OnePlus 7 Pro vs. OnePlus 5T: Should you upgrade?

Best answer: The OnePlus 5T is still a decent phone in 2019, but the OnePlus 7 Pro offers significant upgrades in all key areas. You get a much more immersive display, and the 90Hz refresh rate makes everyday interactions silky smooth. The camera has also picked up a sizeable upgrade, and the internal hardware is much more robust.

Go beyond speed: OnePlus 7 Pro (From $670 at OnePlus)

You get so much more with the OnePlus 7 Pro

OnePlus' frenetic launch cycle means we get a new phone every six months, and although the 5T is three generations old at this point, the phone made its debut just 18 months ago. That said, the OnePlus 7 Pro outmatches the 5T across the board. OnePlus overhauled the design and introduced exciting new features that make the OnePlus 7 Pro stand out not just from previous OnePlus devices, but every other flagship in the market today.

The OnePlus 7 Pro is a significant upgrade from the OnePlus 5T in just about every area imaginable.

You only have to look at the display to see the amount of effort OnePlus put into the design of the 7 Pro, with the 5T looking outdated in comparison. OnePlus was able to trim the bezels down by hiding the front camera behind a retractable motor, which makes the display much more immersive when playing games or watching videos and movies. By contrast, the 5T has noticeable and unsightly bezels at the top and bottom.

Then there's the display itself: the OnePlus 7 Pro is the first device from the Chinese firm to feature a Quad HD+ panel, and the difference is immediately noticeable. The panel is also rated for HDR10 content — making it ideal for Netflix or YouTube. Even though there's little to no bezel at the top OnePlus still managed to add a second speaker. Stereo sound makes all the difference when watching videos on the device, and it adds to that overall experience.

OnePlus 7 Pro vs. OnePlus 5T: Should you upgrade?

But what makes the screen truly stand out is the 90Hz refresh rate. Most phones in the market today have a 60Hz refresh rate, and the higher refresh makes everything so much smoother. Scrolling through Instagram or Chrome is buttery-smooth, and while you can't play games at 90Hz just yet, the feature makes a huge difference in everyday tasks. More than anything else on the device, I enjoyed using the 90Hz display.

The 90Hz panel is complemented by the latest hardware you'll find on a phone today. The OnePlus 7 Pro is powered by the Snapdragon 855, and it can be configured with up to a staggering 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage. The base variant comes with 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage, and for just around $30 more you get the 8GB/256GB option. Considering how little difference there is between the two models, you're better off springing for the 8GB/256GB option.

Talking about storage, the OnePlus 7 Pro is the first mainstream device to feature a UFS 3.0 storage module, which has huge improvements over UFS 2.1. Basically, you don't have to worry about hardware being a bottleneck on the device for a long time. From Qualcomm's latest platform to UFS 3.0 and the generous LPDDR4X RAM, the OnePlus 7 Pro is the fastest phone in the market today, and that isn't going to change anytime soon.

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CategoryOnePlus 7 ProOnePlus 5T
Operating systemAndroid 9.0 PieAndroid 9.0 Pie
Display6.67-inch Fluid AMOLED3120x1440 (19.5:9)90Hz, HDR10+Gorilla Glass 66.01-inch Optic AMOLED2160x1080 (18:9)Gorilla Glass 5
ChipsetSnapdragon 8551 x 2.84GHz Kryo 4853 x 2.41GHz Kryo 4854 x 1.78GHz Kryo 485Adreno 6407nmSnapdragon 8354 x 2.45GHz Kryo4 x 1.90GHz KryoAdreno 54010nm
MicroSD slotNoNo
Rear camera 148MP, f/1.61.4um, OISDual Pixel PDAF16MP, f/1.71.12um, PDAF
Rear camera 28MP, f/2.4OIS, telephoto16MP, f/1.71.0um, PDAF
Rear camera 316MP, f/2.2117-degree field-of-viewNo
Front camera16MP, f/2.016MP, f/2.0
ConnectivityWi-Fi ac 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0AptX HD, LDAC, NFC, A-GPSWi-Fi 802.11ac 2x2 MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0 LE, NFC, GPS
AudioUSB-CStereo speakers3.5mm jackSingle speaker
ChargingUSB-C 3.130WUSB-C 1.020W
Water resistanceNoNo
SecurityIn-display fingerprintFingerprint (capacitive)
Dimensions162.6 x 75.9 x 8.8mm206g156.1 x 75 x 7.3mm162g
ColorsMirror Gray, Nebula Blue, AlmondMidnight Black, Lava Red, Sandstone White

The OnePlus 7 Pro also has a significantly larger 4000mAh battery, but the 90Hz refresh and the higher-res panel mean you're not going to see better battery life. Both phones provide a day's worth of power, but the OnePlus 7 Pro comes with 30W wired charging versus 20W for the 5T.

Then there's the camera: the OnePlus 7 Pro has a 48-megapixel (MP) primary camera that is vastly superior to the 16MP module on the 5T. There's a huge difference in low-light shots, but you also get better dynamic range in photos taken during the day. You also get a wide-angle lens and a telephoto mode that has 3x optical zoom, and if you're not satisfied with the camera on your 5T, you'll love what the OnePlus 7 Pro has to offer.

Should you upgrade to the OnePlus 7 Pro?

To be fair, the OnePlus 5T is no slouch, and the phone is still going strong in 2019. But there are several minor changes that make OnePlus' latest flagship a much better option. The stereo speakers, for instance, offer a much better experience when gaming, and the haptic motor is significantly better.

The OnePlus 5T is still going strong in 2019, but the OnePlus 7 Pro is a much more refined product.

OnePlus devices have always had squirrely haptics — so much so that I usually disable them entirely — but that isn't the case on the OnePlus 7 Pro. All those little changes add up, and the end result is that the OnePlus 7 Pro is the most refined device the company has made to date.

OnePlus has also delivered a lot of meaningful upgrades with the OnePlus 7 Pro, with the device offering much better cameras, a stunning 90Hz display, stereo sound, and the same great OxygenOS software experience. It costs $170 more than the base variant of the OnePlus 5T, but the upgrades on offer justify the increase in price.

You don't need to upgrade to the OnePlus 7 Pro just yet, but if you're on the fence, you can take the plunge knowing that you're getting a much better phone. I'd do it just for that stunning 90Hz display.

Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.