What we've learned about the OnePlus 7 from the OnePlus 5G prototype

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Image Credit: TechRadar

Smartphone manufacturer OnePlus isn't making any announcements at MWC 2019 in Barcelona, Spain, but it did have a presence in the form of a 5G prototype handset.

In a recent interview with USA Today, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau revealed some details about the firm's first 5G phone – which could be called the OnePlus 7 – including the fact it'll run a Snapdragon 855 chipset and X50 modem – the latter of which is key to providing 5G connectivity.

Lau also confirmed that OnePlus would be making a 4G LTE variant of the same device (mainly for the US market), with minimal differences between the two.

We went to check out the prototype 5G device, housed in a sizable case to protect its identity, to see what it could tell us about the OnePlus 7.

We grabbed some footage of the prototype device in action, check it out below:

Big screen and no notch?

While the case the OnePlus 5G phone is in doesn't show any of the handset's body, one thing is clear: the screen here is tall.

It looks to be a 21:9 aspect ratio display, which we've just seen on the new Sony Xperia 1, which makes it a great display for movie watching.

We wanted to make sure though, so we've measured the display and can confirm the screen we saw is indeed 21:9, as you can see in the image below.

Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar

There also doesn't appear to be a notch, which means we could get an uninterrupted view, although we were unable to tell if the device will have bezels above and below the display.

The OnePlus 6 and 6T have reduced bezel size with just a slender chin below the display, and we hope OnePlus can continue this design with the OnePlus 7.

However, if it does continue with a no-notch and slender bezel approach it raises the question as to where the front facing camera will be housed. 

Perhaps it may have a mechanically raising snapper like the Find X from sister company Oppo, or perhaps the screen will slide down to reveal a camera, similar to the Xiaomi Mi Mix 3. Or maybe it'll come up with a whole new way to solve the problem. We'll have to wait and see.

Time to move on from Full HD

Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar

Every OnePlus handset to date has featured a Full HD resolution, and while this has been good enough for a number of years there's increasing demand for higher resolution displays on our phones.

However, there could be some good news for OnePlus fans. We played Ace Combat 7 on the prototype device (using a wireless Xbox controller, and we weren't allowed to take the phone out from behind the glass) and on closer inspection of the display the quality looked impressive.

We held up our Galaxy S10 Plus alongside (with QHD+ resolution enabled) and there wasn't a noticeable difference in quality between the two – although we weren't able to do a full side-by-side comparison.

Another highlight for us was the smoothness of the gameplay, as we flew through the air, firing missiles at targets. There's a chance OnePlus may have upped the refresh rate of the screen here as well.

It's also worth noting that the game only had 20MB of data installed on the handset, with the rest of the content streamed over 5G, with no lag or latency issues experienced during our time with it. 

All of this, of course, could well change before we see the launch of the OnePlus 7, but considering the lengths the firm has gone to in protecting the design of the device, it suggests it's a near final build.

MWC (Mobile World Congress) is the world's largest showcase for the mobile industry, stuffed full of the newest phones, tablets, wearables and more. TechRadar is reporting live from Barcelona all week to bring you the very latest from the show floor. Head to our dedicated MWC 2019 hub to see all the new releases, along with TechRadar's world-class analysis and buying advice about your next phone.