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[THE LAB] OnePlus 8T Review by Kunal Singh

  1. reallykunal
    The Lab - OnePlus 8T Reviewer Oct 24, 2020

    reallykunal , Oct 24, 2020 :
    OP8T - Header2.jpg

    Hey everyone,

    Let me start this off by introducing myself, my name’s Kunal Singh and I am a filmmaker out here in New Delhi mostly making music videos and commercials. Now, I’m gonna be honest, I was in the process of making a long-term review video for my OnePlus 7T as it was about to turn 1. Without any hopes of being selected, I applied for this sacred tradition that OnePlus calls THE LAB. And when I got the mail from @Zach X. that I’ve been selected, I just put my phone down, closed my eyes and tried to wrap my head around what just happened. I may seem like an outsider since I have never really been active on the forum, but believe me, I have been following OnePlus since the very beginning. I remember back in 2014, one of my professors from college showing off his OnePlus One and bragging how it was an “invite only” phone and you couldn’t really argue, apart from being a fantastic phone, it carried that exclusivity value and lived up to the hype.

    Fast forward to 2019, my Pixel 2 started to give me hints that it has had enough of me after 2 years of a very loving relationship. So, on the very day of its launch I finally treated myself with some OnePlus goodness – The OnePlus 7T which I think was the perfect fit for me (more on that later). And now a year later, I get to put another beast from OnePlus to its paces – The 8T.

    I’ll try to be scrupulous with this review and cover everything you need to know. Also, expect heavy comparisons with my OP 7T along the way. Keep in mind that the unit I have is the 12 + 256GB variant of the Aquamarine Green OnePlus 8T.

    Alright ‘nuff talking. Let’s get on with the review. Any questions or feedback is welcomed.

    CONTENTS
    __

    //First Impressions
    (Unboxing & Design)

    //Display
    (120Hz Fluid HDR10+ Display)

    //Battery & Charging
    (Warp Charge 65 – 0 to 100 in 40 mins)

    //Performance
    (Snapdragon 865 | 12GB RAM + 256GB Storage | UFS 3.1)

    //Camera
    (48MP Wide + 16MP Ultrawide + 5MP Macro + 2MP Monochrome)

    //OxygenOS 11
    (New look, who dis?)

    //Summary
    (Final thoughts & Who is this phone for!?)
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020

    #1
  2. reallykunal
    The Lab - OnePlus 8T Reviewer Oct 24, 2020

    reallykunal , Oct 24, 2020 :
    OP8T -Intro.jpg


    FIRST IMPRESSIONS

    Having unboxed the OnePlus 7T last year, I expected the experience to be quite similar. Although, I had to wait a loooong time for the 8T to get to me, it was well worth it. The smell of a new box is nothing short of that of a new car. The sheer attention to detail shows just how the makers want you to feel when you first get your hands on this beauty. The soft, velvet like touch feels luxurious.

    As soon as you lift the lid, the first thing you see is just what the doctor ordered – The OnePlus 8T in all its glory.

    DSC03587a.jpg
    Actually, the first thing you see is just a black screen, but we’ll add a little bit of theatrics here.

    And then, inside the white housing that the phone sits on, you find all the meticulously crafted paperwork:
    • Quick Start Guide
    • Invitation Letter
    • Red Cable Club Card
    • SAR Info
    • Safety Info
    • Stickers!

    DSC03590.jpg
    Lots of red on lots of black. And if that doesn't turn you on...


    DSC03598.jpg
    You’re now a member of a top-secret organization – The Red Cable Club

    After you’ve gone through the paperwork - or thrown them aside without even looking at them – depending on what kind of person you are, you’ll find a TPU case, the USB-C charging cable and the Warp Charge 65 brick inside its own cute housing, at the bottom. What’s impressive here is that the charger and the cable also follow the design language like the rest of the packaging – red cable and white brick.

    DSC03603.jpg
    Red may not be everyone’s color but its far more attractive than a boring white or black cable

    Now, your phone needs protection – from accidental drops to your dog putting his paw on the screen to fight the tiger, OnePlus has got you covered. An included clear TPU case boosts confidence that the phone can survive a few bumps and the pre-applied plastic screen protector will take care of your screen, for the short term of course!

    DSC_0035.jpg
    A clear TPU case is what you need. Or go naked if you like living on the edge.


    DSC03666.jpg
    Designed by OnePlus! What more do you need?

    One thing I really wish that OnePlus included in the box was a tiny little thing called USB-C to 3.5mm headphone jack. Now, I am not someone who’s up for a debate on wireless vs wired but the point I’m trying to make is that I have quite a few really good (and expensive!) wired headphones which I would like to enjoy listening to while on the move. And while the adapter is not a major purchase, my laziness just wouldn’t allow it. We’re pretty tight.


    DESIGN

    You know you have made the right decision with a purchase when it can turn some heads around. The OnePlus 8T does just that. With a bold design choice yet again and an interesting color on the back, some might have a hard time coming to terms with it. I think the Aquamarine Green color is kind of an acquired taste. When I first saw the “leaked” renders, I wasn’t so sure if this was something I could don. I totally love the Glacier Blue color on my OP 7T with that matte/satin finish, this on the other hand came with a glossy back. But the day I laid my hands on this device, I said to myself – I never thought I would be the guy with a “green” mobile phone.


    DSC03597.jpg
    It doesn't matter where you go... this phone WILL turn heads.

    DSC03618.jpg
    Although at most angles the phone does look like a shade between green and aqua, at others it looks blue.

    Despite having a glossy back, the OnePlus 8T has a surprisingly good grip in hand. Also, whatever magic OnePlus does on the back panels of their devices, it’s doing a fantastic job at keeping the fingerprints away.

    DSC03644.jpg


    DSC03653.jpg
    That's glossy alright!!


    Over the years, the war of the mobile cameras has gotten intense - bigger sensors, better lenses, optical-image stabilization and tons of other different elements. Packing so much technology in a small area while keeping the thickness of the phone in check introduced one major issue - the ugly camera bump. And the OnePlus 8T hasn’t escaped that trench either.

    Since the camera bump has now shifted to the left side from the center, it’s doing a fairly good job at eliminating flat surface wobbles, something which my OnePlus 7T notoriously fails at.


    DSC04240.jpg
    Does the shape and placement of the camera module look familiar? shhh!!

    And now that we’re talking about the camera design, let’s not forget about that selfie cam housed in that not-so-tiny hole punch. I am not a big fan of the hole punch technology altogether, whether it be the drop notch on my OP7T or the hole punch cutout on the OP8T. So much so that even if you give me a choice between a hole punch display or a regular phone with a significant forehead and chin, I’d go with the latter (remember 2016?)

    What I can come to terms with is the oh-so-gorgeous full-screen display with a motorized pop-up camera like the one on OP 7 Pro. And if then, I am given a choice between having an IP rating or a pop-up camera, goodbye water resistance.

    That being said, the hole punch on the 8T is not that bad and after a few days you just get used to it. And if you don’t have an OCD for all things symmetrical, the punch hole doesn’t really get in the way all that much.

    DSC04237.jpg
    The hole punch camera may not have everyone's stamp of approval but it does the job quite well.


    Coming to the sides of the phone, this area can be the most un-happening place of a phone. Well, not with a OnePlus. On the left side, you'll find the volume keys... not so happening either, right? Probably! But on the right side you will find the famed alert slider along with the power button just below it. Apparently, the alert slider has something of a fan following for itself. Those who don’t have it, don’t know what they’re missing and those who have used it, want it in every phone they use.

    DSC03620.jpg
    The mighty Alert Slider! And did you notice the camera bump?

    And finally, at the bottom of this beautiful device you’ll find the USB-C port, the bottom firing speakers and the sim card slot.

    DSC03617.jpg


    The OnePlus 8T offers a lot to look at. From a bold and beautiful back panel with an elegant camera cutout to the stunning display which is just a treat to look at. You can love it or hate it all you want but this is a device that you’ll remember the way it felt in your hand.

    DSC03646.jpg
    Does your phone even flex?

    Thanks for reading this and sticking all the way till here. Watch this thread for the next parts of this review.
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020

    #2
  3. reallykunal
    The Lab - OnePlus 8T Reviewer Oct 24, 2020

    reallykunal , Oct 24, 2020 :
    OP8T -display.jpg


    Hello there!

    Quick question - What is the most important element of a mobile phone?

    And if your answer is anything other than the screen, you my friend, have some explaining to do.

    I mean, it wouldn’t matter if you have the best camera system on your phone, or the fastest processor or the biggest battery for that matter, if you don’t have a nice screen on your device, every other piece of hardware is just a showpiece. Be real, would you accept a 720p panel on this phone? Or even a 4K panel that has a nasty blue tint all over? (Let’s argue in the comments)


    DSC_0042.jpg
    Vibrant, Color Accurate, 120Hz and FLAT!


    The display on the OnePlus 8T is more than just nice. It’s fantastic, almost perfect. Almost. You get treated with FHD+ resolution HDR10+ AMOLED panel with 16 million colors, 120Hz refresh rate, 1,100 nits of peak brightness and I can sit here and read out the paper specs all day.
    But, I don’t just wanna talk about numbers here. I’m talking about actual real-world performance of the display. Let’s talk about the cream layers of the display first and then I’ll put on my Lab coat and put this thing under a microscope! (P.S I don’t actually have a microscope)


    DSC_0073.jpg
    I tried to challenge its outdoor visibility!!


    At 6.55 inches, the display on the OP 8T is big but since mobile displays have gotten “taller”, it doesn’t feel too big. Just about perfect for a device you carry in your pocket. I remember when there used to be tablets with 7-inch displays and phones with screens bigger than 6 inches were called phablets. I still have my 2012 Galaxy Tab 2 with a 7-inch display in perfect working condition.


    DSC_0070.jpg
    I mean... just look at them, 6.55" vs 7"? Looks more like 6.55" vs 12"



    DSC_0047.jpg
    Thanks to a flexible 2.5D Flowscape Display, the bezels are even thinner. Almost non-existent.


    DSC_0044.jpg
    The fingerprint reader is placed a bit higher than on my OnePlus 7T but it's snappy as ever nonetheless.

    Now, you can’t deny the fact that having 120Hz on your display is kinda awesome. Just a couple years ago this wasn’t even a thing, and now it seems you can’t do without a higher refresh rate. 60Hz? What’s that?

    The biggest advantage you get with a 120Hz display is that everything just feels so smooth and snappy at the same time. Animations are buttery smooth and scrolling through social media feed is a different kind of Zen.



    Screenshot_20201026-172944.jpg
    C'mon!! Would you even think of switching back to 60Hz?


    Time to put the lab coat on.

    Everybody has their version of the perfect screen. Some people like to keep their displays on max brightness so that as soon as you unlock the device you go blind for a good 5 seconds. Some people like their brightness all the way down even during daytime and then there are some, like me, who keep manually changing the brightness according to their personal preference. The point is, you might not look at a screen the same way I do and vice-versa.

    I’m not impressed with numbers. One thing I always look in a phone is how sharp and color accurate the display is. I’m spoiled that way. I have noticed with a lot of budget and even similarly priced phones that the display is never properly calibrated. It’s either too warm or too cool or worse - inaccurate colors, the skin tones are not proper and the saturation is all over the place. Now, I am very picky when it comes to the display I’m using. I need my projects to look the same across all kind of displays, so when I color grade music videos or commercials, the first thing I do is transfer the video to my phone to see if it looks as intended. And that’s the biggest reason I bought the OnePlus 7T. It fit right in my budget and the display gave some of the more expensive phones a run for their money.



    DSC04287.jpg
    Colors so vibrant and true to life, the tiger just jumped me.


    And the display on the OP 8T is, dare I say, better than that on my OP 7T. To a normal eye the difference may not be visible. Heck, even I had to view the same video multiple times to see what makes the 8T better.


    DSC_0068.jpg
    OnePlus 7T(bottom) vs. OnePlus 8T(top) Naked-eye color test.


    Below, I put the OnePlus 8T against a 2019 16” MacBook Pro which arguably has an extremely capable display. What I noticed right away was that the OnePlus 8T retained much more information in the highlights than the MacBook Pro at their max brightness respectively. To see where the MacBook would match the detail level, I started turning down the brightness on the MacBook and right at about 75% is where this picture is taken, while the OP8T is still at its max. Even at this point I could see some tiny space dust particles on the OP 8T that were not visible on the MacBook. The colors are even more pleasing at around half brightness on the 8T.

    And, with this not-so-scientific BUT real life experiment, the color accuracy on the OnePlus 8T passes with flying colors. 10/10



    DSC04278.jpg
    I'll let YOU be the judge.



    screen settings.jpg
    Natural works for me the best in most cases. But when I'm testing my projects, I switch to Display P3.


    Now, this isn’t the first phone to come with a 120Hz display, the 8 Pro has it as well and so do a lot of other phones. But the thing is, when the first phones with a 90Hz display came, it was a feature that made phones that much more interesting. Jumping from 60 to 90Hz was a big deal, the experience was awesome. So, if you’re stepping up from a 60Hz display to a 120Hz one, you’ll definitely notice the difference but if you’re already running on a 90Hz display you won’t find the jump too significant.

    In a nutshell, if you’re running on a phone with a 60Hz “normal” display, jumping straight to 120Hz will blow your mind.

    [​IMG]
    Smooth as Butter. And then some more.


    The 120Hz refresh rate does really give you an inordinate amount of joy but not all the time. I think a lot of people don't understand the function entirely. The reality is... you don't get 120Hz all the time. The phone dynamically changes the refresh rate according to the usage scenario (which is a good thing). You don't get 120Hz where you don't need it. Like when you're watching movie, or a YouTube video, or when you're navigating among a few others. Take a look:

    screen_refresh.jpg
    The refresh rate of the screen changes depending on what you're doing. Stop screaming for adaptive refresh rate.

    One feature that I disliked the most on the OnePlus 8 Pro was the MEMC and I’m glad to say that this feature is absent on the OnePlus 8T.

    And let me tell you why. MEMC stands for Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation, what it means is that it calculates the frames in the video and then adds extra frames to make the video smoother, to take the full advantage of the high refresh rate of the screen. So essentially, it turns a 24fps content into a 120fps content (or 60fps) by duplicating each frame 5 times. Or a 30fps content into 120fps by duplicating each frame 4 times... you get the idea!
    I don’t like it... I'm a filmmaker and I'm hard-wired that way. I want my content to be viewed the exact way that I intended. If I want the audience to see my content in 120fps, I would make my video in 120fps. There is a reason cinema is delivered in 24fps. Although subjective and open to experiments, 24fps with the accompanied motion blur is what our eyes consider the most natural movement.
    So, MEMC is a no go for me. And I don’t like to watch movies like a freaking video game. I’m glad that this feature is absent on the OnePlus 8T and I hope it remains the same going forward.


    MEMC.jpg
    I extend my thanks to whoever decided to skip the MEMC tech in the 8T.


    Screenshot_20201026-172735.jpg
    You get a couple of modes for reading and dark room surfing!

    Lastly, a lot of people are complaining about the slight color shift on the display when viewed at extreme angles. I did not encounter any color shifting on my unit since I have been using it. And to be honest even if I did have this issue, it isn’t really an issue. After all, the colors are extremely accurate and vibrant. And moreover, you are meant to use a phone display like a normal person, not at a 175-degree angle. Be smart!


    DSC04279.jpg



    DSC04280.jpg



    DSC04281.jpg
    Didn't notice any weird color shifts or hue overload.


    Thank you again for sticking through this part. Stay tuned for the next part on Battery and Charging.
     
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2020

    #3
  4. reallykunal
    The Lab - OnePlus 8T Reviewer Oct 24, 2020

    reallykunal , Oct 24, 2020 :
    OP8T -charging.jpg

    Hello again!


    With the OnePlus 8T, the company has introduced its fastest ever charging tech – The Warp Charge 65. Being a company that advertises its phones based purely on speed and user experience, OnePlus couldn’t let the charging tech be the drag that would hamper that claim. And so, they've been constantly making considerable advancements in the battery and charging department. Be it the Dash Charge introduced with the OP 3 or the 30W wireless charging on the OP 8 Pro.

    DSC_0076.jpg
    Bow down to the Warp Charge 65 - 0 to 100% in less than 40 mins.

    Now, you might argue that charging a cell at such high speeds would leave its mark and reduce the overall battery life. And, you would be right in saying so, except this isn’t the case here. Manufacturers know this limitation on the current standard of battery technology, so what OnePlus has done here is that they’ve put not one, but two separate cells in the battery unit. Combined, they have a total capacity of 4500mAh – 2250mAh each. How this helps in preventing any mishaps with your beloved power house, is that it charges both the cells simultaneously, effectively reducing the strain a battery endures while filling up. And all this happens through a USB-C to C cable. A RED USB-C to C cable.

    DSC_0080.jpg
    A RED C-type cable anyone?

    The Warp Charge 65 brick is more or less the same size as my OP7T’s Warp Charge 30T brick, barring the layout and the USB port on the brick itself. The new charger feels very sleek and streamlined as compared to the 30T charger. And what’s more impressive is that you can now use your Warp Charge 65 charger to power up other devices as well at up to 45W (depending on the device)

    DSC03611.jpg
    Warp Charge 65 (OP 8T) vs. Warp Charge 30T (OP 7T)

    DSC03608.jpg
    The new Warp Charge 65 brick comes with a USB-C port. A fantastic addition.

    In my test, the OP 8T went from drop dead 0 percent to 100 percent in exactly 40 minutes with the screen off. You can really feel the charging speeds between the 20% to 80% range where it’s just frighteningly fast. Turn your gaze for a moment and it’s up 5%. But, fret not... all that power is intelligently controlled via a host of thermal and electronic sensors which are present on the device as well as the charging brick. So, you don’t have to worry about the phone overheating or having any electricity overload.

    [​IMG]
    With such a fast charging tech, I just need an option to limit the charge at 80%

    I know, there are a lot of people who want wireless charging on their phones, but OnePlus has decided to drop that feature on the 8T. And, that’s understandable. They need a couple of features that will set the more expensive 8 Pro apart from this. For me, it’s not a big deal, I’m not a big fan of wireless charging anyway and having such a fast charger like the Warp Charge 65 eliminates the need to charge the phone for more than half an hour.

    Charge_screen.jpg
    The Warp Charge animation is right on the money!!

    Coming to the battery longevity, you can confidently expect the phone to last you through the day even with heavy usage. I am getting a good 7 to 8 hours of Screen-On Time. I wake up at 5a.m, plug the phone in and by the time I freshen up, it’s already at around 90%. And around 10p.m (bedtime) I'm still left with 25-30% battery. Please keep in mind that I don’t currently have my SIM card inserted in the phone. But that shouldn’t have much of an impact unless you’re running on 5G or you use mobile data a lot. Then you can expect the SOT to be around 5-6 hours (educated guess). I do have the display set at 120Hz though. I don’t play much games on my mobile devices, but I installed a couple to test the thermal management and power consumption on the OnePlus 8T – not disappointed.

    The phone does get a bit warm to the touch but it’s not noticeable until you think about it. But the story is a bit different when you charge the phone and game at the same time, then it gets quite warm and will bother you during your gameplay (notice I say warm and not hot!)
    OnePlus has incorporated a Multi-layer Game-grade Cooling System which is just a fancy word for a very large vapor chamber with graphite and some thermal grease.

    battery_details.jpg
    Your SOT might differ to mine but you can expect a solid 6+ hours on a single charge.

    Lastly, I think, when someone makes a significant investment on a phone, they expect to stick with it for at least a couple of years. That’s where you’ll find this info useful – the charge cycles on the OnePlus 8T is rated at 800, officially, for 80% battery health. Meaning, the device can be fully charged up to 100 percent 800 times with more than 80% of battery capacity still intact. Which, in turn means, that you can charge your phone to 100% every day for more than 2 years until it starts losing any significant power. Pretty neat, right? To further add to the endurance, you can unplug it before it reaches 100%. But are you fast enough?

    Overall, I am very impressed by the battery on this device and the tech that makes all this possible is equally impressive.

    Thanks for reading. I’ll see you guys tomorrow with the next part.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020

    #4
  5. reallykunal
    The Lab - OnePlus 8T Reviewer Oct 24, 2020

    reallykunal , Oct 24, 2020 :
    OP8T - Performance.jpg

    Hello again (x2)
    I can finish this part of the review in just one sentence – The OnePlus 8T is the fastest phone that you’ll use this year.
    That’s it. Case closed. I’ll see you tomorrow with the next part.

    And if that’s not enough to convince you, then let me break it down…


    DSC04295.jpg
    Would you look at those specs!?

    I have the 12GB RAM variant of OP 8T with 256GB of storage. Which type of RAM and storage you ask? Well… the best type! You get the snappy LPDDR4X RAM module and a blazing fast 2-Lane UFS3.1 storage to handle all the data you can throw at the phone. If you compare it directly with the OnePlus 8 Pro, you’ll notice that the more expensive sibling has an LPDDR5 RAM but UFS3.0 storage. Confused? You don’t have to be. The advantage that you get with the faster LPDDR5 RAM is somewhat compensated by the presence of UFS3.1 storage and I actually felt a difference when I tried to download the same app on my OnePlus 7T, which too has UFS3.0 storage, and the 8T on the same Wi-Fi. The app installation time on the 7T is already extremely fast and now on the 8T, it’s even faster. Same goes with app load times.

    perform_3.jpg
    In all my testing the OP 8T never used more than 6.3GB of RAM and idles at about 4 - 4.8GB

    The OnePlus 8T uses the Snapdragon 865 for processor and though it would have been nice to see the plus variant here, like my OP 7T which has the SD 855+, you wouldn’t even notice any difference in real-world usage scenarios. Agreed, having some extra Megahertz on the CPU and the GPU would benefit the gaming sessions, the OP 8T performs extremely well even under heavy gaming duress. I don’t consider myself an extreme user but the phone handled everything I threw at it with ease, heavy photo editing - CHECK. Chopping some videos together – CHECK. Surfing desktop websites on Chrome – CHECK. Gaming – CHECK! CHECK!

    On top of all this, I never once noticed any app close on me in the background. The RAM management on this device is pretty good. So, even if you’re a power user and need to get the absolute best out of your device at all times, you can’t go wrong with the OnePlus 8T.

    perform_2.jpg
    I don't know much about mobile gaming, but while testing this device, I had the most intense mobile gaming session of my LIFE!

    perform_1.jpg
    The color reproduction and visuals are absolutely mesmerizing on the 120Hz display.

    For all the gamers out there, you get treated with the Game Mode and Fnatic Mode which optimizes the games and restricts background activity of other apps. To be honest, I don’t know much about the real-world advantages that these modes offer since I don’t play competitive mobile games or play for longer than half an hour at a stretch for that matter.

    But playing for longer periods shouldn’t be an issue since the phone now has a bigger and better cooling system which, I must say does a pretty good job at keeping the temperatures in check.

    game mode.jpg
    Any gamers in the house?


    And now that we have covered the gamers and power users, how can we leave the audiophiles behind?

    The OnePlus 8T comes with dual-stereo speakers and support for Dolby Atmos where you get a few presets which you can use to enhance your listening experience. I work with a lot of music related projects and I need some solid performance out of a speaker system and the audio output whether it be Bluetooth or a wired headset. Almost all the tracks that I get in the preliminary stages of a project are not mastered and it gets pretty daunting to make out all the different layers.

    The OP 8T does a fantastic job with its speaker system and the sound quality is absolutely great. The speakers get quite loud and sound very “full”. Some of the times, I noticed that they get somewhat bassy but not to the extent that they start dampening the vocals.

    DSC03617_speakers.jpg
    A very powerful and capable speaker system takes care of all your audio needs

    One problem with these bottom-firing speakers is that when I hold the device in landscape mode, I often tend to cover the speaker grille which dampens the sound.

    The second speaker you get is the earpiece. Yes, the earpiece acts as the second speaker and even though it’s not as good as the bottom one, it still gets the job done. It gets pretty loud and if you put the finger on the upper part of the screen when it’s playing sound, you can feel the screen vibrating a bit.

    DSC04275.jpg
    The top speaker is not as capable but I'll take what I get for a stereo experience.

    Speaking of vibrations… the haptic motor on the OnePlus 8T is simply phenomenal. I ride motorcycles a lot and combined with the vibrations you get from the road and the motorcycle engine, it’s quite possible that you are like me and never feel your phone vibrating in your pocket. But when I took my OnePlus 8T for a ride this morning (with my SIM inserted this time) I was really surprised. I actually felt something vibrating in my pocket (spoiler – it was the phone)

    So, that concludes my performance section for the OnePlus 8T. Oh, and yes, the phone is also 5G enabled but I’ll cover that part when India gets a stable 5G network. Probably in the next 5 years when OnePlus is prepping the OP 13T with 6G.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2020

    #5
  6. reallykunal
    The Lab - OnePlus 8T Reviewer Oct 24, 2020

    reallykunal , Oct 24, 2020 :
    OP8T - Camera.jpg

    Hello again (x3)

    In my Display section, I put up the question of the most important element of a modern mobile phone. And while, for me and most other people, the answer would be the display, there are a lot of people who would say that a camera is the most important part of a mobile device. I don’t think they’re necessarily wrong, just different perspectives, I guess.

    Now, the thing about camera sensors is that they are very light hungry. They don’t quite work the way our eyes do. And the more light available to your camera, the better the pictures turn out. And the smaller the sensor, the more light it needs. That’s why mobile cameras rely so heavily on software optimizations. So, with this thought, I went out to test the cameras on the OnePlus 8T in less than ideal lighting situation – In a not so picturesque city – at the break of dawn – bad artificial light and lots of air pollution (I live in New Delhi, C’mon!)

    NOTE: None of the pictures from the OP 8T in this section has been edited.

    DSC03619.jpg
    With a very potent camera system and software, you get amazing pictures.

    STANDARD WIDE

    For the wide camera on the 8T, OnePlus decided to stick with the Sony IMX586 sensor which comes with 48 megapixels. Historically, OnePlus has been at the center of controversies that the camera system on their devices were not up to the mark and don’t justify the price tag they now carry. This changed with the OnePlus 8 Pro, which took the fight to the big boys in the game. And with that, fans were expecting similar steps from the company going forward. But, the OnePlus 8T uses the same sensor as the one found on my OP7T, the OP8 and even as far back as the OP7.

    So, what makes the same sensor on the OP 8T different than the previous phones? The answer is - better image processing. And the main camera on the 8T is quite capable, I must say. With an f1.7 aperture and Optical Image Stabilization, the images turn out very nice. The colors look natural and the details are plenty as well.

    IMG_20201028_071613.jpg
    Crisp colors and sharp details with plenty of contrast.

    ULTRA-WIDE

    The 16-megapixel ultrawide camera on the OP8T is quite impressive. With a 123-degree field of view, it’s almost like using a fisheye lens and when you switch to it, for a moment it feels like the background just moved back a bit. The colors from this sensor comes very close to the main sensor and it manages the white balance nicely as well. But when you’re shooting in dim-lit areas, the white balance goes crazy sometimes and “cools” the image a lot.

    IMG_20201028_060355.jpg


    IMG_20201028_060414.jpg
    White balance mayhem!


    camera_wide.jpg
    But the color tones are almost indistinguishable from the main camera in well-lit scenarios.

    There is, however, one major issue I faced when using the ultrawide camera - when shooting in low light situations, you naturally introduce noise in your image but things get ugly when the software thinks it can correct it for you and the AI algorithm kicks in. The camera on the OP 8T does that too and as soon as the noise suppression kicks in, the image is rendered completely unusable. Take a look:

    camera_wide_blur.jpg
    Notice how the "AI" messes up with the details when using the wide-angle camera with Smart Scene On.

    This all happens thanks to the “Smart Scene Recognition” mode, which is, by default turned on. And though it may be able to take advantage of proper daylight and give some nice results, in less than ideal conditions like above, this just ruins the pictures. So, I recommend turning it OFF. But only if you want images that are truer to life.


    MACRO CAMERA

    This 5MP little thing can do some pretty neat tricks – if you like getting super close to your subjects. You can take pictures from as close as 3 centimeters and even get some nice bokeh going on in the image. I do a lot of product shoots, so I know getting close to a subject produces larger than life pictures. But never have I ever taken a macro picture of a flower or a leaf before this. And a lot of people out there do like some macro photography, whether to set as a wallpaper or just for pleasure. It surely is a thing.

    IMG_20201030_150209.jpg
    The macro shots are fun to take and if you have some time on you, you can actually get some pretty neat results.

    IMG_20201030_140817.jpg
    But please, turn the Smart Scene OFF!!

    IMG_20201030_162217.jpg


    MONOCHROME

    This is more of a filter than a camera itself. At 2MP the sensor acts as a color filter and “overlays” black and white information on your main sensor and you get 12MP images rather than 2.

    If you ask me, this module doesn’t make much sense to me since one can always edit the pictures and get black and white images. That being said, the pictures you get when you use this module are very analog-y. I kinda like the look they produce right out of the camera.

    IMG_20201028_063451.jpg
    This takes me to a time when there was still a good 20 years left until my birth.

    IMG_20201028_062151.jpg
    1970s much?

    IMG_20201028_063704.jpg
    Say hello to my new friends!!

    NIGHT MODE

    The night mode on OnePlus devices is called the Nightscape mode and boy does it give you some great looking images. This mode handles the shadows extremely well and if you’ve got some stable hands, you can take some amazing pictures at night time.

    IMG_20201030_055352.jpg
    Nightscape mode on the main camera.

    IMG_20201030_055549.jpg
    Nightscape mode on the Ultrawide module.

    VIDEO


    The OP8T features extensive video features as well. 4K video up to 60fps, 1080p slow motion at 240fps and even a 480fps mode in 720p. My personal favorite being the Cine Aspect mode which gives you a cinematic aspect ratio of 21:9 which is better suited for taller displays so you don’t get black bars on the sides of your video. You also get Video Portrait mode and Video Nightscape as well. The 8T shoots video in quite a high bit-rate setting so you get lots of details and color data in your videos. I’ll upload a YouTube video soon to showcase all the features in action.

    camera_settings.jpg
    The camera app offers a lot of powerful modes and for the last time... be cautious while using the "Smart Scene Recognition"

    All in all, the camera system on the OnePlus 8T is excellent. It puts out beautiful photos and videos and if you know what you’re doing you can take some amazing photos with this setup. For the selfie lovers, the OnePlus 8T offers a 16MP camera which in my tests gave great results, but who wants to see my face on a forum article, right? So, take my word for it!
    And for all the people concerned with the privacy factor of the front-facing camera, there is some relief as whenever the front-facing camera is active, a green indicator just by the side of the camera lets you know it's being used by an app (or something else?)

    DSC04276.jpg

    Does this little indicator put your privacy concerns to rest? Also, wouldn't this make a nice LED notification replacement?


    There are a few complaints I have though. First, the lack of a telephoto camera – my OnePlus 7T has one and I absolutely love using it and even though the OP 8T also gives you 2X zoom, it does so by cropping in on the sensor. Having a dedicated, fast and maybe 3X telephoto unit would have been really nice.

    Second, which I think can be easily fixed by a software update, is the extremely aggressive noise suppression that happens in low-light conditions with the smart scene recognition in normal mode and especially on the ultrawide module.

    And lastly, I really think that even though OnePlus has upped their camera game, there’s still a long way to go. Coming from a Pixel 2, I was not overly excited about the cameras on the OP 7T but it offered me "more" in terms of camera options. So, with my expectations set very high, I hope OnePlus gives us a truly high-end camera system accompanied with even better software support with the next flagship.

    Until the next part, here are some more images for you:

    IMG_20201030_162831_Bokeh.jpg
    Portrait mode on the main camera doing some magic!

    IMG_20201030_163041_Bokeh.jpg
    And now, some ultrawide portrait magic!

    camera_12.jpg
    Main cam vs. the ultrawide in portrait mode action

    camera_4.jpg
    Main camera / 2X zoom

    IMG_20201028_060618.jpg
    #NoPhotoshop

    camera_macro_8t7t.jpg
    Macro Camera on the OnePlus 8T (left) vs. the Macro Mode on my OnePlus 7T (right)
    IMG_20201028_060229.jpg
    Pro Mode - 1s exposure, ISO 100
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2020

    #6
  7. reallykunal
    The Lab - OnePlus 8T Reviewer Oct 24, 2020

    reallykunal , Oct 24, 2020 :
    OP8T - Oxygen.jpg


    Hello again (x4)
    One of the major reasons for me to go with the OnePlus 7T was the near-stock Android experience. When it comes to phones and desktops, I like to keep them clutter free and that’s why, if you jump back to the Display section, you’ll see just how I like to keep my home screen. So, when I switched from my Pixel 2, I felt right at home with OxygenOS 10 and the best part was that I could tweak it exactly the way I wanted and on top of that, the OnePlus launcher gave me some really neat features which ultimately adds a lot of value to the user experience.

    Now, with the launch of the OnePlus 8T, comes OxygenOS 11 based on Android 11 and I have some mixed feelings about this. Though it still offers that same fast and fluid experience that I, among countless other users, have come to expect of OnePlus, the look and feel of the UI has somewhat changed. The company says that they’ve come to this decision to enhance one-handed usage and easy accessibility of the menus and apps.

    The layout may or may not remind you of a certain other skin but the fonts and text formatting here is so cleverly done that it doesn’t deviate from the “cleanliness” of a OnePlus device.

    oxygen_1.jpg
    Clean, minimal and SMOOTH!


    For an operating system to feel snappy and smooth, a lot of optimizations is done at the system and hardware level. And this is where a nifty little feature called RAM Boost comes into play. To a lot of users this may feel like gimmick since not everyone will notice what it’s doing at a system level. But to the users who like multi-tasking will surely appreciate this when their frequently used apps are ready to go whenever they want. Say no to your favorite apps closing in the background.

    oxygen_2.jpg
    While you won't notice any huge difference, app launches and background apps really do take advantage of this.


    When you have so many apps on your device, it’s pretty easy to lose track of what you need and what you don’t anymore, and the next thing you know, you are losing your battery even on stand-by. Adaptive Battery is here to your rescue. This feature intelligently limits the battery usage of apps that you’re not using frequently. I’m game for this feature even if it extends my battery life by 5%.

    oxygen_3.jpg
    Another nice little feature, the adaptive battery controls which apps need battery optimizations


    And after a long day of work, when all you need is some peaceful time, you get a call from a colleague or a friend to talk “what’s up”? And Uhhh… Not Now! is your first thought.

    For times like these you can count on the Zen Mode. It disables your phone for a set amount of time so you don’t get distracting calls or even notifications from your social media. I’ll be honest, I have not used the Zen Mode even once and all the credit goes to my self-control. I'm not someone who needs their phone by their side 24/7. Sounds weird in today’s time but that’s how I've learned to operate.

    oxygen_4.jpg
    Go ahead, let your phone take a break from you!

    Finally, the biggest USP of OxygenOS – the Customizability.

    I cannot praise the customizability features enough. And if you ask me to pick any ONE as my favorite, I just won’t be able to. From the fancy three-finger screenshot to double-tap to lock to the custom ambient screen, the OxygenOS has got it all. In my opinion, the skin on the OnePlus devices is so polished that it leaves little to complain. And now, with Android 11’s new security features you also get to have *almost* total control on your privacy. There is also a new revamped Dark Mode which now, enhances visibility and being lighter on the battery at the same time.

    oxygen_5.jpg
    Getting bored of the same UI? Go change how it looks.


    oxygen_6.jpg
    I don't use dark mode much, but it feels way too premium on the OnePlus 8T

    So, with this, I conclude the “testing” and “experience” part of my review and tomorrow I’ll put out the Conclusion and my final thoughts on the OnePlus 8T.

    Thanks for reading, I’ll catch you tomorrow.
     
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2020

    #7
    rrkamath and L1604303199158 like this.
  8. reallykunal
    The Lab - OnePlus 8T Reviewer Oct 24, 2020

    reallykunal , Oct 24, 2020 :
    OP8T -Summary.jpg

    Hello again!
    As all good things come to an end, it's now time to wrap this review up with the summary of the OnePlus 8T and where it’s positioned with all that it comes with.

    Design
    Design-wise, I think OnePlus did a fantastic job. While still maintaining the signature OnePlus design language and the beloved alert slider, the OP 8T has a not-so-subtle back panel with the Aquamarine Green color. But for those who feel like it’s a bit much, there is the Lunar Silver color option. And while I’m not a huge fan of camera bumps in particular, I think it flows well with the design of the 8T.

    Display
    That gorgeous 120Hz Fluid AMOLED screen is just a treat to look at. You can’t appreciate the beauty of this display unless you actually spend a few minutes with it. If you’re coming from a device with a 60Hz refresh rate, this will be magic to your eyes and you shouldn't look for any other excuse to upgrade to this.

    Warp Charge 65
    When it comes to powering your device, OnePlus didn’t exaggerate when they said it will fill an empty battery in less than 40 minutes. In my testing, I completely drained the battery twice during a course of 6 days, the first time, it took exactly 40 minutes to fill to 100 percent from zero and the second time, it took around 38 minutes to fill to 100 from 1 percent.

    Performance
    On the performance front, I couldn’t be any more satisfied as this beast is blazingly fast and at times, it feels like it already knows what you’re about to do next and secretly has it opened before you’ve even decided to open a certain app. And while 12 Gigs of RAM may seem like an overkill, it really serves its purpose when you have multiple apps open at once and don’t want an important app closing in the background. And with the 12GB variant you also get 256GB of Ultra-fast UFS3.1 storage which may or may not be sufficient for you depending on your usage scenario and since there is no expandable storage on the 8T, 128GB or 256GB are your only options. The stereo speakers here also packs some serious punch and with Dolby Atmos support, you can enjoy your favorite audio content in the highest quality.

    Camera
    The camera system on the OnePlus 8T is… strange. While I wish that OnePlus has gone the way of the OP 7T with this one too, the 8T lacks the telephoto camera and does the job by cropping in on the main sensor.

    The ultra-wide module can use some software optimizations to make it perform better in low light situations and the noise reduction system can definitely use an overhaul. It’s way too aggressive, almost always. One way to bypass this is to turn off the Smart Scene Recognition. By doing this, my pictures turned out way better.

    The macro camera in my opinion does not serve any purpose here, as OnePlus has shown with the OP 7T and even the 8 Pro that the ultra-wide module can act as a macro camera and a very good one at that. Plus, you get a bigger resolution file to play with – 16MP in case of my OP 7T vs just 5MP on the 8T.

    The 2MP monochrome camera also has almost no real purpose other than to add a filter on your main camera. And though it gives you some nice B&W images right out of the camera, this can be done with just a click of a button with any good editing app.

    Software
    And finally, the software on the OnePlus 8T – OxygenOS 11 on top of Android 11. Software plays a major role in how a device “feels” to a user. I mean, the whole “user experience” is based around the software of a device. Easily the best skin on the market, I would really appreciate if OnePlus didn’t pre-load certain apps on their devices. Netflix is not an app that should come pre-installed on a device. I don’t start watching a movie on Netflix as soon as my device boots up. And even if I want to then it’s just a few seconds install anyway.


    WHO IS THIS PHONE FOR?

    This is the million-dollar question.
    Or... more accurately, a $750 question if you’re in North America, a €600 question if you’re in Europe and a ₹43,000 question if you’re from India.
    The answer would depend on which device you're coming from. If you have a device from two years back, this would be the perfect mobile phone for you. The sheer speed and the amazing display is enough to make you wonder how is this device even possible. But if you’re coming from a recent mobile device that already has a 90Hz (or more) display and absurd amount of RAM, you may find the OP 8T a bit less appealing. But, if you really want just that "one" excuse to switch, the software experience is it.


    FINAL THOUGHTS

    At the time of writing this section, it’s been about 11 days since I have been using the OnePlus 8T and I have NO serious complaint with the device. Sure, I think a few things should have been approached differently but at the end of the day this is a fantastic device that you will enjoy and would love to flaunt around. This phone has a lot to offer and if you’re looking for a device at this price point, you cannot go wrong with the OnePlus 8T.
    For my further adventures with the OnePlus 8T, you can follow me on IG - @reallyykunal


    I hope this extensive review has been informative and helped you in your decision if you’re planning on buying this phone. A perfect holiday purchase.
    Last but not least, a BIG thank you @Zach X. , @dsmonteiro , @Leo X. and @Loren Z. for trusting me with this review.

    A HUGE Thank You to the community for all the love and appreciation you've shown.
    Stay safe,
    And A VERY HAPPY DIWALI TO EVERYONE!!


    DSC03662.jpg
     
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2020

    #8
  9. U1603729795456
    Cupcake Oct 26, 2020


    #9
  10. sritejkoduru
    Honeycomb Oct 26, 2020

  11. TheGadgetGirl
    The Lab - OnePlus 8T Reviewer Oct 27, 2020


    #11
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    Gingerbread Oct 27, 2020


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    Gingerbread Oct 27, 2020


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    OnePlus Accessory Tester Oct 27, 2020


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    Cupcake Oct 27, 2020


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    Cupcake Oct 27, 2020


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  19. trackstarMKVIII
    The Lab - OnePlus 8T Reviewer Oct 27, 2020

    trackstarMKVIII , Oct 27, 2020 :
    Dope Pictures! Very dramatic!
     

    #20
    reallykunal and TheGadgetGirl like this.