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Friday, December 13, 2019

OnePlus 7 review: Value for money, and still a power performer

OnePlus 7 goes on sale today in India for a price of Rs 32,999 for the 6GB RAM option. Here's our review of the OnePlus 7 and how it performed in our testing.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Rs. 37999
Written by Shruti Dhapola | New Delhi | Updated: June 6, 2019 10:18:41 am
OnePlus 7 review, OnePlus 7 sale, OnePlus 7 specifications, OnePlus 7 features OnePlus 7 review: OnePlus 7 is the latest smartphone from the company, and here’s how it performed in our review (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

OnePlus 7 kab ayega?’ (When will OnePlus 7 come?). That is a question I have been asked by relatives and folks in office. When I say there’s OnePlus 7 Pro, the reply is that they are not keen to spend close to Rs 50,000 for their next smartphone. This is not to say that the OP7 Pro is a bad phone. But the price is certainly not for everyone, especially for people like my colleague who is still on the OnePlus One.

With OnePlus 7, the company has hit that sweet spot of specifications and price. At Rs 32,999 you get the latest processor, enough RAM and storage coupled with good camera specs. So was the wait for the OnePlus 7 worth it? Here’s what we thought after our review.

OnePlus 7 specifications: 6.41-inch AMOLED display with Full HD+ resolution (2340 x 1080 pixels) | Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor | 6GB or 8GB RAM + 128GB or 256GB storage | 48MP (f/1.7 aperture)+5MP rear camera and 16MP front camera |  37000 mAh battery |  OxygenOS with Android Pie

OnePlus 7 Price in India: Rs 32,999 for 6GB RAM, Rs 37,999 for 8GB RAM

OnePlus 7 review, OnePlus 7 sale, OnePlus 7 specifications, OnePlus 7 features OnePlus 7 looks similar to OnePlus 6T from the front, but there are several changes. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

OnePlus 7 review: Design, Display

Previously, I had used the OnePlus 6t and was impressed by the device. I thought the brand had done a good job on camera, and performance has never really been an issue on the OnePlus phones, unless we are talking about OnePlus 2 and nobody wants to talk about that.

With OnePlus 7, the design is similar to the OnePlus 6t. In fact, you can’t tell the difference from the front, thanks to the dot notch display. Place the two phones next to each other and it might seem like nothing has changed.

OnePlus 7 review, OnePlus 7 sale, OnePlus 7 specifications, OnePlus 7 features OnePlus 7 in Red colour. The device continues with the dual camera at the back, though now it is 48MP+5MP. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Still, OnePlus 7 looks every bit like a premium phone and fits right in the hand. The problem is the glass finish, which is glossy and I found it is much more reliable to use the phone with cover in the box, because it can be slippery. With glass phones, you can never be too careful.  The Red colour might seem too flashy for some, though it does stand out.

OnePlus 7 has a 6.41-inch AMOLED display with full HD+ resolution (2340 x 1080p), and it is bright and sharp with good viewing angles. Yes, this does not have the 90 Hz refresh rate of the OnePlus 7 Pro, but not everyone needs that.

The display works well in most lighting scenarios and will keep users happy for their video consumption and gaming sessions. But in bright sunlight, the screen is reflective making it hard to see, and you need to increase brightness to full for the content to be visible.

OnePlus 7 review, OnePlus 7 sale, OnePlus 7 specifications, OnePlus 7 features OnePlus 7 has a good display, though in sunlight it is too reflective. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

OnePlus 7 review: Performance, Software

This is the part where one is most confident about OnePlus devices given the kind of expectations and reputation the company has set. The OnePlus 7 runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, which is the top draw chip and as expected there are no lags, no app crashes, and multi-tasking is smooth. Games like Asphalt 9, Nova Legacy run smoothly on this device, though it started to get very warm on the top part, even when I was using the phone indoors.

For those who care about numbers, OnePlus 7 scores very high on benchmarks, around 365,566 on Antutu for us, putting it below devices like Mi Black Shark 2 and Mi 9, which are number one and two respectively on the list. This is also slightly higher than iPhone XS, if one goes by the official Antutu rankings.

OnePlus 7 review, OnePlus 7 sale, OnePlus 7 specifications, OnePlus 7 features Antutu and GeekBench scores of OnePlus 7.

On GeekBench, it scores 10884 in multi-core which puts it above S10+ (Snapdragon variant) in the rankings and 3456 in single-core, which puts it above S10+ (Snapdragon variant). Still in single-core, OnePlus 7 is below the Exynos variant, which scores higher. OnePlus 7 also has UFS 3.0 storage for faster transfer of data.

But the brand has taken performance beyond specifications and introduced meaningful software features. I liked how OnePlus has optimised this device for gaming as well to ensure calls can be taken via a speaker, letting users block notification displays, locking screen brightness during game. There’s also the option for Screen Recording, which is right there in the Quick Settings tab, when you swipe down from the top.

OnePlus 7 review, OnePlus 7 sale, OnePlus 7 specifications, OnePlus 7 features OnePlus 7 has neat features in the OS and works quite well. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

Then there is the quick reply feature in Notifications itself, which is very useful for WhatsApp. The Zen Mode on OxygenOS is certainly a unique take, in fact bolder than what Screen Time on iOS or Digital Well Being do on stock Android, because here you are totally locked out, unlike the other two where you can reset access to an app.

With OnePlus and OxygenOS, the software experience has been considerably better than what you get on several other custom ROMs, and this continues with the new phones as well. The phone also continues with the in-display fingerprint sensor, which does take a while to setup, but works accurately most of the time.

OnePlus 7 sample image in low-light without Nightscape, which managed to preserve details better. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express) OnePlus 7 sample image. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express) OnePlus 7 sample image. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

OnePlus 7 review: Camera

OnePlus 7’s camera is quick to take photos, focus is not an issue and even Portrait mode works well, no matter the size of the object. The camera can certainly capture enough detailed photos, even those taken indoors have good picture quality.

But the camera could not handle colours like reds and bright purple well, which are completely washed out in some photos. Some might say this is more natural. Nope, it is washed out as in real-life the flower is much more vibrant. It is a complex red for a smartphone camera to capture, but OnePlus 7 needs to fix this part.

OnePlus 7 review, OnePlus 7 sale, OnePlus 7 specifications, OnePlus 7 features OnePlus 7 has a tendency to wash out the reds. Sample image above. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

With Nightscape, I would argue the software again needs some work, because while it manages to brighten up the scene, the loss of details is just too evident. Selfies are good enough on the phone, though this does not seems like a very big upgrade compared to the previous phone.

In Nightscape the image is brighter, but details are lost in some instances. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express) Portrait mode works fine, even on objects. (Image source: Shruti Dhapola/Indian Express)

OnePlus 7 review: Battery

The 3700 mAh battery will easily last a day or more, even with heavy-duty usage as I experienced. In fact, the phone battery was under 20 per cent when I finished using it one night and I only ended up charging this the next day around 10.30 in the morning. The battery had not died, which was impressive. With the Fast Charge, you can get this from under 10 per cent to 80 per cent in over an hour.

OnePlus 7 review: Verdict

Now to answer the question, should you buy this? This is an excellent value for money proposition and the phone does not disappoint. It delivers on performance, has a good design and camera that works well. There are flaws: the camera software is not perfect, the display could be better and the device does get hot with gaming. Still, OnePlus 7 is a good upgrade option for all users looking to buy a new phone under Rs 35,000. It is also a perfect upgrade for those on older versions of the OnePlus that came before last year.

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