I’ve been using OnePlus phones fairly regularly over the last five years. My trusty OnePlus 3 was once dropped off a cliff into several feet of snow, where it remained for a weekend. Upon discovering it again, which was itself a one-in-a-million shot, I took it inside, plugged it in, and it kept on truckin’ like nothing had happened. I was impressed, to say the least, and here we are five years later with the OnePlus 8 Pro, the flagship-killer that’s no longer “the next best thing”. It IS the best thing. With one of, if not the best screens on the market, a very capable camera suite, and the fastest wireless charging on the block, the OnePlus brand has finally poised itself as a direct competitor to the big dogs in the game—which is damn good considering it is now priced similarly to its contemporaries.
Let’s start with a basic breakdown of the specs, and then we’ll dive into each aspect individually. The OnePlus 8 Pro comes with a 6.78” Fluid AMOLED capacitive touchscreen with a 120Hz refresh rate and 1440 x 3168 pixels (~513 ppi density) with HDR 10+ support. For you shutterbugs out there, we’ve got quite the setup on the back of the phone (and a nicely centred camera bump) with a 48 MP Main Camera featuring a Sony IMX689 sensor, an 8MP 3X Telephoto camera with 30X Digital Zoom, a 48 MP Ultra Wide Angle camera with a 120° FOV, and a 5MP “Color Filter Camera”. There is also the 16MP selfie camera for the social media crowd.
As for memory, storage, and processing power, the OnePlus 8 Pro comes in two models: 128GB storage with 8GB LPDDR5 RAM and 256GB 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM—which OnePlus claims will boost memory speeds by 30 per cent while lowering power consumption by 20 per cent. Powering this monster is a Qualcomm SM8250 Snapdragon 865 and an Adreno 665 GPU running the surprisingly light OygenOS Android system. The X55 5G modem ensures future-proof 5G connectivity with more bands than you can shake a stick at and super-fast download speeds along with the Wi-Fi 6 technology. And finally, keeping all this crazy technology running is a 4510 mAh battery with Warp Charge 30T (5V/6A) and Warp Charge 30 Wireless charging tech.
It’s only got that in-display fingerprint sensor everybody loves and no headphone jack.
One of the first things you’ll notice when you start playing around on this phone is the absolutely gorgeous screen. Opting for a camera-hole, no-notch, no bezels wraparound screen, there is plenty of screen real estate for watching movies and playing games. The 120Hz QHD+ display, while a battery eater, is easily the most fluid, snappy screen I’ve ever used in a smartphone. Working in conjunction with the LPDDR5 RAM, and I never once had a blip or lag when swapping between multiple apps, scrolling through GIFs, images, and videos in the browser, and the 10-bit colour display made everything pop. Blacks were black and colours were vibrant. You can switch the screen to 60Hz to save battery life if you’re out and about without a charger for the day, and I was surprised at the difference. 120Hz or bust from here on out. DisplayMate even gave the OnePlus 8 Pro an A+ grade, with the handset offering an “industry-leading” 1300 nits peak brightness and “top-level color accuracy”.
The cameras are the best that OnePlus phones have ever had, and we’ve provided a handy gallery for your perusal. All those lenses crammed on the back provide a hell of a photo suite, and while it isn’t the absolute best of the best on the smartphone market, it will handle all your photography needs and more. My favourite feature, hands down (as you’ll see in the gallery) is the “Super Macro” mode, which allows for insanely close-up photos with a fantastic amount of detail. There will be a lot of photos of spiders, insects, and lizards on my Instagram this summer. Which is funny, because as you can read in our review of the OnePlus 8, our EIC Brendan Frye didn’t really care for this feature. To each their own, but I’m a big fan.
As I mentioned before, I use my phone to film a lot of snowboarding and other action sports. It’s important for me to have something slim and durable that fits in my pocket that I can whip out any time to film my buddies riding—that also plays music and lets me post to Instagram, something a GoPro doesn’t do. Unfortunately, due to the time of year and social distancing measures, I haven’t been able to test out the video recording on anything impressive yet, but the OnePlus 8 features 4K video at 30/60 fps, 1080p video at 30/60 fps, and slow-motion at 720p/480 fps and 1080p at 240 fps. I can’t wait to actually take it out and use it once I’m allowed to see my friends and play group sports again. Having said that, the ocean waves I DID film looked crisp and smooth. As far as dropping it into the snow or getting it dirty, the OnePlus 8 Pro officially (a first for the company) carries an IP rating of 68, which means pretty much bulletproof protection against dust and submersion into water of about a metre for up to half-an-hour. However, for total transparency in this review, I wasn’t willing to actually test this with a brand new phone I was reviewing.
Unfortunately, we’re still years away from nuclear powered phones with radioactive batteries that last hundreds of years (we’ll get there, mark my words), so at the end of the day (or the next day) the OnePlus 8 Pro does require charging. Now I will admit to thinking that wireless charging is a bit of gimmick or novelty, as it’s not that much more effort to simply plug your phone into a wired charger. However, the OnePlus 8 Pro does come with Warp Charge 30 Wireless charging that promises a 50 per cent charge in under half-an-hour, and in my experience, a full 100 per cent charge in just over an hour. You can also reverse the charge to provide power to another device—something I don’t have, so was not able to test. Plugging the device into the actual charging blog increases this speed quite a bit. I charged the phone from a nearly dead battery to 100 per cent in less than an hour and got to 50 per cent in around 20 minutes.
The phone itself has a truly premium feel to it, with a hefty weight in the hand, smooth styling, and a nice body. The bezel-less edges are something I know a lot of people are after, but I personally don’t see the big deal. It looks cool, but certain icons and text end up getting into that small wrap-around area and I have to adjust the phone ever so slightly to make sure I can tap them. On top of that, due to the nature of a “full-screen right to the edges”, you will occasionally end up tapping or selecting something you don’t want to, especially when playing a game or one-handing it to look at a recipe or change songs while you’re pouring wine. The lack of a notch is also something that prior to this I didn’t really see what the fuss was about, but having a nearly full, un-interrupted screen from floor to ceiling is pretty nifty. The OnePlus 8 Pro offers a few colour options, Overview, Glacial Green, Ultramarine Blue, and Onyx Black. At the end of the day, you’ll be putting your phone in a case anyway so these options, no matter what brand of phone you buy, never really matter. Having said that, the Glacial Green looks gorgeous and came with a colour-matching case. If I have one complaint, it’s that the Pro doesn’t come in the Interstellar Glow colour that the base model does—which again, is no big deal, but damn if I don’t drool when I see it.
The OnePlus 8 Pro is, clearly, the best OnePlus phone you can buy, with all the bells and whistles of the competition and a few big advantages—namely the unbelievably fluid and gorgeous 120Hz QHD+ screen and the super-fast charging. The camera is better than anybody realistically needs from a phone, and while it is a bit gimmicky I am a huge fan of the Super Macro Mode. The hefty RAM and 5G/Wi-Fi 6 connectivity means no issues with watching Ultra-HD videos and I didn’t experience any noticeable slow-down when streaming that wasn’t due to my generally crappy home WiFi. Despite the slow price creep over the years, it’s still cheaper than the competition at the very top-level of the market, and I remain continually impressed with what OnePlus offers.