With the exception of, say, a foldable display, the OnePlus 7 Pro has enough features du jour to keep its fans enticed. That's because OnePlus packed its latest flagship phone with pretty much every trendy phone feature we've seen in the last year or so, including a pop-up selfie camera, an in-display fingerprint sensor and multiple rear cameras. Even a month after the phone's release OnePlus is still doling out goods, like a big camera update and a special edition Almond color variant.
But to remain relevant in this competitive industry, OnePlus needs to court users outside its loyal base. In the US, the phone works on Verizon and OnePlus' continued partnership with T-Mobile, which started only last year, helps. But it's the phone's $669 and £649 (6GB of RAM/128GB) starting price that is the deal maker and one of the core reasons the phone earned CNET's Editor's Choice. (There's also an 8GB/256GB variant that costs $699 and will be the one available from T-Mobile.)
Since 2014, when the company launched its first OnePlus One, OnePlus has garnered a reputation for making phones with premium specs at a wallet-friendly price. And while every year it gets harder for OnePlus to keep prices low (compared to other brands, OnePlus has one of the highest increases in cost from model to model), the OnePlus 7 Pro is still a great value despite being the company's most expensive phone. With the OnePlus 7 Pro, the company is giving its customers a top-of-the-line phone at a reasonable price that's still less expensive than the iPhone XR and Galaxy S10E -- the cheapest "flagship" options from Apple and Samsung.
|OnePlus 7 Pro||128GB||6GB||$669, £649 (AU$962 converted)|
|OnePlus 7 Pro||256GB||8GB||$699, £699 (AU$1,006 converted)|
|OnePlus 7 Pro||256GB||12GB||$749, £799 (AU$1,076 converted)|
(Oh and in case you're wondering, a OnePlus 7 does exist. It's very similar to the OnePlus 6T, costs £499 and only sells in certain markets -- the US not being one of them. There's a different OnePlus 7 Pro too, a 5G version you can only get in the UK. There isn't any pricing or availability info on that yet.)
Bit by bit, OnePlus is losing that wunderkid-flagship-killer magic it had when it first burst onto the scene with the $299 OnePlus One. But there's no denying it continues to make powerful phones with coveted features at ridiculously competitive prices. In short, the OnePlus 7 Pro's sharp display, superb triple rear camera setup and fast processor make it not only one of the best phones for its price, but one of the best phones right now, period.
The OnePlus 7 Pro's stereo speakers are great. When I played Beyonce's Homecoming, audio was clear and rich, with lots of depth and range.
OnePlus 7 Pro's pop-up camera and triple lens setup
The phone's 3X telephoto zoom combined with a 10x digital zoom means the phone could zoom in on faraway objects while maintaining clarity and stability. With the wide-angle camera, you can fit way more content in each frame, though shots taken on the wide-angle camera appeared muddier near the edges. The OnePlus 7 Pro also took great portrait shots. Though its depth of field was shorter than the Pixel 3, Galaxy S10E and iPhone XR, the falloff between the fore- and background was smooth while my subject looked sharp.
One novel thing about the phone is its front-facing camera. It's embedded inside the phone and pops up out of the top. The mechanism works smoothly and quickly, and its overall construction seems pretty durable. (Just don't try to snap it off or anything.) If you accidentally drop the phone, the camera will quickly pop back inside. The selfie camera takes solid portrait shots too, with faces looking clear with a consistent blur effect, and you can also adjust the look in post.
Like other Android Pie phones, the OnePlus 7 Pro has Digital Wellbeing built-in -- a tool from Google that keeps tabs on your screen time and lets you set specific timers for apps. But a new software feature called Zen Mode restricts phone use to another level. Once activated, Zen Mode essentially makes all aspects of your phone inaccessible for 20 minutes, save for making emergency calls and taking photos. That means you can't open apps, make personal calls or even swipe through the screen until the timer is up. Zen Mode kicks in after continuous phone usage of two to five hours (you can set this yourself) and there's really no way to escape it once it's on. Even restarting the phone puts you right back where you left off in Zen Mode. It may seem a bit Draconian, but if you're serious about decreasing screen time, Zen Mode could be useful.
OnePlus bumped up the OnePlus 7 Pro's battery capacity to accommodate the bigger screen and higher refresh rate. And while the phone has an excellent battery life (it can easily survive a full work day without a charge), it didn't outlast the OnePlus 6T. During our lab tests for continuous video playback on Airplane mode, the OnePlus 7 Pro lasted an average of 15 hours and 50 minutes. I ran several tests with the screen both on 90Hz and 60Hz, but because the video was 30fps, it made sense that the battery results were more or less the same. Though this average slightly beats the Pixel 3's 15-hour result, compare that to the OnePlus 6T and Galaxy S10E, which clocked in 17 hours, as well as the iPhone XR's nearly 20-hour runtime.
One other great thing about the OnePlus 7 Pro is how fast it charges. Its proprietary charging technology Warp Charge was first introduced in a special McLaren edition of the OnePlus 6T and it's an update to OnePlus' Dash Charge technology. The charger juiced up a fully drained OnePlus 7 Pro up to 42% in only 15 minutes. After one hour, the battery replenished by 91%. And a full charge took about an hour and 20 minutes.