Like clockwork, the Pro follows the budget model; but strangely, even the “budget” model for OnePlus is slowly creeping up to premium budget and the 7T Pro here is truly and well into high-end category.
So, it has a lot to live up to, given that it has both T and Pro in its name!
Pick up the 7T Pro and you instantly know this is going to be playing with the big boys for your pocket space. Think iPhone 11 Pro Max, Huawei P30 Pro and Samsung Galaxy Note 10+. With its massive 6.67in screen that gently curves around the edges using a Corning 3D glass, it is quite a substantial piece of kit. The build quality and the frosted finish around the back is exquisite with a clean design that holds up well even after almost a year.
Resolution is still QHD+, which means you get a very high 516ppi for sharp pictures and sharper text, but even with 1000nits it’s not as bright as it should be. Compared to the iPhone 11 Pro, it struggles to convey all the colours and dynamic range while viewing pictures under the sun.
Turn on the screen and the swirling cloud graphic brings the Fluid AMOLED screen to life and if you have the face unlock feature on, the pop-up cam will do a quick take and is only a millisecond slower than the in-screen fingerprint reader. Both work equally well, the face unlock works even in the dark now. The natural tendency of the screen is bent towards the bluish tones so you will have to calibrate it to your preference. I selected that P3 colour space under the Advanced menu and left the toggle halfway between cool and warm.
The 90Hz refresh rate, as we’ve seen on the OnePlus 7T, works just as brilliantly while spending time on scroll-heavy apps or websites. Instagram, Flipboard, Facebook etc are great examples to try it out on and feel the difference. Even compared to iOS and on the iPhone 11 Pro, things just look a tad bit smoother on the OP 7T Pro and that’s saying something! What could do with an update is the palm rejection algorithm which prevents you from using any controls situated on the top left of the screen with one hand. Your palm will inadvertently be resting on the lower right edge of the screen, preventing from any other input at the same time. But the instances of this happening are few, so it shouldn’t be bothersome for most people on most apps.
The camera system is similar to the recently updated OnePlus 7T. The triple cam system uses a 48MP wide, 16MP ultra-wide and an 8MP telephoto with 3X optical zoom and optical image stabilisation too. The Nightscape mode works in ultra-wide and wide mode only though, but when implemented, it returns some very impressive results for its price. Compared to the Pixel 3, Samsung Note 10+ and iPhone 11 Pro, it holds its own and since all of them use computational photography, it’s hard to tell which one is the best in a given environment, the OP 7T Pro looks credible, real and avoids overexposing the image to the extent of making it look fake. The UltraShot engine, that is the in-house developed AI by OnePlus, optimises the dynamic range, aperture and other parameters to give you the desired result.
Portrait mode is available for objects too now using the normal or telephoto cams, and while it works as advertised, there’s no focal length adjustment in post through the app. There is enough detail and edge definition to the portrait pictures in full-screen mode, but zoom in or transfer to a bigger screen and the blurring around some of the edges and noise does show up. But again, considering the price point, this is an impressive achievement by a brand that aspires to disrupt the ultra-premium segment.
Macro mode fares really well and you can get real close to your subjects to showcase texture and subtle highlights if you will. There is no dedicated Macro mode as such so you just get close and hope it focuses which sometimes can take longer than it should, until you move back a centimeter or two. Once captured, it displays great detail and sharpness, but the Huawei P30 Pro has it beat in terms of sheer distance and focusing lock speed.
The front facing cam offers options such as Nightscape and Portrait mode too and they work alright. Zooming in to the primary subject reveals lack of detail or texture on the skin, but if you take selfies using Beauty mode for social media, you’ll probably love it.
The advantage of the pop-up cam is legit though. The super immersive screen is great for catching up on Mindhunter episodes and the sound has been improved too. The Dolby Atmos tuning seems to have paid dividends in separation and intelligibility of vocals. It’s slightly harsh and tinny, but it does get plenty loud to avoid using headphones if you’re in a room alone and you can get by an entire episode without wondering that the dialogue was. The stereo speakers are great for gaming too, as is the Fnatic mode which blocks notifications and allots all available power and performance resources to gaming.
OnePlus has also improved the haptic feedback from the screen and now it’s more subtle and real feeling like Apple does with its Taptic Engine.
With a lot of great things going for it, the OnePlus 7T Pro is hard not to recommend. But the 7T which debuted less than a month ago makes a better value proposition if you don’t want the extra-large screen, pop-up cam and some of the perks of a flagship device. The same Qualcomm 855+ processor, Warp 30 fast charge, Zen mode and Reading modes, similar cams except the OIS on the telephoto and almost similar battery life, the 7T makes a much stronger case for itself for the price-conscious buyer.
But of course, if you want the best that OnePlus has to offer, wait for the Mclaren edition of the 7T Pro to make a real splash!