The GoodThe OnePlus 7 Pro is fast, has a neat pop-up camera and its triple rear cameras take fantastic pictures — all at $80 less than its closest Samsung and iPhone rivals.
The BadOnePlus’ new phone is heavy and isn’t rated for water resistance. It lacks wireless charging and a headphone jack.
The Bottom LineThe OnePlus 7 Pro’s camera, performance and price make it the go-to premium Android phone of 2019.
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 Pro
$669, £649 (AU$962 converted)
OnePlus 7 Pro
$699, £699 (AU$1,006 converted)
OnePlus 7 Pro
$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 is big, blue and budget friendly
Originally published May 14. Update, June 18: Adds Editor’s Choice and information about OnePlus camera update.
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 ounces. 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 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
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.