OnePlus 8 Pro ditches the pop-up camera found on its predecessor in favour of a svelte in-display lens
OnePlus 8 Pro is the most expensive smartphone the six-year-old company has ever launched. With the latest models, which start from £799, OnePlus has graduated from plucky underdog to almost indistinguishable from the rival manufacturers whose prices the Shenzhen-based company used to routinely mock. So, when there is almost no price difference …is it still worth picking a smartphone from OnePlus over rivals from Samsung, Apple and Huawei?
Read our full in-depth review to find out…
OnePlus 8 Pro review: Design, Features
OnePlus was one of the first manufacturers to bring a high refresh-rate display to its handsets, so it’s no surprise to see the company up the ante this time around with a 120Hz AMOLED screen on the new OnePlus 8 Pro. That’s twice the refresh rate you’ll find on most standard smartphones – from Pixel 3 to iPhone 11 Pro – and means reading, games, and scrolling around the web feels more responsive and smoother than ever.
If you’re not a fan of big phones, there’s no point reading on.
For our money, the new Glacial Green finish is one of the best looking colourways OnePlus has ever offered fans
At 6.78-inches, OnePlus 8 Pro is a seriously hefty handset. It’s likely to peek out of even the deepest jean pockets and those with small hands aren’t even going to get anywhere close to reaching the top of the screen without a Pop Socket attached to the back. If you’ve got no qualms about thumb gymnastics, or using two hands at all times, there’s a lot to like about this stunning AMOLED display. It’s just a shame there is no option for those who don’t like the idea of carrying around a tablet-like display in their pocket.
With a maximum of 1,300-nits brightness, the display on the OnePlus 8 Pro is still easily visible in bright sunlight and the colour accuracy is astounding. Everything pops with deliciously vivid colours and cavernous blacks. It’s easily the best screen we’ve ever seen on a smartphone …although there is one massive disappointment.
OnePlus has decided to curve its staggeringly beautiful display at both edges to squeeze the mammoth screen size into the frame. At the point where the AMOLED curves, we’ve seen some truly unpleasant light and colour anomalies, which is especially noticeable when viewing block colours – like white loading pages. Towards the edge of the screen, it’s like looking at the AMOLED from a 45° angle which makes colours shift and light dim.
On top of that – as with all curved displays – you’ll also get the very occasional unintentional taps on the keyboard or clicks on the website. Frankly, we’d just rather OnePlus stuck with a flat screen design this time around.
OnePlus has decided to ditch the pop-up selfie camera, which emerged from the top of the chassis in a mechanised drawer, found on the OnePlus 7 Pro last year. That is only a good thing. It means you won’t have to wait for the camera to whirr into place before using the facial unlock system, taking a selfie, or answering a video call. And it also means OnePlus could get a IP68 rating on its new handset, which means it’ll survive 30 minutes in fresh water up to a depth of 1.5 metres (4ft11).
The quad-camera on the back of the OnePlus 8 Pro is a bit chunky and you will get some wobble when placing it on a table
Until now, the Shenzhen-based firm has always resisted seeking the industry-recognised IP rating for its smartphones, arguing that the certification process costs too much and without it, it can pass on those savings to its customers. While previous OnePlus handsets offered some water resistance, it’s completely right for OnePlus to now measure that efficiency with the same industry-standard test used to assess other handsets at the same price point. When you’re demanding people spend up to £899 on your device, asking them to trust that you’ve put in the right amount of work to keep everything water resistance wouldn’t have been good enough. It was an issue with the OnePlus 7 Pro, and it’s great to see OnePlus fixing that this time around.
OnePlus 8 Pro has dual stereo speakers powered by Dolby Atmos technology to ensure a “more immersive sound,” the company says. For our money, while the speakers sound good, they can’t hold a candle to the booming audio available from the iPhone 11 Pro.
Likewise, Apple looms large over the redesigned haptic vibration engine built into the OnePlus 8 Pro which is designed to enhance high-octane video games and interactions with taps and buzzes. It’s undeniably better than earlier OnePlus efforts, but it’s not close to the joyous clicks and taps from iOS when navigating with the latest iPhone models.
OnePlus 8 Pro is available in Onyx Black for the entry-level configuration and Glacial Green in the maxed-out model. We’ve got our hands on Glacial Green and – bar the Silk White finish that shipped with the OnePlus 6 back in May 2018 – it’s the best-looking smartphone that OnePlus has ever shipped. It’s a real beauty. Those pocketing Android rivals from the likes of Samsung, Huawei and LG should be looking over at OnePlus 8 Pro green with envy. Glacial green, if you will.
OnePlus 8 Pro review: Fast-Charging
The official IP certification isn’t the only feature found in the OnePlus 8 Pro that its manufacturer has resisted for years.
OnePlus has always maintained that it would never bring wireless charging to its handsets until users no longer had to sacrifice charging speeds for the convenience of going wire-free. As such, OnePlus 8 Pro is the first OnePlus handset to pack its Warp Charge 30 Wireless solution, which refills the 4,510mAh battery inside the flagship phone to 50% in 30 minutes – making it one of the fastest wireless charging solutions in the industry.
There is a caveat with Warp Charge 30 Wireless – you’ll need to use OnePlus’ dedicated £69.95 wireless charger (complete with built-in fans to stop it overheating while supercharging your smartphone) to see any of those benefits. Without that, you’ll be stuck with the same sluggish wireless charging speeds as every other handset. You’ll still be able to top-up your OnePlus 8 Pro using the built-in wireless chargers found in tables in cafés and restaurants, which is convenient.
Warp Charge 30T, OnePlus’ wired fast-charging solution, can also charge the battery cell to 50% in 23 minutes. That’s incredibly fast.
In fact, it’s such a quick turnaround – coupled with the fact that you can continue to use the OnePlus 8 Pro while its speedily recharging while plugged into the wall – that you’ll likely never feel the urge to cough-up for the wireless charger. Everything you need to achieve the Warp Charge 30T wired speeds comes in the box with the OnePlus 8 Pro, so it really should become the default way you top-up your phone. Also in the box is a handy plastic case, so you’ll be able to shield your shiny new smartphone from day one while you shop for the case of your dreams.
Yes, OnePlus 8 Pro is capable of some truly staggering recharge speeds – with wires and without
OnePlus 8 Pro review: Specs
As you’d expect from OnePlus, it’s brimming with the fastest silicon available for Android manufacturers. OnePlus 8 Pro is fuelled by the top-of-the-line Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset coupled with the Snapdragon X55 5G Modem-RF System to enable the multi-gigabit 5G connectivity.
OnePlus offers configurations with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM. Given that’s more than found in most laptops, you won’t be surprised to learn this smartphone absolutely flies through multi-tasking, graphics-intensive games, mammoth PDFs, and more.
It’s eye-wateringly fast and easily the best showcase of Google’s Android operating system, which is a bit of a kick in the teeth considering Google designs and builds its own Pixel-branded hardware in an effort to do just that.
At this point, Google should probably just buy OnePlus and slap a Pixel brand name on it. It makes Android 10 feel slicker and sharper than any other smartphone on the market.
OnePlus 8 Pro is also compatible with Wi-Fi 6 – the ultra-fast new standard for Wi-Fi networks. As it stands, you’re unlikely to have a Wi-Fi 6 router in your home right now, but including it means your OnePlus 8 Pro should maintain its cutting-edge speeds for years to come as you upgrade your broadband kit.
That’s a really nice touch and the sort of addition that’ll pay dividends in years to come – and OnePlus deserves praise for it.
OnePlus 8 Pro ships with a choice of 128GB or 256GB of built-in storage. Since there’s no provision for expandable memory, those hoping to walk around with 1.5TB of local storage in their pocket – like Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra can do thanks to the microSD support for extra memory – will be sorely disappointed.
At £799, OnePlus knows it has to seriously deliver on the camera. Luckily, it does just that
OnePlus 8 Pro review: Camera
OnePlus 8 Pro includes the most complete set of cameras ever shipped on a OnePlus handset. The company has included four lenses, including a 48MP custom-made Sony main sensor and a 48MP ultra-wide lens with a full 120-degree field of view. The latter was the main shooter on the OnePlus 7 Pro, which means you’ll get much better detail than other ultra wide-angle options on the market, like those found on iPhone 11 Pro.
As for the main wide-angle camera, OnePlus has really stepped up its game. The camera has always been the Achilles’ heel of OnePlus handsets, but that’s no longer the case this time around. In bright light, results from the OnePlus 8 Pro are indistinguishable – and sometimes better – than shots from iPhone 11 Pro. In tougher, fringe conditions, OnePlus starts to fall behind, but make no mistake, this is a great shooter.
The quad-camera on the OnePlus 8 Pro is capable of 3x hybrid zoom that uses AI to sharpen the image. It does a pretty good job of crisping up zoomed-in shots and will enhance your gig photography …even if you’re a dozen rows from the front.
A 30x digital zoom is also possible, but based on the examples we’ve shot – not particularly usable.
The high megapixel count allows this new multi-camera set-up to eke as much detail as possible from tough low-light conditions. That said, OnePlus hasn’t quite managed to match the truly magical low-light results you’ll get from Pixel 4 and iPhone 11 Pro. If you’re going to take a look of photos over candlelight, or in booths at the back of dingy pubs, you’ll want to opt for either of those smartphones instead.
The fourth lens on the quad set-up is a colour lens that enables a number of wacky filters for your shots. Why OnePlus decided this was the best use of an entirely separate four lens is beyond us. The results aren’t great, so avoid using it and stick with adding your zany colour effects with the Instagram editing tools like everyone else.
The OnePlus 8 Pro also sports better video shooting than previous smartphones from OnePlus. It is equipped with hybrid image stabilisation that combines optical (OIS) and electronic image stabilisation (EIS) for more stable videos. And with 3-HDR technology, OnePlus says the 8 Pro has higher dynamic range than any of its previous efforts.
Video is good, but can’t hold a candle to the latest iPhone. If you’re looking to shoot a lot of 4K quality video, you’ll still want to head to the Apple Store.
OnePlus 8 Pro review: Final Verdict
OnePlus 8 Pro keeps the tried-and-tested formula that has helped the Shenzhen-based company achieve huge success in the last six years – it’s lightning-fast, beautifully designed, and competitively priced. At £799, this is a looooong way from the almost impulse-buy price tags found on earlier OnePlus efforts but the OnePlus 8 Pro is still more affordable Samsung’s latest 5G-ready flagship, the Galaxy S20 range.
Thankfully, OnePlus appears to have recognised that more is expected of its smartphones at this price. It has dramatically increased the performance of the camera, ensured it has an official IP rating for water resistance, added support for wireless charging, future-proofed its trademark speed with Wi-Fi 6 support, and bundled 5G at no extra cost. There’s no doubt that £799 is a lot of money, but OnePlus 8 Pro is a lot of phone.
Sure, it would be nice to have a smaller screen size available and while the superfast wireless charging is a nice tech demo, it’s not something you’ll use day-to-day.
But these are fairly minor quibbles. And crucially, at a time with the top-end Galaxy S20 can set you back a monstrous £1,399 and looks spud-ugly, and the latest efforts from Huawei are mired by a lack of any Google apps, services or updates, and the Google Pixel 4 battery struggles to make it through a day with its high-refresh rate screen cranked up… OnePlus 8 Pro will now become our go-to Android recommendation.
And as much as it’s helped by its rivals dropping the ball, it is truly deserving of that title. OnePlus 8 Pro is an astounding smartphone. It looks stunning and runs rings around its rivals in terms of raw performance. OnePlus also has a solid track record when it comes to keeping handsets up-to-date with the latest software features and security patches, so you don’t need to worry about the OnePlus 8 Pro losing out on new features within 18 months.
With the OnePlus 8 Pro, the smartphone start-up has finally shed its ‘Flagship Killer’ mission by launching one of the pricey, feature-laded handsets that it used to challenge from a significantly lower price point. Thankfully, OnePlus manages to justify its price tag where it counts.