The OnePlus 7 Pro was just recently released as one of the fancier high-end smartphones of the year, and it’s safe to say that what makes it so appealing is the unique mixture of exotic features and reasonable price.
While Apple and Samsung were quick to attack the $1000 range with their ultra-luxurious XS and S10 models, the almost equally impressive OnePlus 7 Pro goes for just $669. This kind of positioning explains why most consumers are more likely to compare it against Apple’s 2018 “budget” phone – the iPhone XR ($750).
Indeed, this is a comparison that makes perfect sense. Critics of the iPhone XR often point at its lower screen resolution, but that’s where the criticism usually has to end, because Apple didn’t really compromise with anything else that could warrant a discussion. Meanwhile, the OnePlus 7 Pro is the phone that looks a bit better on paper, so it’s normal that so many users are now wondering which of the two smartphones would be more ideal for them.
Well, we’re here to help!
The iPhone XR is by no means a compact phone, but even it is dwarfed by the 7 Pro. OnePlus’ phone is considerably taller, as well as slightly wider and thicker. It does feel like a bigger and heavier phone, and the XR is already quite big and heavy.
In the looks department, the OnePlus 7 Pro impresses with exceptionally thin bezels and the absence of a notch or camera cut out, as its front camera uses a motorized mechanism to pop up from the top edge. However, it’s overall shape is a bit more “irregular” in its nature, whereas the iPhone XR goes for a less “cutting edge”, but classier design with simpler, cleaner lines. Needless to say, there’s the display notch in the upper end, used to house the earpiece, selfie camera and Face ID system.
If we allow ourselves to move away from the looks department and consider the practical aspect of build quality, what we find are two very solid, yet vulnerable phones. Solid, because both handsets are build incredibly well and give off a strong, dense vibe; and vulnerable, because their bodies are still made of glass, so a single drop would be all it takes to waste them.
This is one are where both models are great, but the OnePlus 7 Pro is so much better.
Finally, the 7 Pro strikes with what is probably its strongest key feature – the 90 Hz refresh rate. Almost all phones out there have 60 Hz displays, with the exception of a couple of niche gaming phones. And while you may think that 60 Hz displays look perfectly smooth, wait until you see a 90 Hz screen! It’s so much smoother!
The 7 Pro’s 90 Hz display does come at the cost of some additional battery consumption, but if we have to choose between looking at a 90 Hz display and having a bit of extra battery, we’d choose the 90 Hz display any day. At this point, we have no idea when or if major companies like Apple or Samsung are going to integrate this technology into their own smartphones (Apple already has it in the newer iPad Pros).
Interface and ecosystem
The Android 9-based Oxygen OS running on the OnePlus 7 Pro is among the best Android variations right now. For the most part, it’s very similar to “stock” Android, but it refines the experience a little bit with some custom graphics and animations, as well as impeccable performance. The Oxygen UI also adds some unique applications courtesy of OnePlus, and offers a good range of personalization options.
When it comes to cloud services, web apps and integration, your best bet with the OnePlus 7 Pro would be to use Google’s services, as OnePlus doesn’t offer any alternatives of its own.
iOS 12 on the iPhone XR proved to be an exceptionally reliable release. It remains true to the iOS way of things, being a versatile and advanced operating system that tries to keep redundancy to a minimum. It does, however, provide surprising levels of flexibility and personalization once you dive deeper into the Settings app.
Apple, of course, provides a complete suite of apps and services that make sure your data and content are safely backed up in the cloud, and synced across your Apple devices. This is a major point: if you use a Mac computer or an iPad, then staying inside Apple’s ecosystem by going for the iPhone XR will make your life a lot easier.
Performance and memory
It’s great that both phones participating in this comparison are true speed demons. Of the two, the iPhone XR has the more powerful chipset and graphics performance – it will remain perfectly usable for years to come. Plus, you can count on Apple to release all the major iOS updates for the XR over the next 4 years.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is also impressively snappy. It has, of course, the Snapdragon 855, so it pretty much has the best hardware for Android there is. This, coupled with the speedy nature of the Oxygen OS and the extra fluidity enabled by the 90 Hz display, makes for what could be the fastest Android phone right now. OnePlus also has a history of lasting software support for its devices, so we expect the 7 Pro to remain current and fully usable for at least a few years from now.
Apple tends to be quite frugal when it comes to storage space, but the 64 GB on the base model XR are still a pretty decent amount, as long as you don’t go crazy with 4K video recording. The bigger problem is the exceptionally limited iCloud storage in the free tier, which is just 5 GB – this isn’t really acceptable in 2019. However, it is what it is, and until Apple fixes it, many users will be forced to upgrade to the 50 GB tier, which, at least, is pretty inexpensive at just $0.99 a month.
The OnePlus 7 Pro is a more worry-free affair as far as storage goes. The base model comes with the generous 128 GB, while the free Drive space that you get with a Google account is 15 GB.
Hardware-wise, the iPhone XR is fairly simplistic with its approach to camera. It is only equipped with a single shooter, but that one camera is actually pretty capable.
Meanwhile, the 7 Pro, being OnePlus’ top tier device, comes with a total of three rear cameras: a 48 MP main, 8 MP telephoto (zoom), and 16 MP ultra-wide. This kind of setup allows for superb flexibility in the way you can approach each shot.
Let’s take a look at the photos we took!
As you’ll see, there really isn’t a huge difference in the quality of daylight shots. Both exposure levels and color reproduction tend to be pretty close in most situations. Of course, with the OnePlus 7 Pro you have the added benefit of the telephoto and ultra-wide angle cameras – you can see the results in some of the scenes we captured.
The presence of the telephoto camera on the 7 Pro is great news for portrait photography. We love how portraits come out using the 3x telephoto shooter! Now, the iPhone XR is also equipped with a portrait mode, but as it lacks a telephoto lens, portraits produced with it lack that “in your face” feel. Instead, they are wider, capture more of the surroundings and may introduce some amount of distortion, as it is normal when shooting with regular phone cameras.
For video recording, both handsets support 4K resolution, and we generally recommend that you do shoot video at 4K, as the results tend to be considerably better. In this case, both phones capture good-looking footage with plenty of detail; however, color reproduction looks better in the footage recorded by the iPhone XR. Things just look livelier and better exposed, wheres footage from the OnePlus 7 Pro tends to look somewhat dull.
The iPhone XR has a very large, 6.1” display, but that of the 7 Pro is decidedly huge at 6.7”! This, along with the higher resolution, OLED technology, and lack of display notch or other cutouts, makes the OnePlus 7 Pro an incredible phone to watch video on.
Google is, of course, covering the media gamut with its own stores for things like music, movies, or ebooks, but Apple’s ecosystem of services tends to be superior and more complete, as it includes the vast iTunes store, Apple Music, Podcasts, iBooks, and more. Again, if you have or are thinking of also having a Mac computer, then it makes little sense to venture outside of the Apple realm.
Going into this comparison, we expected the stereo speakers of the iPhone XR to beat those of the 7 Pro, but were surprised to find out that OnePlus hasn’t cut a corner at all. As a matter of fact, the we could barely hear a difference between both pairs. Perhaps that of the iPhone XR sounds a little more intense, but it really is a negligible difference, both in terms of loudness and quality.
As smartphones grew bigger and bigger, we gradually started enjoying better and better battery life. While we can still rarely venture into the second day without paying any attention to how much juice we’ve got left, things have definitely improved over that last few years.
And, the iPhone XR and OnePlus 7 Pro are shining examples of that. Our battery test results show that the 7 Pro is in the ‘excellent’ territory with its 9 hours and 10 minutes. While this is a respectable result, the iPhone XR goes even further with its 11 hours and 1 minute.
The displays here probably play a significant role, because the 7 Pro has the battery hungry 90 Hz OLED panel, while the XR is more efficient with its lower-resolution IPS LCD. You can run the 7 Pro at 60 Hz to reduce battery consumption a bit, but it’s really not worth it.
The OnePlus 7 Pro and iPhone XR are both exciting smartphones, but for different reasons.
We appreciate the 7 Pro for being a bold and innovative device that isn’t afraid to challenge the very best out there, and it not only does that by delivering a no-compromise experience, it also throws in an exotic feature and manages to keep the price impressively low. Its only real problem? That has to be its huge size.
In contrast, the iPhone XR is like the more laid-back version of the XS – it doesn’t scream premium, but is still unmistakably an iPhone. If you crave the all-screen look, the XR is your most inexpensive entry point into the Apple ecosystem. Unlike the 7 Pro, the XR is about compromise in the acceptable places: it sticks with an ordinary looking screen, but retains the premium A12 chipset and Apple’s best main camera, which can be a trusty tool for photo and video capture.
At the end of the day, the iPhone XR is easily the better choice if you happen to already be an Apple user, or if you generally like Apple things. If not, then you need to ask yourself if how much time you spend staring at your phone’s display each day. If you are truly a heavy user, enjoy a lot of media content, and like to tinker with your computers a lot, then the safest route would be to go for the OnePlus 7 Pro – you’ll even save a few bucks along the way. On the other hand, if you just want things to work and look great, but you don’t necessarily dream about 90 Hz refresh rates at night, and you don’t want to have to “manage” your devices, then you can get the iPhone XR and forget we even had this discussion.
OnePlus 7 Pro
- Better display with smooth, 90 Hz refresh rate
- More storage capacity in base model
- More personalizable
- More affordable
- Perfect integration with Apple’s ecosystem
- Better battery life
- Water resistance
- Better video recording
- Better software support