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OnePlus 8 Pro review

It won... but at what cost?

(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The OnePlus 8 Pro finally achieves the goal of being a high-end smartphone, with fewer compromises than ever before. It brings a very polished design, an amazing display with internals to make them shine. The cameras are also vastly better than its predecessor. No other smartphone at this price offers the same experience on so many fronts.

For

  • Class-leading display
  • Smooth and consistent performance
  • Exquisite built
  • Enjoyable set of cameras
  • IP rating (kinda)

Against

  • Most expensive OnePlus yet
  • Not the fastest charging anymore
  • Cameras can be inconsistent
  • Uninspiring design

The OnePlus 8 Pro is the kind of product we were all waiting for. Maybe not directly, but as a phone that could tussle with the legacy players. OnePlus has done it in the past, but not in the premium segment, and not recently. While the 8 Pro may not seem like a huge upgrade over its predecessor at first, it is by far the most polished offering from the brand, and one that definitely deserves attention.

OnePlus has consistently striven to strike a balance between loyalists on one side and naysayers on the other. This jostling has forced it to evolve at an uncomfortable pace which often yielded half-baked products. However, now the OnePlus 8 Pro finally seems like a high-end device worthy of its price tags, addressing most of its previous deficiencies. In a season where all flagships went up the price ladder, OnePlus landed a double whammy by pricing the 8 Pro so competitively in India.

Though, the higher price tag doesn’t come without high expectations, as OnePlus’s shortcomings can no longer be excused when it aims to play alongside the big boys. Here’s how close the OnePlus 8 Pro got to that aspiration. 

Price and availability

(Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

StorageRAMPrice
128GB8GBRs 54,999
256GB12GBRs 59,999

In India, the OnePlus 8 Pro starts at Rs 54,999 for the 8GB + 128GB variant, and goes to Rs 59,999 for the top variant with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Colour options include Glacial Green, Onyx Black and Ultramarine Blue.

Amazon.in is the online sale partner, but the phone is yet to be widely available across the country. That is expected to change in the coming weeks. The first sale is scheduled for June 15. It is also available on OnePlus’s website as well as retailers.

Check out the OnePlus 8 Pro on Amazon.in

Design

(Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)
  • Curved glass back
  • 199g heavy
  • Improved water-resistance 

If you’ve seen any recent OnePlus device, the OnePlus 8 Pro will seem very familiar: a tall phone with a subtly curved back that blends with the display on the sides effortlessly. Nonetheless, it also seems a lot more polished with appropriate weight distribution, seamless edges and pretty minimal on other fronts.

The design may not be as polarizing as the OnePus 7T, but the green finish definitely is.

Our unit was the Glacial Green variant, which is one of the most catchy finishes we’ve seen in a while (in a good way). It is closer to turquoise than green in many scenarios, and the shimmer changes from green to blue based on the ambient light. We’ve seen similar colours in the past, but none were as classy or well-executed as this one. It is pretty easy to overdo blue or green and make them look tacky or gaudy; luckily, the OnePlus 8 Pro is anything but. The frame also matches, highlighting the attention to detail. If I were to nitpick, the luminance of the colour is a little too high, making it very susceptible to gleam.

The buttons are also in the most common places, with the power button on the right, the volume rocker on the left, and the iconic alert slider just a little higher on the right to not be toggled by mistake. All of them are adequately meaty to push. There’s a Type-C port (USB 3.1) on the bottom for charging and data, flanked by the primary speaker grille and the SIM tray. Three out of the four cameras on the back are placed in a dedicated island that protrudes significantly, and another sensor along with the laser AF module right beside. These sit flush with the body.

(Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

The carrier-locked variants of the OnePlus 8 Pro in the U.S. also come with official IP68 water and dust-resistance. It’s unlikely that OnePlus is using different hardware for those devices, and thus, the Indian 8 Pros should also be water-resistant. We tried dunking it in water for a few minutes for the sake of testing, and it emerged unharmed. Rains or an occasional dip in sweet water shouldn’t pose a threat.

The box once again includes a new silicone case that has bold ‘Never Settle’ branding across it. Not only does it add tons of grip, but also a touch of style which these jelly cases often lack. Considering how heavy and slippery the phone is, this is a good inclusion. We primarily used the phone without the case to flaunt its looks, and slapped it on only while gaming for added grip.

All in all, there’s really not much to complain about when it comes to the OnePlus 8 Pro’s design. When you spend some more time with the device, the attention to detail and craftsmanship get evident.

Display

(Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)
  • Curved 6.78-inch Super AMOLED panel
  • QHD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate
  • HDR10+ capable

DisplayMate has been dishing out A+ ratings for smartphones liberally over the last year. The OnePlus 8 Pro is no exception, but the manufacturer goes as far as saying that it has the best display of any phone that will come in 2020. A short look at the extensive spec list explains why. We’re looking at a curved 6.78-inch Fluid AMOLED display with a QHD+ resolution (3,168 x 1,440 pixels) and a 120Hz refresh rate with HDR10+ capabilities, a peak brightness of 1,300 nits, support for 10-bit colour and is protected by 3D Gorilla Glass 5. Let’s break it down.

This is one of the few phones that supports QHD resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate at the same time. The former’s utility is questionable, but the latter is undoubtedly the way to go for high-end smartphones to make the entire user experience a lot smoother. The OnePlus 8 Pro does that consistently and is a joy to look at. In fact, most of the interface has been tuned in a way to remind you of the high refresh rate, right from the wallpaper that comes to life each time you unlock the phone. The phone is a little too fast for its own good that you’ll occasionally fail to see the system animations, which is a missed opportunity according to me. 

(Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

In fact, the phone is so hellbent on the high refresh rate experience, that it gives you an option to turn on MEMC (Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation). This upscales videos with a conventional framerate to 60fps and higher by inserting additional frames. It works as advertised, but the results are better suited for animated content or sports. Films or TV shows are shot at 24fps for artistic and psychological purposes, and MEMC spoils that. We wouldn’t recommend this for longer sessions of content consumption as you could very well get a headache due to the inherently unreal motion blur that tags along. A cool party trick to have, nonetheless.

We had absolutely no complaints about the panel either. The colours are rich and vibrant, with perfect blacks and no leakage at all brightness levels. Furthermore, it offers five picture profiles to fine-tune the saturation and contrast levels based on how true to life you like your visuals to be. The OnePlus 8 Pro also has one of the highest brightness levels on any smartphone around, and using it outdoors confirmed that. For indoor use, the initial 30% of the brightness bar was enough. Sunlight legibility will not be an issue either.

It is also the first smartphone to be able to display 10-bit colours. Most smartphones have an 8-bit display, capable of exhibiting around 16 million colours. The OnePlus 8 Pro is capable of displaying over a billion colours. There’s a common misconception that a higher bit depth means the panel is capable of displaying additional colours that was previously unseen. It simply means that the display is capable of producing many more intermediate shades of any colour, greatly improving hue transitions. For displays as small as phones, this feature is hard to notice. You’ll even need content that is actually 10-bit in nature, which in itself is hard to come by.

(Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

When held side by side with the OnePlus 8, the 8 Pro has almost similar dimensions. However, its display is a tad bigger (6.78 vs 6.55-inches), thanks to the curvier sides and narrower bezels. It might not seem like a lot, but it made some difference in the usability, and making the viewing experience expansive.

The curves lend more than just aesthetics to the device. It makes the handling a lot easier, swiping and gestures feel more natural, off-axis viewing is immersive and it looks a lot more premium. Palm rejection wasn’t much of an issue either, except for while gaming where multiple fingers cling on to the phone from all sides.

This is also the first OnePlus device with a punch-hole notch, doing away with the pop-up cameras that were introduced just a year ago. It does take a hit on how unobtrusive the display seems, but is a welcome change as moving parts are not the safest thing to have on a phone. We guess that the improved water-resistance was also at play here.

With all of that, the OnePlus 8 Pro’s display prowess becomes evident. It is the best display currently available on a smartphone. You really need to see it to believe it.

Aakash Jhaveri

Aakash is the engine that keeps TechRadar India running, using his experience and ideas to help consumers get to the right products via reviews, buying guides and explainers. Apart from phones, computers and cameras, he is obsessed with electric vehicles.