[First cut] OnePlus 7 Pro: Exit flagship killer, enter flagship
After weeks of leaks, rumors and speculations, OnePlus has finally launched the OnePlus 7. This year the “flagship killer” is not alone. In the past, we have seen OnePlus launch two devices (a OnePlus variant and a OnePlus T variant) but never at the same time – the T variant always came later towards the end of the year. Things are different this time around. The regular OnePlus is accompanied by a “Pro” version, the OnePlus 7 Pro. The device not only comes with a stronger spec sheet but with a higher price tag as well. But how much Pro does that make it, or will the consumers think of its price as a con?
A Premium friend that is not Matt le Bland
The OnePlus 7 Pro looks like it has taken a few pages off Samsung’s flagship look-book. The minute that tall display on the OnePlus 7 Pro is turned on, a strong Samsung flagship-like display vibe might hit you. And with good reason. The display of the OnePlus 7 Pro curves out on the edges which is one of the USPs of Samsung’s flagship smartphones. What’s more, the bezels on the phone are extremely thin, a trait which is not exclusive to Samsung but is identified very strongly with it (remember the Edge series?). Some might not like the heavy Samsung influence the front of the smartphone bears but we think it is a good thing. After all, Samsung can be accused of many things but not of robbing us of a great display experience. Samsung also knows how to make a smartphone look premium and as OnePlus is climbing the price ladder, premium looks are one thing the brand absolutely needs. Well, it gets them.
The front is also about that tall 6.67″ quad HD Fluid AMOLED display. In the name of bezels, the smartphone carries super thin lines around the display on the three sides while the chin is slightly thicker as compared to the rest of the sides (not that we mind). Above the display, there is an earpiece which sits on the thin black bezel like a camouflaged chameleon. The display is tall, glorious and beautiful. The colors seem sharp and the contrast looks deep. It is a front that welcomes you into the new world of a more premium OnePlus.
The back of the phone adds to this premium-ness. We received the Nebula Blue variant of the device and the non-glass looking glass back often transported us to the StarWars world. It might be all matte and with no color gradient but that does not mean it looks dull. Whenever light falls on it, we got major Lightsaber feels, simply because the dark blue color seemed to turn into brilliant light blue when light falls on it, often with a ray of light jutting right across. The back is not as flashy as we have seen in some smartphones recently, but the lack of bling does not make it look bland. On the contrary, we actually like this better than the loudly reflective, mirror-y backs that are trending in some flagships nowadays.
Then there is the finish – the back might not look like glass (it actually looks more metal than glass, which we definitely do not mind) but definitely feels like it, and has a smooth, cool finish. One of biggest pros of having a non-glass looking glass back (yes, you read that right) is that you do not have to worry about smudges and fingerprints ruining it as much as you do on other glass surfaces. The back also holds the primary camera arrangement in an elongated capsule shaped unit that protrudes a little. It is followed by a round LED flash. While it all looks harmonious from a distance, looking closely will reveal a slight camera-family feud in the happy looking capsule. The brand has placed two cameras in a separate, smaller capsule unit within the bigger unit, leaving the third camera out, like an outcast. It is not an eyesore, but just a little curious in design terms (whatever did it do to deserve this exclusion, OnePlus?). The brand’s logo sits right below the LED flash while the OnePlus branding is present on the lower half of the back.
The metal frame, sandwiched between all this glass holds quite a few responsibilities. The left side of the phone houses the volume rocker (which we think is a bit on the higher side) while the right side comes with OnePlus’ textured alert slider which is followed by the power/lock button. The base of the device carries different dual SIM card slot which looks like it can only hold a single SIM but can support dual SIM cards, one on either side. We do not know how it is supposed to work without dropping one of the SIM cards while extracting them, though. The SIM card tray is accompanied by the USB Type C port and a speaker grill, all on the base. The top of the frame is where one of the USPs of the OnePlus 7 Pro is hidden – a pop-up front facing camera which slides out as soon as you switch from primary to selfie mode.
The OnePlus 7 Pro measures 162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8 mm and weighs 206 grams, which makes it slightly on the longer and heavier side. The smartphone may come with an edge to edge display but it still remains quite tall and is difficult to operate with a single hand. That said, it looks very different from most OnePluses in the past and we mean that in a good way. That said, even though it might be climbing up the premium ladder, there is still no official rating for dust and water resistance. Which is a bit of a damper. Pun intended.
Spectacularly specced, as usual
The OnePlus 7 Pro is a looker but that does not take away from the fact that under all that glass is a spec monster. It comes with a 6.67-inch Quad HD+ Fluid AMOLED display with a screen resolution of 3120 x 1440 pixels – the first OnePlus to get into quad HD land. The display is set by default on an Auto Switch mode (moving between quad HD+ and full HD+), but you can switch between quad HD+ or Full HD+ manually if you wish.
Powering the smartphone is the Herculean Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, the top Qualcomm Snapdragon processor which will be making its debut in the Indian smartphone market with the OnePlus 7 Pro. This is paired with a massive 8 GB RAM and 256 GB storage. The device also comes in a 6 GB/ 128 GB and 12 GB/ 256 GB variant. However, the storage cannot be expanded as there is no space for a microSD card – surely that smaller SIM card tray could have got an extra slot?
OnePlus has gone to town talking about the prowess of these cameras (a National Geographic cover was shot using them), and the 7 Pro seems designed to deliver a lot. At least on paper. It sports a triple camera arrangement on the back. The first one in the triple camera set up is a 48-megapixel main sensor with a huge f/1.6 aperture, with support for both OIS and EIS. Then comes the second lens which is an 8-megapixel telephoto sensor with f/2.4 aperture and support for OIS, and will give you 3x optical zoom. The third is an ultra-wide 16-megapixel sensor with f/2.2 aperture and 117-degree wide field of view (a bit below the 124 degrees we got from Samsung). The camera can capture video in 4K at 30/60 fps and 1080p at 30/60 fps. Then there is the front camera that pops out of the frame when needed – a 16-megapixel sensor that comes with f/2.0 aperture and support for EIS.
To unlock the phone, there is an in-display fingerprint scanner and the phone also comes with support for face unlock, via that pop-up camera. When it comes to sound, OnePlus has finally added a pair of stereo speakers in the spec-mix with Dolby Atmos sound support, so we will finally have a OnePlus that sounds good, although there is still no room for a 3.5 mm audio jack. Connectivity options on the device include 5G (yes)/4G, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0, GPS and NFC.
The phone runs on Android 9.0 Pie and comes with a layer of OxygenOS 9.5.1, which is one of the cleanest and least intrusive UIs we have seen on Android. OnePlus also has a very impressive update record – we are still getting regular updates and fixes for the OnePlus 6T as this is being written. All of these mighty specs are powered by a 4,000 mAh battery which comes with support for Warp charge 30 fast charging, which is even faster than OnePlus’s famous Dash charge – 38 percent faster as per the company, and yes, there is a charger that supports it in the box itself. There is, however, no support for wireless charging, which is again not a hygiene factor, but a bit of a let down when one considers the price segment into which the device is stepping.
Climbing up the premium ladder
Be it design, specs or software, OnePlus has thrown the kitchen sink at it, when it comes to the OnePlus 7 Pro. And it comes at a very in-OnePlus price, which begins at Rs. 48,999. That price is definitely more flagship than flagship killer, something which was a USP of OnePlus devices in the past. It also changes the profile of OnePlus’ competition – moving from Asus, Xiaomi, and Honor to the far more upmarket Samsung, Huawei and perhaps even Apple. Not just that, it will also have to keep a very wary eye on its own sibling, the OnePlus 7, which might appear to be a little plain in comparison, but packs enough punch for its price in its own right. Yes, it has the looks and numbers (including price) to challenge for the flagship title, but will it be worth keeping in the tech apartment of your life? Stay tuned to find out in our detailed review.