OnePlus 7 review

GSMArena team, 09 July 2019.

OxygenOS based on Android 9.0 Pie

The OxygenOS is designed to look like stock Android distribution with just a couple of custom features to add to the overall experience. OnePlus has made a couple of other under-the-hood changes over the years and has made this one of the better performing platforms on the market, even if in typical Chinese maker fashion it's a bit more aggressive with handling background tasks.

Oneplus 7 review

A large part of what makes OxygenOS feel so fast is the absence of certain animations that you otherwise have to wait for while navigating the UI.

General settings menu - Oneplus 7 review General settings menu - Oneplus 7 review
General settings menu

Another big advantage of OnePlus phones over the rest is the especially strong modding community, if we can call it that. There are tons of supported third-party ROMs and mods for OnePlus handsets and the best part is that the OEM doesn't care if your phone is rooted or with a different ROM. This won't void your warranty and thus attracts plenty of Android enthusiasts year after year.

Home screen, notification shade, recent apps menu, app drawer, etc. - Oneplus 7 review Home screen, notification shade, recent apps menu, app drawer, etc. - Oneplus 7 review Home screen, notification shade, recent apps menu, app drawer, etc. - Oneplus 7 review Home screen, notification shade, recent apps menu, app drawer, etc. - Oneplus 7 review Home screen, notification shade, recent apps menu, app drawer, etc. - Oneplus 7 review Home screen, notification shade, recent apps menu, app drawer, etc. - Oneplus 7 review
Home screen, notification shade, recent apps menu, app drawer, etc.

But when it comes to features, the OxygenOS is closer to stock Android than other OEM's iterations like One UI from Samsung or Huawei's EMUI. Some may call it "barebones" and they might be right.

Oneplus 7 review

The added features include screen-off gestures like launching the flashlight or the camera by drawing a letter on a locked screen, OnePlus' unique gesture-based navigation and the alert slider, but little else.

We found that the gesture for the flashlight works a lot better than on the last year's OnePlus 6T. There were no accidental triggers and the gesture worked almost every time. The alert slider options haven't changed, however. There are two modes - Vibration and Silent. The names of the modes are pretty much self-explanatory.

Kudos to OnePlus for offering three navigation options. You can either go with the good old software buttons or choose the new gestures from Google or OnePlus.

The first of the gesture options is the well-known pill navigation that you find on almost all stock Android phones. Then there's OnePlus' take, where swipe from the center-bottom brings you back to the home screen, swiping from the bottom near the left or right edge works as a back button while swipe and hold opens up the recent apps. A quick side-swipe from the bottom-center to the right will quickly switch between your previous and current app. It takes a little time getting used to but also works very well.

Navigation gestures and buttons - Oneplus 7 review Navigation gestures and buttons - Oneplus 7 review
Navigation gestures and buttons

For another year, OnePlus refuses to introduce a proper always-on screen feature. In its place, the OnePlus 7 offers Ambient display. It will light up when you receive a notification, tap it once or twice or when you move it ever so slightly. Either of those will trigger the ambient display showing the clock, notifications and the fingerprint reader area.

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Display options

And while we are on the fingerprint scanner topic, we must say that the upgrade is more than welcome. OnePlus says the 7 and the 7 Pro are equipped with the latest generation optic in-display fingerprint readers, which are bigger in size too and you can tell.

The scanner works incredibly fast in all conditions and it's hands-down one of the fastest under-screen implementations we've ever tried. It may struggle with dusty or sweaty fingers, but the face unlock is particularly fast alternative and can serve as a reliable backup. Perhaps the fact that there's no unlocking animation adds to the overall sense of speediness.

Oneplus 7 review

There's also this thing called Quick Launch. You can launch an app or an action of your choice by just holding down the fingerprint area once the phone unlocks and a couple of shortcuts pop up.

Going through the general settings menu shows the usual options. The Display sub-menu offers the usual settings like night mode, reading mode (black and white scheme for more comfortable reading), hiding the notch option and customization of the status bar.

The Battery section offers all the usual Android Pie settings like Battery optimization and the Adaptive battery feature. And, of course, all the information regarding battery usage you'd want.

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Battery settings menu

The Utilities sub-menu is where you will find some useful features that may apply to your use case, including gaming mode. It's been a growing trend these days with gaming modes that aim to improve the phone's performance during gameplay and also let in fewer distractions while gaming. You can set up how your notifications appear and how to answer the phone - via the loudspeakers or the earpiece.

Utilities, additional features and Gaming Mode - Oneplus 7 review Utilities, additional features and Gaming Mode - Oneplus 7 review Utilities, additional features and Gaming Mode - Oneplus 7 review
Utilities, additional features and Gaming Mode

OnePlus has been marketing one particular gaming feature called Fnatic mode. It takes the DND mode to another level allowing notifications only for low battery, alarms and timers. Calls and other notifications won't go through and interestingly, missed calls may not be recorded in the call logs.

The system also prioritizes the game over other apps running in the background to improve performance while the Network enhancement will disable your second SIM slot to minimize interference and latency, which are essential for competitive online gaming.

The cool thing about the Gaming mode is that you can set it to run automatically on other apps as well, like in YouTube or Netflix so you can watch your shows and videos uninterrupted.

Performance

The OnePlus 7 packs the top of the line Snapdragon 855 chipset - the latest and greatest from Qualcomm. We've seen how the SoC performs in other phones as the OnePlus 7 wasn't the first one to get it. The 7nm chip holds an octa-core CPU with a 1+3+4 core configuration - 1x2.84 GHz Kryo 485, 3x2.42 GHz Kryo 485 and 4x1.80 GHz Kryo 485. And an Adreno 640 GPU to take care of graphically-intensive tasks.

The handset ships with either 6GB or 8GB of LPDDR4X RAM paired with 128GB or 256GB internal storage, respectively. What's interesting here is that just like its Pro sibling, the OnePlus 7 boasts the newest UFS 3.0 flash storage. Loading times are significantly reduced, read and write speeds are twice as fast compared to the previous generation UFS 2.1.

Anyway, here are the usual synthetic benchmark tests that we've ran.

GeekBench 4.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • Black Shark 2
    11192
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    11181
  • OnePlus 7
    11075
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    10943
  • Asus Zenfone 6
    10721
  • Samsung Galaxy S10
    10174
  • Huawei P30 (perf. mode)
    10114
  • Huawei P30
    9789

GeekBench 4.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S10
    4543
  • Black Shark 2
    3515
  • Asus Zenfone 6
    3505
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    3503
  • OnePlus 7
    3461
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    3402
  • Huawei P30 (perf. mode)
    3351
  • Huawei P30
    3295

AnTuTu 7

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    372006
  • OnePlus 7
    367812
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    364025
  • Asus Zenfone 6
    361679
  • Black Shark 2
    343460
  • Samsung Galaxy S10
    328366
  • Huawei P30 (perf. mode)
    314595
  • Huawei P30
    287960

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 7
    71
  • Black Shark 2
    71
  • Asus Zenfone 6
    71
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    70
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    68
  • Samsung Galaxy S10
    68
  • Huawei P30 (perf. mode)
    56
  • Huawei P30
    54

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 7
    57
  • Black Shark 2
    57
  • Asus Zenfone 6
    57
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    56
  • Huawei P30
    48
  • Huawei P30 (perf. mode)
    48
  • Samsung Galaxy S10
    37
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    33

GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S10
    43
  • OnePlus 7
    42
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    42
  • Black Shark 2
    42
  • Asus Zenfone 6
    42
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    41
  • Huawei P30 (perf. mode)
    33
  • Huawei P30
    29

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 7
    36
  • Black Shark 2
    36
  • Asus Zenfone 6
    36
  • Xiaomi Mi 9
    35
  • Huawei P30 (perf. mode)
    28
  • Huawei P30
    26
  • Samsung Galaxy S10
    23
  • OnePlus 7 Pro
    19

Results are exactly what you'd expect - in line with other Snapdragon 855 phones. Samsung's latest Exynos does a little better when it comes to single-core perofmrance, but at the expense of lower multi-core result. Huawei's Kirin 980 has very similar CPU performance to the Snapdragon 855, but can't match its GPU prowess.

Reader comments

I see mention of everything, except actual call quality. Can anyone tell me how that is?

  • Hasnain

Can I use OnePlus 7 in Saudi Arabia? Does it work?

  • Greg

Doesn't this phone have a connection to connect the head phones?