The OnePlus 8T is set to be an improved version of the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, which were released in April, but ahead of that we’ve gotten our hands on the OnePlus Nord, an affordable mid-ranger the brand unveiled between launches of its big phones.
The OnePlus Nord has stolen the OnePlus 8T’s thunder to a certain extent, with its impressive specs at a low price making it the one-to-watch for OnePlus phones this year. It’s a new step for a company that tends to rely on repetition and procedure, but also a tacit nod to fans who have been clamoring for the days when OnePlus phones cost less than flagship price.
Other phones we expect to see in 2020:
Until recently OnePlus was known for releasing ‘flagship-killer’ phones that rivaled top-end handsets in everything but price. Since the OnePlus 7 phones, however, handsets from the company are now looking increasingly premium in terms of price, as well as specs.
The ‘T’ range of OnePlus phones tend to be incremental upgrades on that year’s non-T handsets, adding in more recent tech but not exactly re-inventing the brand. We’d expect that to be the case with the OnePlus 8T phones, with OnePlus tweaking and improving the OnePlus 8 devices without overhauling them.
We say ‘we’d expect’ since we haven’t heard much about the phones at all just yet, but some rumors are starting to roll in, and you’ll find them below. Before the inevitable cascade of leaks and news begins, we’ve also come up with a list of what we’re hoping to see in the 8T phones.
Latest: The OnePlus 8T may have just been benchmarked, but its RAM and scores are both middling.
Cut to the chase
- What is it: An incremental update on the OnePlus 8
- When is it out: Around the end of 2020
- How much will it cost: At least $699 / £599 (around AU$1,100)
OnePlus 8T release date and price
We haven’t heard any official or even rumored pricing or release information for the OnePlus 8T yet, but that doesn’t mean we know nothing, as we can look at past releases to predict when the new phone/phones will launch, and what they’ll cost.
The OnePlus 7T phones were announced in September 2019, but the OnePlus 6T was launched in November 2018, so we can’t be sure about a launch month, but it seems the release will be towards the end of this year.
That’s quite a wide potential release window, and given that the Covid-19 pandemic has affected smartphone and other tech supply chains, we could see the OnePlus 8T announced right at the end of that window. It’s also worth pointing out that OnePlus has always asserted the ‘T’ model is never guaranteed, but it’s been consistently released so far.
In terms of price, that’s another question mark, but we’d expect it to launch at the same price as, or just a little more than, the OnePlus 8. That phone cost $699 / £599 (roughly AU$1,100) for its most affordable version, and the OnePlus 8 Pro started at $899 / £799 (around AU$1,500), so we could see the OnePlus 8T Pro arrive at around that price.
We don’t know if the OnePlus 8T will come to Australia, as the OnePlus 8 hasn’t at the time of writing, but the company has said it plans to release the OnePlus 8 there at some stage, and it has released phones in Australia in the past.
OnePlus 8T news, rumors and leaks
The key thing we don’t know about the OnePlus 8T at this point is what chipset it will have.
While the OnePlus 7T used the Snapdragon 855 Plus chipset, a slightly better version of the Snapdragon 855 that the OnePlus 7 used, early rumors suggested there will be no Snapdragon 865 Plus chipset.
That isn’t the case any more, as Qualcomm, which makes Snapdragon chipsets, confirmed the existence of the Snapdragon 865 Plus. So it’s likely the OnePlus 8T will pack this, but it’s also possible the previous rumor was more a warning that the Snapdragon 865 Plus won’t be widespread at all, so we’re not too sure just yet.
That’s a rumor that affects the whole phones industry, not just OnePlus phones, but the 8T series are perhaps the most high-profile upcoming phones affected.
A benchmark seemingly for the phone has emerged, but it hasn’t cleared things up much as the chipset is listed as ‘kona’ which is an industry codename that could be used for either the Snapdragon 865 or 865 Plus. However, it does mention 8GB of RAM too, which is the minimum we’d expect. Android 11 is also mentioned, and the scores achieved are similar to those of the OnePlus 8 range.
So if this benchmark is right then the OnePlus 8T might not be much of an upgrade, but there’s always the OnePlus 8T Pro.
We’ve also heard that the OnePlus 8T might have 65W charging, a quick speed which would be a big deal. The last few generations of OnePlus phones have topped out at 30W charging, and a boost to 65W would make the OnePlus 8T a valid competitor with its Oppo and Realme rivals that use that speed.
The other big news surrounding the OnePlus 8T is that there might not be a McLaren Edition phone, despite previous OnePlus T handsets having such a phone. This is because it seems OnePlus is no longer a McLaren sponsor, making it unlikely the two brands will continue their smartphone co-operation.
OnePlus 8T: what we want to see
Here’s our wish-list for improvements we want the OnePlus 8T to make over this year’s non-T devices, and other phones in general, based on the current OnePlus devices and the phones the 8T series will be competing with.
An affordable variant
The OnePlus 7 was arguably the last truly ‘affordable’ OnePlus phone, and price creep in the last few years has resulted in the phones coming closer to flagships from the likes of Apple and Samsung in terms of cost.
That means OnePlus fans who don’t want to break the bank have been left out in the cold a bit. We’d like to see OnePlus launch a phone that costs a lot less than its current models, but without sacrificing too much in terms of specs and features.
It’s been rumored for a while that the company actually is doing just that, and the OnePlus Z, which could also be called the OnePlus 8 Lite, is the rumored handset that will address this pricing issue. Could it actually be a OnePlus 8T Lite instead?
A telephoto lens
The OnePlus 8 had a glaring absence in its camera department, in the lack of a telephoto lens – in fact, the non-Pro OnePlus phones consistently miss out on the zoom-photography tech.
OnePlus appears to think that people prefer ultra-wide and macro lenses to telephoto, but we’d disagree. The ability to take a good picture from far away, or choose your own framing without having to physically move, can be as useful as those other options, and arguable more so.
If OnePlus wants to seriously compete with its close rival Oppo (which puts out rather similar phones, and is owned by the same parent company) it’s going to have to contend with Oppo’s camera tech.
Oppo puts out arguably superior camera phones, thanks in part to its bespoke zoom technology (the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom was literally named after this tech), and in order to compete, OnePlus needs to take its phones’ camera specs seriously.
Wireless charging in all models
One of the surprise features of the OnePlus 8 Pro was wireless charging – the company had previously foregone this feature, and the OnePlus 8 Pro was its first phone to come with it.
The OnePlus 8 didn’t though, and we’d argue that as wireless charging pads find there way into more and more homes, it’s about time that non-Pro OnePlus phones got the tech too.
If OnePlus still wanted to preserve some distinction between the ‘basic’ and Pro phones, it could have the latter support faster wireless charging, but we’d still like to see some wireless capability in the OnePlus 8T.
A pop-up camera in the Pro
The OnePlus 7 Pro and 7T Pro both housed their front-facing cameras in pop-up modules that were hidden away when you weren’t using them – this ensured the phones had unbroken, full-body screens, and gave the devices a novelty factor too.
This feature was ditched for the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, however, with both phones have ‘punch-hole’ cutouts in the screen instead.
This change is understandable – pop-up mechanisms take up a lot of internal space, and are more prone to breaking than non-moving parts, but pop-ups are also pretty cool, and allow the screen to remain unbroken by cut-outs.
We’d love the OnePlus 8T Pro to bring the pop-up back, and give us back that that full-screen experience – even if it meant making the phone a little heavier or thicker.
120Hz refresh rates all around
The OnePlus 8 Pro had a screen with a 120Hz maximum refresh rate, twice that of the ‘standard’ 60Hz typically found on phones. Higher refresh rates mean a smoother experience when navigating menus, and many flagships in 2020 use the tech.
The OnePlus 8 didn’t have a 120Hz screen though, instead packing the same 90Hz that the OnePlus 7T phones and OnePlus 7 Pro had. This isn’t the end of the world, but given that screen refresh rate is one of the key differentiating factors between smartphones in 2020, we’d like to see the tech on both devices to keep the OnePlus 8T phones competitive.
OnePlus was one of the first companies to introduce faster screen refresh rates in early 2019, and it’d be great if the company was the first to make an affordable phone with 120Hz too, to show that it’s still got some of those ‘flagship-killer’ instincts.