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[The Lab] - OnePlus 8 Pro Review By @pchambers89 via OnePlus 8 Pro

  1. Pchambers89
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 19, 2020

    Pchambers89 , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Apr 19, 2020 :
    Header_02-02-02.png

    [The Lab] OnePlus 8 Pro Edition

    Review by Patrick Chambers

    Hello, OnePlus Community and tech enthusiasts! It's that time of year again and OnePlus has announced the latest additions to their renowned smartphone lineup: the OnePlus 8 series. Preceding the launch of the new device, the OnePlus Community brought back The Lab, an annual tradition unique to OnePlus that opens up the world of tech reviewing to enthusiasts like you and me. I am one of the lucky 10 entrants chosen to review the OnePlus 8 Pro and have had my hands on the device for a while now. But before diving into the review, I'd like to wholeheartedly thank OnePlus and The Lab for this amazing opportunity. I'd also encourage you to head over to the other reviewers' pages and see the great work they've put together for you as well!

    While I've had my eye on OnePlus since the company's inception, I've never actually owned one of their phones. I either haven't been in a position to upgrade, or have found other options that better suited my wants. With this in mind, I will be presenting the OnePlus 8 Pro to you through the perspective of someone who's never used a OnePlus device and what it's like to jump into their OxygenOS environment. Whether you're a OnePlus diehard and you're reading this on a McLaren Edition 7t Pro, or you still think OnePlus is a math problem, this review will help you get a better understanding of what this device is all about and help you decide if you should give you're hard-earned money to this company.

    [Contents]

    The review will be presented in seven installments, starting with the one you're reading now:
    1. Unboxing & Design (included in this post)
    2. Display - 6.78" 120Hz Super Fluid AMOLED Display
    3. Performance - Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 865 | 12gb RAM + 256gb Storage | Dolby Atmos®
    4. Camera - 48mp Main & 48mp Ultrawide Lenses | 3x Telephoto Lens | Color Filter Lens | Super Macro
    5. Battery and Charging - Warp Charge | Wireless Charging | Reverse Charging
    6. OxygenOS - Fast, Smooth, Efficient operating system based on Android 10
    7. Summary - Final thoughts and impressions
    Now on to the review!

    ________________________________________
    [Unboxing]

    [​IMG]

    You've been waiting for days, maybe weeks. You keep finding excuses to look out the window. You've checked your tracking number half a dozen times and, yes! Your new phone is out for delivery! You hear the rumble of the delivery van... Footsteps outside... A knock at the door... It's here! You tear open the delivery packaging and what's inside? A red box containing your new OnePlus 8 Pro. The wait is over.

    As the old adage goes, you should never judge a book by its cover. Well, between you and me, I think that's utter nonsense as that's the whole point of a book cover – to set the first impression. When your OnePlus 8 Pro introduces itself to you, it presents itself in a classy, modern-looking red box with clean, minimalist black text. My first impression is that I have something in my hands that doesn't need to be overly flashy to have good design and inside the box, this theme is continued. Let's have a look...
    [​IMG]
    I've got to admit I love the minimalist branding on both the device and the packaging. The inclusion of a case is a great touch too, that you don't see that much in other smartphones.

    Inside, we have the standard assortment of literature you've all come to expect, including a quickstart guide and a letter from the founder. There's also a fun sticker pack included (note to other companies: more stickers, please!). You have a slick-looking transparent TPU case with the OnePlus slogan, "Never Settle" imprinted into the back, sim eject tool, OnePlus' iconic red charging cable, a Warp Charge 30 power brick (more on that in a future update), and of course the device itself, wrapped in a protective plastic covering.

    Absent from this year's model is an included screen protector, likely due to the curved screen making a return in the 8 Series devices. In a disappointing move, OnePlus has also opted to not include a USB-C headphone adapter (that's right, there's no headphone jack on the phone). I, personally, only use bluetooth headphones, but even in 2020, this is still a point of major contention among smartphone consumers – particularly among commuters who prefer the reliability of wired heaphones and earbuds over power-hungry bluetooth sets. An adapter can be bought separately for about $13 USD, but it'd be nice if it was just included with the phone.
    [​IMG]
    The included letter from the founder, Pete Lau, is a nice touch and a reminder of the close relationship the company has with its community members.

    I've exercised restraint in sifting through this material rather than jumping straight to the phone so that you don't have to. Now that that's out of the way, let's get to the phone itself!

    ________________________________________
    [Design]

    [​IMG]
    My first impression: this phone is HUGE! Look, it didn't even fit in this photo!

    Okay, full disclosure time: I've never been one to buy the "XL" or "Plus" or "Ultra" version of anything before. I generally prefer the one-hand-friendly nature of the standard variants of phones, so jumping up from my Pixel 4 to a phone that has a screen approaching 7" is a bit of a leap. That said, it's rounded edges feel very comfortable in the hand and the glazed finish on the glass back keeps it from being too slippery, though if you have smaller hands or are prone to drops, you may want to keep this guy in a case. The phone has a fair bit of heft to it that may turn some users off, but I like the solid, planted feeling it gives.

    As you can see, the device OnePlus sent me to review is in the Ultramarine Blue color. Additionally, the Pro variant of the OnePlus 8 can be had in Onyx Black or Glacial Green (which I'm told looks stunning in person). The base model Oneplus 8 loses the Ultramarine Blue option, but gains a very unique color-shifting finish called Interstellar Glow, which if you haven't seen already, stop reading this and go give it a look.
    [​IMG]
    Props to OnePlus for the sleek, simple camera layout.

    On the back of the phone, we have a central hump, housing: a 48mp wide-angle lens, a 48mp main lens, and the color filter lens. To the left of the camera hump is the 3x telephoto lens at the top, with the auto-focus sensors, microphone, and flash below. I have to give points to the OnePlus design team for their simple approach to a quad-camera layout. I find this presentation much more pleasing than the gaudy, trypophobia-inducing camera configurations offered by Apple and Google.

    Aside from the camera and some simple branding, the back of the device is nice and clean, showcasing the phone's beautiful glass construction. During the official launch video, an anecdote was told about a photographer working with OnePlus who commented that the Sellar Glow model was the hardest device to photograph he'd ever worked with. I haven't seen that color in person, but even the Ultramarine Blue presented quite a challenge to photograph, with the etched logos seeming to appear and disappear depending on the angle and lighting. When held at certain angles, the back of the phone has the illusion of being concave and whether the backing behind the glass is actually shaped or this is just a trick of the eye, the phone is very appealing to look at and the blue really pops in the sunlight.
    [​IMG]
    This simple little switch makes adjusting between silent, vibrate, and ring a breeze!

    The front of the phone is just about all screen and has a very thin slit of a top speaker grille. I've already managed to get a grain of sand lodged in said grille, but was able to work it free with a toothbrush. On the left edge of the phone is a volume rocker and on the right is the power button and a clever three-position slider switch that sets the notification level to either silent, vibrate, or ring. This is my new favorite feature and is a solid one-up on the iPhone's mute switch. All three of these buttons are easy to activate and have very little play in them out of the box.

    Finally turning on the phone, that 6.78" super-fluid display comes to life. Once you've completed the setup process, you'll want to just scroll and swipe forever, taking in the incredibly smooth 120Hz screen. This is your first introduction to the OnePlus's core design philosophy: Fast, Smooth, Efficient.
    [​IMG]
    I was a bit wary of the in-display fingerprint reader but whatever wizardry the OnePlus engineers have put to use under the screen here is working. After setup, unlocking is fast and seamless every time.

    ________________________________________

    [First Impressions Recap]

    Overall, I'm impressed with the phone so far. Despite it's size, it's still pleasing to hold and operate. I can't wait to get into a deep-dive look with you on the 120Hz display in the next portion of this review as it really is one of the key features that sets the OnePlus 8 Pro apart from any other device I've seen. My initial impressions of the phone are good - OnePlus has put together a solid device. I have noticed a few hiccups which I will address in future updates as they become relevant.

    There is, however, one larger compatibility issue I've encountered so far. I'm currently using Verizon's network and, while the phone should be compatible with the existing 4G network, I've had an issue where I can't receive text messages. I called and had Verizon change my account to CDMA-less, but that didn't solve the issue. Another reviewer on Verizon has not had the same problem, though, and I have both OnePlus and Verizon looking into the issue. It could be a fluke, but I'll keep you posted as the situation develops. Otherwise, my time with the device has been very positive and once the kinks get ironed out, I'll be happy to have the OnePlus 8 Pro as a daily driver.

    That's all for now! Thanks for taking the time to read through the review so far and I encourage you to come back for the next segment where I will be looking into the display on this beast.

    *** UPDATE 1: 4/27/20 *** With regards to the compatibility issue with Verizon: AndroidPolice.com is reporting that they received a statement from OnePlus revealing that they failed to release the IMEIs of 8 and 8 pro units prior to the launch and that it could be as late as June before the devices begin seeing full support.

    *** UPDATE2: 5/1/20 *** Verizon had now certified both the 8 and 8 Pro for use. You must log into your Verizon account and go through the Change Device menu (this works best if you have powered off your phone and put the SIM in an old device that has previously worked on Verizon). I can confirm that I am now receiving text messages on my own 8 Pro unit. Good Luck!
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2020

    #1
  2. Pchambers89
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 19, 2020

    Pchambers89 , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Apr 19, 2020 :
    [Display]

    [​IMG]

    This subtle live wallpaper changes shape depending on the weather in your area.

    I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who will argue with me on this one, but the display is one of the most important components of any smartphone. Whether you're scrolling through your Instagram feed, reading a news article before bed, or binge-watching your favorite Netflix series, your point of interaction is always the screen. On average, we spend over three hours looking at our smartphones each and every day, and when they act up, we notice it. OnePlus has spend a lot of R&D on making sure you don't notice this screen.

    Let me clarify so they don't show up at my door and demand I give the phone back. Think of any display screen as a window: something we look through to see something else. When the window is dirty or broken, it distracts us from the view outside. A smartphone display is no different – we want to see content, not a phone. And when everything works the way it is supposed to, the OnePlus 8 Pro is the perfect window for viewing content.

    ________________________________________

    [The Good]

    [​IMG]

    There's certainly no shortage of screen customization options. Reading mode is great to reduce distraction or eyestrain if you're a heavy reader.
    As I've mentioned before, my previous phone was a Google Pixel 4 which has an impressive 90Hz display and I love it. Every time I'm playing a game or watching a video, my wife looks up from her iPhone 11 Pro and comments on how great the display looks on my Pixel. With that being said, I was skeptical that my insignificant, jelly-filled, human eyeballs would even register the bump from 90Hz to the 120Hz refresh rate on the OnePlus 8 Pro. Boy, was I wrong.


    I don't know what the technical term is, but let me put it this way: the display on this phone is freakin' awesome! Fast, smooth, and efficient has been the OnePlus doctrine from the start and they've really executed well on the 8 Pro. Let's go through some of the highlights and I'll give some context on what they mean as we go. If you're a technophile and love stats, you can thank me now.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a little context on the topic of brightness. Over there on the left is the OnePlus 8 Pro and the next closest device is the Samsung Galaxy S20. This is probably the best performing screen in terms of brightness and contrast I've ever seen. Source: PCMag.com
    6.78" Display (measured diagonally from corner to corner with an aspect ratio of 19.8:9) – The first part speaks for itself. The ratio part is a bit tricky but basically, it means its a tall phone, but not much wider than a device like a standard iPhone 11 or Pixel 4.

    3168 x 1440 QHD+ with 513ppi – When held normally, the screen measures 3,168 pixels tall and 1,440 wide - this is the size of our screen. QHD stands for Quad High Definition, or four times regular Hi-Def (which is 720p). The plus part means the screen is a little taller than the QHD standard. 513ppi means there are 513 Pixels Per Inch and this is referred to as the screen density. Basically, a higher screen density means a more crisp, higher resolution image.

    AMOLED Technology – This stands for Active Matrix Organic Light Emitting Diode. Whew! Now, what the heck does that mean? Without getting too technical, it means that each pixel generates both color and light. This makes for a thinner, more vibrant display than older LCDs, which need a backlight that washes out color saturation. Additionally, OLED displays shut off pixels that are black. This means more contrast with less power consumption. The benefit of AMOLED over OLED is the individual pixels can be grouped together much more densely, allowing for higher screen density.

    10-bit Color Depth – The screen can display over 1 BILLION different colors! This makes for more life-like images that are not just more vibrant, they're more accurate too.

    4,096 Brightness Levels – More levels of brightness means much more smooth transitions between each setting. So if you have auto-brightness enabled and you walk from a bright room into a more dimly lit one, the transition will be much more seamless.

    1300 nits Maximum Brightness – Essentially, the higher the number, the more bright your screen can get. When you take your phone out on a sunny day, you'll want your screen to be as bright as possible. For comparison, the iPhone 11 Pro has a home screen brightness of 902 nits, and the Pixel 4 has a brightness of only 400 nits.

    [​IMG]

    You can manually toggle between 120Hz and 60Hz, and on compatible apps, the display will use a fancy upscaling technique to make lower framerate content look even better.

    At the risk of sounding like a broken record, the 120Hz refresh rate is what really ties all of this together (in my very humble opinion). I've mentioned it a lot, but if you're wondering, 120Hz means the screen can refresh up to 120 times each second. If you've ever been watching a low-quality video and the picture isn't smooth, it's likely because it was either recorded or played back with a low frame rate. Now, not all content is filmed at 120Hz so OnePlus has used a graphics smoothing technology called MEMC or Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation. This looks at each individual frame of a video filmed at a lower frame rate, estimates what a frame would look like between each frame, and then inserts it into the video, which makes the playback much more smooth. Imagine running your fingers over a rough surface. Now imagine that roughness being filled in to make it smoother. Graphics smoothing works the same way. I hate to say it, but this is really something that must be seen to appreciate. Even simple things like scrolling through web pages is so much smoother and more immersive.

    MEMC is primarily supported on video apps, but I haven't run into many instances of it not working and it works on Netflix and YouTube. Occasionally it will stumble a bit, but all-in-all it works quite well.



    [​IMG]

    Love it or hate it, the punch-hole front camera is here on the 8 Series.

    The only physical distraction on the front of the phone is the punch-hole camera. I know there are many users out there who would rather have seen a pop-up front shooter, but personally, I think this is the best compromise in functionality. I rarely notice it's there at all and it's far less intrusive than a notch or massive forehead bezel (*cough* Google *cough*).

    The one thing I don't like about the physical construction of the display is the blasted curved screen. I understand the point is to give the illusion of a truly bezel-free construction and in that regard, it performs beautifully, but I find it introduces a whole new host of issues like phantom-touches and distortion (more on that in a bit) that could be avoided, as well as create unnecessary cost increases. Not to mention, it's nearly impossible to apply a tempered glass screen protector to these curved displays. On that note, the screen is protected by Corning's 3D Gorilla Glass, but it's still not impervious to scratching.




    [​IMG]

    While there's no notification light, the AMOLED display allows for an edge lighting notification effect that OnePlus calls Horizon Light, which pulses the edges of the screen when you receive a notification.
    ________________________________________


    [The Not-So-Good]
    To quote Green Day, nobody's perfect and I stand accused. The same goes for any tech device and the OnePlus 8 Pro is no different. As I mentioned just before, the curved screen can cause some issues of distortion, presenting itself as what looks almost like a shadow at the edge of the screen when held at certain angles. This is only really noticeable on bright or white screens and while it isn't catastrophic, it is still noticeable. The other issue which has plagued many AMOLED devices is a greenish smudging effect across the screen when black or dark images and pages are viewed in dark environments with the screen at or near minimum brightness. While this isn't an issue for the bulk of your daytime usage, you may notice it if you like to browse your phone in bed before you fall asleep. This issue was also reported on the Samsung Galaxy S20 when it was first released, though it was later fixed in a software update. AMOLED displays are prone to this issue, but let's hope that OnePlus can come up with a fix. One more problem which can occur when watching video with very dark scenes is the transition between areas of absolute black and lighter areas can be noticeably jagged, blocky, or pixelated. This could be a hiccup in the actual streaming of the video rather than a problem with the phone itself but is one more thing I will keep an eye on.

    *** Note *** While writing this post, OnePlus released OxygenOS version 10.5.5 which is reported to address, at least in part, the "smudging" problem and address edge touch sensitivity. I have not had time to test this but will respond to inquiries and update this post if I notice any changes.


    [​IMG]

    On the left you can see some shadowing at the edges of the screen caused by the curved glass and on the right is a photo of the low-brightness "green smudge" issue that many users are reporting.
    ________________________________________

    [Summary]
    All things considered, I am blown away by the capability of the screen on the OnePlus 8 Pro. It is brighter, more vibrant, and far more responsive than anything I have seen in a mobile device before. I've always been one to look for tech devices that feel more like an extension of myself than an accessory. They have to be efficient and seamless and not distract me from my reason for using them. So far, that has largely been my experience with this phone. Everything is so smooth and I have found myself searching YouTube for the highest quality videos I can find just so I can be fully immersed in how awesome the screen on this phone is.

    At this point, the device is not without its quirks and issues. But it's important to keep in mind that it has just recently been released and no amount of testing and quality control can replicate the use of thousands of individual users all using the device in different ways, so some things are bound to fall through the cracks. This is one of the risks of being an early adopter to anything – if you want to be the first to try something new, you have to be prepared to accept a few bumps along the way. As evidenced by the very existence of this review, OnePlus has a close relationship with its community and our input is what makes these devices what they are. As such, I have confidence that the 8 Series will only get better as it ages.

    *** UPDATE 4/27/20 *** The OxygenOS update to version 10.5.5 seems to have greatly reduced the number of phantom touches on the edge of the screen caused by the rounded edges. The "green smudging" effect at low brightness settings has also been improved, though it looks like the minimum brightness level has just been raised, masking the problem rather than solving it. Either way, the user experience has improved in my opinion.

    *** UPDATE 5/3/20 *** While the 10.5.5 update does appear to mask the "green smudging" screen issue, I am having OnePlus ship me a replacement device through their warranty program to see if it has the same issue.

     
    Last edited: May 3, 2020

    #2
    buntycubal, Creaco, meatandy and 14 others like this.
  3. Pchambers89
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 19, 2020

    Pchambers89 , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Apr 19, 2020 :
    [Performance]

    [​IMG]

    I was fortunate enough to get a max-spec'd model with 12Gb of RAM and 256Gb storage capacity.

    A fancy-looking car is nothing without a good engine. Similarly, the gorgeous screen on this phone is nothing without some quality chip work running the show.

    To be fast, smooth, and efficient, OnePlus has put the latest from Qualcomm to work under the hood with a SnapDragon 865 at the heart of everything. Additionally, you've got a whopping 8-12Gb of LPDDR5 RAM which is close to 30% faster than previous models while using 20% less power. More speed and better efficiency. Who doesn't want that?

    As well as plenty of memory, the 8Gb OnePlus 8 Pro has 128Gb of UFS 3.0 storage and the 12Gb model has 256Gb of space. I'm pretty conservative when it comes to storage use, generally only needing about 30Gb, but some people who have large music collections or store large files like RAW images may find the lack of expandable storage dissapointing. In an attempt to offset this, the OnePlus 8 Pro ships with Google One preinstalled and includes 100Gb of cloud storage free for three months (normally $1.99USD/month for 100Gb, with other options reaching all the way up to 30Tb).


    [​IMG]

    Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Player Unknown's Battlegrounds looks fantastic, even with settings maxed out.

    I'm not a super heavy mobile gamer and I mostly stick to wandering around town playing Pokemon Go, but I dabble in more power-hungry games from time to time. One of my favorites is Player Unknown's Battlegrounds and this game runs beautifully on the OnePlus 8 Pro. The combination of the fantastic screen and the performance to run everything at max stats lets me see and fire on baddies before they even know I'm there.

    When you fire up any game, the phone automatically enters Gaming mode which optimizes the device for performance. Need a little more oomph? Tap the button to enable Fnatic mode, a special gaming-optimized setting co-developed with professional esports team, Fnatic. This gives you a further boost in performance, as well as optimize network connectivity so you don't have to worry about lag. Fnatic mode performs well but comes at an obvious cost of battery life.


    [​IMG]

    Fnatic mode is supposed to really kick up the performance. I didn't notice a huge improvement, but it's already so smooth its hard to tell. But it does limit notifications, which is nice.

    This phone truly has the guts to handle anything I can throw at it. I'm usually pretty conscious about closing apps when I'm finished using them, but I never really felt the need to with the OnePlus 8 Pro. It seemed no matter what I decided to do, the phone just did it. I never ran into lag or freezing at any point, whether that was streaming Netflix videos or playing online multiplayer games. When you demand a lot from your device, you're bound to start taxing the battery, but the drain under hard use was much better than I anticipated.

    [​IMG]

    As you can see, the OnePlus 8 Pro smokes my Pixel 4 when it comes to 3DMark's graphics benchmark test.

    One thing that surprised me was that the phone never gets very hot. When I've put other devices through heavy gameplay and use, they tend to heat up, get laggy, and have the battery life basically drop through the floor. Heat management is a big issue in electronics, especially in small devices like smartphones that don't have a lot of room for fancy cooling systems. The fact that this phone stays so cool is just another testament to its efficiency.

    [​IMG]

    To be honest, I have no idea what any of these numbers mean. But the OnePlus 8 Pro has the highest numbers. So that's good. I think.


    To complement the great visual prowess of the phone is Dolby Atmos stereo support, which does a great job of creating three-dimensional sound when held properly. This is very impressive, considering the minuscule size of the speakers on this phone, though it doesn't get terribly loud and I think the dedicated dual front-facing speakers on even older devices like my ZTE Axon 7 perform better. Still, it's a lot better than a lot of other phones with a similar speaker configuration.

    [Conclusion]

    This phone makes everything you do so seamless and easy. Booting up the phone is fast and switching between apps is lightning-quick. I really wouldn't know where to ask for more.

    To return to my car analogy, Ferrari wouldn't be the company it is today if their engineers couldn't build an engine to go with the styling of their cars. Likewise, as pretty as this phone looks, it wouldn't be anything without a solid complement of processing power. This is the backbone of the Fast, Smooth, and Efficient philosophy behind the OnePlus brand and they have really fought their way into the heavyweight class of flagship devices. Ultimately this is a phone that doesn't know the word "compromise" and never leaves you wanting more from it.
     
    Last edited: May 1, 2020

    #3
  4. Pchambers89
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 19, 2020

    Pchambers89 , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Apr 19, 2020 :
    [Camera]

    [​IMG]

    I can't stress enough how much I like this camera layout.

    On to the camera now. Photography is the one thing I am most passionate about. Because of that, I'm almost always shooting with my full-frame mirrorless camera and usually keep my phone in my pocket. This despite me coming from a Google Pixel 4 – regarded as having one of the best cameras on any smartphone. And while it is a powerful device and phone cameras have come a long way, I find the images produced on my Pixel always look unnatural and edited. With that being said, there are plenty of instances where carrying around a full-frame camera just isn't practical, and this is where a phone can come in to fill the gaps.

    At the time of this review, the world is still in the middle of the global pandemic, COVID-19. Because of this, my use of the OnePlus 8 Pro camera has been limited to my home and property, which, being in Maine with a few snowstorms still lingering around, is still pretty brown and lifeless. Regardless, I will do what I can to put this phone's camera through its paces.

    Let's start off with some comparison photos between the 8 Pro and the Pixel 4.

    ***NOTE*** For best results, you may want to open each image in a new tab in your browser. I've linked to full resolution images to show you the capability of the camera, but they may open too large in this page to view effectively.

    [​IMG]

    Quick and dirty comparison between the Pixel 4 and OnePlus 8 Pro.

    In the image above I've taken three photos of (roughly) the same composition. I did not tap to focus or adjust exposure just to see how each phone decided to evaluate the shot. On the left is a shot with the Pixel 4, in the middle is the 8 Pro at 12MP, and on the right is the 8 Pro at 48MP. The Pixel exposed the shot a bit darker and, despite having a lower ISO, has a lot more noise in the shadows and the shadows themselves have lost most of their detail. The center photo is about half a stop brighter and had retained much more detail in the shadows with a very manageable level of noise. This photo looks the sharpest of the three to me. On the right is the 8 Pro again, but shot at 48MP. The photo isn't quite as sharp and the shadows have lost some detail, but there still isn't much noise present. The photos on the 8 Pro are also a bit warmer than on the Pixel, which in my observation has a problem of a heavy green tint in the white balance. All three shots show some uncompensated lens distortion if you look at the bottom edge of the shelf.

    [​IMG]

    A white ring appears around the punch-hole camera to let you know when its in use. Also, apologies for the selfie...

    Here is a comparison between the portrait modes on both cameras. Both have fairly comparable edge detection on the blur. You can see my hair caused a bit of a challenge for both phones, but both perform well. However, the OnePlus outperforms in detail, color balance, and exposure levels. The OnePlus Camera blurred the background a bit more, but if you open the Pixel's photo in the Google Photos app, you can adjust the background and foreground blur – neat, but one more step to take. Again, the Pixel has a heavy green tint and the shadows are unnaturally lifted. The 8 Pro is vastly sharper as well but seems to have a little less contrast. This surprised me but I think I have to give the win to OnePlus.

    [​IMG]

    Unlike a lot of HDR shots, the shadows here aren't lifted too much.

    Here we see the ultra-wide angle lens in use at 48MP and UltraShot HDR enabled. I don't normally like auto HDR mode on phones as they tend to be a little overexaggerated in the exposure balance between highlights and shadows, but the OnePlus 8 Pro isn't terrible. There's a good amount of detail overall in this shot, but if you're a pixel-peeper like me, you'll notice the grass loses a lot of detail. The white-balance is a bit on the cool side as well.

    [​IMG]
    My baby!

    Now for a few photos from my favorite setting on this phone - Super-Macro Mode. Sharpness and detail are amazing on the macro shots and there is a very pleasing natural depth of field that doesn't relly on artificial background blurring. Trying to focus on a single thin branch with nothing close behind it can be a challenge, but the results are very impressive. Here are a few more examples of Super-Macro Mode:

    [​IMG]
    Not letting the rain keeping me inside today.

    [​IMG]
    This little girl usually gets pretty grumpy when you wake her up but decided a photoshoot in the sun was acceptable. She got some crickets as a treat.

    [​IMG]
    There's a neat option in the camera settings to automatically insert a Shot on OnePlus watermark. Pretty neat, but don't forget it's turned on as I did...

    Below is a comparison between a normal photo and the color lens OnePlus has included which is a version of infrared photography tech. I am a big fan of infrared photography and it is normally a very expensive genre to get into, requiring expensive modifications to your camera. OnePlus has included an infrared lens on the 8 Pro, but its only a minuscule 5MP sensor. Part of the fun of infrared photography is taking the photo into post-production software to produce stunning, alien-looking effects. But with a sensor, this small, the photos out of the camera are extremely low quality and would be only further degraded by post-production. It makes for some really cool effects but feels like a gimmick and I'd rather OnePlus had either used a better sensor for it or scrapped it all together in favor of something different like a longer telephoto lens.


    [​IMG]
    Photochrom makes for a fun party trick but isn't really usable enough in my opinion.


    The Pixel 4 uses a Sony IMX363 12.2 MP sensor for the primary rear camera and a 16MP sensor for the telephoto lens (no wide-angle). This sensor is over three years old, however, and in my opinion, is showing its age. Megapixel rating isn't everything, but computational image processing isn't going to cut it in every situation. Now on to the 8 Pro which features
    • Sony IMX689 48MP main rear camera with both optical and electronic image stabilization and an aperture of f/1.78
    • 48MP ultra-wide-angle camera with a field of view of 119.7° and an aperture of f/2.2
    • 8MP telephoto camera with optical image stabilization and an aperture of f/2.44
    • 5MP color-filter camera with an aperture of f/2.4
    • Sony IMX471 16MP front punch-hole camera with electronic image stabilization and an aperture of f/2.45
    Video performance is outstanding. Standard shooting ing 4k @ 30/60fps and 1080p @ 30/60fps both look very crisp and well stabilized. I got some really cool footage of my grill's gas burner igniting using the slow-motion camera. It produced great footage, but getting it to focus was a bit of a chore.

    Other camera modes include time-lapse, nightscape, panorama, and pro with the latter giving great control over shutter speed, ISO, focus, and exposure compensation.

    [Conclusion]

    I have to say the camera on the OnePlus 8 Pro surprised me. I haven't been terribly happy with the camera on the Pixel 4 for a while now, but given how much positive fanfare it receives, I figured that was as good as it gets. OnePlus has proved me wrong there and a look at the stats tells me that the computational image processing used by Google is great for some things like night photos and astrophotography, but is underwhelming in everyday use.

    I want to reiterate my appreciation for the simple layout of the 8 series's camera. The camera bump is fairly substantial, but I haven't found this to be as off-putting as other users have expressed. It makes sense to have a larger housing when you're incorporating things like optical image stabilization and moving lens elements. If anything, it makes the back of the phone sit at an angle, which keeps the glass lens covering from coming into contact with whatever the phone is laying on. Pop a case on the phone and you'll never notice the camera bump anyway. I've heard a lot of feedback from people wishing the pop-up camera had made a return on the 8 Series. I have never owned a phone with a pop-up camera so I think I have a case of truely not knowing what I'm missing. However, I do understand the growing privacy concern of fixed front-facing cameras. Unfortunately, something like this can't be changed in a software update so if the lack of a pop-up camera is a deal breaker, I suppose your upgrade decision has already been made.

    I haven't gotten a chance to test OnePlus 8 Pro's nightscape photo mode yet and am looking forward to having a clear night where I can test it out as that is really where the Pixel 4 shines. I will likely be adding more photos to this post so stay tuned for updates!
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2020

    #4
  5. Pchambers89
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 19, 2020

    Pchambers89 , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Apr 19, 2020 :
    [Battery & Charging]

    [​IMG]
    A sweet animation comes up when you plug into the supplied warp charger.

    Battery life is something I tend to overlook when I'm shopping for a new phone. I've amassed such a collection of chargers at this point that it isn't often that I'm very far from a power source to top off my phone's juice. It is really easy for me to get distracted by the shiny party of the OnePlus 8 Pro's user experience and I haven't found myself actively considering the battery all that often. And now that I think about it, that's pretty impressive considering everything this phone has to do. The top-notch screen and processing power must demand a lot of, well, power, but even with heavy use, I haven't felt any battery anxiety.

    I have had QHD+, 120Hz refresh, Wi-Fi, location, pretty high brightness, vibrant color effect, and motion graphics smoothing all enabled and I've easily been able to get a full day's use out of the phone. I decided to run a bit of a stress test on the 4510mAh battery and used the phone a lot more than I normally would, including about an hour of playing PUBG, lots of YouTube videos, and plenty of online articles and Reddit browsing. With the exception of plugging in for about 10 minutes to test an app showing the battery level around the camera punch-hole, I was able to go a full 15 hours between charges with a total of 8 hours and 7 minutes of screen-on time. Pretty impressive. Ordinarily, I don't use the phone nearly that much and a charge from when I get up around 7am usually leaves me with about 20-30% left at the end of the day with about 5-6 hours of screen-on time.

    [​IMG]
    10pm after a day of heavy use. Color me impressed.

    While on the topic of unplugging your phone as soon as you wake up, OnePlus has developed a feature called Optimized Charging. As you probably know, it's not great for the longevity of your battery to leave it plugged in once it's fully charged, but most of us plug our phones in when we go to bed and just forget about it. Rather than change people's habits, OnePlus decided to change the phone. With Optimized Charging enabled, the phone will stop charging overnight once it hits 80% and keeps it there. Over time, it learns when you usually get up and starts charging 100 minutes before that time so it's fully topped off and ready to go when you are. If you have an alarm or event scheduled for an earlier time, the phone adjusts accordingly. OnePlus says it is continuing to develop this tech so that it will be able to account for things like later nights on the weekend and adjust for timezone differences when traveling.

    [​IMG]
    To be honest, the red charging cable was the first thing that caught my eye about OnePlus...

    While I haven't had to charge the phone all that much, I can say that the charging capabilities of both the phone and the charger are very impressive. My phone dropped down to about 10% and I plugged it into the Warp Charger and within an hour I was fully topped off. Impressively, the phone wasn't nearly as warm as I would have expected which is nice since there's a little part of me that still gets nervous about leaving a phone unattended while plugged in.

    For the first time, OnePlus has included wireless charging in one of their devices (though, sadly, only on the Pro version) and built the Warp Charge 30 Wireless charger just for this phone. While it will charge just about any Qi-supported device, when paired with the OnePlus 8 Pro, it is supposed to be nearly as fast as wired charging. OnePlus claims it will get you a 1-50% charge in 30 minutes, though due to supply and time constraints, I have been unable to get one of these chargers to test it out.

    The phone also supports reverse wireless charging which allows you to use the phone as a wireless charger for essentially any other device. I tested this out on my Pixel 4 just to see if it worked and sure enough, the Google phone began sucking the life force from the 8 Pro. Satisfied that the feature worked, I promptly banished the Pixel back to the desk drawer.

    [Conclusion]

    I'm trying hard to find things I don't like about this phone, but it's becoming increasingly more difficult, and now I've found that it seems like it never dies. Everything about the phone works well together and it never gets in the way of what I need to do. A good phone battery is one you don't have to think about and that is exactly what you get with the 8 Pro.
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2020

    #5
  6. Pchambers89
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 19, 2020

    Pchambers89 , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Apr 19, 2020 :
    [OxygenOS]

    [​IMG]

    Though my time with OxygenOS has been brief, I am pleased with the flavor of Android OnePlus has served up for us. I mentioned early on in my review that one of my reasons for not giving OnePlus a try sooner was that I found other options suited my needs better. One such need is for a smooth, as-close-to-stock Android experience as possible. I've used Samsung devices in the past and early on, they were great. But they have diverged so much from the vanilla Android experience I love so much, that they seem one step away from developing their own operating system altogether. Then I moved to the Essential PH-1 (RIP) and eventually the Pixel 4 and swore I'd never leave stock Android again. The Android developers are good at what they do and companies that think they know better have to be able to justify their changes. While I certainly noticed the change from stock Android to the OxygenOS skin, it was a seamless transition and I might even go so far as to call it an improvement.

    All in all, OxygenOS doesn't feel like it's trying to cover up Google's version of Android. But rather, it introduces you to new tools and experiences. Zen Mode, for instance, feels like a natural progression of Google's Digital Wellbeing feature, forcing you to put your phone down for a pre-set amount of time, say, 20 minutes. During these 20 minutes, you can't use your phone for anything except for making emergency calls and using the camera (you can still receive calls if someone is trying to get ahold of you). OxygenOS also includes its own launcher, which feels very much like the Pixel Launcher of Google and even includes a Google feed page if you swipe to the left of the Home screen.

    Several other tweaks I've mentioned already, like the Gaming mode, tweaks to the display, and the clever power management OnePlus has implemented all feel like something that should just natively be a part of Android.


    [Things to Improve]

    One feature from stock Android I wish OnePlus had left alone is the system-wide dark mode. While the difference isn't huge, it's still there and sometimes apps don't recognize that OxygenOS is in dark mode, and still show in a light theme. I also miss the ability to schedule dark mode according to sunset and sunrise.

    Another quirk I've noticed is that if you have the Digital Wellbeing Bedtime mode enabled (also known as Grayscale mode), you can't have night mode enabled on top of it which is a little annoying if you're used to those two things kicking on at certain times. Another small adjustment I'd like to see made is increasing the size of the trigger area for the gestures to go to the home screen and recent apps. It isn't too bad, but it feels a little cramped, especially with a case on the phone. I can imagine a thicker case making these gestures downright awkward to initiate.


    [Conclusion]

    I've been hesitant to move to an environment of anything other than the pure experience offered by the Pixel phones. I like the speed and light weight that the vanilla OS offers. OnePlus has done a great job of adding only useful features that don't bog down the OS. Just about everything works well together and makes for a smooth, pleasing user experience. If you're a fan of vanilla Android, you'll take to OxygenOS like a duck to water and find the little surprises OnePlus has added along the way useful and unobtrusive.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2020

    #6
  7. Pchambers89
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 19, 2020

    Pchambers89 , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Apr 19, 2020 :
    [Review Summary]

    [​IMG]

    My experience with OnePlus thus far, though short, has been very positive. I’ve been using the OnePlus 8 Pro for about a week and a half now and it is clear that the company has put together a true flagship device that can go toe-to-toe with the other heavyweight contenders.

    There are so many things it just does well. I’ll admit, it is a bit bigger in my hand than I would ordinarily want, but it is well built, feels solid in-hand, and has amazing aesthetics. The flavor of Android that OnePlus has served up for us is delightfully lightweight and rather than trying to cover up the stock Android experience, it enhances it with clever additions like Zen mode and Optimized charging. The camera is so much fun to use. I have to say it easily matches, if not, surpasses the camera on the Pixel 4. Yes, there’s no pop-up camera this year, but you really don’t notice the punch-hole camera that much, especially when you hold the phone in landscape orientation. And then there’s the screen… where to begin? It’s fast, responsive, bright, vibrant, and HUGE! When paired with the smoothness of OxygenOS, this makes for the most immersive smartphone interface I have experienced.

    There are a few kinks that need to be ironed out, particularly with the screen, but again, this phone has just been launched, and just as with any new product, there are bound to be some things that slip through the cracks. But after participating in the forums here, I have confidence that OnePlus is listening and making adjustments to make this phone even better than it already is. I love being an early adopter of things when I can be. I think it’s fun to try out something new, see what works and what doesn’t. You get to witness first hand as the product grows into its own and see how it changes. I’m sure there are plenty of you reading this, though, who are thinking, “sure, but this is a company whose slogan is ‘Never Settle.’” I’ll give you that, but hear me out.

    OnePlus makes phones. That’s all they do. Samsung and Apple have a massive and well-established supply chain, but they also have a very diverse product and service range as well (I don’t remember seeing a OnePlus refrigerator or desktop computer the last time I was in Best Buy…). What sets OnePlus apart from them is their community. They listen to their user's requests and try to figure out how to put those requests into a device people want to buy. The community has asked for flagship features and OnePlus as unquestionably delivered their first flagship device. For a company like OnePlus, this means their costs for including these features are a little higher since they don’t sell nearly as many units as the bigger companies, and unfortunately this cost gets passed on to the consumer.

    There has been plenty of grumbling over the $899 to $999 price tag for this phone, and that is a lot of money. But OnePlus has managed to deliver a top-spec’d flagship device that still undercuts the competition. An iPhone 11 Pro will run you about $1149USD from Apple and a Galaxy S20+ 5G will run you close to $1200. And that doesn’t come with the OnePlus community or the fast, smooth, and efficient experience OnePlus Offers. Do you really want to be a slave to Apple’s rigid iOS? Do you really want to have to ask Bixby for help? That certainly sounds like settling to me.

    If there is one thing my experience on The Lab review squad and my participation and observance of the OnePlus community forums has taught me, it’s that this is a company that listens to and cares about its customers. Every relationship has its disagreements. But those disagreements lead to understanding and learning experiences. I can now say with certainty that this is the relationship I want to be a part of. I hope this review has given you a better understanding of what OnePlus and the OnePlus 8 Pro are all about. When it comes time to upgrade, they will be at the top of my list. Whether you’re a long-time supporter, or this is your introduction to the company, I suggest you give them a shot because you deserve to NeverSettle.

    [​IMG]

    * Acknowledgments: I would like to again thank OnePlus and The Lab for offering me this awesome opportunity. The fact that such a program exists is evidence of the company’s commitment to keeping a close relationship with its users. I’d also like to thank the rest of The Lab review squad: @AbhilashSaikia, @masenov1, @PuCiNhOOO, @yashonagori, @G_Bédouin_Axel_vZuV, @Black Forest Ham, @MosheG1, @DriesBleus, @DmkCoggin, and our two tireless OnePlus contacts, @Zach X., and @dsmonteiro. You guys are an amazingly talented bunch and have all been super helpful. Lastly, I have to thank my wife. She was super skeptical that I’d ever actually receive the phone but has been amazingly supportive throughout the whole process and was instrumental in helping me figure out Illustrator and Photoshop.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2020

    #7
  8. Macusercom
    Gingerbread Apr 25, 2020


    #8
    CashMooreLLC and Pchambers89 like this.
  9. Pchambers89
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 25, 2020


    #9
    Macusercom and CashMooreLLC like this.
  10. Black Forest Ham
    OnePlus Accessory Tester Apr 25, 2020


    #10
    Creaco, CashMooreLLC and Pchambers89 like this.
  11. CashMooreLLC
    Cupcake Apr 25, 2020

    CashMooreLLC , Apr 25, 2020 :
    Kudos, @Pchambers89!

    Posting ARGUABLE (?*) OPINION - 4/25/2020


    Just a few more days and I'll be able to do my own (unwritten) review!

    I have a 7t, the best value and not a noticeable enough difference from the 7t Pro to warrant the extra cost. (Read: value conscious!)

    Nice article. Thank you for your precise and revealing review. Very insightful and extremely well written. I agree about the headphone jack but the ring mode toggle/slider made up for it. I'm assuming it was in consideration of space and a hard design decision about which they foresaw taking flak.

    In my opinion, the facts you present echo OnePlus's claims and its own sentiments about its product and confirms that it isn't just a bunch of hype.

    The OnePlus "Team Machine" have obviously delivered on their claims.

    I have more to post/reply, but am saving it to do some fact checking with my carrier, T-Mobile, first. 🤓 Check back for some extra reply either quoted directly from T-Mobile's own mouth, or from them directly (look for logo)
    ------

    *... please, correct me if I am wrong, or, am I just
    preaching to the choir here?🤔😴[e]1f604[/e]
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2020

    #11
    AbhilashSaikia and Pchambers89 like this.
  12. Pchambers89
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 25, 2020

    Pchambers89 , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Apr 25, 2020 :
    Thank you so much! Stay tuned [e]1f609[/e]
     

    #12
    CashMooreLLC likes this.
  13. Pchambers89
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 25, 2020

    Pchambers89 , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Apr 25, 2020 :
    Thanks! Sounds good. I look forward to your thoughts!
     

    #13
    MosheG1 likes this.
  14. Pchambers89
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 25, 2020

    Pchambers89 , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Apr 25, 2020 :
    I think the move to not include a headphone jack, as well as ditch the pop-up camera came from a need to safe space for other things like the 5G antenna. additionally, these features would have increased the weight a bit and the pop-up camera represents mechanical feature that can fail over time.

    There are a few kinks that OnePlus needs to work out with the 8 series but I think you'll love it once you get yours!
     

    #14
  15. MosheG1
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 26, 2020

    MosheG1 , via OnePlus 8 Pro Ultramarine Blue , Apr 26, 2020 :
    this review is awesome! you really knocked it out of the ball park here! it even had some great humor that made me laugh out loud (if you think OnePlus is a math problem...) and the pictures are stunning! can't wait to see the rest!
     

    #15
    AbhilashSaikia and Pchambers89 like this.
  16. Pchambers89
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 26, 2020

    Pchambers89 , via OnePlus 8 Pro , Apr 26, 2020 :
    Thank very much! It's a fun process!
     

    #16
    MosheG1 likes this.
  17. MosheG1
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 26, 2020


    #17
    Pchambers89 likes this.
  18. Pchambers89
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 26, 2020


    #18
    BeingIncog and MosheG1 like this.
  19. MosheG1
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 26, 2020


    #19
    Dynamic_Double and BeingIncog like this.
  20. masenov1
    The Lab - OnePlus 8 Pro Reviewer Apr 26, 2020


    #20
    Dynamic_Double and Pchambers89 like this.