OnePlus 7 Pro after one month review: It gets better with age

Almost a month ago, when OnePlus announced the OnePlus 7 Pro, it got rave reviews. Prior to its launch, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau told India Today Tech in an interview that with the OnePlus 7 Pro, the company wanted to do a proper flagship phone that delivers the classic yet matured OnePlus experience. The phone certainly delivers what its makers promised. Hence, we called it the near perfect OnePlus phone ever made.

Ever since the OnePlus 7 Pro was launched, I have been using it as my daily driver. The OnePlus 7 Pro has been in my pockets for almost a month now. I have made more than hundreds of hours of calls, endless texting, lots of gaming and some decent camera usage. I have lived through its niggles and witnessed all the updates that OnePlus has delivered so far. After one month, here’s how it fares as a flagship premium smartphone.

That display continues to impress every day

Even before the OnePlus 7 Pro launched, OnePlus announced that DisplayMate awarded its display with an A+ rating. While using it every day, you can feel why the A+ rating was given. The 6.65-inch Optic AMOLED screen produces vibrant colours, high contrasts and decent brightness levels. Since I like colours popping out on AMOLED screens, I adjusted the colour settings to my taste. There have been times where I ended up just looking at homescreen for a long while. The curved edges make it easy to reach the far ends of the display even while using it single-handedly.

However, what will spoil you the most is the 90Hz refresh rate. I was using the regular OnePlus 7 alongside for a few days and it was hard for my eyes to adjust to the 60Hz refresh rate on its display. The difference may not be visible at first glance but as you start living with it, you will get used to the 90Hz screen. It makes every other smartphone screen look laggy.

Looks elegant but still is a heavy phone

With the OnePlus 7 Pro, OnePlus has pushed its design boundaries. This is a phone that challenges the beautiful Samsung Galaxy S10 and Apple iPhone XS in terms of presence. Whether you love it or hate it, curved edge screens certainly enhance the looks of a phone and on the OnePlus 7 Pro, it works very well to minimize the bezels. Often while watching YouTube videos in fullscreen or playing games for long, I often ended up getting confused about which side is the top and bottom. The screen has almost uniform bezels all around. I wish the OnePlus 7 Pro was a slightly lighter though – it starts getting uncomfortable while you are using the phone while lying down on a bed or sofa.

The Nebula Blue variant I have been using has a matte finish and in the real world, it attracts smudges as well as dust – I had to keep wiping it occasionally to maintain its shine. The Almond variant offers more elegant aesthetics and the gloss finish does help in enhancing in-hand grip (not so when you keep it on sofas or cloth surfaces).

The cameras now deserve the DxOMark score of 111

During its launch, OnePlus proclaimed that DxOMark awarded its cameras with a very high score of 111. The critics, however, found the performance lacking some areas. OnePlus later confirmed that they didn’t launch the phone with the same camera software that DxOMark used for testing. As promised, the update is out now and it makes a lot of difference to the camera performance – in a positive way.

The rear camera in the auto mode now does a spectacular job at taking photos in almost any lighting conditions. With an improved dynamic range, photos contain a wider array of colours while the contrast is tastefully balanced. Exposure management is quite good too. Photos also have lots of details than before. In low light, noise is suppressed quite well while the colours are enhanced to make it look good. You are still not getting natural colour tones but the results are impressive and you can use photos shot at night on Instagram without much editing.

OnePlus says it has made improvements to Nightscape but I rather prefer leaving the camera on the default auto mode in those tricky night photos to get clear and more natural looking photos. Both the telephoto and wide-angle modes also offer slightly better colours and better low-light performance. However, I would advise sticking to the main camera for getting the best results at night.

The front camera now also offers much better results than before. Selfies contain lots of details and the images are very sharp, even in low light or artificial indoor lighting.

Overall, the camera performance seems to justify the DxOMark score of 111. In fact, it’s very close to the Google Pixel 3’s camera.

Of course, it’s still fast and fluid – It’s a OnePlus

If you have ever used a OnePlus smartphone previously, you know that performance is never an issue. In my short course of usage, the OnePlus 7 Pro is still buttery smooth even after a month. Oxygen OS has only gotten better with subsequent updates and the overall experience is so smooth that it encourages you to multitask with more apps on the move.

The clever optimization has also improved the battery life marginally – the 4000mAh battery can now easily more than a day under moderate usage. OnePlus has tuned Oxygen OS on the OnePlus 7 Pro to take advantage of the improved vibration motor and, trust me, on an everyday basis, the subtle vibrations on every single activity make you want to use the phone even more.

Is the OnePlus 7 Pro worthy of its premium price now?

Living with the OnePlus 7 Pro for almost a month has made me realize that more than just gimmicks, it’s the user experience that matters overall for a premium flagship smartphone. OnePlus as always has focused primarily on nailing the user experience instead of stuffing unnecessary features to draw attention. The cameras are really good now – on par with the best in the business. With all the updates it has received so far, the OnePlus 7 Pro goes up on my list as an absolutely recommended flagship, faring better than the similarly priced Samsung Galaxy S10e and Apple iPhone XR. If you had reservations before splurging close to Rs 50,000 on a OnePlus 7 Pro, be assured that this phone will be worth every penny you invested in it.

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