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[The Lab] OnePlus 7 Pro Review - By KnightareFrame

  1. KnightmareFrame
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer May 21, 2019

    KnightmareFrame , May 21, 2019 :
    LabLogoRszFinal.png
    First off, I'd like to thank OnePlus for the the opportunity to participate in the Lab Program - I've been a OnePlus fan since more or less the beginning so it's quite amazing to be given the chance to review a OnePlus device at all, let alone before its official release. For me this is also one of the things that sets OnePlus apart from the rest of the company - real thinking outside of the box and engagement with its community/user base.

    A little about me - my real name is Emil (not quite as cool as KnightmareFrame) and I am currently working in tech/IT - specifically for a software company focusing on AR, IoT and CAD. I've always been a science nerd and tehc enthusiast, but my passion for the smartphone industry and the tech review world (especially YouTube) has grown steadily over the last 3 years. Actually finding out about OnePlus was what eventually caused me to be so interested in tech reviews! Speaking of which, I started off with a OnePlus X which I still have (and it still works!). In addition to tech, I am a (totally amateur) mobile photographer - I love photos in general and I try to always push the limits of taking beautiful and meaningful shots - I plan to push the OP7 Pro camera as much as I can to see what it's got!


    In terms of smartphones, I have used, to varying degrees, a really wide range of devices from most OEMs - OnePlus (obviously), HTC, LG, Samsung, Xiaomi, Huawei, Motorolla and Apple. I lean towards Android in many ways, but I am not an Android fanboy - I have a very healthy appreciation for iOS and have an iPhone 8 in addition to my Android based daily driver. I will be reviewing the phone, therefore, from the perspective of an OS agnostic user. I hope this will be a perspective which will be helpful, particularly as I feel that overall, OnePlus and Oxygen OS come closest to matching the benefits of iOS without commiting its cardinal sins.

    The below structure is subject to change, but I plan to review the device more or less in the following structure, with chapters being released asap (the camera one will probably be near the end as I want to give it as much time as possible and I only recently received the latest update with camera improvements) :

    1. Unboxing
    2. Design and Build
    3. Display and Sound
    4. Battery Life and Performance
    5.Camera
    6. User experience/Software and Miscellaneous
    7. Brief Comparisons with competition, who the phone is for and concluding thoughts



    Chapter 1: Unboxing

    I'll keep most of the review written but I did a short unboxing video which will hopefully let you get a better idea of the 7 Pro than just through reading.

    My overall first impression upon unboxing the phone was - Wow! The OP 6/6T were excellently put together, but the 7 pro is a different beast and you can sense, see and feel that immediately when you see that curved screen or you hold it in the hand. It's premium through and through, with no (obvious) corners cut - once the full review is done I can say more definitively whether that part is true, but initial impressions upon unboxing are excellent. Other than the phone, the unboxing experience is very OnePlus, so I'll leave you have a look at the short video below. The video is basic (as is my very new channel), but the main idea is to help with visualization.




    Review TBC
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019

    #1
  2. KnightmareFrame
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Jun 8, 2019

    Stickied Post
    KnightmareFrame , Jun 8, 2019 :
    2. Design and Build

    The 7 Pro’s design, much like the rest of the phone, is very much about coming of age and the how small improvements can lead from good to great. The most significant thing for me is that since I have had this phone to review, my interactions with friends/families/colleagues/onlookers have been along the lines of: “Wow, what phone is that?” or directly “Is that the Galaxy S9/S10?” I’m abridging those interactions but you get the point – the universal response I’ve seen to the design of this phone is either amazement or confusing it with the market leader in terms of design and build – Samsung. This is high praise.

    When you open up the box, those comparisons make sense immediately – with its curved screen and overall shape and build, the 7 Pro is very reminiscent of the Galaxy s9 and perhaps what the s10 could have been if Samsung didn’t opt for the punch hole approach. The display itself is gorgeous, but that will be covered later in more detail. What is relevant here is that the curved display is very well made, looks amazing and feels comfortable (unlike the Nokia 8 Sirocco’s attempt at a curved display).

    [​IMG]

    The rest of the phone is, on paper – typical. Glass on glass sandwich with a metal frame. The difference is in the details, however, and this is an area where OnePlus usually shine. This time is no different. Starting from the back, the model I have is the Nebula Blue. The blue finish is mesmeric, but in an understated way. This finish here is a similar idea to the gradients pioneered on Huawei and Honor devices, but it is nowhere near as loud and dare I say, crass, as the Huawei/Honor offerings. The gradient here moves, depending on angle and ambient lighting, from standard to deep/dark blue, perhaps almost black. This contrasts nicely with the OnePlus logo and name, which appear in silver. All in all, a highly restrained and tasteful affair. The look of a phone is not everything of course, but for me OnePlus absolutely nailed it this time. Seemingly small aspects all add up to something which creates a completely premium impression and at this price point, this matters. The OnePlus 7 Pro feels and looks every bit as premium as any other actual flagship and in many ways much more so than any would be flagship killer currently on the market (and we’re still only focusing on the back).

    As I said, it's often in the little things that we see development and this is noticeable most when compared to past experiences with other devices. For instance, the blending between the glass plate and the metal frame is completely seamless – something which is a vast improvement over my previous daily driver – the HTC U11. That phone was crudely put together by comparison and you could really feel the glass and the metal as separate entities, which was uncomfortable. Another major point for me in terms of finish is that the 7 Pro has a matte like finish. This contributes to the premium impression, but more importantly, it stops it from being a huge fingerprint magnet. To be clear, you will still get fingerprints on it as it is still made of glass. However, the finish ensures that 1) there are less of them and 2) they are less visible. I always resent users and reviewers complaining about fingerprints because to be blunt, if you want a glass phone, you will have to deal with fingerprints. Be that as it may, the less of them the better and the 7 Pro finish definitely helps with that.

    Finishing up about the back, the design is elegant and simple – the central placement of the triple camera, with the flash between it and the main “pattern” finished off by the OnePlus logo. The way the triple camera is handled is interesting in that there is a “circles within circles” vibe which is very neat and keeps the camera module as a whole quite tidy. The placement of everything in a line down the middle also keeps everything symmetrical which is very pleasing. This has a knock on effect on how the phone looks with a case on (Spoiler alert – very good). Again, this can be compared with the HTC U11, where the camera module/flash placement was badly thought out and at least to my mind, looked messy, especially with a case. If anything, the design could be accused of being slightly conservative. It is evolution, rather than revolution, but it is evolution done right.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Moving briefly to the sides of the phone. There is the typical array of buttons one would expect – power, volume up, volume down. In this case, they are firm, feel well made and give a good clicking feedback. One typically OnePlus addition here is the alert slider which is on the right side of the phone. This is an absolute win as far as I am concerned and I cannot understand why only OnePlus and Apple do this. It is so simple yet useful and I am glad that OnePlus have kept it – long may that continue! Aside from the buttons, the frame of the phone includes the speaker grills and microphones (two of them – one on top and one at the bottom), the Type-C port, the nano SIM tray and of course, the pop-up camera. One thing notably missing of course is a headphone jack, although I am not sure why anyone expected to see one given that it was removed on the 6T. Personally, I think having the jack is a useful redundancy and while a lot of people are moving to Bluetooth, I don’t like the industry trend to force the customer to move to wireless headphones or live the dongle life. Speaking of which, OnePlus does not include a dongle in the box – I think for this generation of phones at least, it should still have been included.

    When it comes to design and construction, the main question mark is the viability of the pop up camera. It has apparently been extensively tested and has safety features built in (such as detecting when the phone is in free fall and retracting to prevent damage), so hopefully this is not going to be an issue over long term use, but only time will tell. On the other hand, there are inherent issues with such a mechanism. One is collecting particles and the other is unwanted openings. Specifically, if you set up face unlock, this has apparently been known to happen when the phone is in the pocket (I haven’t set this up in part to avoid this and in part because I prefer the safer fingerprint method). One little annoyance that stems from using this design is that whenever you have a video call, the pop up camera will always be up and this can get in the way sometimes. On the other hand, impressively, OnePlus appears to have achieved a degree of water resistance even with a moving part (despite lack of official IP rating).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Perhaps the most important and noticeable part of the design of this phone is the screen (which merits and receives its own section). The main ace for the 7 Pro is the fact that it is as I’d like to put it “all screen all the time”. This is a full screen display – no bezels, no notches. This is made possible, among other things by two design features – the in display fingerprint scanner and the pop-up camera mentioned above. Getting a full screen display with no interruptions (including camera cutouts) can so far be achieved either by this method or by the Xiaomi/Honor sliding approach. Both have their merits, but personally I’d lean towards the pop up camera, as long as the mechanism is sturdy enough. So far I have no complaints on that front.

    The in display fingerprint sensor is incredibly cool and futuristic. It is quite fast (although not as fast as ordinary ones) and when it works it’s frankly awesome. Problem for me is that it is not as accurate as I am used to from standard fingerprint readers. Some of my issues were fixed when I re-did my finger registration, but even after, I am still having to repeat press quite often (almost every time, depending on finger). Moreover, there are issues from every angle. Worryingly, I never have to repeat press when I authenticate any of the banking apps I use. I am not sure if I am the only one experiencing these kinds of issues as frequently as I am, but I hope this can be improved down the line through a software update. I have noted from external comparisons that the 7 Pro’s scanner is supposed to be better than the one on the Galaxy S10 series, so we have that to be happy for and it is a clear improvement over the one in the 6T. Also, when it works its plenty fast enough – you really don’t need to get into your phone any faster than it does it, but it would be good if the accuracy could be improved.

    ….


    Last, but definitely not least, I would like to mention the improved haptic feedback on the 7 Pro. The improvement for me really significant not just when compared to previous OnePlus devices, but when I compare it to other Android phones. I obviously have not tried every single one out there, but I have not tried one that comes close to the level of excellence of the 7 Pro. It is so good, in fact, that it has bridged the gap (for me) between Android and Apple haptics. I am not sure how OnePlus did it when it has eluded virtually every Android manufacturer, but I think they’ve cracked that code. The haptic feedback is a joy to use. Nothing more to add, very well done.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019

    #5
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  3. KnightmareFrame
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Jun 8, 2019

    Stickied Post
    KnightmareFrame , Jun 8, 2019 :
    3. Display and Sound

    3.1 Display

    The display of the OnePlus 7 Pro is perhaps the phone’s most spectacular feature and the area in which OnePlus’ rise to true heavyweight/flagship status is most clearly enunciated. Even looking through the stats on this display, before you have seen it, you will get the sense that you are about the see something special. This is an 6.67 inch, edge to edge fluid AMOLED display with a QHD+ resolution and a 90 Hz refresh rate – that last bit is especially significant both because it is so unique in the market (except for Razr) and because it is thoroughly awesome. Moving down the spec sheet and accolades, the screen is certified for HDR10+ and has achieved an A+ rating from Display Mate. In fact, to quote Display Mate, the 7 Pro has “close to Text Book Perfect Calibration Accuracy and Performance that is Visually Indistinguishable From Perfect”. I am not sure what more I could add to that, but I shall try. Pure stats aside, OnePlus have provided a range of features to the display which should be noted – a very potent Night Mode 2.0, a Reading Mode (which turns your phone into something resembling a kindle and is helps make reading easier on the eyes), as well as a new DC Dimming feature, which came in the form of an update.

    DC Dimming is a feature aimed at replacing Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) as the method of choice for dimming screen brightness in OLED panels. The reason is that PWM basically acts by constantly turning the screen off and on at a rate high enough to be imperceptible to the human eye. The ever greater periods of time the screen is off, essentially trick the eye into believing that the brightness is turned down. This creates an issue for some users, as the phone is essentially flickering more and more, as the brightness goes down. This can cause eye strain, headaches and more.[2] DC Dimming is actually more straightforward and involves lowering the power to the screen to turn down its brightness. The reason you don’t find this feature in every phone, is that on OLED displays, this messes with the colours. I don’t for one suffer from issues at low brightness (nor do I really use my phone at low brightness often), but it is good that the feature is there, in any event.

    So what does all of the above add up to in real life?

    Simply put, the display is stunning. Especially when you have content that can really make use of its abilities, such as HDR10+ content, it will blow your mind. To my eyes, it is every bit as good as the best on phones by Samsung and Apple, while being better than the BOE sourced displays on the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and crushing anything on a Xiaomi phone (but those are much cheaper so this is to be expected). What I have been unable to try and therefore compare, is the latest in display tech from Sony and LG – if I am able to do so, I will update the review.

    This is especially true when watching content – be it YouTube or Netflix and likely the Video Enhancer feature contributes to that. The quality of the display is always noticeable of course, to the point that it sometimes feels as if it is not real – the curved display also contributes to this sensation. When watching content at the highest settings, the experience genuinely feels as if you are inside the scene and the screen is a window to whatever you are watching. The colours are very punchy in a satisfying way, without being oversaturated. With that said, users used to the displays Samsung reserves and tunes for their Galaxy and Note lines may feel as if those displays are somehow brighter in tone (rather than actual brightness level, as I think the 7 Pro’s display is actually brighter than the one on the S10 series). Similarly, the display on the iPhone Xs Max at times feels clearer somehow, which may be due to tuning or it may be my own subjective perception. At other times, the 7 Pro’s display feels clearly superior – I should note that I have only been able to compare the two briefly as I do not own or use an iPhone Xs Max. In real terms, the 7 Pro’s display is feels the most alive out of the current flagship crop, at least to my eyes. Ultimately how much you enjoy a given display will have a subjective element to it but in my view, the 7 Pro’s display is objectively equal to or better than any other smartphone on the market right now, at least from the ones I have seen. With regard to the subjective side, there are quite a few customization options under the display settings, as you can see here:

    [​IMG]


    These options allow you quite a lot of freedom to calibrate the display to your liking, which is nice to see. Personally, I would at least recommend the Vivid mode, if not going full into the advanced settings to tweak the display to your setting.

    I have two issues with the display, which are however not related to the display itself, but more to software. I debated in which section to put this, since they affect the display, a mention in both this chapter and the software chapter felt appropriate.

    The first issue is the (by now) well known ghost touch issue. I had this more or less from the start and it was quite annoying, particularly when it messed with me while I was typing (it was especially fond of switching between tabs in Facebook Messenger). Switching off the NFC turned out to fix that issue but obviously that is only a temporary workaround. From what I understand the latest update is supposed to fix this, but as I am still on 9.5.5 at the time of writing, I cannot confirm. I will update this section as soon as I update to the latest software. The second issue I had is with the adaptive brightness. On the one hand, I prefer to use it so that I don’t blast my eyeballs at maximum brightness all the time and also to save battery. On the other hand, I always find that it defaults to slightly darker than I feel is suitable for the environment, so I often end up adjusting the brightness manually. This may be a purely subjective issue, but I thought it’s worth a mention under the bracket of mild annoyance.

    On the other hand, I was looking out for palm rejection considering this is OP’s first curved screen and it is very good – ghost touch issue aside (which is not related to the curved screen), the palm rejection is outstanding. The curved display as a whole clear coolness and immersiveness benefits as mentioned above, but they are not something that makes the display outstanding by itself (as Nokia found out). Such displays are less practicable both due to handling and due to issues with finding cases, installing screen protectors and generally protecting them from damage. Overall, flat displays may well be more beneficial. However in this case I view the curved display on the 7 Pro as a statement. With this, OnePlus demonstrates that it is in the Big Leagues in every way – this, more than anything else perhaps, gives a visual demonstration of how far the company has come. As a last quick point, I’d note the effects of the 90Hz refresh rate – this is something which gives a surprisingly tangible improvement to both the viewing experience and the general UI experience – not really expected to be as noticeable but it does make everything that much more fluid. It may be psychological, but you start to notice and miss its lack when you switch to another phone, once you’ve used the 7 Pro. Lastly, shout out to OnePlus for pre-installing a screen protector – not only is it a cost saver, but installing one of those on a curved screen is bound to be hard to do (at least for me, I’m not the most dexterous of people with things like this).


    3.2 Sound

    Sound on OnePlus phones has always been, for me, one of the major weak points. To be quite blunt, over the years they have ranged from awful to not that bad, but definitely not great. Now the degree to which that matters to you will really vary. Unlike the screen, which is of absolutely fundamental importance, superior audio is not, in my view, an absolute must for every phone. It is more of a niche feature which is nice (well, great) to have, but unless it is a complete failure, probably wouldn't make a break even a cheaper flagship. At least for my part, audio consumption (as opposed to recording) is not one of the main criteria for purchasing a smartphone. What is more, certain manufacturers (LG and HTC come to mind) have made this their niche field, which arguably takes some pressure off the rest as dedicated audiophiles have where to go.

    With that said, a bad set of speakers can be a constant annoyance from ruining your ringtone, to necessitating that you always use headphones for media consumption/listening to music, to making taking calls on loudspeaker unpleasant/not viable. This has so far more or less been my experience with OnePlus phones to varying degree. The OnePlus 7 Pro makes quite a drastic departure from that tradition with the introduction of Dolby Atmos® dual stereo speakers. These make a significant difference – the output is very loud and satisfying, while retaining clarity at pretty much all volumes. In terms of volume, I have never had to max it out for anything other than testing purposes, as even at medium volume and thereabouts, it is plenty loud enough for me for listening to music, watching films, gaming or having calls. In fact, the speakers are loud and clear enough that I can have speakerphone conversations while being in a different room from the phone (as a side note, the microphones are good enough to pick up my voice in such situations, which kind of blew my mind). You can also adapt the output to the content and specifically films or music, alternatively you can keep it set on Dynamic which matches the output to the source automatically.

    [​IMG]


    What this grants you, essentially is a lot of freedom from headphones and puts the 7 Pro firmly in the flagship space when it comes to audio – something which is a theme across the board for this phone.

    Audio is of course also about headphones and here OnePlus does not go out of its way. The headphone jack is sadly dead and buried. Obviously, OnePlus believes that Bluetooth is the future and largely I would agree. While OnePlus has never been the audiophile’s smartphone company, they have done their homework when it comes to Bluetooth – the phone is of course Bluetooth 5.0 capable and it includes support for AptX, AptX HD, LDAC and AAC. Essentially, whatever you’re packing in terms of Bluetooth headphones or earbuds, the 7 Pro has you covered. Bluetooth pairing for me has been excellent. Interestingly, I have mostly used the phone (so far) with USB C buds – specifically, the HTC USonic buds from my HTC U11, and the sound output is very good. I expected a large drop in quality between the U11 and the 7 Pro since those buds are especially made for the U11 and while there was as drop (plus some features are not available), overall the gap in sound is barely noticeable. For me that was both surprising and pretty impressive. While the 7 Pro lacks some pro audio features for earphones (such as HTC’s technology which scans your ear canal to optimize audio), it does have some neat customizations for when you are using earphones, such as those below:

    [​IMG]


    Overall, OnePlus has finally joined the top tier in terms of sound, particularly among manufacturers who do not specialise in this area, such as LG and HTC.
     

    #6
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  4. KnightmareFrame
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Jun 8, 2019

    Stickied Post
    KnightmareFrame , Jun 8, 2019 :
    4 Battery Life and Performance

    4.1 Performance

    I’m doing this chapter in reverse order because I want to get the easy out of the way first. OnePlus phones have never had performance issues – in fact, this is what the brand is built on – speed and performance. By always having the best available chips and using a clean and optimized UI, OnePlus have been very consistent with this. The 7 Pro is no exception.

    The 7 Pro comes with Snapdragon 855 CPU and Adreno 640 GPU. In addition, the version I am reviewing comes with 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage. This all adds up to a supremely fast experience. Navigation, opening/using apps, gaming and recording video all work in a super-fast and fluid manner. This is to be expected given the specs, which are further optimized by Oxygen OS and made to feel better due to the phone’s 90Hz refresh rate. Essentially the phone both objectively is and subjectively feels, very fast. For comparison, it feels clearly faster and more fluid than the Huawei Mate 20 Pro, Galaxy S10 series and pretty much any other Android phone I have tried. It also curb stomps the iPhone 8 I am also using. I have not been able to properly compare it with the Xs/Max, but while I find iPhones to be usually slicker than Android (with some caveats), in this case limited comparison suggests that OnePlus has equalled Apple on that front, at least in terms of subjective perception. I suspect this to be very much about the 90Hz display as “magic sauce”. RAM management for me has not been aggressive, but you should be aware that I am usually more of a medium user when at work than a heavy one. Similarly, I do not game frequently (really only gamed for the review), so my experience with how the phone performs during intense gaming is not going to be as reliable as that of someone who is a hardcore mobile gamer. So far at least I have not experienced any slowdowns or other issues – if something develops, I will update the review accordingly.

    There is really not much to add here – this is a OnePlus phone, not a Samsung one – performance was never going to be an issue.

    4.2 Battery (and charging)

    Now where I have had an issue, particularly when one considers the battery size, is battery life. I am going to approach this section from the point of view of a normal user, not a tech YouTuber. I have not run battery rundown tests, comparisons etc. What I wanted to know is how this phone’s battery performs in an everyday scenario and specifically in my normal daily routine. For reference I am a medium to heavy user – I use my phone a lot, but in short bursts at a time due to having a full time job which does not involve being a creator (and thus using the phone for that) and also having a work phone to handle my work tasks. With that said, I use this phone daily to listen to music on Spotify, watch YouTube videos (including using Google Cast a lot), watching some Netflix (usually through Google Cast, but not always), taking photos and recording video. I did some gaming for the review, but it does not usually fit into my day. One last thing to note is that the WiFi in my office is a bit crap so I don’t use it – this means I spend most of the day on mobile data, which is worse for the battery. I expect that if I am able to spend the whole day on WiFi, there would be an improvement on battery life.


    With that context out of the way, I would characterize the battery life as good, but not outstanding. That would be fine, if the battery was not 4000Mah. To be frank, I expected a little more out of it. This is the usual scenario for my workday:

    1. I leave the house with something between 85% and 100% battery life

    2. I listen to music on my 30min-1h commute (depending on conditions) – usually reach the office having depleted around 3-8% battery life, depending on length of commute.

    3. I continue to use phone sporadically throughout the day, for social media mostly, sometimes listening to music and the occasional call.

    4. When I leave the office after a full workday, I am usually left with something in the low 60s in terms of percentage.

    5. On my way home I usually have calls for 30min to 1h and return home with battery life in the low 50s.

    6. From then on until the end of day, the usage will vary but will be heavy – either using the phone to cast Netflix/YouTube, listen to music on my way to training or taking photos/recording video on a night out.

    7. The end result is that I consistently end the day at around 20-25% left. This is actually enough to not charge until the next day and possibly even make it to noon with my morning usage, because the standby battery drain is negligible – I’d lose something between 1-3% (max) overnight.


    The above does not sound too bad and it’s not. The phone has never died on me and on a normal day of (my) usage, I am confident that I will get through the workday with plenty of juice and end the day with some margin, before battery saver needs to kick in. This can be contrasted a lot with, for instance, my HTC U11 which couldn’t last through the workday on the same usage and my iPhone 8, which is better but still enters battery saver at some point after 8pm.

    What I see as a problem with this battery life is that if I up my usage to a proper heavy user (which is to say, intense video watching/gaming, video recording), then I will need to charge in the afternoon. I did run one (semi-scientific) test – I played a 2h20min 4k video (scaled to QHD) and this took the battery down from 100% to 76%. 24% in 2h20min, suggests to me approximately 10% drain per hour of video playback. It is possible that this effect would accelerate as the battery runs down. However, I don’t see as much value in these YouTube style drain tests as some people seem to. I am much more interested in how the phone handles ordinary (and varied) usage, so this is the feedback I am to give.

    Video recording particularly drains the battery the most for me. On a day where I recorded a few videos at work, I had to charge when I got home. This means that this falls a little short of being a proper 1.5 to 2 day phone, like for instance some Huaweis are able to be with a 4000Mah battery. My guess here is that the 90Hz screen affects this, as does the QHD. I really hope, however, that OnePlus is able to push out some battery optimizations to make the battery life more long lasting – naturally you can boost your battery life into the 2 day bracket if you go down to 60Hz and 1080p, but you’re not going to be buying the 7 Pro to go without those features, so I hope some improvement comes down the line.

    To be clear, the battery life is good enough – it doesn’t leave you stranded like my other current phones do and you can rely on it to get you through the day without a charge, unless you are a marathon user. That said, extra peace of mind, particularly with a battery this size, would be appreciated.

    One thing which mitigates this however is OnePlus’ Warp Charge. Fast charging in general is amazing and even standard Fast Charge 3.0 is great if you compare it with a phone that doesn’t come with fast charging in the box (looking at you, Apple). Not all fast charge methods are made equal however. The former Dash Charge was something special. The current Warp Charge 30 is insane. In my experience it can get the phone from 20% to about 85-90% in something like 20min. You actually have to be careful with this because it reaches 100% so fast, so watch out to protect battery health. This is the kind of charging tech that allows you to pop it on for 5-10min while you do something (get dressed, take a shower, brush teeth, whatever) and you’re good to go for a night out. Outstanding.

    One thing I did note however is a potential overheating issue. On one occasion I was charging the phone while talking on FB messenger actively (so not really taxing the phone that much). It suddenly overheated quite a lot, which took me by surprise because this is the opposite of how Warp Charge should work. I tried to replicate those conditions and even tried to watch HDR10+ videos while charging, with zero overheating. I am not sure what happened that time, but it seems to have been an isolated incident.

    A last thing to note is the lack of wireless charging. There are several ways to look at this. On the one hand, the tech is cool and if you have a few charging pads around the home and office, then it’s quite convenient to have. On the other hand, you actually have to buy all those pads to make it worthwhile and the tech is incomparably worse than using Warp Charge. In fact Warp Charge is so fast that using wireless charging at home is completely pointless. Where you would benefit from having this feature, is in public places with Qi charging pads or to benefit from friends with Huawei’s and Samsung’s reverse charging tech. OnePlus is starting to price the Pro in the top bracket (albeit still much cheaper than Samsung, Huawei and Apple), so at one point, that brings the expectation that all major features will be present in the phone. If wireless charging and IP rating were present, however, then the phone would cost much closer to the top of the industry, while providing marginal benefit. Whether you want to knock OnePlus for the omission of wireless charging will depend on whether you value the feature – for me it’s a “nice to have” but not essential and the cost saving is worth it. In a phone without Warp Charge, wireless charging makes more sense, which I assume is why Xiaomi include it in their flagships.
     

    #7
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  5. KnightmareFrame
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Jun 8, 2019

    Stickied Post
    KnightmareFrame , Jun 8, 2019 :
    5.Camera

    NOTE: At the time of writing I am still waiting for the latest software update which is supposed to improve the camera considerably. My impressions are therefore based on the software I have and will be updated when I have had the chance to test the camera with the new software. My final opinion of the camera will also be reserved until then.

    With that said, here are some preliminary thoughts.

    The 7 Pro's camera array includes a 46MP Sony IMX586 sensor with 1.6μm pixel size, f/1.6, OIS and EIS. The array also includes an 8MP f/2.4 Telephoto lens with 1.0μm pixel size and OIS, as well as a 16MP f/2.2 Ultra Wide Angle lens with 117° field of view. The array is completed with a Dual LED flash and Multi Autofocus (PDAF+LAF+CAF).

    The front facing camera uses a 16MP Sony IMX471 with f/2.0, 1.0μm Pixel Size and EIS

    The read camera array can shoot:

    4K at 30/60 fps
    1080p at 30/60 fps
    Super Slow Motion -
    1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 480 fps
    Time-Lapse

    and the front facing camera:

    1080p at 30 fps
    Time-Lapse

    The camera app also features a pretty neat and useful video editor.

    ----


    Stats are fine, but the main question most people care about (myself included) is how good is this camera actually?

    The short answer to that is - very, very good, even before the latest update which I am yet to test. The long answer is a bit more nuanced.

    I think it is fair to say that the camera has been the Achilles heel of OnePlus smartphones since the beginning. While I felt that this began to change with the 6T, the 7 Pro's camera array is the first time that OnePlus can really be in the conversation for best camera. Not for the money, but overall. I am not saying it is the best camera, what I am saying is that depending on what you prioritize in a camera array and in photo and video output, this camera could be best for some users. This isn't really something that I could have said for a OnePlus camera before.

    With that said, the Camera is the most important feature of a modern smartphone for many users (if not most) and as such, it needs to be viewed extra critically. My main takeaways from this camera is that it is not without its issues, but it gives you an awful lot to work with. After a steady stream of updates, it has become even better than out of the box and is now a genuinely excellent camera. It is also a camera which reserves its maximum potential for those willing to put in even a minimum of effort to play with the photos and think about what they are doing when they are shooting with it. On the video recording side, I view it as an even more consistent performer, churning out videos with great colours and stabilization, as well as remarkable audio recording.

    STILL PHOTOGRAPHY:

    Daylight:
    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    Daylight Main Camera/Wide Angle/Telephoto comparison:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    Nightscape and Nightscape vs Low Light HDR:


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
    [​IMG] 4
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]



    Portrait and close ups:

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]


    Selfie:

    [​IMG]


    I hope the above will give you a taste of the camera. This is just a sample of photos taken - I don't want to make this post infinite, so I will eventually post a link to a compiled folder with photos (once I have tried out the new update). In the mean time, I will be posting more photos on the TechUnscripted Instagram account.

    My main takeaways from the camera are as follows.

    All three lenses (to varying degrees, as there are colour temperature differences between them) appear calibrated to prefer true to life colours rather than punchy, heavily saturated colours, as has traditionally been the habit of Samsung, Xiaomi and others. The main lens captures a lot of detail and in particular extracts a lot of detail from shadows. At the same time, the HDR is very good and the camera does not overexpose (which I absolutely hate). You will notice in one photo above that even shooting directly against the Sun did not cause it to overexpose, which I am happy with. Particularly when you shoot outside, the photos tend to reflect very, very closely. It's then a question of subjective preference whether you prefer Instagram ready, saturated photos, or more true to life images. The type of somewhat flatter image which the 7 Pro's camera puts out is very helpful for editing, which is why I said before that this is very much a camera which can be maximized by users who want to put the work in.

    This however, means that it is not the best camera for everyone. I am aware that a large proportion of users would ideally like to have the perfect point and shoot camera which puts out more saturated images. In terms of point and shoot props, this wouldn't beat the Pixel, unless perhaps you install GCAM, but I do not want to go into that as I am interested in the camera as it ships.

    It is also not without its problems on its own - for instance, it tends to on occasion produce soft images. More importantly for me, its tendency towards realistic colours on occasion leads it to dial down the colour temperature too much to the point that the photo can come out looking quite bleak when compared to reality - this effect is more pronounced indoors and at low light, but is also not frequent.

    The ancillary lenses do a very good job of supporting the main camera and allowing you flexibility to shoot different scenarios. I am particularly fond of the Ultra Wide Angle lens, which captures very dramatic landscape shots and allows you to take in more at short distance. One issue I have with it is that while in perfect conditions it matches the colour temperature of the main lens, as the conditions drop off it tends to put out photos with a cooler temperature than the main lens. Paradoxically, the opposite has also happened. In general, having matching colour temperature between the different lenses is an area of improvement, which I think/hope is supposed to be fixed in the update I am waiting for, so I will amend this review as necessary. In terms of comparison, I compared this wide angle lens to the one on the LG G6 - an older but goodie. While the quality of the 7 Pro is out of the G6's league in most ways, I found the wide angle shots of the G6 more dramatic, which may be due to differences in field of view.

    With regard to the telephoto lens, to my eyes it retains a lot of detail. It is a handy and well done telephoto implementation, albeit not one which stands out in anyway, particularly compared to the competition at the higher end of the spectrum. Overall, this is the summary for the ancillary lenses - very good, but not outstanding in their own right. Rather, it is the whole package which for me is actually quite outstanding, as it produces consistent, understated excellence. This might as well be the motto for the 7 Pro as a whole.

    When it comes to Night photography, I am overall impressed with Nightscape. In pitch darkness it does remarkably well to light up the scene, but the photo is soft. Nevertheless, it helps to get a usable photo in such situations, even if it does not match Google's NightSight (which, however, is way too bright sometimes). Where Nightscape really shines for me is when you take night time photos of well lit subjects, such as the first one above. For me that is an excellent night time photo, so I cannot fault the software here.

    I am especially impressed with the Portrait photography - the bokeh and edge detection for me are top of the range. In fact, I took a few portrait photos of friends (not posted here for privacy reasons) and the universal reaction was amazement with the quality of the photo and especially with the colours.

    I am not a big fan of Selfies so this is not a main focus for me - the selfie camera seems pretty good, but not amazing. I tried the Unbox Therapy method of counting beard hairs and the result was perhaps a B+. The camera is also very colour accurate, including retaining skin tones which are both pleasant and accurate, particularly in good lighting. In poor lighting, particularly indoors, some washing out appears. I will test this part of the camera further to see how it handles lower light conditions.

    One last point with regard to still photography is software. I like the OnePlus camera app as it strikes a good balance between being simple and still included a decent feature set. It is also quite intuitive and the pro mode is very polished, for those who are inclined to use it. One suggestion I would have is to think about adding something along the lines of the portrait lighting mode that some competitors use. Variety is always welcome, as long as the app does not get overloaded.


    Video:

    I am quite impressed with the video and audio recording capabilities of the 7 Pro. For context, it actually does better than the HTC U11, which basically exists to record video and audio. The colours and stabilization are both very good, particularly in good lighting. The camera remains good at medium light, but drops some of its sharpness as ambient light decreases. I am speaking especially about the 4k recording. Recording at 1080p is good but nothing outstanding. The 4k 30fps and especially the 60fps however are very crisp. The video editing option is actually an excellent feature as well, if you are into shooting video.Stand by for recording samples.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019

    #8
    BeingIncog and meatandy like this.
  6. KnightmareFrame
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Jun 8, 2019

    Stickied Post
    KnightmareFrame , Jun 8, 2019 :
    6. User Experience/Software

    Software is another one of OnePlus’ natural strengths and perhaps the one which is the fundamental cause of the company’s success. Certainly, it is the core feature which differentiates OnePlus from competitors. This part of the review will be relatively quick, as with the performance.

    The main features of Oxygen OS for me are speed, reliability, helpful but unobtrusive customizations and consistent/quick updates. All of these are still found here. The software feels slicker than ever and frankly way ahead of anything other than stock or iOS. At the same time, OnePlus offers more customization options than both Stock Android and iOS, so it is currently striking a certain balance that I personally find very appealing. In the past I had found that the customizations and options in Oxygen OS were just short of what I’d like (I was missing some of the variety you would find on EMUI, MIUI and Touchwizz/One UI) but with every iteration, OnePlus is adding more of functions I found useful on other OS’ such as Parallel Apps. The challenge for OnePlus now is to keep providing useful features without straying into bloat category like some of its competitors. For now, however, the software is still light and a joy to use. Everything feels very snappy, helped out no doubt by the 90Hz display. I think since I have had the phone I have had only one app crash, which I am quite impressed with.

    One of the main features of most modern OS’ is the way they handle gesture navigation, which is all the rage. In the beginning, OnePlus’ version felt a little less intuitive to me than what I find on iOS and MIUI, but as I got use to it, it has become very comfortable. That said, while the home and back gestures are fine for me (while I still prefer swiping on the side edges to go back as a solution), the recent apps gesture feels a bit awkward given the phone seize and the switch the previous app feels even more so. The gestures are good overall and basically most implementations are similar – I feel as if the slight issue I am having is more with the phone size than with the gestures themselves. With that said, on two occasions, the gestures stopped working while I was using an app so I couldn’t go back or go to the home screen. That was fixed by locking and unlocking the phone, but it was a bit strange. Perhaps there is some issue with my unit, or the gestures need some small tweaking. It hasn’t happened beyond those two times, so will see how this develops over time and if it returns.

    Oxygen OS as a whole has a number of software features I enjoy and which I missed when switching away from OnePlus devices. It may sound strange, but one of those was the shelf and the notepad directly on the shelf. Of course you can have note taking apps and widgets everywhere, but I never found those as useful as simply making notes which stay on the shelf. For me it’s a lifesaver because I am pretty forgetful and I am sure it is useful to others too.

    Another useful feature I enjoy is the App locker. This is accessed through Settings>Utilities>App locker. This feature allows you to lock down apps which you wish to keep more private – this is especially useful for your banking, social media and photos apps. What this does is to require a password of fingerprint scan whenever one of the chosen apps is opened, so even if your phone is unlocked, sensitive information is kept away from prying eyes. This is a very good feature to have, but its current implementation has one flaw which kind of kills it – it gets very annoying very fast. Essentially if you make a suitable comprehensive list of Apps which are locked down, you will be unlocking all the time. This is not so user friendly and falls quite short of an App I used to use and may reinstall, called Hexlock. It does basically what Oxygen OS’ App Locker does, but crucially allows you to set modes (such as Work and Home) and easily switch between them. You can tailor which apps are locked down in each mode, so you only have to suffer the inconvenience in environments where it is essential for you. I would really love to see OnePlus work that feature into their App Locker.

    I already touched upon Parallel Apps (Settings>Utilities>Parallel Apps) – this is very useful for when you have multiple accounts in a specific app. In my case, I have dual Instagram accounts – one personal and one for my YouTube Channel. I can see this being very useful for people who run small businesses and can have separate social media accounts for promotion etc.

    The latest iteration of Oxygen OS has a range of other useful feature such as Night Mode 2.0, Reading mode, Gaming mode and recently, Fnatic Mode, the usefulness of which will vary depending on your use case. For gamers Fnatic Mode is excellent, essentially turning the 7 Pro into a low key gaming phone. I suspect that gamers will also be the demographic which uses the new Screen Recorder feature the most, but this one has broader appeal I think. Of more wide use I think is the extended screenshot (not a new feature for Oxygen OS, but so useful it’s worth a mention).

    One of the more interesting new additions is Zen Mode. This is very welcome because it essentially allows current you to force future you to chill out and get off the phone. That is very useful for the phone addicted or systematically busy. I am not sure how many people will actually pull the trigger on that feature and how often, but it’s great to see it being baked into the software.

    Features aside, there are a couple of critiques to address. The first one is the Always On display issue. OnePlus is still holding out on us and I can understand why – for one thing, always on display + OLED = burn in = doom. Fair enough, but let’s be honest – Always On displays are both cool and useful. We should at least have the option. Second for me is notification management on the drop down menu. The OS seems to prioritize system notifications over messages, which for me is slightly annoying – I would like to be able to see messages first and then (often pointless/redundant) notifications second. I had the same issue with other Android phones so this isn’t a purely OnePlus issue but that doesn’t make it any less annoying for me.

    My last gripe which is somewhere between software and hardware, is with biometrics. The pop up camera makes Face Unlock unpractical for me and also a single camera Face Unlock is too insecure for my liking. This leaves us with the fingerprint scanner, which would be great if it wasn’t for the niggling issues I described above. Overall, I feel like biometrics is definitely an area for improvement in the phone. Really a small improvement to the in-display fingerprint scanner would do the trick. That may also be the only viable route, since Face-ID style biometrics is not very compatible with edge to edge displays.
     

    #9
    BeingIncog and meatandy like this.
  7. KnightmareFrame
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Jun 8, 2019

    Stickied Post
    KnightmareFrame , Jun 8, 2019 :
    7. Brief Comparisons with competition, who the phone is for and concluding thoughts

    Not having had the opportunity to put the 7 Pro in a full head to head with any of its direct competitors, my intention with this comparison is to put the device in context based on short term comparisons I’ve done and crucially, pricing.

    Comparing the 7 Pro for me takes account of two factors – its flagship killer label and its current price point. Starting at EUR 709, the 7 Pro is approaching the highest end of the smartphone price bracket. In particular, it is very close to the price of the Samsung Galaxy 10e, the Huawei P30 and Mate 20 series (at least here in Spain), while being well away from the top level of the Galaxy s10 series and the latest iPhones. At the same time, it is significantly more expensive than Xiaomi’s flagships, the Mi9 and the Mix 3. This places the 7 Pro in an uncomfortable position of being too expensive to be a fully budget phone while being within touching distance of flagships from bigger companies.

    What OnePlus has done with the 7 Pro, however, is to produce the industry’s cheapest complete flagship. This is actually my main conclusion based on my time with this phone – this is a flagship phone through and through – OnePlus have systematically shut down or minimized almost all areas of weakness, making for a remarkably well rounded rounded phone of the type Samsung is fond of making. This time around, there is no clear tradeoff between price and any one feature – usually this has been the case. Every main feature is flagship grade or thereabouts. In particular cases, the 7 Pro is leading the pack, especially when it comes to software, performance and the screen (where it shares the lead with Samsung).

    Like ever phone, there are issues and for my part the main three areas for improvement are: battery life, biometrics and the few issues noted with the camera. These are the areas where the phone lacks some polish and which, if fixed, would have probably made it the best phone of 2019, bar none. As it is, it may well be the best phone of 2019, certainly for the price and definitely for many users. What it offers is a very strong all round experience with features not available in the Xiaomi price bracket. With that said, over EUR 700 is a substantial investment, so the 7 Pro will not be for everybody. Based on its quality, the price is definitely justified, but whether the price difference between for example the Mi9 or discounted LG G/V series phones and the 7 Pro is worth it, will depend on how much emphasis you put on specific features, such as camera, screen, ecosystem and software. That will also determine whether you opt to pay the gap between the 7 Pro and for instance a Pixel 3, Huawei p30 Pro, Galaxy s10+ or iPhone 10s Max.
     

    #10
    nateavi, G_plusone and BeingIncog like this.
  8. KidAKidB
    Froyo May 21, 2019


    #2
  9. meatandy
    Oreo May 21, 2019

    meatandy , May 21, 2019 :
    I can hardly wait for you to power up your
    new toy.:D
    even watched the video to the very end.:p

    It seems like you're off to a pretty good start for your review.
     

    #3
  10. G_plusone
    Marshmallow May 22, 2019

    G_plusone , May 22, 2019 :
    Could have gone with Enigmatic Emil :p
     

    #4
    nateavi and buntycubal like this.
  11. G_plusone
    Marshmallow Jun 8, 2019

    G_plusone , Jun 8, 2019 :
    Got me confused .
    Nice complete review by the way
     

    #11
    KnightmareFrame likes this.
  12. KnightmareFrame
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Jun 8, 2019

    KnightmareFrame , Jun 8, 2019 :

    Thanks! And nice catch jaja, that was a mind bending typo....fixed now!
     

    #12
    G_plusone likes this.
  13. G_plusone
    Marshmallow Jun 8, 2019

    G_plusone , Jun 8, 2019 :
    No problem.
    Makes more sense now.
     

    #13
    KnightmareFrame likes this.