The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro are high-end devices with top-of-the-line features, but should professionals be excited?
Chinese smartphone maker OnePlus has unveiled the latest generation of its flagship smartphones: The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro. The hardware specs on the 8th series are impressive, but with the upgrade to “best in the industry” capabilities, the prices for these once-affordable devices have risen as well.
Some professional users are sure to be excited by the features of these new devices. The impressive camera, color-rich display, 5G and Wi-Fi 6 capabilities, and rapid charging technology of the OnePlus 8 series will be ideal for creative professionals and road warriors.
Other business users may not find life-changing features in the latest OnePlus generation, but if you’re looking for a new high-end Android phone outside the normal mold of Samsung and Google, the OnePlus 8 series may have a device for you.
What is the OnePlus 8 series?
The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro are the successors to last year’s OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro, the latter of which TechRepublic sister site CNET called, “the best Android phone value of 2019.”
OnePlus has been making its mark as a budget brand for those who still want high performance out of their Android devices ever since its founding in 2013 and the release of the $299 OnePlus One.
Since then, the OnePlus series has been notable for innovative features like a pop-up selfie camera and early adoption of in-screen fingerprint readers. Novel features like those didn’t stop OnePlus phones from being affordable, though: Even last year’s CNET favorite the 7 Pro started at a mere $699.
The OnePlus 8 is another contender for flagship phone dominance and packs features its creators describe as some of the “best in the smartphone market.” If they’re to be believed, that may be an accurate statement.
The screen on the OnePlus 8 Pro alone is worth recognizing. It scored an A+ from video diagnostic and rating site DisplayMate, tying or beating records on 13 separate display benchmarks. OnePlus even claims its 10-bit color display is so vivid that it’s indistinguishable from real life
OnePlus’ fast-charging tech, called Warp Charge, is also available on the 8 series devices, and the 8 Pro even has wireless Warp Charging, which OnePlus said will take the device from 0% battery to 50% in just 30 minutes. 8 Pro devices using USB-C charging cables will be able to go from 0% to 30% in 30 minutes, and regular OnePlus 8 devices will be able to charge with a wire from 0% to 60% in 30 minutes.
Both 8 series devices are powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 SoCs, are 5G-ready, and are Wi-Fi 6 capable.
The OnePlus 8, in contrast to the 8 Pro, is all about being the easy-to-carry, more portable version of OnePlus’ latest phones. It has similarly impressive specs to the One Plus 8 Pro, but sacrifices a bit of power and a few features to enable it to be only eight millimeters thick and weigh a measly 180 grams.
What are the specifications of the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro?
- Screen: 6.78″ AMOLED (3168×1440), 120Hz refresh rate, 10-bit color, 4096 brightness levels, 1,300 Nits peak brightness, 240Hz touch sampling rate
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
- RAM: 8GB or 12GB
- Storage: 128GB or 256GB
- Cameras: 48MP main camera (F1.7), 48MP ultra wide camera (F2.2), 3X telephoto camera (F2.2), color filter camera, 16MP front camera (f2.45)
- Battery: 4,510mAh
- Charging: USB-C, Warp Charge 30T, Warp Charge 30 wireless
- Connectivity: 5G, W-Fi 6
- Additional features: IP68 rated
- Screen: 6.55″ AMOLED (2400×1080), 90Hz refresh rate, 4096 brightness levels 1,100 Nits peak brightness
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
- RAM: 8GB or 12GB
- Storage: 128GB or 256GB
- Cameras: 48MP main camera, 16MP ultra wide camera, macro camera, 16MP front camera
- Battery: 4,300mAh
- Charging: USB-C, Warp Charge 30T
- Connectivity: 5G, Wi-Fi 6
How does the OnePlus 8 series stack up to other 2020 flagship smartphones?
Both the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro are competitive devices in their respective tiers of performance: The 8 Pro would be a device to compete with the iPhone 11 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20, and the standard 8 with phones like the iPhone 11 and Samsung Galaxy S10E.
The hardware specs of the OnePlus 8 Pro are impressive, but with a slightly steeper price point: While last year’s OnePlus 7 Pro made its mark as a full-fledged flagship device for as little as $699, the 8 Pro starts at $899 USD, putting it squarely in the same ballpark as other flagship devices.
The iPhone 11 Pro, for example, starts at $999 USD, and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus starts at the same price. If OnePlus is hoping to maintain the loyalty of thriftier smartphone users with the latest generation of its flagship device, it may have missed the mark.
The OnePlus 8, on the other hand, maintains its brand’s reputation of being a solid phone for a lower price point–it starts at $699, and the biggest difference between the 8 Pro and itself is the souped-up screen and cameras that the more expensive version offers.
CNET’s Lynn La, who reviewed the OnePlus 8, said the impressive features of the 8 Pro didn’t necessarily sway her: “Of the two new flagship phones OnePlus just announced, the OnePlus 8 isn’t just more affordable than the OnePlus 8 Pro, it’s also the phone I prefer.”
Competitively speaking, the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro are facing off against flagship devices that offer similar specs and more recognizable brand names (i.e., Apple, Google, Samsung, etc.). The biggest thing that OnePlus had going for it before was its bargain pricing while maintaining decent quality.
With its pricing advantage eroding it’s going to be a tough road for OnePlus to compete against more established names while not offering anything that’s truly revolutionary. According to OnePlus, it was the fastest growing smartphone brand in the US in 2019, so OnePlus may be banking on its name recognition having reached critical mass for upping its prices: Time will tell if that’s the case.
Why should professionals care about the OnePlus 8 series?
Smartphone development is getting a bit stale: With every new model that comes out it’s increasingly difficult to point to device features that make an argument for the new version being worth the investment. In the case of the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, the same holds true with a couple notable exceptions.
First, the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro make excellent devices for on-the-go professionals. The battery in both versions of the device are huge: the OnePlus 8 has 4,300mAh of capacity, and the 8 Pro has 4,510mAh. Compared to the Google Pixel 4 (2,800mAh), the Samsung Galaxy s20 (4,000mAh), and the iPhone 11 Pro (3,969mAh), both versions of the OnePlus 8 series have some serious staying power.
Along with higher battery capacity, the OnePlus 8 series charges incredibly fast, making it great for on-the-go professionals who don’t have time to wait for a device to charge.
As mentioned above, the OnePlus 8 can reach a 50% charge in 30 minutes, and the OnePlus 8 Pro can reach 30% in the same amount of time (both if charging via a USB-C cable). If charged using the wireless Warp Charge dock, the OnePlus 8 Pro can reach 60% charge in 30 minutes. The 8 Pro also has reverse charging capabilities, which means it can transfer power to other devices, like wireless headphones, that can charge wirelessly.
The other great feature of the OnePlus 8 series is particular to the 8 Plus: Its cameras are quite good. There are plenty of photograph examples from the 8 Pro in CNET’s review of the device, and they show some shots that look great and impressed CNET’s La.
The 8 Pro’s cameras have both optical and digital image stabilization, three separate stereo microphones for recording video, 3HDR recording capabilities that capture multiple light levels to improve back- and poorly-lit shots, wind reduction microphones, and audio zooming that focuses sound recording to a specific area on the video.
Creative professionals, or those who use their smartphones for any photo/video purpose, should definitely check the OnePlus 8 Pro’s cameras out–they’re a definite competitor in the smartphone camera arena.
When will the OnePlus 8 series be available?
There are going to be several different ways to order the OnePlus 8 series, but for US audiences there’s one date to remember: April 29, 2020. That’s when preorders open up for the OnePlus 8 from T-Mobile, Verizon (a new carrier partner), OnePlus’s online store, and Amazon (no line available yet). You can find out more about pricing and carrier specials by following the links above.
Those in the US interested in the OnePlus 8 Pro won’t be able to pick it up from a carrier: It’s only being sold unlocked directly from OnePlus, so no contract discounts–sorry.
As for pricing and hardware, there are four combinations of OnePlus 8 series devices available:
- OnePlus 8 with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage: $699 USD
- OnePlus 8 with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage: $799 USD
- OnePlus 8 Pro with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage: $899 USD
- OnePlus 8 Pro with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage: $999 USD