What is the OnePlus 7 Pro?
The OnePlus 7 Pro is the flagship smartphone in the new OnePlus 7-series range. The OnePlus 7 Pro adopts a three-camera setup, which includes a main 48-megapixel sensor.
The OnePlus 7 Pro also introduces 4K video, a 3x zoom lens, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 chip, an improved Nightscape mode and ultra-fast charging.
OnePlus has staked its ground in the upper mid-range of the smartphone market, providing units with premium features that compete with the Samsungs and LGs of the world at price tags slightly lower than its rivals’ offerings. With the 7 Pro, OnePlus has driven that stake even further into the ground and solidified it with concrete.
The three rear cameras on the OnePlus 7 Pro include a new 48-megapixel sensor with OIS, an 8-megapixel 78mm telephoto lens at f/2.4 and 1μm pixel size, which is also stabilised by OIS and a 16-megapixel 117° ultra-wide angle lens at f/2.2.
The novel 16-megapixel f/2.0 front selfie camera is covered in sapphire glass and pops up via a mechanism that OnePlus says has been tested at more than 300,000 actuations. We haven’t taken quite that many selfies in our test, but so far it does seem pretty robust!
As well as 48-megapixel JPEGs and 12-megapixel raw files, the OnePlus 7 Pro can capture 4K video at 60 and 30fps. A Super Slow Motion mode can also record 240fps at 1080p or 480fps at 720p.
A newly developed AF system uses PDAF, CAF and Laser Focusing methods, while OnePlus’s Nightscape mode has also been revamped.
Inside the OnePlus 7 Pro is a Qualcomm® Snapdragon 855 chip and up to 12 GB of RAM, depending on your model, along with the new OnePlus UltraShot engine.
The OnePlus 7 Pro also comes with UFS 3.0 storage for faster image saving from the camera, while RAM Boost learns from your usage habits and allocates available RAM to memory-intensive applications.
RAM Boost also promises to let you keep more applications open in the background without any compromises on overall performance.
Battery life gets a boost with Warp Charge 30, which enables you to charge the OnePlus 7 Pro’s 4,000mAh battery from 0-50% in just 20 minutes.
We see a lot of flagship phones come through Camera Jabber’s post room, so not a lot phases us anymore. But when I opened the OnePlus box and took the 7 Pro into my hands I was immediately taken by its luxuriousness.
I like a chunky, big phone, and the 7 Pro has some heft, some chunkiness. It feels like a solid thing in your hands.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is dominated by its 6.67-inch, bezel-less, notch-less, edge-to-edge display which is right up there with one of the best I’ve seen. It’s bright and thick and robust, and its 90Hz refresh rate provides a wonderful experience.
I also like the phone’s curved edges. This is the most amount of screen I’ve seen on a smartphone, and I found myself constantly double-tapping and zooming right into my images to examine detail. The display’s wonderful dynamic range renders striking colours and contrast, and it was a genuine joy to scroll through my photos and view them on this large display.
For reference, most phones’ displays have a 60Hz refresh rate, meaning the OnePlus 7 Pro offers a big leap forward in viewing experience, and it shows. Its 19.5:9 aspect ratio is striking and sucks you in, but if it’s not obvious by now… this is a biiiggg phone. If you like the size of your old iPhone SE, this isn’t the phone for you.
So what does it lack? The usual things phones lack nowadays. You’ll find no headphone jack, no microSD card slot and the 7 Pro doesn’t offer wireless charging. Its USB-C port, however, is amplified to get from 0-50% in just 20 minutes, and in my tests this claim holds true.
Interestingly, the OnePlus 7 Pro has no IP certification for being water resistant, as many flagship phones now offer. That said, I can’t say this would be a deal-breaker for me because even if my phone was certified water-resistant I wouldn’t be having long conversations in the rain. I even get nervous taking my GoPro underwater!
The pop-up camera
The pop-up selfie camera is probably the phone’s most novel design feature and the one that will matter most to readers of this OnePlus 7 Pro review. To be honest, I’m not quite sure why this new trend of pop-up selfie cameras is needed, but the 7 Pro’s camera does exactly what it says on the tin.
Press the swirly arrow icon in the camera app to switch to the selfie camera, and it pops up quietly and confidently. You might think that a pop-up camera is just a recipe for disaster for those of us out there with butter fingers, but OnePlus has thought of this and designed the selfie camera to retract when the phone senses it is falling.
I was a bit hesitant to test this, but eventually held it over a cushion on the sofa and, yep, this does in fact work a treat!
That massive, bright display really is something else, and composing images with the OnePlus 7 Pro really is quite a satisfying experience. One small thing though: the 7 Pro’s edge-to-edge display has rounded corners, and I wasn’t sure if what’s in these spaces would appear in my final images and videos. They do.
It’s not a huge issue, but occasionally what I thought was a perfect composition was just slightly off, or had a twig or something to that effect distracting the view on the side of the frame.
On the whole, though, shooting with the 7 Pro is a good experience. I loved the in-display fingerprint sensor. I press my thumb over the bottom of the screen and the phone springs to life without fail. It’s by far the best fingerprint reader I’ve come across.
The camera app is then sitting next to where your thumbprint triggered the sensor, so loading your camera app takes no time at all.
The OnePlus 7 Pro has the same shooting modes you’d expect to find on a flagship smartphone camera: Portrait, Nightscape, Pro, Time-lapse, Panorama, Slow Motion video, as well as the Photo and Video modes.
It’s a good assortment of options; however, having used the Huawei P20 Pro’s and P30 Pro’s superb Light Painting and Silky Water modes, it would have been nice to see similar options here.
Because Huawei has really set the benchmark for smartphone cameras, the P30 Pro (and even the P20 Pro) were – fairly or unfairly – in the back of my mind when testing these modes.
Nightscape, for instance, works a treat and gets some nice images, but it wasn’t failsafe in my time with it. I couldn’t always get a shot in low light like I can using Huawei’s Night Mode.
The OnePlus 7 Pro’s Portrait mode softens the background nicely and lifts your subject. It does a great job of identifying the outline of your subject and only blurring the right parts of the image.
While Oppo has claimed the smartphone optical zoom crown (for now), OnePlus has given the 7 Pro 3x optical zoom. I found the image quality at the telephoto end of the zoom to be surprisingly good. Images were sharp and had plenty of detail.
And as an aside, in a nice design touch the zoom icons within the camera app main screen are so simple to understand. Three trees indicates the wide-angle, two trees the 1x and one big tree the 3x zoom. For beginner photographers, I think this will be really useful.
As with other smartphone cameras, Photo mode is your default shooting mode on the OnePlus 7 Pro. It’s a funny thing shooting with smartphone cameras. Photo mode is essentially the Auto mode from your ‘proper’ camera. And when I’m out with my Nikon Z6 or Panasonic GH5, I wouldn’t dream of putting it in its Auto mode.
Yet when shooting with the OnePlus 7 Pro I felt entirely comfortable shooting in Photo mode. Is that a statement on how I perceive smartphone cameras, or is that a testament to their image quality? Probably somewhere in the middle. But I digress…
Images in Photo Mode are bright and punchy. Exposures are spot on, colours natural and it captures a nice dynamic range.
Like Huawei and other manufacturers, when you press a spot on the screen in Photo Mode to set your point of focus, a slider appears that allows you to adjust the exposure. It’s a small point, but I found that my finger (and I don’t have fat fingers!) missed the slider and re-set the AF point about half the time.
When it works, though, it works well and I was able to brighten up the shadow areas in some otherwise tricky images.
In Pro Mode you can take more control over the image-making process. You can adjust the usual exposure settings, as well as shoot raw files, standard JPEGs or the 7 Pro’s high-res 48-megapixel JPEGs.
I found myself using Pro Mode almost exclusively by the end of my testing period. Part of this was down to control and wanting to, say, blur the water in a waterfall shot like the one above. It was also so I could shoot the 48-megapixel JPEGs.
These images really pop, and I was impressed with the colour and fine detail the 7 Pro can render.
Overall, images from the OnePlus 7 Pro are very nice, if not spectacular. Colours look natural. Skin tones are nice. The camera seems to balance exposures well. In good light, the OnePlus 7 Pro produces images just as strong as the other flagship smartphone cameras.
It’s in lower light and high-contrast scenes that I found the 7 Pro struggled in comparison with its peers. Flare and bleached-out skies were an issue sometimes in high-contrast scenes. Images could look washed out. In low light, images appear sharp, but upon closer inspection they are a little bit soft.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is a wonderful phone and its camera is very capable, but it’s not at the level of Huawei’s recent offerings.
Below is a selection of OnePlus 7 Pro sample photos I shot during the course of my test.
The OnePlus 7 Pro sample video below was shot at 4K. I have to say, I was quite pleased at the 7 Pro’s video capabilities. The picture is crisp and clear, and being able to record 4K at 60fps is very nice.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is a fantastic phone and would be at the top of my list to purchase if it was at OnePlus’s traditional upper-mid-range price point. But at £699, the OnePlus 7 Pro isn’t too far off the cost of the Huawei P30 Pro or Samsung Galaxy S10.
As a phone, it’s lights out, and if I were just buying a phone to be a phone, the OnePlus 7 Pro offers one of the best experiences I’ve seen. But this is a review of its camera. And it’s camera is good, but it’s not spectacular.
There are some nice features – the pop-up selfie camera is clever, the 48-megapixel images are rich and full of detail – but none has the wow power of, say, Huawei’s P30 Pro Night Mode.
And yet for another hundred or so you can get the Huawei P30 Pro, which does have a spectacular camera.
The OnePlus 7 Pro camera presents a big step up with the addition of 3x telephoto zoom and a 48-megapixel sensor, but other manufacturers have also made giant leaps forward with their offerings as well.