The $669 OnePlus 7 Pro makes the $1,000 iPhones and Galaxies look overpriced

OnePlus's new handset is tricked out with up to 12GB of RAM, a triple camera system, a giant gorgeous display, and a pop-up cam.

In case you couldn’t tell by the specs, OnePlus has given its new phone a surname to drive home just how much different it is. From the design and display to the camera, the OnePlus 7 Pro brings a whole lot more than the usual processor refresh to keep pace with the highest-end Android flagships.

To emphasize the point even further, OnePlus isn’t releasing a non-pro version of the 7. As such, OnePlus will continue to sell two variants of the 6T “for users looking for a premium flagship experience” at a $30 cut, bringing the 128GB model down to $549 and the 256GB version to $599. 

The OnePlus 7 Pro with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage starts at $669. Yes, that’s $120 more than the entry-level OnePlus 6T (after today’s $30 price cut) and within shouting distance of the $740 iPhone XR and Galaxy S10e. But it’s difficult to find much fault with this much phone at less than $700.

Where the OnePlus 6T has a small notch in the center of the screen, the 7 Pro has none. Nor does it have a hole. Or much of a bezel. So where does OnePlus hide its 16MP front camera? Inside a mechanism that slides out of the top edge when needed. We’ve seen similar implementations from the likes of Vivo and Oppo, but the OnePlus 7 Pro is the first U.S. phone to feature a pop-up camera, and it’s certainly a fun, unique feature—the kind of cool tech you’d expect from Apple or Samsung.

op7 pop up cam Michael Simon/IDG

When you want to take a selfie, the OnePlus 7 Pro’s camera will rise out of the top edge.

But the front camera isn’t what makes the OnePlus 7 a “pro” phone. Far from it. The specs in this phone are about as good as you’re going to find in any smartphone, even ones that cost twice as much:

  • Display: 6.67-inch 3120 x 1440 Fluid OLED, 516ppi
  • Processor: Snapdragon 855
  • RAM: 6GB/8GB/12GB
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB
  • Battery: 4,000mAh
  • Colors: Nebula Blue, Mirror Gray, Almond

Three cameras are better than two

My full review of the OnePlus 7 Pro will be arriving later this week, but it already makes a strong first impression. Yes, it’s big, but the ultra-skinny bezels and curved edges keep the size quite manageable. The display is simply stunning, on par with the $1,000 handsets from Samsung and Apple. And it’s got one trick those other phones don’t have: a 90Hz refresh rate, so animations and gestures feel smoother and speedier than a normal 60Hz screen.

The OnePlus 7 is crazy-fast even when you’re not moving things around the screen. I’ve used a couple of phones with Snapdragon 855 processors, and the OnePlus 7 feels the fastest, thanks to the oodles of RAM and Oxygen OS, which continues to be among the best Android skins. It’s clean, minimal and intuitive, and includes all of the latest Android Pie features, including gesture navigation and Digital Wellbeing.

op7 blue Michael Simon/IDG

The OnePlus 7 Pro looks stunning in Nebula Blue, but you won’t find wireless charging inside.

And the there’s the camera. Cameras have been a bone of contention among OnePlus phones since their debut, but the OnePlus 7 seriously ups the game with its first triple-camera setup. Check out the specs:

  • Main: 48MP, f/1.6, 1.6 μm, OIS/EIS
  • Telephoto: 8MP, f/2.4, 1.0 μm, OIS
  • Ultra wide: 16MP, f/2.2, 117 degree FOV

That’s some serious firepower for a sub-$700 phone and a massive spec upgrade from the 6T’s dual-camera setup:

  • Main: 16MP, f/1.7, 1.22 μm, OIS/EIS
  • Secondary: 20MP, f/1.7 1.0 μm

I’m still running camera tests and we’ll eventually pit the 7 Pro against the current Last Cam Standing champ, the iPhone XS. For now I can share the OnePlus 7 Pro definitely improves upon the 6T in normal shooting, but it’s not the kind of boost you’d expect. And the Pixel’s single camera consistently snapped better photos without breaking a sweat.

op7 photo compare Michael Simon/IDG

The OnePlus 7 Pro (left) captured more accurate colors adn detail than the 6T (center), but the Pixel 3 XL (right) still beat them both.

Even if it isn’t technically superior to its higher-priced peers, however, the addition of 3x zoom and an ultra-wide lens give the OnePlus 7 Pro an advantage, and I certainly enjoyed shooting with it. And OnePlus’s camera app is one of the best in the business, with excellent manual controls and customizations.

Features still missing in action

If you were hoping the OnePlus 7 added back the headphone jack or comes with wireless charging and IP-rated water resistance, you’re going to be disappointed.

The 7 Pro relies on OnePlus’s Warp 30 charging, which will fill up a fully drained 7 Pro to a 50 percent charge in just 20 minutes. That’s impressive for sure, but wireless charging is still a glaring omission, especially for a “pro” phone.

To compensate for the lack of a headphone jack, OnePlus is selling the Bullets Wireless 2 bluetooth earbuds. OnePlus says they deliver 14 hours of playback and need just 10 minutes of charging time to deliver 10 hours of listening. That’s about twice as long as the previous generation, but at $99, the Bullets Wireless 2 are also $30 more expensive that the old model.

OnePlus has once again partnered with T-Mobile as the exclusive carrier for the 7 Pro, and will be selling a model with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for that is “optimized for the Un-carrier’s LTE network” for $699. T-Mobile customers can buy a 7 Pro beginning today, ahead of wider availability on Friday, May 17.