We still remember how OnePlus started off with an invite-only way of buying a smartphone that had the works. It started with the OnePlus One and it was very intriguing for us to know more about this company. That wants to sell a good smartphone only to limited people who hold a golden invite to purchase it. Well, the strategy worked and more than 7 versions down the years, the company has built itself a brand name that is as premium as Apple and Microsoft. OnePlus 7 Pro is their latest innovation which has stunned critics and fans everywhere.
This smartphone not only is attractive to look at but has top-of-the-line technical specifications which puts most in the category or even above its pay scale to shame. We spent over half a month with the device to understand its superpowers. This is our review of the OnePlus 7 Pro, fully tinkered with and scrutinised.
Table of Contents
Design and Display
Let us start with the aesthetics of the OnePlus 7 Pro. This is the first time OnePlus has gone with an all screen flagship. You read that right, there are almost no bezels or as the Sacred Games character ‘Bunty’ says, no kala patta (sidebands) on this smartphone. The chin is also mostly gone and what users get is a 6.67-inch edge to edge phablet with QHD+ OLED display that has 516 PPI and 1 lakh:1 contrast ratio. So, what that essentially does is that users will find vibrant colours on deeper blacks.
The screen is protected by 3D Corning Gorilla glass, and just when you thought that was enough, OnePlus 7 Pro hits you in the face with a 90Hz screen refresh rate. Which is better than some of the best-selling gaming monitors in the country. To elaborate further, this screen refreshes 90 times per second. Some of its competition does half of that.
OnePlus calls it Fluid viewing experience and we loved every bit of it. HDR10+ tech is also part of the package which works seamlessly. We played a lot of games like Asphalt 9 and Alto’s Odyssey on it and the screen just kept throwing great sharp graphics back at us. We must say a very immersive experience indeed. Watching videos too is a pleasant experience, especially if you are watching FHD+ content. The daylight legibility of the touchscreen is nice, however, when in auto mode the screen does go very dark at times. Which makes it hard to read and one has to come back to manual screen mode.
The text on the screen is crisp and one can see no lag when apps pop open or when you swipe around on the home screens or app drawer. Which made us wonder has OnePlus put all its eggs in one “display” basket? The answer is No, they have not. They have done some incredible things all around and thanks to their listening habit (to the community), the OnePlus 7 Pro is a great collaboration between the fans and the company.
Since it is an all display smartphone you find an elevating selfie camera on the front with the large ear speaker grille being pushed upwards towards the edge of the panel. The Curved display merges into the metal sideband, which has the power button with a dedicated ringer slider key on the right and the volume rocker keys on the left. At the bottom, OnePlus 7 Pro has the 2 Nano SIM card tray, the USB type C charging port and the speaker grille.
The craftsmanship can be seen on the front as well as the back of the OnePlus 7 Pro. The chrome plated metal sideband also holds another 3D corning gorilla glass, this time at the back, firmly in place. The form factor does remind you of what Samsung has been doing with its Galaxy S and Note series since the past few years, nevertheless is refreshing to see with no notch or punch holes on the OnePlus 7 Pro.
The back is dressed in Nebula blue colour, which gives a gradient like effect. One can find dark ink blue at the top to a lighter shade of blue towards the bottom. The smartphone is available in a couple of other colours too and we did find the Almond white version to be quite attractive as well. At the back, you will also find a triple rear camera bump (vertically stacked), with an LED flash and OnePlus branding under it.
The phablet does take time getting used to since it is larger than others in the category and does take an extra bit of space in the trouser pocket. However, once you are comfortable with this giant, you will find a gentler side to it.
Performance and Cameras
When it comes to performance, we have to start with the dragon. OnePlus 7 Pro is the first smartphone to sport the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset. This is the top-of-the-line CPU from the company and is supposed to be 30% faster than the SD 845. Not that we needed the extra boost over the 845, but hey what the heck anything that will enable us to the get the kill faster in PUBG is always welcomed. The clock speed of the new CPU can go up to 2.84GHz. Also, graphics are powered by a 640 Adreno GPU. Together they do make up for a killer combination, but hey that is just half of the story.
With it the OnePlus 7 Pro has a whopping 12GB RAM. Side note, there are 6GB and 8GB versions available too at a lesser price. On the 12GB variant, users get 256GB of storage, which is not expandable since there is no microSD card slot available on the device. UFS 3.0 is supported on this smartphone, which basically means you can transfer files and photos from and to the mobile from any computing device very-very quickly.
Also, what OnePlus has done is put in a liquid cooling system on the chipset that keeps the CPU and GPU cool at all times. We tested this feature out further and found it to be great on most occasions. However, when playing in hot climates like New Delhi the top part of the rear does get a bit warm. Which is not the case when you are playing indoors or in an air-conditioned car.
As for the battery, that has got a boost too, now you get a 4,000 mAh battery on the OnePlus 7 Pro, which is a bump of 300 mAh over OnePlus 6T. This is united with Warp Charging, which we saw in the OnePlus 6T McLaren edition as well. What it essentially does is gives you 48% of charge in just 20 minutes. That is almost 12-16 hours of battery life (under nominal use) in just 20 minutes. When fully charged we were able to keep it alive for 32 hours straight. This involved a lot of phone calls, WhatsApp exchanges and hour or two of Asphalt 9 sessions and GPS navigation. All of it with WiFi and 4G enabled.
A fast in display fingerprint reader does a comeback in this smartphone too and a new vibration mode has been added as well. Talking about which the indisplay fingerprint reader is much faster than its predecessor. It is the fastest that we have seen so far in any smartphone.
Over that, screen gestures and navigation swipes comeback to the OnePlus 7 Pro as well. These work really well and as an avid user of the OnePlus 6T, we felt right at home. For the unknown, one can get rid of the bottom navigation buttons and instead use gestures like swiping up from the bottom right or left to go back. Swiping up from the bottom middle to exit an app and swiping up in the same manner and holding will pop out the recently used apps. Again, once you get used to this, there is no going back as it gives you a better edge to edge screen experience.
Moving to the Audio part, this smartphone comes with Dolby Atmos surround sound experience since the speaker at the bottom and the ear speaker grille act as stereo speakers. Giving the user better resonance. Like the screen, the sound is very immersive too. Together they make up for a killer combo at the price point.
The operating system on the OnePlus 7 Pro is Android 9 Pie with the latest Oxygen OS 9.5 that has all the goodies like a separate app drawer. The Experience of the Oxygen OS is very close to stock Android and you get almost no bloatware on the device except for few Amazon and Google native apps. With 12GB RAM, the first impact is of a splendid user experience. The smartphone responds to each tap and swipe with extreme accuracy. The apps open unrealistically quick and one can hardly find any gaps on the OS.
A Zen mode has been added to the mix that locks the mobile for 20 minutes. This is a quick way of digital detox. You will not be able to operate the smartphone for those many minutes. Except you can pick incoming calls and make emergency calls. For connectivity, Bluetooth 5.0, Wifi 802.11, APTX, NFC, GPS and LTE come from the get-go.
We ran the usual barrage of tests on the OnePlus 7 Pro. On GeekBench it scored 3,433 on the Single Core CPU test, 10,733 on multi-core CPU test and 7,455 points on compute test. On Antutu it scored 3,55,473 points that puts it way above the rest in the premium smartphone pack.
Now to talk about another great aspect and first time inside any OnePlus device is the triple rear camera array. This has a 48MP primary camera with Sony IMX586 sensor with 7P lens quality. This is accompanied by an 8MP telephoto lens having an aperture size of 2.4 and an ultra-wide-angle lens with a 16MP sensor and an aperture size of 2.2. Optical image stabilisation is available on the rear cameras and the brilliant nightscape mode, as well as the ability to record 4K videos at 60FPS, are part of the package. For the smart shooter, the Pro mode is also available.
The elevating front camera on the OnePlus 7 pro has an elevating 16MP Sony IMX 471 sensor with an aperture size of 2.0. The company has tested the slide function of the front camera for 300,000 times. That should last you for a very long time without faltering. Also, the sliding camera detects fall. If the camera is out and the phone accidentally slips from your hand, the camera will automatically detect the fall and go back in.
We tested both the cameras in daylight, indoors and at night. The results in daylight as well as indoors (in well-lit conditions) were great and better than the OnePlus 6T. However, the initial tests of the nightscape mode were not very good. We found the OnePlus 6T to be better here.
But after the recent May end update, the nightscape mode has become much better. Same can be said about the selfie camera. We do not use third party apps for camera tests, so the native OnePlus app for both the cameras was tested to its full potential and we were quite happy with the results. The only exception for the selfie app is low light to dark areas where you can see a bit of grain seeping into the images. Other than that, they are right up there with the rest of the competition.
The OnePlus 7 Pro price starts at Rs 48,999 for the 6GB version, Rs 52,999 for the 8GB version and Rs 57,999 for the 12 GB version (the one we reviewed). Yes, these are the costliest flagships from the company but every bit of the price is justified. The latest machinery comes inside a well-packaged skin that not only looks good but is premium to hold. Yes, there are few software chinks in the armour. But as we have seen in the past OnePlus quickly learns and updates its OS so that these go away. With the OnePlus 7 Pro, we have fallen in love with OnePlus all over again. If you have a budget of over 45K, go for it in a blink of an eye.
Excellent Display and looks
Cameras getting better, not the best
Gets a bit warm when playing games for long
Rear panel is a fingerprint magnet
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