OnePlus 7T Pro Review: The 7 Pro Gets a Spec Boost
A routine rather than rad upgrade, but an upgrade nevertheless
2019 has been the year in which the OnePlus went Pro. Or rather came out with a more premium, Pro variant of its “regular” flagship killing avatar. The first in the series was the OnePlus 7 Pro, and in keeping with the recent OnePlus tradition, this has been followed by a T variant, the OnePlus 7T Pro. However, unlike the 7 and 7 Pro, which were released at the same event, the 7T Pro variant was released a few days after the release of the OnePlus 7T, which was released alongside the OnePlus TV.
OnePlus 7T Pro Design: So much like OnePlus 7 Pro
And this we feel has resulted in the OnePlus 7T just stealing a bit of attention away from its Pro brother. After all, the 7T was a very different phone from OnePlus 7 in terms of both design and hardware. The OnePlus 7T Pro, however, as we observed in our first cut, is actually a more subtle upgrade of its Pro predecessor. Unlike the 7T and the 7, which look very different from just about every angle, the 7 Pro and the 7T Pro can be mistaken for each other. They have the exact same dimensions (162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8 mm), the same weight (206 grams), the same sized 6.67-inch AMOLED display that tapers over the sides in front, the same glass front and back design language and differ externally mainly in terms of color – the OnePlus 7T Pro comes in a Haze Blue shade (there is a McLaren edition with Papaya Orange accents about which you can read more here), where the 7 Pro was available in Mirror Gray, Nebula Blue, and Almond.
So if you liked the OnePlus 7 Pro’s design, you would in all probability like its T variant as well. On the other hand, if you found it a little too large and heavy (and we did to an extent), you will feel disappointed that OnePlus did not do more with its design, like it did with the OnePlus 7T for instance. Speaking for ourselves, we like the OnePlus 7T Pro, though we wish it had lost a few mm of length and grams of weight. And we so wish it came in that gorgeous Nebula Blue!
OnePlus 7T vs 7 Pro: The differences are beneath the surface
The real differences between the OnePlus 7T Pro and the 7Pro lie below the hood. Yes, they both share the same quad HD 6.67-inch AMOLED display with that 90Hz refresh rate, and they both also seem to have largely similar camera set-ups – a 48-megapixel Sony IMX 586 main rear sensor (with OIS), an 8 megapixel telephoto lens with 3X optical zoom, and a 16 megapixel ultra-wide lens with a 117 degree field of view, and a 16-megapixel pop-up selfie camera. Connectivity options also remain largely similar – 4G, Wi-Fi, NFC, Bluetooth, and GPS. Stereo speakers are present as well, although the 3.5 mm audio jack and memory card slots remain absent.
What, however, is different is the processor that powers all this. The OnePlus 7T Pro comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855+ chip, which has so far been only seen in India in gaming phones and is supposed to be faster than the Snapdragon 855, which frankly was quite a performer in its own right. And unlike the 7 Pro, the 7T Pro has only one RAM and storage variant – a very maxed out 8 GB/ 256 GB affair (the McLaren edition has 12 GB RAM, but then that is a special edition). The battery is also slightly bigger at 4085 mAh (OnePlus needs to be commended for increasing the battery capacity without affecting the dimensions and weight of the phone), and more significantly charges much faster, courtesy Warp Charge 30T. That camera set up also has a subtle change – you can now take macro shots from as close as 2.5 cm, and there are a few new super-stable video modes as well. Rounding off the changes below the surface is the fact that the phone comes with Android 10 out of the box, making it one of the few in the market to have that feature, and also with, of course, OnePlus’ minimalistic Oxygen UI on top of it.
OnePlus 7T Pro vs OnePlus 7 Pro: Is there a performance difference?
They look alike. But have slightly different innards. The big question is: do those internals make a difference? To be brutally blunt, most of the time, you will not actually notice it. And that is not an adverse comment on the OnePlus 7T Pro – it just tells you how good the OnePlus 7 Pro itself still is. That display is one of the best out there, although we still think that the refresh rate needs more applications to make a difference. Gaming is outstanding on the device, with that processor and all that RAM resulting in fantastic PUBG, Call of Duty and Asphalt experiences. We sometimes felt the action was a bit smoother than on the 7 Pro, but that could have been the spec sheet affecting our vision. In general every day to day use, from calling to running multiple apps, we did not see a major change in performance between the two Pros.
And this similarity largely persists in the cameras as well. This is a bit of a pity to be honest because the cameras were the one areas where the OnePlus 7 Pro had seemed a step behind other flagships. Well, it unfortunately still is. Yes, it is capable of taking stunning shots, but it also at times seems to slip into mediocrity. We have seen the camera take fantastic shots, only to stumble and take a more ordinary one a minute later. That said, we think the macro implementation is very good. Focusing can take time (do not try it with moving objects please), but you get high-resolution shots, unlike the 2-megapixel ones from dedicated sensors. 16 megapixels on the ultra-wide also means that you can zoom into those landscapes without pixelation creeping in too early. The selfie camera retains its aggressive skin smoothing and brightening tendencies but is a solid performer. As ever, we have had an update claiming to improve camera performance. But even after it, what we can say is that while the OnePlus 7T Pro has the best cameras seen on a OnePlus, it will not be giving the iPhone and Pixel camps sleepless nights. It is capable of brilliance, but it remains a bit of a mixed bag. Be patient enough, though, and you can weave photographic magic with it.[Click here for full resolution versions and additional images]
The area where we actually think the OnePlus 7T Pro really differs from its predecessor is the battery. We do not know whether it is the Android 10 effect or those extra mAh, but the battery of the 7T Pro actually seemed to last longer than its predecessor – we got through a day with the display set at 90Hz, something that was not possible in the 7 Pro. Turn the refresh rate and you can easily get through a little more. Then there is Warp Charge 30T which allows you to charge your battery from scratch in slightly more than an hour (and there is a supporting charger in the box, as always). Frankly, that is fantastic!
While our experience on the 7 Pro had been a trifle buggy, we found the 7T Pro a much smoother performer – once again, we wonder whether Android 10 had something to do with it, although we are reasonably sure OnePlus’ constant flow of updates played its role as well. A final point of difference is the in-display fingerprint scanner, which we felt worked more smoothly on the 7T Pro, as compared to the 7 Pro.
OnePlus 7T Pro: Should you go for it…even if you DO have a 7 Pro?
So should you be considering investing in the OnePlus 7T Pro? At Rs 53,999, it comes with a high price tag by OnePlus standards (not by Pro ones, really), albeit with more RAM and storage (8 GB/ 256 GB) than its predecessor (which started at 6 GB/ 128 GB) Those already having a OnePlus 7 Pro might not feel all that pressing a need to update – as the change in processor speed is not starkly evident and not everyone is going to be crazy about the macro mode. Some might be impressed by the improved battery, both in terms of how long it lasts and how fast it charges, but truth be told, if you are on the 7 Pro, you might not feel THAT motivated to move up to its T avatar. We are not going to be as savage as some who have wondered why the phone exists – honestly, it is a brilliant device and works superbly, and if those are not reasons enough to exist, we have no idea about tech life.
But what if you are simply looking for a high-end flagship? That price tag of the OnePlus 7T Pro puts it right among the likes of not just other high-end Android devices like the Galaxy S10 (and 10e), but also within touching distance of the iPhone 11. Which is, of course, part of the brand’s attempt to get more upmarket and premium.
And to be fair, the OnePlus 7T Pro more than holds its own against most comers, thanks to its design and display, although we think the Galaxy S10 have better cameras, and the Asus ROG Phone 2 can claim to have comparable hardware even if it is hardly as mainstream and is very much a gaming phone. Now while the OnePlus 7T Pro is not quite the runaway winning proposition that its predecessors were, the very fact that it can be mentioned in the same breath as the S10, the iPhone and the Pixel shows just how far the brand has come from its mainly fighting on price days.
Actually, if you are ready to be a little patient with the cameras, we still think it is simply the best value for money flagship out there. It is a clear spec step above the OnePlus 7T and sits very comfortably with the best at the top of the smartphone pile. No, it is not good enough to dethrone them. Not yet. But it will never let them settle.
- That design (if you liked it in the 7 Pro)
- Better processor and battery life
- Smoother performance
- Superb for gaming
- That design (if you did not like it in the 7 Pro)
- Remains a bit on the larger side
- Just one color and spec variant
- Camera remains inconsistent
|Build and design||
It might look like a carbon copy of its Pro predecessor, but the OnePlus 7T Pro comes with very different innards. But does that gently changed spec sheet translate into a significantly better performance? And give its premium segment competitors reason to Never Settle?