OnePlus 7 Pro review: The First Flagship of OnePlus
OnePlus is now known for releasing two smartphones a year – the main version in May and the “T” version half a year later. And also this year the new smartphone was presented in May, only this time there are two 7s. Since the normal OP7 resembles the predecessor optically very much (and is not available for the US) and only internally something was improved, the OnePlus 7 Pro represents the genuine successor of the 6T. The most striking changes of the 7 Pro include the pop-up camera à la Vivo NEX, the triple camera on the back and a new 90 Hertz display. They attack Samsung and Co. more directly than ever before. Will the attack succeed? Our review.
- OnePlus 7 Pro
- OnePlus 7 (not for the US)
Technical data of the OnePlus 7 & OnePlus 7 Pro
|OnePlus 7||OnePlus 7 Pro|
|Display||6.41 inch flat Full HD+ (2340 × 1080p), 402 PPI 60Hz AMOLED with Gorilla Glass 6||6.67 inch curved Quad HD+ (3120 x 1440p), 516 PPI, 90Hz AMOLED with Gorilla Glass 6|
|Processor||Snapdragon 855 Octa Core @ 2,84 GHz & 2,42 GHz & 1,80 GHz||Snapdragon 855 Octa Core @ 2,84 GHz & 2,42 GHz & 1,80 GHz|
|Graphic chip||Adreno 640||Adreno 640|
|Main Memory||6GB / 8GB LPDDR4X @ 2133 MHz||6GB / 8GB / 12GB LPDDR4X @ 2133 MHz|
|Internal memory||128GB / 256 GB UFS 3.0 2-Lane||128GB / 256GB UFS 3.0 2-Lane|
|Main Camera||48MP f/1.7 OIS, 5MP (f/2.4) for depth information||48MP f/1.6 OIS, 3x zoom 8MP f/2.4, 117° ultra wide angle 16MP f/2.2|
|Front camera||Sony IMX471, 16 MP f/2.0 Camera in Waterdrop-Notch||Pop-Up Camera Sony IMX471, 16 MP f/2.0 Camera in Waterdrop-Notch Pop-Up Camera Sony IMX471, 16 MP f/2.0|
|Battery||3,700 mAh with 20W Fast Charge||4,000 mAh with 30W Warp Charge|
|Connectivity||USB-C, WLAN-AC, BT 5.0, LTE, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Dual SIM, NFC||USB-C, WLAN-AC, BT 5.0, LTE, GPS/GLONASS/BDS, Dual SIM, NFC|
|Features||Face Unlock, Fingerprint sensor in display, Notification slider, Stereo Speaker||Face Unlock, Fingerprint sensor in display, Notification slider, Stereo Speaker|
|Operating system||Android 9.0 Pie with OxygenOS Surface||Android 9.0 Pie with OxygenOS Surface|
|Dimensions / Weight||157.7 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm (vs OP6T: 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm) / 182g (OP6T: 185g)||162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8 mm (vs OP6T: 157.5 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm) / 206g (OP6T: 185g)|
|Colors||Mirror Grey in Europe|
Red: only in China/India
|6/128 GB: Mirror Grey|
8/256 GB: Mirror Grey, Almond, Nebula Blue
12/256 GB: Nebula Blue
The most beautiful OnePlus so far
Even when unpacking for the first time, it becomes clear that OnePlus has put a lot of effort into the design of the 7 Pro. The back of our Mirror Grey version lives up to its name and can be used as a mirror in places. Also, the back is a little reminiscent of the Honor devices as it changes color depending on how the light hits the back. Especially the Nebula Blue version seems to be a real eye-catcher and the Almond version will be available in June.
The materials are based on the OP6T‘s well-known combination of an aluminium frame and gorilla glass on the front and rear. What’s new, however, is that the glass is not only rounded on the left and right of the back, but also on the front. Thus, you have the edge display known from the Galaxy S10 or P30 Pro, which reinforces the impression of a completely borderless display, at least on the left and right. Why this might not have been the best decision, I’ll explain in the Display section.
Since the OnePlus 3 at the latest, processing has been at flagship level, and so the 7 Pro does not disappoint here either. The gap dimensions are tiny, the transitions from glass to aluminium are very smooth and the corners are pleasantly rounded. Despite its enormous size (162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8 mm) and above-average weight of 206 g, the smartphone fits comfortably in the hand.
But it is not always pleasant to be “handy”, because that is definitely not what the OP 7 Pro is. It is a bit longer, wider and thicker than the already very large P30 Pro. So you shouldn’t think about one-handed operation if you don’t have big basketball hands. Depending on which jeans I’m wearing, it even protrudes a bit out of my trouser pocket, into which my OP 5T still fits.
Personally, I would have liked to have had a slightly more compact smartphone. Not much smaller, but the normal OnePlus 7 or 6T with its 6.41 inch display and the correspondingly smaller profile is more appealing to me. However, opinions differ a lot here, so if you want as much display as possible, you’ll be happy to accept the size and extra weight.
Unfortunately, the OnePlus 7 Pro also lacks an official IP rating for dust and water protection. There are already some videos that show that the OP 7 Pro survives a few minutes in a bucket, but the security of an official IP rating would still have been nice.
The best display in a smartphone
The display of the OnePlus 7 Pro already sounds good on paper, but is even more impressive in person. A 6.67-inch AMOLED with Quad HD+ resolution (3120 x 1440p) and a frame rate of 90 Hertz. In addition, the screen is not interrupted by a notch or a “hole” in the display for the camera. Already at the first switch-on, the display generates a certain wow effect, which e.g. a Vivo NEX already caused.
The screen also becomes bright with up to 600 nit and is thus on a par with the Mi 9. Only the S10 and the P30 Pro get brighter. The viewing angle stability is also comparable and OLED-typically excellent. Where the Mi 9 is beaten, however, is the sharpness of the display and the fluidity of the display. Due to the Quad HD+ resolution, the OP 7 Pro has an above-average pixel density of 515 PPI, normal would be 403 PPI.
However, one has to mention here that the display dynamically switches between the full Quad HD+ and a lower Full HD+ resolution in the default setting in order to save some battery power. The S10 from Samsung also uses this trick and doesn’t really represent a disadvantage in my eyes, as I don’t need a Quad HD+ resolution while using WhatsApp etc., but I like to use it for high-res YouTube videos and photos.
The refresh rate can also be set according to personal needs and can be selected between 60Hz and 90Hz, a dynamic mode is not (yet) available here. Of course the use of 60 Hertz would also save some battery again, but the difference is still quite noticeable, especially when you’ve got used to the 90 HZ. Any movement on the screen is extremely fluid and every input is immediately implemented.
The color representation is, at least in the standard setting, OLED-typically quite intensive and the color saturation very high, so that the colors all appear strong. Those who prefer a more realistic look can choose the color profile “natural” or choose between three color spaces in the extended mode and even adjust the white balance. In combination with the perfect black of an OLED panel, the HDR10+ support, the night mode and the dark mode, everyone gets their money’s worth.
In order to make such a huge display “handy” at all, OnePlus uses an aspect ratio of 19.5:9, so that you get a very long display. This means that 16:9 videos (many series & YouTube videos) unfortunately always have very large black edges on the left and right, but thanks to OLED technology they don’t stand out as much. What always stands out, however, are the rounded sides. These almost always cause unattractive reflections and distort the image at the edge. As beautiful as a Curved Display may look, I would like a “flat” screen for the video consumption.
The Fastest In-Display Fingerprint Sensor
The fingerprint sensor sits in the display like in the OP 6T, but is now 36% larger and 38% faster according to OnePlus. In practice, of course, these figures cannot be confirmed exactly, but you notice that the sensor has become much more reliable and faster. So fast that you often beat the previous champion of this category, the P30 Pro – Chapeau OnePlus!
Top performance thanks to Snapdragon 855 and UFS 3.0 memory
As every year, OnePlus uses the most powerful Snapdragon processor currently available, which is the Octa-Core called 855 in 2019. The core is based on a 1+3+4 architecture with clock rates of 2.84 GHz, 2.42 GHz and 1.80 GHz. This is joined by at least 6 GB of RAM and 128 GB of mass memory. By the way, this mass memory is the first in the world to use the new UFS 3.0 standard, which is twice as fast and much more energy-efficient than its predecessor (UFS 2.1).
As expected the Snapdragon 855 delivers a great performance again and you are on the same level with the Mi 9 in most benchmarks. Only with the internal UFS 3.0 memory the OnePlus 7 Pro is ahead by lengths. Here you get a read speed of ~1.3GB/s and a write speed of ~423 MB/s. Thus the reading speed is more than twice as high as with current devices with UFS 2.1 memory like the P30 Pro.
Thus games and apps load even faster than before and also the performance in complex games is very good thanks to the Adreno 640 GPU. Everything runs smoothly and without lags, even on the highest graphics settings.
Oxygen OS convinces with useful functions
On the OnePlus 7 Pro runs the current Android 9 Pie with a security patch from April 2019 and the Oxygen OS interface in version 9.5. As usual with OnePlus the OS is kept very clean, so apart from the standard Google Apps only OnePlus Community, OnePlus Switch and Netflix are pre-installed. Netflix can only be deactivated, but the other two apps can be uninstalled.
New features of version 9.5 include the Zen mode, the improved game mode (FNATIC mode), an integrated screen recorder. The Zen mode is a feature to help you “Digital Detox” by blocking all notifications and apps (except camera and emergency calls) for 20 minutes. A useful addition, for all those who hang too much in front of the mobile phone and want to change something about it.
Fnatic mode is an enhanced and improved game mode that blocks alerts, focuses CPU and GPU performance on the game, and enhances the reception performance of the primary SIM card. As in previous versions, you can also set some useful gestures, choose between three navigation styles, install other icon packs, and wake up the screen by tapping twice.
Triple camera: Attack on the Mi 9
First of all: With the 7 Pro, OnePlus has delivered its best camera yet, which doesn’t have to hide from a Galaxy S10 and Mi 9. The camera protrudes a bit too far from the already thick housing and consists of an optically stabilized 48 megapixel sensor (f/1.6) as main camera, a 3x zoom camera with 8MP and a 117° ultra-wide angle camera with 16MP. The main sensor is the Sony IMX586, which also works in the Honor View 20 and Mi 9.
Although the main sensor resolves with 48 megapixels, the standard photos are 12 megapixels, for which 4 pixels are combined to one. But the 48 megapixels can be fully exploited in the Pro mode. Other modes include a portrait mode, a night mode, a panorama mode as well as a fast motion and slow motion mode. Also Google Lens is integrated again and is activated by a long press on the viewfinder.
Main camera with great photos
The photos from the camera that you probably use the most despite the large selection of three cameras will convince you with a good sharpness, rich colors and a great level of detail. But the colors still look natural and have exactly the right saturation for my taste. Depending on the subject, you’ll get a nice natural bokeh even without the portrait mode.
Ultra wide angle & zoom for a lot of flexibility
Even though the main camera already outshines all previous OnePlus cameras, it’s the zoom and the ultra wide angle camera that are the biggest improvements for me. OnePlus has only used the second camera of his last two smartphones for portrait mode and wasted it in my opinion.
With the OnePlus 7 Pro you can finally zoom in and out. The ultra wide angle camera captures up to 117° and the zoom camera allows a triple optical zoom. I like the photos of the ultra wide angle camera a bit better than those of the zoom camera, but they can also easily keep up with a Mi 9 (2x zoom). A digital zoom is still possible up to a tenfold magnification. Also these photos are still usable, but of course not as sharp.
The ultra wide angle camera shows its strengths especially in such large buildings as the Cologne Cathedral. And for the fact that the camera with an aperture of f/2.2 is absolutely not designed for low-light pictures, these midnight shots are still okay.
Good night mode thanks to update
The night mode unfortunately only works with the main camera at the moment, although the other two cameras could certainly use it with the small aperture openings. Maybe the function will be updated as well as the night mode itself. It wasn’t really usable before the update on May 27th. But OnePlus listened to the feedback and gave the OP 7 Pro users a night mode comparable to a S10 or Mi 9.
Macro Shooting without Macro Mode
Yes, OnePlus does not have an integrated macro mode. But as so often you can simply use the normal zoom camera to get very good macro photos – a hint would not be wrong anyway. Of course you won’t get as close to the object as it would be possible with a real macro camera, but the results are still quite respectable.
Portrait mode convinces with natural bokeh
The portrait photos are also taken with the zoom camera. Here OnePlus has made another leap upwards and can convince with good edge detection (although not yet perfect) and a natural bokeh. People or even objects don’t look as if they had been placed in the picture with Photoshop. This is because the bokeh effect becomes stronger the further the object is in the background.
Pop-Up front camera
Of course, OnePlus also wants to become more and more borderless, so you had to choose between the slider (Mi Mix 3), the dual display (Vivo NEX DD), the punch hole (Honor View 20) and the pop-up solution (Vivo NEX) for the front camera. The 16 megapixel Sony IMX471 sensor is not sitting in a notch, but in a motorized slider like the Vivo NEX. A long-term test must show just how reliable and durable this motorised mechanism is. OnePlus itself states that the small motor can handle 300,000 “pop-ups”, which would mean 150 lifts per day over 5.5 years.
Even though the basic technology was probably taken over by the sister company Vivo, you can see that the engine works faster. This is useful to protect against falls (falls are detected automatically) and not to make the Face Unlock function completely unusable. OnePlus probably had the fastest Face Unlock so far. With the OnePlus 7 Pro it is still very fast, but you have to wait for the camera. The new OP 7 Pro is often beaten by my OnePlus 5T. But it still remains useful.
The photos from the front camera are beautifully sharp, detailed and colourful. In darker environments, however, it starts to rush quite quickly and the focus is sometimes not quite perfect. All in all the normal and also the portrait selffies are very good, it’s just not as big a jump as on the back.
Good battery life despite the display
To be honest, I was a little afraid that the OnePlus 7 Pro would deliver a very bad result despite a 4,000 mAh strong battery. The software seems to have been optimized well enough and the dynamic resolution also works. So the OnePlus 7 Pro comes despite this energy-guzzling 6.67 inch 90 Hz display to 10 hours and 50 minutes in the battery benchmark. Clearly a Pocophone or a P30 Pro get more out of their batteries, but also work with lower resolution and refresh rate.
Depending on how you use the OnePlus 7 Pro, you can also run it for 1.5 days. It is then recharged with the very large 30 Watt Warp Charger. This is so large because all the technology is in the adapter, so that most of the heat is generated there, so the charging process leaves the OnePlus 7 Pro largely cold. For a full charge of the 4,000 mAh battery you need approx. 70 minutes, but after only 20 minutes we were already at 42%, after 30 minutes already at 59%. Wireless charging is unfortunately once again not possible – a pity!
Connectivity: Everything except the phone jack
As in the past, OnePlus again integrates almost everything that the market has to offer: Bluetooth 5 with aptX HD and LDAC support, Dual GPS & Dual Galileo, LTE Cat. 18 with 4×4 MIMO, 24 LTE bands, WLAN ac with 2×2 MIMO, USB 3.0 and of course NFC. All that’s missing are the two bleeding edge technologies 5G and WiFi 6 as well as the old headphone jack. There is no USB-C to jack adapter included this time either, which wouldn’t be too much to ask for considering the price, and OnePlus has been raving about the OnePlus 6 for just this connection since last year.
However, the silicone case and the pre-installed display film remain with us. In addition, the OnePlus 7 Pro has also been equipped with stereo speakers, which produce a very full and loud sound. The auricle functions as a second loudspeaker, so that the sound comes directly to you. Even Dolby Atmos are supposed to support the speakers, but this can be dismissed as simple marketing – Atmos is a bit too much of a good thing after all.
Of course, the OP7 Pro also offers a dual SIM slot, which, however, does not allow any memory expansion. Also to mention: the new vibration motor. It works very precisely and offers a very good haptic feedback when typing or gaming.
The normal OnePlus 7: A OnePlus 6T with internal modifications
The OnePlus 7 looks like its predecessor 6T on the outside. I suppose that you take the exact same “shell” of the 6T and just update the internal hardware. This upgrade includes a new 48 megapixel main camera, which is the same as the Pro model, and a second 5 MP camera. Here, contrary to initial rumours, the second camera is again used only for depth information and not for a zoom or ultra wide angle photos – a pity! So the secondary camera would finally have a real sense, so it is only used for better portraits like its predecessor.
The front camera is the same 16 megapixel front camera as in the Pro, but is again in the well-known Waterdrop Notch. The display also remains the same and measures 6.41 inches again at a FullHD+ resolution and without being strongly rounded to the left and right. The 90 Hertz are also reserved for the Pro model. The battery is 3,700 mAh as with the OP 6T. However, the OnePlus 7 is not for the USA and is not distributed there either. In Europe it can be acquired and used against it.
Conclusion: The First OnePlus Flagship
Once OnePlus wanted to kill “Flaships”, now the OnePlus 7 Pro is their very own product on the market – and what a one. The notchless display is also the best currently on the market with the Galaxy s10 and has a real unique selling point thanks to the 90 Hertz. The triple camera is also on the level of a Mi 9 and S10 and offers a lot of flexibility. The battery lasts surprisingly long and is full again extremely quickly, and the new stereo speakers are also impressive. And one nearly forgets about the fast in-display fingerprint sensor, the new UFS 3.0 memory and the extraordinary pop-up camera.
Nevertheless one can of course also criticize something. The phone itself is very big and heavy and the rounded screen is more annoying than it looks good. Also the lack of an official IP certification and the wireless loading are points of criticism which become obvious especially in comparison to other flagships. And at least a $5 adapter for the headphone connection could have been included.
But these are already all points of criticism, which should weigh more or less on each occasion and become smaller and smaller with falling price. As unusually high as the initial price of around $700 for a OnePlus smartphone was, it was and is justified with this flagship – I had to admit that to myself. If you see that the price is already dropping, the competition should worry.
If you don’t need the great display and can do without the better fingerprint sensor as well as the UFS 3.0 memory and stereo sound, you should also be happy with the Xiaomi Mi 9 for $200 less.
What do you think of the OnePlus 7 Pro? Finally a OnePlus without restrictions or don’t you need all the improvements?To the gadget