Hands on: OnePlus 7 review

No longer the number one OnePlus

What is a hands on review?
OnePlus 7
Image Credit: TechRadar

Early Verdict

The OnePlus 7 isn't an exciting phone, especially because it's launched alongside the OnePlus 7 Pro, but it takes everything that was great about last year's OnePlus phone and makes it that touch better.

For

  • Premium design
  • Lower price tag than competition

Against

  • Still has a notch
  • Limited upgrade

For the first time in its short history, OnePlus has just announced two new phones at the same time – and while usually we'd expect the OnePlus 7 to be a major upgrade, it feels like a lesser phone thanks to the arrival of the OnePlus 7 Pro alongside it.

That doesn't mean the OnePlus 7 isn’t a top-end phone – OnePlus is still marketing it as a premium handset, while it’s pitching the Pro as an ‘ultra-premium’ device for those who want all of the best features available, and are willing to pay for them.

We've had a short amount of time with the OnePlus 7, and we've put together our thoughts here, so that you can get a clear picture of whether it's the 2019 OnePlus for you.

OnePlus 7 price and release date

OnePlus 7

There's no gurantee you'll be able to buy the OnePlus 7. The company has no plans to range the phone in the US, and instead it will be keeping the OnePlus 6T on sale alongside the OnePlus 7 Pro.

OnePlus will sell the phone in the UK, but you'll have to wait. It isn't set to land until June at the earliest, and we don't have an exact date for when it'll be launching. OnePlus previously hasn't brought its phones to Australia, and it seems that will continue to be the case for the OnePlus 7.

As for price, it'll cost £499 (about $640, AU$930) for the 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage version of the phone. If you want slightly higher spec with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage you'll be spending £549 (about $700, AU$1,000).

Design and display

Rather than opting for the design choices of the OnePlus 7 Pro, the company has kept to the look of the OnePlus 6T for its cheaper handset. That means there's a notch at the top of the phone, which some will probably feel looks a little dated – already.

It does look similar to what we've seen previously from the company, but it's not an unattractive look.

There's an in-screen fingerprint scanner here, which we haven't had the time to try out, but it's a feature we've tested before on the OnePlus 6T and found to work well.

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It allows the rear of the phone to be flush as well, without anything but the camera module at the top-center. 

There's still a silence slider on the side of the phone, which is a feature many like about OnePlus phones. This handset doesn't have an IP rating though, so you won't want to take it too close to the pool or it in the shower.

There's a 6.41-inch AMOLED display on the front of the phone with a 2340 x 1080 display. That's 402 pixels per inch, and in our brief time with the phone it looked good, although not as impactful as the display on the OnePlus 7 Pro. 

As well as being embedded in the screen, the fingerprint scanner on the OnePlus 7 is also larger than the one on the 6T, which makes it easy to hit with your digit. 

 The OnePlus 7 is only available in one color in Western markets: Mirror Gray. Those who live in China and India are also able to buy the phone in red, but there's currently no plan to bring that color to other countries. 

The OnePlus 7 also gets stereo speakers, which should allow for far better sound quality than we've experienced on previous devices from the company. We've yet to be able to try this out though.

OS and specs

The OnePlus 7 comes running Android 9 Pie out of the box, and you should expect the company to include the next few generations of updates for Google's software here too.

It's overlaid with OnePlus's Oxygen OS 9.5 skin, which is a cleaner user interface than a lot of other Android manufacturers offer.

It also comes with a few new features this time around, including something called Zen Mode, which allows you to timeout your phone for a period of 20 minutes, and a screen recording app.

Under the hood you'll find a top-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 chipset, which is what's powering a lot of the premium Android handsets we've seen launch this year already.

The OnePlus 7 comes in two RAM / storage configurations: 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage, or 8GB / 256GB There's no microSD card slot here, though, so whatever you opt for will be your limit in terms of storage.

Battery life and camera

We don't currently know how long the battery will last for on the OnePlus 7, but you can expect similar results to the OnePlus 6T, as the spec is largely the same.

We found that the 6T would last for over a day on a full charge, and there's 15W fast charging on offer here, with the necessary adapter included in the box.

OnePlus still hasn't included wireless charging on its phones, so you'll be using the USB-C slot at the bottom of the device for charging.

The camera setup is where the OnePlus 7 has improved noticeably over the 6T, with a 48MP sensor doing most of the heavy lifting. This is paired with a 5MP shooter that's used for bokeh effects in Portrait mode. 

On the front you'll find a 16MP selfie shooter that we found to work particularly well on the last OnePlus device so you can expect that to be the same on the next-gen phone too.

Early verdict

It's difficult to get excited about the OnePlus 7 when the OnePlus 7 Pro is out there offering lots of new features, but if you're looking for a solid and affordable handset that still offers a variety of top-end specs for a lower price it looks to be a great choice.

We'll have to test out features such as the camera, battery and its power further during our full review process, but with OnePlus keeping the price low this is another promising offering from the brand.

Image Credit: TechRadar

What is a hands on review?

Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.