The build-up to the OnePlus 7 has begun. The company’s next smartphone is ruling search rankings in India and worldwide, but let’s take a look at what the leaks really mean for us consumers.
There are two phones this time
It seems OnePlus has finally learned its lesson after the OnePlus 3, 5 and 6 series. The company has often taken flak for launching the 3T, 5T and 6T models soon after the originals. This year, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau confirmed to The Verge that there will be two devices at launch, the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro.
A groundbreaking display
In his conversation with The Verge, and an earlier tweet, Lau said that the OnePlus 7 Pro’s display will “redefine fast and smooth".
While Lau wouldn’t confirm the same, it’s likely that the company is taking a page out of Asus, Razer and others’ playbook. The new display is likely going to have higher refresh rates (90Hz and above), which would theoretically make it feel smoother during UI animations, games etc.
Refresh rate refers to the number of frames a display can show per second. So, 120Hz means 120 frames per second. Fast refresh rates are usually required for gaming, which is why gaming phones have had such displays.
This would also be in line with some of OnePlus’ claims in older devices. The company has famously stuck to 1080p displays so far, arguing that they allow higher frame rates while gaming. Since the 7 Pro is also expected to hit 2K resolution, it’s likely that the higher frame rates will let OnePlus split the difference.
Having said that, not many regular users will spot the difference between a 60Hz (which is the usual for smartphones) and 90/120Hz display. Moreover, there’s really very little content available for phones today (games or otherwise) that can take advantage of such high frame rates.
It’s also worth noting that higher frame rates mean more resource consumption. Given OnePlus’ software prowess, one could expect that the company will limit the display to pumping out high frame rates only when required.
Next, the OnePlus 5G is expected to become one of the first phones to support 5G connectivity. This, of course, has less to do with OnePlus and more to do with Qualcomm. The company’s flagship Snapdragon 855 chipset supports 5G data connectivity.
While that doesn’t really matter to consumers right now, it makes the OnePlus 7 future-proof for when 5G is actually being offered by telcos.
The most expensive OnePlus phone ever
The display is one of the most expensive components of a smartphone. Lau said the company is spending three times more on the new, “smoother" display, so it’s not surprising that the OnePlus 7 Pro is going to be expensive.
However, OnePlus hit the Rs. 40,000 mark last year itself. So, did anyone actually not expect them to charge more this year?
In addition, companies like Samsung and Apple have already hit the Rs. 1 lakh mark, meaning that even at Rs. 50-60,000, OnePlus can technically continue with its “value for money" story.
The OnePlus 7 series is also expected to have a pop-up camera, which isn’t surprising given that Oppo and Vivo have both already done the same. The three companies all fall under the BBK Electronics stable, and have often been seen to be offering similar features one after the other.
What will be interesting to note is whether OnePlus finally brings waterproofing and wireless charging to its phone(s) this time. The company has skimped out on these features, arguing that waterproofing is too expensive and wireless charging is too slow, for the company to offer the same right now.
However, if you can spend three times on a display, a slight addition in cost for waterproofing really doesn’t seem like a big hitch. It’s worth noting though that Pete Lau had indicated to CNET earlier that wireless charging is not in the company’s list of things to do. That’s surprising given that Google has already been able to do faster charging using its Pixel Stand. Wireless charging may not be as fast as Warp Charge, but it’s certainly a feature flagships are expected to have now.
For a company that boasts the “best" flagships out there, a price tag anywhere over Rs. 40,000 should ideally mean no spec if left unchecked.
The OnePlus 7 Pro will be launched globally on 14 May, and while the company hasn’t confirmed the India launch yet, it’s unlikely that the country will have to wait longer than that either.