OnePlus 7 review: The phone to buy in 2019

When the OnePlus 7 Pro rumours broke out a few months ago, tech enthusiasts started wondering what would happen to the OnePlus 7 — the regular OnePlus 7 that was supposed to succeed the OnePlus 6T. That was answered on May 14 when OnePlus launched two phones: OnePlus 7 Pro and the OnePlus 7. Now we know all about the OnePlus 7 Pro. We saw it earlier. And we reviewed it earlier. It’s time to do the same with the OnePlus 7, which we have for the review today.

As OnePlus CEO Pete Lau hinted in an interview to India Today Tech a few months ago, the OnePlus 7 is an upgrade to the OnePlus 6T, and hence it packs in all the essential that people expect from a premium phone launched in 2019. That means it offers the new Snapdragon 855 chipset and inherits the promising 48-megapixel camera from the OnePlus 7 Pro. With the geeky stuff taken care of, OnePlus also worked on its pricing and this is where it has hit the ball out of the park.

You can get the base level OnePlus 7 with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage for Rs 32,999. This is lower than what the OnePlus 6T was selling for just a few months ago. All this then surely sounds good.

Or does it? Has OnePlus compromised on some crucial area? Does it still deliver the classic OnePlus experience? We find out in this OnePlus 7 review.

OnePlus 7 is new wine in old bottle

When the OnePlus 7 was unveiled after the OnePlus 7 Pro at the launch event, OnePlus said it wanted to make the newer technologies from the Pro variant more accessible for its community. Hence, the company only spoke about what went inside. That’s because the OnePlus 7 looks identical to the OnePlus 6T. Most people will find the OnePlus 7 and the Oneplus 6T sporting the same design.

And that’s a good thing in my opinion. I say that because I have used the OnePlus 7 Pro for a long time and while I like the more modern notch-less design with curved edges, it is bigger and heavier than previous OnePlus phones. The OnePlus 6T got the ergonomics just right for a modern-day smartphone and that’s a blessing for the OnePlus 7.

Therefore, you get the same curved glass panel at the rear in the OnePlus 7. However, the dual camera module has a bigger bump than before which could make it wobbly while you keep it flat on a desk. Since everyone will use a case, the bump would even out with the bulk of the case. When compared to the OnePlus 7 Pro, the OnePlus 7 feels compact (never imagined I would say this for a phone with a 6.4-inch display).

Nothing changes at the front too, except for the earpiece that has grown in size and now joins the loudspeaker to offer a stereo speaker setup (yay I suppose). You still get the big 6.4-inch Optic AMOLED display with a water drop notch on the top and a slightly noticeable chin. The headphone jack is not here but then we all knew in advance that it would not make an appearance this year.

For this year, you get two fancy colours — Mirror Grey and Red. The Mirror Grey is the same colour from the OnePlus 7 Pro while the Red has been brought back from last year’s OnePlus 6 Red. Do note that the Red is only available in a top-end variant with 8GB RAM. Personally, I find the red variant ravishing.

So there you go — the OnePlus 7 may not offer a radically new design but it still looks every bit a premium smartphone.

The good old AMOLED display is back

If you are spending above Rs 30,000 on a smartphone, you naturally expect an AMOLED display. OnePlus has known this from the days of the OnePlus 3 and still continues the trend of offering an AMOLED display as standard. Therefore, with the OnePlus 7, you still get a Full HD+ AMOLED display measuring 6.4-inches. And this is a very good display for its price – your eyes are treated to punchy colours with higher contrasts. Brightness levels are good and you get a wide viewing angle as well. The tiny notch is still an annoyance when you are watching videos or playing games but once you get used to it, it’s not a big deal.

However, when you compare it with the display on the OnePlus 7 Pro, you will find the colours are slightly pale and the contrast is lacking. I understand that to maintain the price of Rs 32,999, OnePlus had to cut corners. But it would have been better if the OnePlus 7 gained the same HDR+ supported AMOLED panel from the Pro variant.

Classic no-compromise OnePlus performance

If you have owned a OnePlus smartphone before, you know how it is. If you haven’t, then here’s a brief description – it’s fast and fluid.

There’s a very good reason behind this fast and fluid performance. You are getting as standard the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset – the same chip that every phone with the “flagship” label will be using this year. At the same time what helps this flagship chipset deliver even faster speeds is the new UFS 3.0 storage. At the moment, only the OnePlus 7 series phones get the UFS 3.0 storage on a smartphone. And of course, the most important element that’s core to the OnePlus experience is back – Oxygen OS.

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