Is OnePlus about to make a huge mistake with the OnePlus 7 Pro?

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Is OnePlus about to make a huge mistake with the OnePlus 7 Pro?
By now anyone who considers themselves a smartphone enthusiast has heard of OnePlus — the company has come a long way from being an obscure brand with zero recognition and has broken its way through to the sidelines of the mainstream. It’s even carried by T-Mobile in the US, which is by no means a small feat.

Word on the street is that this year — for the first time ever — OnePlus will launch two devices at the same time. The “regular” OnePlus 7, which is coming as an upgrade of last year’s OnePlus 6 and will cost something to the tune of $600, and the “more better-er” OnePlus 7 Pro, which will reportedly start at $700. A move that comes straight from the pages of Apple, Samsung, and Huawei, who all launched “regular” and “superpowered” versions of their flagship phones in recent months.

But here’s the thing. This is not the OnePlus that we all know and love and it may, in fact, be a mistake.

This is not the OnePlus we know

Ever since it launched its first phones, OnePlus has been targeting the “tech savvy” consumer by offering awesome specs in an affordable product and using guerilla / viral marketing strategies to get the word out. The OnePlus One launched at $299, which was — at the time — half the cost of your regular flagship. Over the years, each new iteration of the OnePlus lineup came with a small bump in price, and we reached the point where the OnePlus 6T started at $550.

But that’s OK, I am not here to say “Bring it back to $300!”. It’s obvious that keeping prices so low is unsustainable in the long run, OnePlus just bided its time and took the losses until it could catch the attention of a wider customer base. And it did.

But it’s not all about the money

What made OnePlus special in the past few years is not just its lower prices, but also the fact that the company only launched one phone at a time. In the first half of the year, you have the regular series — OnePlus 3, OnePlus 5, OnePlus 6; and in the second half, you get the slightly upgraded versions — OnePlus 3T, OnePlus 5T, OnePlus 6T… When a new device launches, the old one is discontinued (or sold off as old stock at promo prices), and you know that whenever you go to buy a OnePlus, you will always get the newest and best that the company has to offer.

And OnePlus has talked about this before — it tried to have a sort-of-midranger device with the OnePlus X, but, ultimately, the company didn’t like how the product turned out and said “From now on, we will just focus on one top-tier phone at a time, no midranger shenanigans” (not a direct quote). Cue the applause.

So, why the sudden change of heart?

To be fair, the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro are not going to be a “midranger” and “flagship” duo, but more like a “flagship” and a “flagship+”. So, one can argue that OnePlus is keeping true to its word — no more dabbling with midrangers.

But calling a spade a spade — we are about to get an inferior and superior version of the same phone. The OnePlus 7 Pro is going to be decked out with a pop-out mechanism selfie camera, absolutely no notch on the screen, a triple camera on the back with a crazy zoom (like Huawei P30 Pro) and an ultra-wide angle lens to boot. The OnePlus 7 will have a notch for the selfie camera and “only” two lenses on the back — a telephoto and a regular wide angle (it will probably also have enhanced zoom features but no ultra-wide angle). On the inside, the two phones will be either identical or extremely similar.

Who is supposed to buy the OnePlus 7 Pro?

Starting at the rumored $700, it still sounds like a bit of a deal. It’s still cheaper than the Galaxy S10e and the iPhone XR. But it’s cutting it really close — a bit closer than fans who have been with OnePlus for some years would like. And what do we have to make up for that sudden price jump? A tray-mounted selfie camera? Not sure about that one, OnePlus.

This is sound advice, absolutely. It’s the one I will be giving quite a lot of and it’s probably what a lot of longtime fans will do anyway.

However, I can’t help but feel like the regular OnePlus 7 will be a bit of a letdown for fans — for one, it (allegedly) looks like a “OnePlus 6T+T” and secondly, there’s that “slightly better phone” dangling in front of their noses, for just $100 extra.

It’s a bit of a betrayal of the OnePlus spirit — it has always been “a flagship killer”, a “no nonsense device”, a “smart choice” when it comes to budget and specs. Now, you have “the smart choice” and "the best phone we can give you".  The latter is a whole separate product now.

I can’t help but think that this would turn a lot of people off. A lot will choose the regular 7 over the Pro, and I’m pretty sure that many will prefer not to upgrade at all this year. The question is — will the OnePlus 7 Pro be able to attract customers from outside the established fanbase and will it manage to sell better than the OnePlus 7? We’ll see, but the answer to this will also dictate whether we keep seeing OnePlus Pro phones in the future.

Addendum: Google went in the opposite direction at the worst of times

While not strictly a OnePlus 7 Pro problem, it’s still unfortunate timing for OnePlus that Google decided to announce the Pixel 3a just now. A $400 Pixel phone with the same camera as the flagships but slightly nerfed performance — that’s a no-brainer! This is certain to throw a spanner in OnePlus’ works and will probably affect how the public views this company’s (and others’) products. Google’s being the good guy by offering the Pixel experience at a super-reduced price, while others are making “Pro” phones as an excuse to jack their prices up even more.

Could Google turn out to be the “industry disruptor” of 2019, while OnePlus is busy simply becoming yet another smartphone company?



1. Sparkxster

Posts: 1229; Member since: Mar 31, 2017

OnePlus wants to compete with apple and Samsung. Problem is you have to match them feature for feature and the OP 7 Pro doesn't have wireless charging or ip certification, two features that would put there new phone on par with apple and Samsung.

2. mdorno

Posts: 47; Member since: Aug 17, 2011

Agreed. And not everyone wants a damn curved screen either. I could live with the pop-up camera but do not care for the curved screen. If Samsung gave up a top end flat screened phone I'd possibly jump back to them. Until then I'll continue to rock my 3T.

5. Boast_Rider

Posts: 535; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

"If Samsung gave up a top end flat screened phone I'd possibly jump back to them." S10e? The only disadvantages v/s the S10/S10+ are the missing telephoto, 1080p screen and weaker speakers and haptic motor. It's the same phone otherwise, for cheaper.

21. mdorno

Posts: 47; Member since: Aug 17, 2011

But it still doesn't have all the same features. If I wanted a gimped out version then I'd jump. Also I want a larger screen than 5.8". Give me 6.2" to 6.4"and I'd be happy.

4. Boast_Rider

Posts: 535; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

Premium flagships can be made in plenty of ways. Sure, the OnePlus lacks IP rating or wireless charge, but it does offer things that those phones do not. Like a 90Hz panel, or UFS 3.0 storage, or a full screen display without notch or cutout. All this for $300 cheaper than the S10+ and $400 cheaper than XS max is IMO a great way to make a phone. And they have their own signature advantages too, like warp charge, alert slider or OxygenOS(considered to be the best android UX), or third party dev support. The thing is, you can make that argument about any phone. I can make the argument for the pixel 3, as it offers industry leading camera and pure android with quick updates, or S10+ as it offers a 3.5mm headphone jack, and microSD, or iPhone as it offers a taptic engine, or the industry leading A12 processor. Each phone has their pros and cons. If they all matched each other feature to feature, the market would be boring AF. It's good that we have choices.

15. User123456789

Posts: 926; Member since: Feb 22, 2019

I agree with few parts. Brand A may lack something found on B, but may have something B lacks. There is no perfect phone. But stuff that other brands have like LG ( special DAC, manual video controls, second screen of older V devices) and Sony ( 10-bit screen, 4K HDR HLG, audio features, battery tools to keep it healthy) do not earn respect deserved. It is impossible to give everything a $900 phone has for $480. Now people are starting to see.

17. Boast_Rider

Posts: 535; Member since: Sep 14, 2017

The problem with Sony and LG is that they skimp on basics while asking $800-900. Sony skimped on cameras for so long, while asking for Samsung galaxy prices. OnePlus also has offered garbage cameras, but they ask $500-550 for their phones, so that can be excused. Similarly, LG has offered tiny batteries and horrible software experience(extremely delayed updates) along with bootloop issues in past. Sony has offered some excellent software and screens on their phones, but struggled with camera. LG is exactly opposite: excellent cameras, but poor software. Sony should have offered OIS and good processing 3 years ago. Similarly, LG should have revamped their UI long ago. Similarly, if the OnePlus 7 pro has a terrible battery, display or camera, no 90Hz display or no notch can save it. You do not f**k with basics.

24. perry1234

Posts: 646; Member since: Aug 14, 2012

Very True !!

33. aenews

Posts: 26; Member since: Jan 25, 2015

The display will be top-notch, OnePlus is paying for the most cutting-edge display available from Samsung which would be a 90Hz QHD+ AMOLED Display. The battery will likely be 4000mAh which basically matches the S10+/N9. The camera will probably not beat Samsung but will be a significant improvement and be on around the same level. Software will be excellent.

51. ebilcake

Posts: 1230; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Why wouldn't it beat Samsung? they haven't changed the camera significantly for three generations now.

26. GalaxyLeads_iCrapFollows

Posts: 216; Member since: Nov 29, 2017

The Galaxy S10 and Note 9 can already be bought at oneplus prices with the frequent promotions. You get far superior Korean quality compared to cheap chinese junk at the same price. oneplus is going downhill for sure.

40. yesyeswe

Posts: 16; Member since: Dec 13, 2017

People just like to bitch about oneplus, they are just jealous that oneplus is giving a better phone at relatively low price while they being fans of top brands have to pay extra for it. They call oneplus flagship killer while oneplus itself haven't used that line for many years now. No one looks at the pros of oneplus anymore, qhd 90hz AMOLED, ufs 3.0, fast updates for 3 years, oxygen os, and fast charging what's all that? Oneplus doesn't have ip rating, oneplus doesn't have wireless(should be called induction) charging...blah blah blah. The day oneplus will cost same as a Samsung flagship, oneplus will give out better features than every other phone manufacturer in the market

45. dvlprr

Posts: 69; Member since: May 08, 2019

Lol What Relatively Low Price Lol. The OP7/Pro Is Just Another Smartphone Like Vivo... It's Stopped Being Special.

43. PryvateiDz

Posts: 443; Member since: Jul 31, 2011

THIS!!! OnePlus is definitely offering great PERFORMANCE for their loyal users, which is something they have always been focused on. Each smartphone has their main golden feature set, and you can have a legitimate argument of value for each depending on the user's preferences.

16. androiduser

Posts: 510; Member since: Jun 18, 2014

I think it's not a mistake, it's great what they're doing, they're still gonna offer their affordable OnePlus 7 flagship but they're also gonna give other people who want a phone that is up there with the best but for a cheaper price, 700$ for what the OnePlus 7 pro offers is pretty cheap, in my opinion the OnePlus 7 pro seems like by far the best phone of 2019 And easily wipes the floor with the s10 plus, it doesn't need wireless charging, it has super fast cable charging, it doesn't need an ip rating because an ip rating won't change a thing about the OnePlus 7 pro, it will only tell you more about it's water resistance ability and it will add more to the cost, you aren't supposed to swim with your phone anyway even if it's water proof. Without upping their price all you'd have is the OnePlus 7 and people like me are willing to pay more for something like the OnePlus 7 pro which would need to be sold at a higher price because it costs more to make. I like the direction OnePlus is going in, there really is no need to complain cause OnePlus 7 is still a choice if you can't afford the pro model, it's for people who want to pay more and get more, i don't see why people are angry.

20. rsiders

Posts: 1960; Member since: Nov 17, 2011

But at least they have something to show for it. The screen is the only QHD screen with a 90hz refresh rate you can find on a flagship. Spec for price wise way better than the price of the competition while missing IP certification which if we're being honest, the average Joe won't be affected by and wireless charging which offers no benefit in speed of charge compared to OnePlus's Dash charge solution.

32. aenews

Posts: 26; Member since: Jan 25, 2015

Absolutely. People are knocking the OnePlus 7 Pro without taking the advantages into consideration. This is the absolute first 90Hz QHD+ AMOLED Display to market, and Samsung hasn't even used this display on their highest-end flagships yet. This is a cutting edge Samsung display. Sure it's missing IP certification, but there is water resistance. As with any other manufacturer including Samsung, water damage will not be covered under warranty. Wireless charging isn't included. However, if we're really comparing to Samsung. The S10/S10+ have only 15W wired charging while Warp Charge on the 7 Pro is 30W. Having normal charging be twice as fast is a lot more important to me than wireless charging. Also OnePlus is using UFS 3.0 storage on the 7 Pro while Samsung is using last-gen storage.

44. pchetan2

Posts: 8; Member since: Oct 04, 2017

Agree that 90hz QHD+ screen is first to market, I can boast about it but as a complete package, I would always choose a Samsung /Sony /Apple over OnePlus any day. You get better tuned Audio, tuned display , tuned camera , after sales service..., better build quality etc... And brand value (if you want to show Off).... OnePlus is good but not as good as other big players. I have used all the devices except apple, OnePlus had poorest quality of all. People may say , OnePlus's software is very good but it lacks many customization options, and uses 6GB ram , no wonder near stock android runs super smooth with 6GB ram....With OnePlus , you get what you pay for ...with OP 7 Pro, they are asking for more than that ...Features matter but overall experience must be there to justify the price....

48. aenews

Posts: 26; Member since: Jan 25, 2015

Tuned display? This is essentially the best display that could possibly be sourced from Samsung currently. I would expect calibration from OnePlus to be solid, as well. The audio experience on the Note 9 absolutely crushes the 6T. However, I do think the OP7 Pro will narrow the gap significantly or possibly bridge it completely. We simply don't know enough about the camera at this point, but it should be a welcome step forward from the already reasonable camera on the 6T. We'll have to see how it fares versus the S10+. After sales service. OnePlus will definitely honor their warranty. There's no way they'd best Samsung's CS, and their CS is notably lackluster. Never had an issue with them, personally. Forum support is good for both. You're right, but I don't consider it a big factor as long as warranty is honored. For build quality, I disagree. The 6T and Note 9 are both well-constructed devices. They look aesthetically pleasing and feel good in the hand. I have both devices as daily drivers (Just shipped off the 6T in anticipation of the OP7 Pro). For software experience, I disagree as OnePlus does offer a plethora of customization options. Also OnePlus offers 8GB+ RAM. For the 6T, only the lowest variant had 6GB.

53. pchetan2

Posts: 8; Member since: Oct 04, 2017

Best display in terms of specs may be ...But we shall see if this betters s10's excellent display. Op7 pro may come close but still S10 would be better at same price coming to software, May i know what plethora of options do you get in Oxygen OS apart from Night mode & accent color change ?

42. Reybanz88

Posts: 97; Member since: Jul 28, 2016

The phone is water resistant, I use my 6t in the shower to listen to music and it's no different than when I did the same with my S9. Just because they didn't pay for the IP cert doesn't mean it's not water resistant. Also the lack of wireless charging shouldn't be a deal breaker. Coming from Samsung using wireless charging everyday to the OnePlus with it's super fast charging and long battery... I charge my phone probably once every day and a half. And then it charges up in like 30mins to 100%. I literally take a shower and get dressed and phone is on 100% ready to go another day and half sometimes 2 days.

49. aenews

Posts: 26; Member since: Jan 25, 2015

Not even the McLaren 6T with 30W would exceed 80% in 30 Minutes. Somewhat agreed otherwise. 30W vs. 15W is a very big difference. This difference is felt strongly at the lower charging levels (0-60%).

50. RebelwithoutaClue unregistered

Wireless charging is pointless when you have quickcharging And IP certification is as good as saying hey you can throw it in a bucket of water In both cases, you lose warranty when there is water damages.

3. Cheezwiz

Posts: 500; Member since: Dec 29, 2014

Yes, it's a mistake. So much so that I went out this week and bought a different phone after hearing the details about the Pro

6. jellmoo

Posts: 2595; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

The problem is that the Pixel 3a(XL) is simply a much better option for the majority of consumers. Oneplus has abandoned their niche, and Google is making a very hard play to take it over.

14. Vega007

Posts: 78; Member since: May 18, 2017

With the Pixel 3a's, Google and OnePlus are basically swapping roles it seems. I find it humorous and I would bet this turns out to not work out so well for OnePlus. I expect to see a surge of Pixel phones out in the wild very soon. Goodbye OnePlus, you were fun while it lasted.

22. AbhiD

Posts: 813; Member since: Apr 06, 2012

There is not even a single thing better in Pixel 3a(XL) compared to basic OnePlus 7 except back camera. So how exactly did Google and OnePlus switch roles? Pixel 3a series is garbage.

39. skips

Posts: 481; Member since: Oct 04, 2015

appealing to general customers, providing an overall solid phone for a relatively lower price. no need to bring specs up.

7. trqster

Posts: 176; Member since: May 17, 2013

Truth is that you can get a brand new S10e (real flagship) right now for as low as $500 or so.... Then there's no reason in my book to spend more money (ironic statement) in a OnePlus phone that never get disconted... Don't get me wrong I do love OnePlus and my OP5 but they're getting into a process range that's absurd since you can get more complete flagships for the same or less the price.

31. aenews

Posts: 26; Member since: Jan 25, 2015

They are in completely different size classes. The OP7 Pro is marginally larger than even the S10+. Strange to compare it to the S10e which is smaller the S10 which is smaller than the S10+ which is smaller than the OP7 Pro. Also there are discounts. You can get 5% student discount and 2% TopCashBack. Also you're looking at it the wrong way. Resale value is very strong for OnePlus for this same reason (discounts) and also many others (main one being supply/demand). I just sold my 6-Month old last-gen OnePlus 6T for $559, and I originally bought it for $585 at launch! Samsung devices depreciate much, much faster.

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