As 2019 comes to a close, I’ve taken some time to reflect on the past year of gadgets, gizmos, and smartphones I’ve had the pleasure of using. And when it comes to the best phones on the planet, there’s one that easily stands above the rest in my eyes: the OnePlus 7 Pro.
So here’s the thing about smartphones: they’re pretty subjective. What’s important to one person may not matter as much to someone else. For many users, the camera rules. For others, it may be the battery life, while some people only care about performance. And don’t get me started on features—that’s arguably what makes one phone a better choice than another for many users.
But when thinking about what I wanted to call the best phone of the year, I tried to consider everything. Features, performance, battery life, camera, and—perhaps most importantly—value were all part of the equation here. After looking at multiple phones, including the Pixel 3a, Pixel 4, iPhone 11/11 Pro, the Galaxy S10/Note 10, and even the OnePlus 7T, I kept coming back to the 7 Pro.
Why, you ask? When I reviewed it back in June, I called it “the benchmark.” Today, that’s still just as true as it was then because it easily offers the best combination of all the features one could ask for in a smartphone. It has stellar performance thanks to the Snapdragon 855 processor and ample RAM. The 256 GB storage capacity should be enough to satiate even the most phone-heavy users. The display is big and beautiful, and the 90 Hz refresh rate is a literal game-changer. Seriously, you’ll never want to go back to 60 Hz after getting used to 90.
Top that off with a beautiful, robust build and a lightly customized version of Android with prompt updates from OnePlus, and you have a winning combination. But all that combined still isn’t what makes me call the 7 Pro the best smartphone of 2019.
Nope, it gets that title because of everything it offers combined with an absolutely insane price. You could expect to pay upwards of $900 for a phone that has everything the 7 Pro offers, but given OnePlus’ cutthroat pricing model, you get the full shebang for just $550. Five-hundred-and-fifty-dollars, y’all. You can beat that with a stick. I’m not sure why you’d want to beat a brand new smartphone with a stick in the first place, but hey, you might have your reasons.
To put that into perspective, the Google Pixel 3a XL, which is a great “budget” Pixel, goes for $480. That’s a $70 savings for a much slower processor, half the RAM, and a fourth of the storage. The OnePlus 7 Pro is double the phone for less than a Benjamin more. The value presented in the 7 Pro cannot be overstated—especially when compared to pretty much every other phone on the planet. You could buy two 7 Pros for the same price as the base model iPhone 11 Pro Max!
Of course, despite being the best smartphone of the year, it’s still not the perfect smartphone. It could have wireless charging. The camera isn’t as sharp as what Google, Apple, or even Samsung offers. With the Pixel 3a, you get unique and powerful features like call screening, plus the absolutely incredible camera—a feature that is unmatched by nearly any other non-Pixel phone. The iPhone 11 and 11 Pro both offer insane battery life, plus the interesting features that make the iOS ecosystem so desireable. Those are both great phones.
Of course, there’s no such thing as the perfect phone, at least not generally speaking. Those who are all-in on the Apple ecosystem will likely say the 11 Pro or Pro Max is the best phone of 2019, which is probably true—for them. The same can be said for Galaxy users, who tend to be passionate about their smartphone of choice. And I respect that. Appreciate it. Applaud it, even.
But for everyone else, you can’t buy a better smartphone than the OnePlus 7 Pro. For half the price of the competition, you will get one of the best performing, longest-lasting, most attractive, and downright baddest-ass phones on the planet.
Hats off to OnePlus and what it did with the 7 Pro. I can’t wait to see what it has in store for the 8 Pro.