Over the past several years, OnePlus has slowly built a loyal following worldwide. While its competitive pricing has played a large role in the company’s growth, it would be shortsighted to say its focus on aesthetics, quality hardware, and thoughtful software haven’t played a big part in it becoming a household name. The company’s latest phone, the OnePlus 7 Pro (3,999 yuan, approximately $576), pushes the envelope further with more refined hardware and software than ever, a pop-up selfie camera, and an improved AMOLED display. It offers flagship performance for much less than you’ll pay for an Apple or Samsung phone, and earns our Editors’ Choice for high-end handsets for China.
Design, Display, and Audio
Before we get started, if you’re looking for a review of the US model of the OnePlus 7 Pro, you can find that here. This is a review of the Chinese version.
For the most part, the OnePlus 7 Pro follows the traditional flagship aesthetic, in that it’s essentially a glass sandwich around an aluminum frame. It measures 6.4 by 3.0 by 0.3 inches (HWD) and comes in at a hefty 7.3 ounces. It’s available in black, blue, or gold. Our black test unit quickly became a fingerprint magnet, but you’ll probably want to invest in a good case since it doesn’t offer any formal drop protection or water resistance, though OnePlus says the phone is mildly resistant to splashes.
The front of the phone is dominated by a 6.67-inch curved AMOLED display with almost nonexistent bezels. Instead of adding a camera notch like so many other phones do these days, the OnePlus 7 Pro has a pop-up selfie camera. Display resolution comes in at 3,120 by 1,440, with 516 pixels per inch. It’s absolutely gorgeous display for streaming multimedia, and features a 90Hz refresh rate for smoother gaming and scrolling speeds.
Of all the Chinese phones we’ve tested (and most US phones), the OnePlus 7 Pro’s in-display fingerprint sensor is the most consistent and easy to use. It worked without issue nearly every time we used the phone over a period of several weeks.
When it comes to audio, the OnePlus 7 Pro is a bit of a letdown. For calls, the earpiece is loud enough to hold a conversation on a busy street, coming in at 88dB. But while the phone sports Dolby Atmos-powered stereo speakers that come in at 93dB, the sound is tinny at higher volumes. And for private listening, you need to use Bluetooth headphones as there’s no 3.5mm headphone jack.
On the back of the OnePlus 7 Pro you’ll find a triple camera stack, including a 48MP wide-angle lens with a f/1.6 aperture and optical image stabilization (OIS), an 8MP telephoto lens with 3x zoom and OIS with a narrow f/2.4 aperture, and a 16MP ultra-wide-angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture.
For the most part, the phone takes solid photos in bright light. In our camera tests we noticed reds and yellows are slightly undersaturated, and there’s some minor background blurring. Low-light photos are pretty good as well, though background blurring is more significant and there’s a tinge of noise on the edges of a few of our photos. And wide-angle photos have a tendency to look a bit soft. Overall, images are absolutely fine for the average shutterbug and sharing on social media, but if you’re looking for the best smartphone camera on the market, you’ll want to opt for the Huawei P30 Pro.
The 16MP front-facing pop-up camera has an f/2.0 aperture. Bright-light photos are good, with some minor foreground blurring. Low-light photos are also surprisingly solid, though background noise was present in several of our test shots. And if you’re worried about the pop-up camera snapping off during an accidental drop, fear not: If a drop is detected, the camera quickly retracts back into the body of the phone.
Hardware and Benchmarks
For the price, the OnePlus 7 Pro ships with some impressive hardware. It sports a top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor along with 6GB of RAM standard, as well as 8GB and 12GB options. If you opt for the 6GB version there’s 128GB of storage onboard, while the 8GB and 12GB versions come with 256GB of storage. None have a microSD slot.
Performance is excellent. Apps opened instantaneously and we had no problem multitasking between a dozen apps at the same time. We even managed to play Asphalt 8 for over an hour with no skipped frames or freezing.
In our benchmark tests, the OnePlus 7 Pro blows away the competition. It scored 9,874 on PCMark, a benchmarking suite that emulates everyday smartphone tasks. On the Ludashi (LDS) benchmark it was equally impressive, scoring 359,913 and falling only behind the Vivo IQOO (387,303) and the ZTE Axon Pro 10 5G (412,288). CPU performance came in at 115,281, while GPU performance came in at 150,401. RAM clocked in at 42,768 and the storage score was a solid 51,463. Overall it’s a strong performer that should easily keep chugging along for a few years.
In addition to regular performance benchmarks, the OnePlus 7 Pro is well equipped to handle AI tasks. In AI Benchmark, a suite of tests that require the phone to identify different objects, people, and locations, it scored 25,258. That’s slightly behind the ZTE Axon 10 Pro (27,274), though the OnePlus 7 Pro had a lower error rate overall.
The phone is powered by a 4,000mAh battery. With the display set to 90MHz, the phone lasted 10 hours, 48 minutes in our rundown test, streaming video at full brightness over Wi-Fi. More conservative use should easily get you two days between charges. If you do find yourself running low on juice, a 30W Warp Charge adapter is included in the box that can add hours of battery life to the phone in minutes.
Software and Special Features
Since phones sold in China aren’t allowed to use Google Services or the Play store, each handset manufacturer creates its own highly modified take on Android with a custom app store and apps. In many cases this leads to messy software full of bloatware. Fortunately, that’s not the case on the OnePlus 7 Pro; in fact, it’s the most elegant UI we’ve seen on a Chinese phone.
The OnePlus 7 Pro ships with Android 9.0 Pie, running the HydrogenOS extension. Apps are well organized on the home screen, and while it sports the traditional navigation bar by default, you can easily switch to OnePlus’ elegant navigation gestures in the phone’s settings.
The interface is elegant and minimal, but it also allows lots of customizations. You can adjust the screen refresh rate, customize the display color, and even set up apps in Reading mode, which switches the screen to a grayscale that’s easier on the eyes.
We’re also fond of the Alert Slider on the right side of the phone, which allows you to easily switch between ring, vibrate, and silent modes. It’s a simple feature, but it’s one that makes using the OnePlus 7 Pro a pleasure.
The OnePlus 7 Pro offers a lot of bang for the buck. For a lot less than most flagships, you get the best mobile processor on the market, plenty of RAM, and 128GB (or more) of storage. It makes some compromises like a merely average camera and tinny speakers. But that doesn’t change the fact that it’s an excellent bargain, with the best software experience you’ll find on a Chinese phone, and that earns it our Editors’ Choice.