OnePlus 7 Pro Review: A hero phone with a price to match

Chris Burns - May 14, 2019, 11:00 am CDT
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OnePlus 7 Pro Review: A hero phone with a price to match
Editors' Rating: 9/10
Pros
  • Industrial design is fantastic
  • OLED display is amongst best ever
  • Display uninterrupted by cameras/sensors
  • Dual Dolby speakers are loud and clear
  • Rear cameras are highly decent
Cons
  • In-screen fingerprint reader is finicky
  • No waterproofing/dustproofing
  • No headphone jack
  • Not cheap (also a good thing)

Despite the price being highest at the outset, the OnePlus 7 Pro might well be the company’s best value proposition yet. The company is no longer one hell-bent on selling a phone that’s shockingly inexpensive. Instead, the OnePlus 7 Pro is a doorway into the future for the company – a future in which OnePlus is able to offer high-end features in a phone that’s every bit as much a hero as the biggest names in the industry.

Hardware Options

There are several different versions of this phone available, and a couple different colors in the mix at launch. You’ll find both the “Mirror Gray” and the “Nebula Blue” popping up in the USA at launch time – May of 2019. The different models at launch are as follows.

OnePlus 7 Pro in Mirror Gray:
• 6+128 GB – $669 USD
• 8+256 GB – $699 USD
OnePlus 7 Pro in Nebula Blue:
• 8+256 GB – $699 USD
• 12+256 GB – $749 USD

There’s an “Almond” color somewhere out there, too, but good luck finding it at launch in the USA. The version of the phone we’re reviewing today has a Nebula Blue body. The color is lovely IF you decide to use it without a case – which would be madness.

This phone is made of metal and glass, and it has tapered edges both up front and around back. As such, it can be slippery without a case. If you drop this device, it’ll probably crack. It might not, but when you drop something that’s essentially two panes of glass held together by a rim of metal, you should expect some damage.

OnePlus sells several different cases for this phone at launch, and there’s a single basic case in the box. The basic case is rubbery transparent plastic, and it does its job well enough that I probably wouldn’t buy another case unless I found one I couldn’t live without.

Also there’s a screen protector pre-installed on the device’s frontside glass. It’s a great screen protector, but it seems to have let loose on the edges. It’s fine, though, since I generally can’t stand using screen protectors as they get scratch marks far, far too easily.

Display Mastery

I don’t often get excited over a display panel. Each year for the past several years it’s seemed like Samsung Display provided the Galaxy S and/or Note smartphones with the best displays in the market, and there was no real competition otherwise. This year, in a shock move, OnePlus seems to have a display that’s a real competitor.

The OnePlus 7 Pro has a 6.67-inch AMOLED display with QHD+ resolution and an image refresh rate that’s higher than most other phones. They’ve not reached the top-dog Razer Phone with 120Hz display, but they’ve gotten up to 90Hz – which is still a step above most other phones on the market today.

The Razer Phone’s display can show more frames per second than any other smartphone on the market today – but it’s also an LCD. So it’s not as bright or brilliant as a modern AMOLED display. The fastest AMOLED display on a smartphone on the market as of today is 90Hz.

The OnePlus 7 Pro’s display can go toe-to-toe with any other smartphone on the market today. In fact from this moment – at least for the next several months – this is the display that can and should be used as the high water mark for smartphone displays on all mobile devices.

The near-complete full frontal coverage of the display on the body of the phone creates the perfect experience with which to enjoy the quality of the panel. There’s no notch, there’s no hole, there’s no nonsense.

Real-world experience

With any OnePlus smartphone, you’re using Android modified by the developers at OnePlus. The phone has the benefits of Android 9.0 Pie, but it looks just a little bit different from how Google delivered it. A OnePlus phone’s software experience is just a LITTLE different from what you’d get on a Google Pixel.

With the OnePlus 7 Pro, you’re getting what OnePlus calls OxygenOS. This version of OxygenOS is similar enough to Android that you may as well just call it Android – you won’t need to re-learn much of anything if you’ve used an Android smartphone before.

That’s IF you only use the most basic features in the phone. In this version of the OS you get a few bonus bits that are (at the moment) relatively unique on this phone. There’s a “Fnatic mode” for example. That’s this phone’s “gaming mode” boost – which means your notifications/calls are blocked, background apps are restricted, and your secondary SIM (if you have one) is stopped entirely.

The name “Fnatic” isn’t just some craftily deconstructed version of “fanatic”. It’s a reference to the OnePlus team-up with the Fnatic brand. They’ve got an esports game and they’ve got a lifestyle brand that’s plastered on a wide range of clothing and accessories. This goes deeper than I think most OnePlus 7 Pro users will realize (at least at first).

OnePlus also has quick-access setting switches for Reading Mode (grayscale, sorta sepia, easy on the eyes), Zen Mode (deactivates most things for about 20 minutes, so your brain can rest), and a Screen Recorder. These things should be on phones by default, but they’re not – but they are here, so there.

There’s also a switch for quick access to OTG USB (USB data storage access), Data Saver, and VPN (for super private internet action). There’s an Invert Colors button, Cast, and Grayscale. Grayscale is a little confusing because we’ve already got reading mode – but they’re just a TINY bit different. Like gray vs slightly yellowy – both are good for different reasons.

Camera

The camera could stand to see a little improvement in the focus realm when it comes to low-light situations without HDR. Once I turned HDR to manual mode, and ON by default, all photos got REAL sharp, in MOST situations. Other than that, it’s pretty gosh-darned good.

Cameras on OnePlus 7 Pro:
• 48 megapixel sensor with OIS
• 8 megapixel 78mm telephoto lens, f/2.4 aperture, 1μm px size, OIS
• 16 megapixel 117° ultra-wide angle lens with f/2.2 aperture

There’s a switch in the standard camera app that switches between the three different lenses on the back of the phone. If you’re the average smartphone user, chances are you’ll never switch between these modes. If you DO switch between lenses, you’ll be able to get up close to a subject with extreme zoom, or pull back for a wide-angle shot.

Below you’ll see a collection of photos with examples of many different environments and lighting conditions. The widest photos were captured with the phone’s 117-degree Ultra Wide Angle Lens.

The Hidden Camera

The front-facing camera is a pop-up module. It’s a 16MP sensor with f/2.0 aperture and it’s OK. The best part about this front-facing camera is how I’m able to forget it exists. OnePlus suggested they’ve tested the “elevator mechanism” over 300,000 times. So, assuming you’re popping up and down non-stop in a closed-door environment, you can do that over 821 times a day for a year.

If for some reason you want to use this front-facing camera, you’ll be glad to know it has a super neat feature. If you’ve got the front-facing camera raised, and you drop the phone, the phone detects the fall. The phone uses its accelerometer and gyroscope to detect the fall, and JAMS the camera back down as fast as possible – and it really works.

When the camera falls, the camera app pops up the following message: “Free fall detected, the front camera has been lowered. Would you like to use the front camera again?” It’s pretty neat.

Battery Life

Battery life on the OnePlus 7 Pro is incredible. With a full charge, this phone lasts a day and a half without breaking a sweat. When I’m writing this, I charged the phone one day and 4 hours ago, and I’ve got an estimated 12 hours of battery time left – 30% of the full bank. That’s with the phone connected to 4G LTE data with Verizon, too.

This device has a 4,000mAh battery and Warp Charge 30. OnePlus uses what they refer to as “5V/6A low-voltage high-current flash charge technology” to the fastest it’s been in a OnePlus device yet. This newest charging tech also watches the temperature of the device while it charges and somehow, magically, seems to charge at the same speed regardless of if it’s being used while charging – like magic? It’s probably magic.

OnePlus 7

Wait a second, you might be saying, if there’s a OnePlus 7 Pro, that implies there’s a phone with that name without the “pro” component. There is, indeed, a OnePlus 7 out there – but it’s not coming to the United States of America. Instead, you’ll see the OnePlus 7 launch in Europe, India, and China.

OnePlus 7 (non-pro) specs:
• Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
• Display: 1080p panel with tear drop notch
• Camera: Dual Cameras (backside)
• Battery: 3700mAh, OnePlus Fast Charge
• Storage Feature: UFS 3.0
• Speakers: Stereo Speakers

So, very, very similar to what was offered with the OnePlus 6T. They’re so extremely similar that you’d be forgiven for mistaking one for the other. Below you’ll see the OnePlus 7 Pro next to the OnePlus 6T.

According to OnePlus, after receiving “a lot of great feedback on the device,” they decided to extend the life of the OnePlus 6T in the USA. This way, they said, they’d be offering “a premium and an ultra-premium option.” In the USA, you’ll be able to buy the OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 6T both through OnePlus online and through T-Mobile USA carrier stores across the country.

OnePlus 7 Pro Verdict

At last, OnePlus has a phone that’s ready to not just stand on-par with higher-priced phones, it’s able to surpass them. With this phone, OnePlus has a product that’s as good as most any phone on the market today. Is the OnePlus 7 Pro a good phone to buy at launch? With what I and we have experienced with this model, I say yes, it’s well worth the cash.

In addition to the prices listed above, you’ll also now be able to purchase the OnePlus 6T 8 GB + 128 GB for $549 and the OnePlus 6T 8 GB + 256 GB for $599. That’s a price reduction of $30 on both models through OnePlus online. T-Mobile USA will also continue to carry the OnePlus 6T so users in the USA have that option (since OnePlus 7 (non-pro) wont be coming to the USA in any capacity).



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