OnePlus 7T Pro Review – More of the same, but hampered by software

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Earlier this year, our Editor-in-Chief, Mishaal crowned the OnePlus 7 Pro as his favorite smartphone of 2019 shortly after its launch, a high bar to reach for any smartphone manufacturer. A combination of incredible specs, a fantastic display, and a reasonable price meant that the OnePlus 7 Pro caught the eye of many. An argument can be made that buying a smartphone without a headphone jack, wireless charging, IP rating, notification light or a world-class camera for the starting cost of $669 is the very definition of “settling”, but I disagree. Lacking in some features does not take away from the other features that OnePlus has introduced over its last few smartphone iterations. Now we’re on to the OnePlus 7T Pro – and I hate to break it to you, but it’s pretty much just more of the same.

The OnePlus 7T Pro was likely never going to be all that much greater than its predecessor. Where can OnePlus even go from there? The advent of the OnePlus 3T saw the introduction of the Snapdragon 821, the OnePlus 5T saw a much bigger screen, and the OnePlus 6T saw a smaller notch and a bigger battery. I guess the OnePlus 7T Pro could have gone on to add a much-requested feature such as wireless charging, but it doesn’t appear that’s happening any time soon. Assuming OnePlus didn’t go for wireless charging, the only obvious spec upgrade they can make is the inclusion of a Snapdragon 855 Plus over the regular 855 – which they did. The OnePlus 7T Pro also has the added benefit of sporting the software improvements that the company made to the OnePlus 7 Pro over the past 6 or so months. How does it stack up?

About this review: I received the Haze Blue OnePlus 7T Pro (8GB RAM + 256GB storage) from OnePlus on September 30th, 2019. I have used the device as my daily driver since receiving it. OnePlus is a sponsor of XDA, but they did not have any input on the content of this review.

OnePlus 7T Pro: Device Specifications

Category Specification Category Specification
Dimensions & Weight
  • 162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8 mm
  • 206 g
RAM 8GB/12GB (only in McLaren edition) LPDDR4X
Design & Colors
  • All-Glass (Corning Gorilla Glass 5)
  • Haze Blue
Storage 128GB/256GB UFS 3.0 Dual-Lane
Display
  • 6.67-inch AMOLED display
  • 3120×1440 (19.5:9)
  • 90 Hz Refresh Rate
  • Supports sRGB and DCI-P3.
Battery 4,025 mAh (non-removable)
Camera (Image)
  • Front: Sony IMX 471 (16MP, f/2.0, 1.0μm) with EIS
  • Rear (Primary): Sony IMX 586 (48MP, f/1.6, 1.6μm) with OIS and EIS
  • Rear (Telephoto for 3x optical zoom): 8MP, f/2.4, 1.0μm, with OIS
  • Rear (Wide-angle): 16MP, f/2.2, 117°
  • Dual LED Flash
  • PDAF, LAF, CAF
Charging Warp Charge 30T (5V 6A)
Camera (Video) Ports
  • USB 3.1 Type-C
  • Dual nano-SIM slot
Software Android 10-based OxygenOS 10 Audio
  • Dual stereo speakers
  • Audio tuned by Dolby Atmos
System-on-chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus CPU:

  • 1x 2.84GHz Kryo 485 +
  • 3x 2.42GHz Kryo 485 +
  • 4x 1.8GHz Kryo 385

Adreno 640 GPU

Multimedia Codec Support
  • Audio Playback: MP3, AAC, AAC+, WMA, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, WAV, FLAC, APE, OGG, MID, M4A, IMY, AC3, EAC3, EAC3-JOC, AC4
  • Audio Recording: WAV, AAC, AMR
  • Video Playback: MKV, MOV, MP4, H.265(HEVC), AVI, WMV, TS, 3GP, FLV, WEBM
  • Video Recording: MP4
  • Image Viewing: JPEG, PNG, BMP, GIF
  • Image Output: JPEG, PNG

OnePlus 7T Pro connectivity and LTE band information

Category Specification
Connectivity Wi-Fi: 2×2 MIMO, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4GHz/5GHz

Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0, with Qualcomm aptX, aptX HD support, LDAC and AAC

NFC: Yes

Positioning: GPS(L1+L5 dual-band), GLONASS, BeiDou, Galileo(E1+E5a dual-band), SBAS, A-GPS

LTE Features Supports 5xCA & 4x4MIMO.

Supports up to DL CAT18 (1.2Gbps)/UL CAT13 (150Mbps) depending on carrier.

LTE Bands – CN/IN/EN

FDD LTE: B1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/13/17/18/19/20/25/ 26/28/29/32/66

TDD-LTE: B34/38/39/40/41

TDS: B34/39

UMTS: B1/2/4/5/8/9/19

CDMA: BC0/BC1

GSM: B2/3/5/8


Hardware and build quality

I’m absolutely in love with the Haze Blue OnePlus 7T Pro. It uses the same frosted color glass as the OnePlus 7T, with a very light blue at the bottom which darkens as it climbs up the multi-layered glass. It’s not too much of a fingerprint magnet either, so don’t worry about going caseless for that reason. It’s quite slippery though, so I’d use a case to help with gripping it. On the back is a triple camera setup along with an autofocus system to the left.

The frame on the sides of the device is made up of aluminum, with a SIM tray, speaker grille and USB Type-C port at the bottom and a microphone and a pop-up camera at the top – more on that later. There’s no headphone jack either, and there’s no sign of it coming back. On the right side of the device are both the power button and the alert slider, while on the left side are the volume keys.

As we’ve already mentioned, the OnePlus 7T Pro is basically the same as the OnePlus 7 Pro, and on the hardware and the build quality side that still holds true. This device is such a carbon copy of the last one that I can actually use the cases from my OnePlus 7 Pro on it and they fit perfectly, though I don’t recommend doing that. If you do, you’ll be covering up the aforementioned autofocus module that helps to aid the back camera in applying depth effects.

Left: OnePlus 7 Pro // Right: OnePlus 7T Pro

The front of the device is made up of a 6.67-inch curved QHD+ 90Hz display, which is absolutely beautiful to look at. As far as I can tell, both this and the OnePlus 7 Pro’s screen are exactly the same in size and shape. I’m not a huge fan of the curved edges, mainly because of the glare when using the device in direct sunlight, but I can live with it. I’m not as vehemently against it as some others may be. Other than that, the display is my favorite part about the OnePlus 7 Pro, and they’ve nailed it again here. There are pretty much no bezels on each side, with a small chin at the bottom which actually helps make it easier to use and prevents accidental touches. The curves on each side are easy to accidentally touch, though.

The phone itself is both thin and tall, so it’s hard to use in one hand. I recommend using an app like Reachability Cursor if you intend to use it in one hand a lot. Otherwise, it’s fine. In terms of weight, the phone is definitely above average coming in at 206 grams. Worth noting, yet again there’s no headphone jack, and yet again, there’s no bundled adapter either.

Presentation-wise, OnePlus has entirely changed it up. Gone are the small, white boxes of the OnePlus 6T and before. Now they’re all red with black writing on the front. They’re also extremely tall. I’m personally not a fan, but it’s a box and you don’t need to keep looking at it as much as the phone.

90Hz QHD+ returns

As I’ve already mentioned, the display on the OnePlus 7T Pro is, just like its predecessor, a bezel-less, 1440p 90Hz panel. It’s an absolute joy to use and to play games or watch movies on. Sadly not every game supports the higher refresh rate of the OnePlus 7T Pro, but as higher refresh rate displays become more commonplace, games will be updated to support them. On PC, higher refresh rate monitors can give an advantage to players typically in first-person shooters like Counter-Strike or Overwatch. Such an inherent advantage isn’t really present on mobile, and instead, it’s more fluid and nicer to use every day. 90Hz refresh rates are here to stay, as even the OnePlus 7T now has a high refresh rate panel.

Sadly, the experience that a high refresh rate display brings isn’t easy to show to people who don’t actually have a high refresh rate display device – but if you have one, you don’t really need to be shown why it’s better. Menus are smoother, scrolling is more fluid, and it’s just an all-around better experience. The top bezel houses a front-facing speaker (and the earpiece) though it’s noticeably poorer quality than the bottom-firing speaker.

You can clearly see that the display on the right is the 90Hz one, as the display updates more frequently than the one on the left.

However, the curved display detracts from the overall experience. While the curved display helps to create that immersion and a feel of a truly bezel-less experience, it is also annoying to use. When used in direct sunlight, a glare appears along both of the curved edges as the light hits them, which makes content harder to see on the edges. It’s a small thing, but I would personally prefer a flat display to one with curved edges.

Finally, if you’re interested, you can customize both the display resolution and the refresh rate. You can drop the display down to 1080p if you’d like, and you can also drop the refresh rate down to 60Hz. The stock 90Hz mode drops down to 60Hz in unsupported apps, though you can force it to always be 90Hz with a simple ADB command.

Pop-up camera

Just like on the OnePlus 7 Pro, the 16MP selfie camera is housed within the pop-up, enabling a totally bezel-less experience. It doesn’t appear to have undergone any changes at all and is just as quick as before. The motor still makes a noise when it’s being extended – that might be a problem for some if you use your selfie camera a lot in quiet environments. It’s great for face unlock as well, and its speed isn’t an issue. As far as I’m aware, it’s one of the fastest pop-up cameras out there. It’s faster than the Huawei P Smart Z, the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom, and the Redmi K20/Mi 9T for sure. You can check out a video of it in action below. There are no fancy colors on the camera itself like on the Redmi K20/Mi 9T, though there’s a small lighting animation temporarily shown underneath the camera when its deployed. This animation is shown in every app that accesses the front camera.

As for durability, last time around Mishaal tested the pop-up camera on the OnePlus 7 Pro to open and close for 10,000 times without any problems at all. OnePlus published several videos showing the pop-up camera being used in extreme conditions, including a video of it deploying and retracting for 12 hours straight. I’m not too worried about it breaking as a result. You also get a system warning if you try to deploy and retract it too many times in a row. OnePlus rates their pop-up cameras for 300,000 cycles – or just over 200 times a day for 2 years. Dropping the phone will also activate the drop-protection if the camera is extended, and the device will quickly retract it.

Accessories – Cases and OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2

The OnePlus 7T Pro that we received for review came with 4 cases – one see-through gel case which comes in the box, along with three cases that you can order separately on the OnePlus’ store. The first is the Karbon Bumper case, the second is the Karbon Protective case, and the third is the Sandstone Bumper case. All of the cases available for purchase on OnePlus’ store are hard shells and don’t feel like they offer the most protection. They’re sturdy and make it easier to hold your phone without slipping. If protection is your prerogative, though, you’d be better off buying an aftermarket case from the likes of Spigen or Rhinoshield instead. Note that both of the Karbon cases are basically the same, and the difference is that the Bumper case has the top and bottom exposed, while the Protective case offers full coverage.

OnePlus also launched the OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 in Olive Green, which is the exact same as the black ones which launched earlier this year. They sound just as good, connect via aptX HD just the same and charge just as quick. They’re both the same price at $99 so you can choose which ones you prefer at no extra cost.


OxygenOS 10 for the OnePlus 7T Pro – Based on Android 10

OxygenOS 10 is based on Android 10, which just recently made its way to the OnePlus 7 series launched earlier this year. OxygenOS 10 not only brings in all of the Android 10 goodies you expect, like revamped permissions, but it also has several OxygenOS-specific changes as well. OnePlus normally does a great job on software, but they’ve dropped the ball on this one. Before I get into all of my problems with this iteration of OxygenOS, I want to make it known that I did factory reset my device only to have the same problems recur.

You can see the OxygenOS 10 changelog below for an idea of what to expect.

  • System
    • Upgraded to Android 10
    • Brand new UI design
    • Enhanced location permissions for privacy
    • New customization feature in Settings allowing you to choose icon shapes to be displayed in the Quick Settings
  • Full-Screen Gestures
    • Added inward swipes from the left or right edge of the screen to go back
    • Added a bottom navigation bar to allow switching left or right for recent apps
  • Game Space
    • New Game Space feature now joins all your favorite games in one place for easier access and better gaming experience
  • Smart display
    • Intelligent info based on specific times, locations and events for Ambient Display (Settings – Display – Ambient Display – Smart Display)
  • Message
    • Now possible to block spam by keywords for Message (Messages – Spam – Settings – Blocking settings)

Security – face unlock and fingerprint sensor

OnePlus has a range of features for securing and unlocking your device – all under the one blanket term uninspiringly named “Screen Unlock.” Screen Unlock consists of the in-display fingerprint sensor and face unlock using the pop-up camera. We talked about the pop-up camera earlier and its speed is absolutely not an issue for unlocking your device. It can actually be more convenient than the in-display fingerprint sensor, as the device is so large it can be difficult to position your thumb correctly and quickly. Using face unlock on the OnePlus 7T Pro does compromise on security, but for most people, the convenience is worth it. How the current technology works involves comparing the camera viewfinder to a photograph that the phone took of your face, so it’s technically possible to trick it with a photograph of yourself, rather than your actual face. This is because there is no dedicated facial recognition hardware built into the device like other smartphones from the likes of Xiaomi and Huawei.

As for the in-display fingerprint sensor, it’s as fast as ever. Interestingly, the optical fingerprint sensor now lights up white, not green, when you go to scan your finger to unlock your phone. I don’t know if this means that OnePlus has changed the sensor, but it’s just something interesting that I noticed. There’s still a limit of 5 fingers, and as far as I can tell, OnePlus’ AI for updating and recognizing your finger faster over time does work. When I first registered my thumb, it failed to register it the first few tries. After that, it recognized it straight away consistently without fail.

One thing I noticed on the security front as well is that screen overlay apps aren’t shown anywhere in the settings application, which means malicious apps can’t take over inputs and change your system settings for you. It’s annoying when using Facebook Messenger chat heads, but you probably don’t spend enough time messing with your phone’s settings for this to be a problem.

Gestures

This is one of the most disappointing parts of OxygenOS 10, and I can only hope that we see the return of OnePlus’ gestures in the future. Google’s gestures involve swiping from the left or right edge to go back and swiping up from the bottom edge right corner or bottom edge left corner to access the Google Assistant. You can no longer swipe up from the left or right corners on the bottom edge to go back. You can still enable holding down the power button for 0.5 seconds to bring up the Assistant, if you’d like. You can also just enable the navigation bar at the bottom if you’d prefer, though I imagine that most people (myself included) would prefer to have a full-screen display and get used to the new gestures instead.

There are so many reasons as to why I don’t like Google’s gestures, but my biggest peeve is how they change the way I interact with my phone. I can no longer swipe to access side menus quickly. Instead, I need to swipe from the top of the screen or hold the side for a second and then pull the drawer out, both of which are not very comfortable on a large phone. I have also found them to be quite buggy at times, especially when navigating the system settings. I’m not a fan of them at all, but to enjoy the full-screen experience and to avoid AMOLED burn-in, I have the navigation bar (and bottom bar for gestures) switched off. I’m pretty disappointed, as according to Google’s Compatibility Definition Document, it’s not a requirement to have only Google’s gestures available for use. This appears to be purely a decision made by OnePlus, and one that affects the OnePlus 7T as well. Hopefully, OnePlus can be convinced to reintroduce their new gestures in a future update.

Here’s a full list of gestures on the OnePlus 7T Pro.

  • Swipe up from the bottom: Go home
  • Swipe up from the bottom and hold: Go to recents
  • Swipe up from the left or right: Google assistant
  • Swipe from the left or right side of the screen: Go back
  • Swipe up and left: Go to last used app

OnePlus Launcher

The OnePlus Launcher remains largely unchanged from previous iterations, and it’s a nice stock package to get you started if you’d rather not dive into custom launchers right away, or even at all. It supports icon packs, custom row, and column lengths, and has a decent replacement for the Google Feed called the “OnePlus Shelf”. The shelf can be accessed by swiping left on the home screen and can hold memos to yourself, widgets, and commonly used applications. Feel free to use another launcher if you want, though be mindful that at the moment, the system doesn’t play too nicely with third-party launchers. I found that third-party launchers would get killed in the background, and swiping to go home added a second or two of delay so that the launcher could actually startup. This was not a satisfying experience and pushed me back to using OnePlus Launcher for now.

But those issues don’t really reflect on the OnePlus Launcher itself, which as I’ve mentioned, is a nice enough launcher to use. It’s definitely my favorite stock launcher I’ve used on an Android smartphone, largely in thanks to the myriad of customization options given to users that you never really come across anywhere else. The OnePlus Shelf is also a nice replacement for the Google Feed, though I’d still prefer that if there was an option. Not only are there lots of options for the launcher, but the Shelf has so many features and customization options too. You can add activities from apps that you can easily access, along with memos and system information like data usage, memory usage, or storage usage. You can even enable a Zen Mode card, which we’ll be talking more about later on in this review.

Horizon Light

The OnePlus Horizon Light is effectively a replacement for the notification light, though it doesn’t really work in the same way at all. It’s designed so that when a notification comes in, a short, colored pulse is seen on both of the device’s curved edges. Samsung had a similar implementation on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, so it’s nothing new. OnePlus originally launched this feature on the OnePlus 7 Pro, and you couldn’t customize it at all. Now you can choose between 4 colors – Blue, Pink, White, and Purple. I only wish that you could have it pulse periodically to make it obvious that you missed a notification. Only then would it be a real alternative to a notification LED. For now, you will miss the notification LED for a lack of a true replacement.

Updated reading mode

OxygenOS 10 features an updated reading mode, which some may enjoy using with lots of text-based content like Reddit or even ebooks. You can turn your phone monochrome like before, but there’s a new Chromatic Reading feature that desaturates the screen to the point that reading is easier, though without removing color entirely. It’s an entirely personal preference which you prefer.

Updated Zen Mode

OnePlus’ Zen Mode is a feature that is designed to make you put down your phone and do some work – aimed solely at the phone addicts among us, really. I tested out the feature on the OnePlus 7 Pro around the time of my exams earlier this year, and it was pretty cool. I couldn’t find a way to get around it and break it, and newer versions are even more improved with challenges and more time options. Zen Mode has a 21-day challenge that you can undertake to help you sleep as well. If you elect to take the challenge, you set a time period that you’d normally sleep around that you must turn Zen Mode on within. If you do that consistently for 21 days, you’ll get a virtual medal.

Customization

OxygenOS 10 has even more customization options, something that users have been begging for for years. Not only can you enable dark mode and a custom ambient display, but you can also have a system-wide icon pack applied, custom icon shapes and custom accent colors. Some of those features have been around for a while now, but they are now easily accessible in one section called “Customisation”.

Bugs, bugs, and lots of bugs

To preface, I have never had these many problems with an OxygenOS release. As far as I know, these are all software problems and could well affect other OnePlus 7T Pro units as well once they’re shipped out. OnePlus is currently investigating, but I’ve not heard anything substantial back. I have to operate under the assumption that these are issues that can affect everyone, and aren’t just the result of early-production software or hardware.

First and foremost, remember the ghost touching problems of the OnePlus 7 Pro back when that launched? They’re back, and honestly, worse than ever. They’re no longer exasperated by NFC, instead, they just happen randomly, with nearly no pattern. Restarting doesn’t fix the issue. If I’m scrolling on Reddit along the left curve of the display, the screen will often go haywire and start tapping all over the place.

This happened when I tried to scroll along the left curve. I wasn’t touching the center of the display at all.

These ghost touches make the phone frustrating to use. Not only that, but some inputs will just straight up not register. Trying to type at times is an absolute nightmare too. Even attempting to scroll downwards normally will result in the screen doing funky things. Take a look at what happened when I was just scrolling YouTube comments one evening.

How does that even happen?  

However, ghost touches are only scraping the surface of issues that I have faced with the OnePlus 7T Pro. It overheated the other day, and I lightly burnt my thumb on the alert slider. Battery temperature was apparently “only” 50C, but DevCheck said that some sensors in my phone had gotten as hot as 82C. Keep in mind these are CPU temperatures, but the SoC is towards the top of the phone, so heat dissipation will be most concentrated around there. This is likely why the alert slider was so hot.

Another tangentially related complaint is battery life. I’ll get more into that in the battery life section, but battery life has been absolutely terrible for me. Despite packing a 4,080 mAh battery, the OnePlus 7T Pro has a tendency to drain the battery at levels I have personally not experienced for years. The OPPO Reno 10x Zoom that I’ve been using will last all day easily on a single charge, which includes my commute to Dublin on a train, working for the day, and then heading home on a train again. With the OnePlus 7T Pro, I find myself charging it the second I get into college. Half an hour of usage on the train (as in, it was at 100% when I got on the train) saw the battery drain to 74%. On the OPPO, similar usage would find it drain to around 85%. It’s completely abysmal.

And now, finally, an issue which has plagued OnePlus devices for years – memory management. Memory management is still as bad as ever, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. Remember I mentioned I can’t even use a third-party launcher? It’s worse than that. Oftentimes I don’t even get email notifications, which is something that you’d think OnePlus would have figured out by now. Other affected apps include Snapchat, Discord, and Facebook Messenger too. A few times a day, if I have a Messenger chat head open, I’ll turn off my screen and come back a few minutes later with the chat head gone. I then open Messenger and find that I have messages that I never got notified about. It’s so incredibly frustrating and makes the phone near unusable at times because this issue has been around for a long period of time by now.


Performance benchmarks – The new Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Plus

The OnePlus 7T Pro’s main difference is a new SoC – the Snapdragon 855 Plus. It’s pretty much just a higher binned Snapdragon 855. There are two main differences:

  • The lone “Prime” CPU core has been clocked at up to 2.96GHz in the 855 Plus versus 2.84GHz in the standard 855. This ~3GHz core clock speed finally matches the configuration that ARM initially projected.
  • The Adreno 640 GPU in the 855 Plus offers a 15% performance increase over the Adreno 640 in the 855.

As a result, the Snapdragon 855 Plus in the 7T Pro isn’t really much of an upgrade, unless you play the most intensive Android games or like to emulate past consoles. We tried to benchmark the OnePlus 7T Pro with Antutu and 3D Mark, but hilariously, OnePlus is actually actively blocking benchmark applications. Trying to install them via the Google Play Store throws a cryptic error, and trying to install over adb gives an… interesting output.

adb: failed to install /Users/adamconway/Downloads/com.antutu.ABenchMark_8.1.0-80100000.apk:
Failure [INSTALL_PARSE_FAILED_BAD_PACKAGE_NAME: Failed parse during install
PackageLI: /data/app/vmdl853857736.tmp/base.apk (at Binary XML file line #2):
Don't allowed to install package com.antutu.ABenchMark]

So, we went about testing some other apps instead. I’m just going to assume that this is either a mistake or that the company doesn’t want reviewers like myself testing performance on pre-release software.

Thermal throttling

So, let’s get right into testing performance on pre-release software. Companies tend to advertise their peak performance statistics, but never their long-term performance. As phones heat up, they generally have to throttle the performance of the CPU and GPU to not overheat, which is something that the original OnePlus 7 Pro handled very well in our review. The OnePlus 7T Pro tells a different story though, as it throttles quite heavily pretty quickly.

I used an app called “CPU Throttling Test” for the below graphs. On the left is the test after running for 15 minutes. On the right, I ran the same test while the phone was charging with the Warp Charge 30T charger. I was quite surprised by the thermal throttling when the device wasn’t plugged in, which leads me to believe that either the new Snapdragon 855 Plus or the software is to blame. Given the other problems that I’ve had with this particular device, I wouldn’t entirely rule out software.

Storage speed

Universal Flash Storage (UFS) is a standard designed with the power constraints of mobile devices in mind. UFS 3.0 was standardized in January 2018, and flash storage chips based on the new standard should theoretically have over double the sequential read and write speeds of UFS 2.1 chips. We tested just how fast the new UFS 3.0 storage chip is in the OnePlus 7T Pro by running AndroBench.

AndroBench is a fairly old benchmark with an equally dated design, but it’s still the go-to for storage testing. It tests the speed of sequential read/write, random read/write, and SQLite insert, update, and delete operations. A sequential read/write is an operation that involves reading/writing storage blocks that are contiguous, while a random read/write involves reading/writing randomly scattered storage blocks. SQLite describes a type of database management system; developers dealing with large databases often have to make SQLite calls to retrieve or modify the database.

We can get a good idea of the storage performance of an Android device with AndroBench. By default, the benchmark writes a 64MB file with either 32MB or 4KB buffer sizes for sequential and random read/writes respectively, and an SQLite transaction size of 1. The speed of the former operation is measured in MB/s while the latter in Queries Per Second (QPS).

These speeds more or less match exactly the storage speeds that we got on the OnePlus 7 Pro, with a 52% increase over the storage speed of the Samsung Galaxy S10+. This means that the OnePlus 7T Pro should be faster than a lot of other devices that use UFS 2.1 in resource loading, app launch times, file loading, file saving, and more. Storage speed is incredibly important for performance as it often becomes a bottleneck — you can have the best specs in the world but if your device can’t load apps, then you’re going to notice performance problems.

Fnatic/Gaming Mode

OnePlus sponsors Michael Grzesiek, better known as Shroud on Twitch, their first foray into gaming sponsorships. With the launch of the OnePlus 7 Pro, they partnered with the well-known esports team “Fnatic”. Fnatic may not be the most well-known name in the U.S., but anyone following Counter-Strike will definitely know of the team.

In any case, the name doesn’t matter – it’s just branding for the new advanced gaming mode in OxygenOS. All it does is block more distractions and prioritize the CPU, GPU, memory, and network usage for the currently running app or game. You can also control the behavior of notifications, brightness, and incoming calls to reduce annoyances during gameplay. Lastly, you can enable “enhancements” to the “gaming display” and haptic feedback, which improves what you can see and what you can feel in certain games. There’s not really much of a difference from its implementation on the OnePlus 7 Pro.


Camera

OnePlus cameras have always been the Achilles heel of their smartphones, even after they made a marked attempt to improve them with the OnePlus 5T. The OnePlus 7 series saw an actual major improvement over past releases, but still, it wasn’t all too capable of competing with the very best at launch. It’s not a bad camera at all, but when compared against the other flagship devices you’d expect it to be compared to, it lagged somewhat behind. The OnePlus 7T Pro series sees a small but noticeable improvement in photo quality, which I can only hope will be backported to the 7 Series.

Back camera

IMG_20191004_205231

The OnePlus 7T Pro’s camera is certainly capable, and with three shooting modes, it’s incredibly versatile. You get the 48MP primary sensor that seemingly every manufacturer is including in their smartphones, a 16MP wide-angle lens and an 8MP 3x zoom lens too. It’s technically 2.87x lossless zoom, though OnePlus has rounded that up to 3x with the help of a small amount of digital zoom.

Photos taken in well-lit environments are nice and more or less indistinguishable from more expensive offerings from the likes of Samsung and Huawei. You’ll certainly notice the difference in darker environments, but nobody really ever bought OnePlus smartphones for their cameras anyway. That’s not to excuse the company for offering a lackluster camera experience, just that people have known for a long time now what exactly they’re buying into when getting a OnePlus phone. There are definitely noticeable improvements over when the OnePlus 7 Pro launched, but that’s to be expected given that the company released multiple updates after that phone’s launch to address camera concerns from the masses.

The camera app, meanwhile, is completely unchanged. I’ve included some screenshots from our OnePlus 7 Pro review, as it’s literally the exact same thing. The zoom slider is accessed by tapping and dragging on the 1x icon or the trees that are next to it, additional camera modes can be accessed by swiping up from the name of the current mode, and the automatic white balance and focus can be locked by tapping the lock icon after focusing on any particular area.

4K video

4K video on the OnePlus 7T Pro is exactly how you’d expect, and you can record in 4K 60FPS with ease. The only problem is that it’s limited to 5 minutes of recording at a time perhaps because of storage concerns, though you can just switch to 1080p 60FPS video for unlimited recording – as much as your storage allows, anyway.

1080p video

Super stable 1080p video

The OnePlus 7T Pro, like the OnePlus 7 Pro, has a super stable video shooting mode. It combines both the OIS sensors of the camera with Electronic Image Stabilization (EIS) to create a super steady 1080p video with minimal shaking. I tested it above while walking on my university campus, and it had some impressive results. There was very little shaking, especially when you take into account that my hands naturally shake pretty badly as well. It’s a shame that you can only shoot super-stable video in 1080p though. The Honor 20 Pro, for example, has fantastic stabilization even at 4K. Stabilization on the OnePlus 7T Pro is basically nonexistent in any other shooting mode.


Odds and ends

Battery life and charging – Warp Charge 30T vs Warp Charge 30

The OnePlus 7T Pro has given me no end of battery problems, and it’s just generally been a poor experience. As I mentioned up above, I went from 100% to 74% in just 30 minutes, which is definitely not okay. I deemed my battery life to be poor to mediocre on the OnePlus 7 Pro, but the OnePlus 7T Pro is absolutely dire. I’m getting roughly 4 hours of SOT before needing to charge it at most. The same usage on the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom, again as I explained above, was nowhere near as bad. I did some basic testing and found that the OnePlus 7T Pro charges in about an hour, with the OnePlus 7 Pro taking just that little bit longer – about 10 to 15 minutes. The main speed improvements come from the higher power draw even at higher battery percentages. Before the 70% mark, charging both at the same time from 10% finds them go neck and neck. Only after the 70% does the OnePlus 7T Pro rocket ahead, and there’s no real noticeable temperature difference either. I’ll embed a video from the XDA-Developers YouTube channel shortly after this article is published.

90Hz probably doesn’t help battery life, but it’s too good to pass up on. It’s a major selling point of the display, along with QHD+, so dropping it down to 60Hz FHD+ seems a bit of a waste.

Audio

OnePlus has equipped the OnePlus 7T Pro with dual speakers. There’s a bottom-firing speaker on the bottom right side and a front-firing speaker located in the top bezel. The speakers get fairly loud without significant distortion. OnePlus has also partnered with Dolby to provide Dolby Atmos audio enhancement. You can choose from the Movie or Music presets, or leave it on the default Dynamic mode to let Dolby Atmos automatically adjust the audio profile to match what’s being played.

For Bluetooth audio, the OnePlus 7T Pro supports Qualcomm’s aptX HD audio codec. You’ll need a pair of Bluetooth earbuds compatible with streaming audio using aptX HD, though. The new Bullets Wireless 2 are aptX HD-capable, for example. Bluetooth audio streaming is still lower quality than wired audio, but aptX HD support on a pair of nice earbuds makes Bluetooth audio acceptable for all but the audiophiles among us. Sadly, the device lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack for wired audio output. OnePlus has a pair of USB-C wired earphones if you really want them that are pretty decent. As already mentioned, though, you don’t get a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter in the box. You can buy one separately on OnePlus’ own site if you really want one.

Haptics

Haptics on the OnePlus 7T Pro is still as great as ever, and you won’t miss a notification if the phone goes off in your pocket. They’re not the best haptics I’ve ever had, that goes to the OPPO Reno 10x Zoom, but they’re really good and still incredibly noticeable. You’ll feel it rather than hear it, which is the most important part. It’s subtle and feels like it’s vibrating exactly where you touch it when you’re typing. Usually, I’d turn off vibration when I’m typing, but I leave it enabled on the OnePlus 7T Pro because it is so satisfying to use.

Connectivity

The OnePlus 7T Pro connectivity is just like the OnePlus 7 Pro, which is… poor. It’s okay, and once it gets a connection it generally holds it, but if I’m traveling far a lot of the time it will show the ! symbol in my signal bar and the only way to fix it and regain my connection is to shuffle through airplane mode. It’s so annoying, and I can’t tell when my connection stops working sometimes or if it’s something that will be fixed in a few seconds or something that requires me to enable and disable airplane mode. This issue also affected me on OxygenOS 10 on the OnePlus 7 Pro, so I know that it’s not just another issue exclusive to the 7T Pro. Other than that, signal strength is fine though. I’ve not had too many issues using my phone in Dublin, really, it’s just when moving between places where the signal will drop for a little bit and then typically pick back up again.

All 3 of these happened on the same train journey. Notice the ! in the signal indicator.

The OnePlus 7T Pro supports dual SIM, and it’s pretty much a necessity for any phone that I use. One of my SIM cards is for phone calls and texts, while the other is for data. The OnePlus 7T Pro still supports dual-frequency GNSS as well, which you can read more about how it increases the accuracy of location tracking better location tracking.


Conclusion

The OnePlus 7T Pro is more of the same of the OnePlus 7 Pro. A great build quality, beautiful design, and a focus on performance would typically deem this phone as my favorite of the year, even if the improvements over its predecessor are small at best. Its screen differentiates it the most from the competition – no bezel, all screen, and QHD+ 90Hz puts the display a league above most competition.

OxygenOS 10 is a fantastic software package, filled to the brim with genuinely useful features and nice customization options to boot. It’s not perfect, but it’s definitely my favorite OEM variant of Android out there. There’s minimal bloatware (which can pretty much all be uninstalled), and the menus and settings just make sense. The removal of OnePlus’ gestures is a disappointment, but I can overlook that with useful features like screen recording with audio, Fnatic gaming mode, and the Quick Reply options in WhatsApp and Instagram when in landscape mode.

True to OnePlus, the OnePlus 7T Pro packs the best performance-related hardware you can get in a phone. A Snapdragon 855 Plus, 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM, an HDR10+ display and UFS 3.0 storage ensures a lag-free experience. It’s one of the fastest phones on the market, though it may no longer hold the top spot after phones like the ASUS ROG Phone II launched. It’s almost certainly no longer the top gaming phone, but it doesn’t need to be to handle performance-intensive games like PUBG Mobile and the new Call of Duty.

Sadly, software problems hamper its greatness, and until I understand what exactly is going on, it’s hard to recommend this phone to anyone in its current state. At least, I hope and assume that they’re software problems. As I mentioned, I reached out to OnePlus and while I’ve since heard back, I’ve not heard anything definitive as to what my problems may be. It’s a fantastic phone when it works, and while I will still continue to use it after the conclusion of this review and the content I am making for it, it will be with a power bank in my bag and frequent enabling and disabling of airplane mode on my daily commute to and from Dublin.


Where to find the OnePlus 7T Pro and its dedicated forum!

You can purchase the OnePlus 7T Pro from OnePlus.com in Europe and India starting October 17th. You can also pick it up in selected stores in Europe. For example, the device is available via Three in the UK and Ireland. The McLaren Edition will be available on November 5th.

Pricing

Model Price (USD) Price (Pounds)
OnePlus 7T Pro Haze Blue (8GB RAM + 256GB storage) $699 £699
OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition (12GB RAM + 256GB storage) $799 £799

Forums

If you do buy the OnePlus 7T Pro or want to lurk the forums so you can learn more before you make the jump, you can visit the XDA forums for the device at the link below.

OnePlus 7T XDA Forums

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