Written by Young Jeohn
One+ held an info sharing event in NYC for fans of the new 7 Pro smartphone. Not only that, but they were actually *on sale* the same day. Granted there were limited quantities, but you could buy a working production model at the T-Mobile flagship store at Times Square.
At what felt like an airplane hangar, One+ set up stage with large flatscreen walls projecting super clear pictures, slides and video of their presentation.
MC'ed by chief marketing officer Kyle Kiang, he shared the One+ mission:
"Share the Best Technology in the World"
and talked about how they fulfilled that promise with the new 7 Pro. So confident was he, that he declared "this will be the best smartphone you'll see this year". They do have a great track record and is currently one of the top five smartphone companies (in the premium segment) in the United States.
The design is brand new with an edgeless design, meaning you won't feel any angles. Anywhere. As I ran my own fingers along the phone, the only time I felt any difference was when the materials shifted from one to another (say, from glass to metal.)
THE SUPER-DUPER SCREEN
Their new "fluid AMOLED" display was a huge deal. Sized at 6.67 inches, it's the best display ever used in a smartphone, said to Kyle. Resolution is Quad HD+ along with a super fast 90Hz refresh rate - 30 Hz faster than your standard flat panel computer monitor. It's also super bright at 800 nits and wins the highest possible rating of A+ by Displaymate in almost every category (e.g. color accuracy, contrast, brightness, etc.) One+ also made an interesting decision to integrate the fingerprint sensor right into the screen and is "the fastest on the market" with 0.21 second detection.
While most attendees received this news with a great amount of excitement, the calculator kept adding up what I imagined to be a mountain of technological cost that wouldn't come cheap. One+ at last disclosed that this component would cost them 2-3 times what most other manufacturers spend on displays. Ouch.
THE CAMERA IS REALLY GREAT. WE REPEAT, THE CAMERA IS REALLY REALLY GREAT.
Kyle went on to talk about the built in camera and how cool and innovative the pop-up selfie cam was. HDR 10+. Automatically filters out light. And so on.
He then handed the stage over to Zake Zhang, the 7 Pro smartphone's product manager - who then kept going on about how great the cameras were. For one thing, he wanted to put your mind at ease about the durability of the 16mp pop-up selfie camera. Which he did by showing an unbelieveable video demo of a 49 lb concrete block being lifted up by a cable - which was clamped on to the protruded selfie camera!
Many gasps were heard as Zake continued on about stress tests, which he promised was on YouTube - but watching a 12 hour video of the selfie camera going up and down 300,000 times could get really boring he said.
The back cameras are 3 different lenses for standard, wide and telephoto. As a photographer myself, this is huge, even though the sensors are much smaller than on a dslr.
The standard lens is an astounding 48MP - more than what most DSLR's come with. Huge resolutions mean huge file sizes, and unfortunately there is no expansion slot for an SD card. But putting that aside for the moment, the sensor size is only 1/2 inch, which is asking a lot for such a high pixel count in terms of light collection. The good news though, is that it's a Sony Exmor IMX 586 - the latest CMOS sensor developed and manufactured by one of highest quality suppliers of image sensors in the market today. They packed a lot into this little camera, along with an f-stop of 1.6.
So from the wide end to the 3x telephoto (78mm) zoom, you have a fairly good range of distance with great quality images. As if the points they made so far wasn't enough, they brought out Carlton Ward Jr, a photographer from National Geographic who used the One+ 7 Pro on several of his assignments as he made his way around the world. He too said many good things about the phone's camera, and talked about the low light photos he was able to take and long exposure shots as compared to DSLRs.
The cameras were obviously a huge deal to the folks at One+ (in addition to the screen technology) as all 3 presenters talked about them at length. And I don't blame them either - they must have put in a lot of resources into R&D for this part of the phone, as it's gotten a 111 rating from DXO mark, one of the highest marks of any camera phone.
As I tried out the camera myself, I found it responsive and photos were taken quickly. The software was integrated well enough (given the limited screen space for UI controls) and there was little to no delay as pictures were saved. If there's one thing I hate, it's waiting several seconds for the phone whie it hmmm's and haws trying to save a picture into memory. Or takes its time to focus. Or any number of annoying delays that many camera phones force on you.
But not this phone. No sir.
Everything else must've been great, because they simply lump summed it as bullet points compared to the screen and cameras. And as such, I present you with bullet points now:
CPU: Snapdragon 855
GPU: Adreno 640
Ram boost (cache)
Ufs 3.0 sequential read/write
Warp charge 30 - 20 min for 50% charge
Dual speakers, Dolby Atmos
Oxygen OS 9.5
Fnatic mode - uninterrupted gaming
3 colors available
One+ made it a point to mention their commitment to software updates; something few companies say publicly. They promised 2 years on software updates (presumably OS related) and 3 years on security patches. Kudos to them on this one, though in reality, we can only wait and see.
Finally, the price. One+ initially made a name for themselves by offering flagship specs at insanely low price points, but they've steadily been creeping up in price with every new version. All things considered however, they offer premium level hardware and specs at about 75% the price of the competition. If you're on the lookout for a best in class flagship smartphone (at a relatively "affordable" price for what you're getting), the One+ 7 Pro should be on your checklist.
One+ 7 Pro price:
$669 - 6GB RAM + 128GB Storage
$699 - 8GB RAM + 256GB Storage
$749 - 12GB RAM + 256GB Storage
More Info: www.oneplus.com