Ticking all the right boxes without any compromises
The OnePlus 7 Pro, introduced in 2019, was the Chinese company’s first take on the premium smartphone segment. However, OnePlus fell short of the user expectations as the phone lacked behind the flagships from Samsung, Apple and Google in various aspects. This year OnePlus is upping the ante with the OnePlus 8 Pro. Not only the OnePlus 8 Pro is the company’s costliest phone till date, but it is also the brand’s first proper attempt at matching competitors on paper. The OnePlus 8 Pro starts at Rs 54,999 in India which is a lot cheaper considering the price point it is retailing in the United States at $999 (approx. Rs 75,500). Now, the biggest question is: what it offers to the consumers? Well, on paper, the OnePlus 8 Pro is in the leagues of Samsung Galaxy S20, Apple iPhone 11 Pro and the Oppo Find X2 Pro. But it doesn’t cost as much as the three phones mentioned above. I have been using the OnePlus 8 Pro for ten days now and here’s my full review of the product.
OnePlus 8 Pro Review: Design
Almost every smartphone brand in the industry uses a similar design on its flagship devices for at least two years (except for Apple which is using the same design for three years since 2014). The OnePlus 8 Pro is no exception; It resembles the OnePlus 7 Pro in almost every aspect. The phone is constructed out of metal and glass, and the display is curved subtly to the edges. While I am not a huge fan of the curved display tech, it adds up for the overall look and feel of the device.
The OnePlus 8 Pro comes in three colour options- Onyx Black, Glacial Green and Ultramarine Blue. OnePlus sent us the Glacial Green variant for review, which incidentally is one of the good-looking phones out there in the market. The back panel has a lot of green hue to it, but at times, the colour combination changes to blue depending on the lighting condition you’re in. Despite being a glass panel, the back does not attract a lot of smudges, thanks to the frosted glass panel used by OnePlus.
Moving onto the in-hand feel, it feels premium and gives the vibe of a premium smartphone almost every time. There’s no doubt that the OnePlus 8 Pro is a tall and bulky smartphone with the screen measuring 6.78-inches and the phone itself weighing 199 grams. How does the hefty weight translate to real-life usage? Well, OnePlus actually did a great job in distributing the weight evenly.
Talking about the button placements, they are unchanged from the OnePlus 7 Pro; The power button and alert slider are on the right side, while the volume rockers are placed to the left. To the bottom, we have a USB Type-C port, SIM tray and the primary speaker grille.
Overall, OnePlus managed to tweak the design of the OnePlus 8 Pro to perfection, but there’s one drawback and that’s the protruding camera module on the rear side. Yes, the camera module houses three sensors, with the fourth sensor placed alongside the laser autofocus module. The camera module protrusion is significant and many would hate that. However, if you are someone who uses a smartphone with the case, then the protrusion may not be a significant issue. Also, OnePlus bundles a TPU case inside the retail box with a ‘Never Settle’ text written on the case.
OnePlus 8 Pro Review: Display
OnePlus is one of those companies which always take a lot of attention in adding the best-in-class displays on its smartphones. And it continues with the OnePlus 8 Pro. The phone sports a 6.78-inch Quad HD+ Super AMOLED screen with 120Hz refresh rate. Besides the usual 3168 x 1440 pixel resolution, there are a lot of things to talk about this display. Firstly, let’s take a look at the specifications in detail. The OnePlus 8 Pro’s 120Hz screen has 1300nits of brightness levels, HDR10+ support and it is also amongst few phones to offer a 10-bit colour display. There’ support for MEMC (Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation) as well, which we will talk in detail next up. Talking about the achievements, DisplayMate stated that the OnePlus 8 Pro has the best screen on any smartphone in 2020.
The OnePlus 8 Pro is amongst the few phones with both 120Hz refresh rate and a Quad HD+ screen on offer. As you can expect with OxygenOS’ optimisations and the high refresh rate, the phone feels a lot smoother and snappy all the time. The real-life usage is satisfying as well with the display getting bright enough to view the text in harsh sunlight conditions. The colours are accurate and so does the viewing angles. OnePlus ditched the pop-up selfie camera module we saw on the 7 Pro in favour of a punch-hole screen. The punch-hole does not affect real-life usage much.
Aforesaid, OnePlus has added MEMC (Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation) technology which transforms the slowest playback rate video to up to 120fps video. Basically, this feature inserts additional video frames, thus resulting in higher playback rate videos. The option can be turned on manually inside the Display settings. That said, the feature comes in really handy at times, however, watching the slowest playback rate videos might irk some users. Also, turning on MEMC will take a hit on the battery life which I will be discussing in the battery section forward.
On the whole, the OnePlus 8 Pro’s screen hits all the right ticks. Also, I did not notice any brightness level leakage as reported by some users who purchased the device right after the launch in May. In short, it is the best screen on any smartphone I have used this year.
OnePlus 8 Pro Review: Performance and Software
OnePlus always went with top-end hardware on its smartphones. The OnePlus 8 Pro comes powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, coupled with 8GB/12GB of LPDDR5 RAM and 128GB/256GB of UFS 3.0 storage. Also, there’s support for 5G which is pretty much useless in India right now. The phone runs Android 10-based OxygenOS 10 out of the box.
The phone blazes through everything- be it day-to-day tasks or intensive tasks. This is something you would expect from any OnePlus smartphone. As for the gaming, it runs all the titles with ease. PUBG Mobile runs at max on HDR and Extreme settings and it might offer Ultra HD settings in the future. I had very long sessions of PUBG Mobile on the OnePlus 8 Pro with Smooth+Extreme settings. The overall gameplay was very smooth and the phone did not overheat. Sadly, PUBG Mobile is yet to get support for high refresh rate, but if you are a Fortnite player, then it is the only phone alongside the OnePlus 8 which runs the game at 90fps.
As noted, the OnePlus 8 Pro comes with Android 10 out of the box. The software experience is very much identical to what we have seen in the past. There’s Android 11 Beta available as well for those who care about future software updates. OxygenOS on the OnePlus 8 Pro is tweaked well, but the experience is far from perfection. OnePlus has built a reputation in the industry that it offers the best software experience, even better the Google Pixel phones. However, that has changed since the OnePlus 7 series last year. The OnePlus 7, 7 Pro and the 7T (I have tested all three phones) all had several optimisation issues at the time of launch. I did not get a chance to test the OnePlus 8, but on the OnePlus 8 Pro, I came across certain app crashes (Instagram, Google Pay and OnePlus’ own Game Space). Picture-in-Picture mode on YouTube Premium and WhatsApp does not work well too.
Having said that, OnePlus will roll out software updates to address all the optimisation issues in the coming weeks or months. Nevertheless, this is an issue that’s happening over the last couple of years and OnePlus should take note of the same with the OnePlus 7T series.
OnePlus 8 Pro Review: Connectivity, Audio and Other Features
OnePlus is marketing the smartphone as OnePlus 8 Pro 5G which means the phone is futureproof with 5G support. With the current situation in the telecom industry, we might not see telcos like Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea launching 5G services anytime soon. In addition, there’s no update from the government on when it is planning to hold 5G spectrum auction. Other connectivity options on the OnePlus 8 Pro include LTE/LTE-A, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC and GPS (L1+L5 Dual Band).
Cellular connectivity was on point and I constantly noticed 4G+ symbol on Airtel network in Hyderabad. Call quality was also decent with not many call drops noticed during the entire review period. Bluetooth connectivity is also pretty good. I have tested the OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z earphones with the OnePlus 8 Pro and they worked flawlessly.
Moving onto the audio, the OnePlus 8 Pro sports stereo speakers. The earpiece on top of the display acts as a secondary loudspeaker, while we have the usual single mono speaker on the bottom sitting beside the USB Type-C port. The audio output is decent via both the speakers, no complaints here. The phone lacks a headphone jack and you will have to rely on the Type-C port for wired audio listening.
OnePlus failed to deliver a proper flagship smartphone with the OnePlus 7 Pro, but the company learnt its mistakes in just a year. The OnePlus 8 Pro packs wireless charging and it is also IP68 certified which puts it against the premium phones like the Galaxy S20 series and the Apple iPhone 11 series. The phone rocks an in-display fingerprint scanner; It is probably the fastest in-display scanner I have seen on any smartphone till date. For those who don’t like in-display scanners, there’ support for software-based Face Unlock as well.
OnePlus 8 Pro Review: Cameras
OnePlus 8 Pro is the device which will impel us to talk about the videos and photos with equal importance while talking about camera performance. The OnePlus 8 Pro packs 48MP Sony IMX689 primary sensor with f/1.78 aperture, 48MP ultra-wide-angle Sony IMX586 sensor, 8MP telephoto sensor and 5MP colour filter camera.
Talking about the picture quality, the OnePlus 8 Pro produces decent images using the primary camera under good lighting conditions. The exposure and edges of the images were perfectly balanced. Also, the shadows and highlights were very clear. Even with the ultra-wide-angle lens, the OnePlus 8 Pro produced the finest picture quality in daylighting with balanced exposure and shadows. One of the camera features which we liked was the automatic switch to macro mode. The OnePlus 8 Pro automatically switches to the macro lens if the device is closer to the subject. The macro lens also preserves the details of the picture and maintains the warm tones in the picture.
Furthermore, the phone also supports optical zoom from 0.6x to 3x after which it supports up to 30x digital zoom. We were surprised by the picture details while using the digital zoom. In 10x zoom OnePlus 8 Pro preserved all the details of the images, and the edges were not noisy. In 30x zoom, the OnePlus 8 Pro managed to preserve the details of the image. However, we could see noise and grain in the pictures clicked with 30x zoom.
Talking about low-light photos, the primary sensor of the OnePlus 8 Pro produces decent image quality. However, the nightscape mode adds more warmth and tones in the picture. When we clicked pictures using the ultra-wide-angle lens, the photos were less detailed and the textures of the images were dull. But the nightscape mode did the job well and preserved the details in the ultra-wide-angle lens.
Towards the front side, the OnePlus 8 Pro features 16MP camera with f/2.45 lens. The front camera captures decent selfies and also preserves the details. However, the images feel a little more artificial and processed even in perfect lighting conditions. In low light situations, the 16MP punch hole camera suffered to click detailed pictures. The images clicked in low light without flash was not able to preserve the details of the image. With the screen flash enabled, the exposure in pictures was balanced perfectly, but the details were not great.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t test the 5MP colour filter lens as it was disabled in the current update. Various users complained that the lens could see through transparent and light objects, and it was disturbing their private space. However, OnePlus is working on the glitch and it will be soon available for users.
The OnePlus 8 Pro can record videos up to 4K and 60fps. The videos were stabilised perfectly. As of video quality, both the primary lens and ultra-wide lens produced decent video quality. The exposure was balanced in overall video recording, and auto-focus also did a great job. The HDR feature in the video was an add-on while testing. The quality of the video was pretty detailed and smooth when it was shot with the HDR feature. The 4k and 60fps will be surely a blessing for content creators who make cinematic videos with a smartphone. In post-production, they will be able to slow down the 4K footage up to 40% which will give them a smooth slow cinematic feel. Even in low-light conditions, the videos were not flickering and the dynamic range of videos was maintained.
OnePlus 8 Pro Review: Battery Life
The OnePlus 8 Pro delivers decent battery life- even with the Quad HD+ setting and 120Hz refresh rate. For the users who care numbers, the OnePlus 8 Pro sports a 4510mAh battery and has support for 30W wired and wireless charging. Yes, the OnePlus 8 Pro is the company’s first phone to feature wireless charging and that too fast wireless charging at 30W. That said, the fast wireless charging is limited to OnePlus Warp Charge 30 Wireless Charger which costs an additional Rs 3,990. But there’s no update on when OnePlus is going to bring it to sale in India.
The OnePlus 8 Pro delivers around 5 hours of screen-on-time (SOT) with the display set to Quad HD+ and 120Hz refresh rate. However, if you change the setting to Full HD+ and 120Hz, the battery life will be much better at around 7 hours of SOT. That said, this is for basic usage with just one hour of gaming. During the entire usage period, I was mostly on a Wi-Fi connection. On a couple of days with 4G+ connection, the Full HD+ and 120Hz setting delivered just above 5 hours of SOT.
Also, the battery life takes a hit with the MEMC feature turned on. As for the charging speeds, the OnePlus 8 Pro is capable of going from 0 to 100% in just an hour. It is disappointing to see OnePlus losing the race in the charging speeds department. OnePlus was the first company to introduce faster-charging speeds on a smartphone, but other companies like Oppo, iQoo, Realme and Vivo are now offering fast-charging up to 65W on their smartphones like Oppo Find X2, iQoo 3 and Realme X2 Pro. It is recently said that the upcoming OnePlus phone could have 65W wired charging support.
As for wireless charging, OnePlus says the 30W wireless charger can refill the device 50% in just 30 minutes. However, it is yet to be available for purchase, as mentioned above.
OnePlus 8 Pro Review: Verdict
OnePlus is the leading premium smartphone brand in India and the OnePlus 8 Pro will only help the company extend its lead in the market. After just one failed attempt, OnePlus has hit back at the competitors and managed to deliver the Best Premium Smartphone of 2020. Yes, the OnePlus 8 Pro has a bright display, offers fast and snappy performance, stellar cameras, has wireless charging and IP68 rating and it is also affordable when compared to the current flagships from brands like Apple, Samsung, Motorola, Huawei and even Oppo.
The OnePlus 8 Pro comes in two variants- 8GB+128GB and 12GB+256GB, priced at Rs 54,999 and Rs 59,999, respectively. We do have flagship smartphones with Snapdragon 865 SoC at a starting price of Rs 34,990 in India, but what makes the OnePlus 8 Pro special is the user experience and unmatchable performance. There, sure, are some issues with the OnePlus 8 Pro like the software quirks and low-light camera performance, but besides that, the phone justifies every bit of the asking price.
Also, at a time when flagships are getting pricier, OnePlus managed to impress everyone with the pricing of both the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. The OnePlus 8 starts at Rs 41,999 in India. The closest competitor to the OnePlus 8 Pro in India is the Xiaomi Mi 10 which features a 108MP primary camera alongside offering features like Full HD+ display, 90Hz refresh rate, Snapdragon 865 SoC, wireless charging and a big battery. I did not use the Xiaomi Mi 10, so the comparison made is based on the on-paper specs.
Should you choose the OnePlus 8 Pro at Rs 54,999? Well, a resounding yes. The phone is currently going on sale via Amazon.in and Oneplus.in, although it is only available in limited quantities.
Chakri is a go-to guy for your next smartphone recommendation. Back in his engineering days, he used to play with smartphones by installing custom ROMs and that passion got him into the tech industry. He still goes nuts about a smartphone knocking his door for review. Currently managing everything at Telecom Talk, Chakri is trying to master PUBG Mobile in his free time.
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