The OnePlus 7 Pro is proof that you don't have to spend a lot of money for a smartphone - $600 buys you top-of-the-line specs

oneplus 7 proOnePlus/Instagram

  • We live in an age of skyrocketing phone prices. Gone are the days when the latest and greatest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy device ran from $700 to $800. Now prices run close to $1,000 or more.
  • There are exceptions, though, like the OnePlus 7 Pro (starting at $608), which offers almost everything you would expect from a flagship phone at a much lower price.
  • The OnePlus 7 Pro offers a beautiful design, excellent display, and top performance.

We live in an age of skyrocketing phone prices. Gone are the days when the latest and greatest iPhone or Samsung Galaxy device ran from $700 to $800. These days, you'll pay upwards of $1,000 - or more - for a flagship device. But there are a few holdouts to this trend, like the OnePlus 7 Pro.

OnePlus has long offered flagship-level phones at relatively affordable prices, and the OnePlus 7 Pro is no exception to that rule. With its beautiful edge-to-edge display, great camera, and excellent performance, there's no doubt that the OnePlus 7 Pro is one of the best phones of the year - and can even beat out some of its much more expensive competition.

Here's what makes the OnePlus 7 Pro such an incredible phone.

Design and display

2019 has been the year of the edge-to-edge display, and OnePlus has taken that trend and pushed it to an extreme. The bezels around the phone's display are razor-thin, and look even smaller thanks to the fluid, subtle curves on the two sides.

But the advantages to the slimmer bezels don't just come in the form of a more stylish design. With the slimmed-down bezels, OnePlus was able to cram a massive 6.67-inch display into a phone that still sits comfortably in my medium-large hands. It's around the same size as the iPhone XS Max and Samsung Galaxy Note 10, so if you're used to larger phones, you'll be perfectly happy with this one.

Speaking of the display, it's not just big. It looks incredible too. OnePlus has included an AMOLED display with a resolution of 3,120 x 1,440 pixels, and it's on par with much more expensive devices. Colors pop, and black levels are nice and deep. Watching content like David Attenborough's "Planet Earth 2" is an absolute joy, but even day-to-day use offers a better display experience than many other phones.

oneplus 7 pro designOnePlus

The display also has a refresh rate of a hefty 90Hz, and the difference between it and other great-looking 60Hz displays is immediately clear. In fact, after using the 90Hz display, it's hard to go back. Animations are buttery smooth, and the software simply feels a whole lot more responsive. I'm hoping 90Hz will become the standard on smartphones over the next year or so, but until then, the OnePlus 7 Pro is part of an exclusive club that includes only a few other phones.

Also in the display is an optical fingerprint sensor. It's not quite as secure as Samsung's ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, but it'll still be hard to trick, and it works super quickly.

Other design aspects of the phone are just as interesting. On the bottom of the phone, you'll find a USB-C port, bottom-firing speaker, and dual-SIM card slot, while the right side is home to a power button and a switch to set the phone to do not disturb and vibrate-only. On the top is a peculiar cutout, and you might not know what it's for until you open the camera app. Because of the full edge-to-edge display, OnePlus had to get creative with the placement of the front-facing camera, so it's now located in a mechanical pop-up camera that's fast, and in our limited experience, durable too. The camera immediately pops up when you open the camera app and flip to selfie mode, and quickly retracts when you're done.

On the back of the phone, you'll get a triple-camera array and a OnePlus logo. It's pretty nice-looking, and it's made even better by beautiful finishes like Nebula Blue.

Specs

  • 40 x 2.99 x 0.35 inches
  • 90 Hz 6.67-inch AMOLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
  • 6GB to 12GB of RAM
  • 128GB to 256GB of storage
  • Triple 48MP + 8MP + 16MP rear camera
  • Motorized 16MP front camera
  • 4,000mAh battery

Performance

oneplus 7 pro screen round 2OnePlus

The OnePlus 7 Pro isn't just stunningly designed - it's super high-performing too. The device boasts the latest flagship Qualcomm chip, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, coupled with either 6GB, 8GB, or a massive 12GB of RAM. The amount of RAM you get will correspond with storage too - the 6GB RAM model comes with 128GB of storage, while the other two models come with 256GB.

Safe to say, the OnePlus 7 Pro is an excellent performer. The device is able to handle day-to-day tasks with ease, so if you're someone who likes to multitask a lot, then the OnePlus 7 Pro will be more than up to it. I never felt like the phone was lagging behind, even when switching between multiple apps regularly.

That excellent performance extends to gaming too. OnePlus has been positioning the device as somewhat of a gaming phone, and it's easy to see why. Between the 90Hz display and the excellent specs, the phone is able to handle even high-performance mobile gaming.

Asphalt 9, which is a game known for being graphics-intensive, looked great and ran even better. Framerates never really dipped. ARK: Survival Evolved was a good experience, too, and while I've experienced crashes on the game on other phones, I didn't experience a crash once on this game. Fortnite was a little disappointing, but after doing some research, it looks like that has more to do with the way Fortnite is built rather than the phone itself.

The OnePlus 7 Pro even has a gaming mode, like previous OnePlus phones, and it blocks notifications and disables automatic dimming. There are other options too, and they're worth playing with if you use your phone for gaming a lot.

The OnePlus 7 Pro isn't just one of the best-performing phones out there, it's also one of the best gaming phones. Some gaming phones out there look like they're built for gamers, but it's nice to see that there's a gaming phone option for those who still want a sleek flagship-looking phone.

The battery life on the phone is good, but not amazing. It'll get you through a day of normal, and even heavy, use, but don't expect it to extend too far into the next day.

Software and camera

REAL oneplus 7 pro cameraOnePlus

The OnePlus 7 Pro ships with Android 9.0 Pie, so it's up to date with the latest and greatest version of Android. It's expected that OnePlus will update the device to Android 10 once the new operating system ships too. Generally speaking, the software here is easy to navigate and clean. OnePlus has put a lot of effort into developing OxygenOS, its Android skin, over the past few years, and while it's not quite stock Android, it is very clean and simple.

The camera on the phone is perhaps the worst thing about the device. And by that I mean that it's a great camera, but perhaps not quite as amazing as the likes of the Google Pixel 3, iPhone XS, and Samsung Galaxy Note 10. On the device, you'll get a 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens, a 48-megapixel main lens with optical image stabilization, and an 8-megapixel telephoto lens that allows for 3x optical zoom. The result is a relatively versatile camera that's able to produce colorful and vibrant shots. That's even true in relatively low light, thanks to the device's new Night Scape mode. The camera definitely produces better shots with more light, but you won't be stuck taking terrible photos at night. The front-facing camera is solid too. It offers clear, detailed selfies with natural tones.

The bottom line

The OnePlus 7 Pro is the flagship phone for those who don't want to pay flagship prices. Nearly everything about the phone puts it on par with phones in the $1,000 price range, save for a few missing features that more expensive phones usually offer. You won't, for example, find any wireless charging features here, which is a bit of a bummer. There's also no IP rating, so if you happen to drop your device in the bath, you're out of luck.

There really aren't any good alternatives to the OnePlus 7 Pro in this price range. Sure, you could keep saving up and spend a ton more cash, but unless you really need the best-of-the-best camera and wireless charging, why would you want to?

Pros: Beautiful design, stunning display, excellent performance, inexpensive

Cons: No wireless charging, no water-resistance, camera could be better

Buy the OnePlus 7 Pro (6GB RAM) on Amazon for $607.60

Buy the OnePlus 7 Pro (8GB RAM) on Best Buy for $740

Buy the OnePlus 7 Pro (12GB RAM) on Amazon for $899

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