OnePlus 7 first impressions: a powerful flagship that won’t break the bank

At last night’s OnePlus launch event, the company simultaneously unveiled two flagship phones for the first time – the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro. While the latter stole the limelight thanks to features like a pop-up selfie camera, triple rear cameras and 90Hz QHD display, the OnePlus 7 seemed a more sedate option, with a design almost identical to the 6T. That is, until OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei revealed the price. At a starting price of Rs 32,999, it’s priced even lower than the 6T at launch, making it an excellent choice for those who want a flagship experience without breaking the bank.

Despite borrowing its design cues from the 6T, the OnePlus 7 is a truly gorgeous phone. It comes in two colours, Mirror Gray and Red, but the latter is available only in the higher configuration 8GB + 256GB variant. The Red variant is a sight to behold – the colour is unique, reflecting different shades depending on the light. And while the glossy finish attracts a ton of fingerprints, putting a case on this phone would be a crime. The front of the phone is almost entirely dominated by a 6.41-inch Optic AMOLED display with deep, rich colours. You get full HD+ resolution, with text and icons appearing crisp. There’s also Gorilla Glass protection, but the version is unspecified. Apart from a small dewdrop notch on top for the front camera, the phone otherwise adopts a full screen design, with thin bezels all around.

Coming to the ports and buttons, you get the power button and alert slider on the right, along with the volume rocker and ejectable SIM card tray (dual nano-SIM) on the left. The bottom edge houses the USB Type-C port and dual stereo speakers. There’s no 3.5mm audio jack, so you’ll have to rely on Type-C or Bluetooth headphones. The inbuilt speakers come with Dolby Atmos audio. On the back panel, you have vertically aligned dual cameras and an LED flash, followed by the OnePlus logo. The OnePlus 7 makes use of an in-display fingerprint sensor, and offers the option of face unlock as well.

Speaking of the cameras, you get a primary 48MP Sony IMX 586 sensor with f/1.7 aperture, OIS, EIS and PDAF. The camera uses 4-in-1 pixel binning to effectively output 12MP photos. The secondary camera is a 5MP depth sensor that allows you to capture portrait shots. The front camera is a 16MP sensor with both HDR and portrait mode.

Powering the OnePlus 7 is the same Snapdragon 855 chipset as the Pro version. You get two variants – 6GB RAM + 128GB storage and 8GB RAM + 256GB storage. As usual, there’s no microSD card to expand the storage further. However, you do get UFS 3.0 storage, which translates to faster read/write speeds when transferring files between your phone and PC. The battery is a 3,700mAh unit, and comes with Fast Charge. It seems that OnePlus is forgoing its Dash Charge nomenclature, although the charging speeds remain the same, at 20W (5V/4A).

Despite the flaunt factor of the OnePlus 7 Pro, in India’s price conscious market, the OnePlus 7 is likely to be the more popular option. Even without the frills of its Pro sibling, it’s still a solid flagship, and one that’s well worth the asking price.

Ketaki Bhojnagarwala

Ketaki has over 10 years experience writing on tech, having worked at the Hindu Business Line and 91mobiles earlier. When she's not editing copies or reviewing the latest gadgets, she spends her time binge-watching Netflix and reading fantasy fiction.