OnePlus 7 Series Review

OnePlus 7 is a powerhouse that is priced aggressively in India. But should it be your first choice when looking for a value flagship?

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One Plus 7
One Plus 7

HIGHLIGHTS – OnePlus 7

  • The OnePlus 7 is priced starting at Rs. 32,999 in India
  • It is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC and has up to 8GB of RAM
  • Sub-par cameras stop the OnePlus 7 from being a true all-rounder

One Plus has been a disruptor in the smartphone market right since the launch of the One Plus One. The company has consistently launched powerful smartphones with top-of-the-line hardware at relatively affordable prices. One Plus 6 helped the company break into the premium smartphone segment. It offered a premium design but commanded a higher price than the previous smartphones. While more expensive than some fans would have liked, the 6 still offered great value for money compared to established brands such as Samsung and Apple.

OnePlus’ six-month upgrade cycle then resulted in the launch of the OnePlus 6T₹ 32,999 which managed to further strengthen its position. In addition to premium build quality, it also offered an in-display fingerprint scanner, which wasn’t very common at the time of its launch.

With Samsung having now retaken the top spot in the premium smartphone market with the Galaxy S10₹ 57,798 series, OnePlus is using a two-pronged approach by bringing in the OnePlus Pro to compete at the top end of the market, while the OnePlus 7₹ 32,999 is intended to maintain the company’s hold over the lower end of the premium smartphone segment. The 7 boasts of the same core hardware but is priced much more aggressively at Rs. 32,999. Is this the best smartphone you can get on a mid-range budget right now, or is it worth spending extra for the OnePlus 7 Pro? We put the new OnePlus 7 to the test to find out.

OnePlus 7 design

While the OnePlus 7 Pro gets a pop-up selfie camera and notch-less screen, the OnePlus 7 retains the same design as the OnePlus 6T. OnePlus has given the OnePlus 7 a new paint job to help distinguish it from the older model. It is available in Mirror Gray or Red, and the latter option is limited to India and China markets.

The OnePlus 7 has a glass sandwich design with a rounded metal frame. This makes it comfortable to hold. Unlike the OnePlus 7 Pro, the OnePlus 7’s display does not have a curved edge. This is a 6.41-inch Optic AMOLED panel that puts out a full-HD+ resolution (1080×2340) and also has an in-display fingerprint scanner. The display has good color reproduction and gets bright enough when outdoors.

OnePlus has opted for stereo sound output on the OnePlus 7, and the earpiece that acts as a second speaker is considerably longer than on the older model. The bottom-firing speaker is positioned in the left grille at the bottom. We like the positioning since it doesn’t get muffled while holding the phone in the landscape while playing games. The USB Type-C port is also at the bottom. The button placement is identical as on the OnePlus 6T, with the power button and alert slider on the right while the volume buttons are on the left.

The OnePlus 7 has Corning Gorilla Glass on the front and back for protection. On the rear, there’s a dual camera module that is positioned in the center, along with the dual-LED flash.

This camera module protrudes quite a bit causing the phone to rock about when placed on a flat surface. OnePlus supplies a 20W fast charger and a USB Type-C cable in the box.

OnePlus 7 specifications and software

One Plus 7
One Plus 7

Despite being positioned lower than the OnePlus 7 Pro, the OnePlus 7 sports the same top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC, which is a significant improvement over the outgoing Snapdragon 845. The octa-core Snapdragon 855 is manufactured using a 7nm fabrication process. It has four high-efficiency Kryo 485 Silver cores clocked 1.8GHz, three high-performance Kryo 485 Gold cores clocked at 2.42GHz, and one even faster Kryo 485 Gold core clocked at 2.84GHz. Graphics duties are handled by the integrated Adreno 640 GPU.

The OnePlus 7 is available in two variants, one with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and the other with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. This phone gets the new faster UFS 3.0 standard, similar to the OnePlus 7 Pro. So far, the OnePlus 7 siblings are the only phones to launch in India with this new storage standard.

Other specifications of the OnePlus 7 include dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5, dual 4G VoLTE, five satellite navigation systems, NFC, and the usual sensors.

OxygenOS is as popular as OnePlus, if not more, and adds useful features and customizations to stock Android while retaining most of its essence. Most of the features of OxygenOS are carried forward from the OnePlus 6T, though there are a few new touches. This phone has the same Gaming mode that we’ve seen before, but the new Fnatic mode that is available on the OnePlus 7. 

 OnePlus has gone even further and added a Zen Mode. What this does is disable all of the functions of your phone except for the ability to make and receive emergency calls, and take photos. Once enabled, you cannot switch it off for 20 minutes. It could be a good way to forcibly disconnect yourself from digital distractions.

OnePlus 7 performance, battery life, and cameras

The first thing we noticed about the phone was that it didn’t feel as heavy or slippery as the OnePlus 7 Pro. We could use this phone without constantly worrying about dropping it. The OnePlus 7 delivers snappy performance, and no action we performed slowed the Snapdragon 855 down.

We found the in-display fingerprint scanner to be quicker than the one on the OnePlus 6T, helping the OnePlus 7 to unlock itself faster. Face recognition is also supported, but its effectiveness depends on ambient light. In the right conditions, it’s also quick to unlock the smartphone just by looking in its direction.

The battery capacity on the 7 is unchanged compared to that of the OnePlus 6T, at 3700mAh. OnePlus has bundled the same 20W charger in the box but has dropped the Dash Charge branding. In our HD video loop test, the phone managed to go on for 15 hours and 16 minutes. This is better than the time clocked by the OnePlus 6T, possibly due to the more power efficient processor.

With our usage, which consisted of an active WhatsApp account, running a couple of benchmarks, taking camera samples and playing games, the phone managed to still have 30 percent of its power left at the end of 24 hours.

Camera Setup

OnePlus has opted for a dual camera setup on the 7, compared to the triple camera setup on the OnePlus 7 Pro. It gets a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 primary sensor with an f/1.7 aperture. The secondary sensor is a 5-megapixel depth sensor with an f/2.4 aperture, which kicks into action in portrait mode. At the front, this phone has a 16-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture.

Landscape shots taken in low light had little noise and good details. Switching to the Nightscape mode helped in getting a brighter image overall. We had to tap the screen at times to get the phone to focus where we wanted it to. The noise was handled well in night shots, but you can easily spot grain on zooming in.

Selfies were decent but lacked the level of detail we were expecting. In low light, selfies taken with the screen flash had a lot of artifacting. Shots taken with a light source nearby fared better.

Verdict

While the OnePlus 7 Pro was specced to take on current-gen flagships, the OnePlus 7 is designed to help the company retain its position in the low-cost flagship space. What we like about the OnePlus 7, apart from its aggressive price, is its hardware. The AMOLED display is quite good, and when used in conjunction with this phone’s stereo speakers, it does offer a good media experience.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor is powerful enough to take on anything you throw its way. That, plus 6GB or 8GB of RAM, and the super fast UFS 3.0 storage standard, makes the OnePlus 7 very snappy. OxygenOS is also great, as it has plenty of handy features and customisation options.

The battery life of the OnePlus 7 was another highlight in our testing. This smartphone can last beyond a day while delivering top-class performance. Unfortunately, camera quality is where the phone still needs some work, stopping it from being a complete all-rounder.

Since the OnePlus 7 is one of the very few smartphones using the Snapdragon 855 in India at the moment, it does not have a lot of competition to deal with. If you don’t care very much about camera performance, this is well worth considering for its asking price. However, with the launch of the Asus Zen Phone 6 and the Redmi K20 Pro lined up, you might want to wait a little while to see what these upcoming phones have to offer.

Post Author: readersjam

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