OnePlus 8T review

GSMArena team, 20 October 2020.

Now at 11 - both Oxygen OS and Android OS

The OnePlus 8T is the first OnePlus phone to launch with OxygenOS 11 based on the new Android 11. TIt's among the very first non-Google phone to launch with Android 11 out of the box.

OxygenOS 11 is perhaps the biggest UI overhaul in the history of the OS. Not only does this version deviate from previous versions of the OS in terms of UI design, but OnePlus has also ensured no-one will ever call this "stock Android" again, not even jokingly.

OnePlus 8T review

Instead, OnePlus has turned to Samsung for inspiration, with a design that is focused on accessibility by shifting UI items towards the bottom half of the display. You don't have to adjust your grip or use two hands to access the content at the top of the phone's tall display. The top half of the screen is filled with negative space and oversized headings typeface.

Since this new design language is only built into a handful of apps, it doesn't quite make as dramatic of a difference to your everyday usability as you'd hope for. One change you will notice everywhere is the new optional font - OnePlus Sans - which replaces the previous OnePlus Slate. Sans is a much lighter font than both Slate and Roboto, and some may not prefer it for that reason as legibility would be reduced for those with poor eyesight.

If you like lighter typography, though, you will enjoy this change. OnePlus Sans is quite nice with a fresh and modern aesthetic that deviates from the more rounded typeface you normally find on most devices. But that's entirely subjective, so your mileage will vary.

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OxygenOS 11

A prime example of the new design layout is the Settings app. The first thing you'll notice is the massive typeface for the app title in the top left corner of the display. That is followed by a considerable amount of negative space while the first menu item appears nearly two thirds down the screen. The advantage of this should be clear; the topmost item on the screen is now right underneath your thumb.

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Lockscreen • Google Page • OnePlus tools screen • Customizations • Customizations

OnePlus uses this design language across several of its first-party apps, including Gallery, Calculator, Clock, Weather, and Recorder. However, some of the other apps don't receive the same treatment. The File Manager app is still the same as it was before. The Camera app is also largely unchanged. As for the Phone, Contacts, and Messages apps, we will get to those briefly as they have their own story.

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OxygenOS 11 apps

Another significant addition to OxygenOS 11 is an always-on display, a feature that has been a long time coming. You can now choose to have the previously available Ambient display be permanently shown or within a certain period. You have all the new clock options that were introduced in the recent version of OxygenOS 10 (including Horizon light) along with a couple of new ones for OxygenOS 11.

One of these is called Insight, and it will show you how often you unlocked and used your phone during the day, perhaps to make you more mindful of the fact.

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Always-on display settings

The other one is Canvas, which creates a simple outline of portrait photos in your gallery. Because it's just an outline of the person's face or body, it doesn't consume many resources. When you wake up the phone, the outline turns into the actual photo.

The last one is Bitmoji, which is made in collaboration with Snapchat, and will show an outline of your Bitmoji avatar as AOD, and the avatar will change through the course of the day.

Canvas and Bitmoji won't be available at launch and will be arriving in a later update.

OnePlus 8T review

OnePlus has also slightly altered how dark mode works in OxygenOS 11. Instead of being part of the themes menu under Customization, it's now a straightforward dark mode option under Display settings. This also means you can now set the dark mode to work according to a schedule - from sunset to sunrise or during a custom time range.

You can also force apps that don't otherwise support dark mode to have a dark UI. This can cause apps to look weird sometimes, so it's not something you'd want to enable for everything. Also, some apps have their own dark mode that may not necessarily sync with the OS option. You may want to check for that first and use it instead of forcing it through OxygenOS.

Here are some other notable features that are part of Oxygen OS under the "Utilities" menu in the Settings. The first is called Quick Launch and is accessed through the fingerprint scanner. If you unlock the phone and keep holding your finger, a carousel will pop up. From here, you can drag your finger to a set of customizable shortcuts or apps.

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Quick launch

Oxygen OS supports dual instances of supported apps in its Parallel Apps feature. You can use it to manage a second account on Facebook, Snapchat, WhatsApp, WeChat, or any other app that may not support multiple logins.

App locker will block selected apps from being used until you enter the phone's passcode or a fingerprint. This isn't to be confused with "Hidden Space," which is a sneaky way of hiding apps in the launcher.

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App Locker • Unlock app • Hidden Space

If you do a lot of mobile gaming, Oxygen OS has its own game-optimizer tool called Game Space. Suppose you want to go all-in on your gaming experience. In that case, Fnatic mode will block all notifications, restrict background activity, and even disable the second SIM to ensure that all resources will go to the game.

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Game Space • In-game notification settings • Fnatic mode

OnePlus has peppered several minor changes throughout the OS. OS dialog boxes appear at the bottom of the screen instead of the middle, making them easier to access. In Bluetooth settings, you now get a list of all the codecs that the connected audio device supports instead of a simple HD audio toggle, so you can switch between any of the supported codecs without having to dig through the developer settings.

One thing we do like in Android 11 is that you can now finally enable airplane mode, and it won't disable your Bluetooth. So if you have headphones or a smartwatch paired to your phone and get on a flight, enabling airplane mode will keep them connected while only disabling Wi-Fi and cellular data.

Those are most of the changes we discovered in OxygenOS 11. As we mentioned before, it is based on Android 11, which means it also carries over many of the features that we discussed in our Android 11 review. This includes things like Conversations, Bubbles, Device controls, notification history, and new permission features.

At the time of writing, there's still not sufficient support for Bubbles outside of a handful of apps, and even the apps that we enabled the feature for only occasionally showed bubbles.

Telegram, for instance, would only show bubbles for chats when the phone was in full-screen video mode but not otherwise. WhatsApp would never show bubbles. So far, this feature hasn't gone as well as we had hoped.

Finally, we have to note that OnePlus 8T comes with the Google versions of the Phone, Contacts, and Messages apps instead of OnePlus' own. We have seen OnePlus do this before on the Nord, and it makes just as little sense on the OnePlus 8T as it did on the Nord. Google's versions of these apps are worse across the board, and we are sure even Google would admit that. Yet, OnePlus has decided to pick them over its own superior apps.

We do think OxygenOS 11 is a good update overall to an excellent operating system. Sure, it's not stock Android UI anymore - some may argue that it hasn't been for a long time now - but it looks great, nonetheless. And even though OnePlus may have taken a bit too much inspiration from Samsung's OneUI, the change is for the better as the new UI is better looking and easier to use. It looks even better than Samsung's OneUI, so OnePlus was careful to borrow just the good parts.

Performance and benchmarks

The OnePlus 8T is powered by the same Snapdragon 865 chipset as the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. It also offers the same two memory options, 8GB or 12GB of LPDDR4X. However, for storage, OnePlus has upgraded to the newer and faster UFS 3.1. That's up from the UFS 3.0 used on the OnePlus 8 series. You get that in a choice of 128GB or 256GB.

The Oxygen performance on the OnePlus 8T is buttery-smooth. The combination of a powerful chipset, fast storage and memory, and a high refresh rate display is a marriage made in heaven, and the phone is an absolute blast to operate.

Device control - OnePlus 8T review

The OnePlus 8T scores a bit lower than its S865 peers on the Geekbench test, but it is a mighty performer, nevertheless.

GeekBench 5.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 8
    3399
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    3374
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    3331
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
    3311
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    3302
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    3301
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    3296
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    3197
  • Realme X50 Pro
    3175
  • OnePlus 8T
    3126
  • OnePlus 7T
    2858
  • OnePlus 7T Pro
    2803
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
    1927
  • Poco X3 NFC
    1777

GeekBench 5.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    996
  • OnePlus 8
    919
  • Realme X50 Pro
    911
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    906
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    905
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    902
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
    901
  • OnePlus 8T
    893
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    890
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    780
  • OnePlus 7T
    776
  • OnePlus 7T Pro
    773
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
    616
  • Poco X3 NFC
    568

Just a handful of games are allowed to go beyond 60fps, and the GFX Benchmark isn't among those apps.

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    78
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
    77
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    77
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    75
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    71
  • OnePlus 8T
    60
  • Realme X50 Pro
    60
  • OnePlus 7T
    59
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    52
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    43
  • OnePlus 7T Pro
    40
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
    32
  • Poco X3 NFC
    27

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 8
    46
  • OnePlus 8T
    46
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
    46
  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    46
  • Realme X50 Pro
    45
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    45
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    42
  • OnePlus 7T
    41
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    41
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    31
  • OnePlus 7T Pro
    24
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    24
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
    17
  • Poco X3 NFC
    16

Finally, the OnePlus 8T posted an excellent score on AnTuTu, not that we expected anything else.

AnTuTu 8

Higher is better

  • Asus Zenfone 7 Pro
    602934
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    595246
  • Realme X50 Pro
    592447
  • OnePlus 8T
    586000
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    573276
  • OnePlus 8
    564708
  • Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
    563961
  • Samsung Galaxy S20 FE
    543986
  • Sony Xperia 5 II
    532655
  • Huawei P40 Pro
    496356
  • OnePlus 7T Pro
    493901
  • OnePlus 7T
    485585
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite 5G
    318117
  • Poco X3 NFC
    283750

OnePlus has always had excellent software optimizations, but the company keeps finding ways to shave milliseconds off each interaction with the phone. The final result is an OS that has lightning-fast animations and transitions. Not once does it feel like the phone is slowing you down or getting in the way of whatever it is you want to do. The only thing that can potentially do that is a badly developed third-party application.

With the 60fps cap for most of the games - we can say the phone is overqualified for its screen. It delivers a hiccup-free gaming experience, in addition to having one of the most responsive UI's we've tested to date.

Reader comments

  • Mani odear

Worst phone... Waste of money, just purchased a phone 8 month old. No single scratch, no damage, no liquid splash, but recently got a crashmode issue,checked vith service center dey say motherboard fault. Wats use of buying so expensive phone. Wen s...

  • Dhruv

I'm owning OnePlus 8T for the past 8 months since the launch and I'm very very much impressed by the performance.. so smooth,so responsive. Fast as hell 🔥🔥 No issues except for a few bugs here and there. I loved it, camera department ...

  • Devarayoli

I have been using oneplus 8t for 3 months App locker fingerprint sensor not working. Some times phone very slow performance