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OnePlus 7 Pro review: An affordable deluxe

The Chinese smartphone manufacturer’s latest offering performs as good and, at times, better than its counterparts while costing way lesser

At the gala launch of OnePlus 7 Pro at a huge, packed hall at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre, Szymon Kopeć, Product Lead at OnePlus, claimed, “This is the most complete phone we have made.”

The statement, of course, is understandably hyperbolic (considering it was made during a product launch) but the word ‘complete’ in it makes it a little misleading. After all, OnePlus is in a race in the field of innovation — and going by what we have witnessed over the last decade, it is unlikely to end anytime soon.

If OnePlus comes up with the best smartphone, Apple, Samsung and the rest will better it soon before OnePlus gets ahead again. Xiaomi’s latest ad, for instance, says, “Congratulations, OnePlus! We heard about your flagship. Flagship Killer 2.0 coming soon.” And the buzz around RealMeX is already manifesting shockwaves.

  • Size: 6.67 inches
  • Resolution: 3120 x 1440 pixels 516ppi (Fluid AMOLED)
  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 (Octa-core, 7nm, up to 2.84 GHz), with Qualcomm AI Engine
  • RAM: 6GB/8GB/12GB
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB UFS 3.0, 2-LANE
  • Weight: 206g
  • Battery: 4000 mAh (non-removable) Warp Charge 30 Fast Charging (5V/6A)
  • Unlock Options: In-display Fingerprint, Face Unlock
  • Audio: Dual stereo speakers, Dolby Atmos

So, it’s safe to assume that we are far from witnessing any ‘complete’ smartphone.

Having said that, OnePlus’ latest offering, their 7 Pro, is the best from the Chinese manufacturers. And, one can make a case for it to be called the best high-end smartphone in the market.

Notch-less, bezel-less display and dolby sound

Take this with a pinch of salt if you want: for me, OnePlus 7 Pro is the mobile version of an IMAX screen. The phone, after shedding its notch (which will go down as an annoying design element in human history) and bezel (the side edges of the screen), looks gorgeous. The AMOLED screen and Dolby Atmos sound have made the experience of viewing video more immersive.

Even while travelling in an autorickshaw on a chaotic traffic day in Bengaluru (which is almost every day), I could hear the chirping birds and rustling leaves and the clear, soothing voice of David Attenborough in a BBC Earth video, which, in 1080p, looked pristine. The OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 earphones, priced ₹5,999 (a tad too expensive), accentuated the viewing experience.

These, along with 4000 mAh battery and the Warp Charge technology (which helps the phone go from no charge to 50% charge in 20 minutes) make the phone a great choice for gamers.

Smoothness and speed

A scene from X-Men: Days of Future Past comes to mind while operating the phone. In the scene, set in a kitchen at Pentagon, Quicksilver, who can run at supersonic speed, rearranges the trajectories of several speeding bullets shot at other protagonists by a few guards. But we get to see his super-slow perception of time as he moves around, coolly, licking a sauce from a pan, knocking off a guard’s cap and changing the bullets’ directions, with Jim Croce’s ‘Time in a Bottle’ playing in the background. Quicksilver is so fast yet so smooth. It’s the same with OnePlus 7 Pro.

OnePlus 7 Pro review: An affordable deluxe

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chip, accompanied by a monstrous 12 GB RAM, makes high-speed data processing incredibly smooth and quick — even while playing games when on charge. The 6 GB and 8 GB RAM variants of the phone should work just fine, but if you want to be fully equipped to handle the future software updates, then, 12GB is a safer bet.

The 90 Hz refresh rate (screen refreshes 90 times a second) is another factor that makes the phone buttery-smooth.

Improved camera

Among the few criticisms of OnePlus 6T was its below-par camera (by high-end smartphone standards). It’s apparent that the makers have worked hard to rectify that — they even got a National Geographic photographer on the launch to endorse the 7 Pro’s camera. Even if you can’t capture award-winning photographs with the phone, with a triple camera setup — a 48-megapixel regular wide-angle ‘main’ camera (f/1.6), an 8-megapixel telephoto lens (f/2.4), and a 16-megapixel ultra wide-angle lens (f/2.2) — you can effortlessly click impressive pictures.

OnePlus 7 Pro review: An affordable deluxe

Despite the main camera having a 48-megapixel image sensor, with the pixel-binning technique, it combines four pixels together for every one pixel to produce a sharper 12-megapixel photo. The telephoto camera offers a 3x optical zoom as opposed to 2x on iPhone XS and Galaxy S10. There isn’t anything great to talk about the 16 MP front camera except its appearance — upon pressing the selfie camera button, it slowly rises from the top left corner of your phone with a light whir. It’s a gimmick, albeit an amusing one.

The price

This phone is not for those who ask, “why pay half a lakh for a phone when you can get a laptop for that money?” It clearly caters to a segment of users, who look for a premium experience in the smartphone. Hence, comparing its price with a budget smartphone is irrelevant. But on comparing the phone with its counterparts — Apple iPhone XS Max (priced over a lakh) and Samsung Galaxy S10 (₹66,000) — the OnePlus 7 Pro (₹49,000 for the 128GB/6GB RAM variant) has better battery, better screen and packs more features. This might bring down the high-end smartphone cost in the future.

OnePlus 7 Pro review: An affordable deluxe

The misses

As mentioned before, we are far from witnessing the complete smartphone — if there’s ever going to be one. So, you can nitpick the inadequacies of this impressive-yet-imperfect smartphone.

The in-display fingerprint sensor, albeit having futuristic animations when you place your finger on it, occasionally fails to detect your fingerprint even if you’re a little off the mark.

The camera, despite its drastic improvement from the previous edition, still falls short on comparison with the best: iPhone and Pixel. It’s often difficult to get the perfect picture on portrait mode — the background isn’t blurred enough. And, it still isn’t the best phone to click photos in low lighting.

The design being so smooth, sometimes, is a hassle. It’s difficult to grip the phone in crowded places — public transport, for instance.

OnePlus 7 Pro review: An affordable deluxe

Wireless charging, a feature that you’d like with high-end phones, is unavailable... and, despite the makers saying that the phone will work well even if you sink it in a bucket of water, the IP rating for water resistance is still unavailable, so do the bucket experiment at your own risk!

The flaws, as mentioned before, are a result of nitpicking. OnePlus 7 Pro offers more and performs better in key areas than its higher-priced counterparts.

OnePlus is a late entrant in the battle of smartphones; they have been, hence, catching up at a manic speed that makes its competitors sweat. And with their latest offering, they seem to have pulled away in the race. Your move now, Apple, Samsung and the rest.

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Printable version | Apr 4, 2020 12:34:00 PM |

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