OnePlus has always been the disruptor in the smartphone industry, right from its debut device, the OnePlus One. The company’s MO has been to launch smartphones with top-of-the-line hardware and software, at an extremely affordable price. The past devices had competed directly with the S series by Samsung and Apple’s iPhone. This year, OnePlus followed a slightly different launch schedule, with the more expensive OnePlus 7 Pro arriving earlier, followed by the budget OnePlus 7 (priced beginning at Rs. 32,999) this week. Let’s look at the OnePlus 7 in detail, and how it compares with the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S10E (Read the review here) and iPhone XR.
Those who were expecting OnePlus to follow the same design scheme as the 7 Pro on OnePlus 7 would be disappointed as the device looks a lot like last year’s OnePlus 6T (Read the review here). In fact, the OnePlus 7 looks exactly like the 6T from the front, though feels a little bit more premium.
The design may seem outdated for some, but I found the 6T very good looking, and having the OnePlus take design cues from its older sibling not too bad. On the front OnePlus 7 carries forward the same 6.41inch screen with the waterdrop notch for the front camera.
The device has the volume rockers and the mute slider on the left side, with the power button on the right side.
On the bottom, you get the speaker grill and a USB-C charging port, but no headphone jack (Read why it should stay), and you don’t even get a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box (why OnePlus?!). You also get a second speaker above the front camera, giving the device a stereo audio system. The OnePlus 7 comes in two colors: Mirror Grey and Red, which, though flashy, is extremely eye catching. The back is made of glossy glass, and thus tends to get slippery and is a great fingerprint magnet.
OnePlus 7 gets the same 6.41inch Amoled panel that we saw in the 6T, with an FHD+ 2340×1080 resolution. The panel is extremely vibrant and the colors look as vivid and life-like as ever. The display gets bright enough so that you can use the smartphone even in direct sunlight.
You also get the same optical in-display fingerprint sensor that we saw on the OnePlus 6T on the 7, which works just as smoothly as it did then. OnePlus has used Corning Gorilla Glass on both the front and back of the device.
Performance and Software
OnePlus phones have always been among the best phones out there in terms of performance and software optimization, right at par with flagships like iPhones and Galaxy S series. We have the same high expectations about performance with the OnePlus 7, and it delivers on them. Having the latest Snapdragon 855 from Qualcomm, there were practically no lags, crashes, or anything like that, just as expected.
Gaming was a breeze on the device, with high performance games like Asphalt 9, PUBG, Fortnite, and Nova Legacy running without any glitches or lags. Though, it does get a little warm when playing on higher graphic settings.
Performance is not the only place where the OnePlus 7 really shines, there is also extremely great software on the smartphone. I find the OxygenOS to be one of the best custom ROMs implemented by any smartphone brand, it has some great and convenient features to suit every need. OnePlus 7 ships with OxygenOS 9.5 on top of Android 9 Pie.
The device features convenient modes like Gaming mode, which makes for an excellent gaming experience, as well as the Fnatic mode from OnePlus 7 Pro too. It also gets Android’s Digital Wellbeing feature, which lets you keep a track of your smartphone usage stats. Going a step further, OnePlus also adds a Zen mode, which switches of all functions of the smartphone except making\receiving emergency calls, and take photos, and it can’t be disabled for 20 minutes once enabled. The in-display fingerprint scanner is also a bit faster and more accurate than the one on the OnePlus 6T.
The OnePlus 7 carries over the same 3700mAh battery from the 6T, with the same 20W fast charger in the box, though sans the ‘Dash Charge’ branding.
The device is available in two configurations: 6GB RAM + 128GB storage at Rs. 32,999 and 8GB RAM + 256GB storage at Rs. 37,999, with the Red color only available in the costlier configuration.
The OnePlus 7 features a dual camera setup instead of the triple cameras that we saw in the OnePlus 7 Pro. It has a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor as its primary shooter, with an f/1.7 aperture, Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF). As the second shooter, it uses a 5-megapixel depth sensor with an f2.4 aperture and 1.12-micron pixels.
The device captures decent looking photos while in daylight, with details on distant intact and text legible. It lacks the laser autofocus that we saw on the OnePlus 7 Pro, but it still managed to focus on the objects quickly.
You also get a 16-megapixel sensor with an f/2.0 aperture as the front selfie camera. The shooter managed to click good looking selfies. The camera also has convenient modes like Portrait which allows you to blur the background behind the object for a Bokeh look, and Pro which allows you to change settings like Focus, ISO, White Balance, and Shutter Speed.
Video recording maxes out at 4K 60fps, and the device can only shoot 5-minute videos at this resolution, with 10 minutes at 4K 30fps. There is good stabilization when shooting videos at 1080p, though there is a little shimmer effect.
In contrast to the OnePlus 7 Pro, the OnePlus 7 was meant to help the company retain its position in the budget flagship smartphone category. The OnePlus has all the essentials taken care of, with all day battery, great processor and performance, and good software-hardware combination, though misses out on the camera with a camera quality which is below satisfactory, at best.
At the asking price of Rs. 32,999, though, there are few smartphones that will rival the value for money that the OnePlus 7 offers.
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