OnePlus 7 Pro review: 

OnePlus 7 Pro review: 

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 pricing

OnePlus 7 Pro128GB6GB$669, £649 (AU$962 converted)
OnePlus 7 Pro256GB8GB$699, £699 (AU$1,006 converted)
OnePlus 7 Pro256GB12GB$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.

OnePlus 7 Pro's 90Hz, notchless display

While most phones have a refresh rate of 60 frames per second (put in another way, in one second the display refreshes 60 times), the OnePlus 7 Pro has a 90Hz display with a crisp 1,440-pixel resolution. By refreshing 90 frames a second, things like scrolling through webpages and apps feels really fluid.

Compared to the previous OnePlus 6T, games like PUBG feel more fluid and silky. The difference isn't necessarily night and day, but if you're a gamer, you'll definitely appreciate that extra smoothness.

Keep in mind that the OnePlus 7 Pro isn't the only mobile device with an enhanced Hz display. A few gaming phones, like the Razer Phone 2, has a 120Hz display, and are showing users the benefits of those extra hertz. Even though I'm not a gamer I certainly find the feature compelling, and when I switched back to viewing the OnePlus 6T, the screen felt "draggy" even though I knew there wasn't anything wrong with it.

Overall, the phone looks fantastic. Because the front-facing camera sits on the top edge (more on that later) and the left and right sides of the display spill to the edges (à la recent Samsung Galaxy phones), the viewing experience feels more immersive in a way. The display is razor-sharp and thanks to the pop-up camera, it's all screen; there's no cutout tab or teardrop notch or "hole punch" dot.

Perhaps my biggest complaint, though, is that the phone feels heavy and big. The OnePlus 6T was already difficult to maneuver with one hand, and the OnePlus 7 Pro is now taller and heavier by 0.77 ounce. That doesn't sound like a lot, but I definitely feel its weightiness when I hold it, especially when I'm taking a photo with one hand or attempting to stuff it in my jean pockets.

Other design takeaways:

The OnePlus 7 Pro isn't officially IP rated for water resistance. But after a series of water tests, the phone survived 30 minutes in a tank of tap water. It eventually died, however, after being submerged in a 3-foot-deep chlorinated pool.
The OnePlus 7 Pro has an in-display fingerprint reader, which means you can scan your fingerprint on the front of the display to unlock your screen. It works faster than the OnePlus 6T's scanner, but if you don't like using your fingerprint, you can still use your face or a PIN to unlock the phone.

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 pop-up selfie camera.

On its rear the OnePlus 7 Pro has an ultra wide-angle camera, a standard camera and a telephoto camera. Photos are clear, bright and vibrant and I'm impressed with the camera's HDR rendering. In one particular shot of a dark room and a big bright window, the OnePlus 7 Pro lit up the foreground better than even the Pixel 3 -- the current low-light king -- though the latter retained more details of the outside. There were times however that the OnePlus 7 Pro took better low-light photos than the Pixel 3's Night Sight, which is quite impressive.

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.

OnePlus 7 Pro introduces screen recording and Zen Mode

The OnePlus 7 Pro runs Android 9.0 Pie with OnePlus' OxygenOS layered on top. Keeping with its minimalist UI approach, the phone is still pretty much a vanilla version of Android, which I like. But there are two notable additions. One is screen recording, which allows you to record and save video of your screen. This is useful when you need to show someone how to do something on the phone, record gameplay or whatever else. Note that with certain apps, like Netflix, the recording will be blacked out due to copyright infringements.

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 7 Pro's battery and performance

Packing the latest Snapdragon 855 chipset, the OnePlus 7 Pro's performance is speedy and reliable. I didn't run into any issues or lag with day-to-day tasks like launching apps or unlocking the screen with my fingerprint. Photos that needed extra processing time (like Nightscape or portrait shots) also took a reasonable amount of time to render. On benchmark tests, the phone performed as well as the Galaxy S10E, which sports the same processor, and it predictably beat the OnePlus 6T and Pixel 3 (both have last year's Snapdragon 845 processor). Aside from just one test though, the iPhone XR comfortably edged out all the phones in the group. Unlike its Snapdragon-toting competition, the iPhone XR has a proprietary Apple A12 Bionic processor.

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.

OnePlus 7 Pro 4G Smartphone 8GB RAM 256GB ROM International Version



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