“Our initial impressions of the OnePlus 7, the brand’s latest entrant in the affordable flagship space”

The OnePlus 7 Pro (review) is a sign of changing times and it shows a shift in the brand’s strategy. The upstart is no longer competing in just the flagship killer space and is going after the big guns in the industry with its latest high-end offering. That being said, the company has also managed to stay true to its roots as it has released an affordable sibling of the OnePlus 7 Pro as well. Dubbed the OnePlus 7, I managed to get up close with the device at its launch event in Bengaluru and here’s how I’ll sum up my first impressions.

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Design-wise, the OnePlus 7 looks exactly like the OnePlus 6T (review) which was launched last year, albeit the new handset ships in a bright red colourway. The paintjob looks slick, and I’m willing to bet buyers will have a hard time getting their hands on the red colour variant of the phone. On the flipside, the handset smudges quite easily (as is evident from the sample shots I’ve attached) and you’ll have to wipe the back of the phone down quite frequently to admire it in all its glory.

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If you are coming from the OnePlus 6T, then you’ll find the physical differences between the two smartphones almost negligible. Having said that, the OnePlus 7 is definitely lighter than its predecessor. 

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Unlike the OnePlus 7 Pro, the OnePlus 7 opts for a relatively lower-res 6.41-inch FHD+ display with the standard 60Hz refresh rate and a dewdrop notch up top. Now, using the OnePlus 7 Pro intensively for over a week has spoiled me but rest assured, the display on the OnePlus 7 is also quite good. The panel makes use of OLED technology and therefore, offers excellent contrast and punchy colours. It gets reasonably bright too, and I had no trouble in using the phone under the bright, overhead lights on the show floor.

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Thankfully, the OnePlus 7 ships with the same, second-gen optical sensor which is present on the OnePlus 7 Pro too. The sensor is extremely quick and accurate, so no complaints here. You can also register your face to use facial recognition with the device, which worked just as well. Moving on, while there’s no headphone socket on the OnePlus 7, the smartphone does ship with Dolby-tuned stereo speakers, akin to its pricier sibling. I couldn’t quite test the unit during my brief time with it but if they’re anything like the speakers on the OnePlus 7 Pro, then you’ll have a jolly good time watching movies on the phone.

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The OnePlus 7 doesn’t skimp on the core specs either and comes backed by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 processor which works alongside either 6GB or 8GB of RAM. Correspondingly, you’ll get either 128GB or 256GB of built-in, non-expandable storage with the phone. It goes without saying that the phone is stupid fast, and it’ll breeze through anything you throw at it without breaking a sweat. What’s more, OnePlus has even furnished the device with the faster UFS 3.0 storage, which is fantastic as it’ll drastically reduce app load times.

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OnePlus has cut a few corners in the camera department to keep the phone more affordable than its pricier sibling. Therefore, you’ll miss out on the OnePlus 7 Pro’s telephoto and wide-angle lenses with the OnePlus 7. Thankfully, the brand hasn’t omitted the 48MP primary sensor on the phone, which works alongside a 5MP depth shooter. For selfies, the OnePlus 7 features the same 16MP shooter on the front. For the most part, you will get the same photography experience with the OnePlus 7 too. Rest assured that we’ll be putting the smartphone’s cameras through their paces soon, so stay tuned. 

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The OnePlus 7 runs the company’s OxygenOS skin on top of Android Pie. The handset is fuelled by a 3,700mAh battery and starts at Rs 32,999 for the 6GB RAM variant. The 8GB RAM variant of the device costs Rs 37,999 and the handset will go on sale in June. Our full review of the smartphone should be up shortly, so watch this space. 

Disclaimer: this writer attended the launch event in Bengaluru on OnePlus India’s invitation