Mobiles & Tablets

OnePlus 7 Review: The absolute real deal

Mala Bharghava | Updated on: Jun 03, 2019
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The lesser of the two new phones turns out to be fairly easy to recommend as a powerful future-proof

If there were any complaints about OnePlus gradually raising the prices of their phone until they threatened to become the flagships they were trying to kill, the OnePlus 7 is here to silence them. The OnePlus 7 actually comes in at a price that’s lower than the one the previous equivalent was launched at: Rs 32,999. OnePlus may have split the line in two to make a flagship, the OnePlus 7 Pro, and a flagship killer, the OnePlus 7 regular, but it gives users the option so that’s just fine with everyone.

I find myself rather warming up to the ‘lesser’ of the two smartphones not just because of the scintillating red unit I have but because it’s more than enough for me as I suspect it will be for the average user who isn’t neck deep in gaming. The beautiful red of the OnePlus 7 has appeared before on the OnePlus 6 and looks just as good, deep and seeming to pulse with life. I rather like gazing at it though I quickly put a case back on, sacrificing the slick and sleek feel of the phone for cleanliness and safety.

The OnePlus 7 looks much like all the other recent OnePlus phones and of course, that’s a good thing because I have a strong feeling users won’t tolerate a drastic shift in design philosophy with this particular brand.

The phone is easy to hold, specially if you use a case like OnePlus’ own sandstone finish one, a personal favourite. There are some tougher cases and they’re much more protective but of course they make the phone chunky, so it depends on whether you’re happy enough with that. The OnePlus 7 also comes in a ‘Mirror Grey’ which looks understated and elegant. But that red just raises your heart rate in excitement.

On the back of the OnePlus 7 is the OnePlus logo, looking bold and contemporary. The name OnePlus is printed in silver towards the bottom edge. All else is slip-smooth until you get to the camera line-up, which unfortunately sticks out a bit and has a sort of sharp lip around it, probably protecting the lenses. This is another reason for putting the case on because with that, everything evens out and you can put it down on a table without worrying.

If this is the first OnePlus phone you’re considering, these phones are all about speed, only getting faster with each iteration, if that were at all possible. A OnePlus is a phone that doesn’t really slow down, so packed is it with specs to begin with.

This time it comes with the Snapdragon 855, same as its more expensive sibling, and same as other more expensive flagships. The configurations available are 6GB RAM with 128GB storage and 8GB RAM with 256GB storage. It also uses the faster UFS 3.0 which makes using things on the device yet faster. It’s all this speed that makes the phone so future proof. I have a few friends who haven’t let go of their OnePlus 3’s yet.

Critics sometimes say that a OnePlus phone is just crammed with specs and that faster isn’t always better, but the truth is few other Android phones would cruise along for quite so many years as a OnePlus, a strong reason why we rarely hesitate to recommend one. This is much the same with the OnePlus 7, whose performance is only made better with its clean software with OxygenOS, the best take on Android, according to most Android experts.

New features on the more advanced of the two phones are included on the 7 as well, such as Screen Recording which will let you even record a whole movie streaming online. It’s a little powerhouse, no doubt about that.

The OnePlus 7 has a 48MP primary camera with a Sony IMX586 sensor which does well enough for itself as long as it isn’t compared too closely with the Pixel, recent Huawei phones and even new ones from Oppo. Colours are enriched and you’ll inevitably find skies bluer and grass greener, but pictures outdoors are still very pleasing indeed though close in and you’ll see some softness.

The primary uses an f/1.6 aperture and has OIS. The depth sensing is still good and detects edges nicely to leave the rest of the background blurred. The front camera is good too though under some conditions softens the face up rather a lot whether you opt for beautification or not.

Versus the OnePlus 6T

If you’re using the 6T the last thing you need to do is upgrade to the OnePlus 7, though the 7 Pro would be a step-up if you’re a power user. If you ended up buying the 6T in a recent sale, you can’t be blamed for extreme annoyance because the OnePlus 7 is, unexpectedly, the same price. We don’t recommend trying to pick up left-over stock of the 6T unless it’s at a drastically lower price.

The OnePlus 7 has the more advanced processor and performance is faster, even borne out by benchmark testing. But for everyday tasks, the 6T has been no slouch. The design is much the same and so is a great deal else, specially since software upgrades and new features do come to recent OnePlus phones anyway.

On paper there is a big jump in the camera. The 6T has a dual rear setup (16MP + 20MP), and 16MP fron and the OnePlus 7 has a dual rear (48MP + 5MP), and 16MP front. Several reviewers feel the difference in actual usage isn’t turning out to be that great.

Versus the 7 Pro

In some ways the 7 Pro is the more attractive of the two being packed with more specs, but considering it’s so much more expensive at Rs 16,000 more, it warrants a close look at the Oneplus 7 regular in comparison. Both have the same processor and the 7 works really, really fast as well.

The one distinguishing difference is that the 7 Pro has a screen that refreshes at 90Hz not just 60Hz and this makes it faster to use, but everyone doesn’t need speed that is faster than fast. In fact, the 7 does a little better at performance in some ways because it isn’t spending resources on keeping the more advanced screen going. Many users will find themselves in fact dropping the refresh rate of the 7 Pro to 60Hz in any case, to save on power.

The screen of the 7 Pro is also almost edgeless because it uses a pop-up front camera. Using it all the time to face-unlock I found that both it and I got tired of each other and I even received a notification not to switch between cameras quite so often. The 7 Pro also has a wide-angle and telephoto lens missing on the OnePlus 7 but otherwise has the same primary 48MP lens. The 7 Pro has a bigger battery and faster charging.

Price: Rs 32,999, Rs 37,999

Pros: Surprisingly great price and value, a super performer, looks and feels classy, cloud clear speaker, good screen, clean software with new features, improved alert slider

Cons: At this price, the OnePlus 7 is forgiven the lack of wireless charging and water resistance rating

Published on June 03, 2019

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