We are long past the days where smartphone launches would be grand exciting things where phone companies would pull out all sorts of new features and flashy hardware that wowed people all over the world. Right now we are at a point where smartphones are pretty boring, and year after year we see smaller incremental updates instead of the mind boggling innovations of 10 years ago. The OnePlus 7T Pro takes that status quo and pushes it to its extreme, and not in a good way.
In fact I will go so far as to say that the 7T Pro doesn't even deserve to call itself a 7T, because it's damn near identical to the OnePlus 7 Pro that was released earlier this year. It's not exactly the same, but there are so few differences that I can almost count them all on a single hand:
- The 7 Pro came with Android 9 out of the box, and the rollout for the Android 10 update is still ongoing. The 7T Pro runs Android 10, and associated OxygenOS upgrades, right out of the box
- The 7 Pro has a Snapdragon 855 processor, while the 7T Pro has the Snapdragon 855+
- The screen is brighter (maximum 800 nits vs 1,000)
- The 7 Pro has a 4,000 mAh battery capacity, while the 7T Pro has a 4,085 mAh battery
- There's an upgraded haptic motor inside, the same as the one in the 7T
- The laser focus module is now outside the camera array, instead of inside it. The camera itself is the exact same one as the 7 Pro
That is literally all that is different, though I will admit I oversimplified the software angle just a little bit. The updated OS on the 7T Pro comes with a lot more than just a mere Android 10 upgrade, especially where the camera is concerned, but let's get real. All those software-based features will be coming to the older devices., even if OnePlus hasn't officially said so After all the 7 and 7 Pro had some exclusive software features, until someone figured out a way to port them onto devices as old as the OnePlus 5. Then OnePlus made them officially available, because why wouldn't you?
So sure the OnePlus 7T and 7T Pro may have features that aren't available in Android 10 update that's currently rolling out, but let's not kid ourselves: they're going to arrive at some point relatively soon. There's certainly no hardware reason why they couldn't.
Now extra battery is always great, even if the 7T Pro is only 85 mAh larger than its predecessor, but you also have to consider that the 7T Pro has a brighter screen - as mentioned above. Extra brightness is good, especially since the OnePlus 7 Pro doesn't look so great in bright sunlight (not that that we'll be getting much of that over the next six months). But that brightness comes at a cost of needing more power, so you have to put that to the test before you can make any solid conclusions. So I slapped on Netflix, and set the 2h13 minutes Spider-Man: Homecoming and streaming over my home WiFi. Brightness was at maximum, naturally, and auto-brightness was switched off to avoid the local environment muddling up the accuracy of the test.
I initially did this on the OnePlus 7 Pro and the OnePlus 7T Pro, before trying out the regular OnePlus 7T for a bit more comparison. The 7 Pro came out with 83% of its battery power left, while the 7T Pro came out with 85%, and while that's not a huge difference it isn't an unnoticeable amount of power either. 2% can make all the difference in the right situation. Is it worth a whole new phone? I'd argue not, and if you want a battery boost you'd hope for at least an hour or two. The regular OnePlus 7T and its 3,800 mAh battery came out with 83% too.
Now the processor has been improved, and naturally the 855+ is not the same as the 855 which feels like it's been around for more than a while. As you might expect, there's a good reason why it's called the 855+, and not the 856 or some other, larger, number.
The difference between the two is that the 855+ has a 2.96Ghz clock speed on the Prime CPU core, compared to the 2.84Ghz on the 855. The Plus also has better graphical power (15% higher according to OnePlus) that has been clocked at 672Mhz over 585MHz by benchmarking tests.
The laser-focussing module and the haptic sensors are barely changes, since they don't have much noticeable difference, though annoyingly having the module on the outside of the camera array means using a 7 Pro case is going to screw up the autofocus. Unless you can, and will, cut a hole into it that is. The improved haptic motor is softer and supposedly more immersive when gaming, though to be honest unless you have both phones side by side you won't notice the difference. Or that's my opinion, whether you care about the level of haptic feedback you get is up to you.
And that's all there really is to say about the OnePlus 7T Pro. As far as incremental upgrades go it's one of the worst ones I can recall off the top of my head. Of course if you want to look at the silver lining here, because the phone is basically the same we already know how it's going to perform. The OnePlus 7 Pro was a great little phone, and you can expect the 7T Pro to function similarly.
That said, if I had my way OnePlus would have skipped this 'update' and just kept producing the 7 Pro a little bit longer. Just like they did with the 7 Pro 5G, because the 7T Pro won't have a 5G variant and the original will still be produced to compensate
The OnePlus 7T Pro is going to be available from 17th October, in Haze Blue, with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage space. It'll cost £699 - the same as the 8/256GB 7 Pro.