This is the new OnePlus 7 Pro. OnePlus is a company that has really built up a cult following over the years. Their shtick has always been making phones that don’t cost as much as a typical iPhone or Samsung Galaxy but do punch way above their weight class.
This year, with this phone, OnePlus decided to just go all-out and make a flagship. But it’s still a little bit cheaper than the competition. And you know what? They’ve pretty much pulled it off. So, right at the jump, here are the prices. The base model is $670, the middle one is $700 and that’s the one that T-Mobile is selling and then there’s a top-end spec beast for $750.
They come in gray, almond, and this one, nebula blue. The 7 Pro is a really large Android phone. Like, kind of huge. It has a gigantic OLED display. But the thing that most people
are probably going to notice about it is the selfie camera, which pops up with a little motor, like this. OnePlus calls it “Fluid AMOLED,”. But they can’t decide whether it’s 6.67 inches or 6.46 inches because it’s different depending on whether or not you count the rounded corners.
It’s also super tall, with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio. Look, it’s just really big is what I’m getting at. But what’s special about it is that it not only goes edge to edge, but it also curves around the sides just like a Galaxy phone. And just like a Galaxy phone, it looks great. It gets really bright, and it gives you lots of options for calibrating the colors. There’s no notch, of course, thanks to that pop-up selfie camera.
But OnePlus has included a feature that’s still pretty rare on phones: a high, 90Hz refresh rate. I know you can’t really see it on the video here, but in person it’s awesome. It’s the thing that instantly separates the 7 Pro from almost every other phone, except for weird gaming phones. And the 7 Pro will ratchet that refresh rate down in apps where it doesn’t make sense, like when you’re watching videos for example.
The resolution of the screen will also dynamically ratchet itself down to match the video content. While the phone has Quad HD, it’s 3120 by 1440, it will drop down to 1080p when it needs to in Netflix or YouTube. There’s also a Night Mode, it blocks blue light, and there’s a Reading Mode that gray scales the entire screen. You might think that some of this stuff is a little gimmicky, but it kind of does matter. I really did use the Reading Mode and I definitely notice the smoothness when I’m scrolling. This screen looks great and it has features you can’t get on even more expensive phones.
Also, under that screen is another one of my favorite features, the fingerprint sensor. It’s way faster and more reliable than last year’s OnePlus 6T, and it’s also way faster than the Galaxy S10’s ultrasonic sensor. OnePlus stuck with an optical sensor, but it made it much bigger and more responsive. The screen does have to light up to scan your thumb, so that looks a little bit weird, and you might have issues with wet fingers, but I haven’t had any problems with it at all. You can even choose faster animations if you want to speed it up more. It’s just fast and it’s super easy to use.
Spec-wise, you’ve got a Snapdragon 855 driving the thing. And depending on which model you buy, you’re going to get 6, 8, or 12GB of RAM. This one’s got 12. And it’s going to have either 128 or 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage, which is faster than what you’d get on a lot of phones. Look, it’s fast, the whole thing feels fast. And I have had way fewer app restarts than usual. Performance is no problem.
The speakers sound okay, they’re much better than the ones on the older OnePlus phones, but they do get a little bit chippy at max volume. Battery life, though, is even better. I’m getting through a full day super easy and often a good way through the second day. Standby time is also just ridiculously good, probably because OnePlus is a little bit more aggressive about turning stuff off when it thinks you’re not using the phone.
I really like OnePlus’ custom version of Android, too. It’s called OxygenOS. It’s based on Android 9 Pie, and it’s filled with nice little touches without being overbearing. And it gives you a ton of customization options. You can set gestures up to get around, so swipe up for home or swipe up on the side to go back. You can turn on a “Zen mode” that locks you out of your phone for 20 minutes so you can go look at a damn tree or something.
There are very simple theming options. There’s a game mode that’s way less annoying than Samsung’s game mode. This is the part of the review where you say “What about the camera?” Because that’s the rule with Android phones. Unless it’s a Pixel or a Galaxy, they fall down on the camera. The camera’s always disappointing, right? Nope! I think people are going to be really happy with this camera. Actually, all four of them. There are three on the back.
A standard lens that’s technically 48 megapixels, but mostly outputs 12-megapixel images unless you go into a special mode. There’s also an 8-megapixel telephoto lens that does 3x zoom, and a 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle. And of course, there’s a pop-up selfie camera, which has 16 megapixels. Maybe you’re worried about this motorized selfie camera, moving parts are always a thing that can break. OnePlus says it’s rated for 300,000 uses, which, okay. It does auto-retract if it detects a sudden movement, like a drop. Sort of like a spooked prairie dog on top of your phone.
I can’t promise you that it won’t break, but it seems fine to me. The selfie camera, it’s not as good as I had hoped, but it’s passable. You just have to remember to change the default away from mirrored selfies so you’re not looking at your evil twin all the time. Here’s the news for the main camera. The shots are good, but to my eye, not quite as nice as a Pixel 3. But it’s very close, and I’m betting that some people are going to tell me that they prefer the OnePlus. It makes different choices. The images are warmer and just way less contrasty than the Pixel. I sort of prefer the Pixel’s sharper look and color choices, they seem more photographic to me. But the 7 Pro’s main camera is solid.
On a technical level, the telephoto and wide-angle cameras are just not quite as good, but they’re a hell of a lot of fun, especially when you’re outdoors with good light. You can usually trust them to get something decent and I do love having all this versatility. But if you want the best-quality shot, you should use the main camera. The OnePlus 7 Pro also does a bunch of the camera tricks that you’d expect on a modern camera. It does instant HDR by using all of those 48 megapixels in parallel instead of sequentially. It’s got a night mode that brightens things up pretty well, but it’s not the magic that you’re going to get out of the Huawei P30 Pro or the Pixel’s Night Sight. Portrait mode is about as good as everybody else’s, which is to say it’s fine as long as you don’t zoom in too much. And there’s a pro mode that I really like. It has OIS and EIS, and it can shoot up to 4K at 60 fps or 1080p at 240 frames for slow motion. Here’s the bottom line on the camera: OnePlus did the thing that they needed to do, the camera should not stop you from buying this.
Okay, but what might stop you from buying this phone? Actually, fewer things than I expected. It doesn’t have an IP rating for water resistance. OnePlus is trying to do this thing where they say it’s not worth the money to get the official certification. But you know what? It is. We actually want to know how scary water is for this phone. It also doesn’t have wireless charging. OnePlus says it has this custom Warp charger that can charge it up super fast, and it can. But I like wireless charging, even if it is slow.
Also, did I mention that it’s big? It’s big. And heavy. More than anything, that’s probably why it’s not for me and it might be a deal breaker for a lot of other people. But if you like big phones, it should not be a deal breaker for you. What else? Oh, there’s no headphone jack. I mean, come on, did you really think there would be a headphone jack?
So that’s the OnePlus 7 Pro. It’s a spec monster. And sometimes with phones that are spec monsters, I get a little bit nervous. It’s often a sign that the fit and finish end up being an afterthought. The software is really well thought out, the ringer switch is still here and I still love it, and things like battery life, performance, and camera are all very impressive. If you want a big Android phone, I’m sort of hard-pressed to think why you’d get a Galaxy S10 Plus or Pixel 3 XL instead of the OnePlus 7 Pro. This has a screen to match or better those phones and the cameras are in the same ballpark and I don’t really see a performance gap, either.
The bottom line is that the OnePlus 7 Pro proves that great phones don’t need to cost $1,000. Hey, thank you so much for watching. And you know, I think the story of this phone was really the screen and the camera. And let me know in the comments, which of those is more important to you?