There are rumours that OnePlus 8T Pro won't be coming this year and going by the looks of it, it might not be such a bad thing. OnePlus 8 Pro is good enough to wear the flagship crown throughout 2020. For fans, it's always more the merrier, but do consumers really need to sit on the fence while deciding to buy a premium flagship and choosing between almost identical devices. If you have your eyes on the OnePlus 8 Pro and still looking for reasons to seal the deal, this review might just come in handy.
We have been using the OnePlus 8 Pro as a primary device since its launch in June and it looks like there's more to the phone than meets the eye. OnePlus has had one hell of a ride since 2014 and it might seem like an overnight success to many, but that journey has been anything but that, especially in India. To finally come out with a device as refined as OnePlus 8 Pro, the company's R&D and all those big minds behind the curtains surely went the extra mile to meet and even try to exceed the expectations of consumers. From being criticised for their cameras to finally closing those loopholes, and to stepping in the right direction when it comes to new tech, OnePlus has done it all. End result: OnePlus 8 Pro.
By now, you're pretty much aware of what the OnePlus 8 Pro offers in terms of specs and features. Here's a quick rundown:
- Display: 6.78-inch Fluid AMOLED 2K, 120Hz, Gorilla Glass 5
- Camera: 48MP (PDAF, OIS, f/1.8) + 8MP (PDAF, OIS, f/2.4) + 48MP (PDAF, 116-degree, f/2.2) + 5MP (colour filter, f/2.4)
- Selfie: 16MP f/2.5 (wide) punch-hole
- CPU: Snapdragon 865
- RAM: 8GB/12GB
- ROM: 128GB/256GB (fixed)
- OS: Android 10 based OxygenOS 10 (now upgraded to Oxygen11)
- Battery: 4,510mAh with 30W (wired+wireless) fast charging
- Security: UD fingerprint scanner, face unlock
- Durability: IP68 dust and water-resistant
OnePlus 8 Pro comes in Glacial Green, Onyx Black, Ultramarine Blue. It's priced at Rs 54,999 for 8GB+128GB configuration, and the 12GB+256GB model costs Rs 59,999. The high-end variant is not available right now, but you won't be missing out on much with the 8GB variant too.
OnePlus 8 Pro: Where experience is priority
OnePlus 8 Pro reviews are plenty - all talking about how each aspect of the phone contributes to its worth. But it takes a while to conclude on the overall experience, which in the end matters the most. When a phone is designed to deliver an unmatched experience, dissecting the phone's specs - camera, chip, battery, display alike - would all fall in place. And after having used the OnePlus 8 Pro for such an extended period of time, it feels OnePlus has made it all about the experience - something we only felt Apple did in its products all this while.
For the past months, OnePlus 8 Pro was the companion in all the daily tasks - a lot of gaming and lot of streaming, social media browsing, video calls and IM messages remained pretty much constant - all thanks to the lockdown. Little did we find the time to step out, and when we did, the camera would automatically be the favourite app. You'll see.
Since the work hours got all mixed up, extended hours became the norm and the OnePlus 8 Pro was the bearer of all tasks - boss's emails and messages, calls to get statements for stories, Hangouts meetings, WhatsApp buzzing almost all the time with workgroups and then family groups of course, guiding the hunger saviours (Swiggy heroes) to the residence despite marking the location, PUBG Mobile sessions (till it got banned because nation first), freewheeling Ludo and Carrom sessions, catching up on classic shows and movies since nothing new is left to watch, and much more. These were just a few tasks on top of the head. But let's assume, an average user would do all this, sometimes less or more.
With all this, OnePlus 8 Pro came out stronger on the other end and we couldn't be more impressed. The design, the handiness of the phone, the weight distribution - all made sense, especially when binge-watching shows with one eye closed ready to be dozed off. The display was just right and not just for those Amazon Prime and Netflix shows, but also to eliminate that level 3-armoured opponent in a gillie suit making his way to the safe zone. Quite frankly, that 120Hz display and then the 90fps in PUBG Mobile gave quite an advantage. No wonder, the KD was higher than before and those chicken dinners gave sleepless nights. In all honesty, OnePlus 8 Pro's 120Hz display has spoilt us for life. There's no going back to 90Hz, never to 60Hz, without having to feel a massive stutter in smoothness.
Since we had the phone from the beginning days and the Glacial Green is a shade that catches attention easily, we had more queries about the phone than usual. OnePlus is a prominent brand and a household name in India. That frosted look on the back is classy and surprisingly not much of a fingerprint magnet. We felt adventurous to use the phone without its back cover for a month and that felt good. If you have butterfingers, we'd say don't risk it. Seriously don't. The silicone case in the box is way cooler to flaunt. But it's the tall form-factor of the device that raised issues. Single hand use is out of the picture if you're trying to reach the top corners even with reasonably big hands. We were forced to get used to it rather than transitioning into its use-case.
The single-hand use was mostly outdoors when carrying shopping bags and stuff. But on the brighter side, the OnePlus 8 Pro didn't bother rain. Surely, we had to test the IP68 rating as OnePlus finally managed to get one. We were surprised at how the phone responded in rain. The fingerprint sensor worked quite alright, even in a slight drizzle. The display responded to touch in the drizzle, without accidental responses. No point testing the same in the rain as things could get tricky. But that's the case with any phone, so OnePlus is off the hook here.
We made it a point to snap as many shots when outdoors. And boy, did OnePlus 8 Pro perform well. Daylight shots were stunning, perfect contrast, great detailing, excellent dynamic range and natural colours. Since most of our days were indoors, the camera did equally good under artificial lights. The real challenge was in the night. But the Nightscape came in handy in eliminating noise quite well. All in all, the primary sensor did a job well done.
The ultra-wide-angle lens is an addition. Although not a big fan of wide-angle lenses, it sure comes in handy to give a dramatic effect, in case of capturing skies and wide landscapes where edge distortion doesn't matter. The images were not as great as the primary sensor, but the ultra-wide managed to do justice to its standalone presence.
Then the 8MP zoom camera. Always move as close to the subject as possible. When you can't, don't shoot. But in this case, go as far as 3x with OnePlus 8 Pro to get a decent shot. Since never really a fan of zooming in, we found the results of zoomed-in shots against our taste. There's distortion, colours appearing dull and what not. Finally, there's a 5MP colour filter camera. It's purely for fun and not something you'd sub-consciously choose over the primary lens.
In the camera samples below, you'll see how well the details are captured in outdoor conditions, even on a cloudy day. In various settings, the different camera modes performed well. The portraits have accurate edge detection and depth effect - best so far in any OnePlus phone we've seen. We also found some interesting use cases for wide-angle lens to capture dramatic shots rather than just getting more scene into a frame.
Selfies are decent and it looks like not all stars have aligned perfectly for OnePlus in the camera department after all. Check out some samples below: [Slideshow]
Now, to the part where OnePlus 8 Pro took the most - gaming & streaming. We can go hours on a single game or TV show. And OnePlus 8 Pro did not disappoint. The only time we felt the heat, literally, was when we had to charge the phone while playing PUBG Mobile at the highest resolution in-game with QHD+ setting on phone. But it wasn't unbearable, which goes on to show OnePlus phones are still the best for gaming.
Then there's the streaming element. Amazon Prime, Netflix can be streamed for hours. If your taste is anything besides these two, you won't be let down. Don't forget to crank up those resolutions and make sure you're on Wi-Fi.
For all this, we needed a great pair of earphones and OnePlus Wireless Buds came in so handy. In fact, they worked perfectly with the 8 Pro while streaming. The pairing was never an issue. Like never. Cannot think of a time when there was a pairing error and the sound quality was at par with any TWS in the market in the sub-Rs 5K range. They are made for each other.
Speaking of Wi-Fi, OnePlus 8 Pro's range turned out to be great. It picked up signals in some black zones where we thought our range was low. The lockdown has made us pick some favourite spots around the house for working, streaming and gaming without network interruptions. Oh all that 5G jazz, we'd have to wait for that. Hope Jio is listening.
To keep all that going, OnePlus 8 Pro needed a lot of juice. In terms of on-screen time, the 8 Pro consistently clocked 5+ and almost 6 hours. That's as good as it gets. And pair that with 30W fast charging, you're in for a treat. It takes an hour to fully charge the phone and you won't have to worry for a whole day where you left the charger. The charging reminds us of one cool feature, which makes leaving the phone for charge all night a preferable choice. OnePlus 8 Pro on charge reaches to 80 percent and stops and reaches to 100 percent just before you wake up - in time to unplug the charger. This saves those battery cycles for longer life. The trick is it recognises your sleep patterns over the weeks and it's not a gimmick, contrary to our original belief.
Now, if you think you're spending too much screen time, the Zen Mode is an absolute wonder. OnePlus was one of the first phones to bring this feature that reduces your screen time. Unfortunately, we didn't have the luxury to go zen as frequently as we'd hoped, but it sure comes in handy if you're seriously concerned about smartphone addictions.
Notably, the Zen Mode is a part of the bigger picture called OxygenOS and OnePlus 8 Pro was one of the few lucky phones to have gotten the latest Android 11-based OxygenOS 11 in beta mode. Needless to say, the experience got a whole lot better with those tiny tweaks. The animations appeared smoother and more fluid, the UI visuals are easier on the eyes (although they never were loud). The little things like easy switching between Fnatic mode and other apps like WhatsApp, Always-on ambient Display, new clock styles, quick access to Dark mode and more won't catch everyone's attention, but do one hell of a job in bolstering that overall experience. And that motion graphics smoothing is also a useful feature.
OnePlus 8 Pro is a fine smartphone. A flagship is worthy of its attention and good enough to be considered while upgrading from your current phone in 2020. In all fairness, the OnePlus 8 Pro checks almost all the boxes. One might question the affordability factor (sure, OnePlus has come a long way on that since OnePlus One), but look at what you're getting. For someone who wants a no-compromise experience carefully wrapped around a product - your search ends here.