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The OnePlus 8 Pro (Check on Amazon) is, without a doubt, the best and most complete phone that the Chinese company has ever launched. The OnePlus 8 Pro is a true flagship. Forget about the manufacturer’s previous generations of devices that followed the mentality of “flagship killer”. OnePlus now officially aims for the crown of the best smartphone.
This phone offers the unparalleled speed and fast charging you would expect from an OnePlus device and has updated specifications compared to the previous 7 Pro (Check on Amazon) and 7T Pro (Check on Amazon). The OnePlus 8 Pro is also the first OnePlus phone that is IP68 certified for water and dust resistance (one of the biggest complaints against its predecessors). In addition, it features the fastest wireless charging technology (30W), and reverse wireless charging.
- OnePlus 7 Pro review: a contender for the best smartphone of the year
- OnePlus 7T Pro review: the fourth 2019 model is also the best
Unfortunately, all this also means that the time that OnePlus was advertised as the “affordable flagship manufacturer” has now officially come to an end. The OnePlus 8 Pro has a price tag of (Check on Amazon). Both the Galaxy S20+ (Check on Amazon) and the iPhone 11 Pro (Check on Amazon) cost a tad more, but both Samsung and Apple are way more recognizable brands and offer better support.
Thus the real question is: can the OnePlus 8 Pro compete with the Galaxy S20+ and the iPhone 11 Pro?
OnePlus has equipped the 8 Pro with – according to them – the “best screen ever”. A bold statement and one that is accurate: the 6,78-inch “Fluid AMOLED display” with a 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ support and QHD+ resolution is truly amazing.
In addition the four rear cameras offer a wealth of shooting options, and the company’s new color filter camera promises to give your shots a unique look.
Furthermore, OnePlus has finally given its fans what they have been asking for: wireless charging. Not only that, but it’s also the fastest wireless charging around.
Add to this the lightning-fast Snapdragon 865 SoC paired with 8 or 12GB of RAM, plus the support for 5G connectivity and it’s clear that the brand doesn’t compromise when it comes to specifications.
In short, this is a fully-fledged flagship.
OnePlus 8 Pro – Design
The OnePlus 8 Pro is very similar to the OnePlus 7 Pro and the 7T Pro. A glass sandwich (Gorilla Glass 5) with a curved screen and back, joined in the middle by a metal frame.
The back is smooth and almost soft to the touch, and yet grippy enough. The feeling is something that OnePlus perfected with last year’s 7 Pro, and yet the 8 Pro somehow manages to improve it.
This model is slightly longer and thinner than the 7 Pro and the 7T Pro, and a few grams lighter, but for the most part it looks more or less the same. And although the bezels on this 6.78-inch screen are really thin, the Galaxy S20 series phones manage to have even thinner bezels.
The biggest change, compared to its predecessors, is that the selfie camera is now integrated into the display via a punch-hole notch located in the upper left corner. It allows the phone to achieve an IP68 rating, and save up on space and weight by removing the pop-up camera’s mechanism. You lose the all-screen design but it’s a trade-off I’m willing to make.
Continuing at the bottom, we find a USB-C port, one of the two speakers (the other one is the earpiece on top) and the SIM tray (dual SIM and no microSD card). Sadly there is no headphone jack.
On the left side we can see the volume rocker while on the right sits the power button (a dual press launches the camera app while a long press activates Google Assistant) and OnePlus’s now-famous Alert slider (Sound, Mute, Vibrate) which gives you a quick way to turn off notifications without having to unlock the phone and navigate to the relevant settings.
The camera module protrudes more than before (even more than the module on the back of the Samsung Galaxy S20+).
The OnePlus 8 Pro comes in a brilliant Onyx Black, a frosty Glacial Green and a vibrant Ultramarine Blue.
OnePlus 8 Pro – Display
If the OnePlus 8 Pro is going to stand out in any area, it will be in this one. After all, it features a 6.78 inch Quad HD+ (3,168×1,440 pixels) Fluid AMOLED display with a refresh rate of 120Hz. A faster refresh rate allows for smoother scrolling, animations, and games, and the difference is really noticeable. The only other phones to boast a 120Hz refresh rate are the Samsung Galaxy S20 series, the Oppo Find X2 (Check on Amazon), and the Asus ROG Phone 2 (Check on Amazon).
OnePlus insists that “this is the best screen you will see all year round”, which sounds familiar because it’s exactly the same claim that Samsung and Oppo made when they launched their flagship phones.
By default, the display is set to Full HD+ resolution at 120Hz. In the settings, this can be changed to Quad HD+ at 120Hz, and that’s something even the expensive Galaxy S20 Ultra (Check on Amazon) can’t do (you are limited to FHD+@120Hz).
However, most games, TV shows, and movies are not available in 120Hz. In order to improve this, OnePlus uses the Motion Estimation Motion Compensation (MEMC) technology. A dedicated chip upscales 24fps video to 120fps. This function is disabled by default and works with a handful of video-focused apps, including YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Video (only up to 60fps). Movements become smoother, but whether you like the result or not is a matter of personal taste.
The jump from 60Hz to 90Hz we saw in last year’s 7 Pro [the Huawei P40 Pro (Check on Amazon), Google’s Pixel 4 series and the OnePlus 7T Pro also sport a 90Hz display] is transformative, to say the least, but the increase from 90Hz to 120Hz is more difficult to appreciate. It’s an improvement, don’t get me wrong. But it’s not such a big improvement, and most users won’t be able to notice the difference – if you already own a 90Hz phone I wouldn’t consider this an upgrade.
Fortunately, OnePlus did not focus solely on the refresh rate. Both color accuracy and brightness have been significantly improved on the 8 Pro, meaning no matter what you’re doing, this display is simply stunning to the eyes. In fact, the independent screen tester DisplayMate awarded the OnePlus 8 Pro an A+ rating, with the handset providing a leading 1300 nits peak brightness and top color accuracy.
The truth is, I don’t know if this is the best screen on a phone right now. I still think that the Samsung Galaxy S20 series offers the best displays, but we’re splitting hairs here, thus if it’s not the best, it’s close enough.
As we already mentioned, the OnePlus 8 Pro features one speaker at the bottom, and the earpiece at the top, just above the screen, that acts as the second speaker for stereo sound. These speakers have been enhanced with Dolby Atmos technology, thus producing a richer and deeper sound.
The 8 Pro is certainly capable of filling a room with sound and you can easily listen to music or watch a video at a high enough volume without experiencing too much distortion. However, this is still a phone we are talking about so don’t expect miracles.
OnePlus 8 Pro – Features
With a Snapdragon 865 processor and your choice of 8 or 12GB of RAM, along with 128 or 256GB of storage, this is a very powerful phone, no matter which version you choose.
Connectivity is top notch too. The 8 Pro includes 5G support, along with WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 and NFC.
The OnePlus 8 Pro ships with Android 10 and OxygenOS 10.5. OnePlus is second only to Google – and not by much – when it comes to Android software. OxygenOS is a clean and intelligently designed version of stock Android that doesn’t change much but improves it in a number of ways.
OnePlus’s dark mode (“Dark Theme 2.0″) is now compatible with more applications. We also have dynamic wallpapers that change color according to ambient brightness, new icons and fingerprint reader animations. The interface is also fully customizable.
OnePlus 8 Pro – Camera
The camera setup can make or break a phone. We are used to saying that “OnePlus phones are great, but the camera could be better”. The OnePlus 8 Pro has no serious flaws and produces better results than its predecessors but… no, the camera isn’t perfect yet.
The device features a rear camera module with four lenses. The first one is great. It’s a 48-megapixel Sony IMX689 sensor (the same one we find in the Oppo Find X2 Pro) with a wide-angle lens (f/1.78), OIS (optical image stabilization) and EIS (electronic image stabilization). This is the largest 48MP sensor in existence (for a phone), capable of capturing more light and therefore more detail, especially in low-light conditions.
The photos are sharp and the larger sensor allows you to get a natural bokeh effect along with a tremendous dynamic range. The colors are usually a bit oversaturated, but OnePlus is far from being the worst offender, and the result is photos that are mostly stunning.
The wide-angle camera is also great. It uses a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 sensor (the same one the 7 Pro used as its main shooter) with a 119.7° field of view (f/2.2). It is very similar to the main sensor, thus the photos have a similar color profile, and although there is a slight decrease in detail (the sensor is smaller), the photos still look great.
This lens is also used for macros and the stills are generally quite good.
The wide-angle suffers however in low light photography, producing far less impressive results than the main camera. Even with Night mode, the end result is somewhat behind the main lens in terms of quality.
In general, Night mode is solid, but it doesn’t work in really dark conditions. Google’s algorithm is way better at handling almost total darkness.
The 8-megapixel sensor with a hybrid x3 telephoto lens (f/2.44) and OIS – as far as I can tell – is the same one we saw on the previous Pro devices. It offers a solid zoom up to 3x, but cannot hold a candle when compared to the likes of Samsung, Oppo, and Huawei.
The fourth camera is… well, it’s something. It’s a 5-megapixel Color Filter sensor (f/2.4) with a photochromic lens that captures Instagram style photos with filter effects that change color. I cannot understand why we need a lens for all this when there is software that can do the same? Especially when said software can be used with all other sensors and lenses that are way better. This is a waste of space and resources.
The 16MP f/2.45 selfie camera is a slight upgrade on last year’s pop-up camera. Selfies are good enough for Instagram, but not great. At least it supports Portrait mode, which produces much better results, with great edge detection and credible blur (bokeh effect).
As for video recording, the OnePlus 8 Pro can record footage up to 4K@60fps, and has a super stabilized mode up to 4K@30fps.
OnePlus 8 Pro – Performance
Performance is an area in which every OnePlus device has always stood out. The OnePlus 8 Pro is no different, featuring state of the art components. Everything from the Snapdragon 865 SoC, to LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.0 storage, is designed to make this phone go fast.
The LPDDR5 RAM for example is 30% faster and consumes 20% less power than the RAM found in previous versions. A welcome upgrade.
In everyday use, everything runs as it should: the interface is fluid, apps launch almost instantaneously and the scrolling is buttery smooth. We have experienced no slow downs or crashes.
Equipped with an Adreno 650 GPU, the OnePlus 8 Pro will also appeal to the most demanding gamers. Even when playing games with fast animations and high-quality textures like Asphalt 9 and Altos Odyssey there was never any delay or stuttering, even with the screen set at 120Hz and Quad HD+ resolution.
We also verified all this in the benchmarks where the phone comfortably kept pace with all other flagships.
That said, till now OnePlus phones were clearly the fastest Android devices. This year though, after testing the Galaxy S20 phones, I cannot declare the OnePlus 8 Pro as the clear winner.
As for battery life, the OnePlus 8 Pro doesn’t disappoint. In everyday use, the 4.510mAh cell managed to last for a full day, with medium to high use in the default settings (FHD+@120Hz).
In addition you get a very fast 30-watt charger (included in the box), but also support for fast wireless charging. The OnePlus 8 Pro can go from 0% to 50% in just under 30 minutes. It can also go from 0% to 50% in just over 30 minutes using the wireless charger.
Sure, that wireless charger has to be the one OnePlus sells. This charger has a mini fan that prevents the device from overheating. It makes some noise, but thankfully it also has a night mode thus it won’t bother you when you charge the device during the night.
The device also sports reverse wireless charging meaning it can charge all other Qi enabled devices.
The OnePlus 8 Pro (Check on Amazon) is an excellent device and a true flagship. It’s fast, it feels good in the hand, it features a large, bright screen, long battery life, it practically runs stock Android, it’s pleasant to use and its fast charging technology is unparalleled.
Its reverse wireless charging is a feature that can be very handy when you have to charge your smartwatch or earbuds, or even another smartphone.
Read more: Apple iPhone 11 Pro review: worth the wait
Apple and Samsung are universally recognized and their cameras offer better results.
That said, the OnePlus 8 Pro is a great device that aimed for the crown of best Android smartphone and came really close. The title goes to the Samsung Galaxy S20+ the moment it goes on sale.
There is also the basic OnePlus 8 (Check on Amazon), which is cheaper but sacrifices a whole lot. Between the OnePlus 8 Pro and OnePlus 8 I prefer the Pro. If you don’t want to spend that much, the OnePlus 7T is still an excellent phone and now sells for “just” (Check on Amazon). A best buy!