If you didn’t live under a rock for the last couple of days, you probably know that OnePlus announced its new flagship smartphones. The company announced the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, and this time around, the ‘Pro’ model stands out way more than it did last year, it's a true flagship offering. The OnePlus 8 Pro matches all other flagship smartphones, and it even beats them in some ways. In my personal opinion, OnePlus hit the home run this time around, even though there’s a huge asterisk above the OnePlus 8 Pro’s price tag.
Many people have an issue with its price tag, but…
Considering that many people complained about its price tag, let’s talk about that first. The OnePlus 8 Pro is considerably more expensive than its predecessor, the OnePlus 7 Pro. It costs $230 more than its predecessors, the OnePlus 7 Pro was priced at $699 at launch, while the OnePlus 8 Pro’s pricing starts at $899. Why such a huge price bump? Well, there are several reasons for that. This time around, OnePlus has decided not to compromise, as much as that was possible. The company finally introduced official water and dust resistance rating, and it also introduced fast wireless charging that people have been asking for. On top of that, there’s the Qualcomm factor.
Qualcomm sells its Snapdragon 865 flagship processor only bundled with the Snapdragon X55 modem. In other words, every single Snapdragon 865 chip that ships out includes 5G connectivity, and that package does not come cheap. If Qualcomm made a 4G variant of the Snapdragon 865 available, perhaps OnePlus would choose to release 4G models. That would, for sure, decrease the price tag of both devices. Those three factors are the main reasons for this price bump, but there are other components that are not cheap. OnePlus really decided to go all-in this year. The OnePlus 8 Pro includes some flagship tech from OZO Audio, Goodix’s latest, ultra-thin in-display fingerprint scanner, Samsung’s premium 120Hz QHD+ display, and more.
Based on the specs alone, the OnePlus 8 Pro is one of the most powerful smartphone flagships
Looking at the specs alone, this may be the most powerful smartphone in the market at the moment, or at least one of them. It definitely stands side-by-side with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra in terms of specs alone, and some would say it even beats the best Samsung has to offer. Do note that the entry-level OnePlus 8 Pro is considerably more affordable than the entry-level Galaxy S20 Ultra. In fact, the OnePlus 8 Pro costs about the same as the Galaxy S20.
Many people would say that is not comparable because one is Samsung, and the other is OnePlus. Well, if you’re going to compare phone just based on their brand strength, then I give up, because that makes no sense. I’ve been choosing OnePlus devices for years now, since the OnePlus 3T, as my personal daily drivers (when I’m not reviewing other devices), and I’ve never regretted my decision. That’s not something I can say for many other brands. That’s just my personal preference, though.
So, now that we got the pricing out of the way, what is there to complain about? Well, not much, to be quite honest. You’re getting one of the best displays in the market, plenty of LPDDR5 RAM, one of Sony’s best camera sensors on the back (backed by several others), latest Android and extremely well-optimized OxygenOS, and more.
Those are just facts, though, but does the OnePlus 8 Pro deliver in real-life usage? Yes, yes it does.I’ll go as far as saying this is the fastest Android smartphone in the market, if not the fastest / smoothest smartphone in general. The combination of powerful hardware, OnePlus’ optimizations, and that gorgeous 120Hz QHD+ display delivers great performance.
Camera quality is not an issue any longer, quite the contrary
The OnePlus 7 Pro had its fair share of camera issues when it launched. Most of those issues were fixed quickly via updates, but the damage was done. Well, you’ll be glad to know that the OnePlus 8 Pro delivers in the camera department from the get-go. The device finally has that flagship camera experience that users have been requesting for years. It’s a reliable camera smartphone for pretty much every occasion.
The Pixel 4, Huawei P40 and iPhone 11 Pro (Max) may still have an edge in some aspects, but the OnePlus 8 Pro is capable of going head-to-head with all of them. The phone has great dynamic range, can shoot really detailed and well-lit photos in dark environments (and is backed by Nightscape), while the macro shots look gorgeous. Just take a look at several macro camera samples. Do note that those samples have been compressed by Twitter, and they still look great.
The OnePlus 7T did a great job with macro shots, and the OnePlus 8 Pro brings the experience to a whole new level. OnePlus has also improved video recording, a lot. The stabilization is great, and you can get 4K at 60fps without a problem. It’s one small step behind the iPhone 11 series in that regard, and that’s saying a lot.
OxygenOS is better than ever, and it was pretty great to begin with
OxygenOS has some new tricks up its sleeve, it’s more refined than ever. Alexa now comes built-in, and the dark mode is much improved as well. OnePlus added almost 300 optimizations to its UI, in order to make it even more fluid than before. OxygenOS was one of the best iterations of Android for years, and that is even more apparent now. It goes head-to-head with stock Android and One UI, and many would say it even wins in a number of ways. That’s a personal preference, though. The thing is, it brings a ton of features, while it does not sacrifice on performance.
You want fast wired charging? Check. You want fast wireless charging? Check. The OnePlus 8 Pro offers both 30W wired and wireless charging, and it’s extremely fast. The only caveat is that you’ll need OnePlus’ proprietary chargers in order to take advantage of that. A brick for wired charging is included in the box, while you’ll need to purchase the wireless charger. Wired charging can get you from 0 to 60% in half an hour, while wireless will get you to 50% in that same amount of time. If you say that is too slow or something, well… I don’t know what to say. This may not be the fastest charging out there, but it is one of the fastest charging technologies currently available.
The design is also up to par with top smartphones from other companies
Some people may even complain about the design of the OnePlus 8 Pro. Why? Well, it has a small display camera hole, so its predecessor did look more appealing. The OnePlus 7 Pro, as you may recall, includes a pop-up camera, so it doesn’t have a display hole or notch. Well, this time around, OnePlus opted to not include moving parts inside a phone, and instead backtrack on the overall design appeal a bit.
Many people would agree that this is a better decision, as there are no moving parts inside a phone. That is a personal preference, though, as no major issues appeared when it comes to pop-up cameras. I, personally, would prefer the pop-up camera more, as I’m not a fan of display holes. On the flip side, that would probably affect water and dust resistance. The company had to make a decision, and for better or worse, here we are. The point is, The OnePlus 8 Pro is an appealing-looking phone regardless.
The OnePlus 8 Pro easily matches the best flagship smartphones in the market, and then some
We still didn’t finish our full review of the OnePlus 8 Pro, but it’s quite apparent that this will be one of the best smartphones of the year. You can complain about the price tag considering how much of an increase it is, but comparing that to the OnePlus 8 Pro’s competition will bring things into perspective. Considering what it offers, the OnePlus 8 Pro is not too expensive, at least considering today’s market. What is there left to say? Well, do note that this is an opinion article. There’s a lot of my personal opinion included here, and you may disagree, of course. It’s hard to deny that OnePlus 8 Pro offers a lot, even if you’re not a fan of the company, or its phones.