OnePlus 7 Review: Same as the 6T. But on steroids.

OnePlus is a Chinese smartphone manufacturer based in Shenzhen, the technological heart of China. They have expanded in more than 30 countries since their launch in 2013. Devices like the OnePlus One revolutionized what a flagship means. Bringing us the best mobile experience possible while being much more affordable than typical flagships.

The OnePlus 6T was the company’s 2018 flagship device. It gave us one of the fastest android experiences on the market without breaking the bank. This year in 2020, OnePlus has come out with two devices: The OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro.

The OnePlus 7 tries to be more budget friendly while offering a flagship experience. The 7 Pro is a new series that is more expensive than any OnePlus device to come before it. Unlike previous devices, the 7 Pro aims to be an affordable flagship but not an affordable flagship killer.

Let’s see if the OnePlus 7 has what it takes to succeed the OnePlus 6T.

OnePlus 7 Review: Under the Scanner.

Quick Highlights

On paper, the OnePlus 7 looks a lot similar to the OnePlus 6T that came out last year. This, however, is not a bad thing as the 6T was a great combination at an affordable rate. OnePlus has also done many improvements under the hood to make this device faster than ever.

An added bonus is this device launches at an even cheaper rate than the 6T’s launching price. We will now take a deep look into the OnePlus 7 and see if has what it takes to be a flagship killer.

Display and Design

Oneplus 7 - Display and design

The front of the OnePlus 7 rocks an impressive 6.41inch Optic AMOLED Display. This is one of the best-looking displays on the market with impressive blacks and vibrant colors. The display resolution is 1080×2340 and offers good viewing angles and color reproduction with a DCI-P3 color gamut coverage.

The phone is sandwiched between glass on the front and back. The device’s frame is made with aluminum giving it a premium feel. This is not a completely bezel-less screen like the OnePlus 7 Pro but the small sized notch at the top gives us impressively thin bezels. There is also Corning Gorilla Glass protection.

The buttons on the device feel tactile with the volume rocker on the left and power button on the right. There is also an alert slider on the right that lets you put the device on silent mode easily. The alert slider has been textured to easily differentiate it from the power button which is good attention to detail from OnePlus.

The fingerprint reader is under the display like last year’s OnePlus 6T. OnePlus has updated its specs with a new sensor that is even larger and has an additional lens for faster unlocks.

Battery life and camera

Oneplus 7 - Battery life and camera

Camera: One major upgrade that OnePlus has done to the 7 is its cameras.

The device sports a dual camera setup at the back with an amazing 48MP f/1.7 main sensor that has support for Optical Image Stabilization. The secondary camera is a 5MP depth sensor. There is also a dual LED flash and support for HDR, Panorama, etc.

The results are impressive with OIS offering steady shots even when there is movement. This is a great upgrade overall letting you take impressive shots.

At the front of the device we get a 16MP f/2.0 wide lens for selfies. This is a good camera that offers decent portrait shots for selfie lovers out there.

OnePlus offers a great fast camera experience with massive improvements over the previous generation. While this won’t provide you with the same quality as camera centric phones like Google’s Pixel series, it still offers great shots at a great value.

Battery: Powering the OnePlus 7 is a 3700mAh Li-Po battery.

The AMOLED display coupled with excelled optimization in Oxygen OS gives the OnePlus 7 great battery life. The device also supports 20W Fast Battery Charging.

Hardware & Software

Oneplus 7 - Hardware and software

Hardware performance

The OnePlus 6T was a very fast phone. OnePlus aims to surpass that with an updated top of the line Snapdragon processor. The base variant comes with 6GB RAM which is great for multitasking. The OnePlus 7 ticks all the boxes of what makes a fast phone and will handle anything you throw at it.

A) Processor

OnePlus 7 comes with Qualcomm’s best. The Snapdragon 855 is a performance beast offering one of the fastest processors on the market.  The processor has 1×2.84 GHz Kryo 485 core, 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 485 cores and 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 485 cores.

This chip is built on the 7-nanometer process making it more efficient than the previous generation. This helps with power consumption and also can reduce heating on the device.

Oneplus 7 - Geekbench score

Geekbench results show us that OnePlus 7 is at least 20% faster than the previous generation Snapdragon 845. This makes it one of the fastest Android devices in 2020. The device doesn’t heat too much during gaming and there are no freezing issues.

The device offers a smooth experience and does not slow down even under heavy use. It stays head to head with flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S10, Google Pixel 3, etc.

B) RAM & Storage

The OnePlus 7 comes with 6GB RAM and 128GB Storage in the base variant. There is also a higher storage variant that comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB Storage. There is no microSD card slot here but both variants offer plenty of storage for most of your needs.

The storage is based on UFS 3.0, this is faster than the previous gen and one of the first devices to offer this in 2020. Faster storage will offer not only better transfer speeds when copying data but also better app loading times.

The 6GB RAM variant will easily handle multitasking and offer plenty of storage for most apps. However, if you wish to do heavy multitasking and store a lot of data then we recommend the 8GB RAM variant that offers 256GB Storage.

C) Gaming

The OnePlus 7 is not a device made especially for gaming but it can handle any game on the Google Play Store with ease.

Under the hood lies the Adreno 640 GPU for all your graphics needs. This is Qualcomm’s fastest graphics chip in 2020 and will offer you with great gaming experience.

OnePlus’s Oxygen OS is also very efficient for games and does not take up unnecessary resources that could lead to slowdowns in games. This device will be able to play all heavy games like Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds or Asphalt 9 at a good framerate on high settings.

There is also a “Fnatic” mode designed by OnePlus 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

In the digital age having all the necessary communication systems in your smartphone is important. This can be an up to date Wi-Fi antennas with dual-band support for better range, a strong GPS system for easier traveling, etc.

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 Type-C port at the bottom is based on USB3.1 for faster transfers.

Sadly, there is no 3.5mm headphone jack here but OnePlus provides a 3.5mm to Type-C adapter if you would like to use wired headphones.

E) Haptics & Sound

Speakers play a key role in your smartphone experience. No one likes to miss a call because they didn’t hear the phone ring in a noisy environment. A low-quality speaker will also spoil the experience of watching movies or YouTube videos.

OnePlus has a new stereo speaker system on the OnePlus 7. This not only provides louder sound but also gives a much more immersive listening experience. There is also support for Dolby Atmos audio. There is also aptX HD audio support when used with supported wireless Bluetooth devices.

The vibration quality of a device is often ignored. However, this is not only a way to be notified of calls and messages. A bad vibration motor will give harsh vibrations for things like key presses, a good one can simulate the feel of pressing an actual button and provide a great typing experience.

OnePlus provides us with good vibration feedback. This gives a good user experience in many places like typing, gaming, notifications, etc.

Software Experience

Oneplus 7 - Software Oxygen OS

The software experience is one of OnePlus’s strongest aspects.

OxygenOS offers one of the fastest and smoothest experiences. It is one of the best optimized Custom UI’s of Android with speed and simplicity being the top priority. It manages to stay as fast as, if not faster than Google’s highly optimized Pixel devices.

Unlike some Custom UI’s like MIUI or Samsung Experience which try to pack in every possible feature which results in a bogged down experience. OnePlus keeps Oxygen OS lightweight while adding only the features that are useful and improve the user experience.

The devices are also kept up to date and the OnePlus 7 comes with Oxygen OS 9 based on Android 9.0 Pie. Security updates are also provided to keep the device safe from security threats.

Overall Verdict

Oneplus 7 - Overall verdict

We see a great combination of hardware and software in the OnePlus 7. It offers some of the best hardware on Android giving us most of the features you would expect in a flagship device. Some cut downs are done like not including wireless charging but this helps in keeping the device much more affordable than other flagships.

OnePlus however, hasn’t cut down on important aspects like performance, an AMOLED screen or the build quality of the device.

OnePlus 7 Review: Should you buy?

If you are looking for a smartphone in the 30K-40K price range then OnePlus has one of the best devices. The OnePlus 7 provides performance that easily rivals much more expensive flagship devices. The device also manages to stay faster than most of its competition in the long run.

The affordable price and the potential for long term use due to its strong specs makes the OnePlus 7 a great choice. Especially if you need a flagship level Android device that is fast and don’t mind a few extra missing features like IP rated waterproofing or wireless charging.

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