Tested! Gaming on the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition versus gaming flagships

Tested! Gaming on the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition versus gaming flagships

Swapnil Mathur | 10 Oct 2019
HIGHLIGHTS

We pit the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren against the regular OnePlus 7T Pro, the newly launched Asus ROG Phone II and the formidable Black Shark 2 in a gaming showdown to see just whether the new Snapdragon 855 Plus-powered OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren lives up to its name.

Hot on the heels of the launch of the OnePlus 7T, the OnePlus 7T Pro is here. The phone was announced at an event in London and alongside the regular variant of the OnePlus 7T Pro, there’s also a new McLaren edition for it, which boasts of 12GB RAM. The most significant upgrade in the new premium offering is the processor inside. The Snapdragon 855 Plus which Qualcomm has developed specifically for gaming smartphones, powers the two phones. Most features including the display, camera and the battery remain the same as before. Now, you may call it a minor upgrade but a newer, faster processor means better performance. And where best to see the improved performance than games?

We pit the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren against the regular OnePlus 7T Pro, the newly launched Asus ROG Phone II(₹ 40999 at flipkart) and the formidable Black Shark 2(₹ 31999 at flipkart) in a gaming showdown to see whether the new Snapdragon 855 Plus-powered OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren lives up to its name. The OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition was one of the fastest smartphones and we will see if its successor takes after it.

Before we begin, we must clarify this article does not have the benchmark scores for the OnePlus 7T Pro and the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren. While we received the smartphones for review well in advance, OnePlus had locked out the benchmark apps in fear of information leaking out before launch.

Now, without much ado, let’s quickly run down the specs of the four smartphones.

OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren vs OnePlus 7T Pro vs Asus ROG Phone II vs Black Shark 2

Both the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren and the OnePlus 7T Pro are now powered by the Snapdragon 855 Plus SoC. So is the Asus ROG Phone II. The Black Shark 2 runs on the regular Snapdragon 855, but with extra modifications like the Ludicrous Mode which pushes the hardware to its limits. The ROG Phone II too comes with a dedicated gaming mode that does the same while the OnePlus devices come with the Fnatic Mode, a slightly stripped down gaming mode as compared to the other two, but still quite useful.

The Snapdragon 855 Plus is the key factor to watch out here. Qualcomm has increased the speed of the prime core to 2.9GHz as against 2.84GHz on the regular Snapdragon 855. The Adreno 640 GPU on the SD855 Plus is also clocked higher than the one on the regular SD855, promising faster graphics rendering. Apart from that, there are bunch of Snapdragon Elite Gaming features that makes the Snapdragon 855 Plus the hottest chipset for Android phones presently.

Interestingly, the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren and the Asus ROG Phone II sport a whopping 12GB RAM inside while the 7T Pro and our unit of the Black Shark 2 has 8GB RAM. The OnePlus phones and the ROG Phone II relies on UFS 3.0 storage while the Black Shark 2 sticks to UFS 2.1.

As for the battery life, the ROG Phone II takes the cake with 6,000mAh battery while the OnePlus 7T Pro and the 7T Pro McLaren sport 4000mAh batteries with support for Warp Charge 30T. The Black Shark 2 also sports a 4,000mAh battery with support for 27W fast charging.

Now that we know the specs of the four phones, let’s dive deep into how they handle high-end Android games —

Data recorded on Gamebench

CoD Mobile

Starting with the hottest talk in town, Call of Duty: Mobile on all the four phones ran well with both the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren and the Asus ROG Phone II registering 60 FPS. However, it’s the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren that edges past the ROG monster with 76 percent stability as compared to 71 percent stability on the latter. The regular OnePlus 7T Pro clocked a lower 31 FPS with 55 percent stability. The Black Shark 2 also clocked 31 FPS with a slightly lower 51 percent stability. While the numbers may look wildly different on the two new OnePlus devices, it’s important to note that the game itself is pretty new and won’t be devoid of bugs. During our course of testing, we did note varying frame rates from one session to another. As a result, we only considered the last scores that we got for the test.

Asphalt 9 Legends

After some heavy gunfights, we moved to high-octane racing. Asphalt 9  was our game of choice and the ROG Phone II blazed past the other three with 58 FPS and 89 percent stability. Both the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren and the OnePlus 7T clocked 30 FPS with 96 percent and 91 percent stability respectively. The Black Shark 2 also clocked 30 FPS with 95 percent stability. The experience was more or less smooth and stable in all the four phones. However, thanks to a special tie-up with Gameloft, the ROG Phone II was able to run the game at a higher frame rate, which did make a significant impact in the visual experience.

PUBG Mobile

Moving on to everyone’s favourite battle royale, we failed to touch 60FPS on any of the phones despite multiple rounds of testing. It’s weird because we have seen their predecessors all clock the maximum frame rate before in our testing. Perhaps Tencent has tweaked the game settings to push for better graphics? That will need more investigation. But here’s what we got —

The OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren clocked 40 FPS with 59 percent stability. The Black Shark 2 matched it with 40 FPS and 59 percent stability as well. The regular OnePlus 7T Pro managed 39 FPS with 51 percent stability while the Asus ROG Phone II came last with 36 FPS but with a higher 71 percent stability.

What’s up with the prime core, OnePlus?

While the games themselves ran without a hitch, we did notice an interesting anomaly. Thanks to Gamebench’s in-depth data on CPU usage in-game, we noted that the prime-core of the Snapdragon 855 Plus on the OnePlus 7T Pro and the 7T Pro McLaren hardly ever got engaged, especially during Call of Duty: Mobile. Even when it did, it only clocked a mere 1.1GHz and not the promised 2.96GHz. Even the Asus ROG Phone II hardly use the prime core of the SD855 Plus. The same can’t be said of the Black Shark 2, though. In the Ludicrous Mode, the phone was more than happy to keep every core running at its peak frequency, ofcourse with the expected bump in thermals.

In the images below, notice how the last bar, named Core 8 in the legend hardly shows up in the Gamebench charts in the phones powered by the Snapdragon 855 Plus while the Black Shark 2 essentially all the cores running all the time.

OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition

OnePlus 7T Pro

Asus ROG Phone II

Black Shark 2

While this may seem concerning, it could also be that the games never really need the prime core running at its peak frequency. Which is perfectly fine as that saves power, keeps thermals in check and the likes. But it did lead us to think whether one really needs a smartphone with the Snapdragon 855 Plus considering games aren’t even demanding that much firepower in the first place. Is there really a point in spending a premium for the ‘game-ready’ SoC?

Conclusion

When it comes to gaming, the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren does show a slight edge over the regular OnePlus 7T Pro. The Asus ROG Phone II also gives the phone close competition and in some cases, even beats with higher stability and sometimes higher FPS. The Black Shark, however, is showing signs of aging. It barely managed to keep up with the OnePlus 7T Pro. The burning question, however, is whether there’s reason enough to go for the McLaren Edition instead of the regular OnePlus 7T Pro. As far as gaming is concerned, we did see instances where the OnePlus 7T Pro McLaren Edition with 12GB RAM clock higher frame rates and stability as compared to the OnePlus 7T Pro. But not by a significant margin (except for in CoD Mobile, but that could very well be a bug in the game itself), which would justify the upgrade.

Black Shark 2 Key Specs, Price and Launch Date

Price:
Release Date: 27 Oct 2019
Variant: 128GB , 256GB
Market Status: Launched

Key Specs

  • Screen Size Screen Size
    6.39" (1080 X 2340)
  • Camera Camera
    48 + 12 | 20 MP
  • Memory Memory
    128GB/6GB
  • Battery Battery
    4000 mAh
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Swapnil Mathur

Digit's resident camera nerd, (un)official product photographer and the Reviews Editor

Digit caters to the largest community of tech buyers, users and enthusiasts in India. The all new Digit in continues the legacy of Thinkdigit.com as one of the largest portals in India committed to technology users and buyers. Digit is also one of the most trusted names when it comes to technology reviews and buying advice and is home to the Digit Test Lab, India's most proficient center for testing and reviewing technology products.

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