OnePlus 7: two crucial new features confirmed ahead of May 14 launch event

OnePlus 7 Pro will have an eye-catching new display and 5G

OnePlus 7 Release Date Price

OnePlus will unveil its feverishly-anticipated OnePlus 7 at a series of launch events around the globe on May 14, 2019. Ahead of the release date, OnePlus co-founder and CEO Pete Lau has revealed some very interesting new tidbits about the as-yet unannounced new handset.

Speaking to The Verge, Lau has confirmed that OnePlus will launch two new smartphones on-stage during its launch event. Earlier rumours suggested the Shenzhen-based company would reveal a OnePlus 6T successor, as well as an all-new costlier flagship. According to Lau, the latter will be branded OnePlus 7 Pro.

OnePlus 7 Pro will be the first 5G-enabled smartphone launched by OnePlus – an accomplishment the Chinese start-up has talked about for months, and even briefly teased at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in February.

But the Pro variant isn't only about support for next-generation 5G networks, OnePlus CEO Lau says. One of the biggest differences with the new handset will be the OLED display. 

According to the OnePlus co-founder, the company is spending three times as much on the panel fitted to the OnePlus 7 Pro as its previous devices (that hints at what kind of price rise we can expect for the Pro model). The pricey new OLED is expected to "redefine fast and smooth" and set a benchmark for smartphone displays. 

"The first time I saw it myself," CEO Pete Lau told The Verge. "I was stunned." 

Unfortunately, OnePlus wants to keep the specs behind the new display under wraps until the launch event next month. However, leaks suggest OnePlus is looking to fit its handset with a display with a 90Hz refresh rate, which would definitely help the smoothness that Lau has described. 90Hz is the equivalent of 90 frames-per-second.

Given that Hollywood blockbusters run at 24 frames-per-second, the 90Hz panel should make animations more fluid. Apple debuted a similar feature, known as ProMotion, on its latest iPad Pro models. The system has a variable refresh rate, so that it doesn't waste battery and processing power by refreshing the screen at 120 frames-per-second when the iPad is displaying a static image. OnePlus will likely use a similar system so that battery life isn't impacted.

Pete Lau believes this buttery-smooth display will be enough to convince customers to cough-up for the pricier OnePlus 7 Pro model over the standard OnePlus 7. While the 5G network is an important future-proofing measure, the limited availability of 5G mobile networks means this likely won't be the feature that drives sales.

Confirmation of the new Pro variant reveals OnePlus is shaking things up this year. While it initially positioned its smartphones as "Flagship Killers" – competing on high-end handsets from the likes of Apple and Samsung on everything but the price. 

Given how much more OnePlus will be shelling out for the OLED panel on the OnePlus 7 Pro and the fact the company has already confirmed that 5G support will add between $200 (£155) and $300 (£235) to the price of the phone, the OnePlus 7 Pro will likely match the Galaxy S10 Plus and iPhone XS Max on price. That's a very different proposal from OnePlus, and seems like a risky move for the firm.

Elsewhere, the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro is likely to sport a triple-camera set-up, as well as faster wired charging, and a flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon 855.