When I shared my first impressions of the OnePlus 7T Pro a few weeks back, the sum of my observations was that nothing much had changed since the last generation. Having spent more time with the phone, that's even more apparent, and so are its various imperfections. While all the things that made the 7 Pro great are still present, OnePlus has done little to improve its flagship offering, and some of the omissions are even more glaring six months down the line.
To readers in the US, this will come as something of a relief since only the more affordable OnePlus 7T is available to buy in the region. Those of us in Europe get to choose between the two, but the cheaper model seems to be the better option for most people. Specifications are practically identical this time around, which means the value proposition offered by the 7T is much more attractive. This doesn’t make the 7T Pro a worse phone, but it is certainly a harder sell.
|SoC||Snapdragon 855+ (with Adreno 640 GPU)|
|Storage||256 GB (UFS 3.0)|
|Display||6.67" 90Hz HDR+ (3120x1440) AMOLED|
|Battery||4,085mAh (an increase of 85mAh), Warp Charge 30T (5V 6A)|
|Primary rear camera||48 MP (binned down to 12MP) f/1.6 w/ OIS and EIS (Sony IMX586)|
|Other rear cameras||8MP f/2.4 OIS telephoto, 16MP f/2.2 wide-angle with new Macro Mode|
|Front camera||Pop-up 16 MP f/2.0 (Sony IMX471)|
|Software||Oxygen OS 10.0 (Android 10)|
|Connectivity||2.4/5GHz 2x2 MIMO Wi-Fi (up to ac), Bluetooth 5.0 (w/ aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, and AAC), NFC|
|Dimensions||162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8mm, 206g|
|Misc||Alert slider, dual stereo speakers, "X-axis Haptic Vibration motor," double-sided dual SIM tray, USB 3.1, in-display fingerprint sensor|
|Display||Even though I’m not one for curves, it’s a beautiful display, and the 90Hz refresh rate is still just as impressive alongside the rapid animations.|
|Performance||Still the fastest, smoothest Android experience — even ahead of the Pixel 4.|
|Design and build||OnePlus now makes some of the best hardware, and the design is attractive without being too flashy.|
|Cameras||Still room for improvement but this is no longer the OnePlus Achilles heel. The resulting images are comfortably in the tier just below Google, Huawei, and Apple.|
|Design, again||The Haze Blue color isn’t quite as classy as the Nebula Blue from the 7 Pro, and there’s no other visual difference. I’ve found the alert slider can be accidentally switched all too easily.|
|Size||It’s a big chunk of a phone, and more unwieldy than the narrower 7T.|
|Software||While Oxygen OS continues to be the best Android skin outside of Google’s Pixel software, there have been some inexcusable bugs and issues in the latest versions.|
|Missing features||It’s a flagship phone without flagship features such as wireless charging, an always-on display, or an IP rating. There’s also no 3.5mm headphone jack, if anyone still cares.|
|Buying options||8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage should be fine for basically everyone, but there’s no choice anymore.|
Design, hardware, what's in the box
Whether or not you think the OnePlus 7T Pro looks good really depends on what you thought of its predecessor — there’s almost nothing to tell them apart on the outside. The eagle-eyed among you might have spotted that the laser autofocus sensor on the rear has moved out of the camera hump and now sits to the left of it, the only consequence of which is that cases need an extra cut out. It’s still a very pretty device, even if it’s not fresh in its design. While I’m not a fan of curved displays, the 6.67-inch QHD+ panel that covers almost the entire front is undeniably attractive, and the 90Hz refresh rate is a killer feature once again. It won’t get as bright as the display on a Samsung or Apple phone, but it’s not far behind.
The 7T Pro and 7T are about the same length, but the 7T has a more pleasing aspect ratio.
The overall dimensions of the 7T Pro are the same as before, which means it’s rather hefty. The regular 7T now has a display with a 20:9 aspect ratio, so even though it’s almost as tall as the Pro, it’s narrower and therefore much easier to handle. Even so, the Pro feels great, which is a testament to how far OnePlus has come with respect to build quality — the aluminum and glass construction gives the impression of a premium device costing hundreds more than it does. The frosted rear Gorilla glass also does a good job of hiding fingerprint smudges. I would say I slightly prefer the darker Nebula Blue color of the older model, but this new Haze Blue finish isn't really all that different.
The haptic motor has apparently been improved once again, although it still can't match a Pixel or iPhone. Audio is crisp and loud thanks to dual stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos, one in the earpiece and one firing from the holes on the bottom edge next to the USB-C port. An unpopular opinion though it may be, I’m not a huge fan of the much-vaunted alert slider located just above the power button. I see the appeal of it to some people, perhaps, but I found it far too easy to accidentally switch its position when pulling it out of my pocket, and I never want my phone to do anything other than vibrate for notifications and calls anyway. As we’ve become accustomed to with recent OnePlus phones, the in-display fingerprint scanner is the best of its kind, even if it's still not quite as fast and accurate as a traditional one.
In the box, you get a charger and USB-A-to-C cable, with Warp Charge 30T even faster now thanks to increased efficiency from the same 30W hardware — it'll reach nearly 70% in 30 minutes. You also get a surprisingly nice clear TPU case and a welcome pre-applied screen protector. No headphones or adapters are included, but most people probably already have those or use Bluetooth for audio, so I’m fine with OnePlus not being wasteful in this respect.
Software, performance, battery life
OnePlus makes many bold claims about how “fast and smooth” its phones are, but it’s more than just marketing rhetoric. The 7T Pro performs exceptionally, for the most part, putting other flagship Android phones to shame. It helps to have a Snapdragon 855+, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of UFS 3.0, but OnePlus also ramps up the animations to go with the 90Hz display so that the whole experience feels ridiculously quick and responsive.
With Oxygen OS 10 on top of it, the OnePlus 7T Pro was one of the first phones to launch with Android 10, and while it’s still the best skin outside of Google’s own, I can’t help but feel it’s not as stable as it once was. An infuriating bug that’s been around since OnePlus first launched an Android 10 beta for the 7 Pro means you sometimes can’t adjust the display brightness when it’s set to automatic without it immediately resetting. I also found auto-brightness to often be too aggressive at night, making the screen too dim to see anything. Another bug prevents the Bluetooth quick settings tile from updating to show when you’re connected to a device. And occasional random screen locks or reboots also add to the sense that Oxygen OS 10 still needs some polish, and while we can reasonably expect this to be delivered in future updates, you’d expect it at launch.
More maddening than the occasional bug, however, are the features OnePlus intentionally omits or simply gets wrong. Why there is still no always-on display mode when other OEMs are able to include it without a huge impact on battery life is a mystery, but it’s almost enough to make me want to use a different phone as my daily driver. I have a few smaller software gripes, too. OnePlus messes with the new Android 10 navigation gestures by not allowing the back button to work above a certain point on the screen (about where the power button is), which would be a good way to allow side-swipes in apps to work as before, but Google has already implemented workarounds for this and the inconsistency is grating. Further to this, swiping on the navigation pill to quickly switch between apps sometimes fails to register. Although it probably won’t matter to many people, notification snoozing is switched off by default.
The 'Clear all notifications' button and fingerprint scanner shouldn't be so easy to mix up.
There are other examples of OnePlus not learning its lessons. The ‘Clear all’ notification button is still too prominent and in roughly the same location as the fingerprint scanner, leading to accidental wipes that just don’t happen on other phones. The same goes for the ‘Close all’ apps button in the recents screen, whose icon is an ‘X’ that could lead some to think it merely closes the overview. Using the fingerprint scanner in the dark is still a horrible experience as the display has to momentarily abandon Night Mode and blind you for it to function. OnePlus offers some decent customization options, but there’s no way of saving your own presets. And although there is an attractive dark theme, you have to delve into the settings each time you want to enable it — there’s no automatic schedule or quick settings switch.
Despite ample memory, the 7T Pro still sees fit to bump apps out of memory for the sake of battery optimization, especially when power is low. I’m tired of seeing my Pocket Casts playback notification disappear when I've taken a break halfway through a podcast. Thankfully, you can turn this off on a per-app basis. Battery life has been pretty average overall, possibly because I've excluded certain apps from optimization. It's mostly getting me through the day with about 10-20% left in the tank after 3-4 hours of screen-on time. There was even the occasional day — particularly those on which I took a lot of photos — where I’d find myself needing to top up in the evening to be sure it wouldn’t die while I was out. At least charging is super fast, so you can plug it in for 10 mins before you leave for the pub and know that it will go the rest of the night.
If you’ve read our 7 Pro or 7T review, you’ll know that OnePlus has really stepped up its game in the camera department recently, and the 7T Pro is no different. The 48MP main sensor produces pixel-binned 12MP photos packed with detail but sometimes lacking in dynamic range — you’ll need to play with the exposure slider to get the most accurate and satisfying images. At least Nightscape is getting closer to similar modes on Google, Huawei, and Apple devices, pulling in way more light in dark scenes than it was able to previously, and with a less noisy end result.
Like most 2019 flagship phones (except the Pixel 4), the OnePlus 7T Pro sports the now standard 3-camera array. The wide-angle has a 117-degree field of view, and the telephoto’s 3x optical zoom with OIS is the one camera that’s significantly better-specced than on the 7T (2x, no OIS). While the versatility is very handy, results are mixed, especially when compared with the main sensor. The new macro mode is nice to have and works pretty well, but I’m unlikely to ever use it outside of my testing. My biggest grievance with the cameras is the dreadful shutter lag — this led to blurry photos on numerous occasions because I’m so used to phones that don’t have this problem. I also think OnePlus’ image processing does too much to smooth the skin on people’s faces, although I realize this "feature" is very in vogue right now. I’d prefer to be able to tone down or turn this off this, as you can with many other phones. When it comes to video, the 7T Pro (also unlike the Pixel 4) is capable of 4K at 60fps with some solid stabilization. The front camera is nicely hidden inside that motorized pop-out, and the 16MP sensor won't disappoint the selfie lovers out there.
Should you buy it?
Yes, but also no. Unless the few additional features offered by the OnePlus 7T Pro over the regular 7T really matter to you, I’d suggest that you’re better off saving some cash and getting the cheaper model. In the UK, the difference is £150, and that’s quite a saving without many compromises. Some people will argue that it’s worth the extra money for a bigger, sharper curved display, more storage, and 1x additional zoom on the telephoto lens, and I can understand that position. Ultimately, it will come down to personal preference. I favor flat displays, never need 256GB of storage, and don’t use a telephoto lens all that often, so I would go for the 7T over its Pro counterpart. I also prefer the narrower 20:9 aspect ratio that makes it more comfortable in everyday use.
It’s also worth noting that the base model 6/128GB OnePlus 7 Pro is £50 cheaper than its successor — so long as you’re willing to forgo the extra RAM — although it is hard to find these days. However, the 8/256GB model was down to £599 on Amazon at the time of writing, so that's a great deal.
If you live in the US, the OnePlus 7T Pro is not an option anyway, and honestly, I don’t think you should feel too bad about it. If you can hang on, the 8 Pro is likely to represent a more significant upgrade, although I’m not optimistic that OnePlus will decide to add the features we all want to see. Wireless charging, always-on display, and an IP rating would all improve the 7T Pro. But even though it has “Pro” in the name, we’re still expected to accept a compromise in return for a marginally lower price tag. Next time, I’d like to see OnePlus make a true flagship with no caveats whatsoever, price be damned. I shan’t hold my breath, though.
- You absolutely have to have the latest shiny thing from your favorite flagship-killing company.
Don't buy if:
- You appreciate function and value more than form — go get a 7T instead.
- You already have a OnePlus 7 Pro.