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OnePlus 7 hands-on: a wolf in sheep's clothing
OnePlus 7 Hardware Smartphone Review 6 min read No comments

OnePlus 7 hands-on: a wolf in sheep's clothing

The star of the evening at OnePlus is certainly the new Pro model, but even the supposedly less exciting OnePlus 7 is no slouch of a smartphone. You can find out what makes this device a wolf in sheep's clothing in our first hands-on review below.

OnePlus 7 release date and price

Even though OnePlus presented the complete series consisting of the OnePlus 7, 7 Pro, and the 7 Pro 5G version together on May 14, the smartphones will be available for purchase at different times. The Pro model will hit the shelves first on May 17 at T-Mobile, followed by the OnePlus 7 at an unspecified later date. The OnePlus 7 will not be available in the US, though the Pro version will hit the US (starting at a price of $669). The OnePlus 7 will start at £499 in the UK.

Proven design

The design of the OnePlus 7 looks familiar, and it's no wonder why, as it was almost completely carried over from the OnePlus 6T. If you have the opportunity to hold a OnePlus 7 right next to a 6T, you will notice some small changes in the newer model. The OnePlus 7 now has a much wider opening for the call speaker above the water drop notch. This was enlarged because it now also functions as a second loudspeaker, making stereo sound now possible where it wasn't before on its predecessor.

androidpit oneplus 7 vs oneplus 6t speaker
The opening of the top speaker of the OnePlus 7 (rear) has been made larger for the sake of stereo sound. / © AndroidPIT

The next design adjustment was made on the back. The camera bump is higher and at the same time it now includes not only the two camera lenses, but also the newly designed circular dual LED flash. Otherwise, the OnePlus 7 does not differ any further in its style compared to its predecessor, and could theoretically come from the same production line as the OnePlus 6T before.

More than good enough display

The similarity of parts in the housing and overall design is also continued with the display. It doesn't have the curved edges of the 7 Pro, and instead has thick borders around the frame on the right and left sides.  Instead of incorporating a fluid AMOLED panel as with the 7 Pro, the OnePlus 7 features the tried and true optic AMOLED display.  As this display has a maximum resolution of Full HD+ (2,280 x 1,440 pixels) and works with a refresh rate of 60 Hz like almost every other smartphone, there should be no discernible differences to the 6T.

OxygenOS is of course also on board

There is nothing to shake your head about when it comes to the software of the OnePlus 7. As in previous years, it is also equipped with OxygenOS. In this case, of course, based on the still current version of Android, 9.0 Pie. This again gives us hope for quick updates and a satisfying user experience.

Equipped for maximum performance

But, under the hood, OnePlus has changed a lot, or to put it another way: The OnePlus 7 is going to be a performance beast. Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 is paired with either 6 GB RAM/128 GB storage or 8 GB RAM/256 GB storage. In addition to the more energy-efficient chip, OnePlus has also planted the other internals of the 7 Pro in the cheaper non-Pro model, including the fast UFS 3.0 memory.

Now you can enjoy stereo sound

Sometimes a small change can make a big difference in experience. Turning the call speaker into a second loudspeaker, which can also be used for stereo music, games and videos, is one such small change with a great effect. The OnePlus 7 sounds better than the OnePlus 6T in a very noticeable way.

For the camera, it's the software that counts

The problem area with OnePlus smartphones has always been the camera. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't outstanding either. In order to be able to maintain the reputation of a flagship killer going up against Samsung's Galaxy S10 series, Huawei's P30 duo, and Apple's iPhone XS, this area has to be worked on.

For the new OnePlus 7, the manufacturer uses the Sony IMX586 image sensor with 48-megapixel resolution and a Quad Bayer array. The sensor is Sony's current blockbuster, because manufacturers like Honor, Xiaomi and others install the IMX586 sensor in their latest smartphones. OnePlus combines the main sensor with a second 5 MP image sensor to capture depth information. But, you won't find a telephoto lens or even a wide-angle lens with the OnePlus 7. And, the selfie camera won't be retractable like it is on the 7 Pro. Instead, it will have a notch.

androidpit oneplus 7 vs oneplus 6t cameras
Like the OnePlus 6T, the OnePlus 7 also offers a dual camera. / © AndroidPIT

The hardware in the camera is one thing, but the software is probably the much more important component in the final results of modern smartphone camera shots. As in the past, OnePlus has done a good job. With Ultrashot, a combination of HDR+ and Super Resolution, you should finally be able to take photos that are worth comparing to the competition.

We'll have to take a closer look at it after we receive our final review unit to find out whether this is all hot air from the marketing department of OnePlus. We had a device for hands-on use, but the software was not final at the time.

Large battery capacity as expected

Inside the OnePlus 7, the 3,700 mAh  battery will provide sufficient battery life. This is the same capacity as the OnePlus 6T. Somewhat incomprehensible is the fact that OnePlus has decided to integrate the same fast-charging technology into the OnePlus 7 as well. The charging speed has not been taken to the next level with Warp Charge compatibility, as would have been expected when you consider that OnePlus has already integrated Warp Charge 30 into the 6T McLaren.

OnePlus 7 technical specifications

Dimensions: 157.7 x 74.8 x 8.2 mm
Weight: 182 g
Battery size: 3700 mAh
Screen size: 6.41 in
Display technology: AMOLED
Screen: 2340 x 1080 pixels (402 ppi)
Front camera: 16 megapixels
Rear camera: 48 megapixels
Flashlight: Dual-LED
Android version: 9 - Pie
User interface: Oxygen OS
8 GB
Internal storage: 128 GB
256 GB
Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
Number of cores: 8
Max. clock speed: 2.84 GHz
Connectivity: HSPA, LTE, NFC, Dual-SIM , Bluetooth 5.0

A worthwhile purchase

In our preliminary hands-on review, the OnePlus 7 left a consistently good impression, even though we weren't able to thoroughly put the camera through its paces and prove its performance with benchmarking tests. Nevertheless, it can already be said that with these specs, the familiar and quick OxygenOS, and the classic design of the OnePlus 6T, the OnePlus 7 is the wolf in sheep's clothing of the latest series of smartphones from OnePlus. If you can do without the triple camera, Warp Charge, and the 90 Hz fluid AMOLED display, you should go for what is a much less expensive OnePlus 7 over the OnePlus 7 Pro.

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