This phone has been delayed a couple of times, leaked to death like always and will probably be very hard to get till lockdown measures are active in India, at least, yet it is the phone I’d wager most people have been waiting for. I am talking about the OnePlus 8 Pro of course, and after seeing its executives unravel the mystery of what this phone is all about, I can fairly confidently say that this is indeed the phone most of you have been waiting for.
What excites me
- It also starts with the display on this device. While the common notion was that Samsung’s Galaxy S20 would be hard to beat with their new “120Hz” dynamic AMOLED screens, but OnePlus is not only keeping up with them but perhaps beating them. Interestingly, this screen can retain the high refresh rate at the quad-HD resolution something the Galaxy S20 Plus cannot. There are a couple of interesting things here that stand out. Firstly, 1300 nits of brightness which means this is pretty much the brightest smartphone screen out there. Then there is the fact that this phone can do 10-bit colour with over a billion colours available – so basically it will show you more of the colour spectrum. There is also the added benefit of motion graphics smoothing which works on streaming apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. It also has a 6.78-inch radius and the new 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling rate means this is now on-par with the best that’s available coupled with gorilla glass 6. It also helps that DisplayMate has given this phone the highest rating beating out even the S20 models which is a feat in itself.
- Performance has always been brilliant on OnePlus hardware, and all evidence points towards this being an encore to the OnePlus 7T. Yes, there is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor which is pretty much the best chip that’s available – certainly better than the Exynos 990 on the Samsung Galaxy S20 in India. On top of this there is 8GB and 12GB of DDR5 RAM, UFS 3.0 storage and USB 3.1 memory apart from a litany of enhancements on Oxygen OS which will ensure this is pretty much the fastest Android smartphone around. Till Apple responds with a display of this type, in usage, this phone should feel like the fastest smartphone that one can buy. It will also be blisteringly fast in terms of gaming thanks to the firepower it comes packed coupled with robust thermals to manage heat for long periods of time.
- The thing that always has pulled down the OnePlus smartphones has been the camera performance and by the looks of it, that has been more or less addressed. The new 48-megapixel IMX 689 sensor on the OnePlus 8 Pro is a massive sensor with an f/1.7 aperture and optical image stabilization. All the reviews are pointing towards great all-around camera performance. Add to this the Sony IMX 586 which was the primary camera on the OnePlus 7T Pro and almost every flagship-grade smartphone last year as the ultra-wide camera, you are sitting on a great camera system. OnePlus also has an 8-megapixel telephoto lens for 3x zoom optically and 30x digitally, apart from a colour filter sensor. The general consensus is that this is truly a flagship camera package which does everything well including 4K video without sweating. Even Samsung can’t claim that with the “Space Zoom” pyrotechnics of the S20 Ultra.
- I loved the design of the OnePlus 7T Pro, and I’m bummed at all that this is more of an extreme evolution of the same philosophy. The screen is minutely bigger, it also gets a hole-punch notch, while the camera bump on the back is larger. But these are subtle changes – the bigger changes happen internally which people can’t see. The battery is now 4,510mAh, while it also supports wireless charging at up to 30 watts using a proprietary dock, apart from the addition of IP68 water and dust resistance. You also get stereo speakers that support Dolby Atmos. No stone has been left unturned. You even get attractive new colours — there is a mean-looking blue, a breezy green while the good glossy black. The green one with its matte finish is particularly catching my fancy.
- Oxygen OS is one of the reasons why anyone would buy an OnePlus phone and now, it is even better. OnePlus has moved the shelf away and added back the Google today view screen which is indeed useful. It also has a new dark mode view, while throwing in 3 months of free Google One. It also supports Alexa if you use a lot of Amazon Echo based devices. And as always, it is fast and fluid. It is basically the best software experience you can get on an Android smartphone which doesn’t involve tinkering around with launchers and third-party apps.
If one comes down to basics — the OnePlus 8 Pro is an iPhone killer in the making. It surely has a better screen and more attractive design, while adding features like fast wireless charging alongside a potent camera system that looks to hold its own. Rounding things off for western markets is the addition of 5G support alongside speedy performance.
The only thing that’s in the unknown for India is the price and availability. With India’s coronavirus lockdown getting another extension to 3rd May, one should not look forward to the phone launching here before. Price-wise, the USD 999 starting point seems like a cool indicator with the falling value of the Rupee against the dollar, this phone should launch at around Rs 69,999 if I were to take an educated guess.