As the world is in quarantine, smartphone companies aren’t standing still and are still moving forward with their new product launches. We’ve seen almost every other company on the market release their 2020 flagships – but one important vendor has been missing from the line-up: OnePlus. Today, the company is finally revealing its newest OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro phones, offering improvements and technology advancements at the highest levels.

Particularly the new OnePlus 8 Pro seems to be the company’s most prestigious flagship device ever, including a new QHD+ 120Hz display, a new generation 1/1.7” camera sensor from Sony along with interesting ultra-wide angle and telephoto modules, the company’s first time adoption of wireless charging – all new features on top of the existing ones that made the OnePlus 7 Pro a great phone in 2019.

OnePlus 8 Series
  OnePlus 8 OnePlus 8 Pro
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 
1x Cortex-A77 @ 2.84GHz
3x Cortex-A77 @ 2.42GHz
4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.80GHz

Adreno 640 @ 587MHz
Display 6.55-inch
FHD+ 2400 x 1080 (20:9)
90Hz Refresh Rate
6.78-inch
QHD+ 3160 x 1440 (19.8:9)
120Hz Refresh Rate
SAMOLED
HDR10+
Dimensions 160.2 x 72.9 x 8.0 mm

180 grams
165.3 x 74.4 x 8.8 mm

199 grams
RAM 8/12GB LPDDR4X 8/12GB LPDDR5
NAND
Storage
128/256 GB UFS 3.0
Battery 4300mAh (16.55Wh) typ. 4510mAh (17.36Wh) typ.
30W Fast Charging
- 30W Wireless Fast Charging
(only via proprietary charger)

5W Qi Wireless Charging
Front Camera 16MP
f/2.0
16MP
f/2.4
Primary Rear Camera 48MP 0.8µm 1/2" IMX586
(12MP 1.6µm 2x2 binning)

f/1.75 w/ OIS
48MP 1.12µm 1/1.4" IMX689
(12MP 2.24µm 2x2 binning)


f/1.78 w/ OIS
 
Secondary
Rear Camera
16MP Ultra-Wide-Angle
f/2.2

116° FoV
48MP Ultra-Wide-Angle
f/2.2

120° FoV
Tertiary
Rear Camera
2MP Macro Camera
f/2.4
8MP Telephoto
f/2.4
Extra
Camera
- 5MP Colour Sensor
f/2.4
4G / 5G
Modem
Snapdragon 5G - Snapdragon Modem X55  (Discrete)

(LTE Category 24/22)
DL = 2500 Mbps - 7x20MHz CA, 1024-QAM
UL = 316 Mbps 3x20MHz CA, 256-QAM

(5G NR Sub-6)
DL = 7000 Mbps
UL = 3000 Mbps

mmWave for OnePlus 8 (non-Pro) on Verizon in the US
SIM Size NanoSIM + NanoSIM
Wireless 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax
BT 5.1 LE, NFC, GPS/Glonass/Galileo/BDS
Connectivity USB Type-C
no 3.5mm jack
Special Features On-screen fingerprint sensor,
Stereo Speakers
  IP68 Rating
Launch OS Android 10 w/ Oxygen OS
Launch Prices 8+128GB: $699 / 699€
12+256GB: $799 / 799€
8+128GB: $899 / 899€
12+256GB: $999 / 999€

Starting off with the internal hardware, it’s a surprise to no one to see the new OnePlus 8 series being powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 chipset. Alongside the chipset’s excellent performance and high power-efficiency is the key feature that it brings 5G cellular capabilities to both variants of the OP8, thanks to the X55 modem.

Although both variants sport the same chipset, OnePlus is amongst the first companies actually taking advantage of the Snapdragon 865’s ability to support both LPDDR4X and LPDDR5 DRAM standards – the OnePlus 8 comes with LP4X while the higher-end OnePlus 8 Pro sports the new LP5 memory. Qualcomm had divulged that they’re expecting a few percentage points performance differences between the two technologies, along with possible smaller efficiency differences. In terms of capacity, both variants come in either 8 or 12GB RAM configurations, depending on whether you chose 128 or 256GB main storage options, which by the way remains at UFS 3.0.

The designs of the phones are iterative on last year’s OnePlus 7 Pro aesthetics – with the big difference being in the front camera design choice and mechanism. The OP7Pro was notable as it was amongst one of the more popular phones out there sporting a mechanical pop-up camera housing. It was an interesting solution to get to a bezel-less in 2019, however it also came with some larger draw-backs, most notably in terms of internal hardware design complexity as well as a big increase in the device’s weight, and lack of water resistance.

The OnePlus 8 Pro makes away with the mechanical front-camera mechanism in favour of an in-screen hole cut-out, a design choice that’s been made quite popular over the last year and seemingly the “standard” for 2020 devices. Whilst I’m sure some people will be sad to see the pop-up camera go; I personally was never fan of it given the increased bulk of the phone. In the new OnePlus 8 series, the company has been able to instead increase the battery capacities,  which now go up to 4510mAh on the OP8Pro and 4300mAh on the OP8, add in more camera (and bigger) sensors, and still reduce the weight of the phones by several grams, with the new OP8Pro now coming in at 199g (vs 207g for the 7Pro).

On the OnePlus 8, the company didn’t do major changes to the display characteristics compared to the intermediary generation OnePlus 7T – both phones still share an FHD+ displays with 90Hz refresh rate. On the new OnePlus 8 Pro however, the company spared no expenses as it has now opted for a 120Hz QHD+ AMOLED display. What makes this stand out compared to say Samsung’s QHD+ 120Hz S20 displays, is that OnePlus here is actually able to drive it at the full software rendering resolution. Alongside with its parent company’s Oppo Find X2 Pro, it makes the OP8Pro the only other flagship device capable of this feature.

OnePlus claims the display is capable of displaying 10-bit colour, which if true and without FRC, means that that this is the very first Android smartphone to include the feature, easily outdoing Samsung in terms of display capabilities.

If the display is even remotely comparable to the S20’s in terms of fluidity, I’m sure it will make for one of the key features of the OP8Pro. OnePlus even goes further and includes a video interpolation high-refresh rate mode that is able to convert lower fps video content to higher refresh rates – something most readers will be familiar with from their TVs. The big questions here of course is how the new phones will be able to handle the increased power consumption of the 120Hz mode, and if OnePlus one-upped Samsung in terms of effective high-refresh-rate power management.

The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro differ quite a lot in terms of their camera capabilities. The cheaper OnePlus 8 comes with just two “real” camera modules, a standard wide and ultra-wide, and here the hardware seemingly didn’t change all that much from the OnePlus 7 Pro. We’re still seeing the wide-spread IMX586 main sensor alongside with a 16MP unit for the ultra-wide, although with very slightly changes optics this generation, with a f/1.75 aperture lens on the main sensor, while the UWA remains at f/2.4. On top of these two primary modules, we’re seeing a 2MP macro camera. Frankly every phone I’ve encountered with such a dedicated macro module was pretty much a disappointment as the quality most of the time ends up atrocious – in essence the phone just only has 2 true rear cameras.

The OnePlus 8 Pro’s camera setup however is more impressive, and certainly more on par with what you’d expect from a 2020 flagship. OnePlus is amongst the first vendors to make use of Sony’s new IMX689 camera sensor. This unit differs from the IMX686 that we’ve seen employed in a few new phones this year in that it isn’t a 64MP sensor but rather remains at 48MP, all whilst still growing in sensor size from a 1/2” diagonal to a 1/1.4” size. This increases the pixel pitch from 0.8µm to 1.12µm – effectively increasing the pixel area by 1.92x, an almost doubling of light gathering ability of each pixel.

The new custom sensor also offers dual gain converters for dual analog native gain ISO levels – increasing low-light sensitivity all whilst retaining dynamic range in bright scenes. Much like on the newer Samsung sensors on the S20 Ultra, it comes with 2x2 OCL phase-detect pixels for focusing.

The ultra-wide-angle is also a new model. OnePlus here makes usage of a 48MP sensor, which is as far as I know the first phone with this kind of configuration. The optics include an f/2.2 aperture and the wide viewing angles measures in at 120°, a few degrees wider than the 116° of the regular OP8. Whilst the sensor should be more capable than the 16MP unit of the OP8, I have to wonder if OnePlus will limit its usage to 12MP binned pictures, as that would in effect result in lower resolution shots than the previous generation 16MP module. This all remain to be tested.

The telephoto is marketed as being an 8MP unit with f/2.4 aperture – we’re not sure if this is the same unit as on the OP7Pro, but if it is, it means that it’s actually a 13MP sensor with 2.2x optical magnification that’s cropped to 8MP and an effective 3x zoom.

Finally, there’s supposed to be a 5MP colour sensor as an extra module on the phone. Seemingly this is a module which lacks an infra-red filter and thus is able to capture a wider spectrum of colours – an effect that’s especially interesting in vegetation which appears white through IR.

OnePlus’ weakness in the camera department over the last few years has always been on the software front, with the image processing always ending up quite lacklustre compared to the competition. The OnePlus 8 Pro certainly now has the hardware to compete amongst the best 2020 flagships out there, so let’s hope the company’s software processing is also able to deliver.

Other features of the phones include stereo speakers, and an under-screen fingerprint scanner. Both phones come with up to 30W wired charging, but now OnePlus was able to finally add in wireless charging in the OnePlus 8 Pro, even doing so at 30W charging speed. It’s been a feature that was much requested over the past several years, so it’s great to finally see the company add this in.

Both phones come in three different colours each – Onyx Black in a glossy finish, Glacial Green in a matte finish, with additional exclusive colours of a glossy “Interstellar Glow” for the OnePlus 8 and a matte “Ultramarine Blue” for the OnePlus 8 Pro.

The OnePlus 8 series are available for pre-order in Europe starting right now with open sales starting April 21st, whilst in the US open sales start on April 29th. The OnePlus 8 starts at $699 for the lower 8+128GB variant and $799 for the 12+256GB version, while the OnePlus 8 Pro for the same storage options comes in at $899 and $999. Whilst certainly not the typically low OnePlus prices we’re used to from the past, if the new phones deliver on the camera quality, they still offer incredible value compared to the competition.

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  • MrCommunistGen - Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - link

    Trying to NOT be an apologist here.

    Software support in Android as a whole is definitely a mixed bag and not where it should be.

    OnePlus seems to be trying to build a track record of supporting devices for a longer period of time than some other manufacturers, but the tradeoff is that devices aren't being updated as often -- as in you're not getting monthly security updates.

    For example, the OnePlus 6 was released in May 2018 and got Android 10. It didn't arrive as soon as the OP7 series, but still came out before many other flagships. Android 10 is still supposed to be coming for the OP5 series released in 2017, but is not out yet (at least not a final release build). The OP3 that was released in 2016 got Android 9 last year. They seem to be trending ~3 Android Version Upgrades per device but time will tell if they continue to hold to that going forward.

    As for Security updates -- they seem to come every... 2-4 months(?), and when a patch comes out in... say March, it would be for February's security update.

    I absolutely LOVE that Apple supports their devices for as long as they do -- the trend seems to be ~5 years. I wish that more manufacturers could do that and they should certainly strive to do so.

    That said, there's some reality that gets in the way for Android... which is certainly why it has been such a mess for so long. As I see it Apple has a few enormous advantages over any Android manufacturer: Vertical Integration and Huge Amounts of money, tons of experience, and a history of generally great internal product execution. With each of the last several major Android releases, Google has introduced new initiatives to try to help with the problem -- which is slowly moving the needle. BUT they tend to leave a loophole where initiatives don't become mandatory unless a new device ships with the new OS (old devices upgrading tend to be exempt). As such just because a device is running the latest OS doesn't mean that it has all the latest features implemented that ease future upgrades (either first party or by the community). Again, this is likely to account for reality. If Google mandated that the new features were mandatory for upgraded devices, they'd probably just see future devices adopt newer versions of the OS due to companies being unwilling to put in the extra engineering work.

    TLDR:
    Android is still a mess, though improving from generation to generation. OnePlus seems to be a bit ahead of the curve for Android, but that could easily change. Apple is still significantly ahead in terms of upgrade longevity, frequency, and unity across products.
    Reply
  • ikjadoon - Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - link

    Thank you for such a detailed response. This is very valuable to know; my last Android phone from 3 years ago, ironically, was a OnePlus One with LineageOS, so I'm all kinds of behind.

    What's always been striking for me, which you touch on: what actually prevents smoother & reliable updates? It seems like 1) OEM ability to invest in software and 2) Google using more carrots than sticks.

    Because, while true that Apple has far more money, all of these Android OEMs also can offload the *entire* operating system to Google. Apple still has to hire thousands of software engineers to develop, maintain, and implement iOS, iPadOS, tvOS, etc. Android OEMs have a fully functional, secure, reliable, and easy to use operating system on day 1. You'd think that cost offset would've helped Android manufacturers develop the bare minimum software competency to 1) update Android and 2) add their proprietary drivers (i.e., cameras, etc.).

    Back in "my" day of the OnePlus One, we always blamed the SoC manufacturer either not providing the BSP (i.e., board support package, e.g., like the SoC firmware that makes it compatible with a version of Android) or only providing BSPs for older SoCs at an exorbitant cost that OEMs refused to pay for older phones.

    I'm glad to see OnePlus *is* using software upgradeability as a defining feature, even if it's not to parity with iOS yet. But, again like you conclude, how many more decades do they need? Android was unveiled in 2007, over a decade and a half ago.
    Reply
  • brucethemoose - Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - link

    I think HTC's old infographic is still relevant: https://www.droid-life.com/2013/12/26/awesome-info...

    Google is shoving some shortcuts in there.. but we havent seen the fruits of that effort, and Im not up to date on it either.
    Reply
  • cha0z_ - Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - link

    Apple supports their devices for 10 years and more. Recently they released security update for iphone 4s and 5 (2011 and 2012 respectably). Their full support is 5-6 years + they don't slowdown their phones anymore (4s was the famous phone in that regard where they really f it up). I have second hand iphone 6s from 2015 with changed 1y old battery - it's smooth, fast, got all the new ios features and still fully supported with every major, minor, beta release day one the same as iphone 11 pro max.

    It's about money. Apple profits a lot from services (app store, music, tv, arcade, storage and so on) while android mostly from sold devices. Apple got interest to support older iphones as users there spend money on apple's services, android is not like that. Samsung and the others want you to buy a new device for a premium price every 2 years and that's not acceptable. Not to mention the carriers excuse for on time updates, tell me what carrier/store will risk to not have galaxy devices for sale? Exactly, if samsung wanted updates directly by them it was easy to happen, but that again is costing them more money + they will not have the convenient excuse.

    Back in the days the most expensive android devices costed half an iphone price and I was okish with the 2 years support, especially with back then fast moving technology in that sector leading to vastly better phones every year with added new meaningful features. Now it's not like that anymore and software support is more important than ever. Samsung got the balls to ask 1400 euro for s20 ultra, but in the end will abandon it after less than 2 years (I have exynos note 9, I know. It will not even receive oneUI 2.1 that released with s20 series and currently rolling out on s10 series). Not to mention that samsung sold a midrange SOC in Europe that is vastly inferior to the snapdragon variant, under the same name/model and same price (actually more here in EU).
    Reply
  • s.yu - Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - link

    IIRC Apple never slowed down their devices as long as you did swap a new and genuine battery, that made their explanation of preserving battery life of an old battery especially convincing. The throttling was not tied to device use time but to battery health. Reply
  • cha0z_ - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link

    Correct, but typical apple way they didn't announce it and acted as if they know better. Even throttled their phones hold, funny enough.. but it was obvious something is going on. The only real bummer was iphone 4s - there the lates ios run really bad (intentional or not, that's a totally different discussion). People still refer to that phone and blame apple how they slowdown their phones or the other case - have an bloated iphone (the same as we are used to see a lot of android users bloating their phones and blaming android for it). Actually I got iphone 6s from 2015 running ios 13.4.1 (latest) and it runs great with all the features...

    I still love android more tho, but ios got it's strong points too and iphones in general.
    Reply
  • cha0z_ - Thursday, April 16, 2020 - link

    Oh, forgot to add - now they give you control to that feature. It turns auto on when the battery can't provide the needed current (leading to controlled shutdown of the device, that looks sudden for the user) and limits the allowed power draw of the CPU mainly. You can turn it off in the battery menu and it will stay off till the next sudden shutdown. This is how it should be from the start.

    Otherwise we can see that behaviour in android as well, it's the famous "my phone shutdown suddenly when it was at 20% battery left" and similar. When the charge is lower on degraded battery, it's a lot easier to have issues with the peak current it can provide and more likely for voltage drops too. Apple's SOC normally starts with high consumption and speed when you do heavy task and thus it's easy to trigger that issue on old batteries.

    tl:dr Changing the 3-4 years old battery for 50$ fixes the issue right away and as a bonus the phone battery holds up a lot more.
    Reply
  • Toss3 - Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - link

    It's 3 years now with the 8 series. Reply
  • Xex360 - Tuesday, April 14, 2020 - link

    And they fail to impress, still highly compromised screen with the unnecessary hole, and the failure of including a headphone jack, low end in my book. Reply
  • s.yu - Wednesday, April 15, 2020 - link

    The CEO claimed that they cater to heavy users then removed the jack. I lost all respect of them since. Reply

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