It's happening. I'm making the switch to the OnePlus 8 Pro full-time. Which marks the first time a phone has truly drawn me away from Google's Pixel smartphones, since the Pixel started in 2016. It's a big deal, but let me explain why the OnePlus 8 Pro has made me jump off of the Pixel train.
OnePlus has been making great phones for years. There's no denying that. But for me, in the way I use a phone, it has always had one or two major issues that have kept me away from using it full-time. It's usually the camera.
We all know just how good the camera is on the Pixel series, it's pretty insane what Google is able to do with software on those phones. And that was the main reason why I stuck with a Pixel smartphone. On top of the fast updates to the latest version of Android and being able to run the betas for new versions of Android. After all, I do work for AndroidHeadlines, so running Android 11 beta's is kinda necessary.
But the OnePlus 8 Pro is different. The camera is actually good, out of the box. You see, typically, the camera on OnePlus phones are okay, and sometimes just not good at all, at launch. And after we've done our review (as well as every other publication out there) on the device, the company sends out new updates that improve the camera. The OnePlus 7 Pro for example, it was pretty terrible at launch. Heck the telephoto lens couldn't even focus properly. But a few months and many updates later, the OnePlus 7 Pro became one of the better cameras out there.
However, none of the reviews of the OnePlus 7 Pro actually say that, because the camera wasn't good when reviewers were given their review units of the device. But that's not the case with the OnePlus 8 Pro. We got a single update a couple days after receiving our review unit, which greatly improved the camera, and the rest is history.
Only the camera held me back from jumping on the OnePlus 7 Pro
You see, I'm in a lucky position here, working for AndroidHeadlines. I get the opportunity to test almost every single phone that is made. And use it as a daily driver for a week or more. Which is not something that everyone gets to do. And I loved everything about the OnePlus 7 Pro. It was a bit large for my taste, but I had gotten used to it.
I loved the battery life, the look of the phone, Oxygen OS, and especially that high refresh rate display.
But the camera is what held me back from making it my daily driver and actually buying one. Coming from the Pixel 3 (at the time), and after using the Pixel 3a, it was just not up to snuff. And while I don't take a lot of photos, when I do take them, they need to look good.
Now fast forward to this month, when OnePlus announced the 8 series. I was excited to review another OnePlus phone, and prayed that they had gotten the camera fixed at launch. Well it wasn't completely fixed at launch, but it was pretty good. Then the company sent out another update that made it even better. And it now rivals the Pixel 4. Though Google still does better with portrait mode than OnePlus or really anyone. Night Sight is also better on the Pixel than Nightscape on the OnePlus 8 Pro, but I don't take a lot of night shots, other than to show off how insane smartphone cameras are now.
That was the last checkbox that OnePlus had to check, to get me to switch to the 8 Pro. So now, as soon as the OnePlus 8 Pro goes on sale next week, I'm buying one. Since this is a review unit and will need to go back to OnePlus at some point.
Google's inability to put in a decently sized battery has made me jump off of the Pixel train
It wasn't all OnePlus that made me want to switch to the 8 Pro. Google also had a hand in driving me away from its Pixel smartphones. And as you might have guessed, it's because of the battery.
I'm not one of those people who need to get six to seven hours of on-screen time every day from my phone. So the Pixel 4 XL battery was decent enough for me to get through a full day. Which is all I want, to be able to only have to charge my phone at night. But being able to use my phone a bit more heavily, and not have to worry about the battery running out before bedtime is always nice. Not to mention, those days when I'm traveling and using my phone more. Though, that's not going to be happening anytime soon.
The 4510mAh capacity battery inside the OnePlus 8 Pro is pretty decently sized. It's a tad larger than the Galaxy S20+ battery, and it does last quite a while. I was rather impressed with the battery life on the OnePlus 8 Pro, and it has spoiled me in the week and a half that I have used it. To where, the Pixel 4 XL battery life seems like hot garbage. I mean, it kinda is, but I was used to it. Now, I can't go back.
And it doesn't look like Google is going to change its ways anytime soon. The rumored Pixel 4a is still going to boast a pretty small battery. Though, with that using a more battery efficient chipset and a FHD+ display, that might not be much of an issue – the Pixel 3a ran circles around the Pixel 3's battery life, last year. But I don't have much hope for Google giving us a larger battery in the Pixel 5 come this fall.
Which is one more box that OnePlus is checking, and making me switch to the 8 Pro.
OnePlus has done the unthinkable
Just a couple of years ago, I said I'd never switch to a OnePlus device full-time. There were a lot of things that OnePlus was doing that I was not a fan of. And made me not want to spend my money with them.
But the company has since grown up and put out some really incredible smartphones. It has fixed a lot of the issues that people have had. Including the camera, battery life and even added wireless charging. Things that consumers were asking for from OnePlus, for many years. Now, I wasn't holding out waiting for wireless charging – that's not a must-have feature for me. But it is really nice to have. Especially with OnePlus doing 30W wireless charging now. Which is the same speed as its wired charging.
And now, I'm happy to hand over my money for the OnePlus 8 Pro, even if it is the most expensive phone I have ever bought – and it's on the cheaper side of currently available phones. Which is insane.
Google Pixel, this isn't goodbye but rather, see you later
It's likely that I'll return to the Pixel lineup. I'm still excited for the Pixel 4a, to be honest. It'll likely have the best camera in a $400 smartphone, not to mention getting updates rather quickly from Google. And as someone in this industry, I get excited for just about every new phone that comes out. It's kind of a requirement for this job. So I'll be excited for and use the Pixel 4a and Pixel 5, but I likely won't be switching.
However, when the Pixel 6 comes around next year, hopefully Google has learned to give us a decently sized battery. And we're talking at least 4,000mAh even in the smaller Pixel.
And I'm also excited to see what Google does with the cameras on the Pixel later this year. The company always seems to do some crazy stuff with their cameras. Like the ability to take photos of the stars. It'll be exciting to see what Google comes up with next. But as for now, I'm off of the Pixel train. However, I'll be back.