OnePlus is back with the mid-year update to the OnePlus 7 smartphone, it launched back in May. As expected, it carries the "T" suffix and offers some key updates that OnePlus may have missed out with the last version.
Notable among them is the trioka of cameras on back, a bigger screen with more legroom for gamers and a more polished looking non-reflective glass back design. It explains why OnePlus 7T starts at ₹37,999 and not at the same price as the predecessor.
Non reflective glass back design is the new fad in premium smartphone. After Apple chucked the shiny glass finish for the more subtle matte finish on the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro, among rivals OnePlus to has embraced what it calls frosted glass finish on the OnePlus 7T. It feels a lot smoother and polished than metal back without feeling slippery or getting smudgy. This makes the new variant stand out. At 190g, it is lighter than the iPhone XR (194g) and OnePlus 7 Pro (204g).
Other notable design upgrades include the circular camera bump on back. It looks big and packs in the flash and the three horizontally arranged cameras, unlike the predecessor which had a tiny module with vertically inclined dual cameras. The fingerprint sensor is under the screen and the USB type C is the primary connector for both data transfer and connecting headphones.
The 6.55-inch screen on the OnePlus 7T is bigger and brighter than its predecessor. As a result it feels slightly more spacious than the 6.41 inch screen of the OnePlus 7. While the new screen has the same 1,080p resolution, it offers higher refresh rate of 90Hz just like the more expensive OnePlus 7 Pro (starts at ₹48,999). Most phones have got 60Hz screens. Technically higher refresh rates enable smoother gaming experience. However, Asphalt 9 is the only game that can take advantage of the 90Hz refresh rate.
Colours in games and movies look a lot more vibrant than the predecessor.
Powering the new smartphone is Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+, a slightly upgraded version of Snapdragon 855 used in the predecessor and several high end smartphones. It is basically an overclocked version with the Prime core offering turbo clock speed of up to 2.96GHz, up from from 2.84GHz in Snapdragon 855. Paired with Adreno 640 GPU, the new processor can muster speed boost of up to 15% resulting in a faster gaming experience. Asus ROG Phone 2 for gaming is another smartphone that will be using the same processor.
The base variant of OnePlus 7T has 8GB RAM and 128GB onboard storage, which is more than ample even for gamers and movie buffs.
Overall, performance is top notch be it switching between apps, typing a Google document, editing a photo or playing Asphalt 9 at best graphics settings.
Battery backup is just about right too. Modest to heavy usage can get one through an entire work day comfortably.
Unlike the predecessor which had a 48MP camera and a 5MP depth camera, the OnePlus 7T brings a 16MP ultra-wide camera and a 12MP telephoto camera with 2x optical zoom, in addition to the 48MP primary camera for a richer camera experience. OnePlus has also added a super macro mode that can capture amazing close-ups from as close as 2.5cm. While the detailing and sharpness in photos from the 48MP camera look on par with the predecessor, colours pop out a bit more. For extremely low light, there is the nightscape mode. It's picture quality is still the same, but with the wide angle camera users can now capture wider looking night shots. Portrait mode now allows users to adjust depth manually.
For selfie buffs there is a 16MP wide angle camera. It can muster more people in one shot comfortably. Picture quality I impressive too.
Running on top of all this hardware is OnePlus's well polished Oxygen OS, running on top of Android 10, making this the first smartphone to launch with Google's latest mobile OS. While Oxygen OS looks pretty much the same there are several handy upgrades from Android 10 like swiping sideways from the edge of the screen to go back to the previous page in an app. Also, in gesture navigation mode, one can see a long bar at the base.
The cool features typical to Oxygen OS includes the option to customise drop down quick settings menu, access a few apps by long pressing on fingerprint sensor when the phone is locked and call recording.
Usually the mid-year update for OnePlus is about adding those features that the summer launch missed out on so it will not feel underwhelming compared to new flagship phones which are launched in the later half of the year like the Pixel smartphones.
This time it is not just the under the hood upgrades that make the OnePlus 7T a catch. The bigger screen, refreshing new design, and the triple cameras are some of the other features that make it stand out in the price segment even at a slightly elevated price.