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Stunning 120Hz display • Wireless charging • Long battery life • Responsive in-display fingerprint sensor • 5G connectivity • Water- and dust-resistant
Too big for tiny hands • Expensive • Edge-to-edge display can be frustrating
The OnePlus 8 Pro offers everything you need in a flagship phone, including a beautiful display, an excellent camera, and speedy performance, and all without the insane price tag.
For the longest time, we could always count on OnePlus to deliver a high-end phone at a relatively low cost. But in order to keep up with the likes of Apple and Samsung, it was inevitable that the company’s next flagship would inch towards the $1,000 price point.
Which is why it’s not shocking that the new OnePlus 8 Pro, available on April 29, starts at $899.
For that price, it packs a beautiful display with a 120Hz refresh rate, a quad-camera setup with two 48-megapixel sensors, and it’s the first OnePlus phone to support wireless charging.
With the latest Snapdragon 865 chipset and support for 5G, the OnePlus 8 Pro doesn’t skimp on power or speed, either. It’s quite literally the definition of: “You get what you pay for.”
And while that’s certainly still a high price on its own, comparable phones like Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Plus start at $1,119, while the iPhone 11 Pro Max is $1,099. And those prices are for the base models.
For that aforementioned $899 price, you get an 8 Pro with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the 12GB/256GB configuration costs $999.
Sure, you’re not getting the most intense camera system or even gimmicky features as seen on other high-end phones, but I think the 8 Pro is the perfect middle ground.
OnePlus’ signature design
The OnePlus 8 Pro is available in a few different color variants. Both the 8GB/128GB and 12GB/256GB options are available in either Glacial Green or Onyx Black. As for the Ultramarine Blue handset, that only comes in the larger storage configuration.
I had the Glacial Green unit and it was certainly a nice change from my Forest Green iPhone 11 Pro. It’s a bright shade of green that looks really stunning, especially when the light hits it. But it’s a little loud for my tastes and I can already tell I’d grow tired of it after a while. So, if you’re of the camp that prefers practicality, I’d suggest going for it in Onyx Black.
But overall, it doesn’t look all that different from the OnePlus phones that have come before it.
On the front is an edge-to-edge display (which I’ll revisit in-depth later) and a hole-punch selfie camera. The right side of the phone is home to an alert slider, which allows you to set your phone to silent, vibrate, or ring. And below that is a power button that you can long press to trigger the Google Assistant. The left edge of the phone houses the volume rocker. While, on the bottom, you’ll find a USB-C port, dual speakers, and a dual nano-SIM card slot.
Flip the phone over to the back and that’s where you’ll find a quad-camera setup complete with the OnePlus logo beneath it.
I mentioned this in my hands-on, but the OnePlus 8 Pro’s camera bump is rather obtrusive. If you place the handset camera-side down on a table or shelf, it’s going to rock back and forth. I suggest putting a case on it to level it out.
There’s no denying the 8 Pro has a really sleek look to it that feels premium. But it’s a little too big for me. While its narrow build makes it easy to grip with one hand, I’d rather hold it with two out of fear of dropping it.
A snappy and powerful display
The 8 Pro has a 6.78-inch, 3,168 x 1,440 QHD+ Fluid AMOLED display. It also has a 120Hz refresh rate. That’s an all-around upgrade compared to its predecessor, the OnePlus 7t, which has a smaller 6.55-inch display and 90Hz refresh rate.
The 8 Pro’s display is bright, beautiful, and responsive, but it’s also irritating to interact with at times.
Operating the phone with one hand was hard enough with such a large screen size, but the edge-to-edge display made it even trickier. Sometimes, my palm would accidentally trigger certain apps as I stretched my fingers across the massive screen.
The ability to switch to a higher refresh rate helps to ease the irritation, though. After first experiencing 120Hz on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, I’m happy to see that it’s becoming a standard for flagship phones. It seems like a minor addition, but it really makes such a difference. Scrolling through apps like Twitter, Instagram, and Gmail feels super fast and smooth.
But it does drain the battery a lot quicker. To help with that, the display automatically defaults to 60Hz when it’s idle. It’s also enabled by default, so you don’t have to worry about turning it on.
The 8 Pro also has an in-display fingerprint sensor that I have zero complaints about. Whenever you want to unlock your phone, the fingerprint outline appears at the bottom of the display. It would immediately recognize my fingerprint as soon as I hit the screen without fail.
Additionally, OnePlus introduced a Motion Graphics Smoothing feature on the 8 Pro. It’s important to note that it is turned off by default, so you’ll have to enable it via your settings. The feature increases the frame rate on video while simultaneously reducing the motion blur of graphics. As of right now, it’s optimized for apps like YouTube, Netflix, and the Gallery app.
As soon as you enter full-screen mode for whatever video you happen to be watching, the feature will kick in a few seconds later and a notification will appear indicating that it’s on.
It’s supposed to work best with action movies, but that’s my least favorite genre of film. So, instead, I tested it out while watching an episode of Gourmet Makes — a show where the camera pans around often — and I can confirm it makes a difference.
Everything looks a lot smoother and less laggy. So much so, that after a while, I sort of felt a little motion sick. You know, the same way some people feel when playing a game in virtual reality.
Impressive camera sensors with photos to match
The OnePlus 8 Pro delivers some impressive shots, although, at times, I found the colors to be a bit oversaturated.
The quad-camera setup consists of:
a 48-megapixel “main” camera (f/1.78),
a 120-degree 48-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens (f/2.2)
an 8-megapixel telephoto lens (f/2.44) with 3x optical zoom
a 5-megapixel color filter sensor
When you first open the camera app, the 48-megapixel wide-angle lens automatically defaults to 12-megapixels. That’s because the 12-megapixel sensor is recommended for better dynamic range, which means it captures better detail for shadows and highlights. Meanwhile, the 48-megapixel sensor is higher resolution and captures more granular detail.
You can switch between the two in the camera app by tapping on the icon.
I took both the 8 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro to snap photos around my hometown. Here are some sample images and comparisons.
Above is a photo shot using the OnePlus 8 Pro (using the 12-megapixel sensor), which looks a bit oversaturated and a lot darker compared to the photo taken on an iPhone 11 Pro below. It also looks darker.
With the 8 Pro, everything looks a lot sharper, from the rocks to the wood on the bridge. Even the bark on the trees is way more defined.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 11 Pro does the opposite and softens the scene. The colors are a lot more realistic to what you’d see in person. But the bottom edges of the photo, where the dirt meets the rocks, are a little blurry.
Of the two, I definitely prefer the iPhone 11 Pro because it looks a lot more natural. But there’s no denying the 8 Pro does produce some beautiful shots.
You can see the same level of oversaturation at play in the photos above. With the OnePlus 8 Pro, the ridges on the tree bark look a lot more defined and the wood itself appears super dark in comparison to the iPhone 11 Pro.
As I mentioned before, the 8 Pro also has 3x lossless zoom. And, let’s just say it’s not the best. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the Galaxy S20 Plus with me (which has the same capability) to compare.
But I can tell just by looking at other photos I took with the S20 that the 8 Pro isn’t as clear.
Here are a few examples of 3x zoom on the 8 Pro:
It’s not awful, but the resulting photos are really grainy. I remember being far more impressed when I was testing the S20 because those photos were actually usable.
I also took a shot of the same subject using the 12-megapixel sensor followed by the 48-megapixel sensor to highlight the differences.
In the photo above, the 12-megapixel sensor accentuated the pink flowers and the green in both the trees and the grass.
Meanwhile, the 48-megapixel sensor produced a less saturated photo with more even tones throughout the entire image.
Rather than including a macro lens on the 8 Pro, OnePlus went for a 5-megapixel color filter sensor instead, which is an interesting choice that I would never use. It just lets you take photos using a few different filters.
I mean, I guess it’s … cool? But I’d rather just use filters on third-party apps, like VSCO or Afterlight, rather than have an entire sensor dedicated to it.
As for lowlight shots, OnePlus has added in a dedicated mode called Nightscape.
This image was taken just after sunset, so it wasn’t completely dark outside. But you can still see Nightscape’s effects above. The pink color and the clouds are a lot more prominent throughout the image.
And last, but not least, we have selfies with the 8 Pro’s 16-megapixel selfie camera.
As mentioned in my hands-on, the 8 Pro captures how truly pale I am, while the iPhone 11 Pro adds warmth to the entire photo.
Though I don’t want to admit I’m that ghostly pale, the 8 Pro’s selfie is certainly more realistic. So, you win this one, OnePlus.
As far as the rest of the photos go, it’s worth noting the 8 Pro does oversaturate its photos a bit. But I was still a huge fan of the shots. It’s also not nearly as intense as the saturation you’d find on the Galaxy S20 lineup.
Trouble-free performance, all-day battery life
The 8 Pro features a Snapdragon 865 chipset and X55 modem for 5G connectivity. Though the phone is available to buy unlocked, 5G capabilities will vary depending on the carrier. Verizon customers will have both 5G capabilities while T-Mobile will only offer the comparatively slower sub-6.
In case you’re wondering what the difference is, sub-6 capabilities are categorized as low-/mid-band because it uses frequencies below 6GHz. So it doesn’t require new transmitters the way mmWave does and therefore it reaches more people.
Regardless, it’s not essential to the overall experience of the phone at the moment. And that’s because 5G connectivity isn’t widely available yet. Unless, that is, you’re planning on keeping this phone for the next couple of years when 5G will likely be easily accessible everywhere.
As for performance, I tested it using Geekbench 5 and my unit scored 900 for single-core performance and 3,272 for multi-core performance.
Ideally, I would’ve compared it to the S20 Plus since it’s the most similar spec-wise. But while in quarantine, I only had the S20 Ultra handy, which scored 910 for single-core and 3,232 for multi-core.
While both have the same processor, it’s still impressive considering the Ultra costs a whopping $1,400. Of course, with that phone, you’re paying mainly for that insane 108-megapixel rear camera.
As for the operating system, the 8 Pro runs its own OxygenOS skin that runs atop Android 10. And it offers a few interesting features.
For starters, there’s a new Dark Theme 2.0 (OnePlus’ dark mode) which can now be used for more apps like Tinder, PayPal, Google Pay, and Reddit.
It also includes a few different modes to choose from, including Zen Mode (which locks you out of your phone for 20 minutes, forcing you to take a break) and Night Mode (to filter out blue light and reduce strain on your eyes).
Additionally, there’s a Reading Mode built in. While I’m not one for reading e-books on my phone, it’s actually a cool feature for those of you who do. In your settings, you can choose between a chromatic or mono effect, and also enable it to turn on when specific apps are open.
As for battery life, the 8 Pro packs a 4,510mAh battery which is bigger than what you’ll find on the iPhone 11 Pro Max (3,969mAh battery) and the Galaxy S20 Plus (4,500 mAh).
With standard usage (messaging apps, emails, and scrolling through social media), I was able to squeeze about 12 to 13 hours out of the 8 Pro.
But that was also with the display set to 120Hz FHD+, which drains the battery far quicker than 60Hz does. So, you can extend the battery life even longer by tweaking the settings a bit.
There’s also a Warp Charge 30 power adapter that’s supposed to deliver a 50-percent charge in just 23 minutes.
Since the phone also supports wireless charging, OnePlus sent me their new wireless charging pad (sold separately for $69.95), which I’ve been using instead. The company says it can charge the phone from zero percent to 50 percent in 30 minutes.
I placed it on the charging pad at about 45 percent and it was at 85 percent after 30 mins. So, it’s fairly on par with OnePlus’ claims.
Wait, what about the OnePlus 8?
Yes, OnePlus launched a less expensive and less feature-packed OnePlus 8 alongside the Pro. Both of which will be available for purchase starting April 29.
At $699, the OnePlus 8 comes with a 6.55-inch display, 48-megapixel main camera, 16-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens, and a 5-megapixel macro camera. It’s a lot more suitable for those that want a tinier, more comfortable phone and don’t need such an intense camera setup.
If you do have the cash to spend, I’d still opt for the 8 Pro. It packs a serious punch with a premium build, very capable camera sensors, a beautiful display, and all-day battery life.
That said, at $899, it is the most expensive phone we’ve seen from OnePlus. But based on what’s currently out there (i.e., the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus and the iPhone 11 Pro Max), it’s the best flagship on the market priced under $1,000. And, trust me when I say you won’t be disappointed.
Though I am a little worried this higher-priced 8 Pro could set a precedent, with future OnePlus flagships inching ever closer to that dreaded $1,000 price point.