What is the OnePlus 8 Pro?
14th July, 2020 |
The OnePlus 8 Pro has been dubbed “the Samsung killer”, with the device boasting a spec that’s so good, its premium rivals are struggling to keep up. But what makes it such a game-changer in the smartphone market?
In this article, we’ll look at the OnePlus 8 Pro in detail, examining just what it is that makes it a device that’s putting the likes of Samsung and Apple “on notice”.
In the past, OnePlus has declared itself the cut-price flagship killer, but with the 8 Pro given a price tag that puts it on a level footing with the latest Apple and Samsung offerings, it seems to have shifted itself to become a direct competitor.
Building on the success of last year’s 7 Pro and 7T Pro, the 8 Pro comes with a more simplified design, with OnePlus doing away with the novel pop-up selfie camera and replacing it with something more subtle, but no less impressive.
However, it’s the device’s huge industry-leading QHD+ 6.78in screen which is the real headline-grabber, filling the entire front of the device.
OnePlus have also increased the refresh rate from 90Hz to 120Hz, putting it in line with the Samsung S20 line.
The difference between the previous standard 60Hz screens and a 120Hz screen is startling.
Everything you do on the phone is just so much smoother – it’s like when you went from standard to high definition TV; your eyes won’t settle for anything less after they’ve seen the improved picture!
Finally, before we look at each of the 8 Pro’s features in more detail, it’s important to point out that the device is the first OnePlus to come with an official IP68 water resistance rating.
This guarantees protection in water up to 1.5m deep for up to half an hour – an important feature for those who like to use their smartphone while poolside.
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Right, let’s now take each of the 8 Pro’s features one at a time…
Here’s an overview of the 8 Pro, for those that know their technology. If you’re not so au fait with the terminology, don’t worry, we’ll explain the significance of each of these features below.
Screen: 6.78in 120Hz QHD AMOLED (513ppi)
Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
RAM: 8 or 12GB of RAM
Storage: 128 or 256GB (UFS 3.0)
Operating system: OxygenOS 10.5 based on Android 10
Camera: quad rear camera 48MP, 48MP ultra-wide angle, 8MP telephoto, 5MP colour filter, 16MP front-facing camera
Connectivity: 5G, dual sim, wifi 6, NFC, Bluetooth 5.1 and GPS
Water resistance: IP86
Dimensions: 165.3 x 74.4 x 8.5 mm
Speed and battery life
The 8 Pro has a universal USB-C port in the bottom, which should make charging easier going forward.
OnePlus has also added wireless charging to its phones, so if you prefer to use a wireless charging pad (they are chicer, aren’t they?) then you can with the 8 Pro.
Did you know? In January, it was suggested that Apple could be forced to abandon its Lightning connector cable, with members of the European Parliament urging the European Commission to force tech firms to adopt a single universal charging method (USB-C).
So, it might not be long before you’ll be able to charge an Android and Apple phone using the same charger.
According to OnePlus, you shouldn’t have to charge too often though, with the 8 Pro built to last for 32 hours between charges – that means it will last from 8am on one day until 2pm the next!
The Guardian put those battery claims to the test. Here’s what their reviewer found:
“Three hours of the 32 was spent on 4G, the rest connected to Wi-Fi, with the FHD+ 120Hz screen on for well over five hours, including 50 minutes of video, plus seven hours of Spotify via Bluetooth headphones and about 20 photos. Increasing the screen’s resolution to QHD+ reduced battery life by only an hour or so.”
The reviewer also put the phone’s 5G through its paces, finding it to perform similar to a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra on EE and Vodafone.
However, he noted that the 8 Pro is limited to 4G-only when two sims are used at the same time, pending an update.
Using OnePlus’ Warp Charge 30T, you can charge the 8 Pro to 50% in half an hour, while a full charge will take around 80 minutes.
With optimised charging, which is new for 2020, charging to 100% overnight will be measured until just before you typically need it, as a way of preserving the battery.
Meanwhile, to enable OnePlus’s proprietary Warp Charge 30 Wireless charging, you’ll require a special charger with a cooling fan – but with a peak of 30W, which is significantly faster than the 5 to 15W offerings from rivals, it’s worth the investment.
The 8 Pro can also wirelessly charge other Qi-enabled devices from its back.
When you invest in a new smartphone, you want some assurance that it’s built to last and you’re not going to have to spend lots of money on it over the years to keep it functional.
According to OnePlus, the 8 Pro battery is good for 800 full-charge cycles till 80% capacity – a significant improvement on the standard 500.
Meanwhile, the optimised charging system means there isn’t an unnecessary strain placed on the battery, so in theory, it should last longer.
Battery longevity is aided by the optimised charging system.
However, should you need to replace the battery at any point, it’s relatively easy to do so – in fact, most things on the 8 Pro can be repaired in the UK.
If you want to trade in your old phone for the new 8 Pro, OnePlus has a trade-in programme for both its own phones and models from rivals.
Like the OnePlus 8, the 8 Pro runs on OxygenOS 10.5, based on Android 10.
You’ll notice that Google’s Discover feed now appears on the home screen, while there are a few other neat touches including the ability to choose which icons show in the status bar, full theme support and you can jazz up the animations, such as that around the fingerprint scanner.
OxygenOS is now widely regarded as the best version of Android you can get on a phone, with a better balance of features, aesthetics and speed than its predecessors.
It’s worth noting that OnePlus only offers software support for three years from release, which includes two years of Android version updates and then a further year of security updates on a bimonthly schedule.
In comparison, Samsung offers four years of support for its S20 devices and Apple offers five for its iPhones – something to bear in mind when weighing up your choices.
It’s fair to say that a smartphone can live and die by its camera offering.
OnePlus’ quad-camera, on the rear of the device, combines a 48MP main camera, a 48MP ultrawide camera, an 8MP telephoto camera and a 5MP colour filter camera. Not too shabby, then.
As you might expect from a 48MP camera, the main lens makes for some superb, highly detailed and well-exposed shots.
The auto-HDR mode more than ably handles high-contrast scenes, while low-light performance is a step on from that of the 7T Pro and 8 without needing the dedicated Nightscape mode.
It shoots 12MP images by default, with a 48MP mode available, but that requires a steady hand.
The 48MP ultra wide-angle camera is also a great addition, producing some great images in bright light in 12MP mode.
The Guardian reviewer was less impressed with it in middling light, but found that Nightscape mode really helped in dark light.
The 8MP camera is a solid option, too, offering an impressive 3x hybrid zoom and a further digital zoom up to 30x which puts it on a par with rival phones other than those with telescopic optical zoom lenses, such as the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra.
Finally, the 5MP photochrom colour filter camera, which can be enabled in the app under the colour filters button, is a little gimmicky, but there’s some fun to be had with the “artistic lighting effects and filters”.
For those smartphone users who get fed up at their device not recognising their fingerprint, the 8 Pro boasts a fast and accurate under-screen optical fingerprint reader which is more forgiving than rival technology.
Much easier when trying to unlock your phone led down in bed, for instance.
If you’re wanting to blast out the odd song from Spotify, you’ll be pleased to hear that the stereo speakers are pretty impressive – just don’t expect anything to rival a Bluetooth speaker!
Finally, for those prone to dropping their smartphone, a pre-applied screen protector and clear-plastic case are included in the box.
But it’s still a good idea to invest in a grip-friendly case and, of course, take out some mobile phone insurance in case anything unexpected happens to your new device.
If you like what you hear, you’ll be wondering how much the 8 Pro is likely to set you back.
Well, the OnePlus 8 Pro costs £799 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in black or £899 with 12GB and 256GB in glacial green in the UK. Other colours are available in other regions.
For comparison, the OnePlus 8 costs £599, the OnePlus 7T Pro costs £699, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra costs £1,199 and the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max costs £1,149.
Hopefully that gives you a good handle on what the OnePlus 8 Pro is all about.
It’s fair to say that it’s a smartphone that can compete with the ‘big boys’ in the market, having filled its cost-cutting gaps with features that really make their mark.
The 8 Pro has a fantastic screen that can truly claim to be the best on the market, a design that means the device proves easy to handle despite its size, and it can be charged wirelessly.
What more could you want from a smartphone?
What’s more, OnePlus has significantly improved its camera – traditionally a bit of a weakness for the manufacturer – with five lenses which all offer something different.
The photos produced put it on a par with some of the most expensive super-camera phones on the market.
On top of all that, the 8 Pro comes with some incredibly slick software, serious speed and long battery life (a good job as you might struggle to put it down).
It’s little wonder that the likes of Samsung, Apple and co are left looking over their shoulder, hoping that their more established names will keep OnePlus at bay. It’s a strategy that might not work for much longer.
The only things you could throw at OnePlus is that it only offers three years of software support where Apple offers five. Also, for those with small pockets, the 8 Pro might be a bit of squeeze.
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We depend on our phones for everything these days – not just for making calls but for taking pictures, navigating to a new place and even waking us up in the morning!
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