X

OnePlus 7 review: A fast 7 Pro alternative that’s cheaper but with less features

It lacks the OnePlus 7 Pro's bells and whistles and it's not available in the US, but its lower price makes it a great affordable choice.

pp
Andrew Lanxon
pp

Andrew Lanxon

Lead Editor, CNET Advice, Europe; Lead Photographer, Europe

Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.

See full bio
3 min read

CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

The OnePlus 7 is either a more affordable, less exciting OnePlus 7 Pro, or a souped-up OnePlus 6T, depending on how you look at it. At £549 in the UK (with 8GB RAM and 256GB of storage, as reviewed), it sits below the £699-equivalent 7 Pro, and a touch under the £579-equivalent 6T. You do lose some of the pizzazz of the Pro with that extra money you're saving, but the additional power makes it a better option over the older 6T.

oneplus-7-review-6
8.5

OnePlus 7

The Good

The OnePlus 7 shares the Pro's powerful processor, has a great battery life and comes with a more affordable price tag.

The Bad

Its lack of a pop-up selfie camera and additional wide-angle lens means it's more of a marginal upgrade over last year's OnePlus 6T than a variant of the OnePlus 7 Pro. There's no expandable storage or headphone jack, either.

The Bottom Line

While the Oneplus 7 lacks the excitement of the 7 Pro, it's the sensible choice if you're shopping on a budget. Get this phone over the older 6T.

If you're looking for an even more affordable option, the OnePlus 7 comes in another storage variant -- a 6GB RAM and 128GB model that costs only £499.

The OnePlus 7 is not currently available in either the US or Australia, but for reference, that £499 price for the base model converts to $631 and AU$912, respectively.

OnePlus 7 vs. 7 Pro?

The notable difference between the two 7 models is that the standard OnePlus 7 doesn't have the cool pop-up camera found on the OnePlus 7 Pro. Instead, the 16-megapixel front camera is tucked into a teardrop-shaped notch on the front of the phone, exactly like you'll find on the OnePlus 6T. It's less flashy, sure, but it's not exactly a feature you can't live without.

Around the back, the standard OnePlus 7 loses the additional ultrawide lens found on the Pro. I personally love this lens for those dramatic, sweeping landscape shots, and it's really the main benefit of splashing out for the Pro. The OnePlus 7 keeps the same 48-megapixel main camera, which takes great outdoor shots, with vibrant colours and good exposure. It uses the Pro's Nightscape mode too, which lets you capture surprisingly bright and sharp images even in very low light situations.

img-20190523-162826
Enlarge Image
img-20190523-162826

OnePlus 7 outdoor camera test

Andrew Hoyle/CNET
img-20190524-114058
Enlarge Image
img-20190524-114058

OnePlus 7 outdoor camera test

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Inside, things are less different. It packs the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, which delivers excellent results on benchmark tests -- unsurprisingly, on par with the 7 Pro, and a step above the 6T, which uses an older chip. Like the Pro, the OnePlus 7 has no headphone jack, but it does have dual stereo speakers which help give a bit of volume boost to podcasts when you're cooking. Both phones aren't IP rated for water resistance, but we dunked the OnePlus 7 Pro underwater for 30 minutes and it survived without a problem. 

Physically, the phone is almost identical to the 6T, with the same 6.4-inch, 2,340x1,080-pixel display, with in-screen fingerprint scanner, same 3,700mAh battery and pretty much indistinguishable design -- it's only available in a shiny grey colour, which looks somewhat drab against the vibrant blue of the 7 Pro.

Speaking of the battery, the OnePlus 7 put in a great performance on our benchmark tests, with a run-down time of 17 hours 30 minutes. That puts it roughly alongside the 6T and above the 7 Pro, which only managed a little under 16 hours. Needless to say, you'll comfortably be able to get a full day of use out of it.

oneplus-7-review-9
Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Which phone should you buy?

If you want the latest and greatest tech, the 7 Pro is the one to go for. An extra £200 is a lot, but if wide-angle photography is important to you, and you want to show off with that cool pop-up selfie lens then it's worth considering. If you want a generally high-performing phone for everyday use and you don't give a flying fiddle about the bells and whistles, go for the standard 7.

If budget is a particular factor then you should also consider the new Pixel 3A. This most affordable of Google's offerings doesn't compete with the 7 in the performance stakes, but you will get a great camera and a headphone jack.

It's a no-brainer between the 6T and the 7 though -- go for the 7. It's more powerful, has a better camera AND it's more affordable. If you already have the 6T, the 7's only marginal changes should not tempt you to upgrade. 

oneplus-7-review-6
8.5

OnePlus 7

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 7Performance 9Camera 8Battery 9