OnePlus 8T Review: A Great 5G Phone In Search Of A Discount

OnePlus 8T: Camera Performance And Image Samples

When it comes to imaging, the OnePlus 8T doesn’t innovate much over the OnePlus 8, at least on paper. The 48MP f/1.7 0.8-micron main shooter (with OIS) and 16MP f/2.4 1.0-micron selfie camera carry over unchanged. It gains a wider 16MP f/2.2 1.0-micron 123-degree ultrawide (vs. 116 degrees), a higher resolution 5MP f/3.0 1.12-micron fixed-focus macro (vs. 2MP), and a fourth 2MP f/2.4 1.75-micron monochrome lens in the back.

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The 8T’s main shooter uses Sony’s IMX 586, the same excellent 48MP Quad-Bayer sensor found in the OnePlus 8, OnePlus 7T, and many other handsets. It “bins” (combines) groups of four 0.8-micron pixels into larger 1.6-micron pixels for better low-light performance, resulting in 12MP images. While we’re happy with this choice, we were hoping OnePlus would upgrade the 8T to Sony’s better IMX 689 from the OnePlus 8 Pro.

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OnePlus 8T main camera

Unfortunately, while the 8T’s macro gains pixels over the OnePlus 8’s (5MP vs. 2MP), it still lacks Auto Focus, making it all but useless in some situations. Even the 5MP macro in the $445 Moto One 5G features autofocus. As we pointed out in our OnePlus Nord review, it’s unclear why OnePlus persists in using dedicated macros -- especially without AF -- when a telephoto camera would be vastly superior. It’s particularly baffling at the 8T’s price point.

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OnePlus 8T ultrawide

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OnePlus 8T main camera

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OnePlus 8T main camera (2x zoom)

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OnePlus 8T main camera (5x zoom)

It’s also unclear what that fourth 2MP rear shooter brings to the table exactly, other than boosting lens count. We figured it was a depth sensor, but when asked, OnePlus said this additional lens gathers light information and assists the main camera when taking monochrome pictures. So it appears to improve dynamic range? We’re still confused. At least the 16MP ultrawide is decent, and the wider field-of-view is welcome.

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OnePlus 8T main camera (auto)

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OnePlus 8T main camera (night mode)

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OnePlus 8T ultrawide (auto)

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OnePlus 8T ultrawide (night mode)

The 8T captures video at up to 4k/1080p at 60fps (stabilized, with stereo audio) when using the main shooter. Strangely, the selfie camera tops out at just 1080p 30fps (stabilized) -- unlike the cheaper OnePlus Nord, which supports 4k/1080p at 60fps with its front shooters. The usual video modes are also present here, including Super Stable (1080p 30fps), slow motion (1080p 240fps and 720p 480fps), and time lapse (4k/1080p 30fps).

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OnePlus 8T macro

What’s more exciting is Video Nightscape and Video Portrait, two impressive new imaging features -- basically night and portrait modes for video. These do exactly what it says on the box, at up to 4k 60fps. You can even change the aspect ratio for video recording to CINE (21:9) for that movie-like look. Photography modes include Nightscape (night), portrait, pro (manual), and panorama.

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OnePlus 8T selfie camera (portrait mode)

Daytime images are quite lovely, with accurate colors and exposure. Low light shots are decent too, and night mode helps in extreme conditions. Zooming is fine up to about 3-4x -- anything more results in “oil painting” artifacts. Overall, the 8T takes pleasing photos and videos, but honestly, we were expecting more. Last year’s OnePlus 7T offered a telephoto camera and an ultrawide with AF doubling as a macro for less money.

Next up: audio, performance, and battery life...

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