49
[THE LAB] - OnePlus 8 Pro Review by Dries Bleus

  1. dhruvweaver
    The Lab - OnePlus 7 Pro Reviewer Apr 17, 2020


    #21
    AbhilashSaikia and DriesBleus like this.
  2. DriesBleus
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 17, 2020

    DriesBleus , Apr 17, 2020 :
    Thanks man! Glad you like what I've come up with so far!
     

    #22
    AbhilashSaikia and Dhruv Weaver like this.
  3. Black Forest Ham
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Apr 17, 2020

    Black Forest Ham , Apr 17, 2020 :
    That unboxing video was a joy to watch, and the photography was an absolute treat for the eyes! Very thorough overview of the phone as well, I'm excited to see the rest of your review!
     

    #23
    AbhilashSaikia and DriesBleus like this.
  4. TibiTibi
    Photography Expert Community Expert Apr 17, 2020


    #24
    DriesBleus likes this.
  5. DriesBleus
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 17, 2020

    DriesBleus , Apr 17, 2020 :
    Thanks a bunch man!
     

    #25

  6. #26
    DriesBleus likes this.
  7. DriesBleus
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 18, 2020

    Stickied Post
    DriesBleus , Apr 18, 2020 :
    PART II: DISPLAY

    [​IMG]
    We’re back for part two of my OnePlus 8 Pro review! As mentioned, the 8 (Pro) has an edge-to-edge screen that covers almost the entire front of the phone. Nothing new, if you have a relatively young phone (Like one of OnePlus’ recent devices) in your pocket it most likely has a similar screen-to-body ratio. Nonetheless, it was new for me, coming from the S8+ that still has a considerable top and bottom bezel (funny how it was revolutionary three years ago, yet it’s now completely outdated!). It’s fair to say that I was thoroughly blown away at first glance. That extra bit of screen real estate gives the device a modern and immersive look and feel. On top of that, the screen is also just plain large, at 6.8” in an exceptionally long 19.8:9 aspect ratio (compared to the -now puny looking- 6.2” screen of my S8+), so that certainly helps with providing that immersive feeling.

    Designwise OnePlus went with a curved screen. Aha! Finally, something I can relate to with my S8+! Interestingly, comparing both curved screens, I do find that Samsung seems to have implemented theirs a slight bit better. The curvature on the 8 pro seems to cast a bit of a dark shadow with a slightly green hue on the side edges of the screen, maybe due to the way the Oled panel is curved? It’s not terribly distracting, but enough to notice. To be honest, I’ve sort of had it with the curved displays. It’s been nice for a little while, but that was three years ago and now I’d rather just have an undistorted, easy to operate screen. Because yes, the curvature does make gestures trickier, and you never quite get the full, unobstructed picture or movie you’re viewing in full screen (especially when you get blinded by the sunlight hitting those edges).

    [​IMG]
    THE EDGE OF THE DISPLAY ON THE OP 8 PRO (RIGHT) SHOWS A BIT MORE PRONOUNCED SHADOW AND COLOR FRINGING THAN MY S8+'S (LEFT) CURVED SCREEN
    Now that we're talking about the negatives anyway, there are two more things about the screen that irk me:

    For one, the screen (at least my example, I haven’t heard anyone else talk about it yet) has a considerable amount of screen retention when a strongly contrasting, static image is shown for a while at a time (for example, the buttons in the white buttons on black background in the camera app). It's a bit like ghosting but takes longer to disappear, yet it's also not quite as bad as permanent screen burn-in. Retention is quite normal for Oled displays, but I found that the effect can linger for quite a while on this screen, much more so than on my S8+ (perhaps because the OP 8 has a much higher peak brightness, exaggerating the effect). In most use cases, however, you won't be watching a static, grey screen to check for imperfections, so you probably won't notice it.

    Another grasp I have -and this is really not a jab at OnePlus in particular, rather something all modern smartphones have these days- is the ever-increasing aspect ratio. I mean, I get that you want a device that can be held somewhat comfortably in one hand, despite the massive screen (although you’ll still have to do some serious acrobatics to reach the top of this screen single-handedly!). But the OP 8’s 19.8:9 ratio is not a standard for anything. It’s too wide for 16:9 (most tv shows and content on Netflix or YouTube) and not quite wide enough for 2.4:1 cinema. Even shows like Stranger Things that are recorded in a middle-ground 2:1 aspect ratio, still won’t quite utilize the full screen (which, as I mentioned in part 1 of this review, those black bars do conveniently hide the hole-punch). For all other content, the narrow aspect ratio doesn’t help either. Web pages aren't displayed larger but show more scrollable content at once in portrait mode, and photos with a standard 4:3 aspect ratio take up only a frustratingly small portion of the screen.

    [​IMG]
    That’s really all the negative rambling I have to do about the display, fortunately, there’s also a LOT of positive features that really set the OP8 pro’s screen apart. We’re of course looking at an Oled panel (the standard in phone screens these days), but OnePlus managed to squeeze in both a 120Hz refresh rate AND full QHD+ resolution (so no need to choose one or the other like with Samsung’s latest flagships). There’s also MEMC, which supposedly upscales lower framerate footage to look smoother, but I couldn’t tell any noteworthy difference and it didn’t work with Netflix (despite saying it’s compatible in the menu). On top of that, the screen also comes color calibrated and is supposed to be the most color-accurate phone display on the market right now. Since I like to store, view and edit all my photos (including those I make with my DSLR) on my phone, that’s a very nice perk to have. Screen settings include calibration options for sRGB (standard color gamut) and DCI-P3 (extended color gamut), but I like to stick to sRGB because I edit my photos in gamut and it’s the standard format used for most digital content.

    I don’t have the tools to give concrete color accuracy specs, but I doubt anyone would actually be interested in those numbers anyway. What matters is that this is a fantastic-looking screen for consuming all kinds of content. Animations look and feel snappy and smooth because of the high refresh rate, colors are bright and vivid (Even with the ‘muted’ sRGB settings it’s plenty vibrant for my taste), and HDR video content looks great with the screen set to the P3 gamut backed up by the high contrast ratio and deep blacks of the Oled panel.

    Ok, I think that's it, I've rambled enough about the screen...
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2020

    #27
    aris, Nitin007T, Chinda and 17 others like this.
  8. DriesBleus
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 18, 2020

    Stickied Post
    DriesBleus , Apr 18, 2020 :
    PART III: PERFORMANCE
    The performance aspect of this phone is quite easy to discuss: it’s stupid fast.

    The raw specs: Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 865 SoC, paired with 8gb (or 12, but maybe that’s a bit overkill?) of fast LPDDR5 RAM, UFS 3.0 storage, WiFi 6 and 5G connectivity. These are the cream of the crop, also used in other current flagship devices. So yes, this thing does blaze through pretty much everything with ease, a night and day difference with the performance I was getting from my now-aging S8+. The 120Hz screen makes the user experience feel snappy and responsive, and the overall user interface is quick to navigate through without stutters or lag. The excellent performance is of course to be expected, from a brand that’s all about SPEEEEEED.

    [​IMG]
    One of the most apparent, speedy parts of this phone, is the in-screen fingerprint scanner and face unlock. Both are incredibly fast (and accurate!) in their own respect, and when paired together you have pretty much instant access to your phone. When you hit the power button, screen unlock wins immediately even before you can put your thumb on the scanner. When tapping the screen to bring up the ‘ambient display’ (For a Samsung person that’s like an always-on display, only not always on), the fingerprint scanner immediately picks up when you sort of tap and then hold to unlock. I couldn’t imagine a bigger departure from the poorly placed fingerprint reader on the back of my S8+, which is also lightyears slower to make matters even worse. It starts to feel ancient in comparison to this.
    [​IMG]
    I’m not one to do very intensive gaming on my phone, just some casual puzzle or indie games (Pako 2, Two Dots,…) from time to time. Needless to say that it didn’t really struggle to provide a pleasant gaming experience for me, and if you still feel like you need extra headroom there’s always ‘Fnatic’ mode that apparently supercharges your gaming experience (But I wouldn’t know because even with the most graphically intensive game I played -Asphalt 9-, it performed just fine in normal gaming mode).

    5G? Well, this phone has it… but my country doesn’t quite yet. Same goes for WiFi 6 (which is much faster, but supposedly also more stable on existing wireless networks). It’s not quite implemented in our infrastructure, but at least it’s nice to know that the OnePlus 8 comes prepared.
    [​IMG]
    YEAHHH... THAT MIGHT BE AN ISSUE
    The only area where I could get the 8 Pro to buckle, has to do with storage. To be honest, I think they should’ve made this 256gb as standard. The 8gb RAM doesn’t seem like much of a bottleneck to me, but 128gb of non-expandable storage does. I store my ENTIRE photo library on my phone (including (vacation) photos and content for my website, all made with my DSLR), and it eats up storage. Admittedly, having 20 000 photos in your gallery probably isn’t the most sane thing to do. But nonetheless, it has saved my *** more than once because I had all my photos backed up on my phone. After transferring apps and discounting the 40-ish gb of system and apps data, I’m left with less than 10gb of storage so that’s a bit disappointing. I know a microSD card might not be as fast as the internal UFS storage, but c’mon OnePlus, would it really be too much to ask? That's a win for Samsung for example, who still support storage expansion on their latest flagships. I would probably upgrade to the 12g ram/256g rom configuration, if I had bought the device myself.
    [​IMG]
    In terms of audio, I’m sad to not find a headphone jack. Of course OnePlus would probably like you to buy their new wireless Bullets Z earbuds, or their USB type-C headphones. But for the sake of versatility, it probably wouldn’t hurt them to at least include a USB type-C to headphone jack adaptor. I luckily have a pair of wireless Sony WH-1000XM2 headphones -which are fantastic- so at least the Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity ensures a stable connection for high bitrate aptX HD and LDAC codecs.


    Listening on the phone speakers is never an ideal solution, but the stereo setup on the 8 (one down-firing speaker and the speaker above the display) provides a surprisingly crisp sound. Not much bass to speak of, of course, but they do get loud and don’t feel too sharp or tinny. Dolby Atmos is also included, which provides immersive stereo sound (the sample video that comes pre-installed is INSANE, especially coming from two tiny smartphone speakers!).

    [​IMG]
    A SMALL STEP FOR MAN,... A HUGE STEP FOR SMARTPHONES??
    One small feature I -as a OnePlus newbie- certainly enjoy, is the alert slider. I didn't really know where in my review I should talk about it (is it design, performance, software?) but I guess I'll put it here as sort of an addendum. No, scratch that. it's not an addendum at all, it's a brilliant feature to be completely honest! It's so damn useful, I really don't understand why every other brand hasn't copied this yet (especially since they're already that good at copying design, anyway!).

    There's one part about the phone's performance that I haven't discussed yet, the camera...cameras. But that's for tomorrow!
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2020

    #28
    aris, Nitin007T, TibiTibi and 14 others like this.
  9. DriesBleus
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 18, 2020

    Stickied Post
    DriesBleus , Apr 18, 2020 :
    PART V: BATTERY AND CHARGING

    [​IMG]
    "WARP CHARGE" IT SOUNDS COOL, LOOKS COOL, BUT DOES IT STAY COOL?
    I'd consider myself a sort of middle-ground power user, I do spend a rather substantial amount of time on my phone on most days. A screen-on time around 5 hours per day is not uncommon. I’d be lying if I said that I don’t have dead battery anxiety, so I’m happy to see OnePlus providing a very decent battery solution for the OP8 Pro. The large 4510 mAh battery provides enough juice to power the massive 6.8” screen all day, with about 5-6.5 hours SOT. That’s especially impressive given the 120Hz QHD+ screen settings –which, honestly, you’ll never want to turn back off once you tried them- are quite demanding.

    And when you do happen to run out of charge, the included wall adapter gets the device back to 100% in no time. Warp charge 3.0 is fast, ok. Really. Darn. Fast. (e.g. it stated 22 minutes to top off from 50%) The phone heats up a little during charging of course, but it manages to stay relatively cool considering the 30W of power that's being pumped into it at a dazzling speed. Fast charging was something I had doubts about at first because my Samsung definitely doesn't like it.

    Despite being well-behaved, I wish there was an option for slow 5W charging to maybe put a little less strain on the battery when you don't need it (for example when charging it overnight). Although at this point I suppose OnePlus trusts their system well enough to know that the battery will handle fast charging without being detrimental to the phone's longevity. UPDATE: Yeah, scratch that. Thanks to @AbhilashSaikia, I now know that that's basically what the 'Optimized charging' option does, keeping the battery at 80% all night, and topping off to 100% right before you wake up, based on your typical sleep/wake pattern! -That's insane.

    The OP8 Pro also gets wireless charging through QI chargers, or with OP’s own 30W Warp charger(70$) -which I unfortunately couldn’t test.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020

    #29
  10. DriesBleus
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 18, 2020

    Stickied Post
    DriesBleus , Apr 18, 2020 :
    PART VI: OXYGEN OS

    This is my first time with OnePlus’ OxygenOS, and I’m quite liking the experience so far. I’m quite forgiving about OS and UI for the most part. I use an Ipad (mostly for Netflix-binging though) and a Samsung phone, and both have their perks, but they are definitely not known for having light and freely-customizable software.

    In contrast, I do appreciate the extra care that OP takes in providing a user interface that’s smooth and snappy and as close to stock Android as possible. The lack of bloatware or an overwhelming amount of non-removable brand-specific apps is refreshing, especially since I hid most of Samsung’s own apps anyway.

    [​IMG]
    YES, I'M THE KIND OF DORK THAT'LL TELL YOU HOW GOOD THE WEATHER APP LOOKS
    Coming from One UI, the transition is quite straightforward, as OxygenOS is less cluttered and complicated to navigate through. It provides a very clean look with minimalist graphics and you get a good degree of customization built into the UI without even needing to install launchers.
    [​IMG]
    Despite being a light skin, it still packs a lot of useful (and less useful, but of course, that’s different for everyone’s personal use case) functionality. A few that I like so far are: digital wellbeing monitoring and tools (wind-down mode), reading mode in black and white, a bunch of easy to use quick launch gestures, tap to wake, app locker to password lock certain apps, parallel apps for when you have multiple accounts of one app,…
    [​IMG]
    However, straight away there were some things that I missed coming from Samsung's One UI. First off is the app drawer. OxygenOS has an app drawer of course, but it doesn’t work like in One UI where you can freely move and sort apps, or even organize them in folders. That’s fine for the most part, until that moment where you need to find a less frequently used application in the app drawer.
    [​IMG]
    Secondly, the implementation of gestures for back, home, and multitasking window is for the most part well-implemented and responsive, except for the back gesture (swiping in from the side of the screen). The curved edge makes this kind of difficult to do consistently and fast, but it is nice that you can initiate it from both sides and along the entire edge of the screen.
    [​IMG]
    The ambient display offers a nice soft transition from the always-on display on my S8+. I do like the ability to always see the clock widget and notifications on Samsung's AOD, but for the sake of digital wellbeing, it’s actually beneficial that the ambient display isn’t always on so you DON’T always see that you have an unread email or message. I did notice that I reach for my phone less often when it's on my desk, because it's not constantly flashing, or indicating that you have unread messages.

    Can you believe you've almost reached the end of this seemingly endless ramble? It's true! Tomorrow we'll wrap it up with my final verdict, in the conclusion!
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2020

    #30
  11. DriesBleus
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 18, 2020

    Stickied Post
    DriesBleus , Apr 18, 2020 :
    PART VII: CONCLUSION

    [​IMG]
    INSERTS GRATUITOUS PHOTO THAT DOESN'T SERVE A PURPOSE OTHER THAN FILLING UP THIS OTHERWISE BORING-LOOKING CONCLUSION SECTION
    From the perspective of someone who was actually on the brink of getting a new phone. How do I look at the OnePlus 8? Is it still the 'flagship killer' phone that OnePlus is all about? Well, yes and no, right? From a purely financial perspective, the OnePlus 8 Pro joins a different league of phones that will definitely not be in reach for everyone. I mean, we're talking 899$ for a phone (999$ if like me, you need the 256GB storage). Even just a few years ago, prices like that were still unimaginable, especially for OnePlus.

    But before someone inevitably starts shouting that OnePlus is a sellout, their flagship killer motto is a lie, and they are just the next Apple or Samsung, this is my perspective:

    Previous OP phones always went for a balanced combination of specs to create a performance level to match flagship phones, but at the same time leaving out much of the non-essential features (such as higher resolution screens, wireless charging, IP ratings,...) to cut cost. That's basically what the 699$ OnePlus 8 is still doing today. With the hardware it has, it'll most likely stand its ground against the Samsung S20 Ultra or Iphone 11 big shots. It's probably an excellent phone in its' own respect, even without having every single feature you can imagine, making it the most 'flagship killer'-phone in OnePlus' 8 edition. But it itself is not a flagship phone.

    To also be a flagship phone, you have to be a pocketable showcase of all the high-end bells and whistles, the cutting-edge features that you may not necessarily need, but want. In that regard, OnePlus picked up where they left with the already seemingly well-rounded 7 series, refined it even more and loaded it with additional features to finally produce a phone worthy of the flagship title. The OnePlus 8 Pro brings pretty much all the features you'd expect from a flagship phone: top-notch build quality, a fantastic, color-accurate, large 120Hz QHD+ screen, the latest internals, a camera setup that impressed even a DSLR snob like me, excellent battery life and fast charging, fast wireless charging, 5G preparedness, all in a very enjoyable and fast phone to use, packed with handy features you probably don't need but you'll be glad to find them anyway.

    So no, the 8 Pro is not about cutting corners (except for maybe a microSD card reader, haha), and yet it still offers a competitive value. Like it or not, but phones are generally getting more expensive each year (Not surprising, given that they also get more powerful each time and are constantly on the cutting-edge of technology), and current flagship phones easily surpass the -once- mythical 1000 dollar mark, OnePlus still manages to undercut the competition by at least 200-300$. OnePlus made a flagship that is also a flagship killer!

    Am I now a reformed OnePlus user? I guess so. And I’m not even mad about it.

    If you stuck through this entire review until the very end: thank you for reading! A big thank you also goes out to OnePlus, and in particular @Zach X. and @dsmonteiro for making this unique experience possible!

    One last thing. (hehe) To give credit where credit is due: You'll see that the wallpaper I used on the phone in this review is not a stock OP 8 image, it's an aerial photograph from the amazingly talented Tom Hegen. He offers some of his images as free wallpapers from his Instagram stories.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2020

    #31
  12. DriesBleus
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 18, 2020

    DriesBleus , Apr 18, 2020 :
    Thank you!
     

    #32
  13. jlasensiofi
    The Lab Reviewer - OnePlus 9 Series Apr 18, 2020


    #33
    DriesBleus likes this.
  14. DriesBleus
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 18, 2020


    #34
    jlasensiofi likes this.
  15. cdnfarmer
    Moderator, Photography Expert Moderator Apr 19, 2020

    cdnfarmer , Apr 19, 2020 :
    great job @DriesBleus . Nice video. Look forward to more of your perspectives. I do appreciate you mentioning the screen ration and even the picture format 4:3 and how it looks. Enjoy your OnePlus phone... especially the OS.
     

    #35
    AbhilashSaikia and superplus like this.
  16. DriesBleus
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 19, 2020

    DriesBleus , Apr 19, 2020 :
    Thank you @cdnfarmer! The screen ratio is indeed a pet piece I'm having here. I also don't quite get why they make the standard aspect ratio of the camera's 4:3 instead of the more wide-screen standard 3:2 that most digital cameras use. That would already make the photo viewing experience a bit more pleasing...

    Anyway, I'm surely enjoying the phone, and OxygenOS -while quite different from One UI, has been very intuitive and pleasant to use from the start!
     

    #36
  17. cdnfarmer
    Moderator, Photography Expert Moderator Apr 19, 2020

    cdnfarmer , Apr 19, 2020 :
    😊
    That is good feedback to give them.

    Great. I too definitely like OOS. It works seeminglessly. There are lots of small things like animations that enhance the user experience. Look forward to hearing more of your feedback.
     

    #37
    AbhilashSaikia and superplus like this.
  18. superplus
    Head Moderator Head Moderator Apr 19, 2020

    superplus , Apr 19, 2020 :
    Thoroughly enjoying your take on this so far, thanks, looking forward to the rest :D
     

    #38
    AbhilashSaikia and DriesBleus like this.
  19. DriesBleus
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 20, 2020


    #39
    AbhilashSaikia and superplus like this.
  20. DriesBleus
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 20, 2020

    DriesBleus , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Apr 20, 2020 :
    On second thought, I think the aspect ratio may be limited by the physical size the camera sensor. a wider sensor (like 3:2 from a normal camera) would mean the lense needs to be larger or further from the sensor as well (making the camera hump even bigger), since the light it projects needs to have a wider diameter to fully cover the sensor. It has to be said, you can choose full screen ratio photos but then it just cuts off the top and bottom edge so you lose pixels.
     

    #40