The OnePlus 7 Pro is, without a doubt, the company's best smartphone yet, but with a starting price of £649, it's also a far cry from the firm's wallet-friendly flagships of old.
Full-screen design, adorable pop-up camera, stripped-back UI, unmatched performance.
Rear camera falls short of competitors, the fingerprint scanner is temperamental, it's huge.
CHINESE PHONE MAKER OnePlus is no longer the upstart it once was and, with its latest release, it seems the firm is now ready to directly compete with the big boys.
While the firm has long championed affordable smartphones with cutting-edge features, the OnePlus 7 Pro takes a different approach; this is a fully-fledged flagship with a price-tag to match. The model we tested will set you back £699, that's £200 more than the OnePlus 6T.
Still, that's also £200 cheaper than Samsung's Galaxy S10 Plus and £300 less than the iPhone XS, and OnePlus is arguably trumping its rivals this time around when it comes to cutting-edge features.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is undoubtedly the company's most premium-looking smartphone to date.
Though it sports the same glass chassis as the more affordable OnePlus 6T before it, the front of the phone is now entirely dominated by its 6.67in a so-called fluid AMOLED screen, which elegantly wraps around the edges of the handset, à la Galaxy S10, and offers a completely bezel-free experience. That's thanks to OnePlus' decision to ditch the waterdrop notch in favour of a pop-up selfie camera; more on that later.
It's certainly a sight to behold and a far cry from OnePlus' bezel-flanked devices of old, but there's one big problem; this thing is huge. Admittedly, we have unusually small hands, but we struggled to operate the device with one hand, our digits fingers managing to reach beyond the mid-way point of the Galaxy Note 9-dwarfing screen. We weren't able to squeeze the device into our pocket, either.
Another downside is the 7 Pro's lack of any IP certification, a feature long-missing from OnePlus handsets. The firm tells us though that the device is still "waterproof for everyday use", so it should withstand a drop in the bog.
Unlike the Galaxy S10 and Google's Pixel 3a phones, OnePlus has stuck with shunning the 3.5mm headphone jack. But OnePlus has listened to feedback from its users and has equipped the 7 Pro with Dolby Atmos certified stereo speakers that pack one hell of a punch and blow the single-speaker on the OnePlus 6T out of the water.
Long-term OnePlus users will also be pleased that the bottom-mounted speaker has been mode to the right-hand side, to prevent sound being muffled when you're clasping the device.
In terms of colour options, the OnePlus 7 Pro will come in Mirror Gray - the most fingerprint-prone model we've been using - Nebula Blue and Almond, the latter boasting an unusual off-white colour scheme.
As we've already touched on - or not, in the case of our Trump-esque hands - the screen on the OnePlus is huge; at 6.67in it's 0.27in bigger than the screen found on the Galaxy Note 9, a range that's famed for its monstrous displays.
Thankfully, it turns out bigger is better. The fluid AMOLED screen, which OnePlus touts as a "first of its kind", boasts a 1440x3120 QHD resolution support for both HDR10 and HDR10+; a huge upgrade compared to the 1080x2340 display on the OnePlus 6T.
It's just as impressive as it sounds on paper; colours are eye-poppingly vibrant, text is pin-sharp and it put our iPhone X to shame when it comes to legibility in bright sunlight.
That's not all the screen has going for it, as it also boasts a 90Hz refresh rate. While this isn't quite as high as the Razer Phone 2's 120Hz screen, it's a step up from the 60Hz rate found on the majority of smartphones and was immediately noticeable if playing one of the (few) games that support it; a spin on Groove 2 was impressively silky and accurate. But the upgrade was perhaps more noticeable when mindlessly scrolling through Twitter and Instagram.
It's worth noting that widespread support for nippy refresh rates hasn't happened yet, so you won't always get the advantage of the 90Hz screen.
And - rejoice, OnePlus fans - haptics have also been improved on the 7 Pro; the lacklustre vibration motor was a common bugbear amongst users of the 6T. Now, the screen embedded fingerprint sensor, which is 30 per cent bigger than the 6T's, will give a satisfying buzz once your digit has been successfully recognised (though, unfortunately, this can still take multiple attempts despite the increased surface area) and typing out messages gives off a decent amount of reverb.
As OnePlus' first big release of the year, there's a major under the hood upgrade; the 7 Pro packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 SoC. In our review model that flagship chip comes backed up by a meaty 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage; 6GB/128GB and 12GB/256GB models will also be available at launch.
Just as you'd expect from a phone with such innards, and as early benchmarks have suggested, the OnePlus 7 Pro is no slouch - we've noticed no signs of stuttering or lag after five days with the device; Android animations are smooth, apps load instantly and multitasking is judder-free. Not even Chrome could slow this thing down.
Unsurprisingly, the OnePlus 7 Pro benchmarks well too. In GeekBench 4, the "ultra-premium" device earned its title with a single-core score of 3,527 and a multi-core score of 11,292; in comparison, the Exynos-powered Galaxy S10 earned a multi-core score of 10,478, while the OnePlus 6T earned 8,945.
Elsewhere, the OnePlus 7 Pro makes use of UFS 3.0 flash storage, making it one of the first smartphones in the world to be based on the new storage standard that promised rapid read and write speeds; Samsung's Galaxy Fold also adopts the new standard, but this is unlikely to be released any time soon.
We've long applauded OnePlus' OxygenOS for taking a light-touch to Android, adding in neat elements like slick gesture controls while delivering an uncluttered UI and keeping bloatware at bay (unless you really hate File Manager).
This thankfully remains the case with the 7 Pro. The fluid navigation experience it delivers has us thinking is even better than Google's own Pixel-orientated take on Android.
With the OnePlus 7 Pro, the firm is introducing a handful of new OxygenOS features, the most notable of which is screen recording; a feature that does what it says on the tin. Another new feature called Zen Mode that takes Google's Digital Wellbeing feature a step further, allowing you to lock your phone for 20 minutes so you can focus or have some screen-free time.
Gaming Mode has also been upgraded with the option to place further restrictions on notifications and a new 'Fnatic' mode for a souped-up gaming experience.
Thankfully, seeing as the in-screen fingerprint scanner still seems somewhat temperamental, OnePlus has also updated is face-scanning Screen Unlock; though it now relies on the pop-up front-facing camera, the feature is faster than it was on the OnePlus 6T with an unlock time of just 0.21 seconds.
Let's start with Screen Unlock-enabling front-facing camera because, frankly, it's awesome. Inside the motorised pop-up module, sits a 16MP sensor which takes decent-enough selfies thanks to built-in Portrait Mode.
Before you rush to the comments section about durability, OnePlus told us the camera module can withstand being popped up 300,000 times, the equivalent of being opened 150 times a day for five years; go wild, selfie fans.
The best thing about this camera, though, is the noise it makes as it rises from the phone's chassis; a satisfying whirr that any robot would be envious of. Following closely in second is a nifty feature that sees the camera automatically retract if the phone detects it's falling; this has saved our bacon on more than one occasion.
On the back of the OnePlus 7 Pro you'll find a triple-camera setup, as has become the norm on most Android flagships. The vertically-aligned array comprises a 48MP Sony IMX8586 sensor with OIS, an 8MP telephoto lens and a 16MP ultra-wide lens that offers an "ultra-wide" 117-degree field-of-view.
While an improvement compared to the dual-lens module seen on the OnePlus 6T, the camera continues to be trounced by the flagship competition.
The wide-angle lens makes for some neat, albeit often washed-out and over-processed shots and the main camera produces some detailed, natural-looking images in well-lit conditions. But the triple-lens array pales in comparison to the single-lens camera on the Pixel 3a and 3a XL - especially when it comes to nighttime shooting; OnePlus' NightScape mode struggles to match-up to Night Sight mode found on Google's flagships or indeed the budget Pixel 3a.
Just as the 6T did with the OnePlus 6, the OnePlus 7 Pro ups the ante in the battery stakes, packing a hefty 4,000mAh cell. We found it offered roughly the same amount of juice as the 3,700mAh battery inside the OnePlus 6T, though; we've been left with around 20 to 30 per cent of juice left at the end of the day. We'll update this section after we've used the device for a little bit longer.
Warp Charge 30 makes an appearance on the 7 Pro too, following its debut on the OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition. This means, as long as you use the bundled charger, you'll be able to charge from zero to 50 per cent in just 50 minutes.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is, without a doubt, the company's best smartphone yet, but with a starting price of £649, it's also a far cry from the firm's wallet-friendly flagship-challengers of old.
We think it's worth it, though. Sure, we had our niggles - it's embarrassingly huge for us small-handed folk, and the camera still fails to match-up to the competition. But the OnePlus 7 Pro is nowhere near as pricey as the latest flagships from Apple, Samsung et al, despite packing an innovative all-screen design that's unlikely to make its way to such flagships for perhaps a generation or so.
The device also comes up trumps in the performance and software stakes, offering a seamless, stripped-back user experience that's rivalled only by Google's own take on Android. And it's got the adorable pop-up selfie camera; need we say more.
Full-screen design, adorable pop-up camera, stripped-back UI, unmatched performance.
Rear camera falls short of competitors, fingerprint scanner is temperamental.