Report card: OnePlus 7 Pro: Premium Flagship Killer

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It is perhaps one of the most talked about phones of the year so far. And for many people, it represents a new chapter in the OnePlus story. One in which the brand moves from being a flagship killer to a flagship in its own right. But does the OnePlus 7 Pro do enough to justify its higher than usual price tag? Here’s our report card on the latest Never Settling phone!

Design: A+
Yes, you read that right. We give the OnePlus 7 Pro an all out A+ simply because it is the best designed OnePlus device we have seen. From the edge to edge 6.67-inch fluid AMOLED display to the beautifully crafted glass back (we had the Nebula blue edition), the OnePlus 7 Pro is a sight for sore eyes. Yes, it is a little large and not exactly lightweight, but there is no way you can mistake this phone for being anything but premium.

Hardware: A
OnePlus has always been known for offering high end hardware in its phones. And the OnePlus 7 Pro certainly comes cho-a-bloc with awesome hardware. You have the best in class Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, with 6 GB, 8 GB and even 12 GB of RAM, and with storage options of 128 GB and 256 GB, although with no expandable memory. You can read more about the cameras in the camera section, but suffice to say the three in the black and the one in front pack in the megapixels and the quality. The display is a quad HD one, with a fantastic 90 Hz refresh rate, and has a pop up selfie camera behind it and a fingerprint scanner below it. There is a big 4000 mAh battery to keep the phone running for a while and has fast charging too. There are stereo speakers on board as well. Yes, there is no audio jack or expandable memory (a sin shared by an increasing number of devices) but you cannot fault the OnePlus 7 Pro for too much on the hardware front.

Software: B+
You would have thought that OnePlus’ Oxygen OS which is as close to stock Android as one can get – it is clean, uncluttered and has hardly any third party bloatware – would mean a smoother experience, but as in the past, this is not the case. There are a few random crashes and bugs (there are ghost touches and the display turns on by itself occasionally) and sometimes the interface seems unnecessarily complicated (taking a 48-megapixel picture can be quite a task). OnePlus has been issuing updates to fix matters and the brand has a fantastic track record in the update department, but even though it runs on Android Pie and is expected to move to Android Q soon, this is not quite there.

Cameras: B-
The weakest part of the OnePlus 7 PRO’s arsenal are its cameras. Yes, on paper the rear 48-megapixel camera with a large f/1.6 aperture, paired with an 8-megapixel telephoto lens to give 3x optical zoom and 16-megapixel ultrawide lens (117 degree field of view) – all sound wonderful, not least because both the 48-megapixel lens as well as the telephoto have OIS. The pop-up 16-megapixel camera too seems top class. But in real world terms, the performance is a little underwhelming. Colours were inconsistent and although detail was generally good, we honestly expected much better when you consider the kind of performance the competition was churning out. The selfie camera too seemed a little below par, although it did not go as crazy beautifying our faces as some cameras have. OnePlus is believed to be looking at fixing matters through updates, but we expected much more, given the hype around the device.

Performance: A –
With that sort of hardware, you would expect a terrific performance from the OnePlus 7 Pro. And for the most part you get it. If you are into gaming and multi-tasking, this phone is an absolute joy to use, as the big display is wonderful for viewing content. However, the difference a 90 Hz display makes is not immediately apparent. We also wish that the sound on the stereo speakers had been of slightly better quality (it is not in the class of the iPhone XS or the Galaxy S10). As we mentioned in the software section, there are a few bugs that make the phone stumble occasionally, but by and large, this is a super smooth performer. Call quality too is very good and the face unlock remains one of the fastest we have seen although the in-display fingerprint scanner remains a tad sluggish.

Battery life: B+
The OnePlus 7 Pro comes with a large 4000 mAh battery and it has also taken its charging to the next level with Warp Charge, which we had also seen in the McLaren edition of the OnePlus 6T earlier (http://kunzum.com/2018/26/oneplus-6t-mclaren-edition-whats-new/). Well it is here as well, claiming to be thirty per cent faster than the already rather fast Dash Charge that we have seen on OnePlus devices in the past, claiming to give you a day’s usage on twenty minutes of charging. There is a 30W charger in the box and the phone gets charged from zero to hundred in about 80 minutes. And it needs it, because thanks to that gorgeous display, the OnePlus 7 Pro guzzles battery very fast indeed, and will struggle to see out a day if you are a heavy user. Fortunately, you can turn down the display, but that sort of defeats the purpose of it, doesn’t it?

Price: B+
This would generally be an A or an A+ in the past, but this time, OnePlus has targeted its device at a slightly more premium audience. The phone starts at Rs 48,999  for 6 GB / 128 GB and offers 8 GB/ 256 GB at Rs 52,999  and 12 GB/ 256 GB at Rs 57,999. That puts it right in the zone of the iPhone XR (which has received a hefty price cut) and a number of other high-end Android devices, including the Oppo Reno and the Black Shark 2, which come with comparable hardware at lower prices. Yes, it is perhaps one of the most affordable premium-looking Android phones out there, but not as irresistible a proposition as some of its predecessors.

Final Grade: A-
It is easily one of the most expensive phones to have come from the OnePlus stable, but even then the OnePlus 7 Pro offers very good value for money. No, it is not perfect – the software is occasionally buggy and honestly, we expected better from the cameras and the battery – but even then as an overall package, the OnePlus 7 Pro is one of the best options for anyone looking for a blend of high class hardware with premium design without blowing a major hole in their bank accounts. It is not the totally irresistible option that the OnePlus 6 and 6T were, but it comfortably holds its own even against the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S10 series, the iPhone XR and the Pixel 3. Tells you something, doesn’t it?

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