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OnePlus 7 Pro - The Lab - A Review by Keep Transisting

  1. KeepTransisting The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer May 17, 2019

    KeepTransisting, May 17, 2019 :
    [​IMG]

    Who the hell is this KeepTransisting guy anyways?


    Some around here probably recognize my name, as I’m pretty active on this community. Few know who I really am, though, so let’s just get a brief introduction out of the way. I’m Jeff. I live in Texas. I work in cyber security and I’ve been dealing with Android phones since the beginning with the HTC G1 (also known as the Dream to you non-USA folks). I previously wrote reviews and news articles for a now-defunct Android site called RootzWiki. When I’m not playing with smartphones, I enjoy gaming, movies, music, booze, and spending time with my family. But enough of that, let’s get to the good stuff:


    Let’s crack this box open

    First let me apologize for the guerilla style unboxing pictures. My Nikon’s lens decided it wanted to take a break and not work, so I had to shoot all of this with my old phone in less than ideal lighting conditions. Let’s just use the word “cozy”, how about that?

    [​IMG]

    A nice removable banner about joining the community lies on top of the main package, which is a nice touch to help those who might not be so tech savvy learn where to get assistance with any issues.

    [​IMG]


    Once that’s removed we have the main course. I’ve always enjoyed the packaging on OnePlus devices. It’s clean. Elegant, if you will. A sturdy rectangular white box with an embossed 7 in large print and a simple OnePlus logo at the top. One unfamiliar with the company would have no idea the contents of the package. Once the top is popped, we get to the juicy center.

    [​IMG]

    Directly under the lid lies a small cardboard sleeve containing a brief manual, a OnePlus logo sticker (which now resides on my company laptop), a rather charming welcome letter from @Pete, a clear TPU case (a rather nice inclusion at no additional cost) and the typical metal sim tool. One layer deeper presents us with the good stuff.

    [​IMG]

    The phone itself rests on a white form fitted cardboard container, comfortably wrapped in a blanket of thin, frosted plastic. The container is firm enough to ensure the device will not move during shipping, yet has enough give to cushion the device should it be unfortunately dropped while in transit.

    [​IMG]

    Once gently removed from its cardboard bed, we’re presented with the warp charger and a red OnePlus USB-C Warp Charge cable, each also wrapped in a blanket of cardboard.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Now the deed is done. The phone is unboxed and turned on for the first time.

    [​IMG]

    Some first impressions

    I'll post an in-depth review over the next week or two, but let's get some initial impressions out of the way:
    • The model I'm using is the 8 GB / 256 GB mirror grey version
    • The phone is heavy. Weighing in at 206 grams, it's 16% heavier than the OnePlus 6 I'm used to. That's not to say it's uncomfortable. On the contrary. It fits in my hand perfectly, but we'll see how I feel after a whole day of constant use.
    • It's big, too. Not necessarily wider than my 6, but taller.
    • The display is gorgeous. The HDR10+ 1440p display is absolutely beautiful.
    • The stereo speakers are a welcome addition, especially when using the phone in landscape.
    • Finally a vibration motor that you feel and not hear. There's no "tinniness" like in previous motors.
    • The optical fingerprint scanner is super fast and accurate, a welcome improvement from the 6T.
    • The selfie camera is quick to pop out and retract.
    • A recent update arrived which improved the camera, so I'll hold off on impressions for now on that.
    That's about it for now, folks. Stay tuned in the coming week or so for a deep dive into many of this phone's impressive features.


    The Look and Feel

    First and foremost, I want to talk about the appearance of the device. As I mentioned above, I opted for the mirror grey model. To be blunt, the 7 Pro simply has the look of a premium device. The front of the phone is covered with curved Gorilla Glass 6 for the display and the bezels are kept to a minimum. While the phone still contains what is commonly referred to as a “chin”, it is slightly smaller and less noticeable than that of the 6T. The earpiece / stereo speaker on the top blends in so well that it’s practically invisible.
    [​IMG]
    Now on to the sides. Phones with curved screens always seem to be a point of contention for some, and I can definitely understand why. But I’ll talk about that more when we deal with the display. For now all I’ll say is that the curved screen does definitely seem to attract light, so—in brightly lit areas—you might notice some glare on the edges. That being said, it’s not so extreme that it makes the phone unusable. On the contrary, simply tilting the device up or down to prevent the light from hitting the display directly seems to dissipate the effect. And on the mirror grey version, the sides of the phone are in a beautiful, reflective gun-metal grey color, rounded enough for the device to feel comfortable in your hand.

    On the bottom edge of the device, from left to right, you have the SIM tray; microphone hole (going right through an antenna line); USB-C 3.1 port; another microphone hole; and the bottom speaker. Previous OnePlus devices had the bottom speaker on the left, which often made it far too easy to cover it with your hand when holding the phone landscape. Swapping it to the other side has thankfully fixed this issue.

    [​IMG]

    Moving on to the right edge of the phone, the bottom half is smooth and uninterrupted (with the exception of a tiny antenna line near the bottom). Just above the middle is the power button with the three position alert slider above that. One thing worth mentioning is that the alert slider feels less stiff than the one on my OnePlus 6. While it still has a nice “click” when moved to each position, I do worry that the easier movement will make for more accidental flips while in my pocket. Only time will tell on that one. Finally, there’s another antenna line right before curving over into the top of the device.

    [​IMG]

    The top of the phone has a hole for the noise cancelling microphone on the right side and the motorized selfie camera on the left. While you can clearly see the spot where the camera protrudes on demand, it otherwise blends in seamlessly with the rest of the mirror finish.

    [​IMG]

    The left edge contains two antenna lines near the top, a standard volume rocker near the upper third, and a third antenna line at the bottom. Nothing out of the ordinary over here.

    [​IMG]

    Once we flip the device over, we’re greeted by the triple lens camera array, right in the upper half, with an LED flash right below it. Right below that is the OnePlus logo in a silver color with the words OnePlus towards the bottom. The mirror finish below the Gorilla Glass 5 covering is stunning to look at, but be warned: it’s a fingerprint magnet (and rather hard to photograph). You won’t be able to go long at all without smudging it up completely. On top of that, the smooth texture makes the device quite slippery. Damn slippery, in fact. With this in mind, this reviewer highly recommends putting your phone in a case to protect it from accidental drops.

    [​IMG]


    One last thing: while the phone is heavier than my previous OnePlus 6, it’s never uncomfortable to hold.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019

    #1
  2. KeepTransisting The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer May 17, 2019

    Stickied Post
    KeepTransisting, May 17, 2019 :
    The Software

    Since most people here will already be familiar with OxygenOS, I’ll simply cover some of the newer features.

    Screen Recording

    Being an active member of this community, one feature I see requested time and time again is that of a screen recorder. Well, you can rest easy, mobile gamers, as the folks over at OnePlus have heard your pleas. The new feature can be found simply enough by adding the “screen recorder” tile to the quick settings menu. From there, simply hit the button and you’re ready to go. After activating, a floating menu (which, of course, doesn’t show during recording) allows the recording to be started or stopped, as well as provides a settings menu that gives audio and video customizations.

    [​IMG]


    Here’s a quick example of how a recording looks:



    All in all, it’s a great implementation of the feature. It gives the necessary customization without any real sacrifices. There are really only two nitpicks I have: one is that the screen recording can only be accessed from the quick settings tile, which seems like an odd choice. The second is that you have either the option of external or internal audio. So you can’t record your voice while you record your game session. A big issue if you’re the type who loves to share their chat-filled gameplay, but not anything major for me.

    Zen Mode

    Next on the list of new features is Zen Mode. If I’m being honest, this is a feature I won’t personally use much. However, to those who have a self-proclaimed “smartphone addiction”, it could be a helpful tool. Like screen recording, this can be accessed from a quick settings tile or the Zen Mode widget (not available for use on third party launchers). Once activated, Zen mode essentially locks you out of your phone for two hours. This cannot be cancelled. Only the camera, receiving calls, and making emergency calls remains active. The major downside to this feature is that you cannot customize the amount of time Zen Mode is active, so it’s two hours or nil.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Although, if I can be blunt with all y’all out there reading this right now, if you need an app to make you put down your phone to be productive; I just want to say this:


    [​IMG]

    Like, seriously.


    Enhanced Gaming Mode

    Now that that awkwardness is handled, let’s move onto the new and improved gaming mode. I’m not much of a mobile gamer, so I’ll get that right out of the way. Most of my gaming is done on PC / PS4 / Switch, so I’ll be pretty light on this section. While many of the gaming mode features are the same, there are two new options meant to take advantage of the enhanced hardware in the 7 Pro. The first setting is “Gaming display enhancement” which is supposed to enhance the bright and dark parts of the games. In essence, it tries to make games artificially have more POP to take advantage of the HDR10+ screen. Personally, I haven’t noticed too much difference. The second introduced feature is “Haptic feedback enhancement”. If your game supports haptic feedback, this will drive more power to the vibration motors when needed for a better haptic experience. Again, I haven’t noticed too much of a difference, but your mileage may vary on this one.

    Then there’s the new “Fnatic mode” to “supercharge your gaming experience”. What is Fnatic mode? Well, anyone who was in the Open Beta program might remember the e-sports mode that was introduced. This is the same thing, just rebranded with a partnership name. Fnatic mode does the following:

    • Blocks every notification, including calls

    • Pushes more performance out of the CPU (most likely resulting in lessened battery life)

    • Disables any second sim card and boosts the signal to the first sim card for better performance
    That’s Fnatic mode. It’s basically a “turn life off and let me play my damn game” switch. Please use it responsibly. Life is an important thing. Winning a mobile PUBG match is not.

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    Dolby Atmos

    One of the big selling features of the OnePlus 7 Pro is the Dolby Atmos integration. By partnering with Dolby, OnePlus was able to make sure that the 7 Pro outputs the best possible audio quality. But does it work? Well, that depends. Atmos is basically an audio equalizer. It’s meant to enhance sounds for movies/music/etc. So it’s honestly about how well each profile sounds to you. Some may prefer one profile to another, and that’s fine. Feel free to tinker with it to make it to your liking. When using the phone speakers, you can’t disable it. You have a choice between dynamic, movie, and music profiles. Dynamic essentially just auto picks between the other two based on what’s currently being displayed on the screen. Movie mode seems to give a pseudo surround effect to the speakers and enhance vocals while music tries to emphasize bass.
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    When headphones are connected (either wired or bluetooth), you actually have the option to disable Atmos completely as well as making additional adjustments. Once you click into the “style preference” menu, you’re greeted with a choice of four style options, along with a traditional equalizer. Some modes offer a little more bass, while others seem to highlight the mids and highs more. My suggestion to you is to plug in some headphones, crank the volume to a decent level, and just play around with them until you find the one that suits you best.

    [​IMG]


    The Display

    As I mentioned in my first impressions, the display is gorgeous. The lack of a notch makes it an absolute pleasure watching content on this beautiful 19.5:9 HDR10+ screen. Colors are rich and vibrant. HDR content, found in plentiful supply on YouTube and Netflix, just simply looks stunning. One thing worth noting to those unfamiliar with HDR: you can’t tell the HDR advantage from screenshots or videos. It’s something you simply have to see for yourself. If you are lucky enough to have this device in your hands, I highly recommend this HDR enabled video to showcase how amazing it can be:



    (make sure to manually set the video to 1440 HDR in case it doesn’t do it automatically)

    Thanks to the size of the display and the roundness of the screen, holding the phone in landscape for either video watching or game playing with two hands is never uncomfortable. Although, I do feel I should address the curved screen, which seems to be a thing of concern for many people. Yes, it is true that the curved edges do catch more light and can cause some glare. But is it awful? Honestly, no. Since I’ve gotten the device, I can think of only one time that the glare was bad, and even then it simply involved shifting my device the tiniest bit. In other cases where the effect was minor, simply turning up the brightness of my display seemed to make it go away. Of course, this issue would not have been an issue at all had they gone with a less curved screen. Thankfully, the regular OnePlus 7 that will be releasing soon (in most countries, sorry USA) has a curveless option for those concerned with screen glare.

    [​IMG]

    Being an HDR10+ AMOLED screen, the brightness range is fantastic. While browsing the phone in bed on one of my many insomniac nights, I find that the lowest brightness setting is comfortable without getting too dark. Likewise, on maximum brightness, I have zero issue browsing the web or using my phone outside, unless the sun is directly pointed at my phone. That’s something that, like mentioned above, can be resolved with simply tilting the screen ever so slightly so that the sun isn’t hitting it directly on.


    The USB Port

    While this might not be a big deal to many, the OnePlus 7 Pro is the first OnePlus device to sport a USB 3.1 controller rather than the legacy USB 2.0 controller that the 6T and previous devices had. What does this give you? Well, on top of a faster transfer speed, the USB-C port on the 7 Pro can sport a number of accessories, including the commonly requested USB to HDMI adapter for plugging your phone into an external display. However, I did come across one issue with that. Seeing as the phone has a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, you'll get the same aspect ratio on your TV, with black bars on the bottom and top. The problem with this is if you're watching a movie that's 16:9, you'll get black bars on the top, bottom, and sides; forcing you to use your TV's zoom feature to correct this. The good news is this is something that could be resolved with software in the future.

    [​IMG]

    Stay tuned this next week for my coverage of the camera, battery life, and some final thoughts.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019

    #2
  3. KeepTransisting The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Jun 7, 2019

    Stickied Post
    KeepTransisting, Jun 7, 2019 :
    The Battery

    Battery life seems to be a hot topic for many, and often with good reason. Nobody wants to stop in the middle of the day to charge their phone if they can avoid it. I would get almost a day’s use out of my OnePlus 6, but would often end up having to bust out my charger in the evening if my day had heavier than normal usage. Well, I can safely say that those worries are gone. I don’t know if it’s simply the newer SoC being more power efficient, OxygenOS getting better behind the scenes optimization, or the inclusion of a much larger battery (4000mAh vs the 3300mAh in the OP6). Whatever it is, the battery in this phone is better than ever. But you don’t have to take my word for it. Check out these screenshots of my battery life on a normal day:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Almost 7 hours of screen on time with some gaming and a lot of web browsing. All with almost a day off the charger as well. Looking at the chart, the battery drain while I was asleep was extremely minimal, which is a common concern. On a day where I don’t do much in the way of 3D (maybe just some music and web browsing), I can stretch that even further.

    There are things you can do to increase your battery life if you want to get the maximum amount of time out of your device. Turning off location scanning and the usual other tricks help, but I want to address two specific options that are included in this device. One is the ability to change your screen from 90hz to 60hz. This will reduce scrolling smoothness a little in exchange for more battery life. I ran this option for about a day under the same load as my example above, and I found that the difference was honestly negligible. While I would need to do some more long term testing, my battery life was increased by maybe 10 minutes.

    The second option is the ability to force the display to be a resolution of 2336x1080 rather than the higher resolution of 3120x1440. Again, I tested this under the same conditions for about a day and, like above, the difference was negligible. So, if you’re a person who wants to squeeze every usable second out of your device, these options might help you (especially as more apps actually support the 90hz screen), otherwise, I prefer the fluidity and high resolution of the default settings.

    The Camera

    Now’s the part where we talk about the camera, probably the most common point of comparison and source of complaints for practically any phone these days. Before we get started, I want to say this: I am not a professional photographer. Most of my pictures are of my cats and my kids and maybe whatever I’m drinking for the night. I’ll be covering this camera as best I can, but just keep those facts in mind.

    The Rear Cameras

    The OnePlus 7 Pro includes a triple camera array on the back, each with their own specifications:
    • Main camera: 48MP f/1.6 (normally shoots at 12MP. We’ll cover why below)
    • Telephoto lens: 8MP f/2.4 3x zoom (Yes it is. We’ll cover it below)
    • Wide angle lens: 16MP f/2.2

    Now, first and foremost I want to dispel the whole “it isn’t actually 3x zoom! It’s 2.2x!” thing. Yes it is 3x. I’m going to leave a link to Juan Carlos Bagnell’s excellent explanation on it right here for you to read. Educate yourself.

    With that being said, onto some pictures.

    The Main Camera

    [​IMG]

    The cameras on the OnePlus 7 Pro had a rough start, and since then multiple updates have been released to improve the quality. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to wait until last to add my opinion on it. That being said, I will not be reviewing pictures taken with the new 9.5.7 update that came out yesterday. I haven’t had a chance to fully test it yet. So all of these pictures will be based off of the camera in the 9.5.6 software. Macro pictures are a true delight with this camera. Getting up close and personal provides a stunning amount of detail with a glorious background depth of field.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    Regular auto mode point and shoot shots are also beautiful, resulting in real to life color accuracy that's not overly saturated and artificial looking like some cameras:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    I'll be posting some low light example here in the next few days. Remember, I live in Texas right now. It's brighter than the surface of the sun for about 18 hours out of the day.

    Now I mentioned above about how this is a 48MP sensor but you get 12MP photo. This is because every block of four pixels on the sensor is treated as one big pixel. Combining that information together can allow for greater detail and dynamic range. Pro mode does seem to allow you to take an actual 48MP picture. Since it's not combining information, you technically end up with a picture that's more accurate (and larger) of course. Personally, I don't see too much of a difference. But, again, I'm far from a camera pro.

    The Wide Angle Lens

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    Clicking the wide angle button in the camera software switches the viewfinder over to a zoomed out view of your surrounds. Here's the same as the two picture above, but taken with wide angle:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    For those who are unaware, wide angle does distort the image a bit. The software tries to correct this, but it will always throw proportions out of whack a bit. Also, it does seem that the colors are more muted and less saturated in the wide angle pictures. It could be a result of the wide angle sensor simply not being as good as the one in the main camera. I'll let more knowledgeable reviewers than me speak to that one. I think the newer software fixes it. I'll do some more testing

    The Zoom Lens

    [​IMG]

    Now onto the tricky stuff. The 3x zoom lens in the 7 Pro is pretty good. Again, let's use the same reference shots as above to compare:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    The pictures look practically just as good as their zoomed out brethren. However, there is something worth mentioning. That zoom lens on the back of your 7 Pro? It will only kick in when the lighting is adequate. For example, if I'm indoors and I try to zoom in, 99% of the time it will use the main camera sensor and digital zoom instead of the telephoto lens. Why is that? Well, it's simple. The large main camera sensor is much better at letting light in, so it makes sense that it would want to be used for areas where lighting might be a concern. The downside to this is that it's the camera software that decides for me which lens to use. There's no manual control. Something I hope to see addressed in the future, at least for Pro mode.

    The Selfie Camera

    The motorized selfie camera on the 7 Pro is fun to mess with. I'm not lying, I find myself going into selfie mode from time to time just to see the little guy pop out from the top of the phone.

    [​IMG]

    As for the quality of the camera, well, it's pretty decent. Like most selfie cameras, it suffers a bit in low light situations, but with the right lighting it can produce sharp and detailed images.

    [​IMG]

    Yeah, that's me. It's Friday and I'm off work. I'm allowed to drink, damnit! And no, there's not a lack of saturation here. I actually am that pale.

    As for the motor on the camera, OnePlus says they tested the quality with hundreds of thousands of in and outs. Whether or not this will stand up to real world testing, only time will tell. The good news is that when the camera is in its popped out state, the phone uses its accelerometer to detect if the phone is dropped. If it's in an active free fall, the phone will quickly retract the camera to prevent damage, and you'll be greeted with this cute scolding message:

    [​IMG]

    All in all, I'm extremely pleased with the results from the cameras. Like I said, I'm no pro, so as long as my pictures of my kids and my cats and my booze look good, I'm a happy man.

    Video Recording

    Coming soon

    Final Thoughts

    All in all, I think that the OnePlus 7 Pro is the best smartphone I've ever owned. It truly feels like a premium device and even though it has a higher price tag than previous models, it's still cheaper than most flagships available right now. The display is beautiful, the battery life well exceeded my expectations, and the camera is fantastic (and it's something that has received multiple updates in its short life span, too).

    That's not to say everything is perfect. I've reported to the bug hunters a critical bug that's sending my device into a soft reboot every time I try to add a work profile, but hopefully that's something that can be rectified soon. The HDMI aspect ratio issue I've mentioned above will also need some attention, but that's far less critical.

    Thanks for reading everyone! If you have any questions, feel free to ask them. I'll try to answer everything I possibly can.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019

    #37
  4. razzor228 Gingerbread May 17, 2019

    razzor228, May 17, 2019 :
    A good start to the review! Eagerly waiting for the upcoming sections of the review!
     

    #3
    Baymax and KeepTransisting like this.
  5. Link2811 Donut May 17, 2019

    Link2811, May 17, 2019 :
    Hey ! Nice impressions.
    Please, can you test if the phone is compatible with Bluetooth dual audio ? Thanks !
     

    #4
    Baymax and KeepTransisting like this.
  6. KeepTransisting The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer May 17, 2019

    KeepTransisting, May 17, 2019 :
    I only have one bluetooth device on me at the moment, but I can check that out when I get home
     

    #5
    Baymax and iNtEnSePL like this.
  7. theshinybeast Marshmallow May 17, 2019


    #6
    buntycubal, Sujknair, Baymax and 5 others like this.
  8. Link2811 Donut May 17, 2019

  9. Cheetosdust Starting Point Expert May 17, 2019

    Cheetosdust, May 17, 2019 :
    Great job so far, really detailed and so well written.

    Congratulations on the start, genuinely interested in reading/seeing the next part. :)
     

    #8
    buntycubal, Sujknair, Baymax and 4 others like this.
  10. DARTH 007 KitKat May 17, 2019

    DARTH 007, May 17, 2019 :
    congrats.

    since you are the only one here who is technically qualified to write a review, hope to see an unbiased review about the pro.
     

    #9
  11. Bouncer71 Lollipop May 18, 2019


    #10
  12. G_plusone Marshmallow May 18, 2019

  13. BeingIncog Marshmallow May 18, 2019


    #12
  14. Baymax Starting Point Expert May 18, 2019

    Baymax, May 18, 2019 :
    'ello Jeff. Great first part of the review.
    Psst I also am in Texas
     

    #13
  15. KeepTransisting The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer May 18, 2019


    #14
    buntycubal, Sujknair, dcmcc24 and 3 others like this.
  16. theshinybeast Marshmallow May 18, 2019

    theshinybeast, May 18, 2019 :
    Kinky Friedman for Governor!!!
     

    #15
  17. Sharinnn Lollipop May 18, 2019


    #16
  18. BeingIncog Marshmallow May 18, 2019


    #17
    Bouncer71 likes this.
  19. Sharinnn Lollipop May 18, 2019

  20. BeingIncog Marshmallow May 18, 2019


    #19
    Bouncer71 likes this.
  21. Baymax Starting Point Expert May 18, 2019

    Baymax, May 18, 2019 :
    Nah. Quite happy with Greg Abbott :p
     

    #20