Phone review: OnePlus 7 Pro 12/256

This is just a regular person / power user’s point of view and words. I am not paid to post anything here, this site only serves as a platform, to share my thoughts and experiences about products.

Positives:

  • 4000mAh battery. The phone’s idle battery life is good as one might suspect. Sadly, the 90hz 2K panel can drink plenty of juice, so battery life will not be outstanding to say the very least.
  • Dual speaker. This is just a OnePlus thing, as other manufacturers has long offered this feature without a fuss. HTC One had it, which is a 2013 phone.
  • Dual-SIM support. Again, most phones do this, especially the ones from the Eastern market. But, it’s a nice to have feature.
  • No notch. It’s sad that this has become a positive thing. Like notches became a thing at all. I don’t have any issues with having a frame around the display. But notches can go to hell. To put it simply.
  • The phone is indeed fast, the interface feels fast (it’s due to how the OS has these fast animations).

Drawbacks – and they outweigh the cons by a far margin:

  • Absolutely Awful GPS. This phone gets the lemon award. I mean, the OnePlus 6T can get it too, since they both share one very common thing. Their truly awful GPS modules. Seriously. It is THAT bad. See: https://www.notebookcheck.net/OnePlus-7-Pro-Smartphone-Review.420598.0.html#toc-communication-gps
    Just a proof that it is not just me. I mean the test is more than easy:
    – Install GPSTest app on your OP7 Pro and some other phone.
    – Take them outside.
    – Lo and behold: The OP7 Pro will have only red bars, and way fewer than any other device.
    This makes OnePlus a VERY BAD GPS device. Being in a city, or a on convoluted highway … it can mess up your day, trust me. I mean I have had Google Maps lose the whole route (the blue line disappears), because the phone had so little clue of where we are. Even regular GPS use can cause the phone to overheat. I am not kidding. Just being a GPS on the dash, on a regular (not sunny) day caused the phone to go overheat.
  • Very high price. I can’t put this nicely. This phone runs a bare-bone operating system, has mediocre camera quality, and it’s just… an average phablet with the latest SOC. It does not warrant this price by any means.
  • Lack of regular/often updates.
    While the team promised timely security updates, and lately prompt updates for the phones (after people started teasing OnePlus for not even pushing updates anymore), in reality, you barely see an update here and there. Yes, the phone runs the latest Android as of now, but that’s about it.
  • Core issues never get fixed. Gmail on OnePlus does not give timely notifications as for some reason, it is ALWAYS FORCED to get “optimized”. On Samsung, Huawei, Xiaomi, Google Pixel, HTC – on all the other devices, it’s on “default” and you can force optimize it, or choose NOT to optimize it. Like any other app. Not on OnePlus.
    This has been reported several times on their forums, but support reply or a fix has never been published.
    Workaround? Unlock your phone, Install Magisk, and grab the “OnePlus gmail fix” module. Hilarious? Indeed. But also normal in the OnePlus land.
  • Hilariously bad support. Both online and in warranty cases.
    OnePlus support is notoriously horrible. Read the sub-reddit if you want to find some further evidence. I only heard stories from users too (like they told me personally) and it does not paint a pretty picture. Online? Try to submit an issue. You will be just ignored.
  • Absolutely lackluster camera.
    – The regular camera is “meh”. It’s not good, it’s not bad. It’s meh.
    – Telephoto camera is
  • Lack of IP rating. I saw the OnePlus statement (they said the omission of IP rating was done to save money, lol). It does not help one bit. I don’t want to submerge my phone, but I cannot exactly baby it all day either.
  • Dual speaker is meh. It’s not good by any means.
  • Automatic brightness is just as bad as it was on the OnePlus 6T.
  • 90hz is 100% a gimmick. While it sounds great on paper, and can be seen with the naked eye within the first few seconds of use – the fad quickly disappears and gets old. As you might know, high refresh rate makes motion appear more fluid.

    It’s hard to put into words, but as soon as you try a gaming display with a game that runs with 144FPS too, you will be able to see it. It’s a good thing, but hard to achieve.

    It’s hard to achieve, because 144 FPS in games is plenty. It’s a ton. It’s only achieved in a few titles (Fortnite, CS:GO, Quake), and you still need a beefy hardware to pull this off.

    So, if it’s so hard to do it on PC, how will your phone benefit from 90, or 120 or whatever higher-hz? Short answer? It does not.

    tl;dr: Scrolling will feel a bit smoother. Some apps will, some won’t support the higher refresh rate. But, all apps that do will put more strain on your battery.
    Reviews that say “going back to 60 is hard”… is just marketing bs. You won’t notice a thing, as OnePlus itself will switch to 60hz mode very often.

So in the end, who should buy this phone?

If you want a stock-ish Android and can deal with the bad GPS, this phone might be just for you. But, is this the ONLY phone that provides you with an easy unlock and custom roms? Well, not really.

  • If you don’t need root, Samsung‘s older models used, or refurb are sure worth a look. They have top-notch hardware and a very extensive software (some like, some don’t). And a 1-2 year old flagship is very affordable.
  • ASUS, Xiaomi are both also easy to root. However, DO CHECK on XDA if your picked model has community/rom support. Some phones have a great third-party support, some don’t. Stock roms on both phones are awful and often break standard Android functionality.
  • Google Pixel 3, Pixel 4 might be also a great pick – albeit neither is too cheap. Pixel 3a… well, I’ll publish a review about that in just a while. And I’ll link it here. I would NOT purchase that one.

Brands to avoid:

  • HTC: Made some superb devices in the past. Legendary ones, in fact. HTC One (M7), HTC 10 are some of the best Android devices, ever. Even the old HTC One X was superb – despite the hw issues it had.
  • LG: Zero post-purchase support. Most new phones have some kind of hardware flaw, or some quirks. LG went downhill after the G2, G Pro 2. The G3/G4 was still a phone that “made sense”. They either had great display, or were affordable, or had great cameras. Something to stand out. But ever since, they just released highly-priced phones with zero support afterwards.
  • Sony. Same reason. Zero support. Great phones though! Camera is not as good as they tout it to be, and the Xperia 1 is quirky as all hell. But, the Compact Sony phones are niche. They are the only small form factor phones on the market that still sport high-end specs.
    That said, go into a Samsung Store, and check out the S10e, or S10. They are really not that big, or not so much bigger, and they are also top-spec devices.
  • Samsung: Yes, I just recommended AND not recommended Samsung. Sue me. The ONLY reason I don’t recommend them is the e-fuse they have. If you root a Samsung, your warranty is gone. Bye bye. That itself is a reason enough NOT to buy one. As the core OS might be “bloaty”, and you can’t root, well, it’s hard to recommend them 100%.

Hope this posts helps you avoid making a pricey purchase, and saves you some pennies!

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