With the OnePlus 7 Pro grabbing the lion’s share of headlines and attention with its slick new display and new triple camera setup, it’s be easy to forget that OnePlus slipped in an update to its popular OnePlus 6T by way of the OnePlus 7, which goes on sale from Tuesday. This isn’t an all new phone like the OnePlus 7 Pro—the best way to think of it is as the ‘T-edition’ to the OnePlus 6T.
This phone offers upgraded 2019-spec internals and everything consumers would expect from a premium smartphone, without compromising the brand’s core identity—premium internals without the premium price. OnePlus has priced the entry-level 6GB RAM/128GB storage variant for Rs 5,000 less than the Rs 37,999 launch price of the OnePlus 6T, a price drop meant to counter the likes of POCO, Asus and Realme.
But how does it measure up to the competition—and it’s more powerful (but more expensive) sibling? I used the gorgeous Red variant of the OnePlus 7 this past week and the answer is that it certainly measures up. It’s also the model I’d recommend to most people who are wondering if the OnePlus 7 Pro is worth the additional money. While the OnePlus 7 isn’t perfect, it’s a polished package that very much deserves your attention and money.
The OnePlus 7 will go on sale Tuesday, June 4, in 6GB RAM + 128GB Storage (Mirror Gray) and 8GB RAM + 256GB Storage (Mirror Gray or Red) variants priced at Rs 32,999 and Rs 37,999 respectively.
OnePlus 7 – Pros
Performance and Internals: Despite the name, the OnePlus 7 isn’t some ‘lite’ variant of the OnePlus 7 Pro in terms of performance. The OnePlus 7 is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, and there’s the twice-as-fast UFS 3.0 storage which shows benefits while loading apps, moving files and the like.
What it’s missing is the OnePlus 7 Pro’s 90Hz display and the improved liquid cooling system which allows the OnePlus 7 Pro to hold on to sustained performance without any sort of slowdown over longer periods.
Despite this, the OnePlus 7 is no slouch, and blazes through the most intensive of workloads like a champ, with more than enough power in reserve for games and apps in the future too.
Display: We loved the 6.41-inch Optic AMOLED display on the OnePlus 6T, and OnePlus has persisted with the same high-quality ‘waterdrop-notch’ panel on the OnePlus 7, so you get the same vibrant colours on a panel that’s bright enough for outdoor use.
What hasn’t been fixed is the in-display fingerprint scanner and the haptic vibration motor —the former, while a lot less finicky than the one on the OnePlus 6T, is still prone to tripping up every now and then.
At least the face unlock is still blazing fast, so you don’t often feel the need to use the fingerprint scanner anyway. The haptic motor saw a huge upgrade in the OnePlus 7 Pro and made a discernible difference in user experience, so not upgrading the mechanism in the OnePlus 7 is a real pity.
Software: This is where OnePlus pulls ahead of its peers. OxygenOS 9.5 is nearly the best version of Android, even better mated to the device than stock is to the Google Pixel phones. The only difference I saw between the software build on the OnePlus 7 and the OnePlus 7 Pro was the lack of the ‘Fnatic’ mode—the gaming mode which goes all out and focuses all hardware and network resources to your games—which appears to be a OnePlus 7 Pro exclusive.
Battery Life: The 3700mAh battery on the OnePlus 7 is good for a day’s use, and I typically ended the day of mixed use—web browsing, social media, emails, YouTube and some light games—with about twenty percent left in the tank. A morning charge is still needed, which thanks to the 20W wired fast charging, wraps up in jiffy. Worth mentioning though is the lack of the 30W Warp Charge on the OnePlus 7 Pro.
OnePlus 7 – Cons
Design: The OnePlus 7 is near-identical to the OnePlus 6T in terms of design, with the only noticeable change coming by way of the wider earpiece grille atop the display (which doubles as a second speaker, finally!) and the bigger camera rear module now accommodating the flash within the pronounced bump. Less noticeable are the slight changes to the volume and alert slider buttons, which render cases for the 6T unusable with the new OnePlus 7.
Aside from the stunning new Red color variant, the similarity to the 6T is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, you have a handier lighter form factor that blows the heavy, ungainly OnePlus 7 Pro out of the water in terms of sheer ergonomics… while on the other, you have a same-old-same-old form factor of the OnePlus 6T, notched display and all.
To my eyes, the design still holds up well in 2019, but it bucks the hole-punch display trend or the pop-up selfie camera of its contemporaries, so some may find the lack of ‘something new’ boring.
Plus, the OnePlus 7 still doesn’t offer any IP-rated water protection – no surprises, since the 7 Pro doesn’t either – and no wireless charging or 3.5mm jack either, so our laundry list of design complaints remains unresolved.
Camera: The OnePlus 7 packs in the same primary front (16MP Sony IMX471) and rear (48MP Sony IMX586) sensors as the OnePlus 7 Pro, so much of what we said about the OnePlus 7 Pro and the lack of hardware-software tuning holds good here as well.
You lose out on the wide-angle and telephoto lenses, which doesn’t amount to much seeing how soft the images the wide-angle lens on the 7 Pro turned out. The laser autofocus from the OnePlus 7 Pro is gone as well, which could have helped in framing subjects in low-light conditions. As with the OnePlus 7 Pro, daylight shots are just fine and offer accurate colours and good dynamic range, but the camera suffers in low-light scenarios.