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OnePlus 7 Pro review: The best Android phone value of 2019

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Colors are bright and vibrant in this indoor picture.

Lynn La/CNET

Oracle Park as seen through the phone's standard lens (left) and wide-angle (right).

Lynn La/CNET

Comparing the OnePlus 7 Pro's HDR mode (left) and the Pixel 3's HDR+ Enhanced (right).

Lynn La/CNET

In this photo, the OnePlus 7 Pro's Nightscape mode (left) retained more details than the Pixel 3's Night Sight (right).

Lynn La/CNET

But in this image, the OnePlus 7's Nightscape (left) wasn't as bright as the Pixel 3's Night Sight (right).

Lynn La/CNET

Comparing portrait shots with the OnePlus 7 Pro, Galaxy S10E and Pixel 3.

Lynn La/CNET

OnePlus 7 Pro introduces screen recording and Zen Mode

The OnePlus 7 Pro runs Android 9.0 Pie with OnePlus' OxygenOS layered on top. Keeping with its minimalist UI approach, the phone is still pretty much a vanilla version of Android, which I like. But there are two notable additions. One is screen recording, which allows you to record and save video of your screen. This is useful when you need to show someone how to do something on the phone, record gameplay or whatever else. Note that with certain apps, like Netflix, the recording will be blacked out due to copyright infringements.

The OnePlus 7 Pro's screen recording in the notifications shade (left) and Zen Mode (right).

Lynn La/CNET

Like other Android Pie phones, the OnePlus 7 Pro has Digital Wellbeing built-in -- a tool from Google that keeps tabs on your screen time and lets you set specific timers for apps. But a new software feature called Zen Mode restricts phone use to another level. Once activated, Zen Mode essentially makes all aspects of your phone inaccessible for 20 minutes, save for making emergency calls and taking photos. That means you can't open apps, make personal calls or even swipe through the screen until the timer is up. Zen Mode kicks in after continuous phone usage of two to five hours (you can set this yourself) and there's really no way to escape it once it's on. Even restarting the phone puts you right back where you left off in Zen Mode. It may seem a bit Draconian, but if you're serious about decreasing screen time, Zen Mode could be useful.

OnePlus 7 Pro's battery and performance

Packing the latest Snapdragon 855 chipset, the OnePlus 7 Pro's performance is speedy and reliable. I didn't run into any issues or lag with day-to-day tasks like launching apps or unlocking the screen with my fingerprint. Photos that needed extra processing time (like Nightscape or portrait shots) also took a reasonable amount of time to render. On benchmark tests, the phone performed as well as the Galaxy S10E, which sports the same processor, and it predictably beat the OnePlus 6T and Pixel 3 (both have last year's Snapdragon 845 processor). Aside from just one test though, the iPhone XR comfortably edged out all the phones in the group. Unlike its Snapdragon-toting competition, the iPhone XR has a proprietary Apple A12 Bionic processor.

3DMark Slingshot Unlimited

OnePlus 6T
6,590
Galaxy S10E
7,769
Pixel 3
5,735
iPhone XR
4,268

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

3DMark Ice Storm Unlimited

OnePlus 7 Pro
63,886
OnePlus 6T
64,993
Galaxy S10E
57,600
Pixel 3
61,673
iPhone XR
77,814

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.4.0 single-core

OnePlus 6T
2,384
Galaxy S10E
3,512
Pixel 3
2,395
iPhone XR
4,814

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

Geekbench v.4.0 multi-core

OnePlus 7 Pro
10,970
OnePlus 6T
8,853
Galaxy S10E
10,959
Pixel 3
7,907
iPhone XR
11,392

Note:

Longer bars indicate better performance

OnePlus bumped up the OnePlus 7 Pro's battery capacity to accommodate the bigger screen and higher refresh rate. And while the phone has an excellent battery life (it can easily survive a full work day without a charge), it didn't outlast the OnePlus 6T. During our lab tests for continuous video playback on Airplane mode, the OnePlus 7 Pro lasted an average of 15 hours and 50 minutes. I ran several tests with the screen both on 90Hz and 60Hz, but because the video was 30fps, it made sense that the battery results were more or less the same. Though this average slightly beats the Pixel 3's 15-hour result, compare that to the OnePlus 6T and Galaxy S10E, which clocked in 17 hours, as well as the iPhone XR's nearly 20-hour runtime.

One other great thing about the OnePlus 7 Pro is how fast it charges. Its proprietary charging technology Warp Charge was first introduced in a special McLaren edition of the OnePlus 6T and it's an update to OnePlus' Dash Charge technology. The charger juiced up a fully drained OnePlus 7 Pro up to 42% in only 15 minutes. After one hour, the battery replenished by 91%. And a full charge took about an hour and 20 minutes.

OnePlus 7 Pro versus the competition

oneplus-7-pro-23
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The OnePlus 7 Pro.

Angela Lang/CNET

OnePlus 6T: OnePlus plans to keep manufacturing the OnePlus 6T with the release of the OnePlus 7 Pro, since the OnePlus 7 won't be available in every market. On May 17, OnePlus will discount the OnePlus 6T with 8GB of RAM, so you can get it for $549 (128GB) and $599 (256GB). If you're choosing between the two, the OnePlus 7 Pro would be "futureproof" (at least for the next few months until OnePlus releases the OnePlus 7T Pro, maybe?) If it were me though, I'd forego the faster processor, third camera and 90Hz display, get the OnePlus 6T and save myself $120.

Galaxy S10E: For $750, the Galaxy S10E offers wireless charging, water resistance, a headphone jack and expandable storage. It also has the same processor and can take wide-angle photos like the OnePlus 7 Pro (if you're into that). But even though it's a solid pick, I'd go for the OnePlus 7 Pro over it because of the bigger, sharper screen and cheaper price.

Pixel 3: The Pixel 3 and the OnePlus 7 Pro appeared neck and neck at times when it came to their respective cameras. But the Pixel 3 retails for $800, has no expandable storage and a less powerful battery, so I'd say go with the OnePlus 7 Pro. Keep in mind, however, that the Pixel 3 has been heavily discounted lately, and if you like the phone's timely software updates from Google and camera, consider the much cheaper Pixel 3A, which starts at $399.

iPhone XR: Though it has an ultra-fast processor and runs Apple iOS, I'd pick the OnePlus 7 Pro over the iPhone XR. While the iPhone's water resistance and wireless charging may be tempting, it also starts at $750 with 64GB and no expandable memory.

OnePlus 7 Pro spec comparison


OnePlus 7 Pro OnePlus 6T Samsung Galaxy S10E Google Pixel 3 Apple iPhone XR
Display size, resolution 6.67-inch AMOLED; 3,120x1,440 pixels 6.41-inch AMOLED; 2,340x1,080 pixels 5.8-inch AMOLED; 2,280x1,080 pixels 5.5-inch pOLED; 2,280x1,080 pixels 6.1-inch LCD Retina Display; 1,792x828 pixels
Pixel density 516ppi 402ppi 438ppi 443ppi 326ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 6.4x2.99x0.35 in 6.20x2.94x0.32 in 5.6x2.8x0.27 in 5.7x2.7x0.3 in 5.9x3.0x0.33 in
Dimensions (Millimeters) 162.6x75.9x8.8 mm 157.5x74.8x8.2 mm 142x70x7.9 mm 145.6x68.2x7.9 mm 150.9x75.7x8.3 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 7.27 oz; 206g 6.5 oz; 185g 5.3oz; 150g 5.2 oz; 148g 6.8oz; 194g
Mobile software Android 9.0 with OxygenOS Android 9.0 Pie with OxygenOS Android 9.0 Pie with Samsung One UI Android 9.0 Pie iOS 12
Camera 48-megapixel (standard), 8-megapixel (telephoto), 16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle) 16-megapixel (standard), 20-megapixel (telephoto) 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultra wide-angle) 12.2-megapixel 12-megapixel
Front-facing camera 16-megapixel 16-megapixel 10-megapixel Dual 8-megapixel 7-megapixel
Video capture 4K 4K 4K 4K 4K
Processor 2.84GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 2.8GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 2.5GHz octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Apple A12 Bionic
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB 64GB, 128GB 64GB, 128GB, 256GB
RAM 6GB, 8GB, 12GB 6GB, 8GB 6GB, 8GB 4GB Not disclosed
Expandable storage None None Up to 512GB None None
Battery 4,000 mAh 3,700 mAh 3,100 mAh 2,915 mAh 2,942 mAh (not disclosed by Apple)
Fingerprint sensor In-display In-display Power button Back cover None (Face ID)
Connector USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C Lightning
Headphone jack No No Yes No No
Special features 90Hz display, pop-up selfie camera, dual-SIM, Warp Charging, notifications toggle In-display fingerprint sensor, dual-SIM, Dash Charging, notifications toggle Wireless PowerShare, hole punch screen notch, water resistant (IP68), Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 Water resistant (IPX8), wireless charging support, Pixel Buds USB-C headphones in the box Water resistant (IP67), dual-SIM capabilities (nano-SIM and e-SIM), wireless charging, Face ID, Memoji
Price off-contract (USD) $669 (6GB RAM/128GB), $699 (8GB RAM/256GB), $749 (12GB RAM/256GB) $549 (6GB RAM/128GB), $579* (8GB RAM/128GB), $629* (8GB RAM/256GB) $750 $799 (64GB), $899 (128GB) $749 (64GB), $799 (128GB), $899 (256GB)
Price (GBP) £649 (6GB RAM/128GB), £699 (8GB RAM/256GB), £799 (12GB RAM/256GB) £499 (6GB RAM/128GB), £529 (8GB RAM/128GB), £579 (8GB RAM/256GB) £669 £739 (64GB), £839 (128GB) £749 (64GB), £799 (128GB), £899 (256GB)
Price (AUD) Converted: AU$962 (6GB RAM/128GB), AU$1,006 (8GB RAM/256GB), AU$1,076 (12GB RAM/256GB) Converted: AU$774 (6GB RAM/128GB), AU$817 (8GB RAM/128GB), AU$887 (8GB RAM/256GB) AU$1,199 AU$1,199 (64GB), AU$1,349 (128GB) AU$1,229 (64GB), AU$1,299 (128GB), AU$1,479 (256GB)

Note*: On May 17, OnePlus will discount the OnePlus 6T with 8GB of RAM to $549 (128GB) and $599 (256GB).

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