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Icon2 OnePlus 7 Pro might finally make me ditch Google phones

OnePlus 7 Pro might finally make me ditch Google phones oneplus-7-pro-vs-goo

OnePlus 7 Pro might finally make me ditch Google phones 34c9b23dacbf2a004219

Opinion post by
Oliver Cragg

The OnePlus 7 Pro is OnePlus’ first attempt at a true ultra-premium flagship and I’m a little bit in love with it.

I’ve come to this conclusion after testing a review unit for around a week now and it’s frankly left me in a bit of a pickle. Despite the fact my day job for the past five or so years means I’m chopping and changing phones on an almost monthly basis (it’s a hard life), I’ve always gone back to a Google phone as my daily driver.

That could all change with the
OnePlus 7 Pro.

Oodles of Google

OnePlus 7 Pro might finally make me ditch Google phones google-pixel-3a-purp

This trend of mine stretches back all the way to the
, which became my first Android phone back in 2012 after becoming jaded by incremental iPhone upgrades. The
Nexus 5 was my next stop and quickly cemented my love of all things Android and is probably my favorite smartphone of all-time (just behind the
Pixel 2 XL and

Those times I did waiver from google mostly led to disappointment (what was I thinking buying an
LG G4?), but that wasn’t the case with my recent detour with the
OnePlus 6T.

Long story short, I managed to smash my
Pixel 3 XL (RIP) and needed a replacement. That role was filled by the oneplus 6T and I was immediately wowed by its rapid speed, not to mention the smaller notch over the Pixel 3 XL’s hideous bathtub cutout.

It wasn’t all wonderful, though. The camera processing left a lot to be desired, I still preferred Pixel software to OxygenOS, and I hated the single speaker that I always managed to muffle when playing games and watching Twitch.
After seven years of Google phones, maybe it's time for a change.

I’ve been flitting between the OnePlus 6T and a brand new, not smashed to pieces Google Pixel 3 XL for a few months now, trying to get a balance between the 6T’s hardware and the Pixel 3 XL’s software.

Then the OnePlus 7 Pro arrived at my doorstep.

Rather than just go over all the great and not-so-great things about the OnePlus 7 Pro, I’m going to run through all the things I would and wouldn’t miss from ditching my Pixel in the vain hope it’ll get me out of another “will I, won’t I” dilemma until the
Pixel 4 rolls around.

Things I love

If you’ve read or watched (above) our
OnePlus 7 Pro review you already know this thing is blisteringly fast. The version I’ve got is the ludicrously over-spec’d 12GB RAM model and it’s so quick it feels like it might take off.

Coming to this from my irritatingly — and considering the internals inexcusably — sluggish
Pixel 3 XL is a revelation. I can now switch between a seemingly infinite number of apps at any time without having to watch them boot all over again. Thanks to UFS 3.0, bloated games like
Pokémon Go also load in about half the time. It’s blissful.

More on OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro specs: A bleeding-edge OnePlus phone appears

OnePlus 7 Pro marks a radical shift for the Chinese brand, as it seeks to offer a more premium option than previous devices. OnePlus 7 and 7 Pro are here: Everything you need to …

The overall snappy feel and tight animations are helped along by the OnePlus 7 Pro’s
90Hz display.

The display in general is absolutely stunning. I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I use a selfie camera in a single year so the trade off of a mechanized pop-up camera that could one day fail for a massive, almost entirely bezel-free screen is a no brainer.

OnePlus 7 Pro might finally make me ditch Google phones oneplus-7-pro-vs-goo

The display curves are perhaps a little too extreme compared to the
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, but everything else about the phone’s entire design is stunning, especially in Nebula Blue which has a mesmerizing, soft glow in the certain lights. I’ve never disliked the two-tone Pixel aesthetic, but this blows it out of the water.

The OnePlus 7 Pro's 90Hz display is stunning.

Surprisingly, the in-display fingerprint sensor has been another huge upgrade. I say surprisingly because I’ve had nothing but headaches with in-display sensors, but I’ve found the hit rate on the OnePlus 7 Pro to be really high. Meanwhile, the Pixel 3 XL’s rear sensor has always been hit-and-miss for me.

Another plus for OnePlus (see what I did there?) is battery life. While the OnePlus 7 Pro represents a significant drop in battery endurance compared to the ultra-efficient OnePlus 6T, I can still make it through the day on OnePlus’ latest. That’s more than I get from the Pixel. The lack of
wireless charging is a shame as I’ll have to retire my
Pixel Stand, but
30W Warp Charge support more than makes up for it.

Things I miss

OnePlus 7 Pro might finally make me ditch Google phones oneplus-7-pro-vs-goo

As I expected, my main gripes with the OnePlus 7 Pro have very little to do with the hardware — with two minor exceptions.

The first is the stereo speaker setup. The 7 Pro’s speakers are a stark improvement over the OnePlus 6T’s stupidly positioned single bottom speaker, but they’re still not quite on par with the Pixel 3 XL’s dual front-facing speakers.

The other hardware feature I’d miss is
Active Edge. I use
Google Assistant a lot (I have five Google Home speakers and counting) so having immediate access on my phone via a quick squeeze has always been a bonus.

In the grand scheme of things, these are both losses I can live with. I’m not sure I can say the same about my issues with the software, however.

OnePlus 7 Pro might finally make me ditch Google phones oneplus-7-pro-vs-goo

Let me be very clear:
OxygenOS is by far my favorite OEM skin. It’s incredibly customizable, clean-looking, has almost zero bloat, and often has extra or tweaked features that are better than stock Android (most notably gestures). But I still prefer the Pixel Launcher.

Best OEM skin?

The many flavors of Android: a look at the major Android skins

One of the best things about Android is how customizable it is, letting users enjoy a whole host of different flavors. Some prefer their Android clean and stock-like. Others like phone manufacturers to come up …

There’s just something about the Pixel’s simplicity and purity as part of the wider Google ecosystem — that I’m perhaps too deeply ingrained in — that I immediately mourn the absence of that signature Material Design look and feature set.

I can remedy this a little thanks to a
helpful widget app that mimics the Pixel clock and
Nova launcher with a
sideloaded Google Discover app, but it’s still not quite the same. There’s also no solution to OnePlus’ continued, inexplicable refusal to add always-on display support — a very personal potential deal breaker, I admit — which is outright baffling at this point.

OnePlus 7 Pro might finally make me ditch Google phones oneplus-7-pro-vs-goo

If there’s one ultimate deal breaker, however, it’s the same thing that led to me resigning the OnePlus 6T back to a drawer: the camera.

Last year I welcomed my daughter into the world and my photo library went from occasional shots of my cat to literally thousands of snaps of a little person, all uploaded safely to
Google Photos with unlimited original quality cloud storage and synced to my
Google Home Hub (or
Nest Hub, I should say).

On paper, the OnePlus 7 Pro camera is great. Its
triple-lens setup is far more versatile than the Pixel 3 series’ single shooter and the image quality is an obvious step up from the OnePlus 6T. The OnePlus Camera app is also simple and intuitive.

OnePlus 7 Pro might finally make me ditch Google phones oneplus-7-pro-vs-goo

Unfortunately, the actual results still pale in comparison to the Pixel 3 XL, especially in low light. OnePlus’ post-processing still lags way behind Google’s and when you’re taking photos that you’ll cherish forever that becomes an overwhelmingly large, emotive factor.

The fact that the budget
Pixel 3a series, which I’ve also been playing around with recently, produces better results as a point-and-shoot camera phone shows just how far ahead Google is in this area compared to every Android OEM, not just OnePlus.

OnePlus 7 Pro Vs Google Pixel 3: Decision time?

OnePlus 7 Pro might finally make me ditch Google phones oneplus-7-pro-vs-goo

I have a feeling I’ll be going back and forth between the OnePlus 7 Pro and Google Pixel 3 XL for the next few months. The inevitable
Pixel Camera port for the OnePlus 7 Pro may throw a curveball at me, though that may make using the telephoto and ultra-wide angle sensors a little more awkward.

My ideal phone still sits somewhere between the two devices with OnePlus’ hardware and Google’s software. That said, I understand that I’m coming at this dilemma from a point of extreme privilege as most people don’t have multiple high-calibre phones they can pick and choose on a whim.

I'm still torn.

For most buyers, the OnePlus 7 Pro offers far greater bang for your buck even when considering the price jump compared to OnePlus’ previous flagships. Likewise, if the camera is your deciding factor as it may be for me, the Pixel 3a is a much better value package than its flagship sibling.

Ultimately, I’m still torn. But it’s not been this close for a while.

Which phone should I go for? Let me hear your opinion in the comments!

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