The price of OnePlus flagships has risen in the past few years. While the phones got better with time, they lacked mainly two features – IP rating and wireless charging. With the OnePlus 8 Pro, the company has gone all-out with its offering. It finally offers the two missing features but doesn’t build upon the existing ones. When I first received the phone almost three weeks back, my expectations were high. I expected it to offer smooth performance, a decent set of cameras, a good display, and a fast-charging battery. Now, after using the phone, I can say that I was amazed by some features while the others left me wanting more. Here’s why the OnePlus 8 Pro is a fabulous phone but not a flawless one.
If you have used a high-end OnePlus phone in the recent past, the OnePlus 8 Pro is likely to feel familiar to you. It features a curved display at the front, which has a punch-hole notch located at the top left corner. On the rear lies a quad-camera setup. Three of the lenses are housed in a vertical pill-shaped module and the fourth one is located adjacent to the module above the AF module. The camera module does protrude a bit from the phone but it is not something I’d worry about.
It comes in three color options – Glacial Green, Ultramarine Blue and Onyx Black. We received the first one, and it is my personal favorite. It changes from green to blue based on the ambient light. It is classy, to say the least. Moreover, it is rated IP68 water and dust-resistance.
The rear panel is a bit curved and the corners are rounded, which adds to the gripping experience of the phone. It is made out of glass but it sports a frosted matte finish, and thanks to that, it doesn’t attract fingerprints. The phone is easily one of the best I’ve used without a cover. Still, I slapped on the in-box silicone case just to be sure. After all, I’m a clumsy man. There is an added refreshment of the case too. It has “Never Settle” imprinted on it in large font. Overall, the phone is easy to grip, with or without the case.
On the right edge lies the signature OnePlus Alert slider and the power button. The latter is programmed to trigger the Google Assistant on long press, which was pretty annoying to me. Thankfully, it can be changed to the usual power menu. Coming to the left edge, it houses the volume rockers. Further, the SIM tray, USB Type-C port (USB 3.1), and speaker grille are located at the bottom of the device.
The OnePlus 8 Pro weighs 199 grams and measures 165.3 x 74.3 x 8.5 mm. In terms of ergonomics, it is a well thought out big phone. While it is hard to reach at the top with one hand, the rounded corners, curved edges, and weight distribution make the one-handed use easy.
The OnePlus 8 Pro features a 6.78-inch big Fluid AMOLED display, which has a 3168 x 1440 pixel resolution at 513 PPI. It comes with a 120Hz refresh rate and 19.8:9 aspect ratio. It is covered with 3D Corning Gorilla Glass. Now that we are done with technical details, here is how it performs in daily life.
My unit has the infamous black crush issue, which is hard to tell during the daytime. However, when I used the phone in dark environment (read dark as no light) before going to sleep, I noticed weird black spots that were darker than the app UI wanted them to be. The issue was experienced on Twitter and Instagram loading screens, and on Spotify. It can only be observed on that particular gray color. Otherwise, the spots aren’t visible. I watched Sherlock on Netflix and The Office on Prime Videos. Not once did I notice any issue while watching videos in the dark. Hence, black crush is not a big deal.
I used it at QHD+ resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. It is a gorgeous screen. One of the best I’ve used thus far. The colors are bright, vibrant and it is easily visible under direct sunlight. However, the brightness doesn’t get low enough for my taste. My daily driver is an OnePlus 7T, which gets a lot lower in terms of brightness. It helps in dark environments. While curved displays make your phone look good, they lose out on practicality. There is a slight color distortion along the curved edge of the display. Nevertheless, I didn’t have any issues with ghost touches or palm rejection.
Coming to display features, the OnePlus 8 Pro comes with Motion Graphics Smoothing. It basically bumps up the framerate of any video to 120Hz for a smoother feel. While it may be good for sports, I wasn’t able to notice it on YouTube, Netflix or Amazon Prime despite getting the pop-up the Motion Graphics Smoothing was enabled. Further, there’s a ‘Comfort tone’ toggle in the display settings. It adjusts the display’s color temperature based on the ambient light around you. Like other OnePlus phones, there is also a Reading Mode that helps me read on the Kindle app.
The OnePlus 8 Pro is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC, paired with X55 5G modem. Our model has 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.0 storage. It all combines to provide one of the most fluid and responsive experience on a smartphone. It delivers what you’d expect from a flagship device. From day-to-day apps to games, and streaming services, everything works perfectly. The memory management is top-notch as well.
Coming to 5G, we were not able to test the X55 5G modem since there is no way to connect to a 5G network in India right now. You can check out Jaime’s video review of the device for more on 5G below:
To review the gaming performance, I played Asphalt 9, COD Mobile, and PUBG Mobile on my OnePlus 8 Pro review unit. It runs the games at the highest graphics settings with no issues whatsoever. It ran PUBG at HDR graphics and Extreme framerates. Moreover, there is minimal heating. The gaming experience was one of the best on an Android phone, thanks to the hardware prowess and 240Hz touch sampling rate, which makes everything seem swift. Furthermore, the gaming mode lets notifications appear on top of the game. You can reply to that urgent text while not exiting the game.
Speaker is another area where the high-end OnePlus phones do well usually, and the OnePlus 8 Pro is no exception. The smartphone comes with dual stereo speakers where the earpiece is a part-time secondary loudspeaker and the primary one is situated at the bottom of the device. The audio separation is good and it can get loud enough for you to watch movies. There’s Dolby Atmos at work as well. Further, the smartphone lacks a headphone jack so you either have to use Type-C earphones or resort to wireless ones for individual listening.
The call quality is good as well. The listeners said I sounded well and I could hear them clearly so no problems here. Coming to the biometric security options, you get two of them. First, the Goodix fingerprint sensor located inside the display. It is fast, reliable, accurate, and secure. Second, you can unlock your phone with the Face Unlock, which is less secure but faster than the first option. Interestingly, it works with face mask on as well.
The OnePlus 8 Pro packs a 4,510mAh battery that supports 30W fast charging both wired and wireless. It provides a day’s battery life easily. My use case includes browsing the web, lots of Twitter, WhatsApp video calls, Instagram and Telegram, clicking a few pictures and playing music while in the shower (do you do that too? You should!) It gave me 6-7 hours of screen-on time while on QHD+ resolution at 120Hz refresh rate. You can extend the battery life by changing the resolution.
As for charging, the OnePlus 8 Pro charges from 0 to 90 percent within 70 minutes. It made me appreciate the wireless charger kept on my desk. Just put it on the stand while working and it charges. It is a welcome addition to the smartphone. Thanks, OnePlus! However, the company has stuck with 30W fast charging since the OnePlus 3T. I expected an upgrade in that department. Moreover, there is room for improvement in one more key area – loss of battery life overnight. The phone drains 7-8% battery while I sleep even when WiFi and Bluetooth are turned off.
Separately, the smartphone is eligible to charge your accessories like the smartwatch or earbuds. It supports reverse-wireless charging, which is pretty useful at times.
Optics is one department where OnePlus phones have struggled in the past. While the company has improved the cameras with its OnePlus 8 Pro, the phone still struggles in some scenarios. Let’s start with the technical details first. The phone sports a quad rear camera setup: a 48MP Sony IMX689 sensor with f/1.78 aperture and OIS + an 8MP telephoto lens with 3x hybrid zoom, an f/2.44 aperture, and OIS + a 48MP ultra-wide-angle lens with 120-degree field-of-view and an f/2.2 aperture + a 5MP color filter lens. Here’s how they perform.
The primary camera captures very good details in direct sunlight. The color tone is pretty neutral too. The pictures aren’t over-saturated, the edges are well defined and there is no noticeable noise. The dynamic range is pretty good too. There are lots of details in the darker areas as well. The videos have a good dynamic range too and focusing on the subject is easy.
As with other cameras, there is inconsistency in the primary 48MP camera as well. The images are slightly blue-tinted at times. You can see the left image below and the the blueness.
The wide-angle camera is one of the best in its segment. You can shoot at full 48MP resolution on this lens as well, which is great. Most of the times it captures good details, the dynamic range is great but, at times, it changes the tone of scence. For comparison, you can see the above images, the left one is clicked on primary camera whereas the right one has been clicked on the ultrawide-angle lens. The right one is warmer than the actual scene.
Further, the camera enables ‘Super macro’ mode automatically when you bring the camera close to the subject.
Here as well, the details are good, but I had a bad time getting it to focus on the subject. It could be blamed on my shaky hands. Overall, the camera is miles better than the 2MP one you get on the OnePlus 8.
Coming to the portrait mode on the primary lens, the inconsistency follows. At times, you get a very contrast-y shot when you tap op the human subject, which shouldn’t happen. Notice my left eye in the above pictures. The edge detection seems to be good but the overall portrait shots could’ve been better.
Let’s talk about low light photography. The main sensor clicks well-lit landscape shots, with good details. Nightscape helps in fixing exposure a bit. It also produces slightly better textures. Notably, you cannot automatically click the ACTUAL low light photo on the OnePlus 8 Pro.
Without switching to Nightscape too, some AI algorithms brighten the pictures. While there is too much noise in those shots, they can be better in terms of stability of the subject than the Nightscape. However, to click a low light picture without AI messing around you need to go to the manual mode.
Also, it’s hard for the camera to focus on a flower in the dark. For example, look at the images below:
Overall, the rear camera setup is underwhelming since it is not something that you can depend-on to capture great pictures straight by clicking on the shutter button. You need to put in efforts, and at times those might not be enough either. OnePlus needs to up their color science and post-processing if it wants to compete with the Pixels and iPhones of the market.
Switching to the front camera, there is a 16MP Sony IMX471 shooter residing in the punch-hole notch. In daylight conditions, it captures good details, the colors are bright and the overall images look good.
The Portrait shots have decent edge separation and bokeh effect.
It is the low light where the front camera struggles quite a lot. It smoothens the skin and lacks details. The overall images are below-average for a flagship. The difference could also be noticed in video calls. My OnePlus 7T’s selfie shooter is better than the one on the 8 Pro. We don’t get a nightscape mode on the front camera, but there is a screen flash to help you in low-light shots.
The OnePlus 8 Pro runs OxygenOS based on Android 10. First things first, OxygenOS is good, smooth, and fluid, but it is not flawless. I had phone freezes twice where I had to restart my phone to use it again. Still, it is one of the best takes on Android out there. The skin is clean, minimalistic, and consists of a few welcome tweaks.
From changing color themes and icon packs to changing the shape of the icons in the pulldown notification panel – all is there. These little customizations add to the overall user experience and make it much more convenient for the user. Also, there’s Work-Life Balance that allows you to prioritize select notifications based on your location, time, or Wi-Fi network.
Adding the two years of major Android updates and three years of security updates, the OnePlus 8 Pro beats the competition in software in my opinion.
I rate display, battery, and performance above the cameras since you interact with those three on a daily basis. The OnePlus 8 Pro has a gorgeous display (with some niggles), good battery life, and fluid performance. If you don’t prioritize the camera, the OnePlus 8 Pro is a sweet deal for $899 and Rs 55,000. Just go for it. However, there are decent camera smartphones available in the Indian market right now including the Mi 10 and Vivo X50 Pro. If the camera is on top of your priority list, look for options. Overall, for the price, the OnePlus 8 Pro is a feature-rich, solid choice.
|+ Gorgeous display||– Inconsistent cameras|
|+ Great build and design||– Below-average selfie shooter|
|+ Good battery life|