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OnePlus 7T Pro hands-on review: it's a game of spot the difference

OnePlus 7T Pro hands-on review: it's a game of spot the difference

Less than five months after the launch of the OnePlus 7 Pro, the Chinese manufacturer is back on stage with the T-variant. The OnePlus 7T Pro, revealed for the European market at an event in London this week, is the brand's top smartphone. But is it still a flagship killer? We went hands-on to find out.

Pro pricing for the top model

OnePlus has been expanding its range of smartphones recently and the brand now offers four devices that come under the OnePlus 7 name. There's the OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro launched in May 2019, and now the 7T and 7T Pro. The non-Pro 7T model was officially revealed in India last week, but we had to wait until the London event this week to find out the price.

The OnePlus 7T Pro is available directly from OnePlus and Amazon in Europe for a starting price of €759. That is 50 euros more than the OnePlus 7 Pro launched earlier this year. So what do you get for extra fifty bucks?

Understated, familiar design

OnePlus definitely mixed things up with the OnePlus 7T, especially when it came to that circular camera module on the back that is reminiscent of the Huawei Mate 30 Pro. For the 7T Pro, however, OnePlus stuck with a design more familiar to owners of the five-month-old OP7 Pro. That's not necessarily a bad thing.

AndroidPIT OnePlus 7T Pro Hand
The phone feels great in your hand / © AndroidPIT

The smartphone looks and feels exactly how you would expect a modern flagship to look and feel. The AMOLED display is curved at the sides, like on a Samsung Galaxy phone of recent years. The popular notification slider, a hallmark of OnePlus smartphones, is still in place on the right-hand side of the phone above the power button. The same space-saving SIM tray, which stacks two nano-SIM cards on top of each other, can be pulled out from the bottom.

You really have to look very closely to find differences between the 7 Pro and the 7T Pro, but they are there. The laser focus on the back of the phone, for example, has moved from inside the camera module itself to sit just to the left of it on the new version. The reason for this is a mystery to me, but maybe it will become clearer when I get stuck into the full review.

In terms of feel and build quality, OnePlus has maintained its own high standards with the 7T Pro. The design may not be the most eye-catching in this modern smartphone fashion show we are living through, but it's well-made, feels rock-solid and I have little to complain about. OnePlus is calling this color variant Blue Haze. It's a rather pleasant matt effect for the eyes but not to the touch.

90 Hz is still fantastic

Unlike the regular 7T, which features a dewdrop notch, the 7T Pro has a pop-up selfie camera allowing you to enjoy the full 6.67-inch AMOLED display in all its glory. Since spending time with the Oppo Reno 10x Zoom and the Mi 9T Pro this year, I'm quickly becoming a big advocate of pop-up cameras due to the full-screen benefits they provide.

This is the same QHD+ display we saw on the regular 7 Pro. That's a good thing because it is a fantastic display with a couple of tricks that really take it to the next level. The most notable at first is the 90 Hz refresh rate. It seems like a trivial thing, just part of the numbers game that drives the smartphone world forward, but it's one of those things that once you become accustomed to it, it makes the past seem so far away. Do you remember the first time you watched standard-definition television after becoming acclimatized to HD? It's that same feeling.

AndroidPIT OnePlus 7T Pro Fingerprint Sensor
The in-display fingerprint sensor is still optical / © AndroidPIT

The resolution is set 3,120 x 1440 pixels (516 ppi) by default but you can also have an FHD+ resolution if you prefer. There's also an option to automatically switch between the two resolutions depending on what it is displaying. The Horizon Light feature, which uses the curved edges of the display as a kind of notification LED substitute, has also made it across to the 7T Pro. There were some reports online that the update to Android 10 was causing issues for owners of the OnePlus 7 Pro, but it works fine on our 7T Pro review unit running the latest Google software.

 

Android 10 out of the box

OnePlus has been quick this year to get its latest version of OxygenOS based on Android 10 up and running. The latest software update brings with it several improvements to the UI. There are more design options for colors, themes, and icon packs and new animations for the in-display fingerprint sensor and the lock screen layouts. These new options are now categorized under a new customization area in the settings menu. There are also updates to the camera app and a new game mode. You can read about the features in more depth in the article below:

There's also new gesture control, which is very similar to the gesture controls on Android 10. For me, switching between a Google Pixel phone and the new OnePlus 7T Pro felt seamless in terms of gesture navigation. I'll be digging deeper into the software for the full review.

AndroidPIT OnePlus 7 Pro Android 10
OnePlus already has the latest version of OxygenOS based on Android 10 finished / © AndroidPIT

Silky smooth performance

If there's one thing that OnePlus has cemented its reputation for in this business, it's speed. Fast, smooth performance is probably the single biggest reason people buy these phones. The OnePlus 7T Pro packs the new  Snapdragon 855+ and the version we went hands-on with had 8GB of RAM and 256GB of  UFS 3.0 storage. The 10-layer Liquid Cooling System we saw on May's flagship phone is also in this T-variant.

The combined of OxygenOS, the company's lightweight Android customization, that powerful processor and the liquid cooling system, the OnePlus 7T Pro is a performance powerhouse. What's more, that 90 Hz display makes operation feel even slicker. The experience during my hands-on period was silky smooth, whether I was in the camera app, multi-tasking of trying to push the phone to the limits of its performance. If it's a quick, clean smartphone experience you are after, OnePlus is still the go-to manufacturer.

AndroidPIT OnePlus 7T Pro Back
The OnePlus 7T Pro has plenty of power / © AndroidPIT

Stereo sound with Dolby Atmos

The OnePlus 7T Pro is fitted with stereo speakers, thanks to a conversion loudspeaker, coupled with Dolby Atmos technology. There is no headphone jack and no USB-C to 3.5mm dongle included in the box. You'll be going down the Bluetooth route to get your audio on this device then, most likely. This is another industry trend that OnePlus has decided to follow.

Same camera hardware, new software

The camera setup on the new OnePlus 7T Pro is largely the same as it was on the 7 Pro too. OnePlus worked a lot on the software side with the seventh generation of its smartphones and with this new 7T Pro, has continued that trend. As we get deeper and deeper into computational photography in this industry, the hardware side is becoming more uniform. You can see the full specs of that triple rear camera setup below. The pop-up selfie camera is a 16-megapixel sensor with f/2.0 aperture.

Main Sensor

  • 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor
  • 26mm equivalent focal length  
  • Focal Aperture f/1.6

Telephoto Lens

  • 3x optical zoom
  • 8-megapixel sensor
  • 51mm equivalent focal length  
  • Focal Aperture f / 2.2

Ultra-wide angle  

  • 16-megapixel sensor
  • 17mm equivalent focal length  
  • 117 degrees field of view 
  • Macro shooting: with an integrated engine in the ultrawide-angle sensor, it is possible to make a 2.5cm focus for macro pictures.

Laser Focus

  • Multi-autofocus system: PDAF, CAF and laser autofocus

Whilst the hardware looks familiar, the software has received some tweaks. New ultrawide-angle modes are available thanks to the latest version of OxygenOS based on Android 10. You can now shoot video and use might mode with the ultrawide-angle lens (without hacking) too.

AndroidPIT OnePlus 7T Pro Camera
The triple rear camera is unchanged, but the laser focus has moved / © AndroidPIT

Photos taken with the OnePlus 7 Pro were very good, so we expect more of the same from this 7T Pro. We'll be conducting a proper camera test for our full review so we'll reserve judgment on this triple sensor setup up until then.

A slightly bigger battery and new Warp Charge

The battery in the OnePlus 7T Pro is slightly bigger at 4085 mAh  than the cell in the 7 Pro, which has a 4,000 mAh. Having a bigger battery is also one of the reasons why someone might opt for a 7T Pro over the regular 7T. The 3,800 mAh in the non-Pro version is not much smaller, but with that QHD+ display and the 90 Hz refresh rate, every milliampere-hour counts.

AndroidPIT OnePlus 7T Pro Port
Warp Charge 30T via USB-C / © AndroidPIT

OnePlus is back with new fast-charging technology and the 7T Pro comes with a Warp Charge 30T in the box. The Chinese firm says that it 23 percent faster than its Warp Charge 30. The numbers are pretty impressive, with charging times for 1 percent to 70 percent taking just 30 minutes, and a full charge taking less than an hour, no matter where you start from. We'll have to put this to the test when we do our final review, but if the company's previous Warp Charge tech is anything to go by, these numbers should stand up.

Early Verdict

The OnePlus 7T Pro is a marginal upgrade on the regular 7 Pro that will not entice current owners to upgrade. Rather, this is a smartphone that expands the company's range of smartphones, something that every OEM seems keen to do. Unlike the 7T, which represents a sizable upgrade to the regular OnePlus 7, the difference between the two Pro models is much smaller.

We'll have to wait and see how it performs when we do our full review to find out if there are any other upgrades that become more apparent in daily use, but for now the OnePlus 7T Pro remains a device for those looking to make the jump from the fifth or sixth generation rather than something fans of the brand will be rushing out to buy just to have the latest equipment.

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