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If you’ve shopped for an Android phone within the past six years, chances are you’ve come across OnePlus. The Shenzhen, China-based phone maker — the brainchild of former Oppo Electronics CEO Pete Lau and Carl Pei — rose to prominence because of its commitment to premium components at prices that undercut the competition. OnePlus’ execution hasn’t always been flawless — limited stock and an unintuitive ordering experience soured early launches — but it never compromised on the asking price, even as the cost of flagships from rivals Samsung, Huawei, LG, Sony, and others crept slowly upward.
Since the debut of the OnePlus 2, OnePlus has stuck to a twice-a-year release cycle. In the spring, it announces a phone with substantial hardware and software upgrades over the previous generation, and in the fall it releases a refreshed variant of this phone with subtler improvements. This spring is no different, save one thing: OnePlus revealed two flagship devices instead of one.
The OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro were made official today at an event in New York City, but only the 7 Pro will be available stateside. Its headlining features include a display with a 90Hz refresh rate, upgraded fast charging, and a telephoto lens — and they don’t come cheap. At $669, the 7 Pro’s sticker price is far higher than that of previous OnePlus devices.
The OnePlus 7 Pro’s edge-to-edge waterproof design is very “of the moment,” and that’s not a knock against it. In fact, the execution here is polished to the point of perfection.
The protective screen Gorilla Glass 5 curves around the lip of the aluminum frame, concealing the seam where the two meet. Much like the displays on Samsung’s Galaxy S10 series and Huawei’s P30 Pro, the OnePlus 7 Pro’s is rounded at each corner along the contours of the frame and slightly tapered at either edge, slightly curving toward the rear cover.
Unlike screens on most high-end handsets on the market, the 7 Pro’s doesn’t house a front-facing camera notch or pinhole cutout. Instead, taking a cue from the Vivo Nex S and Oppo’s Find X, a retractable plastic strip extends from the top of the OnePlus 7 Pro whenever an app calls Android’s camera API. This clever mechanism — which OnePlus says has been tested over 300,000 times and retracts in a “fraction of a second” when the phone’s gyroscope and accelerometer detect a fall — enabled OnePlus to shrink the 7 Pro’s top and bottom bezels further than ever before. They measure millimeters in length — far narrower than those of Google’s Pixel 3, LG’s G8, and the earlier P30 Pro — which forced OnePlus to stick to a bottom-firing speaker design as opposed to a front-firing one. You’ll find the speaker next to the USB-C port.
Unfortunately for wired headphone diehards, OnePlus didn’t see fit to include a 3.5mm jack in the 7 Pro. It did, however, make room for its signature alert switch on the right side of the OnePlus 7 Pro adjacent to the volume rocker, opposite the sleep/wake key on the left. As on the OnePlus 6T, the switch toggles between Ring Mode, which enables all alarms and notification pings; Silent Mode, which mutes all sounds; and the self-explanatory Vibrate Mode.
Flip the OnePlus 7 Pro around, and you’ll see a triple-sensor camera module — a first for OnePlus — protruding from the rear above an embossed OnePlus logo and accompanied by a dual LED flash. It comprises an 8-megapixel telephoto sensor, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, and a 48-megapixel primary camera, all of which we’ll dig into in a bit.
Display and audio
OnePlus says that the OnePlus 7 Pro’s Fluid AMOLED display, which measures 6.67 inches diagonally, is the best it’s ever sourced, and there’s some merit to its claim. In a test prior to today’s launch, DisplayMate, a firm that develops and uses calibration and optimization software to test consumer electronics displays, awarded the OnePlus 7 Pro’s the highest A+ grade. That’s on par with the Samsung Galaxy S10, which recently received Display Mate’s all-time top rating.
Suffice it to say that said display renders frames crisply thanks to its 4.49 million pixels (Quad HD+, 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 3,200 vertical pixels x 1,800 horizontal pixels, 516 pixels per inch), a total that’s more than double the number of pixels in the OnePlus 6T’s screen (2280 x 1080). Perhaps more importantly, it features a 90Hz refresh rate (up from 60Hz), which means that the display refreshes 90 times a second. That might fall short of the Razer Phone’s 120Hz, but in practice, it should make app interactions smoother, supported games quicker to respond to touch, and scrolling and navigation as smooth as butter.
Worth noting is the OnePlus 7 Pro’s support for high dynamic range (HDR) videos, TV shows, and movies, which boast improved brightness, wider color gamuts, and better contrast than their non-HDR counterparts. The flavor here is HRD10 and HDR10+, both of which cover 100% of DCI-P3 and Rec 2020 color spaces — the standard for digital cinema projectors and most 4K Ultra HD televisions and computer monitors — for a total of 1.07 billion colors (1,024 shades of each primary color). HDR10+ confers the added advantage of dynamic metadata that allows for finer-grained control over HDR content’s appearance.
There’s also Night Mode 2.0, which filters out blue rays and lowers the brightness to 2.7 nits.
Embedded beneath the 7 Pro’s screen is an optical three-element fingerprint sensor, and it works the same as the OnePlus 6T’s: A digit on the highlighted portion of the screen unlocks the phone. (OnePlus says that its scan time of 0.21 seconds makes it the fastest fingerprint sensor in the world.) And on the audio front, the OnePlus 7 Pro sports a Dolby-optimized dual-speaker stereo speaker system equipped with an amplifier.
The OnePlus 7 Pro’s 48-megapixel sensor (Sony’s IMX586 at f/1.6 aperture and 1.6 μm pixel size) is optically and electronically stabilized, as is the 8-megapixel 78mm telephoto lens (at f/2.4 aperture and 1.0 μm pixel size), and the 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens (at f/2.2 aperture) has a 117-degree field of view. All three benefit from a shutter lag under 0.3 seconds; a new autofocus system that intelligently leverages phase detection autofocus, continuous autofocus, and laser focusing methods to smooth out shaky shots; and a 7-element plastic lens.
Subject isolation and progressive blurring have been improved in the OnePlus 7 Pro, according to OnePlus, as has clarity and dynamic range. And to reduce noise, the 7 Pro’s software downsamples or pixel-bins the primary camera’s 48-megapixel photos to 12-megapixel images. (More on that in a bit.)
The OnePlus 7 Pro’s camera app augments the optical zoom with up to 10 times hybrid digital zoom and offers an automatic high dynamic range mode with improved tonal fidelity and more realistic color temperature, plus a burst mode that snaps up to 20 pictures, AI scene detection, and new lens filters optimized for specific shooting scenarios. The AI-assisted Nightscape mode added to the OnePlus 6T post-launch is present and accounted for, too — it leverages a multi-exposure composite technique to improve the quality of low-light shots — as are panorama, slow motion, time lapse, face retouching, video recording (up to 4K at 60 frames per second or slow motion at 1080p and 120 frames per second), pro modes, and Google Lens integration.
There’s also UltraShot, an imaging algorithm that packs two powerful features: HDR+ and Super Resolution. As OnePlus explains, HDR+ controls the exposure value of each pixel and collects up to four times more data, giving each frame a “multi-frame synthesis” treatment. Super Resolution, on the other hand, extracts data from multiple photos and combines the best elements of them to “enrich” and “layer” the final photo with detail.
As for the retractable front-facing 1.0 μm, f/2.0 aperture camera (Sony’s IMX471), it’s more or less the same as the OnePlus 6T’s selfie sensor on the features front. It’s electronically stabilized and able to snap “portrait” shots with adjustable bokeh (the effect that blurs out backgrounds while keeping the foreground in focus), and it takes full advantage of the rear camera’s HDR tech to deliver improved contrast and brightness.
The OnePlus 7 Pro packs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855, the same system-on-chip inside Galaxy S10 series phones, the Galaxy Fold, Sony’s Xperia 1, and LG’s G7 ThinQ and V50 ThinQ. It’s a 7-nanometer eight-core chip that can hit downlink speeds upwards of 1.2Gbps and uplink speeds of 150Mbps (LTE Cat. 18, Cat. 13) courtesy the embedded X24 LTE modem and 4×4 MIMO antenna, and it supports Wi-Fi 6 (aka 802.11ax) along with 802.11ac Wave 2 for superior performance on pre-802.11ax networks.
As for the processor, it’s up to 45% faster and 20% more power efficient thanks to a 64-bit ARM Cortex design based on Qualcomm’s in-house Kryo 485 architecture. Four cores handle the heavy lifting — one prime core clocked at 2.84GHz and three performance cores at 2.42GHz — while four efficiency cores running at 1.8GHz handle less performance-intensive tasks. AI capabilities are diffused among multiple components (including a new tensor accelerator called Hexagon 690) for a total theoretical capacity of 7 trillion operations per second, leading to what Qualcomm claims is an AI performance improvement of three times compared to its previous flagship chipset, the Snapdragon 845.
Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 855’s graphics chip — the Adreno 640 — is 20% faster and 30% more efficient than the Snapdragon 845’s Adreno 630, and it supports APIs like Vulkan 1.1, along with custom algorithms designed to reduce dropped frames by over 90%. Additionally, it enables developers to use physically based rendering (PBR) to replicate the way light reflects off of real-world materials. And last but not least, the chip features a redesigned camera pipeline that moves computer vision features directly into the ISP. Dual 14-bit CV-ISPs are packed into the Spectra 380, each with hardware-based depth sensing that allows for video capture, object classification, and object segmentation in real time.
The Snapdragon 855 in the OnePlus 7 Pro is paired with 6GB, 8GB, or 12GB of RAM (depending on the model) and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. Folks dead-set on 12GB RAM will have to make peace with one color (blue) and one storage configuration (256GB).
So what about the battery supplying juice to all that silicon? Well, it’s a 4,000mAh pack that’s compatible with OnePlus’ 30W (5V/6A) Warp Charge rapid recharging tech, which made its debut on the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition. It delivers a quoted 50% in just 20 minutes and a full charge in under an hour, which is about 38% quicker than OnePlus’ old Dash Charge standard (60% charge in 35 minutes).
Yet another spotlight feature of the OnePlus 7 Pro is an X-axis motor vibration motor that provides multiple levels of haptic feedback with little to no delay, and an upgraded 10-layer liquid cooling system that OnePlus says allows Warp Charge to engage even when under heavy load. Unfortunately, what you won’t find here is wireless charging, which puts the OnePlus 7 Pro at odds with flagships like the Pixel 3 and Galaxy S10 series. Time will tell if Warp Charge is a worthy stand-in.
Other accouterments include UFS 3.0 storage, support for 802.11ac 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 (with aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, and AAC codecs), and NFC.
As with previous OnePlus devices, the OnePlus 7 Pro ships running OxygenOS, a lightly customized version of Android. The latest version — OxygenOS 9.0.0, based on Android Pie — packs a number of unique features you won’t find in bone-stock Android, such as a theme engine with an accent color selector, a notification shade network speed indicator, and an App Locker tool that secures apps behind a PIN or fingerprint. There’s also a Parallel Apps mode that lets you run a cloned version of apps with different accounts and credentials (not unlike the App Twin feature in Huawei’s Emotion UI), and RAM Boost, a memory optimization suite that prioritizes system resources for frequently used apps and enables more apps to remain open in the background without slowing down performance.
Another spotlight feature is Gaming Mode, which blocks incoming notifications and calls, limits non-game apps from using network resources, locks screen brightness, and prolongs battery by lowering games’ resolutions and framerates. (Reading Mode and Earphone Mode similarly cut down on distractions in different activities.) On the navigation side of things, quick-launch actions let you jump among apps or switch on the flashlight by drawing shapes on the lock screen, and Hidden Space removes apps from the app drawer. Lastly, there’s the Shelf, a vertically scrolling list of widgets to the left of the home screen that shows the 10 most recently launched apps and recent contacts; a screen recorder that captures on-device video and audio in addition to external sound; and Zen Mode, which locks down the OnePlus 7 Pro for 20 minutes to promote digital wellbeing.
OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 6T price cut
So what about the OnePlus 7, the new OnePlus phone that won’t hit U.S. stores? It makes do without a retractable selfie cam (it’s got a notch instead), and it omits the 7 Pro’s curved screen edges in favor of a thicker border between the display’s left and right side and the frame. The ultra-wide angle sensor is missing in action, but as something of a consolation, the OnePlus 7 features a slightly larger battery — 4,150mAh — that’s compatible with Warp Charge.
The OnePlus 7’s price has yet to be announced, but it’s expected to be a good deal cheaper than the OnePlus 7 Pro. In the U.S., the OnePlus 6T will stand in for it — OnePlus says that it’ll reduce the price by $30 starting May 17 to $549 and $599 for the 8GB variants with 128GB and 256GB of storage, respectively.
Bullets Wireless 2
New phones weren’t the only thing OnePlus announced today. It also took the wraps off of Bullets Wireless 2, a pair of wireless Bluetooth 5.0 earbuds that deliver up to 14 hours of playback — nearly double the original Bullets Wireless‘ 8 hours. The curved iron-and-plastic buds sport a triple-armature driver structure consisting of two Knowles drivers and a GoerTek dynamic driver, and they deliver up to 10 hours of playback after just 10 minutes of charge, courtesy Warp Charge.
The Bullets Wireless 2 have Quick Pair, which simplifies the pairing process on OnePlus devices, and they feature something OnePlus is calling Magnetic Control, which lets users pause and play back songs in one click, and quick toggle, which switches between two paired devices with a double press of the earbuds’ physical shortcut key. Also built in is support for Qualcomm’s aptX HD low-latency audio codec, which OnePlus claims can deliver high-quality audio “comparable” to wired headphones even in large crowds.
The OnePlus 7 Pro launches on May 17, but it’ll be available at the T-Mobile store in Times Square immediately after the launch event at 2 p.m. It comes in three colors — Mirror Gray, Almond, and Nebula Blue — and starts at $669.
Here’s how the pricing breaks down:
- 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage (gray): $669
- 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage (gray): $699
- 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage (blue): $699
- 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage (blue) $749
A 5G-compatible model — the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G — is forthcoming in select regions. It’ll be available starting May 21.
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