OnePlus has today launched a series of new products, including the OnePlus 7 Pro that marks the start of a new journey for the company.
Although details of the new phones were widely leaked ahead of today’s launch (what isn’t these days?) there are always some finer details that are kept secret, and OnePlus invited me to see the new products in advance and explain the thinking behind the new phones, the new features and its pricing strategy.
The most important thing to note is that the OnePlus 7 Pro is an all-new new premium tier that allows OnePlus to use more premium materials and introduce new innovations without alienating existing users.
The OnePlus 7 remains the natural successor to the existing 6T.
Despite it being a big step up, the new OnePlus 7 Pro starts at just £649, which is considerably less than other flagships, especially one with minuscule bezels and a massive 6.67-inch quad-HD, curved, AMOLED display that looks stunning.
A lot of the media was up in arms at the rumours that pricing was going to rocket (with some suggestions of £1000 retail prices or more), but the OnePlus 7, with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, will retail at £499 – the exact same price as the existing 6T with the same RAM and storage was at launch (it’s expected the 6T will now fall in price).
OnePlus started off by reiterating how important the OnePlus community has been in helping with the design and software features seen on the new products, with further updates to come with a new version of Oxygen OS that will incorporate a significant number of redesigns.
OnePlus was arguably the first manufacturer to build and support a community that help lead the direction of the company, as well as acting as ambassadors for the brand.
With today’s launch, there’s no change in that strategy and in the coming days the company will have a series of pop-up events around Europe to allow people to get hands-on with the new phone and accessories, and of course buy them.
On the 17th May, the most significant event will be at John Lewis, Oxford Street, London. Its roof garden will be opened up, with access via its Old Cavendish Street entrance open from midday.
OnePlus 7 Pro
The jewel in the crown is the new OnePlus 7 Pro, which comes as a standard 4G model (prices starting from £649) and a 5G variant that will come later in the year, exclusive to EE at first.
A price for the 5G version, which has been massively re-engineered inside to integrate new antennas, is not yet announced but my personal guess (with no confirmation or denial from OnePlus) would be a surcharge of around £100, going by other 5G handset pricing.
The first thing you’ll obviously notice about the OnePlus 7 Pro is that screen. It’s a massive 6.67-inches, with a totally uninterrupted display (and smooth curves around the edges), thanks to the use of a motorised pop-up selfie camera. It makes the phone look, and feel, amazing.
It’s the first curved display OnePlus has put on a phone, and it’s also the first phone with a 90Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ support, plus a DisplayMate A+ rating for colour accuracy. It’s all protected by GorillaGlass 5.
The resolution of 1440×3120 pixels makes for a cool 516 pixels-per-inch.
The bezels are exceptionally small, measuring 1.8mm at the top (that’s 0.45mm off the top of the 6T), 1.7mm left and right (0.17mm less than the 6T), and 3.2mm at the base (1.1mm off the 6T).
This all makes for a 88.6% screen-to-body ratio, and if that sounds like less than rival phones, OnePlus pointed out it only counts the actual ‘pressable’ area of a display in its data. Oh, and there’s palm rejection support here too, given how small those bezels are.
Finally, the screen includes a new in-glass fingerprint sensor that is now able to recognise a fingerprint in just 0.24 seconds, compared to 0.4 seconds on the OnePlus 6T. The optical sensor is 36% bigger than its predecessor to improve recognition accuracy.
If OnePlus is proud of its display, the same can certainly be said for the new cameras in the OnePlus 7 Pro.
Sporting three cameras on the rear, as well as that pop-up 16-megapixel selfie camera, the 7 Pro has just about everything covered, along with new camera software to get the most from all of these sensors.
On the back you have an ultra-wide sensor with 117 degree field of view (top), a standard camera (middle) and a 3x telephoto camera (bottom).
The specs of these are 16MP (f/2.2), 48MP (f/1.6) and 8MP (f/2.4) respectively. The main camera features OIS and EIS, while the telephoto camera has OIS. There’s also PDAF, CAF and laser focusing.
As standard, the 48-megapixel standard camera (a Sony IMX 586 sensor, as used in other handsets like the Honor View 20) will combine pixels to produce an overall 12-megapixel image, although full resolution shots can be saved in professional mode.
A new UltraShot mode, designed in-house by OnePlus engineers, utilises a special HDR+ mode that takes a single photo with four pixels capturing the image at different exposure levels at once, which are then combined for an overall 12-megapixel photo.
For low-light imaging, Nightscape 2.0 now allows handheld night shots to be taken in approximately two seconds.
And, finally, that selfie camera that pops up has been thoroughly tested to be as durable as possible, rated for a minimum of 300,000 activations (that’s over 150 uses every single day for over five years).
A gyroscope will automatically retract the camera if the phone is dropped, while an extra seal keeps dust and water out to prevent any damage to the camera mechanism and the phone itself.
Until I get my own review device I won’t be able to talk much more about the camera, but OnePlus did supply me with a number of photos taken on the phone which can be viewed below.
As with all previous OnePlus handsets, the latest and greatest chipset available at the time of production is always used – which is why the OnePlus fans always remain so loyal.
Naturally that means the OnePlus 7 Pro comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 SoC, along with a X50 5G modem on the 5G variant. Both versions are dual SIM.
RAM and storage options range from 6 to 12GB of RAM, and 128GB or 256GB of storage.
The phone will hold more apps in the background as it learns your usage, offering faster app-switching speeds. It also uses UFS 3.0 storage to further boost speed (some 9 times faster for read and write speeds than UFS 2.1 used previously).
Warp Charge is rated at 30W, with a charge of the internal 4,000mAh battery from 0% to 50% in just 20 minutes.
There’s no wireless charging for the new OnePlus models, but OnePlus does not rule out adding this in future models. It was felt that wireless charging is still too slow, and doesn’t fit in with what the company is offering today.
Fast charging via USB-C likely can negate the need for wireless charging, which for many chargers is limited to just 5W.
Warp charging uses the same technology as earlier OnePlus chargers, which allows rapid charging without generating heat within the phone itself. Therefore you can charge the phone without impacting on phone performance.
This allows you to play graphically intensive games while keeping the battery topped up at the same time.
Talking of gaming; there are a number of new features to excite gamers. The first is the introduction of screen recording, with the choice of capturing just the phone generated audio, or activating the microphone to add commentary. Video recording can be paused and resumed at any time.
This feature can of course be used for any purpose, not just gaming.
Two dedicated gaming modes are offered, with a standard game mode that will limit certain notifications and display select ones in a ticker-tape format, or a new Fnatic mode that shuts down all notifications and directs all power to the game in hand.
A 10 layer cooling system also seeks to keep the CPU and GPU working at maximum speed for as long as possible, thus reducing the impact of thermal throttling.
No distractions please
Turning off notifications isn’t just for gamers either, as OnePlus talked about a new feature that may well be one of the most exciting bits of news from the launch, given our increasing addiction to mobile devices, and the negative impact it can have on other aspects of our daily lives.
For times when you need to maintain maximum concentration on other tasks, and remove the temptation to pick up your phone, OnePlus has launched a Zen mode that shuts down all calls and notifications for 20 minutes.
The ‘killer app’ is that once activated, there is no way to change your mind. You can make emergency calls and take photos, but for that period of time all communications with the outside world will be severed.
It’s perhaps the ideal feature for procrastinators and arguably a great feature for all of society – if people actually dare use it.
This feature is seen as a bit of a test, and may adapt as time goes on. Initially there’s no way to extend or shorten the Zen period, for example. The OnePlus community, which played a part in its creation, will continue to add input and help see this feature develop.
Another new feature of the OnePlus 7 Pro is stereo sound, with Dolby Atmos support. A large grille at the top produces one channel, to accompany the other channel from a speaker on the base of the phone (now on the right-hand side so as to be better positioned when the phone is in a landscape orientation).
Three colours will be available, including mirror gray (a take on the classic mirror black colour of earlier models), nebula blue (with a matte gradient, and also the colour for the top-spec 12GB/256GB variant), plus almond (with a glossy finish, launching slightly later in June).
Every phone comes with a clear plastic case, while OnePlus will offer a range of protective cases to purchase separately too.
With the same retail price for the OnePlus 7 as the existing 6T (when launched), a lot of what’s on the 7 Pro is present on the standard 7 too.
That means you still get the Snapdragon 855 chipset with UFS 3.0 storage, an improved in-glass fingerprint sensor, the same 16-megapixel selfie camera (but within the front display, which utilises the same ‘teardrop’ notch as the 6T and is in fact the same screen as the 6T), and the 48-megapixel Sony camera that’s this time coupled with a secondary depth camera for portrait modes.
This does mean there’s no wide angle or telephoto cameras, but there’s still the UltraShot support with HDR+ super resolution.
Other software features like Zen mode and the gaming mode (but not the Fnatic mode) are present, along with screen recording and the RAM boost mode that keeps apps loaded as much as possible to aid fast app-switching.
OnePlus knows that some fans will upgrade to every single new phone, including the intermediate ‘T’ models, but that’s a small percentage of the overall sales and the OnePlus 7 is aimed primarily at users of older OnePlus 5 and 5T users, or even 3 and 3T users, looking to upgrade.
The OnePlus 7 will come in mirror gray only, at least to begin with.
Pricing & Availability
OnePlus is about pricing things fairly, and the company would rather not use the word ‘affordable’ as it creates an impression that the brand is below that of its rivals. OnePlus wants to be seen as an equal amongst the Apple’s, Samsung’s and Huawei’s of the world.
Clearly the OnePlus 7 Pro has the specifications to take on the flagship handsets, and its pricing gives the company a major advantage for those looking for
an affordable the best value proposition.
As the company seeks to invest more in software and hardware R&D, prices may have to rise as time goes on, but the company insists it won’t just increase prices unnecessarily.
As seen with the OnePlus 7 pricing, the company has been able to switch components without adding extra cost.
This is what OnePlus wants to do whenever possible. Creating an all-new tier of phones within the Pro line allows OnePlus to produce something more special without alienating the mainstream OnePlus users and fans that may not wish to lay out more money.
The full pricing and availability can be seen below.
|OnePlus 7 Pro||6GB RAM, 128GB ROM||Mirror Gray||£649||21st May|
|OnePlus 7 Pro||8GB RAM, 256GB ROM||Mirror Gray||£699||21st May|
|OnePlus 7 Pro||8GB RAM, 256GB ROM||Almond||£699||June|
|OnePlus 7 Pro||8GB RAM, 256GB ROM||Nebula Blue||£699||21st May|
|OnePlus 7 Pro||12GB RAM, 256GB ROM||Nebula Blue||£799||21st May|
|OnePlus 7||6GB RAM, 128GB ROM||Mirror Gray||£499||June|
|OnePlus 7||8GB RAM, 256GB ROM||Mirror Gray||£549||June|
|OnePlus 7 Pro 5G||TBA||TBA||TBA||Coming soon|
Bullets Wireless 2
After the OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus 7 Pro 5G and the OnePlus 7 announcements comes the new Bullets Wireless 2 earphones.
A new design makes for a sleeker in-ear speaker, and the magnetic connection control has been enhanced so that you can now pause by putting the earphones together (rather than completely turning it off).
There’s also a USB-C charging connector this time around, along with aptX HD support and Bluetooth 5.
The battery now runs for 14 hours, with a 10 minute charge able to get you 10 hours usage.
The button on the cable is now a quick-switching button, with a double tap switching between the two most recently connected devices. This makes it easier than ever to have the earphones paired to a phone and tablet or laptop.
The Bullets Wireless 2 go on sale May 21st with a retail price of £99.
More info: OnePlus