OnePlus 8 Review: All you need?
The OnePlus 8 is the lesser of two OnePlus smartphones released in the Spring of 2020. This device and the OnePlus 8 Pro are very similar, in many respects. Knowing the difference between the two could allow you to avoid spending a couple of hundred dollars more than you need. Knowing the abilities of the OnePlus 8 could also allow you to decide whether you want this generation – or would be just fine owning a device originally released a year or two ago.
The OnePlus 8 (non-pro) works with a 6.55-inch Fluid AMOLED display with a 20:9 aspect ratio and 2400 x 1080 pixels across its face. This gives the machine a 402 PPI (pixels per inch) pixel density, or just under the 513 PPI of the OnePlus 8 Pro. The OnePlus 8 Pro has a slightly larger panel, too, at 6.78-inches.
If you’d like to see direct comparison photos between the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro bodies and display panels, take a peek at our OnePlus 8 Pro Review: No more illusions. There you’ll see a whole lot more about the other differences in color and camera, too.
You might also want to take a peek at our feature OnePlus 8 VS OnePlus 8 Pro hands-on: Cheaper or better? Spoiler alert: It’s not that simple. If you’re making the decision for a single all-at-once price, you’re talking a couple hundred bucks. If you’re talking a per-month cost, the price jump is well worth the bigger, more powerful phone.
The OnePlus 8 has curved edges and a single punch-hole in its display for its single front-facing camera.* The display works with the ability to switch image refresh rates, between 90Hz and 60Hz, much like the OnePlus 7T (and 7T Pro), and the OnePlus 7 Pro. The display on the OnePlus 8 is very, very similar to that of the OnePlus 7T.
But the OnePlus 7T has a flat display, and a water drop notch instead of what’s on the OnePlus 8 – which, again, is a circular punch hole. Now, if only OnePlus would reconsider that pop-up front-facing camera module and a flat panel, with 90-degree angle corners. I just want that perfect panel!
OxygenOS, Android Software
OnePlus employs a reworking of Android they call OxygenOS in each of their OnePlus smartphones released over the past several years. This software experience is ever-so-slightly different from what you’d get with a “vanilla” Android, with features from OnePlus that focus on the specific abilities of the hardware.
OnePlus also has its own “OnePlus Tips & Support” in Settings, and an app that’s made to access the OnePlus Community for OnePlus brand updates and forum access. Each successive update to the OnePlus OxygenOS experience has resulted in this, a version that provides OnePlus-specific value to the end user without being overbearing.
*OnePlus provides a simple-to-use set of controls to modify the ways in which you work with the OnePlus 8’s display punch hole. If you’d like, you can bump the entirety of your display space down low enough that you never need “see” the hole at all. You’ll find this slightly smaller display size in play by default for apps that do not (yet) have the ability to dynamically deal with a punch. You can also choose to force individual apps to pretend there is no punch at all.
The software for the audio experience in the OnePlus 8 is essentially identical to that of the OnePlus 7T, same Dolby Atmos options and everything. The actual audio levels also seem to our ears to be identical – we won’t know if it’s the exact same hardware inside until we gain access to the innards – but for now, it would seem that we’re working with the same audio experience here as we were with the OnePlus 7T – which is good.
The dual-speaker “3D listening experience” delivered by the loudspeakers on this device get louder than is reasonable in an apartment living room. Blasting heavy metal tracks we’ve found sounds to only get a bit “blown out” at the very highest couple of volume notches. Avoid “going to 11” here and you’ll find a generous set of speakers.
The range remains as impressive as it was with the OnePlus 7T, able to present a lowest-possible audio level (just a notch above silent) at a point at which it’s usable, and able to be heard at arm’s length – and not a lot further.
The OnePlus 8 camera array is slightly different from the OnePlus 8 Pro. The OnePlus 8 Pro is generally better than the OnePlus 8, in most respects. The OnePlus 8 has a smaller minimum focus distance – so you can get more up close and personal on the OnePlus 8 than with the OnePlus 8 Pro.
The OnePlus 8 has the following set of specifications.
Rear camera – Main• Sensor: Sony IMX586• Megapixels: 48• Pixel Size: 0.8µm• Lens Quantity: 6P• OIS: Yes• EIS: Yes• Aperture: f/1.75
Macro Lens• Megapixels: 2• Pixel Size: 1.75µm• Aperture: f/2.4• Ultra Wide Angle Lens
Ultra Wide Angle Lens• Megapixels: 16• Aperture: f/2.2• Field of View: 116-degree FOV
The camera software on the OnePlus 8 went through a few major changes in the past few weeks, since we first got the device to review. If OnePlus hadn’t been on-the-ball with the software in this device right out the gate, we might’ve had to use a few blown-out examples of shots in ideal lighting conditions, but what we’ve got instead is a device that takes great photos AND renewed confirmation that OnePlus has a definite interest in making certain they’re delivering a best-possible experience for the hardware they’ve shipped.
The OnePlus 8 takes surprisingly good photos in most conditions. One example in the gallery below was captured through the grille of a car, where it was dark – the long exposure system enabled on this phone is top-notch. The slow-motion video has great potential – if it’s opened up a bit more with a slightly more professional set of options, it could be fantastic.
Above and below you’ll see examples of photos and video captured in a variety of conditions with the back-facing camera array of the OnePlus 8. Take a peek at our OnePlus 8 camera: Photo examples and video in slow motion for ongoing coverage and future updates on the camera experience.
From absolutely drained 0% battery charging with the Warp Charge charger included with the OnePlus 8 (in the box), we’ve gotten an average of 35% battery in 15-minutes. OnePlus suggests that this “Warp Charge 30T” is supposed to go from 1% to 50% in 22 minutes. In our tests, starting at 0% battery, we’ve averaged around 52%. The OnePlus claim is pretty gosh-darned accurate.
The OnePlus 8 works with a 4300mAh battery that’s never failed to last us less than a full day’s work. That’s 100% charge in the morning, at 8AM, not needing a charge with several hours of web browsing, Instagram, Twitter, and a couple hours of Pokemon Quest, as well as checks of email and notifications from several apps throughout the day – until bedtime after 11PM.
The OnePlus 8 is a seven hundred dollar smartphone that you’ll be able to purchase from OnePlus starting on April 29, 2020. This device will cost you approximately $58/mo for 12 months if you buy it from OnePlus online (working with Affirm for monthly payments), or $116.50 per month for 6 months.
Those prices are for the most basic version of the smartphone, in “Glacial Green” with 8GB RAM and 128GB internal media storage. If you’d like the version with the multicolored exterior casing like what we’ve photographed above, you’ll be looking for “Interstellar Glow”, and you’ll be paying a bit more. The Interstellar Glow version includes 12GB RAM and 256GB internal media storage, and that version starts at approximately $800 USD.
On 5G connectivity – this isn’t the one you’ll probably want, unless you’re looking for non-Verizon 5G connectivity. This device has 5G bands N2, N5, N66, N41, N71, and isn’t prepared to make use of mmWave. So you’ll still have 5G connectivity in most regions around the world, with the right SIM card, but not the fastest-available 5G here in the USA. For that, you’ll need the OnePlus 8 5G UW.
Both colors of OnePlus 8 family devices we’ve seen so far (shown above) are fantastic. Not that you’re going to use either one without a case, but just assuming you’re going to try, they’re good. They’re good stuff.