OnePlus 7T is strong, stripped down and unsurprising

OnePlus 7T is strong, stripped down and unsurprising
OnePlus 7T
OnePlus was once upon a time, a company that made really good phones that fit in a budget. A mid-segment budget, but a budget nonetheless. You could count on getting a good camera, smooth UX, great battery, excellent charging capabilities and a smartphone that looked nice as well -- when notches were still a thing.

Over time, OnePlus inched closer to the premium segment and with the OnePlus 7 Pro, it hit the Rs 60,000 mark. Now, it doesn’t matter which online shopping portal is going to give us how much discount -- the MRP printed on the side of a phone’s box is the price you’re told first. Discounts are, well, bargains and bargains aren’t always available.

The OnePlus 7 Pro was dreamy. So when OnePlus announced the OnePlus 7T and the OnePlus 7T Pro, was I expecting progress? Yes. OnePlus 7T is strong, stripped down and unsurprising

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However, design-wise the OnePlus 7T feels like a regression to the OnePlus 6's zone. The circular camera module adds nothing significant.

But, an upgrade the 7T is, but not over the One Plus 7 Pro -- over the OnePlus 7. The upgrade to the OnePlus 7 Pro should come with the 7T Pro, however, that is not going to launch in India, so we will have to wait to find out what our foreign tech brethren have to say about it.


What am I complaining about?

The OnePlus 7T feels like a downgrade. It feels like a device that has been stripped off all the meaty, fatty parts and what you have on the plate is bare-bone. But the marrow is pretty darn great.

There is scope for complaint because you must understand that I am using the 7T AFTER using the 7 Pro. I no longer have that curved screen and the abhorrent notch is back. What is ‘missing’ and what has made a comeback are very cosmetic, I have no complaints whatsoever with the UI or UX, or the cameras -- even the screen by a stretch. The battery is fantastic, and it still charges up like a beast.

But, I EXPECT that from OnePlus. It won’t BE OnePlus if it didn’t come with these things at least.

However, having said thus, the OnePlus 7T has nothing to offer that can convince me, specifically, to opt for it instead of a 7 Pro if I was planning to buy a 7 Series. I might as well wait for the 7T Pro and see if I can get my hands on that.

Here’s what I am not complaining about

The OnePlus 7T has that cool circular camera module on the back. A 48MP,16MP and a 12MP camera. The 8MP telephoto on the 7 Pro has been replaced by a 12MP module on the 7T. The 7 Pro suffered from some mediocre photo quality for a while post launch, OnePlus fixed it with a battery of software updates. OnePlus 7T is strong, stripped down and unsurprising

The 7T pro comes post those upgrades and equipped with those as well -- if you like the slightly saturated colours, social media-ready photos that don’t need absurd edits or filters, ample detail and sharpness, you will be happy with what the cameras on the 7T can do. The night mode looks better, but there’s scope for tremendous improvement in this space. I would NOT use a OnePlus device to shoot pictures in significantly low-light situations -- it doesn’t deliver.

There’s a 16MP sensor on the front housed in a notch -- no pop-up camera this time. But OnePlus has added something called Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS) on the front camera as well (it’s there in the 48MP main shooter on the back too) -- the selfies are as good as the 7Pro. That said, the cameras aren’t a huge leap ahead in this iteration.

The 7T has a 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED screen that supports HDR 10+, 90Hz Refresh Rate -- how does that change your life? Well, the screen looks good and it is good to consume content on. Again, this is something I expected from OnePlus. It’s a smaller phone (as compared to the 7 Pro, bigger than the 6.41-inch on the OnePlus 7), which might work for some people, and it feels easier in the hand.

It also comes with a 3,800mAh battery (the OnePlus 7 has a 3,700mAh and the 7 Pro has a 4,000mAh one) and Warp Charge 30T that is faster than Warp Charge 30 the other 7-Series phones were shipped with. I’ve found nothing to complain about when it comes to the battery or charging on OnePlus phones right from my first device - the OnePlus 3T.

I have nothing to complain about still.

With the gaming mode on for significant time spans, the battery drains as it should. It also comes with the Fnatic Mode (the super gaming mode) that OnePlus introduced with the 7 Series earlier this year.

Little perks

Post the 7 Series launch, OnePlus has been rolling out the cooler software updates to its older devices like the OnePlus 6s and the OnePlus 5s -- the Zen Mode, the Fnatic Mode, cricket scores etc. OnePlus 7T is strong, stripped down and unsurprising

The 7T obviously comes with all of these and Android 10 out-of-the-box, which means smoother gestures, dark mode etc.

But the 7T also comes with perks like a customisable time limit for the Zen Mode ( it was locked on 20 mins earlier), scene and face recognition for better album classification (something similar to what Google Photos does for you), a smart album that will generate a video based on person/time/place etc (this doesn’t exactly change your life, but ok).

Should you buy it?

Like the battery and the screen size, the OnePlus 7T lies between the OnePlus 7 and the OnePlus 7 Pro. If you had your eye on the 7 Pro, then that’s what you should get -- the 7T has nothing to offer you. If you were thinking of the OnePlus 7, you can get the 7T instead -- it is a sliver of an update, but might as well get that if you can afford it.

If you have already bought the 7 though, stay put, it’s not THAT big an upgrade or even an upgrade for that matter.

If you had your mind set on buying a new OnePlus device, you already have an expected amount you want to, and can, spend in front of you already. IF the 7T fits - run with it. You won’t have anything to complain about.

Rating: 3.5/5