REVIEW: OnePlus 7 Pro
When a company that’s been known for incredible value for money steps into the flagship space, should it be treated like a premium brand or should its existing brand image hold? Should we expect more than what it usually delivers?
You could say that OnePlus’ foray into this space began with last year’s 6T, McLaren edition etc, and from 2019 onwards there’s no going back. With the OnePlus 7 Pro, the company can no longer sell on the “value” standpoint. It has to deliver everything that premium brands like Samsung, Huawei, Apple etc. do. So, with all that in mind, here is our review of the OnePlus 7 Pro.
Build & Design
It might have a slightly wider footprint than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S10+ but with its borderless, curved screen and all-glass design, the OnePlus 7 Pro is a gorgeously designed phone with a great screen too. Colours are correctly balanced, touch latency is as low as it gets, animations are smooth and stutter free, and OnePlus even threw in a 90Hz refresh rate, which makes no difference to your day-to-day usage, but checks another box — specs that are “future facing” but of no value today.
Higher refresh rates, theoretically, help in gaming, watching sports etc. But content delivery on smartphones is still largely in the 60Hz range, meaning your 90Hz display is waiting for content creators to catch up.
Lastly, there are three cameras on the back — 48MP, 16MP and 8MP. So, OnePlus has ensured that we can’t deny the flagship chops of the OnePlus 7 Pro. The company even customises its software to perfection, making this the fastest Android phone you can buy today, period. You’ll see this particular opinion being repeated in every review of this phone.
OnePlus’ animations are the smoothest any Android phone can provide, apps launch almost immediately, games like Asphalt 9 and Injustice run without frame drops and unnatural heating, it has enough RAM to stay this fast for long, the works. It’s actually the perfect smartphone as far as speed and smoothness are concerned.
What doesn’t make it to the flagship class though is the camera. That does not mean the phone doesn’t have a good camera. But we were looking for a great camera. That said, It beats the iPhone XS quite consistently though, but then, which Android flagship doesn’t anymore.
To go into a little more detail, OnePlus’ algorithms are adept at handling daylight, dusk, dawn, street lights and more. Below are 4 samples of the varying levels of zoom available on the triple camera set up on the rear of the device:
Where it absolutely fails as a premium camera are tougher conditions, like low and coloured lighting in bars, a streak of yellow CFL light running across your subject’s face, taking portrait photos in low-ish light and so on. It has a Night Sight mode, but there’s no improvement there from the 6T either, if you liked it before you will continue to do so.
The camera also lacks the “smarts” of a Pixel or Huawei camera. It can undoubtedly do well in the hands of more accomplished photographers, and post production can salvage most photos and make them look unreal but as a point-and-shoot camera, you will find yourself grimacing a few more times than you should.
But the camera is undoubtedly the only hitch in an otherwise great premium smartphone. It charges faster than almost every other phone, barring Oppo and its VOOC charging. For the record, OnePlus calls its charging tech “Warp Charge”. The battery lasts a day without fail as well.
One of the cooler and more unique features of the OnePlus 7 is its motorised pop up Selfie camera which can also be used for face unlock. Now, when showing this nifty little party trick to unsuspecting friends, they immediately question the cameras durability but, we’re now a good few months since this device was launched and we’ve yet to hear any horror stories of the pop up section falling off. Selfie quality is respectable and should be more than enough for most users but don’t go expecting to record your next vlog with this thing.
So, should you pick up the OnePlus 7 Pro? There’s really no reason not to, except if you want a better and more dependable camera, or if you have the OnePlus 6T (this isn’t a sizeable upgrade).
The Pixel 3 costs just a bit more, and though it lacks the OnePlus 7 Pro’s speed, display quality, warp charge, and design, it has a camera that beats that device hands down, and Google’s hand of god behind it. The Huawei P30 Pro, on the other hand, matches the 7 Pro in almost everything (except battery charging) and has a better camera, but it’s considerably more expensive.
In the end, what really works in OnePlus’ favour is that flagships today are exorbitantly priced. So, while the company shouldn’t ideally be allowed to tout the “we are cheaper but better” card, it still can. The base variant of the OnePlus 7 Pro has everything most buyers need, so it’s likely the one that will sell the most.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is available on https://www.three.ie/brand/oneplus/7pro/ and in Three stores nationwide. It’s available in Mirror Grey and prices from €219 (128GB) on bill pay and €709.99 (128GB) on prepay. You can also head to OnePlus.com to pick up a SIM free version.