26.9 C
Kuwait City
May 21, 2019
Gulflance
Home » OnePlus 7 Pro review: The 'flagship killer' is all grown up
Mashable Technology

OnePlus 7 Pro review: The 'flagship killer' is all grown up

Every product here is independently selected by Mashable journalists. If you buy something featured, we may earn an affiliate commission which helps support our work.

OnePlus is all grown up.

After years of walking in the shadows of Apple and Samsung, the Chinese phone maker is stepping into the light and forging a new path with its new Android smartphone, the OnePlus 7 Pro.

There’s plenty to like about the OnePlus 7 Pro. With a premium glass and metal design, a sharper notch-free display, a pop-up selfie camera, a faster and more responsive in-display fingerprint sensor, and a triple-camera system on the rear, the OnePlus 7 Pro has more than enough going for it to earn its “pro” name.

But raising the bar now comes at a much higher cost. Whereas the previous OnePlus 6T started at $549 when it launched, the OnePlus 7 Pro starts at $669.

Don’t get me wrong: The OnePlus 7 Pro’s still a stellar deal when you pit it against phones with similar displays and camera setups — for example, a Galaxy S10+ starts at $999 and iPhone XS Max at $1,099 — but is it punching above its weight class too soon?

I thought so at first, but after putting the phone through its paces for nearly two weeks in  New York City, San Francisco, and Seattle, I’m wowed by how much you get for the money — something that’s nothing new for OnePlus phones.

Sure, there are some things that annoy me, like the lack of IP water and dust resistance and wireless charging. But they’re not a deal breaker. 

OnePlus 7 Pro
$669 (starting)
The Good
  • Buttery smooth and notchless 90Hz display
  • Versatile triple cameras
  • Super fast in-display fingerprint reader
  • Flagship performance
  • High-quality construction
The Bad
  • Still no wireless charging
  • Still no IP water or dust-resistance
  • Questionable pop-up camera durability
  • Priciest OnePlus phone yet
The Bottom Line

The OnePlus 7 Pro is the most expensive OnePlus phone yet, but it’s still a crazy good value for the money.

Mashable Score4

Cool Factor4

Learning Curve4

Performance4

Bang for the Buck4

For $669, you get an entry-level OnePlus 7 Pro with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Bump up the RAM to 8GB and storage to 256GB and the phone balloons to $699. My OnePlus 7 Pro review unit is the priciest model: $749 for 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

These prices seem expensive, but compare them to other flagship smartphones and they’re suddenly a bargain. For example, an iPhone XR costs $749 and comes with 64GB of storage. Meanwhile, a Galaxy S10e also costs $749 and comes with 128GB of storage.

Both of these phones also have smaller screens, fewer rear cameras, and less RAM. I’m aware it’s not a complete apples to apples comparison — the iPhone XR runs iOS and the Galaxy S10e has features like a headphone jack and a capacity fingerprint reader — but if we’re going strictly on pricing, the OnePlus 7 Pro’s features beat the pants off other phones.

The OnePlus 7 Pro comes in three colors. One of them is this “Nebula Blue.”

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

A Familiar Premium Design

From the very OnePlus One to the most recent OnePlus 6T, the company has always trumpeted its industrial design.

I’ve enjoyed watching the brand’s phones evolve from thick bezels and grippy sandstone rears to smooth and sleek glass-and-metal bodies with small notches.

However, looking at the OnePlus 7 Pro, I can’t help but feel like the phone’s on the generic side. The frame is still made of durable metal and the rear from glass, but the new 6.67-inch notch-free display (more on this later) is a carbon copy of the screens Samsung’s been using on its Galaxy phones for years. It also doesn’t help that Huawei’s Mate and P-series phones also sport screens with sides that curve into the frame.

I don’t dislike the design, but I wish OnePlus had given the OnePlus 7 Pro a more original look that would’ve stood out in a crowd of phones. A distinct design isn’t too much to ask for, is it?

My review unit was the “Nebula Blue” version and I really like the way it shimmered at different angles, but there’s also a “Mirror Gray” model at launch if you prefer a less flashy aesthetic. A gold-ish “Almond” version will also be available shortly after launch.

Borrowed design aside, the OnePlus 7 does at least feel really good in the hand. The phone is a bit thicker than the OnePlus 6T, but it’s not too heavy. The metal and glass body is solid and there’s zero flex if you try to bend it.

All of the buttons are high-quality and easily reachable, too. On the right side, there’s a power button and OnePlus’ signature alert slider. The slider was just a little bit too high to comfortably reach on the OnePlus 6T if you didn’t have big hands or long fingers, but the position is just right on the OnePlus 7 Pro. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for the volume rocker on the left side of the phone — it’s positioned higher up on the metal frame than on the OnePlus 6T and not as easy to press.

My only other complaint about the OnePlus 7 Pro’s physical design is the placement of the three cameras on the back. The three cameras are grouped together in a rather elongated pill-like protrusion and, naturally, my index finger keeps rubbing up against the bottom lens.

This was never an issue on the OnePlus 6T because the dual camera’s pill-shaped bump was smaller. On the OnePlus 6, there was a capacitive fingerprint reader in that spot. Samsung’s Galaxy S10 and Huawei’s P30 Pro don’t have this problem because the camera modules are positioned higher or off to the side.

Like the OnePlus 6T, there’s no headphone jack on the OnePlus 7 Pro. I know, it’s still heartbreaking for a lot of people because dongles suck, but it’s 2019 and pretty much all flagship phones (with the exception of Samsung’s Galaxy S10) have ditched the port and embraced wireless headphones.

Apple’s AirPods and even Samsung’s Galaxy Buds work great with the OnePlus 7 Pro. But if spending over $100 isn’t within your budget for wireless headphones, OnePlus is also launching Bullets Wireless 2, neckbuds-style wireless earbuds, for $99. I used them during two flights across country and they sound great for the money with deeper bass and more dynamic range than the first generation wireless buds. The Bullets Wireless 2 battery is good for up to 14 hours of listening time; a single charge got me through both of my 6-hour flights with juice to spare.

The OnePlus 7 Pro’s thicker and heavier than previous OnePlus phones, but still manages to feel solid in the hand.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

Once again, the OnePlus 7 Pro doesn’t come with any IP water or dust resistance, though the body is splash-resistant and the pop-up selfie camera is moisture and dust-proof.

OnePlus’s justification for not including IP certification is simple: It would’ve been an added cost. I get that, but if they’re gonna be so transparent, how much more would adding an IP rating have really added to the OnePlus 7 Pro’s price?

I’m torn on how I feel about this. On the one hand, all flagship phones including the iPhone XS and XR, Galaxy S10, and Google Pixel 3 and 3 XL, are IP68 rated, which means they can be submerged in up to 6 feet of water for up to 3 minutes.

On the other hand, how many people really need IP certification? Yes, it’s nice to have protection for your device’s inside parts, but in all my years of owning IP-rated phones, I can’t say it’s ever saved my device from damage. Maybe I’m more careful by not bringing my phone in the the bathroom or using it at the beach, but I’d say splash-resistance is good enough.

The OnePlus 7 Pro has a 6.67-inch display with no notch. It’s basically all screen.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

Advanced, notch-free display

Besides the cameras, the OnePlus 7 Pro’s biggest upgrade from the OnePlus 6T is its display.

The 6.67-inch “Fluid AMOLED” screen is noticeably bigger than the OnePlus 6T’s 6.28-inch display and has no notch. It’s also got a higher QHD+ (3,120 x 1,440) resolution with a pixel density of 516 ppi (goodbye 1080p resolution!) and filters out blue light to reduce eye fatigue. 

And in addition to the screen getting super bright, it also gets dimmer than before to make using it in the dark more comfortable. But maybe the best new feature is the display’s zippy and super smooth 90Hz refresh rate.

Most phone screens have a refresh rate of 60Hz. Nothing wrong with 60Hz — it’s a perfectly usable refresh rate and most people could care less that increasing it makes everything look better and feel faster. But once you use a screen this smooth, it’s hard going back to one that’s slower and less responsive.

At 90Hz, scrolling and swiping is smoother and less jittery than on screens that operate at 60Hz. It’s especially noticeable on text-heavy websites and apps like Twitter — text is just more readable at 90Hz. Photos are also less blurry when swiping through an Instagram feed. It’s impossible for me to show you how much nicer a 90Hz refresh rate is in photos or video, so you’ll just have to take my word for it. If you’ve used an iPad Pro or Razer Phone with a 120Hz screen refresh rate, you’ll know what I mean.

Scrolling on a website or through an Instagram feed is far smoother at 90Hz on the OnePlus 7 Pro than at 60Hz on other phones.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

While the 90Hz refresh rate is low-key my favorite new screen feature, most people will probably care more that it doesn’t have a notch or hole-punch cutout. Where the heck is the selfie camera, you might ask?

To eliminate the notch, OnePlus went with a motorized pop-up camera, similar to the one used on Vivo and Oppo phones. It only comes out when it’s needed. For example, the camera pops up when you’re taking selfies or have Face Unlock turned on.

To eliminate the notch, OnePlus had to move the selfie camera into a module that extends and retracts from the top of the phone.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

It’s a very clever design that helps do away with the notch and increase the screen-to-body ratio, but like the pop-up cameras on other Chinese phones, its durability is questionable. OnePlus says the pop-up camera has been tested to work for over 300,000 movements (up or down). At 150 uses a day, the pop-up camera should last about 5.5 years.

That’s pretty long! But what happens if you drop the OnePlus 7 Pro while the camera is extended, say, off your desk or bed? Like the Oppo Find X, the phone’s gyroscope can detect that and automatically retract the camera before it hits the ground. There’s no promise the camera will retract in time, though. It really depends on the height from which the phone falls from (a greater height will ensure it has time to do so).

The in-display fingerprint reader in the OnePlus 7 Pro is significantly faster than on the OnePlus 6T or other Android phones.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

The last thing I want to highlight about the OnePlus 7 Pro’s display is the in-display fingerprint reader. These biometric sensors embedded under screens have been quite controversial because they’re slower and less responsive than capacitive fingerprint readers. I even went as far to say that they’re ruining a lot of new phones.

But on Android phones, they are the future. And like it or not, they’re probably here to stay. As such, OnePlus has greatly improved the speed and responsiveness of the optical in-display fingerprint reader on the OnePlus 7 Pro.

With practice, you can nail Screen Unlock almost every time.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

With a 36 percent larger sensor surface area underneath the screen, OnePlus says the OnePlus 7 Pro’s reader is less likely to fail to recognize your fingerprint. Also, the larger sensor is faster, unlocking in 0.21 seconds on the OnePlus 7 Pro compared to 0.34 seconds on the OnePlus 6T.

After registering several of my fingerprints, I gave the sensor a whirl and it’s indeed speedier and more accurate than any in-display fingerprint readers I’ve used on other phones.

The new reader is a big improvement over the old one and I had fewer failures for sure, but it’s still far from perfect. As I learned, you still need to press and hold your finger pretty much dead-on the fingerprint symbol or it won’t work. With a little practice it becomes easier to bullseye, but there’s still a learning curve.

The OnePlus 7 Pro runs Oxygen OS 9, which is based on Android 9 Pie.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

Blistering fast performance

OnePlus phones have always been known for their top-notch performance and the OnePlus 7 Pro is no different.

Oxygen OS 9, a lightly optimized version of stock Android 9 Pie, is even more fluid and responsive than it is on the OnePlus 6T, no doubt thanks to the phone’s powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip and a bountiful amount of RAM (6GB, 8GB, or 12GB).

Yes, my review unit has 12GB of RAM (2GB more than the 10GB in the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition) and, yes, I still think it’s overkill. But remember, the RAM’s not just for today, but to accommodate software updates years down the line.

Oxygen OS might is better than stock Android and iOS in some ways. Also, look! No notch!

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

As always, I ran Geekbench 4 to get a sense of how much power the OnePlus 7 Pro packs. It scored 3,509 on the single-core test and 11,157 on the multi-core test, which makes it about 47 percent and 25 percent faster than the OnePlus 6T in each respective benchmark test.

The scores are also pretty similar to the Galaxy S10+’s with the single-core scores virtually identical and a 5 percent increase in multi-core.

Of course, as beefy as the OnePlus 7 Pro is, it’s still no match for the iPhone XS and XR. Apple’s A12 Bionic chip still crushes the Snapdragon 855 with up to 37 percent faster single-core computing power and 3 percent faster multi-core performance.

I didn’t experience any performance issues while using the OnePlus 7 Pro.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

For tech geeks, the benchmarks are really good. Gamers who plan to push the OnePlus 7 Pro hard will notice some big gains in many 3D games that render a lot of polygons and complex particle effects. I noticed fewer dropped frames in several games such as Mortal Kombat and PUBG Mobile.

Mostly, people will appreciate the OnePlus 7 Pro’s buttery smooth animations, near-instant app launching, and general snappiness all throughout Android. These are simple things that all phones (Android or not) should get right, but many still don’t.

The Snapdragon 855 chip gets credit for most of the OnePlus 7 Pro’s responsiveness, but so too should the faster UFS 3.0 storage. Most phones use UFS 2.1 flash storage and it’s fine, but with UFS 3.0 everything feels faster because under the hood, there’s more data being read, which translates to speed across the board.

In past Oxygen OS releases, OnePlus added handy features like a “reading mode” that turns everything black and white and a “gaming mode” which enhances games by turbocharging performance. New in Oxygen OS 9.5.2 is a built-in screen recorder and a “zen mode.” I’ve found both to be super useful.

“Zen mode” is particularly interesting, especially if you’re addicted to using your phone. While Oxygen OS does come with Android 9 Pie’s built-in digital wellness controls to limit phone time and app usage, I don’t feel it goes far enough in stopping people from simply turning it off and essentially cheating.

With “zen mode,” there’s no cheating. Once it’s activated, the OnePlus 7 Pro is disabled (for emergency reasons, you can still make and receive calls and take photos) for 20 minutes, which forces you to literally stop and hopefully take a breather. You can reboot the phone all you like, but “zen mode” will remain on until the 20 minutes are up. Some people might find “zen mode” a little too extreme, but I think it’s far more effective at forcing you to take a short digital detox because willpower is hard.

Zen mode is will force you to stop using your phone for 20 minutes by disable virtually all functionality.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

A feature-packed phone needs to have the juice to keep it going and the huge 4,000 mAh battery cell inside of the OnePlus 7 Pro delivers.

I routinely made it through entire days from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. with anywhere between 25-30 percent battery remaining. Longer days with more punishing Slacks, emails, messaging, social media, photography, gaming, music streaming, and video streaming drained the battery quicker, leaving 10-15 percent battery leftover, but even then I was impressed with the OnePlus 7 Pro’s stamina.

For the most part, the OnePlus 7 Pro battery usually lasts one to one and a half days — about the same as the OnePlus 6T. However, you can definitely stretch that to two days if you do things like reduce usage, switch on the system-wide dark theme, or lower the display’s brightness and resolution.

As I said earlier, I’m disappointed the OnePlus 7 Pro doesn’t come with wireless charging. That said, it’s good to see the phone support the OnePlus 6T McLaren’s speedier “Warp Charge 30” charging. With the included power adapter, the OnePlus 7 Pro can be charged from 0-50 percent in 20 minutes.

Phones keep adding more rear cameras every year.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

More cameras, more shooting styles

The OnePlus 7 Pro boasts a handful of cameras. There’s the 16-megapixel (f/2.0 aperture) pop-up camera and three more shooters on the back. 

This cluster of cameras consists of a 48-megapixel regular wide-angle “main” camera (f/1.6), an 8-megapixel telephoto lens (f/2.4), and a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens (f/2.2).

The OnePlus 7 Pro’s triple camera setup is similar to those found on other smartphones, but the differences are in the details. Despite the main camera having a 48-megapixel image sensor, it doesn’t actually spit out photos with all of those pixels. Instead, it uses a technique called “pixel binning” to combine four pixels together for every one pixel and then produce a sharper 12-megapixel photo.

The telephoto camera also offers a closer 3x optical zoom as opposed to 2x on phones like the iPhone XS and Galaxy S10 or 5x on the Huawei P30 Pro.

And lastly, the ultra wide-angle camera has a slightly narrower 117-degree field of view compared to the Galaxy S10’s and Huawei P30’s ultra wide-angle shooters, which both have more coverage with over 120 degrees.

With OnePlus phones, the cameras have been where the company’s cut the most corners. OnePlus has gradually improved image quality over the last couple of years, but still couldn’t catch up to the iPhone, Galaxy, or Pixel as these phones embraced techniques like computational photography and AI to enhance their shots.

I wish I could say the OnePlus 7 Pro’s cameras catch up to the cameras on its competitors, but they’re still not there yet. For sure, the cameras pump out better-looking photos with more sharpness and dynamic range when compared to previous OnePlus phones. However, pit against other smartphone cameras, there’s still a ways to go.

As you can see in the comparison shots below, the OnePlus 7 Pro’s cameras are decent — they’re perfectly shareable on Instagram or Twitter — but they won’t knock your socks off.

In good lighting such as natural sunlight, the OnePlus 7 Pro’s cameras are pretty versatile. I was able to get many solid shots with the three different cameras. Like on the OnePlus 6T, your mileage is going to vary depending on your shooting skill level. I found I was able to get better-looking photos if I spent a few extra seconds locking the focus and adjusting the exposure — letting the camera autofocus and set the exposure can be more hit or miss.

In the sets above and below, you can see how the three cameras work. While it’s really fun to shoot with the ultra wide-angle lens and squeeze more into a shot, image quality is softer compared to the main camera since it doesn’t come with any optical image stabilization like on the other two cameras. Also, note how the color temperature and contrast shifts between the three cameras.

Below, you I’ve included comparison of the OnePlus 7 Pro’s ultra wide-angle camera with the Galaxy S10+ and Huawei P30’s respective ultra wide-angle cameras.

The OnePlus 7 ultra wide-angle camera isn’t nearly as wide, and the dynamic range is also a little lacking. Whereas the ceiling and background is better exposed on the Galaxy S10+ and P30 Pro, the OnePlus 7 Pro processes the shot with less detail and dynamic range.

Next up, we have a good ol’ outdoor shot comparison to test the range of the OnePlus 7 Pro’s 3x telephoto zoom lens. As you can see, the camera gets you much closer. I think the 3x zoom is solid. Details are sharp and colors are accurate and not too saturated.

But if a ton of zoom is what you want in a smartphone camera, the OnePlus 7 Pro can’t compete with the Huawei P30 Pro’s 50x zoom. Just look at how close it gets. It’s bonkers.

The OnePlus 7 Pro’s 3x zoom is sweet, but it’s no match for the P30’s 50x zoom pictured here.

Raymond Wong / Mashable

Another shot outdoors to see how the main camera compares with other phones in its class. Honestly, they all look pretty damn good to me. It would’ve worried me if the OnePlus 7 Pro couldn’t nail a simple outdoor pic.

I’m not much of a food photographer, but I understand the appeal. This shot comparison of a bowl of fried chicken gizzards looks pretty scrumptious in the OnePlus 7 pic. The iPhone XS pic looks the least tasty with its duller tones. The Pixel 3 photo is too dark and saturated, and the P30 Pro’s picture has a reddish tint to it. This round is a close one and I think a tie between the OnePlus 7 Pro and Galaxy S10+.

Things get interesting as a scene darkens. Below, we’ve got a beautiful sunset and while the OnePlus 7 Pro shot is definitely decent, I was surprised that the OnePlus 6T was able to work its HDR magic just a bit better to better expose the sun and widen the dynamic range for a brighter shot.

This museum exhibit wasn’t completely dark, but it was still dim enough to test the OnePlus 7 Pro’s low light capabilities. After staring at these shots for a good while, I would say they’re all pretty good. The Pixel 3 XL’s far too yellow and the P30 Pro’s color temperature is too cool. Zoom in, though, and you can see the OnePlus 7 Pro’s details are more muddled and not as sharp as the Galaxy S10, iPhone XS, and Pixel 3 XL. 

For the best low-light shots, the Pixel 3 takes the crown. Its Night Sight is practically magic and can bring out details in shadows and colors your naked eyes can’t even see. Just look at how much more visible these costumes are with Night Sight. The OnePlus 7 Pro has a night mode, but like on the OnePlus 6T, photos can be quite noisy.

No phone camera beats the Pixel 3’s Night Sight mode when it comes to illuminating dark places.

Raymond Wong / Mashable

Portrait mode shots with the OnePlus 7 Pro can be hit or miss. Sometimes it looks like it did half a portrait shot and didn’t finish blurring out the background. Bottom line is: The iPhone XS is the most reliable for portrait photos.

Selfies are better this time around, but still look too blue compared to selfies taken on other phones. My standard for a selfie is different from yours so maybe you prefer the OnePlus 7 Pro’s look, but I think I’d pick any of the other non-OnePlus selfies every time.

Overall, I’d give the OnePlus 7 Pro’s cameras a B+. The triple cameras are handy for different shooting scenarios, the camera app is fast to shoot and save, and the image quality is acceptable for the price. The image processing could use some more fine-tuning to bring out just a bit more dynamic range and clarity, but perhaps that’s something future versions of Oxygen OS can patch up.

As far as I’m concerned, I’ve seen worse picture quality on other smartphone cameras. Next time, though, I want to see more. OnePlus needs to invest in computational photography so that the night mode is less crunchy and competes with the Pixel 3’s Night Sight.

Below, you’ll find a sampling of some shots I took with the OnePlus 7 Pro’s various camera modes (click to see the original resolution). I hope they give you a sense of what the cameras’ strengths and weaknesses are. As always, I open my Instagram (@sourlemons) and Twitter (@raywongy) to any questions you might have about the cameras. Don’t be shy!

The OnePlus 7 Pro works on any GSM network such as AT&T and T-Mobile and also on Verizon.

Zlata Ivleva / Mashable

Ready for the big leagues

With the OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus is sending a clear message: It’s ready to play in the big leagues.

Years ago, I wondered at what point the Chinese startup would cease being the phone maker selling “flagship killers” that nobody in the U.S. has heard of. It would appear that time has come.

Instead of merely mimicking its competitors, the company’s signaling with the OnePlus 7 Pro it’s ready to lead with features such as a cutting-edge full-screen 90Hz display, fast in-display fingerprint reader, and pop-up camera that you won’t find on an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy. Just as it took a few years for Samsung Galaxy phones to become synonymous with certain features (i.e. curved screens, expandable storage, fast wireless charging, and headphone jack), OnePlus is finally finding its footing.

I said it earlier and I’ll repeat it again: OnePlus is all grown up and its ambitions are bigger than before. Now, we just have to see if consumers are willing to let the company grow beyond its flagship-specs-with-lower-pricing roots.

  • Senior Tech Correspondent

    Raymond Wong

  • Tech Editor

    Keith Wagstaff

  • Photography

    Zlata Ivleva

  • Special thanks for providing location access for photography

    Devoción Coffee


Source link
Click here to read more news from @mashable

Related posts

'Game of Thrones' Weekly: All the big conversations heading into episode 5

Mashable

Kuwait asserts states’ right to use nuclear technology for peaceful means

Kuwaittimes

'Detective Pikachu' set for at least $50 million opening weekend

Mashable

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More

Please spend a minute

Gulflance Poll

Which is worst social media?
Vote Now
close-link
Sign-up for exclusive content. Be up to date with Gulflance
Subscribe
Subscribe
close-image

You're currently offline