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OnePlus 7 review: The phone to buy in 2019

first_imgWhen the OnePlus 7 Pro rumours broke out a few months ago, tech enthusiasts started wondering what would happen to the OnePlus 7 — the regular OnePlus 7 that was supposed to succeed the OnePlus 6T. That was answered on May 14 when OnePlus launched two phones: OnePlus 7 Pro and the OnePlus 7. Now we know all about the OnePlus 7 Pro. We saw it earlier. And we reviewed it earlier. It’s time to do the same with the OnePlus 7, which we have for the review today.As OnePlus CEO Pete Lau hinted in an interview to India Today Tech a few months ago, the OnePlus 7 is an upgrade to the OnePlus 6T, and hence it packs in all the essential that people expect from a premium phone launched in 2019. That means it offers the new Snapdragon 855 chipset and inherits the promising 48-megapixel camera from the OnePlus 7 Pro. With the geeky stuff taken care of, OnePlus also worked on its pricing and this is where it has hit the ball out of the park.You can get the base level OnePlus 7 with 6GB RAM and 128GB storage for Rs 32,999. This is lower than what the OnePlus 6T was selling for just a few months ago. All this then surely sounds good.Or does it? Has OnePlus compromised on some crucial area? Does it still deliver the classic OnePlus experience? We find out in this OnePlus 7 review.OnePlus 7 is new wine in old bottleWhen the OnePlus 7 was unveiled after the OnePlus 7 Pro at the launch event, OnePlus said it wanted to make the newer technologies from the Pro variant more accessible for its community. Hence, the company only spoke about what went inside. That’s because the OnePlus 7 looks identical to the OnePlus 6T. Most people will find the OnePlus 7 and the Oneplus 6T sporting the same design.advertisement And that’s a good thing in my opinion. I say that because I have used the OnePlus 7 Pro for a long time and while I like the more modern notch-less design with curved edges, it is bigger and heavier than previous OnePlus phones. The OnePlus 6T got the ergonomics just right for a modern-day smartphone and that’s a blessing for the OnePlus 7.Therefore, you get the same curved glass panel at the rear in the OnePlus 7. However, the dual camera module has a bigger bump than before which could make it wobbly while you keep it flat on a desk. Since everyone will use a case, the bump would even out with the bulk of the case. When compared to the OnePlus 7 Pro, the OnePlus 7 feels compact (never imagined I would say this for a phone with a 6.4-inch display).Nothing changes at the front too, except for the earpiece that has grown in size and now joins the loudspeaker to offer a stereo speaker setup (yay I suppose). You still get the big 6.4-inch Optic AMOLED display with a water drop notch on the top and a slightly noticeable chin. The headphone jack is not here but then we all knew in advance that it would not make an appearance this year. For this year, you get two fancy colours — Mirror Grey and Red. The Mirror Grey is the same colour from the OnePlus 7 Pro while the Red has been brought back from last year’s OnePlus 6 Red. Do note that the Red is only available in a top-end variant with 8GB RAM. Personally, I find the red variant ravishing.So there you go — the OnePlus 7 may not offer a radically new design but it still looks every bit a premium smartphone.The good old AMOLED display is backIf you are spending above Rs 30,000 on a smartphone, you naturally expect an AMOLED display. OnePlus has known this from the days of the OnePlus 3 and still continues the trend of offering an AMOLED display as standard. Therefore, with the OnePlus 7, you still get a Full HD+ AMOLED display measuring 6.4-inches. And this is a very good display for its price – your eyes are treated to punchy colours with higher contrasts. Brightness levels are good and you get a wide viewing angle as well. The tiny notch is still an annoyance when you are watching videos or playing games but once you get used to it, it’s not a big deal. However, when you compare it with the display on the OnePlus 7 Pro, you will find the colours are slightly pale and the contrast is lacking. I understand that to maintain the price of Rs 32,999, OnePlus had to cut corners. But it would have been better if the OnePlus 7 gained the same HDR+ supported AMOLED panel from the Pro variant.advertisementClassic no-compromise OnePlus performanceIf you have owned a OnePlus smartphone before, you know how it is. If you haven’t, then here’s a brief description – it’s fast and fluid.There’s a very good reason behind this fast and fluid performance. You are getting as standard the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset – the same chip that every phone with the “flagship” label will be using this year. At the same time what helps this flagship chipset deliver even faster speeds is the new UFS 3.0 storage. At the moment, only the OnePlus 7 series phones get the UFS 3.0 storage on a smartphone. And of course, the most important element that’s core to the OnePlus experience is back – Oxygen OS. Whatever you do on the OnePlus 7, it always happens faster and a bit snappier than any other smartphone. So whether you are texting on WhatsApp or beating records in PUBG MOBILE, everything’s happening the way you expect. And when this happens, it feels rewarding and you certainly don’t want to part with this experience ever. Oxygen OS feels similar to the iteration we saw last year with the Android Pie update but it improves in areas where it matters. The animations are fast and fluid, and apps open without any annoying delay. Since the OnePlus 6T, Oxygen OS has been too aggressive with memory management in favour of lower power consumption and I wish OnePlus could have given it more leeway. Consider this recurring issue – while listening to music via wireless earphones, the app would be force closed every time you pause the song – isn’t this annoying on the move?Nonetheless, ignoring these small niggles, Oxygen OS is by far the best iteration of Android and it delivers a polished smartphone experience. It may not be far-fetched to say that Oxygen OS feels almost as polished as iOS.Classic OnePlus experience also trickles down to the cameraWhen it comes to cameras, OnePlus phones have been just good, not great. With the OnePlus 7, it’s certainly better than before but not Pixel-levels of performance. On paper, the new 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 primary camera paired with the 5-megapixel depth camera for the rear sounds good. Theoretically, it should be better than the OnePlus 6T’s dual camera setup. The front retains the good old 16-megapixel selfie camera.Many phones use the 48-megapixel Sony camera and it all depends on how well the manufacturer has tuned it. OnePlus has done a brilliant job in this regards when it comes to daylight photography. Since this camera sensor relies on pixel binning to get more light data, it gives the camera algorithms to ensure lots of details and vibrant colours. The daylight performance is more in sync with a Google Pixel 3 than an iPhone XR – the camera is enhancing the colour saturation and brightness to deliver a visually appealing photo. As a smartphone user, I like it and I don’t always have to hit the editing app. Portrait mode photos look good and the subject separation from the background is much better than before. Unlike some other Chinese phones, the blurring is done elegantly.advertisementIMAGE SAMPLESWhen it comes to low-light performance, the OnePlus 7 struggles noticeably. The photos lose sharpness and noise creeps up. However, the camera massively enhances the contrast and colours to ensure usable photos. If you know your way with phone cameras, then under favourable lighting, you will be able to get decent photos. The Nightscape mode will help you get more clear photos in absolute dark conditions but it struggles with exposure and isn’t as good as the night mode on a Pixel 3.When it comes to videos, I would say the performance is on par with what you get on other Android phones. In 4K videos at 60fps, the colours are vibrant but the details aren’t that great. Same stands for 1080p videos at 60fps as well as 30 fps. Videos also pick up a lot of noise even in silent rooms. For casual video shooting, it will do a decent job but don’t expect iPhone-level of quality here.Oxygen OS is by far the best iteration of Android and it delivers a polished smartphone experience. It may not be far-fetched to say that Oxygen OS feels almost as polished as iOS.What about selfies? The front camera puts up a good show. Whether its daylight or indoor artificial ambient light, the camera always delivers vibrant looking selfies with adequate sharpness and brightness. No complaints here.A phone with amazing battery lifeIn our review of the OnePlus 6T a few months ago, we found that it would deliver an entire day’s battery life under moderate usage and still have enough to get you through the first half of the next day. I am happy to report that OnePlus has carried over that brilliant battery life to the OnePlus 7 as well. In fact, it lasts longer the OnePlus 7 Pro. Having a OnePlus phone as a daily driver means I play games too often and don’t bother to close apps. On top of that, the usual tasks are there such as texting, sending emails, occasional photography, streaming music, binging on YouTube and, of course, taking lots of calls throughout the day. This is heavy usage by all means and by the end of the day, I would notice the battery meter showing around 20 per cent on an average. And filling it up isn’t a time-consuming process as the 20W Fast Charge option is always there. However, I wish OnePlus could have stretched and offered the 30W Warp Charge on the OnePlus 7.OnePlus 7 still a flagship killerIn the OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus may have a flagship phone now but the Oneplus 7 is still the good old flagship killer. And it is totally worth buying. OnePlus 7 is better than any other smartphone carrying the flagship killer tag. For what it offers, I feel at Rs 32,999, the OnePlus 7 is a solid bargain.If you care about top-notch specifications, the OnePlus 7 delivers on that front. However, smartphones are more than just specifications and it’s all about the user experience. With the OnePlus 7, you are assured of polished user experience. At least, that is what I found. This is a phone that will be there for you whenever you need it. It doesn’t slow down, has a simple and easy-to-understand interface, offers a good-enough camera performance and tops it all with stupendous battery life. Is there anything left? I don’t think so.At Rs 32,999, there is no other smartphone that will offer such a satisfactory premium experience as the OnePlus 7. Whether you are upgrading from an older OnePlus device or coming from the iPhone universe, the OnePlus 7 will likely make you happy. This is easily the star smartphone of 2019.OnePlus 7 review 8.5/10 ProsBattery lifeFastPremium looksConsCameras could be betterlast_img read more

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