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OnePlus 8 Review: White Collared Android Flagship Smartphone
Smartphones have evolved immensely over the last few years. While some of the brands that used to make high-end smartphones are no more in the market; some new brands have been making products with an aggressive approach.
- Curved AMOLED Screen With 90Hz Refresh Rate
- Flagship Processor With Plenty Of RAM And Storage
- Premium Build Quality
- Clean Android Experience
- No IP Rating
- No Wireless Charging
- No Telephoto/Zoom Camera
With the launch of the OnePlus 7 series, the company switched to a two flagship concept, one being the top of the line variant with top-notch features, whereas the other one will also be a flagship smartphone with a few compromises.
The same applies to the OnePlus 8 series as well. The OnePlus 8 Pro is one of the most complete flagship smartphones from the company, and the OnePlus 8 is the affordable flagship. With a starting price of Rs. 41,999, the OnePlus 8 is much affordable when compared to the Pro variant.
For the asking price, the OnePlus 8 is a full-blown flagship smartphone. I have been testing the high-end variant of the OnePlus 8 with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, which retails for Rs. 49,999 and here is the full review.
OnePlus 8 Design And Build: Premium Aesthetics And Compact Design
Though the word compact might not be applicable for most of the recently launched flagship smartphones, the OnePlus 8 is definitely something that can be considered as a compact device, when compared to the phones likes the Samsung Galaxy S20+, iPhone 11, or even the OnePlus 8 Pro.
The smartphone comes with a glass-metal sandwich design with an aluminum frame. The front and the back panel of the phone are made using the Corning Gorilla Glass with a 2.5D curved finish on both sides.
This is also the most affordable OnePlus smartphone with a 3D curved display, which makes it a great device for one-hand usage. However, the OnePlus 8 (Onyx Black) is a fingerprint magnet, and slippery too. Though I wanted to use this device without the case, I was afraid that it could slip out of my hand, and hence for the majority of the time, the phone stayed inside the soft silicone case that comes in the retail package.
The smartphone is available in Glacial Green, Interstellar Glow, and Onyx Black. If you really hate to have a phone with a lot of fingerprints, then go with the Glacial Green, whereas the Interstellar Glow is for those, who might want a phone that looks colorful and unique. Lastly, the Onyx Black is something that will suit every situation and anyone can rock this variant.
I liked the fact that OnePlus included a free soft protective case in the package. However, the quality of the case is not something that I am fond of. It is a soft lightweight case and within a week the transparent case started to pick up yellow color. If you are getting the OnePlus 8, then it is best to invest in a good protective.
As per the placement of the buttons, the device has volume buttons on the left and power button on the right along with the alert slide, which is one of my favorite features on an OnePlus smartphone. The SIM tray, USB Type-C port, and the main microphone are at the bottom.
OnePlus 8 Review: No Official IP Rating; Can Survive Accidental Spillage
Unlike the OnePlus 8 Pro, the OnePlus 8 is not IP68 certified. The device might be able to withstand an accidental coffee spill or even a drizzle. I personally have washed this phone under running tap water when it got dirty and I haven't faced any issue with the device. That doesn't mean it can survive all and it is best to keep this device as dry as possible to improve the longevity of the product.
The device weighs 180grams and offers a modern 20:9 aspect ratio with thin bezel-design, making this a slightly compact smartphone. If you are someone who wants a smartphone that is as small as possible and still has to have all the features of the flagship device, then the OnePlus 8 seems like a great product.
OnePlus 8 Display: One Of The Best Screen On A Smartphone
The OnePlus 8 has a 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and an aspect ratio of 20:9. The screen is protected by the 3D Corning Gorilla Glass and it has a tiny punch-hole on the top left corner for the selfie camera. This is an FHD+ (2400 x 1080p) resolution panel with a pixel density of 402 pixels-per-inch.
The screen on the OnePlus 8 supports sRGB and P3 color gamut and it is also HDR10+ certified. The phone can stream HDR content on Netflix and HD content on Prime Video without any issue. Similarly, it is also certified by SGS Eye Care Display, which ensures minimum blue-light emission and power consumption.
Though the 3D curves on the display might sound a bit gimmicky, they not only help the device to look premium but also helps with the gesture navigation, offering an almost bezel-less feel while playing games and watching videos in full-screen mode. This is a 90Hz display and the phone does offer an option to toggle down the refresh rate to 60Hz which results in better battery life.
Similarly, the smartphone offers 4096 brightness levels, offering more control over the screen visibility and it also helps with the battery life. The display also has an in-screen fingerprint sensor that works great and the OnePlus 8 definitely has one of the fastest and responsive in-display fingerprint sensors that I have ever used.
The smartphone offers three color calibration models and by default, it comes with Natural mode. I have been using this phone in the Vivid mode with vibrant color effect featured turned on and even you should do the same if you are a movie buff like me, who enjoys a lot of content on smartphones.
I have watched a lot of movies and web series on the OnePlus 8 on platforms like Netflix and Prime Video and I am thoroughly impressed with the overall color reproduction, contrast, and the dynamic range offered on the OnePlus 8.
The company had offered a completely bezel-less display on the OnePlus 7 Pro and the OnePlus 7T Pro and the brand should have gone with the same approach for the OnePlus 8 series as well. However, having a pop-up selfie camera does have its own complications and I didn't even notice the punch hole cut out after a few days of continuous usage.
The display gets bright enough under direct sunlight and even at night, it gets very dull, thus reducing the strain on the eyes. If you want a phone with a great display, mainly to watch videos and movies on how they are meant to be, then, get yourself the OnePlus 8.
OnePlus 8 Sound: Stereo Speaker With Dolby Atmos Support
Most of the budget flagship smartphones skimp on features like speakers, but the OnePlus 8 doesn't do that. The smartphone has a dual stereo speaker setup, where the earpiece acts as a secondary speaker to offer a true stereo sound.
The sound output of the OnePlus 8 is comparable to the iPhone 11 with respect to loudness and clarity. The speakers don't get distorted even at the higher volume levels, and one can clearly hear channel separation, depending on the source of the audio.
It also comes with a re-engineered vibration motor that is much better than the OnePlus 7. However, the overall feedback from the OnePlus 8 is nowhere near the iPhone 11, and it still has a long way to match the performance of the Taptic Engine.
For those who like to listen to music on open speakers, OnePlus 8 is an excellent smartphone. Similarly, I also tested a couple of wired and wireless earphones and I didn't notice any issue with the sound quality.
OnePlus 8 Camera: Good Sensor Choices
The OnePlus 8 has a triple camera setup at the back with a 48MP f/1.5 Sony IMX586 sensor and it also includes OIS. The smartphone also has a 16MP ultra-wide angle lens with an f/2.2 aperture and a 2MP macro lens with an f/2.4 aperture.
The smartphone can record up to 4K videos at 60fps and has a dual-LED flash to assist night light photography. For the Selfie camera, the device is using the 16MP Sony IMX471 sensor with support for 1080p video recording at 30fps and time-lapse video recording.
On paper, the camera setup on the OnePlus 8 looks good. However, when compared to its successor -- the OnePlus 7T it misses out on a telephoto lens and limits the amount of zooming capability. The 2MP macro lens feels a bit gimmicky, considering the company achieved the same on the OnePlus 7T using the primary high-resolution camera.
48MP Primary Camera Performs Well
The 48MP Sony IMX586 sensor on the OnePlus 8 has been borrowed from the OnePlus 7 Pro or the OnePlus 7T Pro. The company has optimized this sensor a lot and it takes some great shots in day-light and low-light situations.
However, in extremely low-light conditions the smartphone tends to take shots that are a bit blurry, especially if you don't have stable hands. So, it is best to take two or more photos to get the best possible picture.
If you go close to a subject, the primary camera automatically blurs the background, creating a natural-looking bokeh. The photos taken on the main camera are a bit more vibrant than they really are and I personally prefer an image colorful.
16MP Ultra-Wide Lens Is Great For Landscape Photos
Most of the smartphones tend to offer a low-resolution ultra-wide angle lens, whereas the 16MP sensor on the OnePlus 8 offers a higher resolution. The color-science of this sensor is almost similar to the primary sensor and this camera is great for taking photos of nature and landscape.
When taken in good lighting conditions, the wide-angle photos look great with impressive dynamic range and clarity. Even the fish-eye effect on the lens is a bit, offering regular looking pictures with more content in the single picture.
2MP Macro Lens Lacks Clarity And Resolution
Instead of including a low-resolution sensor, the company should have gone with a dedicated telephoto lens instead of a low-resolution macro lens. Other than being a low-resolution sensor, this specific sensor requires more light to take a usable photo.
One advantage of this sensor is that it offers a close focus range. However, do note that most of the budget smartphones that cost less than half of the OnePlus 8 offers a better macro lens with higher resolution.
16MP Selfie Camera Does Manageable Job
The OnePlus 8 has a single 16MP selfie camera with 1080p video recording capability. This sensor comes with an f/2.45 aperture and 1.0 µm pixel size. The camera offers great performance in day-light conditions and works well for attending e-meetings and online classes on platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Duo.
It does offer features like beauty mode that smoothens out the skin to offer makeup like effect and it also supports HDR for a vibrant selfie look, offering great selfies in almost every lighting condition.
OnePlus 8: Stable 4K Video Recording
Though some of the smartphones powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC supports 8K video recording, the resolution is limited to 4K on the OnePlus 8 and it is a very practical decision.
The primary camera is capable of shooting stable videos even at 4K resolution and it uses both EIS and OIS at the same time to stabilize the footage. The videos look very clear and there is also a Super Stable mode that further stabilizes the video footage.
OnePlus 8 Performance: Smooth Performance Guaranteed
The OnePlus 8 is powered by the zippy Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoC with a base clock speed of 2.84GHz. This is an octa-core processor with one prime core, three high-performance cores, and four efficient cores.
The graphics are handled by the Adreno 650 GPU, capable of driving most of the highly-demanding titles without any issue. The smartphone uses UFS 3.0 fast storage along with LPDDR4x RAM.
Do note that the OnePlus 8 Pro comes with much faster and efficient LPDDR5. However, the LPDDR4x is not that bad either and offers adequate performance. On Geekbench 5, the OnePlus 8 scores 904 points on single-core and 3316 points on multi-core CPU performance.
Coming to the graphics, the device scores 6298 points on Sling Shot Extreme based on OpenGL ES 3.1 with an average FPS of 60.30, where the CPU was clocked between 1.9GHz and 2.2GHz with a max temperature of 38-degree centigrade.
Similarly, on the Sling Shot Extreme GPU benchmark based on Vulkan, the device scores 5841 points with an average FPS of 40.70 and a peak temperature of 38 degrees centigrade. These numbers indicated that the GPU is capable of playing modern titles easily with around 60fps and even with continuous gaming, the temperature of the phone will not go over 38 degrees.
OnePlus 8 Gaming Performance: Plays Any Game That You Throw At It
The combination of CPU and the GPU capabilities makes the OnePlus 8 one of the best Android smartphones to play games, even though it is not a gaming smartphone. It could be PUBG or Fornite, the smartphone can easily play these titles with higher FPS and higher graphics quality without any issue.
It comes with Fnatic Mode which automatically gets triggered whenever a game is opened to offer the best possible gaming experience by freeing up the device resources.
I played COD: Mobile and a couple of other games such as Real Racing 3 (which is one of the few games that supports 90Hz gaming) and my overall gaming experience was very satisfactory. Besides, I also played a few casual games like Shooting Arrow and Hero Wars and the complete experience was very smooth.
If you are looking for an uncompromised Android gaming smartphone, especially around Rs. 45,000, then the OnePlus 8 is the smartphone to consider. It not only has a great processor for gaming but it also has a great color-accurate and high-resolution display.
OnePlus Software Experience: Elevated Android Experience
If one thing that is consistent throughout OnePlus' smartphone portfolio is the software experience. The OnePlus 8 is currently running on Android 10 OS with custom OxygenOS 10 skin on top and the Android 11 beta is already available for download via OnePlus Forums.
The stock Android like user-experience with a couple of additional features makes the OnePlus 8 one of the best Android smartphones in the market. Unlike most of the Android smartphones, the OnePlus 8 does not ship with bloatware and gives users the complete control on what apps they want to use.
Even if you are an Android enthusiast who likes to play god, then offers easy bootloader unlocking and there are a lot of custom ROMS, offering a ton of customization. Like any other smartphone, I did notice some stutter and the OS did freeze on me a few times in a month and it is pretty common for any smartphone, as even I have faced these issues on the iPhone 11 as well.
On top of stock Android like UI, it offers features like a built-in call recorder, a dedicated gaming mode, and the power button can also be programmed as a dedicated Google Assistant Button. Plus, the smartphone will also get at least two major Android OS upgrades keeping the device up to date.
If you are someone who likes stock Android UI and doesn't like third-party apps and unwanted notifications, then the OnePlus 8 could be the device that you might like.
OnePlus 8 Battery Life: Big Battery, Fast Charging
The OnePlus 8 comes with a 4,300 mAh battery and it is much bigger than the battery found on the OnePlus 7T. Besides, the smartphone also supports fast charging (30T Warp Charging) and it takes less than an hour to fully charge, even if you are using the phone while charging. However, there is no wireless charging support, unlike the OnePlus 8 Pro.
The OnePlus 8 was a life changer for me, as I was always used to charge my phones throughout the night, and with the OnePlus 8, I could just make a cup of coffee and the battery will be fully charged. I did not notice any heating while charging and the phone automatically adapts slow charging at night to improve battery health. The red charging cable and the power adapter are of very high quality and can last for years without any issue.
In my regular usage (heavy smartphone user), the smartphone easily offered over 6 hours of screen-on-time and the phone did last for an entire day without any issue. This is definitely an all-day battery life phone for a heavy user, whereas the battery can last for over one and a half days on a single charge without any issue.
OnePlus 8 Networking And Calling
It has been a busy year, especially with the ongoing pandemic and WFH norms. I took a dozen calls (both audio and video) every day and I haven't had a single issue with the call quality and network reception.
The smartphone does support VoWIFI, which is a good feature for those who get cellular reception. On top of that, the smartphone supports Wi-Fi 6 and 5G as well, making it a future-ready smartphone.
I make a lot of WhatsApp calls, Zoom calls, and regular audio calls over VoLTE, and even with the lowest speaker volume, I was able to hear the other party clearly and even they didn't face any sound issue from my side. Attending voice and video calls will not be an issue for the OnePlus 8 at all and it also comes with a native call recording option.
OnePlus 8 Verdict: No Gimmick Android Flagship
The OnePlus 8 has its compromises such as no IP rating, no wireless charging, and not dedicated telephoto lens. Other than these, the OnePlus 8 is as good as any flagship smartphone of 2020 with no compromise on performance, design, or build quality.
If you are considering the OnePlus 8, then pick either the base variant that costs Rs. 41,999 or the mid-range variant for Rs. 44,999. It is best to go with the base variant of the OnePlus 8 Pro over the high-end version of the OnePlus 8 with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage due to the number of improvements that 8 Pro packs, including a high-resolution, high-refresh-rate display, bigger battery, IP68 rating, and fast wireless charging.
The OnePlus 8, as suggested in the headline is a white collared smartphone with no gimmicks and it can do everything that one might expect from a flagship smartphone that costs over Rs. 40,000.