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[THE LAB] - OnePlus 8 Pro Review by Mickey W.

  1. Black Forest Ham
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Apr 21, 2020

    Black Forest Ham , Apr 21, 2020 :
    banner.jpg

    Hello everyone,
    My name's Mickey, and I'm thrilled to be back with the OnePlus Lab program, ready to bring you some great and informative content. My thanks goes out to the OnePlus community, staff, and especially @Zach X., for accepting me as part of this community tradition once more.

    A little background before we begin; I'm a student in Industrial Design, a tech, DIY, and photography enthusiast, as well as a fan of never settling. I'm an avid user of my tech, often pushing it to the limits of their capabilities to fit my needs, be it overclocking my computer's CPU for faster rendering, or running my 3d printers a bit too hot and too fast to get my models fabricated quicker.

    Some of you may remember me from the OnePlus 5T lab, and though it was a few years ago now, my expectations of OnePlus have remained tremendously high. As for what happened to my 5T, let's just say that perhaps it was too desirable of a phone, and one day while travelling it left my pocket.

    I'll be meticulous and direct with my review, getting straight to what you want to know. However, words can only describe so much, so expect to see many, many pictures too.

    Let's get started.



    Contents
    _______________________________________

    First Impressions
    Box Contents / Design
    Display
    Size & Form / Panel Specs
    Performance
    Hardware / Responsiveness / MEMC / Speakers / Haptics
    Camera
    Wide / Wider / Telephoto / Filter / Video / Software
    Power
    Longevity / Warp Charge 30T / Wireless
    OxygenOS
    Overview / Zen Mode / Optimizations / Customization
    Summary
    The Good / The Bad / The Neutral


    I'll do my best to cover everything I can in my reviews, but if there's any you'd like to know about in more detail, feel free to ask me in the comment section.

    _______________________________________

    First Impressions


    Tearing open the plastic wrap and separating the striking soft-touch scarlet halves of the box, a single thought struck me:

    Unbox.jpg

    It's good to be back.

    After using a vivo phone since the disappearance of my OnePlus 5T, I'd all but forgotten the feel of a OnePlus device. It was different, but a good different. More on this in a bit. First, what's in the box?

    Box Contents

    in the box.jpg


    The invitation letter is a nice touch, establishing a personal connection right from the start. It's a wonderful nod to the community that's brought OnePlus to where it is now. The additional documentation is just as sleek and well-themed as the rest of the packaging, a striking contrast of red and white.

    Invitation Letter.jpg

    Well, you're hearing from me now. Thanks for the warm welcome, Pete!
    The consistent colour scheme and design language continues over to the charger and cable, wonderfully minimalist yet visibly built for purpose. No tacky grips or texturing here, only two shallow scallops on the charger and a naturally grippy material on the cable to aid with handling.

    Charger.jpg

    Sleek and Smooth as the rest of it

    An expensive investment demands protection, and the included case does well in fulfilling that need in style. A clear TPU case with a matte treatment around the sides and anti-bubble texturing on the inside, the case fits tightly and gives a decent amount of clearance to any vulnerable elements on the device.

    Case Clearance.jpg

    Just uh, don't drop it on anything sharp.

    Never Settle is embossed onto the case, giving it more character than just a clear one, although I'd have to say the font choice and typesetting is a little dubious. Especially with all the hype about Oneplus' new brand image, setting the standard typeface to be Neue Haas Grotesk (Helvetica), it's strange that the text seems to be in some form of Arial.

    Clear Case.jpg

    Also, it's not centred. :/

    And the final item in the box, Stickers. Very nice.

    Stickers.jpg

    Laptop Sold Separately

    What's not so nice however, is the lack of any additional accessories to make use of the device's full capabilities. By this I mean a USB-c to 3.5mm adapter, and some sort of USB 3.1 Connectivity, be it an OTG dongle or a data cable.

    Not included.jpg

    Most users have dedicated headphones so it doesn't make sense for OnePlus to include a pair, and they haven't in the past. However, my bullets v2 along with several other wired headsets would've been nice to use with the device straight out of the box.


    As for USB 3.1, the Oneplus 8 Pro features this blazing fast data transfer standard! However, it's not attainable with the standard Warp Charge cable, due to its proprietary USB 2.0 pinout. An included USB 3.1 OTG adapter would've been appreciated.

    Maybe these aren't necessary inclusions, but at this price point, these luxuries would make for an even more spectacular unboxing experience.


    That's probably enough appetizers, onto the main course!


    Design

    The OnePlus 8 Pro is sleek, smooth, and made of premium materials and finishes, but you already knew that. Far more important is how it feels, and with the Glacial Green variant in my hands, I'll try my best to describe it in full.

    Product design is right in my wheelhouse, so get ready for a thorough list of enthusiastic observations.

    The Device itself.jpg

    Remember how I remarked the device felt different? Well, I believe it's down to contrast. All over the device, there's an elegant exhibition of contrast between colors, textures, and even geometry. It's this mastery in design of striking difference between parts that give the OnePlus 8 Pro such a unique and exciting visual and handling experience.


    Perhaps these pictures will do a better job in explaining:

    Material contrast.jpg

    3 very different materials, colors, and textures unite beautifully
    Material Contrast_1.jpg
    A textural disparity on the same sheet of glass is both eye-catching and utilitarian, letting through the flash, 3x camera, and sensors.
    Form Contrast.jpg
    Contrast in the device's forms, rounded and hard edges, come out to play in light and shadow

    The in-hand feel of the OnePlus 8 Pro Parallels the visuals, and the curved matte glass back goes a long way not only looking gorgeous, but also helping a great deal in keeping off fingerprints, and keeping the device planted in the hand.


    in hand 1.jpg

    I don't have very dry hands though, so your experience may vary.

    The buttons and alert slider are very ergonomically placed, feeling natural to interact with in either hand. Aggressive texturing on the alert slider maintains its usability despite the reduction in size.

    In hand 2.jpg

    Everything's within reach.

    Speaking of reduction in size however, looks like the design team went in the other direction with the cameras; the camera arrangement, though undoubtedly powerful, juts out unapologetically from the back. Measuring around 1.8mm tall and without filleted edges, this is no camera bump. It's a camera ridge.

    Camera Ridge.jpg

    Love it or hate it, this is a bold design choice.

    Another bold design choice is of course, the hole punch front camera. With it come benefits and drawbacks, the main plus over a pop-up camera being added durability and water/dust resistance, with the drawbacks being screen real estate, and user interface and experience compromises. I was adamantly against the hole punch, but it’s understandable why they included it, and after a bit of actual use, its positioning in the top left corner doesn't seem to get in the way.

    Beauty Mark.jpg

    Think of it as a beauty mark?

    Lastly, another controversial topic, the IP68 dust and water resistance rating. Though it's been an unofficial feature in past OnePlus devices, official certification and the peace of mind associated is a nice to have, and although I'm not the kind of person to be using my phone in a pool or in the bath, I'm sure fans that begged for this feature are overjoyed. Even for those of us not so water-inclined with our tech, a sudden rainstorm or getting splashed isn't something we can always avoid.

    Glacial Water.jpg

    Pure Glacial water

    Of course, no device is perfect, and though it's closer than most, I have a few somewhat subjective complaints with the OnePlus 8.

    • Curved Display - A design following current trends, the curve presents more opportunities for damage and glare. However, it's not the curve I'm personally against - it's somewhat necessary on a phone this big - it's the aggressiveness of it that creates vignetting issues. More on this in the next section.
    • Aluminum chassis - Now there's nothing wrong with aluminum, but several flagships in recent years have featured stainless steel and even titanium frames, being far more durable, rigid, and scratch-resistant, all at a premium price point, but it's not like this phone's cheap.
    • Lack of screen protector preinstalled - though some users take it off right on unboxing, oneplus had provided the option of keeping a plastic screen protector on the device right out of the box in the past. That's absent on my OnePlus 8 Pro.
    • Omission of the headphone jack - Personally, I wouldn't mind if a dongle were included. It was not.
    There's a common sentiment going around that "all phones look the same nowadays" and from a fundamental standpoint, sure, that seems to make sense. Modern smartphones are often a sandwich of glass and metal that feature a screen on one side and a camera module on the other.

    However, to say this is like saying all people look the same because we've all got heads, torsos, and limbs. It's really in the details that an impression is defined, and the designers and engineers at OnePlus have really hit it out of the park with this one.

    In hand 3_1.jpg

    Thanks for reading, and watch this thread for the next sections of my review!


     
    Last edited: May 6, 2020

    #1
  2. Black Forest Ham
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Apr 21, 2020

    Black Forest Ham , Apr 21, 2020 :
    Display


    The most important part of the phone is the display. It's the interface where all other features are accessed, and it's the portal through which the user can experience new worlds of content.
    Everything about a display, from how it feels to how it looks, directly affects everyone's usage of the device.

    Display Standing.png

    Thankfully, the Oneplus 8 Pro is literally industry-leading in that regard.


    First, let's get subjective. I want to talk about how this display Feels.

    Size and Form

    To start off, this is a tremendously sized display. There's both good and bad resulting from this, but overall, I think size matters, and if you're in the market for a big phone, you want a BIG phone.

    Big Phone.png
    Go big or go home seems to be the idea here

    Obviously a large 6.78" display is going to be great for both content consumption and creation, being a larger viewport into whatever you're focused on. However, to make the device still easily usable with one hand, a curve to the edges had to be added. Now, I kind of like the curve, it makes swiping In from the sides feel much smoother, and the glare introduced is negligible when the screen is at normal brightness. However, the implementation on the OnePlus 8 Pro has a strange quirk to it; the edges round down so aggressively that a vignette effect appears to about 2mm on either side when looking straight-on, and shifts in size depending on angle of view.

    Vignette.png
    Kind of like a holographic effect, but you can't turn it off.
    Another issue I was going to cite with the curved display was quickly rectified during time of writing, and now the concern of accidental touches to the curved edges of the display in a normal grip is no longer a problem. Really, the palm and accidental touch rejection works just as well as my graphics tablet now, even a gorilla could use this thing without false touches. Good going, OnePlus Devs!

    InkedScreenshot_20200425-220932_LI.jpg
    Shut my mouth before the complaint even got out.

    Of course, I can't talk about the display without addressing the elephant in the room, or rather, the hole punch in the corner. Perhaps this is an unpopular opinion, but I think the negative hype about the hole-punch display is mostly unfounded. The positioning of the hole seems to be in the periphery or hidden under the hand in a left landscape position, which seems to be the intended landscape orientation based on bottom speaker placement.

    test chart_3.png
    Maybe stay away from videos that force you to focus on the bottom left corner...

    The low vertical positioning of the hole punch compared to a water drop notch does indeed make for the need to accommodate it in a taller status bar, but in a device as tall as this, I don't foresee myself missing that extra millimetre or two of vertical space.


    Taller Statusbar.png
    To be honest, I didn't even notice the thicker status bar before it was pointed out to me by fellow reviewers.

    Additionally, like most laptops, the hole punch camera now has an indicator for when it's active. At the system level a grey ring animates and appears on the display around it when the camera's active in any app, giving that extra sense of security to those who feel that the departure from a pop-up-camera is a step backwards in privacy.

    Hole Ring.png
    This attention to detail speaks volumes about the meticulous software teams at OnePlus.

    Lastly, not that anyone asked, but I noticed the hole punch and the rounded edges of the display to be especially smooth looking compared to what I remember seeing on another device, and upon much closer inspection there appears to be a nice bit of pixel dimming anti-aliasing going on, making things look extra seamless.

    Oled Pixels.png
    That curve you're seeing is the pixels surrounding the hole for the front camera. Notice how some of them are dimmed to prevent the edge looking jagged.

    Now let's talk tech. What's the underlying magic that makes this display feel so great?

    Display Tech

    "Super fluid" Is what OnePlus calls the AMOLED display on the 8 Pro, and I'd have to agree, that's possibly the most fitting name. A combination of a QHD+ resolution, perfect 10-bit color reproduction, and an incredibly smooth 120hz display panel, as well as the power to drive all that result in an experience that's well, super fluid.

    Let's sink in deeper.

    Fish.png
    True-to-life images are no sweat for this display's specs. No photoshop trickery here.

    Arguably the most important thing about a display is resolution. It's the most immediately quantifiable in numbers, and goes a long way for making all content from text to video look crisp and clean. On the OnePlus 8 Pro, a generous QHD+ resolution makes the individual pixel invisible to the naked eye, while a ~512 pixels per inch density makes tiny text and details legible and visible.

    test chart_2.png
    Not really sure what's being tested here, the phone, or my camera, or OnePlus forums' image compression?

    Of course, a detailed and fine image isn't worth anything if you can't see it. Good thing the OnePlus 8 Pro's display has got that covered as well; at Displaymate's reported 1444 cd/m^2 (nits), this screen is brighter than my laptop, and even my professionally rated monitor! (34uc87c rated at only 300 cd/m^2) The way human eyes perceive brightness isn't linear, but this impressive number does give a lot of visibility even in the brightest of ambient environments, and ample headroom for HDR. More on that in a bit.


    Under Sun.png
    Too bright out to see the screen? Impossible.



    A sharp and bright image is fine and all, but there's no life in a picture with dull color. However, the OnePlus 8 Pro is far from it; with an astounding 100% of the wider DCI-P3 spectrum covered, it blows my pro monitor with only a meager 99% sRGB coverage out of the water once again. I know my photo editing and content management on the go just got a whole lot easier.

    vivid1.JPG
    Whatever colors you're seeing here, it's even more vibrant straight off the OnePlus 8 Pro display.

    Lastly, a sharp, bright and colorful display is great for reproducing images true to life, but what about content that's larger than life? That's where HDR10+ support comes in. With native HDR content, the high peak brightness and the infinitely dark black of the AMOLED display really make images pop, gone are the days of washed-out images. For non-native video, OnePlus has included a vibrant color real-time processing feature, elevating the viewing experience of everything you can watch on the OnePlus 8 Pro.

    Movies.png
    I know some people look down on watching movies on a phone. I look down at their color-inaccurate low-contrast displays. :p

    So how do you improve an image that's high-res, bright, colorful, and has mind-blowing contrast?

    Multiply it by 120 every second.

    General UI, 120fps supported games, and Hyper motion smoothing supported apps run in native QHD+ at a rate so fluid that "buttery-smooth" doesn't do it justice. I didn't think it was going to be a big deal originally, and then I received the device. Let's just say that the single downside is that I'll forever notice the choppiness inherent to normal 60hz displays now.


    Quite hard to exhibit 120fps in a photo though. However, I've filmed this section's intro video at 60fps to give a taste of at least half of the smoothness of the OnePlus 8 Pro display!

    Fluid.png
    The app's called fluid by the way, great for showing off the 120hz display smoothness.

    In the next section, I'll go into the power under the hood driving all this smoothness, and what that means towards your experience with the OnePlus 8 Pro. Watch the thread for more!
     
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2020

    #2
    Batman360, Balaji6t, aris and 26 others like this.
  3. Black Forest Ham
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Apr 21, 2020

    Black Forest Ham , Apr 21, 2020 :
    Performance


    With how ludicrously fast and efficient smartphone memory, storage, and processor technology has gotten in recent years, I believe it's become less and less important to define performance by specs and benchmarks alone. Instead, the performance of a device should be dictated by how it performs to the user, and from unlock speed to speaker quality, that's how I'm looking at performance.

    That being said however, that's not at all to say that specs aren't important, being the backbone of the fantastic features and flowing fluidity the user experiences. Let's go over those first.

    Hardware

    I have the 8/128 version of the OnePlus 8 Pro, featuring 8GB of LPDDR5 at a theoretical memory bandwidth of 51.2GB/s, and 128GB of UFS 3.0 Storage capable of transferring data at 23.2GB/s. These support the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, the star of the show, and a small, albeit important incremental upgrade over the 855 chipset found in the OnePlus 7 Series, with the new SD865 enabling the QHD+ resolution display at 120Hz, as well as across-the-board 5G connectivity.
    (The carrier I'm with here in Canada doesn't have their 5G rollout planned until next year, so no test results on that I'm afraid. When it comes though, I'll be ready.)

    Screenshot_20200429-224049.jpg
    Benchmarks say these specs are better than almost all other phones, that has to be a good thing.

    Though these specs seem irrelevant to most, - they basically are - the performance benefits gained from these specs are exhibited throughout the phone, from being able to offload and process 48MP of data from the cameras to the storage in a fraction of a second, to enabling real-time color processing and frame interpolation for video playback. Being one of the industry leaders in smartphone performance and smoothness, it's no wonder that the best of specs were used in this device.

    Now, the more important thing is how these specs affect usage of the device.

    There's a bit of overlap here with the other sections as of course, the performance affects all other functions of the device. Consider this section as a partial review of what's been, and a preview of what's to come!


    Responsiveness & Usability

    First thing I noticed hands-on with the device was the sheer speed. Evidently, the engineers and developers have taken their philosophy of "Fast, Smooth, and Efficient" to heart and even more so put it to practice. Even before finding out about the 240hz touch input polling that was at play on the aforementioned 120hz display, something felt different about the speed and smoothness of the device, almost like the UI and apps reacted in fast-motion, with inputs actually registering exactly as they happened. If this interaction experience with the OnePlus 8 Pro were likened to the swift and intense movements of a pro boxing match, then the 60hz display and sluggish touch processing on my previous phone felt like trying to punch underwater in a dream.

    Unlocking the device follows a similar trend in sheer absolute speed, with almost no wait between contact on the fingerprint sensor and unlock. The process doesn't feel like a chore, or even something I'm aware of doing when I use the device, a hallmark of good implementation; seamlessness. Additionally, with the system updating the fingerprint recognition with new data points upon each successful unlock, this feature only gets faster and even more accurate. In my usage right from the start, I don't think I've had it fail to recognise my finger even once.


    unlock.PNG
    The same claim of speed and seamlessness goes for face unlock, often unlocking faster than I can press the fingerprint sensor when press the power button.
    Another feature eliminating a pain point in phone interaction is the inclusion of a USB 3.1 type C port. I don't know about others, but previously I've always dreaded the drudge that was connecting my phone to my computer to transfer media onto it, or offload photos and video to the PC. Especially in browsing media to transfer over USB 2.0 speeds, folders and thumbnails would take ages to load (if they even loaded at all). However, with new 3.1 speeds, I haven't had a hang-up yet, even transferring heavy 4K video recordings for the next part of the review ;)
    I know USB 3.1 has been on OnePlus devices since the 7 series, but it's my first time experiencing this speed, and I think it's speed absolutely worth noting.

    usbc.PNG
    Looks the same as type C 2.0, of course.

    Lastly, I know this isn't the camera review section, but something has to be said about the incredible processing power behind autofocusing, shooting, pixel binning 48mp sensor output to 12mp for increased dynamic range, processing HDR, and saving photos, at a rate of dozens of shots per second up to a 99 photo burst.
    A little story; My very specific use case

    I'm going to go off on another tangent about my personal experience with the performance of the OnePlus 8 Pro, but first a little bit of background; I enjoy creating and performing music as a hobby, and I use a variety of equipment to do so, my main method of digital note entry and synthesizer control being my EWI 5000, basically the electric guitar equivalent of a wind instrument. However, I've never been able to use it successfully with a smartphone, either due to large soundfonts and libraries taking up too much ram and skipping, or just glaring general latency issues in processing making it impossible to play in real time. That is, until now. I have no idea how the teams at Oneplus have pulled it off, but they have my heartfelt gratitude in making my on-the-go music creation experience worlds faster, smoother, and more efficient. Midi input over OTG with the OnePlus 8 Pro seems to have little to no noticeable latency, and even large sized, high quality soundfonts and plugins appear to be handled like any other, with no lag or distortion apparent.


    I'm sure this specific use case doesn't apply to too many people, but consider this fact; that it works so well even niche use cases like this just goes to show how refined and extensive the performance of this device is.

    EWI5k.PNG
    Why on a smartphone though, I imagine some of you ask? I just like the interface of the android app Caustic for music composition, and though I'd record to it at home, it's much easier to review and edit on the go, as well as share with collaborators than with a laptop.
    But enough about content creation, how do the internals of the phone impact the content consumption experience?

    MEMC

    We've been over the display, but only lightly touched on the hardware powering the ability to create 60, or even 120 frames per second content from what was originally standard 24fps or 30fps video. Similar to tech used in high end Televisions boasting high frame and refresh rates, the OnePlus 8 Pro has an integrated Motion Estimation & Motion Compensation chip, a microprocessor working in conjunction with the rest of the hardware that interprets the data of each frame in video, and generates an average frame between every two frames to create smoother motion in playback. Interpolating a 24fps source to 120fps involves generating up to 4 additional frames of content between every 2 frames of source. It's a lot of processing work executed up to 120 times a second, and it's even more impressive how fluid everything appears to be, with minimal artefacts.

    Here's a clip from OnePlus showing off the simulated difference.


    Those interested in high frame rate content playback may have heard of Smooth Video Project, software available for PC to interpolate frames. It runs alright, but instead of only leveraging the processor through software, a dedicated hardware solution like on the OnePlus 8 Pro leads to much more efficient and accurate processing as well as far less battery consumption and heat, all noticeable benefits in real use.

    However, one significant drawback to this implementation of smoothing is unavoidable; the inability to use hardware acceleration on video while MEMC is activated. Because the MEMC chip is a hardware solution, to also use the phone's adreno GPU cores to process playback seems to not be an option. This isn't going to be an issue to most users, for even 4k hdr content on youtube or netflix is at a fairly manageable bitrate. However, in my testing playing a 12GB 4k Blu ray rip (legitimately obtained, of course) of the movie 1917 on VLC player with MEMC on and hardware acceleration off, caused crashes when skipping as well as the occasional artefact during playback. Though this file is well within the phone's performance specs to play back just fine, inefficiencies with some video player apps may necessitate hardware acceleration and disabling MEMC.


    Screenshot_20200429-224923.jpg
    Hardware acceleration, or MEMC? Pick one.

    Additionally, MEMC is currently limited to a small list of apps, including Youtube, VLC, and the OnePlus Gallery, but
    what if it was an option for the user to enable it across any app of their choosing? That sounds like it'd be a good idea… ;)

    Ok, enough gushing over video quality (can you tell I'm a fan of this stuff?), let's get into the other half of content consumption; sound.

    Dual speakers & Dolby Atmos

    The speakers in this device are, in the simplest terms, phenomenal. Of course, they still have the sound signature of small speakers, with deep bass missing reach and high treble a bit too present. However, it can hold its own with much higher classes of speakers, beating out my laptop speakers and even some small Bluetooth speakers in my possession in loudness and quality, and those are speakers with surface area an order of magnitude larger than the OnePlus 8 Pro's!

    Grille.PNG
    Slightly leaning towards treble, and...

    Grille2.PNG
    ...Somewhat more bassy, this dynamic duo cover a terrific range of sound.
    With the speakers blasting, the whole device vibrates, and air can be felt blowing in and out of the grilles. The sound is clear, loud, and the drivers are excellent for their size, but I feel where they shine even brighter is in the software treatment of audio, tuned by Dolby Atmos. A big player in high quality sound, Dolby Atmos integration gives the audio played back a mind-blowing amount of 3D effect, as well as stereo separation. Held at normal viewing distance, the speakers are very balanced while retaining depth, although it helps to redirect the bottom speaker in a cupped hand. The stereo dual speakers using both the earpiece and bottom speaker, as well as the large total landscape width of the phone play an important part in facilitating this 3d effect as well.

    cuppedhands.PNG

    In whatever player you'd like to play your music, I'd recommend turning the treble down, and the mids to low end up. This reduces the loudness, but makes the sound no longer tinny, and like much larger speakers.

    Finally, instead of the sound that's vibrating the device, let's talk about the linear motor doing that.


    Improved Haptics

    A subtle hardware upgrade and new treat in the hand is the improved vibration. Oneplus says it's their best haptics yet, and though I haven't owned the 6 or 7 series devices, I believe them. Powerful, controlled, and incredibly tactile, every interaction from unlocking to changing modes in camera feels like a physical button or switch being clicked. From typing feeling like drops of water to notifications akin to taps on the shoulder, these are good vibes.

    That's my experience with the overall performance with the OnePlus 8 Pro so far. Fast, smooth, and efficient, with only minor adjustments desired in software to optimize the device to its full potential. In the next section, expect an in-depth look into the performance of the cameras!
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020

    #3
    Batman360, pcreddi, Balaji6t and 12 others like this.
  4. Black Forest Ham
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Apr 21, 2020

    Black Forest Ham , Apr 21, 2020 :
    Camera


    You're in for a treat, and with these cameras, so was I.

    OnePlus is sometimes known as the brand that makes phones that perform and last amazingly, but had cameras that were just okay. Though I disagree with that sentiment, having gotten some very decent shots with my late OnePlus 5T, I think this generation is when that idea of "only okay cameras" is left in the past.


    Wide


    With sony's leading edge IMX 689 1/1.4" sensor behind the main wide angle lens of 25mm of full-frame equivalency and an aperture of f/1.78, this is a potent combo for a variety of photo situations. For the not so technically inclined, this camera should provide a roughly 83 degree corner-to-corner field of view.

    Wide.jpg

    Wider

    Secondary to the main wide angle shooter, the ultra-wide camera uses the same flagship sensor as the previous OnePlus 7T Pro's main camera, the IMX 586, although this time behind a 14mm full-frame equivalent lens, with an aperture of f/2.2. This field of view from corner to corner should be around 114 degrees uncorrected. However, there is an option for software correction on this camera that will make edges straighter at the cost of a bit of FoV.

    resized wide.JPG

    Telephoto

    The telephoto lens on the camera is strangely to the side of the main camera arrangement, I'm guessing because the main camera's huge sensor and OIS took up all the area within the camera "ridge."

    The telephoto camera features a 8MP sensor with individual pixel size just behind the main camera, (1.0um pixels vs 1.12um pixels), meaning image quality shouldn't be much different to a 48MP image from the main, but the total image will be much smaller. The lens is what I would hesitate to call a telephoto, at only 74mm full frame equivalency, though the f/2.4 aperture should render some decent natural background separation. Though images stay clear past the default 3.0x zoom, I wouldn't recommend pushing it, as it's fully digital.

    resized telephoto.JPG

    Filter

    The color filter camera is an interesting, completely new direction in smartphone photography, which makes it all the more a shame that it's limited to a mere 5 megapixels, on a tiny sensor.


    What does it do? This requires some explanation.

    OnePlus officially calls it a Photochrome filter, and treats it the same as the other filters, accessible in the in-camera filter menu. I disagree with this wholeheartedly; photochrome/photochrom is a method of colorizing black and white photos. This camera has a dedicated sensor for non-visible light frequencies, and isn't a filter. It's an actual infrared camera. Here's a link if you'd like to know more. Basically, it's more sensitive to the infrared spectrum, outside of normal human vision.


    resized infrared_3.JPG

    Stunning alien-landscape-like coloring aside, what is this camera good for? I have a sneaking suspicion it's used in conjunction with the other cameras for depth sensing, especially for portrait mode.

    However, outside of that, this camera unfortunately is quite limited on the phone, without any color tuning or raw file options.

    That being said, I've done a small experiment here to apply the color data from the infrared image, to the higher resolution detail data from a black and white image, and they combine to create, I think, a quite interesting image, and with quality decent enough to be usable.


    dreamscape 1.jpg

    Obviously, more work needs to be done to fine tune color and clarity, but perhaps, a function to do this simple processing during shooting itself would be welcome? Maybe, a alongside nightscape mode, a
    dreamscape mode?

    Video

    The video modes on the OnePlus 8 Pro are nothing to shake a stick at, unless you're shaking that stick in 4k 60fps. The high native bitrate combined with very efficient compression deliver a quality of footage rivaling some DSLR's. Moreover, the impressive dynamic range straight out of the camera leads to incredibly cinematic looking shots. Watch the video to see these capabilities in action!

    Stabilization seems to be hit or miss with video unfortunately, some movements transitioning very smoothly, while closer up shakes tend to go uncorrected, even with the super stabilization function turned on.


    Macro

    Technically still the wide angle lens shifted forward by a linear motor, the macro mode allows for impressively close focusing, producing images appearing to be over 1:1 magnification, an impressive feat for a smartphone. Although wide angle macro lenses aren't commonly seen even in professional cameras, they provide a very unique point of view, focusing close, but not losing the environment around the subject. Not much more to say, apart from that it works well.

    Photo of macro.JPG
    resized macro_1.JPG
    resized macro.JPG
    Turtle says hello.

    Software

    Now, understand that the specification conventions in place for describing smartphone cameras are confusing at best, so it doesn't translate directly into a comparison with dedicated camera equipment. For example, because a 1/1.4 sensor is approximately 1/4 the height and width of a traditional full frame 35mm camera sensor, there is a crop factor of 4x, meaning though the aperture of the main camera is f/1.78, it'll be providing the depth of field of a full frame lens of aperture ~f/7. This isn't bad, but smaller sensors will not physically be able to achieve the depth of field inherent to larger sensor cameras, without processing.

    That being said though, the processing on the camera for is excellent, and it's the first time I've comfortably used a camera only on full auto. The autofocus almost always selects the right area to keep in focus, and same goes for autoexposure, and auto white balance.

    Portrait mode has now achieved a level of realism almost indistinguishable from actual lens bokeh, and I think DSLR's are now seeing some competition in this regard too, at least among casual users. An option to tune the degree of bokeh would be appreciated though.


    portrait resized.JPG

    However, nighscape mode is another story. Though the processing is undoubtedly excellent, it seems to be more suited for cityscapes and pictures of buildings. Spot lights like windows and streetlights are handled well, but because it's essentially an intelligent long exposure mode, reflections off the road or large spots of light like car reflections can be overexposed. Hopefully this can be tuned in a future update.


    nightscape resized 2.JPG
    Does pretty well with buildings and sky,

    nightscape resized.JPG
    Not so much with large bright areas like rainy roads.
    Of course, for those who desire that granular control, as well as the option to save in jpg + Raw DNG files, there's a pro mode with about as much control as you'd want, except the option to change between the telephoto or two wide angles. You're locked into the main camera on this one.

    photo of pro mode.JPG

    Lastly, for the ones who want to colorize their image without the need to tweak it in pro mode or in post, there's a few inbuilt filters to help with that. (The infrared lens is in the list of filters.) I think instead of being called filters though, these inbuilt color options should be called what they're really like; film simulation. As someone who enjoys shooting various kinds of film, the way these filters absolutely nail that look is a treat to the eyes.

    filters comparison.jpg
    I like matte the most!
    And that about sums up the camera experience! Unfortunately, with very limited time outdoors along with weather constraints, I wasn't able to show off the camera in as many situations as I would've liked, will try to update this review section, or post some follow-ups later on when the current situation recedes.

    Stick around for the powerful charging and undying battery experience next!


     
    Last edited: May 3, 2020

    #4
    Batman360, Balaji6t, aris and 8 others like this.
  5. Black Forest Ham
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Apr 21, 2020

    Black Forest Ham , Apr 21, 2020 :
    Power


    The battery charges quick and lasts long, what more is there to want from a phone?

    Longevity

    Confined at home in these present times, my phone usage consists of watching videos, reading, and talking with friends, and a bit of gaming, maybe more than I'd like to admit. Even disconnected from wifi and using cell data - a real waster of battery, especially on a poor signal, I managed every day I've used it with no risk of running flat, or becoming tethered to the charger. The 4510 mAh battery, despite the massive and bright screen draining power, stretches impressively far, averaging 7-8 hours of screen on time over one day, with 120hz and QHD+ display resolution on. 1-2 hours of SOT can be gained by turning the display to 1080p and 60hz, but where's the fun in that? Either way, good to know when on the go without an opportunity to top up. Though battery performance wasn't this consistent straight out of the box, a few timely updates quickly rectified this.

    Screenshot_20200503-222525__02.jpg
    Screenshot_20200503-222520__01.jpg
    In a pure rundown test, the device consumes about 12% per hour at full brightness playing media on data. Very impressive.
    Warp Charge 30T

    Next, we move on to old faithful, renewed. OnePlus has always prided itself upon speed, and the charging experience is no different. The Warp Charge 30T adapter and cable included are the same as the acclaimed accessories accompanying the OnePlus 7 series, and charging performance is as people expect, exceptional. At 5V 6A the device reached an exceptional 65% at half an hour, and was charged to 100% in the full hour!



    Warp Charge.JPG
    I still can't get over the beautifully distinctive red and white look.


    Screenshot_20200503-222746__01.jpg
    Frighteningly fast charging speeds, compared to the standard <2000 mAh on most phones just a few years ago.

    Thanks to the upping of amperage rather than voltage compared to other fast charge standards, there was negligible heat when fast charging, even with the screen on.
    Just out of curiosity, I tried my old 20W dash charge brick from my OnePlus 5T with the new 8 Pro, and I experienced still impressive dash charge speeds, a good thing to know for those seeking an upgrade from previous OnePlus devices; you'll have an extra fast charger.


    Wireless

    A new addition to the roster of specs this iteration is the inclusion of wireless charging, at up to 30W with the Warp wireless charger. I haven't had an opportunity to test this, without a wireless charger on hand. Though there is some complaint about the warp wireless charger being a proprietary and expensive solution, the fact of the matter is that there's no current solution to efficiently and quickly wirelessly charge a phone with the Qi or PMA standard, especially not with the overheat prevention and intelligent longevity features available with the OnePlus solution. I'll most likely pick one up once It's available, especially for the convenience of topping up in even a brief period at the desk. All that being said, the OnePlus 8 Pro is perfectly compatible with standard qi chargers.

    (I don't have one to test it. :/)


    Another interesting, albeit niche addition is the inclusion of reverse wireless charging, a feature I can see very useful for topping up true wireless earbuds when the device is idle. This rings especially true for my airpods, being the only thing in my tech collection that needs a lightning cable, of which I have only one, and will absolutely forget to bring with me on the go.

    wireless charge 2_2.JPG
    Though probably just a party trick to most people, I can see this feature saving a study session from becoming a real bummer due to dead earbuds.
    Overall, more recent OnePlus devices have been known for their lasting battery life, as well as the industry leading charging speed to make any downtime negligible. The OnePlus 8 Pro doesn't stray a single letter from this narrative, and performs better than expected in this regard.
    Now that we're done this quick look into quick charging, let's talk about OxygenOS, and the software goodies tying all the spectacular hardware together!
     
    Last edited: May 4, 2020

    #5
    H1541390925824, aris, Kunu7 and 3 others like this.
  6. Black Forest Ham
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Apr 21, 2020

    Black Forest Ham , Apr 21, 2020 :
    OxygenOS


    A lot has grown with the near stock android experience that was OxygenOS since my last experience with it on the OnePlus 5T, but all are welcome changes nevertheless. Especially returning from the suffocating over-skinned privilege-restricted "funtouch OS" from Vivo, OxygenOS let me breathe again.

    Overview

    Maintaining mostly stock android while adding quite useful features like gaming mode or color filter overlays for reading give what's otherwise a clinical, utilitarian experience a sense of depth and personality, from the airplane mode icon animation, to the vector styled cartoons adorning empty menus.
    Users coming from stock android, or any lightly skinned versions should find everything where they know it to be, though no feature should be out of reach with the convenient settings search bar.


    Zen Mode

    For those of you who haven't tried it before, zen mode essentially disables your phone outside of emergency calls for a set amount of time, to help with concentration or rest.

    Screenshot_20200505-214339.jpg

    I'll admit, I've only used this feature 3 times. However, each of those three times felt very new and interesting, putting me in a position without a distraction by my side for at first, 20 minutes. However, by the third time, 2 hours had flown by without a glance to my phone, and a hidden source of productivity seemed to reveal itself.

    Though I wouldn't describe myself as someone chained to my smartphone, the sudden elimination of a potential distraction was somewhat liberating. Sure, there are apps that can lock down your device for the same purpose, but to have it included on the device itself is a good step in pushing people in the right direction. I know for sure I wouldn't have sought out this feature if it wasn't included on the device.

    Optimization

    Ram boost is a feature I didn't know I needed until I felt it in action, it seems to launch apps or keep apps launched in the background so that once they're switched to, they can react instantly. This may seem like a small change to make, but with apps that take long to launch like games or 3d apps, the seamless transition makes for a much smoother overall experience. Apps where even a short launch time would seem annoying, like a note taking app or smart home controls also see a great, albeit unnoticeable improvement.

    Screenshot_20200505-211129__01.jpg

    Adaptive battery is a step above and beyond android's battery optimization, intelligently deciding which lesser-used apps should have restricted battery, instead of requiring the user to decide whether each individual app should be optimized. I'm unsure as to how much this actually stretches the battery life, but this is a good peace-of-mind feature to include.

    Screenshot_20200505-211111__01__01.jpg

    One thing I didn't go over in the performance review was gaming, but c'mon, you already knew the result. It's phenomenal. Part of this is thanks to the dedicated gaming mode in the system, prioritizing resources and disabling distractions. I'm not really into the whole esports deal, but I'm sure for those who are, the extra performance mode's "fnatic mode" branding is a nice touch.


    Screenshot_20200505-212725__01.jpg

    Customization

    This is where OxygenOS, and really, OnePlus devices shine compared to most others; where custom roms, or at the very least root access would be needed for extensive customization on most phones, OxygenOS has much of the desired features for customization included. Along with the beautiful new live wallpapers released with the device, the look and feel of the phone is easily made one's own with UI elements easily tuned en masse, as well as color schemes completely free to pick from a gradient of colors.

    Screenshot_20200505-212155__01.jpg

    Obviously, the details are what make a device polished and complete, and OxygenOS is full of those details; I'm pretty sure I've only seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of functionality. The rest, I'll leave you to discover for yourselves.


    Next up, a conclusion, and my final thoughts on the OnePlus 8 Pro.
     
    Last edited: May 6, 2020

    #6
    Batman360, Balaji6t, aris and 4 others like this.
  7. Black Forest Ham
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Apr 21, 2020

    Black Forest Ham , Apr 21, 2020 :
    Summary

    Now that we've gone over everything, it seems it's due time for a summary; my personal points for and against the OnePlus 8 Pro.

    The Good

    120Hz Display.
    The responsiveness associated with ui elements and supported games moving at twice the refresh rate of common devices is nothing short of fluid.

    MEMC.
    I consume a decent amount of media on my phone, dedicated frame interpolation to elevate the experience is a welcome addition. Compatibility issues are a concern hopefully addressed in updates though.

    Water Resistance.
    Having phones that have needed parts replaced after being caught in the rain, this is a huge feature for obvious reasons.

    Performance.
    so fast and smooth I didn't even think about it, as always with OnePlus devices.

    Warp Charge 30T.
    The speed of charging parallels the performance, downtime is minimal.

    Wireless charging.
    Useful for topping up as well as avoiding extra wear and tear on the USB-c port

    Speakers with Dolby Atmos.
    Amazing Spatialization, and good audio quality with some tuning.


    The Bad

    Same aluminium and glass sandwich construction.
    Instead of even more premium construction and materials for proudly reaching flagship tier and flagship price, the construction doesn't differ too much from previous devices.

    Display color banding and "black crushing" for low brightness content.
    This software issue is promised to be addressed in an OTA, this issue is present during time of writing.
    EDIT: a recent OTA update, 10.5.8 seems to have rectified this. Good going.

    Big camera ridge.
    Though striking and unique, the industry-leading but easily damaged camera bump makes the device hard to use on a table without a case.


    The Neutral

    Curved screen.
    There are fair arguments for both sides, personally I like the smooth feeling and easy handling, especially swiping in on the curved edges, but this comes at a great cost of fragility, as well as distortion and vignetting to the edges

    No headphone jack.
    I don't use this feature often, and it's one less port on the phone to worry about water and dust getting in. However, no usb-3.5mm dongle was included for the occasional use of wired headphones

    Hole punch front camera.
    Benefits include no mechanical parts compared to a pop-up camera, and it's more out of the way than a notch would be. However, the positioning in this case causes some ui scaling disruptions.

    The price.
    Finally reaching into flagship territory with the 8 Pro, OnePlus has priced the device to match. Despite outperforming competitors while at a lower price point, the price category may be seen as a departure from traditional OnePlus devices.

    The infrared camera.
    Frankly, amazing idea, not so amazing execution. The small and low quality sensor renders images mostly unusable without heavy postprocessing and stacking. (See camera section)


    Conclusion

    Perhaps my review of the device read like an endorsement, or advertisement, but you'll have to excuse my excitement bleeding through. Coming back to Oneplus after a rough year or two away has made me appreciate even more how much the design, hardware, and features of the phones have improved, both over other manufacturers, and over their own previous devices.

    As for whether or not the OnePlus 8 Pro is a convincing buy, I'd say it depends on where you are in the upgrade cycle. Anyone with a OnePlus 7 or 6 series shouldn't be struggling at all with performance, so I don't believe specs should be a reason to upgrade. However, the vastly improved cameras as well as flagship-beating creature comforts such as the QHD+ 120hz display, wireless charging, and water resistance make a more compelling argument. Finally has OnePlus created a true flagship device capable of sinking others in every category.


    _______________________________________​

    This brings us to the end of this OnePlus 8 Pro review, hopefully some useful information was gleaned, and I've helped you make a purchasing decision. If you weren't interested in getting one in the first place, I hope the pictures and videos along the way made it an enjoyable experience nonetheless.

    Of course, if there's anything I've missed along the way, or anything you'd like me to go more in-depth on(there's a lot to talk about with this phone for sure), ask away in the comments, or send me a message!

    My heartfelt gratitude goes out once again to @Zach X. for managing and including me in this round of the OnePlus Lab, and @dsmonteiro , as well as my fellow lab reviewers @Pchambers89 ,@MosheG1 ,@DriesBleus ,@G_Bédouin_Axel_vZuV ,@PuCiNhOOO ,@DmkCoggin ,@masenov1 , @AbhilashSaikia , and @yashonagori for the support and assistance along the way.

    And lastly, thank all of you, the OnePlus community. Without your encouragement I couldn't have worked so hard to create this content.


    Look for my posts soon with more fun content, I have a few interesting projects planned with this new device…

    final_1.JPG
    Thanks for reading.

    Never Settle.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2020

    #7
  8. MosheG1
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 26, 2020

    MosheG1 , via OnePlus 7 Pro , Apr 26, 2020 :
    this review is stunning! I knew it would be the best! that video literally blew my mind! it could have been an official promo! I can't get over how awesome this review is 🤯
     

    #8
  9. Batman360
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Apr 26, 2020


    #9
  10. bagufix
    Gingerbread Apr 26, 2020

  11. MosheG1
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 26, 2020


    #11
  12. G_Bédouin_Axel_vZuV
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 26, 2020


    #12
  13. karthik yadawad
    Ice Cream Sandwich Apr 26, 2020

  14. JelleZon
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Apr 26, 2020


    #14
    superplus, Bouncer71, Achman and 5 others like this.
  15. AbhilashSaikia
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 26, 2020

    AbhilashSaikia , Apr 26, 2020 :
    And... that is why you were chosen again to be a LAB Reviewer.
    I'm stunned with everything - the video, the photos, and the well-organized writing. This is good stuff!
    That intro video is so good.. the sound design, the shots! It felt like an official promo.

    @Black Forest Ham I'm waiting for the next parts.
     

    #15
  16. YRJ
    The Lab - OnePlus 7T Reviewer Apr 26, 2020

    YRJ , Apr 26, 2020 :
    I personally vouch for this as the most visually appealing review, probably ever!
    That's some solid work there. :hearteyes:

    I wanted to read it in-depth but the pictures are tooo distracting.

    P.s. Keep me distracted in the follow up posts :grin:
     

    #16
  17. X1568011601156
    Donut Apr 26, 2020

    X1568011601156 , Apr 26, 2020 :
    This is a very good review and covers a lot... With this review I am finding my 7 pro obsolete....
     

    #17
  18. Ghanishtk
    Eclair Apr 26, 2020


    #18
    Black Forest Ham and MosheG1 like this.

  19. #19
  20. Q1531215137512
    Cupcake Apr 26, 2020

    Q1531215137512 , Apr 26, 2020 :
    1+ is just a number
    one plus is an feeling[e]2665[/e]️[e]2665[/e]️[e]2665[/e]️[e]2665[/e]️[e]1f60d[/e][e]1f60d[/e][e]1f60d[/e] always having a special place in my [e]1f493[/e] eagerly waiting [e]1f47b[/e] no need of review [e]1f60d[/e][e]1f60d[/e][e]1f60d[/e][e]1f60d[/e]
     

    #20