OnePlus has unveiled its latest flagship smartphones, OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro, at a trio of launch events held simultaneously in New York, London and Bangalore.
The latest OnePlus line-up is a very different proposition from the Shenzhen-based start-up. Until now, the company has always unveiled a single flagship smartphone, with an iterative update to the design typically arriving just before Christmas. This year, OnePlus has decided to ditch this One Ring To Rule Them All approach and launch two smartphones simultaneously.
While the OnePlus 7 is a direct successor to the OnePlus 6T, fitted with the latest and greatest Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, and a better camera, the OnePlus 7 Pro is an entirely new beast. OnePlus says it wants to push the envelope with all-new features and designs. Unfortunately, those cost money – and lots of it.
As a result, the move towards more cutting-edge technology has forced the company to abandon the reasonable price tags its reputation is built upon. That's why we're seeing a dual-track approach from OnePlus this year: for those who aren't convinced the new features in the OnePlus 7 Pro are worth the £649 starting price – there's the OnePlus 7. But those who want the best the firm can muster the option is there.
OnePlus 7 Pro boasts a 6.67-inch display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, making this comfortably the biggest phone that OnePlus has ever launched. Not only that, the panel on the Pro uses a technology the company is branding Fluid AMOLED. Instead of the typical 60Hz refresh rate we see on most flagship smartphones, this panel is capable of a refresh rate of 90Hz. That equates to 90 frames-per-second.
Given that Hollywood blockbusters are projected at 24 frames-per-second, it should give you an idea of how much smoother animations and transitions appear on the OnePlus 7 Pro. Ahead of the launch, CEO Pete Lau revealed the company is spending three times more on the 90Hz AMOLED display fitted to the OnePlus 7 Pro than the panel included in any of its earlier handsets.
This isn't the first time we've seen this type of high refresh rate in a mobile product. Apple debuted a similar feature, dubbed ProMotion, on its iPad Pro models. The system has a variable refresh rate to ensure it doesn't waste processing power by refreshing the screen at 120 frames-per-second when the iPad is displaying a static image. Apple has yet to transition the feature over to its iPhone range.
Of course, the display on the OnePlus 7 Pro is not just about the refresh rate.
According to OnePlus, the "screen shows stunning detail at 516 pixels per inch, with 4.49 million pixels working to bring crisp and accurate colours. With HDR10 and HDR10+, content from a range of streaming sources can be enjoyed in the best possible quality with subtle gradients and rich details."
The OnePlus 7 Pro also boasts a truly edge-to-edge screen – that curves over the edges, like the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 and Huawei Mate 20 Pro – and eradicates the small teardrop-esque notch that featured on the OnePlus 6T. Instead, the f/2.0 16MP selfie camera has been relocated to a mechanised pop-up that rises from the chassis.
There's no need to fret about durability, according to OnePlus, which claims to have tested the mechanism that pushes and withdraws the camera some 300,000 times. That equates to 150 times a day for three years, which is a lot of selfies.
Those worried about the incredibly fast Face Unlock feature included in previous OnePlus handsets need not worry, it still makes the cut in OnePlus 7 Pro – users will just have to wait the 0.53 seconds for the camera to heave itself from the body.
Like the OnePlus 6T before it, the OnePlus 7 Pro has fitted its fingerprint scanner beneath the AMOLED screen. The sensor is now 36% bigger than the one included with the OnePlus 6T, which should make for faster and more accurate unlocks. According to OnePlus, the scanner can now unlock in 0.24 seconds. However, it's still an optical sensor, which means it uses light to illuminate your fingertip to check the print – so don't expect to be able to use it in heavy rainfall, like the ultrasonic variant included in the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus.
Meanwhile, OnePlus 7 keeps the same panel, complete with dewdrop-like notch to house the front-facing camera that we saw on the OnePlus 6T. As such, it's a smaller 6.41-inch panel, with a comparatively low 402 pixels-per-inch resolution. However, it's not all re-used parts – the OnePlus 7 benefits from the same larger, more accurate fingerprint sensor seen on the 7 Pro.
Elsewhere, both OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro have been fitted with an improved vibration motor designed to make notifications and calls more noticeable. It is also used to make the small haptic taps that have been scattered across the Android 9.0 Pie mobile operating system more enjoyable. OnePlus still hasn't fitted either of its flagship smartphones with wireless charging, since the start-up doesn't believe the technology is fast enough yet. That's difficult to argue with. However, it'd be nice to see the wireless charging solution, which is very convenient, make an appearance.
OnePlus 7 Pro boasts its new Warp Charge 30 solution, which refills the battery from 0-50% in just 20 minutes. That's extremely fast. Not only that, OnePlus says users can charge the handset and play graphic-intensive video games without compromising the charging speeds, or getting the phone too hot. While the OnePlus 6T had a 3,700mAh battery, the OnePlus 7 Pro has a much bigger 4,000mAh cell.
By comparison, OnePlus 7 keeps the old Fast Charging solution seen in the OnePlus 6T (are you starting to sense a pattern here?). It's still fast, refilling the battery to the same 50% level in a half hour, not 20 minutes seen on the 7 Pro. It's worth noting that these charging speeds are actually slower than we saw on the limited edition OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition launched late last year.
OnePlus 7 Pro ships with either 6GB, 8GB or 12GB of RAM coupled with either 128GB or 256GB of in-built storage. As we've come to expect from OnePlus, there's no expandable storage option to be found here. So those who don't want to rely on cloud-based solutions, like Google Photos, should probably opt for the biggest model. Powering the handset is a flagship Snapdragon 855 system-on-a-chip.
OnePlus 7 will be available in a more modest 6GB, or 8GB of RAM and storage configurations ranging from 128GB to 256GB.
Finally, OnePlus 7 Pro boasts a triple-camera set-up on the back. This isn't simply a case of slapping an extra lens onto the camera that featured on its predecessor, this has been re-engineered from the ground-up. According to OnePlus, it's aware that its camera systems have often been one of the weaker elements of its handsets.
As such, the new system is designed to actually be able to stand toe-to-toe with the flagship rivals that OnePlus has always positioned itself against. The triple-camera system starts with a 48MP main sensor that is 29% larger sensor than the one included with the OnePlus 6T. It's also fitted with both Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) and Electronic Image Stabilisation (EIS).
That 48MP shooter is coupled with a 16MP ultra-wide and an 8MP telephoto lens. Combined, these two additional cameras mean the OnePlus 7 Pro is able to keep up with all the latest tricks you'll find on rival flagships, including fish eye ultra-wide shots and 3x lossless optical zoom. As you'd expect, OnePlus 7 Pro can also shoot portrait images with artificial bokeh-style blur behind the subject, and slow-motion video all the way up to 480 frames-per-second.
OnePlus 7 doesn't benefit from the third camera, sticking with the same 48MP 1⁄2 inch super-sized sensor with an aperture of f/1.7 that sits front-and-centre in the triple-camera on the OnePlus 7 Pro. It also has OIS and EIS. The second camera, which is used to shoot Portrait Mode photos is 5MP.
Software-wise, there isn't much too see here. Out of the box, OnePlus 7 Pro is powered by Android 9.0 Pie – complete with a few very subtle tweaks from the Shenzhen-based company. The ability to record your screen, like on iOS, and edit and share the video from directly within the Gallery has been added to the latest version of the OxygenOS operating system, as well as a new "Zen Mode".
The latter will lock your handset for 20 minutes, stopping you from doing everything except make and receive emergency calls, and take photos. OnePlus believes the restrictive new mode will appeal to students and families with phone-obsessed offspring. Although there are plenty of warnings before you initiate the software feature – to make sure you don't accidentally switch it on in your pocket just before you really need to access your phone, OnePlus has confirmed that there isn't currently a way to deactivate the feature early... so you better be sure before you try.
OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro both benefit from UFS 3.0 storage, which dramatically improves speed across the entire operating system – from loading-up a hefty PDF document for the first time, to saving photos from the camera, and launching apps.
OnePlus favoured UFS 2.1 storage for its OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T smartphones. Devices with such chips offer sequential read speeds of 800MB/s. According to OnePlus, UFS 3.0 is at least twice as fast.
Addressing the new line-up, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau said: "We constantly challenge ourselves to give people the best experience possible. A great user experience means freedom, and should enhance your life instead of distracting you from it.
"I’m so proud of what we’ve built with the OnePlus 7 series, and can’t wait for people to try out the display."
OnePlus 7 Pro ships in three colours: Nebula Blue, Mirror Grey (which replaces the Mirror Black finish seen on the likes of the OnePlus 6 and 6T), and Almond. The latter, which is a cream-ish gold colour, will be available at a later date.
The new flagship starts from £649 for 6GB of RAM and 128GB of non-expandable storage. This is only available in Mirror Grey. OnePlus 7 Pro rises to £699 for the 8GB/256GB variant, which is available in Mirror Grey, Almond and Nebula Blue.
The maxed-out handset, kitted-out with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, will set you back £799. That makes this easily the most expensive phone that OnePlus has ever launched... until the 5G version debuts in a few months, that is. The priciest OnePlus 7 Pro is only available in Nebula Blue.
OnePlus 7 Pro will start appearing on shelves worldwide on May 21, except for the Almond finish, which won't be available until an unspecified date in June. OnePlus 7 Pro will also be available with support for 5G networks exclusively on EE when the super-fast, low-latency mobile networks rolls-out to UK cities sometime in the coming months. OnePlus has kept mum about when we can see that, revealing only that it's "coming soon".
Those who'd rather get their hands on the OnePlus 7 will also face a little wait. The handset doesn't ship until sometime in June. The 6GB/128GB version will cost £499 and the maxed-out 8GB/256GB will be priced £549. Both will only be available in the Mirror Grey finish.