OnePlus 8 updates the previous model with a new processor, even more powerful, and with a battery finally up to par.
OnePlus 8 is the true heir of the flagship killers of the Chinese company. In fact, its Pro variant has become a real top of the range, in specifications and in price. The basic model that we have tried these days is instead much more conservative in hardware, updated with the new Snapdragon 865 and in the battery, but with a photographic sector that has remained stuck to the standards of 2019.
We do not find the updated sensors seen in the Pro model but the same ones used last year by several other smartphones, a mix that still manages to be satisfying but without aspiring to the throne of the camera phone. So no revolutions, if not in autonomy, clearly improved compared to the past and even higher than that of the Pro variant.
It almost looks like a OnePlus 7T Pro
With OnePlus 8 the Chinese house has chosen a design very similar to that of the 7T Pro model, net of some small differences. On the back the photographic sensor has a vertical development and is located in the center, with the flash positioned just below it, on the left only the small module with sensors dedicated to autofocus is missing, absent in the new variant. The Glacial Green coloring is very beautiful to look at and the matte texture makes it hold little fingerprints, a big plus for those who use the phone without a cover.
On the front, the most obvious difference is the hole for the camera in the upper left, which replaces the more expensive and complex retractable front camera seen in the 7T Pro. A sensible choice, also with a view to containing costs, and that does not penalize the user experience, the hole in fact integrates well with the interface and does not bother.
The build quality is very good, the materials used are glass and metal, but the IP68 certification is missing, therefore no resistance to liquids and dust. On the right side there are the power button and the classic slider to silence the phone, always present on OnePlus. On the left we find the volume rocker while the lower edge houses the second system speaker, the USB Type-C port and the slot for two SIM cards, with no possibility of memory expansion.
Coming to Italy there are two variants, one with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of memory and one with 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of memory, respectively at 719 and 819 euros. If you do not have particular space requirements, the 128 GB one is enough, but if you install many games, better switch to the 256 GB one.
Compared to the top of the range released in the last period, OnePlus 8 is smaller and lighter, measuring 160.2×72.9 mm, with a thickness of 8 mm and a weight of 180 g. It is possible to use discreetly even with one hand, a rarity in this period, thanks also to the 6.55-inch display, smaller than the average. The ergonomics are therefore excellent, this smartphone is really comfortable to use.
OnePlus 8 does not fear any smartphone in terms of technical specifications. Inside we have a Snapdragon 865 processor, the most powerful available today in the high end, as we have seen in our benchmarks. At its side there is also the X55 modem for 5G, for a very complete connectivity that also includes 4G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC and all the GPS standards available today.
Of the memories we talked about previously, OnePlus has not changed the amount of RAM and system memory available, but only the standard, LPDDR4 and UFS 3.0 for this model and LPDDR5 and UFS 3.1 for the Pro variant. The difference can be seen? No, speed is certainly not lacking in this smartphone.
The screen is a 6.55 Fluid AMOLED with a resolution of 2400×1800 Pixels, 402 PPI and 20: 9 aspect ratio, with a 90 Hz refresh rate. The performance of this display is excellent, with natural colors and an excellent factory calibration, as in the high-end models. The choice of 90 Hz and the lower resolution is also perfect for balancing autonomy, fluidity and visual quality, the detachment between 60 and 90 Hz is in fact more evident than that from 90 to 120 Hz, at least in terms of visual perception .
We also saw it in the review of Huawei’s P40 Pro, not surprisingly the only top of the range that managed to maintain autonomy levels similar to those of the 60 Hz models.
Speaking of battery, the one mounted on OnePlus 8 is 4300 mAh, a big step forward compared to the 3800 mAh of the previous model. Although smaller than the one mounted on the Pro model, thanks to the refresh rate and lower resolution, autonomy benefits enormously, so as to become one of the strong points of the phone. You can even make 7 hours of display with this smartphone and you can also spend two days without the need for a recharge with moderate use. The 30W quick charge is however useful on the move, it takes just a few minutes to get hours of autonomy.
Incredible software, average cameras
Software optimization plays a fundamental role in being able to obtain autonomy of this type, but the qualities of the OxygenOS personalization, based on Android 10, is certainly not new. OnePlus has focused on it a lot since the beginning and the results are evident. For speed of execution, visual consistency and simplicity, we are facing one of the best Android interfaces available today, a real added value, moreover with continuous software updates over time. The features are not many but this is good, because it makes it easier and faster to use. We have a perfect dark mode, excellent animated backgrounds, the Zen Mode, which locks the phone for a short time to promote relaxation, and the always comfortable reading mode: this automatically activates the black and white display to tire the least possible eyes. Only negative is that OnePlus can no longer detach high-end competitors in speed of execution, if the difference is now no longer seen.
On the photographic front, OnePlus has chosen a very simple line, relying on cameras that we have already seen during 2019. The main sensor is a 48-megapixel Sony IMX586 and f / 1.7 aperture, with pixel binning to generate a final image from 12 Megapixels (but it is also possible to shoot at full resolution).
The secondary cam instead is 16 Megapixel with wide angle lens and f / 2.2 aperture, finally there is a 2 Megapixel sensor for macro, almost useless in practice for the photos it generates, of low quality. On the front, however, the cam is 16 Megapixel with an f / 2.45 aperture.
The Sony IMX586 sensor has been widely used in the medium-high end phones of 2019 and we know it well, the shots are good during the day, at night it loses some detail and generates more noise than the top of the range, but we remember that OnePlus 8 is sold at a lower price.
Even the wide angle does not stand out from the crowd but does its job and manages to capture the views well during the day, even here, however, in the evening the loss of quality is noticeable. The cam dedicated to macros, on the other hand, cannot be judged, using the main sensor you can get better shots even up close: the sensors for the macros, as they are designed, are practically useless. The videos are available up to 4K at 60 fps and are well stabilized. Also in this case the quality is average, there are no particular critical issues with the OnePlus 8 photographic sector but the feeling of having something already seen in front is palpable.
OnePlus 8 is the latest in a long line of flagship killers. OnePlus is now a consolidated reality in the telephony landscape and it is right that it should also compete in the high end, given the unquestionable quality of its products. With this more basic but still rich in technology version, the Chinese company wants to offer an alternative with a more moderate cost but still with the distinctive features that have characterized the flagship killers of recent years: a lot of power, fluidity and exceptional speed during use and a simple and graphically excellent software. Added to this is an autonomy finally up to par, possible thanks to the software and hardware optimizations designed by OnePlus, and excellent ergonomics, thanks to the “contained” dimensions. Only the photographic sector remains the average, which does its job but does not stand out from the crowd, but for this there is the Pro variant, definitely more gifted from this point of view.