October 28, 2020

OnePlus 8 Pro review: What the 7T Pro should have been (Update: On sale!)

The OnePlus 8 is what the OnePlus 7T Pro should have been, with fast wireless charging, an official IP rating, and more.

Update: April 29, 2020: The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro are now on sale! That means you no longer need to pre-order the devices from OnePlus.com. You can also grab one from the company’s two US carrier partners: T-Mobile and Verizon. See below for the purchase links, and check out our pricing and availability hub for more deals.


$999
.00
OnePlus 8 Pro


Buy it Now


OnePlus 8 Pro

Buy it Now



$999
.00


$799
.00
OnePlus 8


Buy it Now


OnePlus 8

Buy it Now



$799
.00


When the OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 7T Pro launched last October, I was perplexed, to say the least. OnePlus made the vanilla 7T just a little too good, adding a 90Hz display, a triple camera system, the new Warp Charge 30T charging system, and the beefy Snapdragon 855 Plus processor to the device. It gave consumers almost no reason to buy the more expensive OnePlus 7T Pro, which really only bested the 7T in two categories: screen resolution and battery capacity.

The OnePlus 7T also had a new design that made it stand apart from the retread looks of the OnePlus 7T Pro. The 7T Pro felt like an afterthought, and it just didn’t offer enough to differentiate it from the OnePlus 7 Pro or OnePlus 7T.

This year is different. Although the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro share similar designs and core specs, several features might make you pick the OnePlus 8 Pro over the standard OnePlus 8.

But one question remains. At a starting price of $899, the OnePlus 8 Pro is OnePlus’ most expensive flagship yet (if you omit its McLaren edition devices). Do the new bells and whistles of the 8 Pro justify its flagship pricing, and are the differences from the vanilla OnePlus 8 worth $200?

This is Android Authority’s OnePlus 8 Pro review.

About this OnePlus 8 Pro review: I used a OnePlus 8 Pro review unit supplied by the manufacturer over a period of thirteen days. It was running Oxygen OS version 10.5.2.IN11AA, based on Android 10. I used the device on Google Fi in the United States.

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OnePlus 8 Pro review: The OnePlus 7 Pro… Pro

OnePlus 7 Pro vs 8 Pro back

OnePlus 7 Pro (left) vs OnePlus 8 Pro (right)

  • 165.3 x 74.35 x 8.5mm
  • 199g
  • Punch-hole camera
  • IP68 water and dust resistance
  • Curved display edges
  • Physical notification switch
  • Stereo speakers

The design of the OnePlus 8 Pro is what the OnePlus 7T Pro should have been. While they share the same core design ethos, there are subtle differences that make the OnePlus 8 series feel more refined and modern than the 7T Pro. It would have been nice to see this update last October; regardless, it’s nice to see a new design.

The OnePlus 8 Pro uses a familiar soft-touch glass back and an aluminum frame and the main camera array looks almost identical to the 7 Pro. On the 8 Pro, though, you’ll find a couple of extra cameras and sensors to the left of the array. Otherwise, the body is a bit less rounded, and the camera bump is more pronounced than last year. The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro also feature the new OnePlus wordmark.

OnePlus 7 Pro vs 8 Pro front

OnePlus 7 Pro (left) vs OnePlus 8 Pro (right)

The front of the phone is where the 8 series starts to diverge from the 7T Pro. Gone is the pop-up selfie camera. This time, we’ve got a hole-punch selfie shooter, positioned in the top left of the display. The screen is less rounded and has a more narrow 19.8:9 aspect ratio. If you’ve seen the Oppo Find X2 Pro, this panel is effectively the same, albeit with some different color tuning. That’s not a bad thing, as they both look great.

OnePlus 8 Pro power and notification slider

You’ve also got stereo speakers in this device, with the earpiece in the front acting as the second speaker. On the bottom, you’ll find a USB-C port, speaker, and SIM card tray, which does not support microSD cards. On the left, you’ll find the volume rocker, and on the right, you’ll find the power button and signature OnePlus notification slider.

The stereo speakers get fairly loud and don’t sound distorted at high volumes. They tend to lack low-end punch, but that is common for smartphones.

I’m personally a fan of this design. I like narrower phones, and this iteration feels like it cleans up all the things a lot of people didn’t like about the OnePlus 7 Pro. Palm rejection still seems to be an issue here though, and I often found the phone scrolling up or down just because my finger was lightly touching the edge display while holding it.

There are subtle differences that make the OnePlus 8 series feel more refined and modern than the 7T Pro.

OnePlus has finally added IP68 water and dust resistance, long after its competitors did. You’ll pay for the upgrade, though, as the company inferred the certification added roughly a decent amount of cash per unit. The smaller OnePlus 8 has an IP68 certification, but only if you buy it through carriers. It doesn’t have one if you buy it through OnePlus itself. We reached out for comment and got this response.

The OnePlus 8 in our wireless provider channels have an IP rating due to their guidelines and preference. However, all OnePlus 8 Series phones globally are tested thoroughly for everyday water resistance even if they don’t have an official rating.

Pro really means pro specs and performance

OnePlus 8 Pro camera system macro

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 / X55 5G modem
  • 8 or 12GB LPDDR5 RAM
  • 128 or 256GB UFS 3.0 storage
  • 5G (sub-6GHz all models, mmWave some models)

The OnePlus 8 Pro is the company’s most “pro� device yet. It delivers on features and specs that can finally trade punches against the best from Samsung and others. Normally, you’re forced to compromise a bit when you buy a OnePlus device in exchange for cost. With the 8 Pro, OnePlus has flipped the script and gone all-in on features — even if it increased the price to true flagship levels.

Read more: OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro specs explained

Alongside the expected Snapdragon 865 processor, you get either 8 or 12GB of RAM and fast UFS 3.0 storage. The high-end specs in this device lead to very good performance, essentially matching the Oppo Find X2 Pro in benchmarks.

OnePlus 8 Pro Geekbench 4 score
OnePlus 8 Pro 3DMark Score

The only performance issue I noticed while using the device was jitter in multitasking. Everything else about the phone feels fluid, but switching between apps is a bit choppy. I hope this is addressed in a future update.

And of course, both the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro have 5G, thanks to the X55 modem paired with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865. The unlocked models will come with low-band and mid-band 5G support, but you’ll have to buy a special model if you want mmWave. Verizon is currently the only carrier in the US to offer mmWave, though, and it’s only selling the OnePlus 8, not the Pro. The mmWave OnePlus 8 will also cost you an additional $100 at Verizon.

The OnePlus 8 Pro is the company’s most ‘pro’ device yet.

I have low-band 5G at my apartment through Google Fi, and speeds are fine, but nothing to write home about. The point of low-band 5G is really to reduce the load on 4G networks, which should give more consistent service.

While I don’t recommend demanding 5G on your next phone, most devices running the Qualcomm 865 will feature it, since the chipset requires the X55 modem. This pricey chip combo is another factor that adds to the 8 series’ higher price tag.

A class-leading display

OnePlus 8 Pro software on screen

  • 120Hz Quad HD+
  • 6.78-in
  • 1,300nit max brightness
  • HDR10+

OnePlus bumped the refresh rate of this device from 90Hz to 120Hz. Combined with the Quad HD+ capable panel, this is one of the fastest and highest-resolution smartphone displays available. OnePlus ships this device set to Full HD+ 120Hz mode out of the box, but you have the option to push both settings to the max if you wish. That’s something the Samsung Galaxy S20 family can’t do — at least not yet.

The phone also uses an adaptive mode for 120Hz, which switches back to 60Hz when the phone is displaying something static. When in use, it switches back to 120Hz. The device has a touch sampling rate of 240Hz.

OnePlus says this is the best display on any phone it’s made, and our data supports that claim.

OnePlus 8 Pro color error chart

In particular, the color accuracy of the device’s display is top-notch. The phone ships in Vivid mode, which isn’t as accurate due to the phone boosting saturation, but switch it to Natural mode and the display’s color accuracy jumps.

There is an in-display fingerprint reader that is quite accurate and works quickly. This is a standard optical sensor. It’s thinner than the sensor in last year’s phone, but it’s not the newer Qualcomm’s ultrasonic sensor, so it won’t work quite as well if it’s wet. Phones that used the ultrasonic sensor have suffered from poor accuracy compared to optical sensors, so I can see why OnePlus made this decision.

OnePlus has also included a video interpolation setting in these devices, which can upscale video content to up to 120Hz.

Battery champ

OnePlus 8 Pro on warp charge pad 3

  • 4,510mAh battery
  • 30W wired and wireless charging-capable
  • 3W reverse wireless charging

The OnePlus 8 Pro ships with a fairly large cell, only bested by a couple of devices such as the LG V60, Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, and Asus ROG Phone II. In my testing, that battery put in work, and I got about a day and a half’s use from the device. I typically unplugged it at 10am and didn’t see it die until 6pm the next day. I did a test for a full day on WiFi and a full day on data, since being stuck inside is likely impacting my numbers. On data, the phone got slightly less battery life, dying in about 1.25 days versus 1.5 days.

This is great for a OnePlus phone, since the OnePlus 7T had fairly weak battery life. It’s nice to see a OnePlus device prioritize battery life.

For clarity, I tested the OnePlus 8 Pro in its stock configuration, which was set to 120Hz Full HD+ mode. Again, you can force 120Hz Quad HD+ mode, but I like to review phones how they come out of the box.

OnePlus includes its OnePlus 30T charger in the box, which the company says will charge the phone to 50% in 23 minutes. This is one of the fastest charging options you’ll find in the US. Phones such as the Huawei P40 Pro, Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro, and Oppo Find X2 Pro best the OnePlus at 40W, 50W, and 65W, respectively, though these phones aren’t sold in the U.S.

OnePlus 8 Pro on wireless charger from front 1
OnePlus 8 Pro on wireless charger from side

OnePlus also made the wireless charging experience on the OnePlus 8 Pro far better than almost any other device you’ll find in the West. The new Warp Charge 30 Wireless charger ($69.95) can charge the OnePlus 8 Pro t0 50% in 30 minutes, says the company. In our testing the device exceeded that, charging to 58% in 30 minutes. To do this, OnePlus had to stick a fairly large fan on the back of the charger. It is certainly audible in a quiet room if you’re listening for it, but it’s quite soft. OnePlus included a bedtime mode that will drop the wattage from the charger to allow the fan to turn off.

30W is wildly fast for wireless charging (at least in the US).

Reverse wireless charging is also available, though it is quite slow. At 3W, it’s one of the slowest options out there, and would only really be useful for charging things like true wireless Bluetooth earbuds, which Samsung, not OnePlus, currently sells. For context, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus can reverse wireless charge at 9W.

Streamlined software

OnePlus 8 Pro screen in hand 1

  • Oxygen OS 10
  • Android 10

The OnePlus 8 Pro runs Oxygen OS 10 out of the box, which is based on Android 10. The software includes minimal bloatware, but you will find Netflix pre-installed. OnePlus has its own apps for some things, like messages, gallery, and the dialer, but defaults to Google for others such as Google Podcasts, Google News, and Google Duo.

Oxygen OS supports some useful features, like a dedicated reading mode, gaming mode, and Zen Mode, which forces you to stop using your phone for a predetermined amount of time.

OnePlus didn’t add any significant new features to Oxygen OS this time around. The biggest change is Dark Mode 2.0, which forces dark mode onto more apps including eBay, PayPal, Tinder, Google Pay, and Reddit. More apps will be supported in the future.

OnePlus has a good track record when it comes to updates, and often pushes new Android versions just days after Google does. You can find our Android 10 update comparison here.

If you want to learn more about Oxygen OS, we’ve got a dedicated post on the software here.

Cameras: Optically interesting

OnePlus 8 Pro camera macro

  • Wide: 48MP Sony IMX586, 119.7-degree FOV
  • Main: 48MP Sony IMX689, OIS
  • Telephoto: 8MP, 12MP sensors, OIS
  • Color Filter camera: 5MP
  • Selfie: 16MP Sony IMX471
  • Up to 4K @ 60fps video

One of the big things separating the OnePlus 8 from the OnePlus 8 Pro is the camera system. While the smaller OnePlus 8 offers 16MP ultra-wide, older 48MP main, 2MP macro, and 16MP front-facing cameras, the OnePlus 8 Pro goes further.

The 8 Pro offers the older 48MP Sony IMX586 as the wide camera in its system, the new 48MP Sony IMX689 as its main sensor, and a 12MP telephoto sensor that outputs 8MP images. You’ll also find a Color Filter camera for a specific filter in the camera app and a 16MP selfie shooter on the front.

OnePlus 8 Pro sample medium light
OnePlus 8 Pro sample image low light

The IMX689 has only been seen in the Oppo Find X2 Pro so far and has several advantages over other sensors. It’s very large at 1/1.43-inches, making the individual pixel size quite big, and it uses every pixel as an autofocus pixel, giving it great focusing capabilities, even in low-light conditions.

OnePlus 8 Pro sample image 1x
OnePlus 8 Pro sample image 3x
OnePlus 8 Pro sample image 30x

At 1x, the OnePlus 8 Pro produces great images, with good color and dynamic range. Just like the Oppo Find X2 Pro, I found the 8 Pro is great at white balance. In low light, the main sensor also did a solid job, likely due to the large photosites on the sensor.

OnePlus 8 Pro sample image wide car
OnePlus 8 Pro sample image 1x car
OnePlus 8 Pro sample image 3x car

The wide-angle camera also performed well, though it shifted towards a slightly cooler white balance. It also seemed a bit more washed out compared to the main sensor, but it remained quite sharp.

OnePlus 8 Pro sample image wide poster
OnePlus 8 Pro sample image 1x poster
OnePlus 8 Pro sample image 3x poster
OnePlus 8 Pro sample image 10x poster
OnePlus 8 Pro sample image 30x poster

The 3x telephoto lens is where things start to get interesting. This is a 12MP sensor, but the camera always outputs 8MP images. OnePlus calls this lossless 3X zoom; however, this is different from optical zoom. OnePlus is effectively cropping the 12MP sensor to receive a 3x field of view. This leaves images zoomed past 3x looking worse than it would if you were using an optical zoom lens.

In general, images at 3x looked softer, with less contrast and sharpness than the main sensor. Photos still look decent, but zoom past 3x and the quality begins to degrade more quickly than an optical 3x system would. The phone can digitally zoom up to 30x, which introduces quite a bit of noise, much like other ultra-telephoto systems in smartphones. Regardless, it’s still useful to have if you need it.

OnePlus 8 Pro sample image selfie 3
OnePlus 8 Pro sample image selfie 4
OnePlus 8 Pro sample image selfie 2

The selfie camera on the OnePlus 8 Pro is 16MP, and it’s very good. It has great color and contrast, and dynamic range is good but doesn’t make the image look washed out. I’m a fan.

From a video perspective, OnePlus has added up to 4K at 60fps video to the 8 Pro. There is also a Cine mode, which crops your 4K 30fps or 4K 60fps video to a 21:9 aspect ratio. Super stabilization is only supported at up to 4K 30fps, but OIS still works. Front camera video is limited to 1080p at 30fps.

After testing the 4K 60fps video mode, I’m impressed. Even without software stabilization, the optical image stabilization did a fantastic job of making the video look smooth. Sharpness, detail, and dynamic range were also quite good.

OnePlus 8 camera app main menu 1
OnePlus 8 camera app filters 1
OnePlus 8 camera app video 1

The camera app OnePlus has built into its devices is a little cluttered, but shouldn’t be too difficult to navigate. You use the carousel on the bottom to switch between photo modes and have extra options at the top. If you need to access settings for any particular mode, there is a settings button on the top right of the display. It’s a bit hard to reach in my opinion, but not impossible.

Note that all the images above have been compressed to keep our website loading quickly. If you want to see the untouched, uncompressed images, you can find them in a Google Drive folder here.

The color filter question

OnePlus 8 Pro Color filter camera 1

OnePlus added a new camera to the 8 Pro called the Color Filter camera. This is a 5MP shooter that uses a special filter to allow the phone to see different spectrums of light. From my testing, I noticed that it can differentiate between materials. For example, the lens caps of my lenses are plastic while the body is metal, and the 8 Pro’s camera separated them into black and sepia components. Meanwhile, my hand is turned white.

OnePlus 8 Pro non color filter example
OnePlus 8 Pro Color filter sample 1
OnePlus 8 Pro non color filter example 2
OnePlus 8 Pro color filter example 2

From the other examples above, you can see that the plastic on the speaker turned black while the mesh turned sepia. Meanwhile, the wood on the table and floor turned white.

I’ve reached out to OnePlus for clarity on what exactly is happening here, and received this response:

Right now our three cameras have covered most of the focal lengths used by users on a daily basis, so we hope to explore more possibilities for mobile phone photography.

Inspired by the unique color tones used by professional photographers, OnePlus innovatively uses a filter lens on the fourth camera, which processes light differently to generate a surreal image with a unique color tone.

The customized filter transforms the light passing through to an unusual and unique spectrum for the sensor to collect. And the data collected is then processed to generate images that appear rather surreal.

While this feature is interesting, to say the least, it perplexes me that OnePlus would add custom hardware for a single filter, which surely increased the overall cost of the device. I’m going to try to learn more about this filter in the days after launch, so stay tuned for more information.

My colleague Robert Triggs wrote more about this filter here if you’re interested.

OnePlus 8 Pro specs

  OnePlus 8 Pro OnePlus 8
Display 6.78-inch AMOLED
3,168 x 1,440 (19.8:9)
120Hz refresh rate
In-display fingerprint sensor
3D Corning Gorilla Glass
6.55-inch AMOLED
2,400 x 1,080 (20:9)
90Hz refresh rate
In-display fingerprint sensor
3D Corning Gorilla Glass
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
RAM 8GB / 12GB LPDDR5 8GB / 12GB LPDDR4X
Storage 128GB / 256GB UFS 3.0 128GB / 256GB UFS 3.0 2-LANE
Cameras Rear:
48MP, f/1.78, 1.12µm, OIS, EIS
8MP 3x telephoto, f/2.44, 1.0µm, OIS
48MP ultrawide, f/2.2, 119.7°
5MP color filter, f/2.4

Front:
16MP, f/2.45, 1.0µm, EIS, fixed focus

Rear:
48MP, f/1.78, 0.8µm, OIS, EIS
2MP macro, f/2.4, 1.75µm
16MP ultrawide, f/2.2, 116°

Front:
16MP, f/2.0, 1.0µm, EIS, fixed focus

Battery 4,510mAh
Warp Charge 30T (5V/6A)
Warp Charge 30 Wireless
4,300mAh
Warp Charge 30T (5V/6A)
IP Rating IP68 None
Software Oxygen OS
Android 10
Oxygen OS
Android 10
Dimensions and weight 165.3 x 74.35 x 8.5mm
199g
160.2 x 72.9 x 8.0mm
180g

OnePlus 8 Pro review: Should you buy it?

OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro backs

Starting at $899, the OnePlus 8 Pro is undoubtedly one of OnePlus’ most expensive devices to date. Adding features such as the class-leading Snapdragon 865 processor with X55 modem, 30W wireless charging, official IP68 certification, and a high-quality 120Hz display only pushed the price tag upward. OnePlus needed to supercharge the OnePlus 8 Pro’s specs to differentiate it from the lower-cost OnePlus 8, and it has done just that.

Certainly, there will be users who are upset that OnePlus has shifted its mantra from “flagship killer� to “fast and smooth.� More importantly, some may miss the days when you could score a high-end OnePlus phone for half the cost of competitors.

If you compare OnePlus’ latest to the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus, which starts at $1,199, the OnePlus 8 Pro is a great deal at $300 less. Compared to the S20 Plus, you’re missing an optical telephoto lens and faster reverse wireless charging, but you’re gaining faster wired and wireless charging, different cameras, a notification switch, and some other tidbits.

The LG V60 is another device that’s surprised us this year, and has similar core specs for even less – $800. If you get it with the dual-display, it’s about the same price at $900.

If there’s no way you would consider spending $900 for the OnePlus 8 Pro or $700 for the standard model, the OnePlus 7T is still a fantastic device. That phone offers a great 90Hz OLED display, a versatile camera system and more, and is now on sale for $499. That’s a great deal.

The OnePlus 8 is available at T-Mobile, Verizon, Amazon.com, and OnePlus.com, starting at $699. Meanwhile, the OnePlus 8 Pro can be found on Amazon and OnePlus.com starting at $899. If you buy the OnePlus 8 from Verizon, it will contain bands for mmWave 5G, but it will cost $100 more, starting at $799.

Read next: Full details on the OnePlus 8 Pro’s price and availability

OnePlus 8 Pro
Killer flagship
OnePlus is all grown up. With the OnePlus 8 Pro, you get an unabashed flagship, with all the bells and whistles. Powerful specs, an amazing display, fast wireless charging, and water resistance make the OnePlus 8 Pro a great alternative to the Galaxy S20 Plus, and it’s up to $300 cheaper.

OnePlus 8
Snapdragon 865 on the cheap
The OnePlus 8 sticks to the formula that has made OnePlus so successful. It gets you the latest processing package, a versatile camera, and a beautiful display, running the smooth Oxygen OS. You miss out on wireless charging and the official IP rating, but for what it offers the OnePlus 8 is an attractive deal.


We’re still in the process of reviewing the OnePlus 8, but until then, check out the video above which covers both devices.

What do you think of the OnePlus 8 Pro? Are the upgrades worth the price shift?

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