Phones UpdatesTechnology
Trending

OnePlus 8 Pro — Magic For The Fingers

OnePlus 8 Pro is indeed a machine and the prefect game device for gamers, it's camera is another thing to consider, the design is just so perfect, scroll down to learn more of the wonderful specs of this phone

So many might not be familiar with OnePlus and its products, it’s probably the reason why people always express a sign of wonder on their face when it’s talked about.

OnePlus is capable of producing high powered devices and this, they’ve proven correctly in the 8 Pro device, that has many great attributes we are going to be seeing.

The OnePlus 8 Pro was the company’s flagship smartphone for 2020. Starting at a steep $899, the OnePlus 8 Pro is easily the most expensive smartphone OnePlus has ever launched.

For years now, OnePlus has been transitioning from its early days of being a ‘Flagship Killer’ to becoming the flagship. While the rebellious teen phase certainly made for good marketing, it’s also not a sustainable business model, especially if the company had to keep up with the growing competition and maintain its performance standards.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

So now we have the OnePlus 8 Pro, a phone that’s expensive but also the most feature-complete device OnePlus has ever come up with. Remember how every year there would be that one thing that would be missing from a OnePlus smartphone feature list? Well, not this year. Short of having foldable screens, the OnePlus 8 Pro has every feature imaginable.

QHD 120Hz AMOLED display? Check. Flagship chipset? Check. A multitude of cameras? Check. Fast charging, wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging? Check, check, check. There’s even a dust and water-resistance rating this year.

This should be the dream OnePlus smartphone, then. Maybe even the dream smartphone, period. In many ways, it was. Back when we first reviewed it, we were very impressed with the overall package. Most of our complaints could probably be summarized as just nitpicks, which isn’t always the case with every flagship device. And also unlike most other flagships, the OnePlus 8 Pro was still a bit cheaper, making it – shockingly – good value in comparison. It was especially good value in India, where all the 2020 OnePlus phones are cheaper than they are worldwide.

So now that this phone has been on the market for a while, we have had a chance to live with it daily. This included going through what the phone had to offer every day but also see how things evolve over time as it keeps getting software updates. So here are our final thoughts after several weeks of living with the OnePlus 8 Pro.

Read More: Samsung Galaxy S20 Fe — The Phone Of Your Dreams

 

Design

The OnePlus 8 Pro is so far the most refined iteration of a design that we first saw with the OnePlus 6. It’s not a fresh look but manages to be distinctive simply by not being yet another phone with a square camera cutout in the corner on the back.

But while the back of the phone manages to defy the status quo, the front is a different matter altogether. The front of OnePlus phones has mirrored whatever was the current trend at the moment. Whether it was notches, popup cameras, to now hole punches, you can expect to see it on the latest OnePlus phone. Throw in a curved screen and the OnePlus 8 Pro looks like just about any other flagship Android smartphone on the market.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

It’s not a bad design by any means and the phone does look quite attractive with its thin bezels and a screen that goes halfway across the side of the phone. However, OnePlus isn’t winning any awards for originality here, with the company getting what are essentially hand-me-downs from Oppo. You can often guess what the next OnePlus phone is going to look like based on an existing Oppo phone.

Of course, cost-cutting is a big part of this exercise, as OnePlus phones are made in Oppo’s facilities. Still, it would be nice to get a totally original OnePlus design sometime.

Lack of originality aside, our other major complaint with the design is that the phone is still quite big and heavy. The size may or may not be an issue for you personally but the weight does tend to get cumbersome after holding the phone for a while. This is one area where the regular OnePlus 8 has a huge advantage, as it feels so much thinner and lighter in hand.

Aside from these flaws, the OnePlus 8 Pro feels fantastic in hand. The Glacial Green finish on one of our review units has a silky smooth texture that looks great and feels even better. The buttons all operate with tight tolerance and nice tactile feedback. The slider to control sound mode continues to be a useful feature and operates with such firm, satisfying clicks that it makes you want to slide around just for the heck of it.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

The camera bump on the back, weirdly enough, isn’t as bothersome as we expected it to be. OnePlus has done a good job balancing the phone so it never really wobbles much when it’s on a desk. You can use the phone just fine this way and unless you tap the screen unusually hard the phone stays stable throughout.

Of course, the big addition this year was the IP68 dust and water-resistance rating. Now, OnePlus phones have had a basic level of ingress protection for a while now but they were never rated against any industry standard. This time around, you know they’ve put in additional work in making sure the thing is sealed tight enough to meet the IP68 rating. This just gives additional peace of mind if you do end up using the phone in a wet or dusty environment.

Overall, it’s still a good-looking and well-built smartphone. It’s not going to stand out like that bronze Galaxy Note20 and it would be nice if OnePlus could come up with at least one truly original design in the future. But that shouldn’t take away from the fact that this is still a well-made and practically designed phone.

Display

The OnePlus 8 Pro is an absolute monster when it comes to the display specs. It’s a 6.78-inch curved AMOLED panel with 3168×1440 resolution, 120Hz, 10-bit color, and HDR support. There’s also a fingerprint scanner built-in along with a cutout for a camera. Even just three years ago these display specs would have seemed impossible but now we have all of them in one device. And you can use all of the specs too, and not like what Samsung did with its S20 and Note20 Ultra phones, where you can have either high resolution or high refresh rate.

Unsurprisingly, the display on the OnePlus 8 Pro is excellent. It’s incredibly sharp, has great color accuracy, excellent viewing angles, and thanks to the 120Hz refresh rate, really low response times. Being an OLED panel also gives it some inherent advantages, such as high contrast and perfect blacks.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

But this dream screen has a few issues, two of which were outlined within the specs at the beginning of this section. The lesser of the two is the hole punch for the camera.

Now, admittedly, we are somewhat ambivalent about this. It does intrude upon your content, which depending upon the content can be egregious or barely noticeable. It also pushes all the notifications on the side, which means there is less space for them. OnePlus has also placed the camera on the side and not the center of the display like Samsung, so you’re never quite in the center of the frame unless you adjust the phone accordingly. Objectively, it is also a worse solution than the pop-up camera, which placed no intrusions upon the display and also added a layer of privacy.

On the flip side, this is one of the easier things to get used to. With a clever wallpaper and dark mode, the camera pretty much just disappears into the background, and the only time you’ll notice it is when watching some fullscreen content or in a game. And if you don’t see it all that often, you’re rarely ever thinking about it. Over time, it’s easy to get over it, and if you weren’t bothered by it to begin with then it’s even less of an issue.

The other issue is less easy to ignore and that is the curved edges. We have said this many times before but we aren’t big fans of curved edges. This is a sentiment echoed by almost every reviewer and also many users but somehow every manufacturer who implements this has decided to turn a blind eye to those complaints so they provide the trendy look that probably attracts customers in stores.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

A curved display is once again objectively inferior to a flat display. The curve presents a multitude of issues. The most severe one is of accidental touches. Android has no palm rejection to speak of because somehow manufacturers learned how to bend screens before they learned how to make you not touch them when you don’t want to. Accidental touches were an issue with the OnePlus 7 Pro a year ago and it’s an even bigger issue now because the OnePlus 8 Pro has even more dramatically curved edges than its predecessor.

For anyone who hasn’t used a curved screen for a considerable period, these are the sort of things you can expect to happen during a normal day. Holding a phone in your hand, if you try to reach for something on the other end of the screen with your thumb, you will either trigger something at the base of your thumb or when you do land your thumb on the thing you want, it wouldn’t work because the screen is already detecting a touch elsewhere. You could be looking at a photo or a web page and try to scroll but instead of scrolling the image or the page will instead zoom because it detects another touch elsewhere on the screen where you are holding the phone and now thinks you’re trying to zoom.

Now imagine you are trying to take a picture in the camera app. The edge of the screen will occasionally show that you tapped there to focus even though you are just holding the phone in your hand and can’t help touch the screen. Sometimes, the shutter button won’t work because the screen is already detecting a touch somewhere else.

After you went through all that nonsense in the day, imagine you are now in your bed. You are using the phone by holding it above your head while lying down, a pretty common situation. When in this position, you normally tend to grip the phone by its sides more firmly than when you are standing up, as those are the only two sides you can now use for support. Now imagine having to shuffle the phone around constantly in your hand or switch to a more precarious grip because the moment you grip the phone by its sides firmly the screen either goes haywire or you can’t use it anymore because it’s sensing contact at multiple points.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

These are just some of the situations that you will face with an aggressively curved screen like the one on the OnePlus 8 Pro. The size of the phone also makes this worse, as you often have to adopt a more firm grip on it, which especially causes the screen to freak out. This was an issue on the OnePlus 7 Pro, the OnePlus 7T Pro, and now both the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8 Pro. This is a problem with curved screens in general and somehow manufacturers just gloss over this major UX nightmare because they want their phones to look pretty in pictures.

Curved screens also affect the image negatively. A not-so-insignificant portion of the screen is now bent away from you. The curve alone causes issues with refraction within the glass, giving the edge a darker, green tint, Then the curved area beyond the curve is just darker in general. The OnePlus 8 Pro display looks like it has vignetting around the edges. This means there is less usable display real estate than what is being advertised. The curved edges also tend to catch glare and reflections more often and the warping naturally distorts content.

Overall, this is a lose-lose situation for the customer. You may like how the curved screen looks on the phone when it’s off but there’s no denying there are disadvantages of having a curved screen vs a flat one.

The last thing we want to mention regarding the OnePlus 8 Pro display is less generalized and more device-specific. We have heard multiple reports so far regarding issues with the display on the OnePlus 8 Pro. These are quality control issues that range from color patterns to color tints. OnePlus has acknowledged these issues in the past and assured that it is working on them. Whether they have done so already or are still working on them is unknown.

For what it’s worth, our OnePlus 8 Pro display is flawless, with none of the issues that the users have reported. Our review unit is sent by OnePlus but it is a final production unit. Whether or not this is a special cherry-picked unit for reviewers cannot be verified. At the same time, not every OnePlus 8 Pro user had this issue, so this is more of a luck of the draw situation and we could have just gotten lucky.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

To prove that point, our OnePlus 8 and Nord displays do have an unusual issue that we haven’t seen being reported by customers. Both those units tend to dim the screen slightly when the display automatically switches its refresh rate from 90Hz to 60Hz when not in use, a feature also on the OnePlus 8 Pro. However, while our OnePlus 8 Pro remains the same regardless of its refresh rate, our OnePlus 8 and Nord displays become darker when the display automatically switches to 60Hz and then gets back to normal when we interact with the screen and it goes back to 90Hz. We have brought this issue to OnePlus’ notice but they are yet to get back to us.

We understand that it can be quite frustrating to have issues like this on a brand new device. It is especially serious now because these are no longer affordable, mid-range smartphones, at least not the OnePlus 8 series. Some of these issues wouldn’t be acceptable on any phone. OnePlus clearly needs to work more on the quality control of its devices. Phones with displays like these should have never left the factory. The fact that they did means either OnePlus isn’t looking carefully enough or has particularly low QC standards, and neither is a good position to be in. We hope the company considers these issues, offers a replacement for those who are affected and is more stringent with future launches.

Battery Life

The OnePlus 8 Pro has a 4510mAh battery. These days, with upwards of 5000mAh starting to become increasingly common, this might not seem like much on paper, but the OnePlus 8 Pro battery has enough juice to power the phone all day.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

The phone comes with the same excellent Warp Charge 30 charger, which charges the phone completely from 0% in just under an hour. This year, OnePlus has also thrown in wireless charging. The phone can charge wirelessly from any Qi-enabled charger but you can also purchase the optional $69 OnePlus Warp Wireless Charger, which provides fast wireless charging times that are quite close to what you can get through the wired charger. It has its limitations, such as a somewhat noisy fan and fixed cable but if you want the convenience of wireless charging and fast charging, this is your only solution for this phone.

Audio quality

There is no headphone jack here nor any audio adapter provided in the box, so we will just move on to loudspeaker sound.

The OnePlus 8 Pro has a stereo speaker system, with one on the bottom of the phone and the other doing double duty as the earpiece. While the speakers sound decent and also get loud enough, the problem with them is that the sound is unbalanced. The earpiece speaker sounds much more prominent for most of the volume range.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

The only way to remedy this is to place the phone on a hard surface like a desk so the bottom speaker can bounce its sound off towards you for a more balanced stereo sound. Or you can keep increasing the volume and past 80% or so the bottom speaker suddenly gets loud enough to match the earpiece speaker. However, it does sound a bit different than the earpiece speaker with a more bassy, mid-focused sound than the more treble-focused earpiece speaker, so it still sounds a bit unbalanced.

Performance

The OnePlus 8 Pro is a proper 2020 flagship. This means it has the highest-end (at the time of release) Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, up to 12GB of LPDDR5 memory, and up to 256GB UFS 3.0 2-LANE storage. OnePlus has never skimped on the hardware specs of its flagship devices and it wasn’t going to start with the OnePlus 8 Pro. This is pretty much as the top of the line as it gets (again, at the time of launch when there was no Snapdragon 865+).

However, having the top of the line hardware is just half the battle won. OnePlus also spends a considerable amount of time and engineering effort into optimizing its software. Several key aspects of OxygenOS have been tweaked to shave off a few milliseconds here and there. This, combined with the 120Hz display means the performance is damn near flawless.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

The OnePlus 8 Pro just mows through applications and interfaces. The user experience is both fast and fluid, once again in large parts thanks to the software optimizations and the high refresh rate display. It’s difficult to get any app to faze this device, largely because it can just brute force its way through them.

But it’s possible; Twitter for Android, for example, is a completely irredeemable piece of trash software that cannot be made to work smoothly even with a supercomputer. Scrolling remains choppy in this app and even the Snapdragon 865 inside the OnePlus 8 Pro cannot smooth things out here. Another pile of stuttery mess is Google Play Store; it has improved over the years but it will still stutter while loading in new app titles.

These are moments where you realize sometimes you just can’t get a smooth and fast experience no matter how much money you spend because at the end of the day you are still at the mercy of inept developers. However, by and large, the OnePlus 8 Pro does feel invincible in action and is generally an absolute pleasure to use.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

Games are another matter. While the device has enough power to run any title on the Play Store at its maximum display refresh rate, it can’t quite do that for two reasons. First of all, for whatever reason, games just don’t seem to run beyond 60Hz on the OnePlus 8 Pro. The only two titles we could confirm that work are Fortnite and PUBG Mobile. These two work because they have specifically been authorized by OnePlus to work. It seems the company just blocks other titles from working over 60Hz. There are multiple titles on the Play Store now that can run as high as 144fps (just check any ASUS ROG phone) but are locked to 60fps or more often than not, just 30fps.

The other issue is overheating, which is likely what causes the previous issue. Unlike some of the gaming-focused smartphones, the OnePlus 8 Pro is not designed to dissipate a lot of heat quickly. This means the phone tends to get fairly warm and that does affect performance after a while as the chipset throttles down. The phone is also physically too warm to use comfortably at this point and will occasionally also throw an overheating message up on the screen. This was something we observed quite often when running Fortnite at the 90Hz refresh rate.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

This is not a flaw with the OnePlus 8 Pro as such, nor is it limited to this particular device. It’s been sometime now that flagship smartphone chipsets have exceeded the thermal limits of most modern smartphone designs but manufacturers continue to shove them inside thinner phones every year. This means you can’t use the hardware to its full potential because sooner rather than later you are going to run into the thermal limitations of the device.

This isn’t to say you can’t play games on the OnePlus 8 Pro. Most games will run just fine on this phone without causing much in the way of overheating or thermal throttling. But if you are someone into more demanding titles, then you are going to be better off getting a device designed for that use case.

Camera

The OnePlus 8 Pro has the now customary quad-camera system on the back. You get the main camera, an ultra-wide, a 3x telephoto, and a “color filter” lens.

The main camera this year is the Sony IMX689, which is an upgraded model over last year’s IMX586. The IMX689 is a physically larger sensor and since it has the same resolution it means larger pixel size. As with the IMX586, this is still a Quad Bayer sensor, which means you will still get 12MP images by default. The sensor is paired with a 7 element lens with an f1.78 aperture.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

The ultrawide camera this year is the IMX586, which was a real power move by OnePlus. Most companies are still sticking this sensor in their main cameras but OnePlus decided to use it for its ultrawide lens. This 48MP sensor has a 120-degree field of view and an f2.2 aperture.

Next is the telephoto camera, which has been carried over from last year. Once again, we are getting a 13MP sensor of some kind with f2.44 aperture, OIS, and 3x magnification over the main sensor. That’s right, it’s a 13MP sensor, not 8MP as OnePlus advertises it. That’s because, like last year, the 3x magnification is achieved by cropping into the 13MP image, which results in an 8MP final image.

The 13MP camera, without cropping, has about 2.2x magnification over the main camera. You can access the full width of the sensor in portrait mode, where all 13 megapixels are used.

The last camera on the OnePlus 8 Pro was originally used for infrared photography. The sensor on an infrared camera isn’t necessarily special but it does feature an infrared filter, which blocks wavelengths of light in the visible spectrum while allowing near-infrared light to pass through. This light, when mixed with the existing color filters on a digital camera, can produce fascinating false colors, known as the Wood Effect.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review

The issue with an infrared camera is that some materials are transparent to infrared light even though they may be opaque to visible light. This can include some clothing materials, which means an infrared camera can have an unintended consequence of seeing through clothes. Needless to say, it took only a matter of time for people to discover this ‘feature’ and make a big kerfuffle out of it. OnePlus then swooped in and disabled the camera entirely for a while.

In its latest version, the infrared camera now does not itself take any images. Instead, it provides color information, which is then used in conjunction with the main camera to create an image with fake false colors. The effect also works only outdoors under bright light and because it is faked, it can’t actually see through any materials anymore.

We’ll get back to how well that works in a bit but first, let’s talk about the main 48MP camera. The inclusion of a larger sensor has had a noticeable impact on image quality on the OnePlus 8 Pro compared to its predecessor. The IMX689 sensor is a full stop brighter than IMX586 for the same amount of noise level; it has roughly the same amount of noise at ISO 3200 as the IMX586 has at ISO 1600.

This has allowed OnePlus to be more aggressive with its tone-mapping algorithm, as it can now more successfully recover shadows without too much visible noise. The company also made the odd decision to go ham on the sharpening, possible to make the image seem more detailed than it is on the previous generation phones (or indeed, even the OnePlus 8 that has the older IMX586 as the main camera). However, this is just oversharpening, as the level of detail between the two sensors is nearly identical and can easily be verified by comparing the raw images from both cameras.

The image quality from the main camera on the OnePlus 8 Pro is satisfactory. On a technical level, there isn’t much to complain about the images you get out of this phone. The question then is if you prefer OnePlus’ particular way of rendering colors. OnePlus’ color science is a mishmash of what you find on Apple and Samsung’s cameras, where it tends to lean towards warmer tones with a touch of overexposure.

Main camera daylight samples - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/3932s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Main camera daylight samples - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/4559s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Main camera daylight samples - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/4559s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Main camera daylight samples - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/5607s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Main camera daylight samples - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/4559s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Main camera daylight samples - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/4050s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review
Main camera daylight samples

Main camera lowlight samples - f/1.8, ISO 500, 1/33s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Main camera lowlight samples - f/1.8, ISO 1600, 1/17s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Main camera lowlight samples - f/1.8, ISO 2000, 1/14s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review
Main camera lowlight samples

Main camera Nightscape samples - f/1.8, ISO 1000, 1/25s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Main camera Nightscape samples - f/1.8, ISO 2000, 1/10s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Main camera Nightscape samples - f/1.8, ISO 1600, 1/13s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review
Main camera Nightscape samples

OnePlus especially tends to add an excessive yellow tint to all of its images, which affects all beige-colored objects like pale stone walls but also makes foliage look yellower than green. This is not entirely to our taste and it doesn’t look particularly appealing in any situation. It’s also something that once you notice you can’t stop seeing in almost every daylight image from a OnePlus phone from the past three years. This is something that can be edited out but removing a particular color tint is not something you can do on most mobile editors and requires a fairly powerful desktop editing software.

Another issue that’s not exclusive to OnePlus is of spherical aberrations caused due to the unfortunate combination of a relatively large sensor, relatively wide aperture, and a wide focal length. As anyone with a basic understanding of photography will attest, the wider the aperture, the softer the image tends to be due to the reducing plane of focus. This is especially true for larger sensors, as they tend to have a much shallower depth of field for similar focal length and aperture than a smaller sensor. On top of that, you have a wide focal length, even on the ‘standard’ main lens, which means you are required to get physically close to the subject if you want a tighter shot. This results in the aforementioned unholy trinity coming together in producing some of the worst spherical aberrations we have seen over the years on smartphones.

The most sensible solution to this problem would be to have a variable aperture, either a free-flowing one or with preset steps. Samsung dabbled with this recently, only to give up on it when it was most necessary. A variable aperture will allow the camera to stop down in bright light, thereby increasing the plane of focus and causing more of the image to be in focus while also reducing aberrations in close-up shots.

OnePlus tries to combat this a bit by automatically engaging macro mode when it detects you are too close to your subject. First of all, this is annoying and should definitely have had an option to switch off, but doesn’t. Second, switching to a different lens with different optical characteristics and a completely different (and worse) sensor behind it is hardly a solution. Of course, this solution also helps you to focus at all, as the main camera isn’t great at focusing on close objects.

The macro functionality on the OnePlus 8 Pro is provided by the ultrawide lens. As mentioned before, this lens now has the Sony IMX586 sensor behind it, which means it is capable of producing some pretty great images. These are some of the sharpest and most detailed ultrawide images we have seen out of any smartphone camera. Of course, these cannot be as detailed as images from the main camera, simply by virtue of having a wide-angle lens attached to it. However, a good way to combat that is by always shooting in the native 48MP mode, which provides a ton of detail with no visible loss to the dynamic range as HDR is available either way.

Ultrawide daylight camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 125, 1/2111s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Ultrawide daylight camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 125, 1/2080s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Ultrawide daylight camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 125, 1/2050s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review
Ultrawide daylight camera samples

Ultrawide daylight 48MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/2754s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Ultrawide daylight 48MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/482s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Ultrawide daylight 48MP camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 100, 1/1525s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review
Ultrawide daylight 48MP camera samples

Ultrawide lowlight camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 800, 1/25s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Ultrawide lowlight camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 2000, 1/10s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Ultrawide lowlight camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 5000, 1/17s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review
Ultrawide lowlight camera samples

Ultrawide Nightscape camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 640, 1/6s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Ultrawide Nightscape camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 1250, 1/3s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Ultrawide Nightscape camera samples - f/2.2, ISO 1000, 1/4s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review
Ultrawide Nightscape camera samples

Next is the 3x telephoto, a carryover from last year’s models. The images from this camera are good enough. Images are detailed and the color and contrast are consistent with the other cameras. You can punch in further up to 5x with 10x being the highest usable range. Beyond that, there are too many artifacts in the image to be usable.

Depending upon the lighting conditions, the camera can just choose to use the main sensor to zoom in digitally. However, this only goes on till 10x. Beyond 10x, the phone will always switch to the dedicated telephoto lens regardless of the amount of light present. This can be jarring sometimes as the screen can often just go black beyond 10x if you are in fairly dark conditions as the telephoto camera captures much less light with its narrow FOV, small aperture, and a small sensor.

3x telephoto camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 125, 1/1108s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review 3x telephoto camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 100, 1/570s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review 3x telephoto camera samples - f/2.4, ISO 100, 1/1060s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review
3x telephoto camera samples

The macro mode also works well on the OnePlus 8 Pro. There is no dedicated lens for it, which is just as well as they generally tend to be appalling. Instead, we get the ultrawide camera with the IMX586 sensor acting as the macro camera here. As mentioned before, it automatically kicks in when the camera detects you are too close to a subject but you can manually enable or disable it. The image quality is also quite good and leagues ahead of phones with dedicated macro cameras.

Finally, let’s talk about the controversial color filter camera. As described earlier, this camera used a lens filter to only capture light in the near-infrared region. But since the later updates, the camera now doesn’t capture any images itself but rather provides color information for the main camera, which does the shooting.

There is an upside to this method. The quality of the images is far better as the images are now being taken by the main sensor. The anemic 5MP sensor being the infrared lens captured really low-quality images, which really detracted from the effect OnePlus was going for.

Infrared 'color filter' camera at launch - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/4466s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Infrared 'color filter' camera at launch - f/2.4, ISO 125, 1/1430s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review
Infrared ‘color filter’ camera at launch

The downside to this method is that the color effect of an infrared filter is now approximated and not what’s actually being captured. The camera uses the data from the infrared sensor and applies it to the image from the main sensor. The results can occasionally be decent but looking closely you can see that it’s just a recolored image and objects can have some pretty severe haloing around them.

Infrared 'color filter' camera after patch - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/3707s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review Infrared 'color filter' camera after patch - f/1.8, ISO 125, 1/854s - OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review
Infrared ‘color filter’ camera after patch

The effect also requires strong light to work so it doesn’t work indoors at all. In fact, it’s quite picky regarding the conditions where it will work. Even when it does work, the intensity of the color filter can vary between shots, so even two shows back to back can have different degrees of the filter being applied. The entire experience is pretty crummy at this point and it’s clear OnePlus nerfed the entire feature into the ground to avoid any further controversies. We are willing to bet no future OnePlus phone will ever have a hardware infrared camera again, even if they do keep the fake infrared filter.

Moving on to the video side of things, there is not much to complain about here. The phone can shoot wide and ultrawide in up to 4K at 60fps. You can also zoom during the video but it’s just done digitally. There’s also a choice of 720p at 480fps or 1080p at 240fps, however, the video is slowed down internally and saved at 30fps. OnePlus also offers a choice of 16:9 or cropped 21:9 aspect ratios for 30 and 60fps videos.

The video quality is pretty great, as can be seen from the various samples in our main review. However, the video part of the camera app is pretty basic outside of having different resolutions and frame rates. Some pro-level functionality, such as having control over the ISO, shutter speed, focus, white balance, etc. would be great at this price range. OnePlus should also introduce an option to record videos in native 24fps. Lastly, an option to record videos in HDR PQ or HLG would also be nice. The ‘HDR’ option in the camera app is just basic tone-mapping and not true HDR video.

Conclusion

The OnePlus 8 Pro is by far the most accomplished and feature-complete smartphone from the company. It may be more expensive but it does very well to justify its high price tag. For years we have asked OnePlus to include specific features on to their smartphones and this year they left no stone unturned. It may not be a flagship killer anymore but the OnePlus 8 Pro is a proper flagship through and through.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term reviewThe issues with the device are somewhat endemic to the smartphone industry as a whole, where choices are often made that make very little sense from a consumer perspective but are made anyway for either marketing purposes or some other financial gain.

Decisions like the inclusion of curved displays, giant camera bumps, hole-punch displays, multiple cameras with very few usable ones are all things we have been subjected to over the past few years. It doesn’t matter who started it; someone does it first and then the rest of the industry just follows them because they are a market leader or an industry trendsetter. The OnePlus 8 Pro, and by extension OnePlus, is also guilty of partaking in this tomfoolery. Many of the aforementioned issues are present on the OnePlus 8 Pro, and all they do is detract from the user experience.

The OnePlus 8 Pro would objectively be a better phone had it not been for some of these issues. It would also, subjectively, feel nicer to use. Don’t get us wrong, this is still a very good device. But things like the curved display and the large, heavy body hamper usability and detract from an otherwise near-perfect user experience.

OnePlus 8 Pro long-term reviewStill, looking at the complete picture, the OnePlus 8 Pro is still a hard phone to beat in our books. It does a lot of things and it does most of them really well. And despite the increasing price tag, OnePlus is still one of the most affordable options in the premium flagship segment. This means it’s still good value, which shouldn’t come as a surprise as value is always relative.

Overall, after a while of using this phone, the OnePlus 8 Pro gets our recommendation barring very few but notable detractions.

Pros

  • Premium build quality
  • Fantastic display quality
  • Excellent performance
  • Great all-round set of cameras
  • Fast wired and wireless charging

Cons

  • Curved display is a usability nightmare
  • Uninspired design
  • Minor software annoyances on Indian units
  • Lackluster video recording features for a flagship
  • Imperfect but unique infrared camera ruined further with updates
  • Imbalanced stereo speakers

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button