OnePlus 7T is a true flagship-level smartphone for less than $1000

OnePlus has had quite the journey in a short amount of time. The Chinese company has built a reputation for delivering premium tier flagship smartphones at lower prices than the competition, becoming a major smartphone player globally in just five years. In that time it has churned out a whopping 11 models, with every new release receiving a slight bump up in price, culminating in its most expensive handset to date, the OnePlus 7 Pro.

However the company's latest handset — OnePlus 7T — flips the script delivering almost everything great about the 7 Pro in an even more powerful package at a cheaper asking price of $US599 ($885). OnePlus doesn't officially sell its phones in Australia, but "global" versions of the devices are available through various import shops.

The OnePlus 7T keeps everything that made the 7 Pro great, but adds more grunt and cuts the price.

The star of the show on the OnePlus 7 Pro was the 90Hz refresh rate display, and it's the big draw once again on the 7T, providing a sense of fluidity that you don't get with other flagships. The only problem is that it's hard to give up when switching back to handsets with slower 60Hz screens like on the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and iPhone 11.

The 7T has a flat display instead of the curved screen on the 7 Pro, which makes for more visible bezels but arguably an easier hold. The screen is smaller and less sharp than the 7 Pro, at 6.55 inches and full HD resolution versus 6.67 inches and quad HD. The spectacle of the motorised pop-up front-facing camera is gone as well and in its place we get a tiny teardrop shaped notch housing the camera. With the forward facing camera always exposed, I found the facial unlock to be quicker than the 7 Pro.

The display is noticeably brighter, which made the phone easier to use outdoors, and it also supports both HDR and HDR+. The dual-firing speakers sound richer too with more bass than the pair found on the 7 Pro.

OnePlus has brought over the triple lens camera system from the 7 Pro to the 7T so you get a 48MP main camera with a 12MP telephoto and 16MP ultrawide. The only notable compromises are the optical zoom, which maxes out at 2x as opposed to 3x, and the lack of laser autofocus.

The phone’s macro photography is an ability very few others can match.

In my OnePlus 7 Pro review I raised a few issues with the camera and to OnePlus' credit, the company released a number of software updates post-release that addressed most of those gripes. The improvements carry over to the 7T and, overall, I would put it in the same group as other flagship smartphones that cost twice as much. If I was to nitpick, the 7T camera has a tendency to saturate colours and crank up contrast to the point that it clips some shadow detail, but I'm hopeful this will be fixed in a future software update.

OnePlus says that it will be releasing a software update after launch that will enable ultra-wide video recording at 4K 30fps, and 960fps super slow-motion.

The most impressive new addition to the camera is the macro mode which allows you to take pictures from as close 2.5cm. It's a blast to play around with and provided you have a steady hand and a fair bit of light, the macro mode can yield impressive results. The only other smartphone that offers similar capabilities is the upcoming Huawei Mate 30 Pro.

OnePlus 7T is the first phone outside of Google's own Pixel phones to have Android 10, so you get things like granular app permission, dark mode and Google's new navigation gestures plus a couple of extra features specific to OnePlus' OxygenOS. I like the new addition to 'reading mode', which now gives you the option to view text with full-colour content with better clarity and less strain on the eyes.

The biggest benefit you get from OxygenOS is the incredible speed at which everything hums along; from the phone unlocking speed to the animations and responsiveness of the gestures.

OnePlus' proprietary charging standard 'Warp Charge' has been improved over the 7 Pro too with the 30W charger included in the box able to charge the 7T from dead flat to 70 per cent battery in just 30 minutes.

Under the hood is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus, giving the 7T a performance edge over more expensive rivals such as Samsung's Galaxy Note 10+. The extra grunt means you should be able to drive more Android games at 90Hz.

At this price point, you'd be hard pressed to find a better overall smartphone than the OnePlus 7T.

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