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OnePlus 7T vs. 7T Pro vs. McLaren edition: Confused? These are the main differences

© Andrew Hoyle/CNET

By Andrew Hoyle, CNET

Given the similar naming conventions of the OnePlus 7T, OnePlus 7T Pro and OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition, it's easy to be confused about OnePlus' line of 7T phones. Released in the latter half of last year, the OnePlus 7T is the phone-maker's current flagship phone. OnePlus then followed it up with a handful of other variants.

The reality is that these variants are similar, but there are some important differences to note in their specs, design, availability and, of course, price. I've broken down the main points below and you'll also find a full spec comparison table at the end.


OnePlus 7T series design differences

The 7T and 7T Pro are unmistakably cut from the OnePlus cloth with their soft blue colours and frosted glass backs. The major difference you'll see is the cameras on the back -- the 7T's cameras are encased in a circular unit while the 7T Pro's cameras are arranged in a vertical strip. All three phones have fingerprint scanners built into their displays.

© Provided by CNET   The McLaren edition flaunts a black and orange design. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The 7T Pro McLaren's design veers off even further. It's physically identical to the standard 7T Pro in terms of camera layout, but the blue colour has been replaced with a glossy black finish, with a subtle Damascus Steel effect that shimmers just under the surface. There are McLaren Papaya Orange effects dotted all over, including a metal strip around the cameras, an orange function slider on the side and an orange stripe around the bottom half of the phone. 


Screen sizes?

The 7T has a 6.55-inch display with a 2,400x1,080-pixel resolution. Both Pro models have larger 6.67-inch displays with 3,120x1,440-pixel resolutions. That gives the Pros a pixel density of 516ppi, which is sharper than the 7T's 402ppi. You may not really notice the marginal 0.12-inch size increase in day-to-day use, but the extra resolution bump should help make those high-res photos and videos pop a bit more.

Keep in mind that the 7T has a teardrop-shaped notch that cuts into the top of the display to house the front-facing camera. The Pro models don't have this as their selfie cameras mechanically slide out from the top edge of the phone when needed. As a result, their displays stretch from edge to edge and remain entirely unbroken by notches.


What about processor power?

All three phones pack Qualcomm's latest octa-core Snapdragon 855 Plus processor, clocked at 2.9GHz. The 7T and 7T Pro both pair that with 8GB of RAM , while the McLaren version comes with a meaty 12GB. It's odd then that on benchmark tests, it's the standard 7T that delivered the best scores.

On the Geekbench 5 processor test, the 7T scored 2,911 (multi-core), beating out the 7T Pro McLaren's 2,854 and the standard 7T Pro's 2,883. Similarly, on the 3DMark Sling Shot Unlimited graphics test, the 7T achieved an overall score of 8,782, beating the 7T Pro's 8,720 and the McLaren's 8,725. Admittedly, these differences are razor thin and barely qualify as differences at all. It is a little surprising though that the McLaren edition, with its RAM boost, didn't produce better scores than its siblings.

© Provided by CNET   The 7T Pro phones do not have a teardrop notch. Instead, their front cameras are embedded inside the top edge of the phones. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

These phones are more than capable of handling any of your everyday tasks, including video streaming and photo editing. Gaming was a breeze too, even with the graphically demanding game Asphalt 9: Legends, which played smoothly and had no discernible drop in frame rates.

They all run Android 10 software, but the McLaren's software has had some visual tweaks. It's mostly just a darker colour scheme, with lots of orange thrown around to match the look of the outside of the phone. 


Is the storage the same?

This is where you get more for that "Pro" name. The standard OnePlus 7T comes with 128GB of storage, while both Pro models double that with 256GB. That's worth keeping in mind, given that none of the phones have expandable storage. If you shoot a lot of video and store a lot of files locally, opting for a higher-capacity model is a smart investment. 


Are the cameras the same?

They all have a triple-camera setup on the back, consisting of a 48-megapixel main camera, a 16-megapixel super wide angle camera and a telephoto camera. The 7T, however, has a 12-megapixel telephoto camera, while both Pros have 8-megapixel telephoto cameras. It may seem odd that the telephoto resolution on the Pro models is lower, but they do offer 3x zoom, instead of only 2x.

© Provided by CNET   The rear cameras on the OnePlus 7T Pro. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

In my testing, images from all three phones are sharp, with decent exposure and accurate colours. They all have a dedicated macro mode too, which lets you focus on objects close to the lens. It's great if you want to take up-close shots of, say, insects and flowers, when you're out and about. The overall camera quality is good, but it's not quite up there with top models like the Pixel 4 , iPhone 11 Pro or Galaxy S10 Plus . If photography is of the utmost importance to you, it's worth considering spending more cash.


Do they use the same batteries?

The OnePlus 7T has a 3,800-mAh battery, which survived an impressive 16 hours on our battery drain test. The Pro models have slightly larger 4,085-mAh batteries, which isn't a huge step up. I don't expect much difference in battery life, particularly when you need to take into account the slightly larger displays that suck up more battery.

Anecdotally, I was able to get a day of mixed-use from the phones before they needed a top up. Like all smartphones, I'd want to give them a full recharge overnight. All phones support OnePlus' ultra fast charging, which can take the phone from 0% to over 60% charged in 30 minutes. This is great if you forgot to give your phone a boost before heading on a night out. 


Do they have 5G?

Currently, these three phones do not have a 5G version. If you want to use a OnePlus phone on a fast 5G network, you'll need to go for the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G -- which is available in the UK and the US carrier Sprint.


Price and availability

Unsurprisingly, given its fancy branding and extra RAM, the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren edition is the most expensive of the three phones, coming in at £799. It's only available in the UK and Europe for now, but for reference that price converts to about $1,010 or AU$1,515.

The regular 7T Pro is also unavailable in the US or Australia, but its UK price of £699 converts to about $895 or AU$1,330. The standard OnePlus 7T is available in the US and will set you back $599 or £549. It isn't officially sold in Australia but that price converts to about AU$1,045.


What about OnePlus' other 2019 phones?

The 7T series isn't the only phone range the company launched last year. Back in May, 2019, it launched the OnePlus 7, 7 Pro and 7 Pro 5G.

The OnePlus 7 has a smaller 6.44-inch display, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 855 (but not the faster Plus version), and either 6 or 8GB of RAM, depending on where you buy it. It also has a screen notch to house the front-facing camera and a dual camera on the back with a standard and telephoto lens.

© Provided by CNET   All OnePlus 7T phones run the latest Android 10. Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The OnePlus 7 Pro meanwhile has a 6.67-inch display, the same Snapdragon 855 chip, a triple rear-camera setup on the back (normal, telephoto and superwide) and it has the pop-up selfie camera found on the 7T Pros.

Finally, we have the OnePlus 7 Pro 5G, which, as mentioned before is simply a 5G-enabled version of the 7 Pro.

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