review

OnePlus 8 Pro Review: Big Time for OnePlus!

A premium segment player now

by: - Last updated on: September 4th, 2020

I’ll be a big noise
With all the big boys
Big time
I’m on my way
I’m making it
Big time
I’ve got to make it show yeah
Big time
So much larger than life…

– Peter Gabriel, Big Noise

The OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7T pro had signaled OnePlus’ determination to get into the premium smartphone segment last year, The OnePlus 8 Pro pretty much cements it. At Rs 54,999, it is the most expensive “normal” edition of a OnePlus, and of course, with big prices, comes a big responsibility to perform, and that too, against some of the biggest names in the market. How well does the OnePlus 8 Pro shape up there?

oneplus 8 pro review

Big in size

Well, the OnePlus 8 Pro certainly scores in the design department. In fact, the phone not only carries forward the very classy glass finish that we saw in the 7 Pro and 7T Pro but also adds a few new colors to it. We got the Glacial Green variant and well, it is one of those devices that will attract attention because of that shade on that slighted frosted glass-like finish (Gorilla Glass 3D), although the capsule-shaped camera unit does jut out rather prominently. Speaking of the finish, the 8 Pro is very stylish in that department with no rough edges.

A rather interesting design touch is the presence of a slight depression on the top of the phone, which gives it a very unique touch. Of course, the front is all about the over-the-edges curved Fluid AMOLED display with a punch hole in the top left corner. The right-hand side has the display button and notification slider, while the left has the volume rocker. The base houses a speaker, the USB Type C port and the SIM tray. That base sounds a little crowded but is actually divided into three sections using what seems like antenna bands – it looks very stylish, as indeed does the entire phone.

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That said, there’s no denying that the phone itself is a hefty one. At 165.3 mm in height, it is definitely not meant for being used effortlessly with a single hand. Its 199-gram weight, however, does not feel as heavy as it sounds, perhaps because it is distributed over a wider area. And praise the lord, we finally have an official IP rating on a OnePlus phone – the OnePlus 8 Pro comes with an IP68 rating, which means it can not just bear the odd splash but even a not too deep dip in the water.

All in all, it certainly has got premium written all over it. Indeed, we would say that the OnePlus 8 Pro is one of the better-looking phones out there, not least because Samsung has seemingly got into uniform style mode for most of its flagships (which is another story and we are working on it!). And as Samsung itself has seemingly moved away from curved displays, the OnePlus 8 Pro does not look like as Samsung-y as its predecessors did!

Big in hardware

And of course, this being a high-end OnePlus, the hardware is right up there with the best. The display is a large 6.78-inch fluid AMOLED one with a quad HD+ (3168 x 1440) resolution and comes with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, and that refresh rate works on that resolution, unlike in the Samsung S20 series, where you needed to get down to full HD to get that refresh rate. Powering the device is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor, with 8 GB and 12 GB RAM variants (storage of 128 GB and 256 GB, respectively).

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There are four cameras on the back, including a 48-megapixel Sony IMX 689 main sensor with an f/1.67 aperture and OIS, another 48-megapixel ultra-wide sensor, an 8-megapixel telephoto sensor (again with OIS), and the very controversial 5-megapixel Color filter which can have X-ray powers (and has been disabled in our unit, although we hear it has been enabled again following an update). The notch in front houses a 16-megapixel selfie snapper, which seems to be the OnePlus selfie standard now.

There is a big 4510 mAh battery with support for not just 30W Warp Charge 30T, but also wireless charging at 30W (Warp Charge 30 Wireless), as well as reverse changing – another box ticked off by OnePlus. Top that off with stereo speakers, 5G connectivity, and OnePlus’ uncluttered Oxygen OS running on top of Android 10 and the OnePlus 8 Pro seems as well stacked in hardware terms as any Android flagship out there.

Big in performance… but missing the big picture, literally!

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With all that hardware inside, it is hardly surprising that the OnePlus 8 Pro turns in a great performance. That display is an excellent one, although it does not make colors pop like the ones on Samsung’s flagships or the Xiaomi Mi 10. It is terrific for watching videos and playing games, though, with the very good dual speakers adding to the whole multimedia experience. Of course, with that processor and RAM, you can be assured of running anything from PUBG to Call of Duty without any problems whatsoever.

Does the 120 Hz refresh rate make a massive difference? Well, we have heard colleagues say it does, but we are still not sure just how much in terms of general usage, although it does seem to scroll very briskly indeed (social network scrollers will just love it). Speaking for ourselves, we struggled to see a very clear difference between 60 Hz and 90 Hz and the difference between 90 Hz and 120 Hz is not that clear either unless you are in scrolling mode. A small point to note is that the display resolution is set by default to full HD+, rather than Quad HD+ – do tweak it if you want the full display experience. Honestly, even without that refresh rate hype, this is a very good display and we can see some folks preferring it even over the ones on Samsung’s flagships because the colors seem more realistic and not too dazzle-y.

Which brings us to the cameras, which have always been a slightly iffy factor in OnePlus history. And that does not change here as well. As in the case of the previous Pro devices, the cameras in the OnePlus 8 Pro are the best we have seen on a OnePlus device. But they are still just a step below the likes of the Galaxy S20 Ultra, the Pixel 4, and the iPhone 11 Pro. The 48-megapixel main sensor is fantastic in daylight, delivering very pleasant if slightly saturated shots, and well, its depth of field made us wonder if we even needed to use the slightly inconsistent portrait mode. Beyond that, however, things get a little inconsistent.

Telephoto performance is decent but not exceptional with details getting blurred and the ultrawide is fantastic in detail but for some reason tends to lose some colors. Video quality is very good, but not a huge step forward from the 7T Pro – the sound is something that still needs work. There are filters in the interface (the video crowd will love them) and there is also face recognition for pets (dogs and cats). All in all, these are very good cameras, but just a step away from greatness. As always, we have a feeling that we are going to get the best out of these cameras after a few software updates.

[Click here for full resolution pictures]

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Battery life really depends on the resolution you are running that display at. Keep it at full HD+ and you will get through a day easily. Get into the quad HD+ zone, however, and you will struggle. That said, with Warp Charge (wired and wireless) letting you get up to 50 percent charge in about half an hour, we would recommend running the phone at QHD+! Oxygen OS for its part runs very smoothly right through. Some might find it a little too plain for their liking when compared to the jazzed up interfaces from the likes of Xiaomi, Samsung, Oppo and Vivo, but the absence of ads and OnePlus’ very good update record make it the closest thing one can get to stock Android.

Worth Settling For?

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So, should you be investing in the OnePlus 8 Pro? At its starting price of Rs 54,999, it might be the most expensive “normal” OnePlus 8 yet, but it is still significantly more affordable than the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S20 and the iPhone 11, both of which are in the vicinity of the Rs 65,000 mark. Yes, it does face some very serious competition from the Xiaomi Mi 10, which starts at Rs 49,999 (read our review here), but it definitely brings some very serious premium feels at a price that, while high, is well below those of other established premium players. What’s more, it now matches or comes very close to devices that cost much more, in terms of hardware, design, and overall experience. This is why whenever someone thinks of investing about Rs 60,000 or more, the shadow of the OnePlus 8 Pro will loom over any discussion that will follow.

If the OnePlus 7 Pro and 7T Pro had seen OnePlus trying to make a place for itself in the premium smartphone segment, the OnePlus 8 Pro proves that it belongs there. To paraphrase Peter Gabriel one more time: It’s on its way, and it’s making it.

Pros
  • Eye catching design
  • Very good display
  • Fast charging (wired and wireless)
  • Very good main camera sensor
Cons
  • Large in size
  • Inconsistent cameras
  • Battery life is a little iffy at quad HD+
Review Overview
Build & Design
Performance
Camera
Software
Price
SUMMARY

If the OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7T Pro showed that OnePlus could hold its own in the premium segment, the OnePlus 8 proves that the brand belongs there. It is not perfect, but it will make every person considering investing in an expensive phone feel like... Never Settling for other options!

3.8

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  1. Big in price too and probably too overpriced. I think it breaks the banks and is not reasonable at such a high cost.

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