[First Cut] OnePlus 8: Turning on the style
Getting Pro-level design
It has made headlines for its allegedly high price in the US. Then it made headlines for its allegedly low price in India. The OnePlus 8 has a knack of being in the news and well, we now have finally had a chance to cast an eye on it.
And well, it looks very smart and stylish in a classy way. Now, do not get us wrong – we did think the OnePlus 7T was a very different and distinct-looking phone, and the OnePlus 7 was not too bad either (if a little too glossy), but the OnePlus 8 has a much more refined feel to it. And this is when we got perhaps the most low-profile color variant of all to review – the Onyx Black (the Glacial Green has been making headlines and the Interstellar White is not too far behind). Yes, we are used to glass front and back devices by now, but the OnePlus 8 still – STILL – manages to strike a chord with us. The Onyx Black has a very clean, refined finish, although we remain fans of the frosted glass finish we saw in the 7 series!
It also feels relatively light and compact as compared to its predecessor, the OnePlus 7T. The word to be noted here is “relatively.” The OnePlus 8 is not a small phone, but compared to the OnePlus 7T, it seems more compact – its 160.2 mm x 72.9 mm x 8 mm proportions are smaller than the 160.94 mm × 74.44 mm × 8.13 mm, and at 180 grams, it is slightly lighter than the 190 gram OnePlus 7T.
The curved display contributes to the OnePlus 8’s form factor, allowing it to blend a similar-sized display (6.55 inch) into a smaller frame. And while it is early, the display itself does look a notch above what we saw on the OnePlus 7T in terms of color and brightness, although it has the same resolution (Full HD+) and that 90 Hz refresh rate. The OnePlus 8 also comes with a tiny punch hole notch in the top left corner, very different from the drop notch of the OnePlus 7T.
…but with Pro design feels
The back is smooth glass and while it looks good, it does not just attract dust and smudges – it invites them to a house party on its premises! Yes, there is a case in the box but it seems a pity to be having to use it because that plain black back looks very handsome. The triple camera set up on the back is now back to a capsule shape in the top right, after the spherical arrangement on the 7T.
It looks good enough, but it makes the phone blend in more with the routine phone crowd, unlike the 7T, which stood out because of that spherical camera unit. The right side houses the power/display button and the alert slider (a feature OnePlus deserves credit to be persisting with) while the left has the volume buttons. The base has the SIM card slot, the USB Type C port, and speaker grille, while the top is relatively plain.
All in all, in terms of looks, this one is the pro category, although we would have liked dust and water resistance. In fact, in terms of appearance, it looks a whole lot closer to the OnePlus 7T Pro than the OnePlus 7T. And that is just dandy in our book. By the way, do check that OnePlus written on the back – all caps now, baby! Interesting, and the best way to find out if this is a new OnePlus device!
That processor, that 5G and oh, those cameras
The innards are of course very well documented by now and we are not going to spend too much time on them. Suffice to say that the phone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor with RAM and storage variants of 6 GB / 128 GB (only on Amazon), 8 GB/ 128 GB and 12 GB/ 256 GB, and 5G connectivity. The big point of contention has been the camera set up – the 48-megapixel Sony IMX 586 is similar to the one in the 7T, and the 16-megapixel ultrawide sensor seems similar too, but it is the presence of a 2-megapixel macro sensor on the OnePlus 8 as compared to a 12-megapixel telephoto on the 7T that has sparked a lot of debate.
The selfie camera is now in a tinier notch and stays at 16 megapixels. For us, the most remarkable hardware enhancement has been the addition of a significantly larger 4300 mAh in that surprisingly smaller and lighter frame. Of course, this is a OnePlus – it comes with support for Warp Charge (30T). Of course, this is a OnePlus – you get a 30W charger in the box.
Worth it? Wait and see
All of which comes with a price tag of Rs 41,999 for 6 GB/ 128 GB, Rs 44,999 for 8 GB/ 128 GB and Rs 49,999 for 12 GB / 256 GB. Yes, that is a bit of step up from the OnePlus 7T, but OnePlus has always had a tendency to gently hike up prices. And thanks to that price increase, it has a lot of competition this time around (check it out here). The big issue is whether the OnePlus 8 does enough to justify that increase in terms of performance. It definitely seems to do so in terms of design.
Stay tuned for our detailed review. And comparisons.