“OnePlus is pulling out all stops with the 7 Pro. Here’s our review”
OnePlus forayed into the Indian market with a simple mantra – to offer consumers stupidly fast devices for a fraction of the price of premium flagship smartphones. The tactic worked and today, OnePlus is all but a household brand in India. The company has thrived in the flagship killer space, launching one enticing device after another, which is why, I and many others were a little taken aback by the brand’s latest phone, the OnePlus 7 Pro.
On paper, the 7 Pro is every bit a OnePlus flagship as it ships with the fastest CPU, super-fast storage, rapid-charging…you get the gist. But, it’s not priced like a OnePlus phone anymore and is a costly proposition, akin to say, the Samsung Galaxy S10e (review). Consequently, for the first time in a long while, recommending a OnePlus phone isn’t as easy as pie. But, after spending a week reviewing the device, I’ve come to a conclusion. Read on to know if you should pick the OnePlus 7 Pro up or not.
Specs at a glance
|Resolution||1440 x 3120 pixels|
|CPU||Single core, 2.84 GHz + Tri core, 2.42 GHz, Snapdragon 855|
|Internal memory||128 GB|
|Capacity||4000 mAH, Li-Polymer, Non removable|
|Primary camera||48 MP|
|Secondary camera||16 MP|
|Network support||Dual SIM 4G|
|Other options||Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS|
|Operating system||Android 9.0 Pie|
Design and Display
I’ve used plenty of OnePlus flagships in the past, including some limited-edition variants, but I must admit, the company’s latest is my favourite in terms of the design. Although the brand’s own design ethos is phenomenal, the OnePlus 7 Pro takes its style cues from Samsung’s Galaxy S10 range, and I couldn’t be happier. For one, the smartphone ships with a dual-curved display on the front, which look impressive from any and every angle. Moreover, since the display melts seamlessly into the trim, the OnePlus 7 Pro also sports a remarkably slender frame which further adds to the handset’s premium design.
And, despite having the phone with me for almost a week, I still haven’t come to terms with the device’s bedazzling Nebula Blue finish. It’s among the finer paintjobs I’ve seen on smartphones and it undoubtedly accentuates the OnePlus 7 Pro’s overall look and feel.
And, that’s not all. The OnePlus 7 Pro is the first flagship from the company’s stables to ship with a pop-up selfie camera, the likes of which you might’ve seen on devices from OPPO and Vivo. Consequently, the handset offers a truly bezel-less display which is void of a notch or a cut out of any sort. And, all the naysayers in the audience who want to take a jab at the selfie camera’s durability should know that as per OnePlus, the pop-up mechanism is good for 3,00,000 times of use.
That’s over 150 selfies a day, which is a lot even by my standards! Even if you factor in facial recognition – which, by the way is blazingly fast on the phone – you’ll still be able to use the handset for a good number of years before surpassing the company’s slated threshold.
To sweeten the deal even further, the selfie camera on the OnePlus 7 Pro automatically retracts back into the frame if you accidentally drop the device. The camera uses the smartphone’s accelerometer and Gyroscope to gauge a fall, which is quite clever if you ask me. All in all, you shouldn’t worry about the handset’s selfie camera going kaput any time soon.
Much like the OnePlus 6T (review), the OnePlus 7 Pro features an in-display fingerprint sensor for biometric authentication. The company claims that the sensor is quicker than the one on its predecessor but honestly, I didn’t notice much difference between the two. That said, the sensor did feel more accurate this time around, which could be partly due to the increased surface area of the unit.
Unsurprisingly, the OnePlus 7 Pro doesn’t ship with a headphone jack, but the phone does make up for it by offering stereo speakers which is yet another first for the company. The brand has partnered with audio giant Dolby to tune the speakers on the OnePlus 7 Pro and they work really well. The unit gets reasonably loud too and therefore, watching movies on the phone is a lot of fun.
Speaking of which, OnePlus is finally equipping its flagship with a class-leading display which coincidentally, has been rated A+ by folks at DisplayMate. To put it in specs and numbers, the OnePlus 7 Pro ships with a 6.67-inch, Fluid AMOLED, QHD+ panel with a refresh rate of 90Hz. Moreover, as I mentioned previously, the device offers a truly bezel-less experience and therefore, the entire front of the phone is basically a big, tall screen.
So, how does that transition into real-world usage? Well, from a utility standpoint, the display on the OnePlus 7 Pro is phenomenal. It offers vibrant colours, dark blacks, crisp visuals, and an immersive user experience thanks to its high refresh rate. Moreover, the display comes with support for HDR10+ and therefore, you can enjoy a wider colour gamut on select content on the device. But, from an ergonomics standpoint, the panel is a nightmare to use. Not only is it twice as slippery (owing to its curves), but it’s astoundingly tall too. Therefore, you’ll almost always have to use the phone with both your hands. Not that I’m complaining – I’ve been feasting my eyes to the stunning display every chance I get.
OnePlus has for long struggled to make its mark as a good camera-phone maker. While the company’s offerings featured good cameras for the price, the image quality paled in comparison to other flagships. To turn the table in its favour, the brand has furnished its latest flagship with a triple camera setup on the back, comprising a 48MP, f/1.6 aperture, Sony IMX586 sensor, the likes of which you might’ve seen on Honor’s View 20 (review). The 48MP unit is accompanied by an 8MP, f/2.4 aperture telephoto lens, and a 16MP, f/2.2 aperture wide-angle lens with a 117-degrees field of view. For selfies, the handset features a 16MP, f/2.0 aperture Sony IMX471 sensor.
Clearly, OnePlus is going all out in the camera department with its latest flagship. But, as good as the specs are on paper, the smartphone leaves a little to be desired once you’ve pressed the shutter button and the handset’s cameras fall just shy of the sensors on the Honor View 20 and Google’s Pixel 3a (review). Here’s a lowdown of the smartphone’s camera prowess –
1 – For the most part, the OnePlus 7 Pro’s primary camera shoots images in 12MP. To capture an image in all of its 48MP glory, you’ll need to head over to the Pro mode. Provided you’ve sufficient light to play with, the smartphone will enhance the details in the photos. However, the difference isn’t night and day which is why, I stuck with clicking images in 12MP resolution for the most part.
2 – I much preferred the 48MP images from the Honor View 20’s rear cameras. While the photos from the OnePlus 7 Pro had just as many details, the colour reproduction of the View 20’s shots was visually more pleasing. Reason being, Honor allows users to click images in 48MP with its AI engine enabled, which paves way for vibrant, colourful photos. The cameras on the OnePlus 7 Pro, on the other hand, don’t benefit all that much from AI.
3 – The trend continued when I bumped down the resolution to 12MP too. While both, the Honor View 20 and the OnePlus 7 Pro clicked near-identical photos in daylight, I gravitated towards the shots from the View 20 as they had more spruce to them. Moreover, I also noticed that the OnePlus 7 Pro’s camera had difficulty resolving the details in the sky when it was bright and sunny outdoors.
4 – I’ll reiterate – the OnePlus 7 Pro has good cameras which fall shy of the View 20’s camera by a teensy margin. For instance, take a look at the closeup of the flower I’ve posted. Breath-taking, isn’t it? You can even zoom in to the image to notice all the fine details in the petals.
5 – When it comes to portrait shots, the Google Pixel 3a has the OnePlus 7 Pro and pretty much every other phone in this price range beat. While the blur effect on the OnePlus 7 Pro is quite convincing, the edge detection is much, much superior on Google’s offering.
6 – As I mentioned previously, the OnePlus 7 Pro ships with a wide-angle and a telephoto lens, allowing buyers to click more versatile shots. The telephoto lens offers a 3x optical zoom and features OIS, meaning you’ll be able to get away with a sharp image even from a distance. As for the wide angle shooter, I noticed that it offered a cooler colour temperature compared to the other two sensors on the phone. That said, the shots from both the assisting sensors looked great, so no complaints here.
7 – If you’d like to click a picture after the sun has set, then fret not. The OnePlus 7 Pro features the company’s nightscape mode enabling which, you’ll be able to get a detailed shot even when it’s dark outside. As can be seen from the comparison image I’ve posted, the bushes underneath the fountain are much more legible with nightscape enabled.
8 – I was immensely satisfied with the OnePlus 7 Pro’s selfie camera. Be it daylight or night time, I was able to click a stellar selfie which exhibited accurate skin tones and plenty of details with the handset’s front-facing shooter.
Performance, Battery life, and Software
No surprises here, the OnePlus 7 Pro offers beastly performance which is second to none. The smartphone is the first in India to feature Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 855 processor which works alongside either 6GB, 8GB or 12GB of RAM. Correspondingly, users will either get 128GB (6GB RAM variant) or 256GB of UFS 3.0 (8GB/12GB RAM variant) storage with the device. I was sent the top-of-the-line unit of the phone for review, and I’m genuinely blown away by the smartphone’s performance.
Trust me, I’m no stranger to fast phones but the OnePlus 7 Pro takes performance to a different level altogether. The handset offers rapid app opening times thanks to its speedy UFS 3.0 storage, which for the uninitiated, offers double the bandwidth as a phone utilising UFS 2.1 storage. To the end user, app load times will be significantly cut down, thereby propelling smoother multitasking experience too. Moreover, the handset breezes through intensive games like PUBG and even at the highest graphics preset (with shadows and anti-aliasing enabled), there was nary any lag on the phone.
Moreover, if you can run a game at 90fps on the phone, then you’ll see a tangible benefit of playing it on the handset’s 90Hz display as moving objects will appear noticeably sharper. Unfortunately, as it stands, most Android titles are capped at 30-60fps. Regardless, I wouldn’t chalk the display’s high refresh rate as a gimmick since it does offer buttery smooth UI animations to boot. And, take my word for it, once you acclimate yourself to the OnePlus 7 Pro, you’ll find it extremely difficult to switch to a phone with a lower refresh rate panel.
As for the battery life, the OnePlus 7 Pro is fuelled by a 4,000mAh battery which lasts a long, long time. During my time with the device, I was averaging over six hours of screen on time consistently, with the refresh rate set at 90Hz and the screen resolution set to adaptive mode. Surprisingly, the handset managed to last just nine hours in the PCMark battery drain test. But, rest assured, I didn’t have any problems getting through the end of a heavy work day with the phone in my pocket.
If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times – OnePlus’ OxygenOS is the best custom skin there is. The overlay offers just the right number of tweaks and features on top of stock Android and it’s fairly customisable too. While there are not many standout features to speak of this time around, the company has added built-in screen recording with the latest iteration of the custom skin. Buyers will also get an all-new Zen Mode with the phone, enabling which will make the phone unavailable for use for 20 minutes. Other than that, the software experience and other core features are more or less the same across most OnePlus devices so if you’d like to know more, make sure to read my full review of the OnePlus 6T.
Verdict and Competition
The OnePlus 7 Pro starts at Rs 48,999, but the top-end unit I was sent for review will set you back by a whopping Rs 57,999. It goes without saying that the OnePlus 7 Pro is the company’s most expensive flagship yet and for the price, it does miss out on some key features. For instance, unlike Samsung’s high-end phones, the OnePlus device doesn’t come with support for wireless charging and it doesn’t ship with any IP rating either. Moreover, the cameras on the smartphone while good, still aren’t on par with the competition.
That said, for all its faults, the OnePlus 7 Pro is THE best performing smartphone in the market, thanks to its speedy CPU, ultra-fast storage and well-optimised software. The device also offers what is quite possibly the best display in the industry which not only improves the gaming experience but also betters daily usage. And, even after a heavy workday, my review unit of the OnePlus 7 Pro had plenty of juice left in the tank.
Admittedly, those looking for the best bang for their buck will be better off with the OnePlus 7, which will hit the shelves in a month or two and offer the same performance. But, it won’t have the same high-res, high-refresh rate display or stereo speakers as the Pro variant. Moreover, it’ll also feature less powerful cameras to boot.
So, to summarise, despite being priced like a proper flagship, the OnePlus 7 Pro doesn’t quite meet all the requirements of a high-end smartphone. Yet, I am still going to recommend the phone to prospective buyers as it just a great device. I’ve never enjoyed using an Android phone as much as I have with the OnePlus 7 Pro. The handset offers unbelievably fast performance and the display on the phone is an eye-candy, to say the least. If you’d like a more well-rounded smartphone, then you should check out Samsung’s Galaxy S10 range but I can tell you that my SIM is going to stay in the OnePlus 7 Pro for a long time.
Editor’s rating: 4 / 5
- Class-leading display
- Incredible performance
- Long lasting battery life
- No wireless charging
- No IP rating