There were surely times in OnePlus where a device like OnePlus 7 Pro looked like it was just a dream. Even in a quick growing market, OnePlus has continued their “Never Settle” motto, which has led us to their latest release – the OnePlus 7 Pro.
This is exactly a true out-and-out flagship with specifications, build and price tag that really match with the biggest in the industry. The OnePlus 7 Pro has everything to be included in a flagship phone and even has the ability to win the big companies, such as Apple, Samsung, LG, at their own game.
This is a handset that includes everything the company could fit in this flagship phone, a true step into the “big time”. While it is a small disappointment that we’re seeing the company go away from their usual no compromise roots, it is actually for the good as the OnePlus 7 Pro steps up and sets the bar high up for the other 2019 phones to follow.
Design & Hardware
This is the area where the OnePlus 7 Pro has seen the most and biggest upgrades since the current 6T line. It surely goes from a well-designed phone and a good-looking device to a model that feels a lot like you touch and use a Samsung Galaxy S9 and Oppo Find X, OnePlus really did a great job for this model and this automatically sets the meter high up.
When you hold it, you cannot think anything else more than comparing it to the older Samsung devices. The curved glass shape and weight are so close and not in the bad way the Samsung Galaxy S9 handset is designed, but it feels gorgeous on hand. The weight feels much more consistent with the OnePlus 7 Pro, though the 6T was a little top heavy.
For those with small hands, the edges can be a little slippery and harder to grip effectively, but that’s not the case. The well-designed bezels are smoothed out and comfortable to hold.
Talking about the back glass of the phone, it firstly comes in a few distinct colors. The Nebula Blue option look gorgeous in person, fading from a lighter blue to a darker, almost purple sheen. Different lighting changes the way the back of the phone looks like, and it is a very striking option.
The company uses the same technique that used to create the limited edition Thunder Purple OnePlus 6T that we saw at the end of last year. That was a great looking device with metallic bezels and edges, but the Nebula Blue OnePlus 7 Pro takes it a step further still.
I didn’t have much time to take the Mirror Gray or Almond ones in my hands, but they look better in person than in press renders. The Almond colors are featuring a fine line between rese gold and light brown, whereas the Mirror Gray retains the shiny smokey black we’ve seen on the 6 and 6T before.
The shinny edges also feature another secret on this almost “all-display” device: a pop-up selfie camera. To remove the display notch, OnePlus has done something Oppo has done before, opted for a hidden facing camera that appears from within the body of the device. For users that don’t usually use the selfie camera, this really saves space on the screen.
The whole camera mechanism is great, but it is louder than anticipated. There is a definite sound when opening the camera and it moves up and down on the edge of the screen. You must be careful when practising to open it though.
For those wondering, the OnePlus 7 Pro has a built-in “drop detection” mode. When falling off your hands, the camera will retract automatically and save any potential damage.
When talking about the lack of notch and the display, I can only say that it’s simply gorgeous. Big, bright and great viewing angles and that 90hz refresh rate makes it feel silk. After a long time of using this phone, I couldn’t just use the other low refresh rate phones with such an amazing panel.
It is not just the display that is great, also the haptics are amazing on this device. The Pixel 3 haptics are currently the best Android ones, but I can say now that I am leaning towards the OnePlus 7 Pro having the best, although the iPhone XS still has it beat in my opinion.
One thing that I’m sad about, is that in the box there is no room left for a USB-C headphone port adapter. OnePlus did everything to allow this option for the 6T last year, but there is no love for this model this year. If you like, you can pick one up from Amazon to plug in a 3.5mm audio cable in future.
Software & Performance
The OnePlus 7 Pro has the top-tier Snapdragon 855 CPU packed inside it too. The super CPU plus the inclusion of 12GB RAM in my review unit and the lightweight OxygenOS makes for performance that is unrivaled on the market right now. The whole handset is blazing and it performs exceptionally.
I did experience the odd problem of Wi-Fi connectivity, but the problem was solved with a pre-release software update. That didn’t hold me back though, as I used it everyday like a hot knife through butter. The combination of the new UFS 3.0 superfast internal storage means that apps load so quickly that splash loading screens are barely seen.
Everything in the performance section feels slick and undoubtedly smooth. The 12GB RAM also helps and feels like overkill as it keeps apps in a permanent state of stasis, ready to resume in mere moments. I am only negative about the apps that load exactly to the same point when I left them, as I was used to open the apps and automatically relaunch. On hand, it is just satisfying to browse through the apps and everything on this device.
Even though the Pixel 3 XL has the latest Android Q beta 3 installed with the new animation and smoother performance features and has a great display too, it feels more slower than the OnePlus 7 Pro running so smooth on the display and much faster.
The whole performance of the OnePlus 7 Pro is great and generally stunning. I can’t currently imagine another phone being so fast and smooth on the animations and performance generally.
As this is a brand new device for the company, we don’t currently have a battery bump per se, but going from a 3,700mAh battery on the 6T to a 4,000mAh one on the 7 Pro is a wise decision. The QHD+ display with the higher refresh rate with no doubt needs energy to power.
I can’t say my impressions of the battery life just yet, but I can say that my thoughts are mixed. Usually, the first day of getting the new device, it depletes faster as you go through the setup process. In the days since I’ve had screen on time in depends to say the least.
It’s not a trusty thing to say, yet, but it’s something to start from and it depends on the overall usage. General texting, calling, email and social media usage pose no problems. I have had the screen on time reach the high six-hour mark with such basic usage. Heading out to take photos, use the GPS with Google Maps and sometimes watching Netflix/YouTube, the battery depleted in a higher rate – as I expected. While out, I managed the low four-hour mark.
I currently think that the RAM usage will learn my activity throughout the time a little better. At the moment, though, I am saving my opinion until I get a little more time with the device.
On a side where OnePlus 7 Pro has truly taken big steps away is the camera array. We’ve seen that previous OnePlus devices have had solid camera systems in the past, they truly lacked the overall performance. The OnePlus 7 Pro camera has a fantastic setup with a lot of features for a photographer or a videographer.
The new 48-megapixel main sensor uses pixel-binning tech to produce impressive 12-megapixel shots that have solid dynamic range and color reproduction. They are not at the top-tier, but I would say that they compete and stack up well against the best in the business.
The 3x telephoto zoom can produce excellent images and even when using the 10x digital zoom, you can get respectable results. To say the right thing, it doesn’t quite stack up against the Huawei P30 Pro’s telephoto images. The camera also got improved and tweaked on the Nightscape 2.0. Although, the Nightscape has improved and it feels better than it was before, it can’t get close to the Night Sight and Huawei’s Night Mode.
The pop-up selfie camera is pretty good after a short usage. The software blur added isn’t perfect when using the portrait modes but you get crisp, clear and petty color accurate selfies out of the hiding camera system.
Video is one area where I feel that the OnePlus 7 Pro is ahead of many other options out there. The inclusion of OIS and EIS even at 4K 60fps is bound to be a massive attraction. The dual-pixel autofocus is also a dream to use when in video modes. You can be confident that you’ll have perfectly focused video and in buttery smooth form.
Even after a short time having it in my hands, I can pretty much say that the OnePlus 7 Pro has the whole package. While we have improvements on the camera, I can’t say that it competes with the Huawei’s P30 Pro camera. That said, the rest of the package is exceptional.
To move from the often-cited “budget flagship” range to the genuine top-tier premium flagship with such ease is no mean feat. While I feel the OnePlus 7 Pro might arguably be on of the devices to beat at this stage of 2019, diehard OnePlus fans may be concerned that the ‘flagship killer’ is heading straight into the flagship segment — especially where pricing is concerned.
The release of the standard OnePlus 7 might be enough to quell initial concerns, but how will OnePlus sustain a potential four device per year release schedule?
Those concerns aside, even after a relatively brief hands-on time with the OnePlus 7 Pro, it looks to be a successful step-up into the segment that for years the company has sniped at and made jokes of since inception. It seems that the OnePlus approach to killing the flagship is simply to become one.
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