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OnePlus 8 Pro Review: As Best As Flagship Smartphone Gets In 2020
There are largely three premium smartphone manufacturers in India- Apple, Samsung and OnePlus. If you've fully adapted the iOS ecosystem, there's very little chance you will spend a fortune on a premium Android flagship handset. If you have been a long-time flagship Android user, it is highly likely that you are a Samsung Galaxy user for the sheer brand value, ease-of-use, and the good overall performance.
- Best Smartphone Display (120Hz, QHD+)
- Premium Aesthetics&Sturdy Design
- IP68 Rated For Water-Dust Protection
- Clean Software Experience
- Excellent Rear Camera
- Solid Battery Life & Connectivity
- Power-packed Performance
- Heating Issues
- Selfie Camera Could Have Been Better
- No microSD Card Slot
If not a Samsung fan, OnePlus is the go-to premium smartphone manufacturer that offers high-value handsets with best-in-class hardware and clean software user experience. Until now, OnePlus has always held itself back from delivering a true flagship device. The company's previous handsets always lacked one or two important features required to win the flagship game in the highly competitive market.
This changes with the all-new OnePlus 8 Pro. The new flagship smartphone leaves no stone unturned and is simply the most refined product from the house of OnePlus. Available in two variants (8GB/128GB- Rs. 54,999 & 12GB/256GB- Rs. 59,990), it is the company's most expensive flagship handset in the Indian market and is going on sale today.
A week's usage has given me a fair idea of the OnePlus 8 Pro's capabilities and how it fares against the competition. Should you consider it over the recently launched Xiaomi Mi 10 5G or the Samsung Galaxy S20-series? Let's find out.
Premium Aesthetics But Not An Ideal One-Hand Fit
The OnePlus 8 Pro looks quite familiar as it borrows aesthetic elements from its predecessor. The dual-curved display, narrow bezels and the matte-frosted glass back reminds me of the OnePlus 7 Pro. But at the same time, the handset feels more premium than all the OnePlus devices ever made. It is also a better-looking smartphone than the Samsung Galaxy S20+ but the latter scores better in ergonomics and one-hand usage.
At 199g and 165.3 mm tall, the OnePlus 8 Pro is not an ideal device for one-hand use. It's a big and bulky metal slab that cannot be fit in palm no matter how hard you try. I have pretty big hands and long fingers but reaching top corners of the 6.78" display is a daunting task.
Samsung Galaxy S20+ Offers Better Ergonomics With Similar Screen Size
While you can use the handset with one hand to scroll your Facebook and Instagram timeline, web-pages, dial phone numbers and other basic stuff, you have to be extremely careful while using the device to click pictures, stream videos and even for some tasks as basic as typing a text message. The Galaxy S20+ with similar screen size has better ergonomics and offers a more secure fit in hands. Overall, if you prefer devices that can easily fit in one hand, the OnePlus 8 Pro is not for you.
Moving on, the physical button layout remains the same and as expected, the buttons offer brilliant feedback. The Type-C port is placed at bottom along with speaker grille and a dual-nano SIM card slot.
Finally An Official IP68 Rated OnePlus Smartphone With Wireless Charging
I am super glad to say that OnePlus has finally given on official IP rating on its flagship device. The new OnePlus 8 Pro is IP68 certified for dust and water resistance which puts it in the same league of the Galaxy Note and S-series devices. The trade-off for better durability over the retractable camera module makes much more sense in my opinion. Another new design feature is the wireless charging support. The OnePlus 8 Pro offers support for 30W wireless charging. We couldn't test the wireless charging speeds as the supported charger is not yet available in the market.
Gorgeous Color Schemes And Subtle Design Changes
The OnePlus 8 Pro is made available in three colors- Onyx Black, Glacial Green, and Ultramarine Blue. We have got the Glacial Green color variant and it simply looks stunning. The matte-frosted glass finish and minimal design is a head-turner. It feels elegant and ultra-premium.
Overall, if looks are your priority, the OnePlus 8 Pro is the handset you should check out. You will also find that the company has made some changes in the logo. The new OnePlus 8 Pro has the brand's name embossed in bold letters. The only design aspect which seems a bit out of place is the massive camera module. It sticks out a bit too much and affects the phone's minimal and symmetrical design. Strap on a good quality case to minimize the effect.
Best Smartphone Display (QHD+, 120Hz)
The OnePlus 8 Pro sports a 6.78" QHD+ AMOLED display with the biggest difference being the fluid 120Hz refresh rate. The screen offers a resolution of 3168 x 1440 pixels which results in an impressive pixel density of 513 PPI. Everything looks crisp and vibrant on this QHD+ panel. Colors pop out well and the phone's software offers plenty of customizations in the display section to play around with. You must enable ‘Vibrant color effect pro' as it enhances the contrast and colors to make the content look more vibrant.
You will find several color profiles in the ‘Screen Calibration' section. The Natural profile is very accurate in displaying colors but you can also enable sRGB, Display P3 and AMOLED wide gamut to make colors look more vibrant and punchier. Importantly, I did not face any Black Crush issues which were reported earlier by some users. The review unit worked just fine.
Display Runs At 120Hz With QHD+ Resolution
Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S20 Series, the OnePlus 8 Pro's display can be set to run at 120Hz refresh rate with the max QHD+ resolution, which adds up to the overall user-experience. Add to it the best-in-class haptic feedback and you get a display experience that's simply unmatched by any other flagship smartphone in the market.
Enable Motion Graphics Smoothening For Surreal Video Playback Experience
The Motion graphics smoothening is another highlight feature of the OnePlus 8 Pro's display. It increases frame rates by interpolating some additional frames in the videos being played to reduce the motion blur, thus making videos appear clearer and smoother. The fluid playback effect is clearly visible while watching videos and there's no other smartphone in the market that offers this feature. It really enhances your video watching experience. The MEMC tech also works with videos shot from the phone.
Last but not the least, the OnePlus 8 Pro's screen is also compatible with HDR10+ which makes videos look brighter and punchier in supported apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Videos.
Excellent Camera Performance
The OnePlus 8 Pro flaunts a quad-lens rear camera setup. The 48MP f/1.78 primary camera uses the latest Sony IMX689 sensor and is OIS and EIS enabled. It is paired with a 48MP f/2.2 Sony IMX586 wide-angle senor. The third lens in the configuration is an 8MP OIS enabled telephoto lens using a darker f/2.4 aperture. It offers 3x optical zoom and 30x digital zoom.
There's no dedicated depth-sensor on the OnePlus 8 Pro but you get a 5MP color filter lens. The color filter was highly criticized to be able to see through some objects like plastic layers and even fabrics. OnePlus has rightfully disabled it in India but also informed that a software update will make it work again with limited functionality.
Crisp Details And Realistic Colors
Moving on, the optically stabilized main 48MP sensor captures 12MP pixel-binned shots. The output is crisp and the colors look realistic. The color tones are not excessively edited and show a neutral response. The 48MP shots give you extra detailing. You can set HDR to the auto mode by enabling the ‘Ultrashot HDR' mode in the camera settings. The HDR works quite effectively on the OnePlus 8 Pro. The camera's dynamic range is good but fails to match the likes of the Samsung Galaxy series handsets.
Good Wide-Angle Shots
The OnePlus 8 Pro serves as a good camera device for landscape photography. The 13mm-equivalent 48MP sensor captures dramatic wide-angle shots with a wide 119.7-degree field of view. Like the main camera, the 48MP captures 12MP pixel-binned shots but you can also capture high-resolution wide-angle images. Some shots displayed while balance and exposure issues but you can control the output by tweaking the exposure slider on the viewfinder.
Impressive Macro Shots
The 48MP wide-angle lens doubles up as a macro lens and does a wonderful job in taking macro shots. The images show punchy colors and good details. The output is better than some of the handsets that feature dedicated macro lenses, and especially the 2MP dedicated macro sensors that deliver barely usable shots. Xiaomi, Realme and all other brands should stop offering useless 2MP macro sensors and let a high-resolution wide-angle lens do the talking.
Good Low-Light Results
The OnePlus 8 Pro has the best low-light camera on any OnePlus handset, thanks to the new Sony sensor. The primary camera with bright f/1.78 aperture captures well-lit shots in unfavourable lighting. The details are very well preserved and there's no loss in details even when you zoom in shots to more than 60-70 per cent.
There's a dedicated Night mode that brings out more details in the images. It improves the overall scene by letting in more light and cranking sharpness levels without adding noise to the images. The overall output is clearer and brighter images with realistic color output. Unlike many other flagships, the night mode also works for the wide-angle shots.
Portrait Shots Show Pleasing Bokeh
There's no dedicated depth-sensor on the OnePlus 8 Pro but the phone still captures impressive portraits. The main camera and the telephoto lens create a pleasing overall bokeh. You can capture portraits with both the lenses which gives more perspective to shots you capture. OnePlus does not allow you to capture portraits in full-screen mode. It's annoying as all other smartphone makers give you the option to capture full-screen portraits that look visually appealing.
Lack Of 8K Recording Is Not At All A Problem
I am glad that OnePlus has focused on basics rather than offering barely usable and mostly gimmicky features. The phone skips on 8K video recording (for now as the feature can be pushed via OTA update) and settles with 4K 30/60fps and 1080p 30/60fps. You can record 4K videos with all three sensors, how cool is that.
The Ace feature here is the HDR video recording which allows you to record well-exposed videos even when the lighting is uneven. The feature comes handy while you are shooting videos with contrast heavy scenes, usually during sunrise and sunsets. The feature is limited to 30fps on both full HD and 4K resolution though. The video output is crisp and colors look vivid. The camera output is steady, and the sensors also handle exposure and contrast very well.
The OnePlus 8 Pro boasts a 16MP f/2.45 fixed focus selfie camera which only delivers good results when lighting conditions are good. The EIS-enabled front camera fails to impress in indoor lighting. The skin tones look highly processed and the overall image output simply fails to match flagship standards.
Performance- 8GB/12GB LPDDR5 RAM, UFS 3.0 Storage, SD865 SoC
The OnePlus 8 Pro is a performance champion. Powered by the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, 8GB or 12GB LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.0 storage, the smartphone feels blazing fast no matter how many applications you are running and the number of tabs you have opened in Google Chrome. We got the 8GB RAM variant and it ensured flawless multitasking and gaming performance.
I also did not face any connectivity or call quality issues on the handset. Backed by the latest Wi-Fi 6 modem and Bluetooth 5.0, the OnePlus 8 Pro ensures top-class networking performance. The in-screen fingerprint scanner is considerably faster than the ones we have tested on the Xiaomi Mi 5G and the Galaxy S20+. The same is also valid for the software-backed face-unlock.
As far as audio is concerned, the OnePlus 8 Pro features Dual Stereo speakers that produce loud and clear audio. The speakers are Dolby Atmos-enabled and produce sound with impressive clarity. You can enjoy movies and play games on the handset even if you don't have headphones handy.
The only problem I faced with the OnePlus 8 Pro was heating issues. The review unit under testing warned about phone's high-temperature readings even while testing some of the most basic camera functions like 48MP camera mode and 1080p 60fps recording. It came as a surprise because the device did not show any major heating signatures even while rendering demanding graphics during intense gameplay on a stretch. We are still trying to figure out what's causing the thermals spike with the OnePlus 8 Pro's camera usage.
90fps Fortnite Gameplay
The OnePlus 8 Pro is the first device to offer support for 90fps Fortnite gameplay. The other flagship smartphones can only run the game at 60fps max. Playing Fortnite at 90fps on the OnePlus 8 Pro's vibrant 120Hz refresh rate panel is a sheer delight. But there's a catch. The screen automatically starts running at a lower resolution if you bump the frame rate to 90fps. What this means is that while the gameplay becomes buttery smooth, the detailing in the game's textures take a hit and only come alive when you move closer to the display. Nevertheless, the smoother 90fps gameplay looks pleasing to the eyes and makes overall gaming experience quite enjoyable.
Clean Software Experience
The Oxygen OS has always been the strength of the OnePlus ecosystem and it is only getting better with time and new devices. The OnePlus 8 Pro runs Oxygen OS 10 out-of-the-box, which is based on Android 10. The custom OS is not entirely bloatware-free but it offers the right mix of OnePlus' in-house apps and Google's applications. Some useful Oxygen OS features include Parallel Apps, Apps Locker, OnePlus Switch, Zen Mode, etc.
The user interface is effectively optimized for 120Hz refresh rate panel and it's simply a delight to use. The Oxygen OS 10 is also one of the most visually appealing custom Android skin with Dark mode 2.0, support for custom icons, smoother animations and new dynamic wallpapers. Overall, the OnePlus 8 Pro offers a polished software user experience. This is as best as an Android device can get.
No microSD Card For Storage Expansion
The OnePlus 8 Pro is available in two storage variants- 128GB and 256GB with a price difference of Rs. 5,000. As there's no microSD card slot for storage expansion, we will recommend you to go for the higher variant if you think 128GB is insufficient for your usage requirements. The Xiaomi Mi 10 5G also doesn't offer support for the microSD card. It is only the Samsung Galaxy series flagship devices that support expandable storage.
Impressive Battery Life
The OnePlus 8 Pro is powered by a 4,510mAh battery cell which is backed by the Warp Charge 30T power adaptor alongside Warp Charge 30 wireless charging support. The phone's battery can easily last a day even when you are running the UI at 120Hz, provided that the screen resolution is set to full HD. There's a noticeable drop in battery life if you bump the screen resolution to max QHD+. I mostly used the device with the resolution set to full HD+ with 120Hz refresh rate and experienced all-day's battery life on one full charge with moderate to heavy usage. The bundled Warp Charge 30T refuels the battery from zero to 100% in less than 60 minutes, which is super handy.
Verdict- Better Value Than Xiaomi Mi 10 5G And Galaxy S20+
The OnePlus 8 Pro is the best flagship smartphone ever came out from the house of OnePlus. The company has successfully addressed some major pain points. The OnePlus 8 Pro is IP68 rated for water-dust protection. The camera performance has significantly improved and in some ways better than the Xiaomi Mi 10 5G as it focusses on basics by giving a more realistic image/video output. The phone also offers wireless charging support and solid connectivity.
Moreover, the OnePlus 8 Pro brings best-in-class display, premium design, solid battery life and most importantly, a clean software user experience that the Xiaomi Mi 10 5G and even the Galaxy S20+ cannot match. Overall, if you are ready to spend Rs. 55,000 on your next flagship phone, the OnePlus 8 Pro is the answer. It is as best as an Android phone can get in the year 2020.