OnePlus 7 Pro Gaming Review: The (almost) perfect gaming phone

OnePlus 7 Pro Gaming Review: The (almost) perfect gaming phone

The latest and greatest smartphone from OnePlus is finally here, the OnePlus 7 Pro. It’s a device that not only aims to pack a punch like its predecessors, but it actually intends to go toe-to-toe with more premium options from the likes of Samsung, Huawei, and even Google. We got to spend some time with the device ahead of its release to put it through its gaming paces, and what we’ve found is impressive. The 1440p 90Hz display commands more processing power to fulfill to the maximum. Every OnePlus device since the OnePlus 3 has focused on performance, with each and every smartphone from the company that gets pumped out later proving to be an absolute powerhouse.

Before getting into the details of just how nice gaming on the OnePlus 7 Pro is, it’s important to draw attention to how big of an impact the display has on the overall gaming experience. While OnePlus has never really focused on creating a gaming phone as such, speed and performance has always been their prerogative. The OnePlus 7 Prxo aids the overall gaming experience with a beautiful 1440p 90Hz AMOLED display, the first of its exact kind to hit the market. Most games can’t utilize the 90Hz display yet, but 1440p gaming on a device that can handle it is blissful. It’s a full display without any interruptions, and the lack of a notch is very noticeable in full-screen applications, such as even just watching YouTube. Couple that with UFS 3.0 and you get incredibly fast loading speeds to boot.

OnePlus 7 Pro XDA Forum

The OnePlus 6T proved to be a gaming champ, right up there with the likes of the Razer Phone 2. It lacked some features at the time like a high refresh rate display, but it presented good value for money for a high-end gaming smartphone with a nice display. Can the OnePlus 7 Pro repeat that success?

OnePlus 7 Pro Asphalt 9

About this review: OnePlus sent XDA a review unit of the OnePlus 7 Pro. The opinions in this article are my own.

OnePlus 7 Pro Specifications

Category Specification Category Specification
Dimensions & Weight

162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8 mm

206 g

RAM 6GB/8GB/12GB LPDDR4X
Design & Colors All-Glass (Corning Gorilla Glass 5)

Nebula Blue, Almond, Mirror Gray

Storage 128GB/256GB UFS 3.0 Dual-Lane
Display 6.67-inch 3120×1440 (19.5:9) 90 Hz AMOLED display. Supports sRGB and DCI-P3. Battery 4,000 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.

Rear (Wide-angle): 16MP, f/2.2, 117°

Dual LED Flash

PDAF, LAF, CAF

Charging Warp Charge 30 (5V 6A)
Camera (Video) Front: [email protected], time-lapse

Rear: [email protected]/60, [email protected]/60

Rear (slow motion): [email protected], [email protected]

Ports USB 3.1 Type-C

Dual nano-SIM slot

Software Android 9.0 Pie-based OxygenOS Audio Dual stereo speakers. Audio tuned by Dolby Atmos.
System-on-chip Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 CPU (1x 2.84GHz Kryo 485 + 3x 2.42GHz Kryo 485 + 4x 1.8GHz Kryo 385) with 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 Gaming Mode

OnePlus has included a gaming mode on all of their recent flagships in the past few years. It blocks notifications, disables automatic brightness, and offers other options too. You can route phone call audio to the device’s speaker, for example. With the OnePlus 7 Pro, as a result of the company’s partnership with esports organization Fnatic, you enable Fnatic mode. Fnatic mode enables an advanced do not disturb option, enables a process regulator to provide all device resources to the game that you’re playing and it prioritizes the primary SIM card’s signal. The second SIM card will be entirely disabled while Fnatic mode is activated.

OnePlus 7 Pro Gaming Performance

The following gameplay performance data was recorded using GameBench, an excellent service that helps you analyze gaming performance on Android and iOS. GameBench has desktop clients and mobile clients.

We tested the following mobile games, all available on the Google Play Store (except for Fortnite):

  • ARK
  • Asphalt 9
  • Fortnite
  • Hitman: Sniper
  • PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds
  • Shadowgun Legends

These are some of the most graphic intensive games on the Google Play Store, which is why we picked them out. They’ll run on most devices fine, but can the OnePlus 7 Pro run them all at maximum settings on 1440p? 1080p is never usually an issue like with previous OnePlus devices, but 1440p can prove much more intensive to render. We skipped dialogues, tutorials, system messages, microtransaction peddling, etc. so we could record as much gameplay data as possible in each session. Games were all tested using Fnatic mode, OnePlus’ souped up gaming mode made in partnership with the well-known esports organization Fnatic. All games were also tested at 100% brightness, as, at least in my case, I would never play mobile games at home or in shelter and would be more likely to be playing them outside. The display looks a lot nicer on a higher brightness.

PUBG Mobile

One of the biggest names in mobile gaming today, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, is a pretty polished mobile shooter that originally launched on PC. It later came to consoles and then, finally, mobile. It has also proven itself controversial, finding itself banned in certain Indian cities for a short period of time. It has been entirely banned in China too, though replaced with a very similar game also created by Tencent. Performance wise, PUBG Mobile runs pretty much flawlessly on the OnePlus 7 Pro. A median of 40 FPS looks poor at first, although PUBG Mobile is actually limited to 40FPS, even when the cap is set to its maximum. It’s a strange design choice, though the OnePlus 7 Pro handles it perfectly, with very few hiccups.

PUBG Mobile OnePlus 7 Pro 2

PUBG Mobile OnePlus 7 Pro FPS Metric

PUBG MOBILE
PUBG MOBILE
Developer: Tencent Games
Price: Free+

Asphalt 9: Legends

Asphalt 9: Legends is the most popular racing game on the Google Play Store, and it looks stunning as well. It’s a bit of mindless fun as well, helped by the fact that it doesn’t use that much power to run. The OnePlus 7 Pro had no issue keeping a consistent 30FPS on 1440p, with an estimated battery life of nearly 4 hours as well. The only time the FPS ever dropped was when it was loading a map – nothing wrong with that.

 

Asphalt 9 OnePlus 7 Pro Statistics

Asphalt 9 OnePlus 7 Pro FPS

Hitman: Sniper

Hitman is an iconic stealth game franchise that has seen all types of titles reach pretty much every gaming system out there at one point or another. Hitman: Sniper is one of the most popular entries to the series on mobile, where it sees the player become Agent 47, an assassin for hire. You sit perched far away from a building, where you must aim and take fire at targets to complete missions. The OnePlus 7 Pro has absolutely no problems whatsoever here, handling the game pretty much flawlessly at 60FPS, 1440p. While it says a median of 59FPS, that’s because the FPS reads very low whenever a level is loaded. You’ll get a lot of playtime too, a little over 5 hours in this case, likely because the game isn’t really computationally expensive at all.

OnePlus 7 Pro Hitman Sniper Statistics

Hitman Sniper
Hitman Sniper
Developer: SQUARE ENIX Ltd
Price: $0.99+

ARK: Survival Evolved

ARK is a game that many will have likely heard of, having made a splash in the PC gaming scene a few years ago. While the craze has died down severely, the company still worked on its ports for mobile and console. ARK sees you on an island with dinosaurs, where you can craft items and live off of the land around you. Think of it as a more hardcore Minecraft. The game is notorious for being difficult to run on pretty much any platform it was released on, but yet again the OnePlus 7 Pro has no real issue running it at 1440p. The game is locked at 30 FPS which is a shame, though the expected battery life is actually pretty impressive.

OnePlus 7 Pro ARK Survival Evolved FPS

ARK: Survival Evolved
ARK: Survival Evolved
Developer: Studio Wildcard
Price: Free+

Shadowgun Legends

Shadowgun Legends is one of the most popular first-person shooters on the Google Play Store, and it really will give a device a run for its money when maxed out. Even when setting the graphics to their highest and setting the FPS to 60, the game warns you that your device may overheat. While I didn’t have any way of measuring the temperature, the warning was definitely apt as the device heated up very quickly, though even then it still handled it pretty well. There were some slowdowns when a lot happened on screen, but those were few and far between. You won’t get much playtime either; roughly two and a half hours is all you’ll get with that 4,000 mAh battery.

OnePlus 7 Pro Shadowgun Legends Statistics

OnePlus 7 Pro Shadowgun Legends FPS

Fortnite

A game that can’t be tested with Gamebench, I won’t be able to use any objective evidence to back up my claims in how the game performs on mobile. The game runs extremely poorly, and it’s not helped by the fact that Epic Games has the game capped at 30FPS on the OnePlus 7 Pro. It’s a pretty laggy experience, and playing on 1440p introduces audio chopping when the frames per second dip too low. I’m not sure how much of this is on OnePlus’ part, given that the other games in our testing performed well and it seems that Fortnite is merely just an extreme outlier.

OnePlus 7 Pro Gaming Summary

Here is a table which has all of the information above condensed for ease of access and understanding. This can also be used to compare directly with the Honor View20 for games which we covered there too.

Game Duration FPS (Median, Stability, Variability) Power (Estimated Playtime) CPU (Avg. Usage, Peak Usage) Memory (Avg. Usage, Peak Usage)
ARK: Survival Evolved (30FPS cap) 15m 11s 30FPS, 97%, 1.01 FPS 5h 3m 8.46%, 48.99% 1256MB, 1328MB
Asphalt 9: Legends (30FPS cap) 11m 42s 30FPS, 95%, 1.35FPS 3h 54m 5.8%, 16.87% 884MB, 1092MB
Hitman: Sniper (60FPS cap) 15m 50s 59FPS, 90%, 3.84FPS 5h 16m 7.13%, 12.62% 577MB, 700MB
PUBG Mobile (40FPS cap) 29m 42s 40FPS, 100%, 0.6FPS 3h 48m 9.2%, 16.30% 897MB, 949MB
Shadowgun Legends (60FPS cap) 15m 08s 54FPS, 79%, 5.02FPS 2h 31m 18.01%, 26.80% 999MB, 1048MB

Storage speed, memory management, and battery life

The OnePlus 7 Pro has a leg-up over competitors when it comes to both storage speed and battery. An included 4,000 mAh battery is bigger than a lot of what’s available on flagship phones to date, and Warp Charge 30 is quick as well to top that battery back up. If you want to read about the OnePlus 7 Pro in-depth when it comes to storage speed, memory management, and battery life, you can check out our in-depth review of the device here.

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 for gaming

While the OnePlus 7 Pro has ultimately been an enjoyable experience for gaming, I wish I could say the same for the newly launched OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2. They are an absolutely fantastic set of earphones, but the audio delay makes them impossible to use for gaming. The audio is delayed by approximately two seconds, and attempting to forcefully change the communication protocol to a lower bitrate proved fruitless. It’s a disappointment though, as OnePlus has been pushing the fact that you can fast charge while gaming and not have any added heat. By how it looks so far, you won’t be able to use earphones for gaming at the same time as you are charging your phone. Qualcomm launched an add-on to the aptX standard called aptX Adaptive which aimed to fix that kind of problem, though it doesn’t seem that the OnePlus 7 Pro supports it.

Conclusion – The OnePlus 7 Pro is one of the best gaming devices on the market today

The OnePlus 7 Pro has proven itself to be a very capable device, but it has also proven why companies may shy away from creating 1440p devices. It looks good, but it increases the processing power required to render the game hugely, and performance appears to suffer as a result. The Honor View20, despite being a weaker device, performed better in some instances when compared to the 7 Pro. Because of that, it’ll be interesting to see how the non-pro OnePlus 7 will fare in gaming too, as it’s rumored to have a 1080p AMOLED panel instead. It could be a case that the regular OnePlus 7 may actually outperform the Pro edition in gaming simply because of the lower screen resolution, though if that is the case, it should be noted that you are able to drop the resolution from 1440p to 1080p in the settings. Once you drop the output to 1080p, it’s absolutely no contest. Combined with the absolutely spectacular display, the OnePlus 7 Pro is a no-brainer for anyone after high-quality gaming with great performance.

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