OnePlus launches the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, with more speed and 5G

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OnePlus has just announced the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, and OnePlus fans can now go on and order the new phones to get it delivered before the on-sale date.

While the most exciting model is arguably the OnePlus 8 Pro, the model that will generate the most sales for OnePlus will be the standard OnePlus 8 (a phone I’ve already reviewed), which offers a pretty big step-up from last year’s OnePlus 7 and 7T models, but without a huge price hike.

OnePlus never expects most people to upgrade every six months, or even every year, so it will be owners of the OnePlus 6 or 6T most likely to buy one of these new phones.

Of course there will be the hardcore fans, and those seeking something new having come from a different manufacturer, who will be looking at one of these new phones if wanting a top-end chipset, 5G, good battery life and amazing screens.

So let’s look at each model in turn.


OnePlus 8 Pro

The OnePlus 8 Pro is a very similar offering to my recently reviewed Oppo Find X2 Pro. There’s good reason, given both companies have the same parent company, BBK Electronics.

BBK also ‘owns’ the Realme and Vivo brands, and unsurprisingly the different companies share designs, components and software.

However, every ‘brand’ has a different target demographic, and OnePlus has made a few tweaks to set it apart from the Oppo handset, which is in turn different to, say, Realme’s X50 Pro 5G that comes with a smaller screen and a quite different camera configuration.

The key differences here are that the OnePlus 8 has a larger 4,510mAh battery (the Find X2 Pro has a 4,260mAh battery). The Oppo however has 65W SuperVOOC charging, versus 30W Dash charging on the OnePlus 8 Pro (interesting fact: VOOC and Dash are simply brand names of the same charging tech, so are interchangeable).

Top-of-the-line

The OnePlus 8 Pro comes with Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 865 SoC with X55 5G modem, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, and features UFS 3.0 storage and LPDDR5 RAM – just like the Find X2 Pro.

The Oppo has one single option of 512GB of storage, whereas the OnePlus 8 Pro has 128 or 256GB options. Oppo has 12GB of RAM, and OnePlus 8GB or 12GB depending on what storage option you choose.

The 6.78-inch curved-edge screen also appears near identical in size, both with a resolution of 1440 x 3168 pixels (513 pixels-per-inch), with HDR10+ and 120Hz refresh rate (even at the highest resolution).

In addition to the higher refresh rate, the phone screen also has a 240Hz touchscreen sampling rate, and the phone also has a graphic smoothing function that upscales existing content to 120 frames-per-second. OnePlus calls this MEMC (Motion Estimation Motion Compensation).

While the screen appears identical in the specs, the peak brightness is reported by OnePlus as 100 nits higher than the Find X2 Pro.

With a great screen must come good audio, and OnePlus has retained stereo sound with the addition of Dual Dolby Atmos. If it’s like the OnePlus 8, it should be excellent with a decent balance between the left (front-facing) speaker and the right (down-firing) speakers.

No pop-up

OnePlus ditched the motorised pop-up camera this year, both to save space and allow for a bigger battery, and also to allow the phone to gain a IP68 rating for dust and water resistance – a first for OnePlus, even if previous models have unofficially been touted as water resistant (just without any actual recommendation to feel free to get it wet, accidentally or otherwise).

This means the OnePlus 8 Pro now has a punch-hole camera instead, like the Find X2 Pro. The Oppo has a 32-megapixel sensor, while the OnePlus 8 Pro a 16-megapixel one.

Warp Charge goes Wireless
Warp Charge goes Wireless

Another first for OnePlus is 30W wireless charging (something the Oppo doesn’t have), which gets the phone from 1% to 50% in just 30 minutes.

Camera

On the camera side, like the Find X2 Pro, the new Sony IMX689 48-megapixel sensor is used for the primary camera (with an f/1.78 aperture).

Last year’s incredibly popular – and still highly-rated – IMX586 48-megapixel sensor now gets used for the ultra-wide sensor (f/2.2 and 120 degrees field-of-view), but instead of the 5x periscope zoom from the Find X2 Pro, OnePlus has gone for an 8-megapixel 3x Optical Zoom camera, which offers 30x digital zoom (while the Oppo goes up to 60x).

It’s worth noting that the IMX586 sensor is the primary camera on the standard OnePlus 8, as was the case on the OnePlus 7T and 7 before it.

The OnePlus has one additional camera too, in the form of a 5-megapixel colour filter camera designed for the Instagram and Snapchat filter generation.

Without having the Pro model to test yet, I’m unable to see how good this additional camera will be – or if it’s little more than a gimmick. I assume it must be good for it to have been incorporated, but we’ll see.

My thoughts

For the rest of the phone, things are very similar – besides subtle differences between Oxygen OS and Oppo/Realme’s ColorOS user interface.

Both are built on Android 10 and remain quite close to the native look and feel of Android.

There are a couple of features that aren’t available to Oppo users, such as the ability to combine Wi-Fi and mobile data for faster downloading, or a new Smart Charging Optimisation feature that learns over time how you use (and charge) your phone, so that it can slow down charging overnight to protect the lifespan of the battery.

You can also choose between Google Assistant or Alexa, with no need to install any extra software. OnePlus will also include a three-month 100GB subscription to Google One, Google’s cloud backup service (that also gives discounts of up to 10% on Google products purchased from Google’s own store).

Even without seeing the phone, I can be pretty sure that this will be OnePlus’ most impressive handset to date.

There has no longer been any flagship features left out, and the upgrade on the camera side should satisfy the needs for the more professional mobile photographer.

Of course this comes at a price, which is £200 more than the standard OnePlus 8. However, with a starting price of £799 it is still undercutting many rivals, including the Oppo Find X2 Pro that will set you back £1099 for its single configuration.

Given how impressed I’ve been with the Find X2 Pro, I cannot wait to get a look at the OnePlus 8 Pro and see how it compares.

OnePlus 8 Pro Pricing & Availability

The OnePlus 8 is available in two colours – Glacial Green and Onyx Black and two configurations.

  • OnePlus 8 Pro 8GB RAM/128GB storage: £799
  • OnePlus 8 Pro 12GB RAM/256GB storage: £899
  • OnePlus Warp Charge 30 Wireless charger: £69

Straight after the launch, OnePlus is opening a virtual pop-up store where early adopters can order before the official on-sale date and receive bonus goodies – and after that, you’ll be able to buy the phones from 9am, April 21st at John Lewis and Amazon.

John Lewis will include Bullets Wireless 2 headphones while stocks last.

If you’d rather sign up on a contract, the OnePlus 8 Pro will also be sold by Three.


The interstellar glow OnePlus 8 isn’t currently available in the UK

OnePlus 8

Some people might be a little disappointed that some of the new features included on the OnePlus 8 Pro haven’t made the standard 8, but this will be for a good reason:- to keep the price down, and also justify the existence of two models.

With a screen that’s only a little smaller (6.55-inches) than the Pro, it would be crazy for both phones to be functionally identical. Instead, OnePlus is trying to maintain a consistent pricing regime for OnePlus buyers who have owned models long before the first Pro came onto the scene last Spring.

The screen is more or less the same as the 7T, but now curved, but the phone has gained 5G and the flagship Snapdragon 865 chipset. It has a 90Hz refresh rate, and the same Sony IMX586 48-megapixel primary camera from the OnePlus 7 and 7T.

The battery has seen an uplift from 3,800mAh to 4,300mAh, which is probably not a particularly sexy upgrade but actually a quite significant one, not least because of the addition of 5G.

Would you realistically upgrade from the OnePlus 7 or 7T? Probably not, unless you’re a die-hard OnePlus fan, but if you were coming from an older model or wanted to try out a OnePlus phone for the first time, you can’t go far wrong.

That said, there’s perhaps an opportunity to bag the outgoing OnePlus 7T, while stocks last, for an experience that won’t be a million miles off. Just bear in mind the smaller battery and a lack of 5G.

OnePlus 8 Pricing & Availability

The OnePlus 8 is available in two colours – Glacial Green and Onyx Black and two configurations.

  • OnePlus 8 8GB RAM/128GB storage: £599
  • OnePlus 8 12GB RAM/256GB storage: £699

Straight after the launch, OnePlus is opening a virtual pop-up store where early adopters can order before the official on-sale date and receive bonus goodies – and after that, you’ll be able to buy the phones from 9am, April 21st at John Lewis and Amazon.

John Lewis will include Bullets Wireless 2 headphones while stocks last.

If you’d rather sign up on a contract, the OnePlus 8 will also be sold by Three.


OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z

Finally, OnePlus also announced a new take on the wireless earphones with the Bullets Wireless Z (with a retail price of £69). Available in a choice of colours that includes black, blue, mind and oat, the lightweight earbuds provide up to 20 hours of music playback, with ten hours available from a ten minute charge.


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