OnePlus 8T Second Impressions

Between a blatant theft at a FedEx warehouse and having to finish my iPhone 12 review first, I’m a bit behind on the OnePlus 8T. So let’s get caught up.

As I wrote last week, I was originally scheduled to get the OnePlus 8T ahead of the iPhone 12, but it was stolen while at FedEx and the replacement review unit didn’t arrive until a week later. In the interim, I wrote about my concerns with the OnePlus 8T’s camera system—which is tied to this handset being an upgrade to the OnePlus 8 and not the OnePlus 8 Pro for some reason—and some other related topics. And, of course, I did review the iPhone 12, which I found to be an excellent smartphone, albeit with a few typical Appleisms, as expected.

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This morning, I woke up, had some coffee and skimmed the news, and then set out to move my Mint Mobile SIM over to the OnePlus 8T. This is generally an easy-enough process, but one of the issues with moving from the iPhone to Android is that you need to be careful to decouple your phone number from both iMessage and Facetime. If you don’t, you’ll still get messages on your i-devices, and if they’re not around anymore, that means you could just lose them. (Google has some good information about this process, but they skip the Facetime step. So be sure to disable Facetime on all your i-devices as well.)

Crazy case that OnePlus supplied for the review

With that out of the way, I worked to move my Samsung Galaxy Buds+ wireless earbuds and Fitbit Versa 3 smartwatch off of iPhone 12 and over to the OnePlus 8T. This involves removing each from Bluetooth settings on the former and then pairing them to the latter and it was painfully predictable that the Buds+ transferred over seamlessly and the Versa 3 did not. F’ing Fitbit. As of right now, the thing won’t sync with anything. I’ll keep at it.

Anyway, I have of course been using the OnePlus 8T on the side since it arrived a week ago Monday, and my early observations are positive. I love the display size and tall aspect ratio, and that it has flat and not curved edges, which I prefer. The performance is astonishing, just lightning quick. OxygenOS 11, even more so than the Android 11 on which it is based, is so much more customizable than iOS. It’s almost laughable.

Default home screen (left), my customized home screen (right)

I also really appreciate that OnePlus is now using the stock Google apps for Phone and Messages. I’ll report back if I keep getting the phone and text messaging spam that dogged me with iPhone, but I was very happy to launch Messages for the first time after configuring the phone for Mint Mobile and seeing a message about spam protection. Google just does a much better job at this than Apple does.

Sometime last week, I mentioned to Brad on First Ring Daily that one could easily play a game called “this smartphone would be perfect if …” and you could just plug in the specific model and then list out its couple of issues. For the OnePlus 8T, the issues are obvious enough: It doesn’t include wireless charging, which is inexcusable at this price point, and there are still valid, open questions about the camera system.

I can’t fix the former problem, obviously, but I will point out that the 65-watt charging on this phone is amazing: I recently charged it from 40 percent to 84 percent in just 15 minutes, and to 100 percent in less than 25 minutes. There is nothing like it on the market.

As to the camera system issue, I took some test shots last week, mostly outdoors, and I took several more this morning on our morning walk. This is actually a pretty good comparison, given that I didn’t take any back-to-back with the iPhone, but I’d been using the iPhone on previous walks and have some similar shots to compare.

And, honestly, they’re decent overall if not exceptional in any way. They seem color accurate, and similar to what Apple is trying to achieve with snapshots, where the resulting photo pretty closely matches what you’re looking at in real life. OnePlus achieves a bit of HDR/color pop in certain conditions, but it’s not consistent, and many pictures are too washed out. And that’s kind of my problem with technology in general: I’d rather have something not work at all than be inconsistent.

I can use a vivid filter with the OnePlus 8T as I did with the iPhone, but I’m going to test it more, and in more conditions, first. But it handles some things better than the iPhone, like sun and light flares. And some much worse: Zoom is unusable. I’ll keep testing.

Anyway, since I already customized and configured the OnePlus 8T last week, I’m free to just use the thing and see how it goes. You know, assuming I can figure out the Fitbit sync issue. Sigh.

More soon.

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Conversation 9 comments

  • Mark from CO

    Premium Member
    04 November, 2020 - 10:08 am

    <p>Paul:</p><p><br></p><p>I bought a OnePlus 8. I really like it, but had trouble syncing my Outlook contacts. I called OnePlus for help and they told me that contacts had to come through a Gmail account. Did you have this problem?</p><p><br></p><p>Good Luck on the FitBit sync – frustrating…</p><p><br></p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      04 November, 2020 - 11:23 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#590774">In reply to Mark from CO:</a></em></blockquote><p>That is where my contacts are so I guess not. I'll see if I can use a Hotmail account.</p>

  • davehelps

    Premium Member
    04 November, 2020 - 10:30 am

    <p>Hey Paul, semi-off-topic: in every article about this phone, you've mentioned the theft at FedEx.</p><p><br></p><p>Would it be a fair inference that you're not overly-happy about the way FedEx handled the complaint?</p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      04 November, 2020 - 11:23 am

      <blockquote><em><a href="#590777">In reply to DaveHelps:</a></em></blockquote><p>It's just something that happened. I would have liked getting this review done before now.</p>

  • jdmp10

    04 November, 2020 - 6:58 pm

    <p>To me (I don't have the phone or have played around with one), short of possibly the camera being sub-par for a phone at this pricepoint, in every other respect, you're getting a lot of phone for the $749 pricepoint. Sure, the S20 FE for $699 is also a decent amount of phone for the money but the $749 OP 8T is the top spec 12GB of RAM/256GB of storage variant which to my knowledge, at least in the US, you can't find at that price across any other brand of phone on the market today.</p><p><br></p><p>I'm not a huge fan of OP, never really have been, mostly for their marketing tactics but the hardware has for the most part been undeniably good if you're willing to accept the shortcomings.</p>

  • mark14milton

    05 November, 2020 - 9:26 am

    <p>I was really looking forward to the One Plus 8T, however with current exchange rates $749 USD should turn into at the most, $999 CAD for the exact same model, but OnePlus has decided to sell it for $1099 CAD. I guess they are not interested in selling many 8T’s in Canada. </p>

  • drmdub

    06 November, 2020 - 11:46 am

    <p>If the 8T was $699 or $649 it would be a much easier sell than at $749. And OnePlus devices don't go on sale like Samsungs do (i.e immediately after launch). </p>

  • nonono

    07 November, 2020 - 5:43 am

    <p>Sorry but for the 65W charging you said.</p><p><br></p><p>"<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">There is nothing like it on the market."</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Xiaomi has the M1 10 Ultra which has 120W charging!. Also dual battery phones have been out since 2015!</span></p><p><br></p><p><span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Just passing and wanted to correct you – thanks! </span></p>

    • Paul Thurrott

      Premium Member
      07 November, 2020 - 11:09 am

      … In the United States, where I live.

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