Following countless leaks and more than a few promotional advertisements, OnePlus has announced its latest smartphone — actually, it announced two. The first is the familiar-looking OnePlus 7, which will be available later this year in select markets. But the central focus is the all-new OnePlus 7 Pro, which is available this week everywhere OnePlus phones are sold, including on T-Mobile in the US.
Both new models bring the latest processor from Qualcomm, multiple camera arrays, large screens, large batteries, stereo speakers, and OnePlus’ proprietary fast-charging systems. But while the OnePlus 7 retains the exact same design as last year’s OnePlus 6T, complete with a 1080p display and “teardrop”-style notch cutout, the 7 Pro debuts a number of firsts for the company. It’s the first truly full-screen OnePlus phone without a notch or other screen cutout for a front camera, it’s the first OnePlus phone with a screen resolution higher than 1080p, and it’s the first OnePlus phone with three cameras on the back (in a wide, standard, and telephoto configuration).
It’s also the first OnePlus phone to command a truly premium price: at $669 to start and $749 fully equipped, the OnePlus 7 Pro is a full $110 more than the 6T cost when it was released just six months ago. That price bracket means OnePlus is now more directly attacking Apple and Samsung head-on. So OnePlus has pulled out all the stops with its new phone.
As with the 6T, T-Mobile is the exclusive carrier for the 7 Pro in the US, and it will be selling the midtier model for $699. OnePlus will also sell all three spec levels of the Pro unlocked (compatible with AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon) through its website. But the standard OnePlus 7 will not come to the US market at all. Consequently, OnePlus will still sell the 6T in the US as a lower-cost alternative, marking the first time the company has kept an older model in production after releasing a new phone.
The main attraction with the OnePlus 7 Pro is its display. At 6.5 to 6.7-inches, depending on if you account for the curved corners or not, it’s a massive OLED display with just the trimmest of bezels surrounding it. The screen also has curved sides, which give the phone a very Samsung-like profile. The 7 Pro has no notch or hole-punch cutout interrupting from the screen because it is hiding the front-facing camera in a motorized module that pops up out of the top of the phone. The company claims that the motor can withstand over 300,000 openings and closings, which equates to roughly 150 times per day for over five and a half years.
In addition to the expansive size and lack of bezels, the OnePlus 7 Pro’s screen refreshes at a rate of 90 times per second, a full 50 percent faster than most other smartphones. That provides a smoother experience when scrolling and better touch latency. The 7 Pro is not the first smartphone to offer a display like this, but it is the first one with it that you’d want to buy. Crucially, you can’t get this screen in an iPhone, Galaxy S, or Pixel. Additionally, the display supports HDR10 and HDR10+ but not Dolby Vision.
Finally, underneath the screen is an optical fingerprint scanner that OnePlus claims is twice as large as the scanner that was in the 6T.
OnePlus is selling the 7 Pro in three configurations: a 6GB RAM / 128GB storage model for $669, an 8GB / 256GB version for $699, and a top-of-the-line 12GB / 256GB model for $749. It will initially be available in either a glossy black finish or a matte blue color, while a gold-toned model will be available at a later date. All three spec tiers utilize DDR4X memory, UFS 3.0 storage, and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor. Cooling all of these high-end components is a new liquid cooling system, while an upgraded vibration motor provides improved haptics.
Other upgrades include a new stereo speaker system, a first for OnePlus phones, and a large 4,000mAh battery. The 7 Pro has the same Warp Charge charging system as the special McLaren Edition of the OnePlus 6T, and the company says it can reach “almost half” of its capacity in just 20 minutes of charging. Like prior models, however, the 7 Pro is not compatible with the USB-C Power Delivery standard, nor does it offer any wireless charging.
For its new camera system, the OnePlus 7 Pro has three different cameras on the back, with a 48-megapixel main sensor, a 16-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera. By default, the main camera captures 12-megapixel images utilizing the data from four pixels to create one large pixel. This is similar to how other phones with this camera sensor have used it in the past. The 3X telephoto camera provides a little more reach than the typical 2X telephoto on an iPhone or Galaxy, and it is used in conjunction with the main camera for portrait-style shots. OnePlus says the new system uses three different focusing systems (phase-detect AF, contrast AF, and laser focusing) to improve focusing performance in both good and poor lighting situations.
On the video front, the OnePlus 7 Pro can record 4K footage at up to 60 frames per second, as well as slow-motion 1080p footage at up to 240 frames per second, keeping it in line with the Galaxy S10 and iPhone XS.
OnePlus really didn’t leave much on the table with the 7 Pro. The two things that are missing are things that have never been available on OnePlus phones before: IP-rated water resistance and wireless charging. OnePlus has arguments for not including either: IP ratings are expensive and drive the price of phones up, and wireless charging is not nearly as fast as its wired charging option. But the reality of the matter is every phone that OnePlus is competing with has both IP-rated water resistance and wireless charging.
It also can’t be ignored that OnePlus is significantly moving upward in price with the 7 Pro. Just five years ago, the OnePlus One debuted at $299, putting the $700 price tag of the current model in stark relief. Of course, the OnePlus 7 Pro is a significantly better phone than the OnePlus One. And even with its higher price tag, it is still hundreds of dollars less than similarly equipped phones from Samsung and Apple.
But this time, more than ever before, the burden of success will be on the OnePlus 7 Pro itself, not the price that it’s being sold for.
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