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My early impressions of the OnePlus 7 (non-pro).

chrisk

Folding Captain
Joined
Jul 12, 2008
Messages
7,542
Location
GTA, Ontario
Hey everyone;

I picked up a OnePlus 7 (non-pro) from Swiftronics last weekend for $720 tax inc. This is the OnePlus 7 that they are not planning to bring to North America.

Some details:

- I have the 8GB 256GB red model number GM1900 (Chinese global version)

- using Bell Mobility in the GTA. Supposed to have all required and supported bands: https://www.kimovil.com/en/frequency-checker/CA/oneplus-7

- new updated SIM card

- using the global OxygenOS out of the box, currently getting OTAs and on version 9.5.6GM57AA

- network testing done using LTE Discovery Pro app and Speedtest and manually choosing the same server nearby

- using the stock and Google camera


Pros:
- this thing is a piece of art. The colour of the case is a deep rich red, and sits in my hand perfectly. Really, the deep red is striking and folks have been asking about it. Right now its covered with the included clear case which is a bit slippery and I'm waiting for a case to arrive via Amazon USA

- screen is really good. Better than my Pixel 2XL for sure. Size is great and I get little smearing at low light.

- smoothest and fastest device I have ever used. Stable, no crashes

- I am getting crazy good battery life. I don't keep accurate SOTs but this thing gets me through a whole day with easily 60-70% left. Nuts.

- My Google PD chargers charge this thing faster than they charge my Pixels.

- The stock camera is actually better than I was expecting, even in low light. I am not sure what the complaints were all about. The Google Camera works great too and takes 'different' pictures, but for me I am not sure they are significantly better. The Google camera app seemed to 'lose' one picture I took (picture was taken, appeared in the gallery right after, and is now gone).

- got two OTAs already, even though this thing is not running its intended ROM out of the box (imported OnePlus 7s seem to be shipping with OxygenOS out of the box, instead of HydrogenOS which is the Chinese OS for the device). OnePlus seems OK with this practice and you can put ROMs on this through the stock recovery no problem without any bootloader foolishness.

- I got about 220mb/s LTE downloads once (band 7 in Ajax, near Toronto)

- OxygenOS is a good version of Android in my books. Loving the dark theme options.


Meh
- in-screen fingerprint sensor. I am not a huge fan...I got better using it and had to register my thumbs a few times to get it right and working faster. I prefer rear sensors and I have gotten used to this one,but I don't love it. The face unlock is ok too. This scanner is supposed to be better than the 6T, so if this is the upgrade I would hate the 6T scanner.


Cons
- I am not getting great LTE reception, despite this device supporting all the bands that Bell Mobility uses. What I have noticed is that my Pixel prefers different bands in specific locations, and gets much better reception and speeds than the Oneplus. Right now I tend to get about half the speeds and the signal strength being read by the LTE Discovery app are stronger on the 2XL. I find that the OnePlus prefers band 4 at my house and gets 60mb/s, where the Pixel 2XL prefers band 2 and gets 90-120mb/s.

- I have lost reception where my Pixel 2XL has not. That said, this was in areas my Pixel might have grabbed HSPA so its poor reception areas, but at least I never lost it on the Pixel.

- I have lost GPS twice in areas I have never lost it before using Waze

- I got an overheating message the other day while using Waze and TuneIn mounted in my car. Yep, it was hot outside but I never got that message on my Pixel in similar circumstances, including today when it was hotter.

- warranty. Not sure I have one. Swiftronics says I have 30 days from them, and they will handle the 1 year manuf warranty if I may shipping. My guess is that they ship it back to China to get warranty work done. I got a cash discount which probably knocks down the warranty validity a notch too.

- I miss the Ambient Display on the Pixel 2XL. I find it helps me locate my phone in the dark rooms of my home and after I put the baby down at night


Overall verdict:
I want to love this device but I'm conflicted.

The poor LTE reception has be worried.
I am thinking of trying the European operating system (can install it without any bootloader stuff...just download the zip and install from local storage on the stock recovery which is great). Maybe the European version has better modem control, etc? I dunno. Other OnePlus 7 users have reported that this Chinese version (GM1900) is having similar issues in other markets. The device is so new that folks have not figured out yet whats going on for sure.

I don't like that I lost GPS twice in areas that my Pixel 2 had no issues. Has me thinking possible RMA when paired with the LTE issues, but my buddy with a OnePlus 5 tells me he has issues in the same areas and thought it was normal. Weird as I naver had issues there before, even today when I tested with my 2XL again.

I got hit with $50 in data overages just because of using Speedtest in a 24 hour period, trying various dialer menus and apn settings and testing, etc. Just plain forgot that my new phone would not have the data limits settings imported. Dumbass.

I'll keep it for another week for sure and see if this thing has a hardware issue (I don't think so), or I might decide to root it and start selecting bands myself to play around with. This thing is a powerhouse and a tweakers dream, but I am not confident enough to make it my daily driver which is what I wanted. I may keep it as a toy to mess with...maybe if the OP7 comes to North America a ROM with tuned modems will come with it, I dunno but thats a long shot. Maybe the Android Q update?

The 220mb/s speeds I got the other day were crazy though. The 60mb/s speeds I get where I typically get double I am not worried about so much, but its the dropping the connection quicker than I am used to that bothers me. Not much good having a red Ferrari phone that has a flat tire. This phone is plenty sexy but a bit on the unstable side when it comes to data connectivity right now.

If you have money to burn, or are in an area that has good band 7 reception (from my testing anyway) this is a crazy good phone at $700 and fun to mess with. Some guys on red Flag Deals were getting it for less than $600 with some rebate shenanigans and tariff hopes and prayers.
 
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