OnePlus 7 Pro managed to steal the limelight from its sibling OnePlus 7, but the affordable flagship has found its own strengths to make sure it stays well ahead of others in the race. OnePlus 7 went on sale in India on Tuesday and its starting price at Rs 32,999 makes a sound choice for most flagship buyers.
With OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro, the disruptive Chinese smartphone brand has played it really safe by not tipping consumers with the hiked price tag of its flagship. By giving consumers the choice between the costly OnePlus 7 Pro and the affordable OnePlus 7, the company has managed to live by its mantra of "Never Settle."
Speaking of Never Settle, OnePlus 7 Pro is worth settling for as it brings the best features anyone can ask for in a flagship smartphone, except for a capable camera to compete against the Samsung, Google and Apple rivals. If the 90Hz 2K curved display and elegant design don't appeal to you, OnePlus 7 could be worth settling for without any major regrets.
After having used the OnePlus 7 Pro for an extended period of time (and loving it), I didn't think switching to OnePlus 7 will bring a sense of relief. I'm not even talking about that super-bright, super-smooth display or that lavish design. The form-factor of OnePlus 7 won me over in a second. I knew OnePlus 7 Pro was big, but it was only after I started using OnePlus 7 that I realised just how big the Pro was. I missed the ease of single hand use and OnePlus 7's compact design made sure I didn't stretch out my fingers too far to navigate through the phone.
OnePlus 7's design is largely inspired by OnePlus 6T rather than OnePlus 7 Pro. The glass back, flat notched display, the usual positions for the volume, power and alert slider buttons will remind you of the OnePlus 6T, but the upgrades are tucked away inside. I didn't quite mind it, considering the appealing price point starting at Rs 32,999.
You'll instantly feel the OnePlus 7 to be faster than any of its predecessor and I also found it to be smooth, with all transitions and effects taking place without any jitter. The Snapdragon 855 chipset paired with 8GB RAM and Android 9-based OxygenOS 9.5.2 guarantees the best user experience we have grown to expect from OnePlus. I used OnePlus 7 as my primary and found it to handle all tasks, ranging from gaming to streaming or even day-to-day tasks involving communication via calls and messaging. The frames refused to drop while playing Call of Duty and even PUBG Mobile, which is more than I could ask for from a sub-Rs 35K smartphone. OnePlus 7 is a guaranteed performance-oriented flagship for power users who'd hate to break their savings for a lavish design as seen in the OnePlus 7 Pro.
Moving on, OnePlus 7's camera is an important aspect of the phone. Although it doesn't hold down the fort like other features, it contributes a fair share towards the overall value. OnePlus 7 offers a dual rear camera setup, combining a 48MP Sony IMX586 primary sensor with f/1.7 aperture, PDAF and OIS, alongside a 5MP depth sensor with f/2.4 aperture. The front camera is a 16MP shooter with f/2.0 aperture.
Now, it's worth pointing out that you don't get straight out 48MP photos in normal mode as OnePlus 7 delivers a 12MP image. You can, however, get full resolution under Pro mode.
As for the samples, OnePlus 7 is a decent shooter, but it has a long way to go before it levels with most flagships. Focusing is swift despite the lack of laser auto-focus in OnePlus 7, which makes some convenient shooting.
OnePlus 7 can capture decent shots during the day in natural sunlight. It retains a good amount of details, but the colours are a bit dull compared to rival phones with a similar setup. Landscape shots still turned out to be better and can easily go on your Instagram feeds without editing. Natural colours, decent dynamic range, good details and contrast is seen in images shot during the day.
In low-light, OnePlus 7 suffers to capture details, throws grains, but not to a large extent. The Nightscape mode comes to the rescue here as it can instantly brighten the image and make it look presentable and pleasing to the eyes. It was surprising how well OnePlus 7 handled night shots with Nightscape mode. (swipe right for Nightscape sample of the below shot).
A few more samples here:
OnePlus 7 has better edge detection in portraits, but again it suffers from inaccurate colour rendering in some cases. Like trying to capture a dog or a flower is not as easy, especially in low light, where the subject would not appear as sharp as required. The edge detection was accurate in most cases.
The recent update (9.5.5) did add a lot of value and richness to the photos, but I'm hoping for further improvement with future updates. Selfies were good on the OnePlus 7 and I preferred shooting in good lighting for more natural-looking photos.
OnePlus 7's camera is not flagship-grade, but the overall package of the phone makes it worth settling for. The camera performance is not all bad, as it can still get you decent shots, just not as good as the Pixel 3.
OnePlus 7's battery is one of the highlight features of the phone - makes up for the points lost in the camera department. There's a 3,700mAh battery with 20W fast charging support - same as OnePlus 6T. But OnePlus 7 appears to last longer than its predecessor, which is expected considering the power efficient Snapdragon 855 chipset.
Being fully active on WhatsApp, social media channels, listening to music during commute, calls and communications, OnePlus 7 lasted a full day with some juice left before hitting power saving mode. With gaming and binge-watching TV shows naturally drops the battery and carrying the Dash Charger is a wise choice. OnePlus was one of the early adopters of fast charging tech and it has delivered exceptionally. OnePlus 7 can charge to almost full in an hour so the phone can last a whole busy day. You won't need to plug back in until you are back home after a long day at work. In case of hurry, a quick 30-minute charge can boost the phone's battery to the north of 50 percent, if used considerably can last 7-8 hours.
Other highlight features of OnePlus 7 include an in-display fingerprint scanner, which works great. It is fast, accurate and efficient. The only time I use it is when it is dark or I don't want to press the power button to unlock the phone, in which case the handset scans your face in a flash and takes you to the home screen. It's magical. Finally, there are these great stereo speakers that I deem a worthy upgrade, especially for gamers and movie buffs who prefer entertainment on-the-go.
OnePlus 7 is definitely worth the money. It offers premium design, great performance, good display and audio, reliable battery and a price tag that's hard to match. The only area where I feel OnePlus 7 could be better is the camera, but if that's not your priority then go for the affordable 'flagship killer' by all means. If the camera is all that matters, Pixel 3a is a solid choice, but you'll have to settle on the performance bit by a huge margin - something OnePlus 7 refuses to compromise on.
Practically, OnePlus 7 checks all the right boxes in terms of day-to-day use. It's a flagship for the masses.