of the few manufacturer Android skins I don't hate.

    This is where my review will turn a bit more critical. First things first, the hole punch camera. It's hideous. I have long been putting off buying a new phone because I hate how almost every flagship on the market has a notch or hole punch in its screen. Why? I never had a problem with bezels on my smartphone, and while having a high screen-to-body ratio is nice, it's not nice when it comes at the cost of putting a giant black dot in the corner of my screen. I watch a lot of videos and consume a lot of content on my device. Every time I look at this phone I see this ugly blemish on my screen, like a blob of dead pixels. I hate it. The only thing I can praise OnePlus for is that at least they put it in the left corner and not the center like some other manufacturers. It's still awful. You see it when the screen is off, when it's on, and it's especially noticeable when watching videos shot in aspect ratios wide enough to fill the screen (contrary to popular belief, many movies and online videos are not in 16:9). I know that OnePlus is not the only manufacturer to utilize a hole punch yet just because everyone else is doing it doesn't make it okay.

    Next, it lacks a 3.5mm audio jack, colloquially referred to as a "headphone jack". Again, OnePlus is not the only manufacturer to do this with their devices, that doesn't make it okay. I love listening to music. Thing is, Bluetooth quality sucks. I have a decent sound system in my car and I can clearly make out the difference between a wired connection and a Bluetooth one. I'm switching from a Google Pixel XL which had a 3.5mm audio jack and I almost feel like I'm downgrading. No 3.5mm to USB-C adapter is included in the box and OnePlus doesn't actually sell an official one listed as compatible with the OnePlus 8T. OnePlus is basically telling all their customers with hi-fi audio equipment that they don't care if said customers can enjoy their music. "Never Settle" seems like a silly slogan for OnePlus to have nowadays. There's plenty of space inside the phone and there is no official IP certification (except on the 8T+) so I refuse to accept those as reasons to lack the jack (especially when other brands like Samsung have managed to have 3.5mm jacks and IP68 certifications).

    Next, there's the bloatware. There isn't a lot, though Netflix sticks out like a sore thumb. I use Netflix, there's nothing wrong with the app. The problem is that it comes preinstalled and can't be uninstalled. You can disable it if you like but it will still take up storage on your device. I don't think this is acceptable. If somebody has the desire to uninstall a preinstalled application they should be able to do so unless doing so would directly inhibit the functionality of the device. This is simply a consumer rights issue for me and I'm pretty passionate about it.

    On a final note, the aesthetic of the phone is good. It looks like a flagship smartphone should and is built well. The hole punch camera makes the screen ugly, other than that I like how it looks. The Lunar Silver color is a bit less glossy than I was hoping for, and it almost looks blue under light. Personally I think the glossier silver finish of the OnePlus 7 Pro looked better. The screen is bright and color accurate though not as bright as I've seen on a few other flagships

    Overall, I like this phone but dislike the compromises (hole punch camera, lack of 3.5mm audio jack, bloatware) that come with buying it. There's a lot to like, not enough to love. I was in desperate need of a phone and this was the only thing on the market that appealed to me at all. I really hate that I had to settle for a hole punch camera and no 3.5mm audio jack.

    I give it a 3/5, I'd say it's the best Android flagship you can currently buy but I'm also a bit disappointed in the compromises made.

    trimmer likes this.
  2. Aditya Javadekar
    Jelly Bean Nov 21, 2020

  3. GuitarBart
    Jelly Bean Nov 21, 2020

    GuitarBart , Nov 21, 2020 :
    Nice extensive review!

    I agree on the 3.5mm jack as I have some nice quality wired headphones. Either the jack or a free adapter that works is fine for me.

  4. hojsimpson952 , via OnePlus 8T Aquamarine Green , Nov 22, 2020 :
    As a long term iPhone user I haven't had a jack in years so I can live with it.
    Considering the IP rating, I assume. They did it due to cost.
    Because the phone is obviously build to be water and dust resistant.
    They didn't want to have the responsibility tho. That's why they opted out of it.