REVIEW: OnePlus 7 Pro, blisteringly quick and a wonderful display 11 months ago

REVIEW: OnePlus 7 Pro, blisteringly quick and a wonderful display

There is a lot to like about this.

It’s the latest Android phone from the Chinese brand to outmanoeuvre its more illustrious competition, offering high-end power and features at a lower price than its main competitors.

The OnePlus 7 Pro has a unique full-screen design with a large 6.67-inch display. It doesn't make performance trade-offs which some cheaper smart phones do.

There is a LOT to like about the camera and while it's not as cheap as the Pixel 3a or Pixel 3a XL, it offers so much more than them that you shouldn't care about paying the difference.

But we'll save all that chat for later and start with what comes in the box.

  • OnePlus 7 Pro
  • See-through case
  • 30-watt Warp Charger
  • Red USB-C to standard USB cable
  • OnePlus stickers
  • SIM tool
  • User Manuals and warranty

Design

The majority of the phone will have a familiar look for you as it once again hosts its premium design.

It's one of the larger phones out there. At 6.4 inches long, it's fairly noticeable no matter what pocket you put it into, and those with smaller hands may struggle to wield the 19.5:9 aspect ratio one-handed.

The 7 Pro's slightly curved AMOLED makes the gigantic, 6.67-inch screen seem every larger and and the lack of notch makes it all the more immersive for the user.

OnePlus have come a long way from the days of large bezels and cheaper casing and the mirror black One Plus 7 Pro I tested is attractive to look at. It's smooth, flowing design interrupted only by the triple camera on the back is eye-catching but as I've found with most mirrored casings, they tend to pick up scuffs and smudges quite quickly.

There's no 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD card slot and wireless charging, which aren't really a dealbreaker for anyone I know.

But it charges very, very fast. I don't have a scientific comparison with the other phones I've tested but it's certainly as quick as Huawei and Samsung's offerings, and I suspect, quicker than both.

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 (more on that later) is moisture and dust-proof.

Features

OxygenOS, the OnePlus take on Android Pie, is clean, simple, easy to navigate and looks really, really good.

Two new features have been added to OxygenOS by OnePlus that are actually very useful: Screen Recorder and Zen Mode are both accessible in the shortcut tray just a swipe down from the home screen.

There's nothing revolutionary about Screen Recorder but Zen Mode is interesting in the sense that once it's activated, you won't be able to use your phone as normal for 20 minutes, apart from making calls and sending texts for emergency reasons. Oh, and your camera will still work.

But you can reboot or turn the phone on and off as many times you want, once zen mode is activated, it will stay running for 20 minutes.

One of the stand out features on the phone is the 90-hertz (90Hz) refresh rate. What this means is that the display refreshes 90 times every second compared to 60 times (60Hz) on basically all other mainstream phones.

OnePlus has always shipped phones with the fastest chips available and the 7 Pro does not surprise: it has the most powerful Android chip on the market right now, the Snapdragon 855 coupled with 6GB/8GB or a whopping 12GB of RAM.

Web-browsing, gaming, checking Twitter while streaming Netflix; everything I did was quick and easy and zero fuss.

Camera

The OnePlus 7 Pro is the first of the company’s phones to feature a triple sensor primary camera and in doing so has kept pace with other flagship competition.

It has a 48MP main camera, joined by a 16MP ultra-wide snapper and an 8MP sensor with telephoto lens that supports up to 3x optical zoom.

To eliminate the notch, OnePlus went with a motorised pop-up camera on the front and first impressions are good.

  • 48MP main camera, f/1.8, OIS, 1/2" sensor
  • 16MP ultra-wide camera, f/2.2, 17mm focal length
  • 8MP 3X telephoto camera, f/2.4, OIS
  • 16MP front camera

Traditionally, the camera is where OnePlus phones have cut the most corners and while the OnePlus 7 Pro is undoubtedly a step forward in this department, it still doesn't quite match up to some of the better smartphone cameras available.

In good lighting, the camera is versatile and still images and videos are generally pretty good.

Although the slow motion feature is capable of some lovely shots, as my colleague captured below.

The 7 Pro's camera results aren't consistently amazing like the Pixel 3 and they're not as natural as the newer iPhone offerings.

But they are very good. So if you're upgrading from an older OnePlus, the 7 Pro's camera alone makes it worth your while.

Overall

OnePlus have affectionately gained a reputation as a "flagship killer" by their fans over the years and it's clear that the rest of the world is starting to sit up and take notice of the Chinese company.

I was introduced to OnePlus a few years ago by a colleague in my office, and had to repeat the name back to him a number of times to ensure I'd heard it correctly. He was the sole user of the smartphone brand.

Fast forward to 2019 and I was being delightful informed by several people in here that they watched a live stream of the announcement and had ordered the phone the very same day.

And the OnePlus 7 Pro is a seriously impressive piece of kit.

It's blisteringly quick and it's ready to lead with features such as a cutting-edge full-screen 90Hz display, fast in-display fingerprint reader, and a creative pop-up camera which in turn leads to a stunning full screen, virtually bezel-less display.

No wireless charging is a bit disappointing, and the battery is underwhelming if still adequate, but these minor inconveniences do not detract from what is a stunning smartphone.

OnePlus 7 Pro is available to Irish customers on Three Ireland, for €699 on prepay, or from €179 on bill pay.