In a race to keep up with premium Android phones often costing more than $1,000, OnePlus has steadily been evolving from a budget brand to a premium handset-maker in its own right. The latest OnePlus 8 Pro is easily the company’s most expensive smartphone yet with a starting price of $900, but it’s also going toe-to-toe with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, a phone that starts at $1,400.
To this end, the OnePlus 8 Pro features one of the best screens I’ve seen, with a QHD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate, and is ultra-bright all at the same time. Additionally, this new flagship has two 48MP sensors for both its main and ultrawide cameras, along with a few other new imaging tricks too. There’s a lot to like about the new OnePlus 8 Pro, so let’s get into it.
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OnePlus 8 Pro – Design and Features
The OnePlus 8 Pro’s redesign is much more subtle than the evolution from the OnePlus 6T to the OnePlus 7 Pro. The OnePlus 7 Pro essentially reinvented itself with a new all-screen design with curved edges, while this year’s flagship has taken that design and refined it slightly.
The new phone features the same overall body, but the corners are sharper, and it’s thinner at 8.5mm thick – comparatively the OnePlus 7 Pro measured 8.8mm thick.
One major thing that has changed about the OnePlus 8 Pro is the removal of the mechanical pop-up front camera. Instead, you get a more traditional hole-punch camera pushed all the way into the top-left corner of the display.
It’s a shame that OnePlus has moved away from the completely all-screen design, but having a sleeker device does feel nice. Additionally, the new screen has even less of a bezel now that the bottom chin has been reduced to just 2mm thick rather than several millimeters in size.
All these little tweaks result in giving the OnePlus 8 Pro a 6.78-inch (1,440 x 3,168) AMOLED display that’s not only larger than the OnePlus 7 Pro’s 6.67-inch (1,440 x 3,120) display but also faster. Better, the new phone’s display can run at up to 120Hz even at its full QHD+ resolution.
That’s something no other phone has been able to do. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is also capable of 120Hz, but to hit that refresh rate required lowering the display resolution from WQHD+ (3,200 x 1,400) to just Full HD+ (2,400 x 1,080).
The OnePlus 8 Pro’s display is also incredibly bright at 1,300 nits, which puts it just a few hundred candelas behind the iPhone 11 Pro. At the same time, shadows look inky black and colors are bold on this phone’s screen. OnePlus really has one of the best smartphone displays on the market.
Around back you’ll find the camera array has grown from three modules to four, and the sensors themselves have bloomed in sharpness. Both the main camera and ultrawide camera feature 48MP sensors. Then there’s an 8MP telephoto camera that offers 3x zoom and a 5MP color filter camera used solely for color effect modes such as adding a warmer glow to your image or switching on black and white mode. Lastly, the front camera uses a 16MP sensor.
Under the screen, there’s an in-display fingerprint scanner, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, Adreno 650 GPU, and a sizeable 4,510mAh battery.
OnePlus 8 Pro – Performance and Gaming
The previous OnePlus 7 Pro’s 90Hz display made it feel incredibly smooth, and the 120Hz display on the OnePlus 8 Pro feels even faster. Refresh rate this fast on a phone might seem excessive, but it all makes sense when you’re scrolling through Google News and Twitter without any of the stuttering you would encounter on a slower phone display.
Of course, having the latest Snapdragon 865 processor and 12GB of RAM – which happens to be a faster LPDDR5 class of memory – also helps make this phone feel fast too. The underlying CPU had no problems powering the display running at maximum resolution and refresh speed at the same time – something I was potentially worried about after it was excluded on Samsung’s highest-end handset.
Thankfully my concerns were unfounded as the phone never hitched with regular everyday navigation, my creative applications, or even gaming. The 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touchscreen polling rate really feel like they give you an extra edge in competitive games like Shadowgun Legends. You see the action unfolding smoothly on the screen and have a chance to react faster than your opponents.
Gaming on the OnePlus 8 Pro is made even better with the built-in gaming mode that turns on automatically. When enabled, the phone will optimize graphics for improved shadow detail and enable stronger haptic feedback, along with the usual settings that prioritize performance and network bandwidth for the games you play.
For all your non-native 120Hz content, like YouTube and general streaming, OnePlus has also included a motion smoothing feature. But just like enabling the effect on a 4K TV, this ends up adding a soap opera effect which you may or may not like – personally I don’t.
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OnePlus 8 Pro – Camera
OnePlus has always been one of the few phone brands to make consistently good cameras, and image quality has definitely improved with its latest phone. The main 48MP camera not only resolves stunningly sharp and detailed images but also extremely contrasty photos that I personally like.
The OnePlus 8 Pro has also finally given me something I’ve always wanted: a high-resolution ultrawide camera. Most phone makers have stuck with an 8MP ultrawide camera, leaving me to capture blotchy landscapes and soft up-close shots. This new handset’s 48MP ultrawide camera lets you capture a lot more detail in the clouds, the pavement on the ground, and generally everything in the frame.
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Unfortunately, the 8MP telephoto sensor hasn’t been given nearly as much attention and it remains to be the weakest camera of the three zoom options on this device. The telephoto camera is what you pick when you really want to punch in the zoom to get a lot of detail, so it’s a bit odd that this sensor is still stuck at 8MP.
One other new feature the OnePlus 8 Pro adds is a Super Macro Mode, which should let you get extra up close to things like food and household nicknacks for some really detailed shots. It’s pretty neat that you can basically have the camera bump touch your subject and still be able to rack focus, but you’ll need an abundance of light for it to really work.
OnePlus 8 Pro – Battery Life
The OnePlus 8 Pro comes equipped with a sizable 4,510mAh battery and while it’s not the biggest one we’ve seen on a phone this size, I still ended most of my days with 30-40% of my battery life still leftover.
And that was with the display running full tilt at both QHD+ and 120Hz all the time. Not to mention most of my daily usage was spent playing mobile games after work and doing all of my email work on the phone throughout the day, as well as watching videos while I cooked and did other tasks while stuck at home.
The phone can also quickly recharge 50% of its battery life in 23 minutes with the included 30W Warp charger.
What’s more, this is the first OnePlus phone to feature wireless charging, which you can also get back up to 50% of your battery life with just 30 minutes of charging. Just know to get this extremely fast wireless charging, you’ll need to pick up a separate 30W wireless Warp charger
What about the OnePlus 8?
In most years the regular OnePlus 8 would simply be the OnePlus 8 Pro with a smaller screen but otherwise the same exact features. However this year the company has elevated its Pro series phone to be a higher-end premium experience to match the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
To that end, you’ll find the OnePlus 8 is not nearly as full-featured. For starters, you only get two cameras with different focal lengths – a 16MP ultrawide and a 48MP main camera. In place of a telephoto camera, you get a macro camera, which is a bit odd considering the previous OnePlus 7T finally gave us a telephoto, wide, and ultrawide camera combo.
The OnePlus 8 also lacks the Pro version’s wireless charging capabilities and you’re stuck with slightly slower LPDDR4X memory as opposed to LPDDR5. The smaller 6.55-inch display is also limited to a Full HD+ resolution of 1,080 x 2,400 and 90Hz refresh rate. But at least you get the equally powerful Snapdragon 865 processor.
The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro will be available starting on April 29th with both phones featuring 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in the starting SKUs for $699 and $899, respectively. The higher-end 12GB of RAM and 256GB model for both phones will cost $100 more.
The OnePlus 8 only comes in two colors, Glacial Green and Interstellar Glow. Meanwhile, the OnePlus 8 Pro will be available in Glacial Green, Onyx Black, and Ultramarine Blue – though this last option is only available on the higher end SKU.