OnePlus has gained a strong reputation in the mobile industry for designing devices that are flagship killers. Back in 2013, with devices like the OnePlus One, they tried to reinvent what an affordable smartphone should mean. With top tier specs like other flagships but at a much lower cost.
With every passing year, however, OnePlus has bumped up the prices of their devices with the OnePlus 7 Pro being their most expensive launch yet.
One thing is for certain – The OnePlus 7 Pro is not a flagship killer. It reaches very close to the same price range as other flagship devices like the Samsung Galaxy S10 or Google Pixel. Since it gets so close to other flagships, does the OnePlus 7 Pro have what it takes to beat them when affordability isn’t the main advantage? Let’s find out!
OnePlus 7 Pro Review: Under the scanner.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is unlike any other OnePlus device that has come before it and we don’t mean just the price. What OnePlus has created here is one of the best smartphones of 2020.
The device looks sleek, modern and premium. One look at the device makes it obvious that OnePlus has gone all out this time. It’s quite clear why OnePlus has added the “Pro” tag in this phone’s title. There are no signs of cost-cutting anywhere on this device.
The device comes powered with Qualcomm’s latest processor, a motorized selfie camera, a 90hz highly responsive display and some major improvements to the rear cameras.
Let’s take a closer look into the various aspects of this device.
Display and Design
The screen on the OnePlus 7 Pro is truly a masterpiece. The 6.67inch Fluid AMOLED panel used on the device is huge, looks vibrant and the blacks are deep. There is support for DCI-P3 coverage and HDR10+ along with Corning Gorilla Glass protection.
The biggest upgrade, however, is the “Fluid” 90Hz Refresh Rate of the screen. This makes the device feel smoother than most other Android devices in the market right now. The display rocks a QHD+ 1440×3120 resolution with a 516ppi density.
The bezels are very thin and the display curves around the edges giving the device a very premium feel. There is also a fingerprint sensor under the display that has been improved. It is a larger sensor that improves speed making it one of the fastest ways to unlock your device.
OnePlus has sandwiched the device between glass on the front and back. The frame is made from aluminum and the device feels comfortable to hold. The device also offers many colors that change the way it looks in different lighting conditions.
The buttons on the device are easy to reach and feel tactile. There is also an alert slider on the right which comes in handy when you wish to put the device on silent mode. The slider is textured so that you won’t confuse it with the power button when using the device in dark.
Battery life and camera
Camera: We see a triple camera setup on the back and a motorized pop-up selfie camera in the front. There are a lot of upgrades over the previous generation.
The main sensor at the back is a 48MP Sony IMX586 unit that offers great images with Optical Image Stabilization support. The other two sensors are a 16MP Ultra-wide lens and an 8MP Telephoto unit that offers an impressive 3x optical zoom. You can record 2160p video up to 60fps.
Lighting dark shots is a Dual-LED dual-tone Flash. There is also support for features like Portrait Mode, HDR, etc.
While the rear cameras are impressive, the front offers something a lot more interesting.
In order to achieve the impressive screen-to-body ratio, OnePlus has gone with a motorized selfie popup camera system. The camera pops up from the top of the device whenever you need to take a selfie and goes back in when you’re done. It is a 16MP unit with auto HDR support. It can also record 1080p video at 30fps.
Since this is a moving part there are concerns of wearing out the camera mechanism. OnePlus has done durability tests which rate the camera to handle up to 150 movements every day for 5.5 years. While this is impressive, OnePlus still recommends not using the selfie camera too often for things like face unlock.
Battery: Powering the OnePlus 7 Pro is a 4000mAh Li-Po Battery unit. We are glad to see that OnePlus has bumped up the capacity from the previous generation. This will also help considering that the screen size is also bigger.
The device isn’t a battery champ but will easily last you through a workday. OnePlus’s Warp Charge is also impressively fast. This is supported when used with their 30W charger. There is, however, no support for wireless charging.
Hardware & Software
OnePlus devices have an impressive reputation for speed. The 7 Pro only takes this up another level with an extremely responsive display and one of the fastest processors in 2020. The device also offers a huge 12GB RAM variant to do some seriously heavy multitasking on your smartphone. There are also premium improvements done like a better haptic engine and better audio. Let’s take a deeper look.
At the heart of the OnePlus 7 Pro lies Qualcomm’s latest flagship processor – The Snapdragon 855. This is one of the most powerful processors in the market and it shows. The OnePlus 7 Pro handles any tasks you throw at it with ease and great responsiveness thanks to the 90Hz screen.
This chipset is built on the 7-nanometer process making it more efficient than the previous generation. It has 1 x 2.84 GHz Kryo 485 core, 3 x 2.42 GHz Kryo 485 cores and 4 x 1.80 GHz Kryo 485 cores. There are no heating issues and the device is also more efficient with power consumption.
Geekbench results show us that the device keeps up with most 2020 flagships. There is at least a 20% speed improvement than the previous generation. There are no heating issues on the device or freezing under heavy loads.
B) RAM & Storage
The basic variant of the OnePlus 7 Pro comes with 6GB RAM and 128GB Storage. The higher variant offers 8GB RAM and 256GB. OnePlus also offers a crazy 12GB RAM variant with 256GB Storage as well. We recommend the 6GB RAM model for most normal use. But if you need the higher storage then you can go with the 8GB+256GB model. The 12GB RAM variant would be needed only if you do very heavy multitasking.
OnePlus has also provided UFS 3.0 Storage. This makes the 7 Pro one of the first devices to have this upgrade. UFS 3.0 provides faster-read write times which means you can transfer data faster to your phone. This will also help improve how fast your phone starts or loads apps.
There is no MicroSD support so we recommend going with the 256GB variant if you require a lot of space. This is since there would be no way to expand the local storage later on.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is not a gaming-focused device. There are no extra lights on the phone or bulky designs meant for gamer aesthetics. However, that doesn’t mean the OnePlus 7 Pro can’t game. In fact, it is one of the best devices in 2020 for Android gaming.
The graphics are handled by Qualcomm’s latest GPU – The Adreno 640. This will be able to play any game on the Google Play Store. Heavy titles like PubG or Asphalt 9 will run easily on this device without any major lag or slowdown.
OxygenOS does a good job at preventing the phone from getting bogged down with unnecessary services. This helps keep the RAM free for games so there are no chances of crashes due to low RAM.
OnePlus also offers a special mode in OxygenOS that gamers will appreciate. The “Fnatic” mode is designed to make the device focus mainly on the game that’s running. This helps reduce any changes of lag which is important especially in competitive multiplayer titles.
D) Communications & Sensors
Poor wireless systems in 2020 on your smartphone can cause many issues. This is why making sure that the device you wish to buy has all the necessary wireless features is important.
OnePlus has provided Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS with dual-band support, NFC support and Bluetooth 5.0. All necessary sensors are also present including the fingerprint reader under the display, compass and gyro. However, there is no FM Radio.
The fingerprint sensor has also been improved and provides up to 64% faster unlock speed over the previous generation.
Sadly, there is no 3.5mm headphone jack on the device. This is, however, expected as most flagships in 2020 don’t provide one either. OnePlus has included an adapter if you would like to use wired headphones on the device.
There is a Type-C port at the bottom that is based on USB3.1 that offers better transfer speeds.
E) Haptics & Sound
OnePlus has done many improvements to enhance the audio listening experience on the 7 Pro. There is now a dual speaker setup to provide clear stereo audio. This will help you hear the device better in noisy environments like being near a road with heavy traffic. YouTube and movie watching experience will also be more immersive with stereo speakers.
Something that is often ignored when planning to buy a smartphone is its haptic feedback quality. This is the vibration that you get when typing or when getting notifications. The reason this is often ignored is because most smartphones don’t offer a good vibration quality except for some premium Android Flagships and iPhones.
OnePlus however, has provided a new vibration motor in the 7 Pro giving more powerful feedback on every touch. This new haptic engine provides a more natural feel when typing or even when playing games.
OxygenOS from OnePlus is one of the best Custom UI’s for Android.
Unlike other Custom UI’s such as Samsung Experience, MIUI, etc. which slow down with unnecessary features, OnePlus keeps things clean and fast.
OxygenOS manages to stay as fast as, if not faster than Google’s highly optimized Pixel devices. There is no unnecessary bloatware that can’t be uninstalled. Most of the features that OnePlus has added are useful and provide a better user experience overall.
OnePlus 7 Pro comes with Oxygen OS 9 based on Android 9.0 Pie. OnePlus has also given timely updates to their devices and security updates are also provided.
Besides from being clean and lightweight, OxygenOS also offers some extra customization to the appearance of the interface. This includes changing the accent color and also a dark mode which can help when using the device at night.
OnePlus has done many things right with the 7 Pro. However, it competes in a different territory than OnePlus generally has targeted. This is not a cheap device so we can’t give it the “Flagship Killer” title anymore. Its younger sibling, The OnePlus 7 would fit this title better as the device is much more affordable.
That being said, the 7 Pro is still more affordable than most 2020 flagships out there. It is also one of the fastest Android phones in 2020. If you don’t mind the missing wireless charging then this is a great choice. So, while we can’t call this device a “Flagship Killer”, It does gain the title of one of the best Android flagships in 2020.
OnePlus 7 Pro Review: Should you buy?
If you are looking to buy a flagship device to get the best smartphone experience in 2019 then the OnePlus 7 Pro is a great choice. The device will provide you with a great overall experience and also be more affordable while doing so.
However, if you want the very best cameras then Google’s Pixel lineup may have better but more expensive offerings. But if you need the best phone overall in 2019, then the OnePlus 7 Pro is for you.