OnePlus just launched two new phones the OnePlus 8 for their traditional lineup and continuing the new Pro line up they started last year: the OnePlus 8 Pro.
OnePlus sent me the OnePlus 8 Pro to borrow for a review and I’ve been using it long enough that I think I can do a complete walkthrough on it for you guys.
If you aren’t familiar, a complete walkthrough on this channel is where I go through every single feature I possibly can on a new device so you guys are better prepared should you be in the market to actually go buy one.
With that said, there is a lot to go through so let’s get started with the hardware.
Firstly, we have an AMOLED 6.78” 3168×1440 resolution, a 19.8:9 aspect ratio, and a very curved display. By default the screen resolution is set to 2376×1080 to conserve power but you can change it in the settings.
We have a 120hz refresh rate which makes the device feel smoother. You can change this from 120hz to 60hz if you want in the display settings but if you select 120hz it’ll actually switch between the two automatically based on what you’re doing on the screen at the time so hopefully, that’ll save some battery life.
There’s a setting here to also boost less than 120hz content up to 120hz to make it smoother that you can turn on called MEMC (Motion Estimation/Motion Compensation).
It only will work in apps that support it though and on this device it shows the photo gallery, YouTube and Netflix as the only ones so far. Honestly, I’d probably only want this on if watching sports or some sort of action as increasing this on movies, for example, ends up producing what’s known as the soap opera effect where things just seem too real because of the smoothness. But up to you.
That screen also supports HDR10+ and actually has HDR Boost built-in to try and upgrade SDR content you watch to higher dynamic range with increasing the contrast and colors. It’s off by default but you can turn it on in the display settings.
The screen also has a built-in blue light filter that reduces the blue light coming from the panel underneath by about 40%. It’s similar tech you find in some glasses manufacturers that do this without actually changing the visible color coming from the display so it’s just a nice thing to always have regardless as it’s supposed to reduce strain on your eyes.
Inside that screen, we have a 16MP f2.45 aperture Sony IMX471 sensor with 1-micron sized pixels that aren’t binned and so when you take a photo 16MP is what you get (when using the full sensor’s 4:3 aspect ratio).
The phone itself comes in three colors: Onyx Black, Glacial Green, and Ultramarine Blue which is what I have here and if you know me you know it’s this or the green for me. Bright tech colors all day please.
The device is made out of Gorilla Glass 6 on the front and 5 on the back and the device is IP68-rated so it can be submerged underwater for up to 30 mins at a depth of 1.5 meters.
Moving around the device, we have our volume rocker on the left.
Nothing on the top.
Our power button and very OnePlus notification slider above that can be set in three positions: ring, vibrate and silent. It’s also much more sturdy this time compared to the OnePlus 7 Pro thankfully so there will be less accidentally switching profiles like occasionally happened with that phone.
On the bottom, we have our Dual SIM card tray, one of our two speakers that are Dolby Atmos optimized capable (the other is the earpiece), and our USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C port. That port is also capable of 30W fast charging of the 4510mah battery inside using the included Warp Charge 30T charger that can supposedly give you 50% in 23-mins. But, as usual, let’s do an albeit unscientific test and see how much charge we get.
Also, we have something else that OnePlus users have been asking for, including myself, for forever: wireless charging. Now, not too long ago, when pressed about why they weren’t including wireless charging, Pete Lau the CEO of OnePlus basically said they didn’t think it was fast enough to include and wanted it to be on par with the wired charging speeds. Well, now it is.
The device is capable of 30W wireless charging. It does however require a special fast wireless charger from OnePlus though that costs an additional $70, but it will also charge at the standard 5W if you put it on any other wireless charger regardless which is nice.
And a slick addition regardless of how you charge it is the fact that it can use Google Assistants ambient mode to basically convert it into a Google Home while it’s charging.
Something interesting about that fast charger, by the way, is this little slit here that actually blows air using a fan on the back of the device. This is apparently OnePlus’ way of keeping the device cool at those higher wattages. On the phone, you can actually set it to turn this fan off or even automatically turn it off during certain hours (like bedtime) but you’ll slower charge speeds. Personally, the fan isn’t loud at all to me and I ended up keeping it on as a sort of white noise while sleeping.
Really quick though, let’s also test that charger to see how fast it works.
We have reverse wireless charging to charge other Qi-enabled devices on the back of the phone which I’m glad to see becoming more of a standard on flagships personally.
And finally, let’s see how fast it discharges doing an albeit unscientific test of streaming a 1080P youtube video for 10 mins and see what we lose.
Under the hood we have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor paired with either 8GBs or 12GBs of LPDDR5 RAM and either 128GB or 256GBs of UFS 3.0 storage.
For security, we have a optical in-display fingerprint scanner that is pretty responsive and we have the option to use facial recognition from the front camera, as well.
For connectivity, we have WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC for Google Pay, and sub-6 5G built-in on all models. There is also a Verizon specific model though that will have both Sub-6 and mmWave built in though.
Moving around the back, we have what OnePlus calls a Quad Camera system, and while that’s technically right, one of those “cameras” is a color filter sensor. Instead of being able to take photos with it, it actually grabs color data while taking photos and can allow you to alter the colors easier in real-time (and maybe it somehow helps when you’re taking normal photos but there is no mention of it that I’ve found). The only manifestation of this that I can find on the device seems to be these filters you can cycle through when taking a photo (and it you’ll notice the camera view jumps to where you’d imagine the color sensor is taking the photo from itself when you switch the photochromic–the last one).
As for the other cameras you’ll actually use, the first is our main 48MP f1.7 aperture optically stabilized camera which is the second phone now that I can think of to use the new Sony IMX689 sensor (the first being the Oppo Find X2 I did a video on earlier and it’s the same situation here since Oppo and OnePlus are related companies–more on that in another video though maybe).
As such, it also by default bins the pixels to get lower resolution but much better low-light sensitivity. It takes collections of four of the 1.12-micron sized pixels it has and combines them to get a 12MP 2.24 micron-sized image.
That sensor is also 1/1.43″ in size and so this combined with those large pixels in binned mode means much better low-light images, but also means you can get a lot more bokeh (the blurred separation between a subject and the background) without using the software-enabled live focus mode.
For those keeping score, by the way, that sensor and pixel size are very similar to the new S20 Ultra (just slightly smaller) but considering the original pixels being binned are larger than the 108MP .8 micron ones (being binned in sets of 9 instead of four on the Ultra), I’m very curious to see how it holds up against the Ultra and I’ll be posting photo comparisons of these and other phones on my Twitter/Facebook/Instagram so follow me there @theunlockr for that.
The main camera also sports dual native ISO meaning that it is optimized to shoot at a specific “high ISO” and a “low ISO” (which is something my cinema camera I’m shooting this with has as a feature frankly). This allows the camera to choose the lower native ISO when things are brighter but then switch to the higher native one when things get dark to reduce noise in the image.
Another thing that’s interesting about this sensor is that it supports all pixel PDAF (instead of the more traditional Dual-Pixel AF). The general idea here is that the sensor can use 100% of the pixels to detect focus as well as has some changes to the sensor’s micro-lens layout and without going too far down the rabbit hole here, that means it can detect edges better and focus faster as well as focus better in low light.
Now, in addition to the main sensor, we have a 48MP ultra-wide camera that has a 120-degree field of view and an f2.2 aperture. The interesting thing about this camera is the fact that OnePlus (again like Oppo) put a Sony IMX586 in here which is basically the flagship sensor most phones launched with last year as their main sensor (including the OnePlus 7 Pro). It’s a 1/2 inch sensor with 0.8 micron-sized pixels so it’s nice to see them put in an already proven sensor as their ultra-wide–hopefully, that should mean it’ll mean switching to the ultra-wide won’t mean a much worse quality image.
And finally, we have an 8MP telephoto camera with an f2.44 aperture with 1-micron-sized pixels. Apparently it is a 3x optical zoom and can do a digital zoom up to 30x which, as usual with these phones, looks like an oil painting.
For video, it can record in up 4K up to 60fps but also has Cine modes as OnePlus calls them for 4K/30 and 4K/60 and this essentially just changes the aspect ratio of the video from 16:9 to a more cinematic looking 21:9.
You can also select to shoot in HDR to boost the colors and contrast but it’s limited to 4K 30fps or 1080P 30fps. Also, while both optically and electronically stabilized already, you can tap the Super Stable to further stabilize the video but again only at 1080P 30fps or 4K 30fps.
For those wondering, the front camera can record in up to 1080P at 30fps and here is what that looks like and the built-in microphones sound like.
OK, let’s quickly dive into the various other camera modes that OnePlus has included.
- Portrait: Uses software to blur the background behind a subject to create a faster aperture look from a mirrorless/DSLR camera.
- Slo-Mo: Records in either 720p at 480fps or 1080p at 240fps and plays the video back in slow-motion.
- Pro: Allows you to control camera settings manually like ISO, Shutter Speed, etc.
- Pano: Standard panoramic mode to let you start taking an image and pan the camera to have it stitch multiple images together to capture a wider, panoramic shot.
- Time-Lapse: You can record a video and it’ll automatically play it back sped up.
- Nightscape: Uses AI and multiple shots of various exposure levels (including long exposure shots) to create a much better lowlight image (check out my Decodr episode on Night Mode and how it actually works here).
Moving on to software, the OnePlus 8 Pro is running Android 10 with OnePlus’ OxygenOS 10 on top. Because of this, it’ll have very similar functions to any OnePlus Android device but for anyone not familiar with it, let’s just touch on a few of the more standout features that OnePlus has added.
- Optimized: Firstly, you can tell they optimized the crap out of it. OnePlus has sort of always been known for having a very stock-like Android experience but even sitting it next to a device with what we now considering stock, I suppose, the Pixel 4 XL, it still seems to run smoother and faster (and even with 120fps turned off by the way). Both of those things have always made it one of my favorite manufacturer UIs.
- Google News on Home Screen: Can I also say that I love that when you swipe to the left on the home screen you get Google News instead of a copy of this that the OEMs usually put here.
- Horizon Light: Similar to other manufacturers with curved displays, OnePlus added what they call the Horizon Light. It’s basically a notification light that will show when you get any incoming notifications but it’s a nice touch for when the phone is laying on a table.
- GameSpace: OnePlus also added a Game Space mode that organizes all of your games in one place and lets you control things like blocking notifications, optimizing the performance of the chipset or network, etc. while using a game.
- Quick Launch: We have a Quick Launch feature which is kind of interesting. This allows you to set up shortcuts to do specific actions in an app or just launch an app itself when you continue to keep your finger down on the fingerprint sensor when unlocking the phone.
- Parallel Apps: This gives you the ability to clone any messaging apps to let you have more than one account on the device for that app (i.e. two WhatsApp, Telegram, Messenger accounts, etc.)
- App Locker: Let’s you encrypt specific apps and not allow you to open them without your lock screen pin or fingerprint (if you want to learn more about what encryption is you can check out my Decodr episode on it here).
The OnePlus 8 Pro is available on April 29th and I’ve left a link below for the cheapest price I could find on them all for anyone interested.
Plenty of people have pointed out that OnePlus seems to slowly be increasing their prices with every launch. And it seems that trend hasn’t changed. The OnePlus 7 Pro was $669 when it launched while the OnePlus 8 Pro is now $899 for the 8/128GB configuration and $999 for the 12/256GB models (the Ultramarine Blue only comes in a 12/256GB).
It’s still under $999 and a decent amount under any of the other flagships with similar specs if that’s any consolation. Let me know what you guys think of the price hikes by the flagship killer maker turned killer flagship maker maybe in the comments below.
Thanks for reading.