[Face Off] OnePlus 7 vs Redmi K20 Pro

So, who is the REAL flagship killer?

by: - Last updated on: July 22nd, 2019

Got a budget in the vicinity of Rs 30,000 and looking for a phone that will deliver a flagship experience? Well, the chances are that you will be caught between two phones. Both of which clay claim to the title “flagship killer.” One that is the junior of a better specced senior and one that is the pro of its own series. But which of the Redmi K20 Pro or the OnePlus 7 is the one for you? Read on to find out who is the real flagship killer.

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Who’s got the looks?

By some coincidence, we have the red variants of both devices. And very different shades of red they are. Both are gorgeous in their own ways, but while the OnePlus 7 has a simpler, more direct look with hardly any shade variations, the Redmi K20 Pro’s red is far more flashy, and yet classy. There is a solid block of red down the middle with a gradient finish that makes the lighter colored sections on either side of it flash different shades depending on the light conditions. The Redmi K20 Pro is slightly more compact than the OnePlus 7, but that is hardly surprising given the fact that it has a slightly smaller display. Similarly, the K20 Pro is slightly heavier Even on the front, the pop-up camera of the K20 Pro gives it much more of an all-display and modern feel than the OnePlus 7, which has a drop notch. First blood to the red of the Redmi here!

Who’s tougher?

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We have glass on front and back of both candidates. And metal frames in between. And both phones claim to be tough in spite of all that glass. It is a close finish when you look at the specs – the OnePlus 7 seems to have an edge with Corning Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and 5 on the back, as compared to the K20 Pro, which has 5 on front and back, but then the Redmi has a P2i splash-resistance while the OnePlus 7 claims to be water-resistant to an extent but has no rating to back its claim.

A tale of two AMOLED displays

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Both the phones come with AMOLED displays, with Full HD+ resolution. The OnePlus 7 has a slightly larger display at 6.41 inches compared to the 6.39 inches of the K20 Pro, but the absence of a notch on the K20 Pro’s display just makes it look a little better. The K20 Pro’s display also seemed brighter to us. The OnePlus 7 does have Corning Gorilla Glass 6 protection as compared to the Gorilla Glass 5 on the K20 Pro. Neither of these displays is bad, and both support HDR, but score another one for the Redmi here.

Chips that match

This is where things get interesting. Both devices come with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 processor, the current flagship favorite. There’s nothing much to separate the two here.

…and so do memories

Both phones come with 6 GB / 128 GB and 8 GB / 256 GB RAM and storage variants. Neither has expandable memory. What, however, might tilt the odds in favor of the OnePlus is the fact that it uses UFS 3.0 storage while the K20 Pro uses 2.1 – the difference is not evident, but it does make the 7 superior on paper, and potentially just a little more future proof.

Connectivity matches but One is NFC Plus

Both phones cancel each other out in terms of connectivity with 4G, Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth. However, the OnePlus picks up points for having NFC, which the K20 Pro does not.

Cameras? Gimme Red(mi) on paper…

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The camera battle between the two devices is a fascinating one. Both have the 48-megapixel, half-inch Sony IMX586 as their main sensor, both with nearly identical aperture sizes. However, the Redmi pulls away by having a 13-megapixel ultrazoom camera and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens with 2x optical zoom, while the OnePlus only has a 5-megapixel secondary depth sensor. Yes, the OnePlus’ main sensor does come with OIS, which the Redmi lacks, but we do not think it really compensates. In the front-facing cameras too, the edge lies with the Redmi with a 20-megapixel selfie snapper, against a 16 megapixel one.

…and in performance

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The difference the extra cameras make becomes visible in performance terms. Yes, the OnePlus 7 does have a slight edge in low light conditions and seems to have slightly more detail even in normal light conditions, but the K20 Pro’s zoom and ultrawide lens give it a clear edge in terms of sheer versatility. We also got much more “popping” colors from the Redmi K20 Pro’s Camera, although some might accuse it of a bit of oversaturation. In the selfie department, the K20 Pro has a comfortable edge over the OnePlus 7, although some might again feel that the results are a bit too rich in color. We also found portraits coming out much better on the Redmi, with edges getting better defined generally, although neither phone was perfect in this department (want perfection? Get a DSLR!)

Oh Pie, to breathe Oxygen or to Skin Poco?

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When it comes to software, both phones come with Android Pie out of the box. And there the similarity between them ends. Spectacularly. For, while the OnePlus device comes with the minimalistic Oxygen OS, the Redmi K20 Pro has the much more elaborate MIUI, topped off with a new version of the Poco UI seen on the Poco F1. They are two very different takes on the same OS, and both have their own adherents. The OnePlus interface is cleaner and less cluttered, but the one on the Redmi has far more features (something that is particularly more noticeable in the camera app). For some, the presence of ads (notifications) in the interface might be a deciding feature, although they can be turned off. Both companies have very good track records of updating their interfaces. We honestly find it difficult to decide between the two – it depends on what you value.

Gaming and multitasking equality has been attained

With pretty much similar processor and memory configurations, displays of almost the same size and resolution, and the same version of Android, there is not much to separate the two devices when it comes to gaming and multitasking. Both phones are very much flagship-level in this regard, breezing through tasks easily, and running PUBG very smoothly indeed. There is nothing to separate the two here, really. You are unlikely to have a bad experience with either.

Sound: stereo speakers or audio jack?

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When it comes to sound, each device has its own ace up its phone-y sleeve. The OnePlus 7 comes with dual stereo speakers, which means the listening experience on speaker mode is definitely superior to the one we get from the single speaker on the Redmi K20 Pro. The K20 Pro, however, has a 3.5 mm audio jack, something the OnePlus 7 has done away with. We would align slightly towards the OnePlus 7 as those stereo speakers get you better sound without having to use earphones while gaming and watching films, but if you are the type that does a lot of listening in public, then the K20 Pro is your device!

Big batteries that charge fast…and could be faster

When it comes to batteries, the Redmi seems to hold an edge on paper, with a larger 4000 mAh battery, as compared to the 3700 mAh one on the OnePlus. And while both phones come with support for fast charging – OnePlus 7 supports Dash Charge (a level below the Warp Charge on the OnePlus 7 Pro) while the Redmi K20 Pro supports Quick Charge 4.0. The OnePlus 7 has a 20W charger in the box, while the K20 Pro has an 18W one, although it can support a 27W one. We found the OnePlus’ (smaller) battery charging a little faster than the one on the Redmi K20 Pro, but on the flip side, the K20 Pro’s battery lasted a few hours more. We are scoring this one to the K20 Pro, although we wish Xiaomi had bundled a 27W charger in the box. This policy of “this phone can support a faster charger but we are giving you a slightly slower one” is strange.

Scan those fingerprints and faces, please

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Both phones come with in-display fingerprint scanners, as well as face unlock. And while neither is a wizard at the fingerprint scan (which is generally good on both, but can be a little inconsistent from time to time), OnePlus 7 does seem to be faster on face unlock. It is not a killer difference but it does exist.

For a few Rupees more…

Which brings us down to the price factor. And here the Redmi’s much lower price – Rs 27,999 against Rs 32,999 – makes it a clear winner. You can actually buy an 8 GB/ 256 GB edition of the Redmi K20 Pro at a lower price than the base 6 GB/ 128 GB OnePlus 7. Does the OnePlus 7 offer enough extra features for those extra bucks? Stereo sound and a slightly larger display aside, we are not too sure.

OnePlus 7 times or Twenty times K from Redmi?

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So which of the two should you go for? Let’s use that line of ours again. All together now – it all really depends on what you consider important. If budget is a constraint, the decision becomes a no-brainer, with the Redmi K20 Pro running out an easy winner. But bring factors like OIS in camera, a cleaner UI and stereo sound into the picture and the OnePlus 7 gets right back into contention. Speaking for ourselves, we think that the K20 Pro’s eye-catching design, more versatile cameras and a bigger battery (not to mention the presence of the audio jack) tilt the overall scales in its favor.

But hey, your call. Either way, you will end up with a flagship killer. Which is not a bad thing at all!

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