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OnePlus 7 Pro – Is it too big?

OnePlus has built a brand name on selling phones with flagship specifications with a mid-range price tag. As the price of phones crept higher so has the price tag on a OnePlus. That's not the only thing that's bigger on this new smartphone, the OnePlus 7 sports a 6.67" Fluid AMOLED display. It's all display and gorgeous, but is 6.67 inches too big?

by Nicole on June 12, 2019
OnePlus 7 Pro
Positives
  • Beautiful Display
  • Oxygen OS is clean and well designed running Android 9.0
  • Snapdragon 855 with Qualcomm’s AI engine
  • Great for gaming
  • Solid Camera
  • Good low light performance
  • All Day battery life
  • Warp Charge
Negatives
  • No SD card slot
  • No headphone jack
  • No Wireless charging
  • Not (technically) waterproof
  • Flagship killer pricing is now just a slightly better deal.
  • Little on the large side for some
  • Weight in the phone is not evenly distributed and feels top heavy

This is an initial review or detailed hands on of the OnePlus 7, we have yet to render a final verdict on the battery life and camera.

The OnePlus 7 has big shoes to fill, a legacy of premium handsets whose price just couldn’t be beat. Personally, we’ve been huge fans of the line as the OnePlus 6, 6t and the McLaren edition was our daily drivers for a big part of the last year. With this fangirl legacy in mind, how does the OnePlus 7 stand up, it’s much larger the display size is 6.67″ vs 6.28″ on the OnePlus 6t let’s find out if it’s just too big!

The OnePlus 7 has a gorgeous display, the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 with up to 12GB of RAM. The camera is a 48MP triple camera with an ultra-wide lens and 3X optical zoom. So far we’re seeing easy all-day battery life with its beefy 4000mAh and WarpCharge 30 which gives you a 50% charge in 20min if you game a little too much and need a top up. There are also a bunch of gaming features built in with haptic vibration and a 10 layer liquid cooling system.

We’re obsessed with the Nebula blue, it’s multiple layers of glass that absorb light before a layer of anti-glare material which creates that mesmerizing effect.

Let’s start off with the look and feel of the phone because that’s my biggest question. Is it too big?

With most phones today I struggle to hit the far side of the keyboard if I want to try to type a message with one hand. That problem is much more noticeable on the OnePlus 7. On a smaller handset like the Samsung Galaxy S10 I can easily hit the W when I reach across, the Q is a stretch. On the OnePlus 7 the same reach will only get me to the E. It’s a larger phone no doubt, but one-handed use is already a stretch (pun intended) on smaller phones but where I notice the size the most is the weight. Of course, there is the one-handed keyboard but the overall larger size and weight of the OnePlus 7 makes it feel a little top heavy. It weighs in at 206grams and is 162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8mm. I’ve been using it with the case, without it the polished softback doesn’t have enough grip for me, with the included case it feels a lot more secure.

To answer the question: Is it too big?

No, it takes some getting used to moving from a small phone but like anything you can make it work if the size is worth the trade-off to you. Gaming, watching movies even reading ebooks (reading mode that makes everything grey scale is a feature I regularly use when I’m doing long stretching of reading web articles) are all reasons I like the larger display.

Is pocket-ability a concern? Its length makes it tough to sit with it in your front pocket and on my back pocket it is a little bit of a pick-pockets dream come true! But this is nothing new for large phones, so you should know if this is a deal breaker for you.

Just look at that display!

I can’t get over just how pretty this display is, it’s a Fluid AMOLED display with QHD+ resolution with 516ppi. OnePlus let us know there are 4.49 million individual pixels on this display. It has a 90Hz refresh rate which provides a smoother animation which is why they’ve named it a Fluid display. The aspect ratio is 19.5:9 and support sRGB and Display P3.

We also want to point out that the screen protector that it comes with seems quite good quality. We’ve been comparing our crappy Samsung screen protectors to our McLaren and the quality OnePlus ships with is something that you can actually use, Samsung’s is only good for a few weeks.

Speaking of low light the display also has Night Mode 2.0 which cuts the blue light emitted from the screen. If you’re someone who likes to use their phone at night in the dark you’ll be pleased to know it goes as low as 0.27nits.

Gaming

If you’re a gamer you’ll love the OnePlus 7, I play Warhammer Freeblade, the performance of this game is great! I reach for this phone over everything else because it looks great and game mode really optimizes the gameplay so it’s smooth and loads quickly. Compared to the mid-range Moto G7 Plus it loads nearly 3 times as fast and a little quicker than the Samsung S10.

The OnePlus 7 has improved haptic vibration which cuts down on the delay and offers multiple levels of vibration. I personally haven’t noticed this in gameplay but you can customize if it is light-medium or strong when you receive messages or phone calls. This is something I really like but is standard on most smartphones these days.

I played Freeblade for 15min and it did get warm, it wasn’t hot but you could feel under your right hand below and around the camera, it was warmer. I was the same with the 6t, it got hot but I agree, game mode stops it from slowing down. I have been playing at maximum settings, highest frame rate possible as well as quality. I have yet to see a stutter or skipped frame.

I usually don’t have the sound turned on but I tried it out and it was quite loud and surprisingly crisp and clear. We have dual speakers the earpiece at the top of the display and one facing down by the type C port. (Notice no 3.5mm headphone jack, but the Bullet 2.0 Wireless headphones are really dope, not only in sound quality but playback and charge times).

When it comes to sound quality, I went back and forth from playing it on my Lenovo S940 with dual speakers to the OnePlus 7. The sound quality wasn’t that different and I thought the laptop sounded pretty good. If you do crank it up to full volume this is where you hear the difference, the OnePlus 7 will sound tinny and lack the semblance of real bass.

How is the Camera?

The OnePlus 7 uses the new Sony IMX586 48MP sensor, it uses a pixel arrangement called Quad Bayer array.

To give you a refresher, a Bayer array pixel arrangement, each individual photoreceptor is physically filtered so that only green, red or blue light wavelengths can pass through (a common practice that mimics the way the human eye operates). The sensor electronics are then responsible for transforming groups of adjacent pixels into the actual color that has been “perceived” by the individual pixel by borrowing information from neighbors and using some good old math. This is done by taking the values of two green pixels (G) averaged one red pixel (R) and one blue pixel (B).

 

So what is a Quad Bayer Array?

The IMX586 Sony uses a Quad Bayer array, which is nothing more than a classic Bayer Array arrangement (used on virtually every existing smartphone sensor) but where instead of every single pixel four pixels have been placed to form a 2×2 square.

There is a bit of debate around this sensor whether or not it’s really 48MP.  When you look at the image above you can see how grouping 4 pixels of the same color next to each other in a Quad Bayer matrix is almost equivalent to having a sensor with a Bayer matrix with double-sized pixels (measured on the side, quadruple as an area). This is why there are claims that it’s closer to 12MP than the 48MP it claims.  Technically though, it is 48MP, because each individual photoreceptor is separate from the one adjacent to it, so there are 48 million.

The rear camera set up is 3 lenses, a main camera with the 48MP sensor that has OIS & EIS and aperture of f/1.6, the telephoto lens is 8MP with OIS and aperture of f2.4 so be sure to take low light photos with the main camera. The wide angle is a little better in low light with a 16MP f2.2 lens and a fied of view of 117degrees. The optical zoom is 3X and it has multi-auto focus (PDAF + LAF + CAF).

standard

Wide

We’re a fan of the photo quality, the low light isn’t what we’ve seen with Huawei, but it’s a solid performer. In a nearly dark room, it was able to take a photo, it’s the party trick that Huawei has with the P30 Pro, but who is really taking photos in a totally dark room? (Not to take away from Huawei’s impressive chops!)

Low Camera Performance after 2 Major Updates

OnePlus does this every single time they release a phone, the initial review is fine, but as they issue updates to the camera it improves significantly. This update just landed on my OnePlus 7 Pro last night, it’s Oxygen 9.5.7GM21AA, we saw a big improvement with the autofocus, the white balance is much better, though we rarely had issues with this and the low light looks great.This is actually where we’re seeing the majority of the improvements. The night shots now look phenomenal.

Here is a look at nightmode vs auto:

Check out the three different perspectives the lens give you, we’re a fan of the wide angle heading to more phones!

 

Selfie Camera

On the front, we have a 16MP IMX471 with EIS and an aperture of f/2.0 and a beautify mode. It pops up which is a popular trend with Oppo who I think might have a cooler implementation with the shark fin on the Reno. The front-facing camera is average, it can do a good job with beautifying however I found that it doesn’t handle backlight well as you can see dramatic sunbeams in a few photos.

Battery Life

The OnePlus 7 Pro has all day battery life, even when playing 45 min of War Hammer Freeblade at 60fps. The 4,000mAh battery is larger than the 3,700mAh they used in the OnePlus 6t but we don’t see many gains over the 6t because of the larger higher resolution display and faster refresh rate.

Even with the phone’s sizeable new QHD+ Fluid AMOLED 90Hz display, I was still getting battery life that surpassed similarly-capacious phones that leverage more conventional 60Hz, Full HD+ screens.

Warp Charge 30 is still able to deliver on OnePlus’ promise of “a day’s power in half an hour”, despite the 7 Pro’s bigger battery. You need a specific charger to get these speeds, Quick Charge isn’t enough to get these types of power gains. We got used to this on the McLaren edition so we’re glad to have it standard.

On occasion I would be able to get two days of use out of the phone, but this is when I’m not leaving the house and hardly using my phone. The stand by times have significantly improved from launch as well.

Pricing

OnePlus 7 Pro
6GB RAM, 128GB ROMMirror Grey709EURMai 21
8GB RAM, 256GB ROMMirror Grey759EURMai 21
8GB RAM, 256GB ROMAlmond759EURJune
8GB RAM, 256GB ROMNebula Blue759EURMai 21
12GB RAM, 256GB ROMNebula Blue829EUR

 

Rating
Design / 7
Camera / 8.5
Sound / 8.5
Performance / 9
Battery Life / 8.5
Software / 9
Price / 8
Editor's Choice / 8.5
Hardware / 8.5
Display / 8
OnePlus 7 Pro

It took a few major software updates, but the OnePlus 7 Pro is finally ready for a final review. The low light and battery life felt unreliable and inconsistent. It’s typical of OnePlus to push out a phone that needs some major tweaks to bring it back in line with it’s tagline of Flagship killer. I knew they would address my concerns. That’s the beauty of OnePlus they listen to their community.

The low light camera performance is now inline with the rest of the premium phones on the market. Now that the battery life and camera have both stepped up their game a bit I can finally say that it is worth the higher price tag.

We’re a big fan of the OnePlus series of phones, we used the 6t even though we knew the low light performance wasn’t even in the top 5 smartphones out there. The OnePlus 7 Pro has better camera performance, but it doesn’t take the top spot away from Google’s Pixels or Huawei. If you’re looking for a camera that does a lot of really cool tricks like 50X zoom and takes photos in the dark, there is no comparison.

However, what does draw me to OnePlus is the usefulness and customization of Oxygen OS, which isn’t new but if you’re a fan you’ll understand that there is a level of control that just isn’t there in other handsets. The gaming mode is also great, pair that with a large display and easily this is a sexy phone for gaming that doesn’t have that gamer aesthetic.

The size of the phone might be a deal breaker for some. Personally, I may end up turning away from it because it’s just too big for my pockets. This is where the OnePlus 7 comes in, it’s smaller and is better suited to my needs.

The OnePlus 7 has come up in price departing from it’s mid-range pricing in a high-end phone. Now that prices have gone up across the board for premium phones OnePlus must follow suit and raise it’s price. So we do think that it’s still a good deal! If you’re looking to upgrade from the 5 or 5t we would suggest you check out the size, otherwise we think it’s a solid upgrade. If you’re on the 6t you just got it! Enjoy it for a few more months and hold off until the 7t or even 8!

8.4
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