The Pro and 5G OnePlus phones might be stealing all the headlines this year, but for those on a stricter budget, the regular OnePlus 7 is still well worth considering.

OnePlus has chosen not to bump up the price – it’s still £499 for the base model – and yet it’s still managed to squeeze in some significant upgrades to ensure the phone stays relevant in 2019. It’s an attractive buy to consumers facing increasing choice in this price bracket.

READ NEXT: OnePlus 7 Pro review – a work in progress

OnePlus 7 hands-on: Specifications, price and release date

  • 6.4in, 1,080 x 2,340 notched AMOLED display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor
  • Adreno 640 graphics
  • 6/8GB of RAM
  • 128/256GB of UFS 3 storage
  • Dual rear camera: 48MP, f/1.7 and 20MP, f/1/7 secondary depth-sensing camera
  • Colours: mirror grey
  • Price: £499 (6GB/128GB); £549 (8GB/256GB)
  • Release date: June 2019

OnePlus 7 hands-on: Key features and first impressions

The first thing to note is that, physically, there’s no difference between the OnePlus 7 and its predecessor, the OnePlus 6T. The screen is the same size and resolution (6.4in and 1,080 x 2,340) and it has the same size and shape of notch housing the front-facing camera. The chassis is identical, too, as is the positioning of all the buttons and SIM card slot. Even the battery is the same size as the 6T’s – that’s 3,700mAh – and, as ever, OnePlus hasn’t given this phone an IP rating for dust and water resistance.

This news isn’t necessarily all bad – the 6T wasn’t exactly ugly – but it does mean the screen is flat all the way to the edges, lacking the dramatic curve of the OnePlus 7 Pro. And purchasers of the OnePlus 7 might well experience some degree of phone envy when they see the new Pro’s “indigo blue” and “almond” colours, as those colourways will not be coming to the smaller phone. Alas, the OnePlus 7 will only be available in mirror grey.

Secretly, though, anyone who decides to stick with the OnePlus 7 will be feeling smug that they’ve scored the better bargain of the two phones. That’s mainly because it’s £150 cheaper but also because, inside, the 7 employs exactly the same core hardware as the OnePlus 7 Pro: a Qualcomm Snapdragon 855, Adreno 640 graphics chip and either 6GB and 128GB of storage or 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

I haven’t had the chance to use the OnePlus 7 or test it properly yet, but I’d expect this setup to perform just as well as the Xiaomi Mi 9, a phone that not only has the Snapdragon 855 chipset inside but also has a display the same size and resolution.

OnePlus hasn’t left the camera out of the equation, either. That’s another area that sees a significant upgrade, with exactly the same 48-megapixel primary camera as the OnePlus 7 Pro. You’re missing out on the ultra-wide and 3x telephoto cameras here, though (the secondary 20-megapixel, f/1.7 camera is only used for depth-sensing duties), but in large part the photographs it produces should look the same as they do on the more expensive OnePlus 7 Pro.

That may or may not be a good thing considering the issues I’ve so far had with the 48-megapixel mode on the OnePlus 7 Pro, though. Although its 12-pixel downscaled images are absolutely fine, its full-resolution, 48-megapixel images look hugely overprocessed to my eyes and severely lacking in detail compared with rivals like the Huawei P30.

Given that the OnePlus 7 will be launched at least two weeks later than its bigger brother, however, that does give the firm’s software engineers a touch more time to address those issues in the form of a software fix.

OnePlus 7 hands-on: Early verdict

Despite this, and the fact that OnePlus hasn’t updated the physical design of the phone, it still has all the credentials to compete with the best-value phones on the market.

It costs a smidgen less than £500, includes the fastest mobile phone chipset around and OnePlus has improved the camera specifications this time around as well.

Whether or not that will be enough for the OnePlus 7 to continue the company’s reign as undisputed value-smartphone champion remains to be seen, however, now that other manufacturers, particularly Xiaomi, have muscled in so strongly on its territory. We await our review sample with keen anticipation.



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