We tested the OnePlus 8. Performance, screen, battery … here is our full review of the new Chinese smartphone.
OnePlus kicks off 2020 with two new smartphones that look very similar, the OnePlus 8 and the OnePlus 8 Pro . The first relies on continuity and takes a lot of the OnePlus 7T Pro , but for a few tens of euros less (699 instead of 759 euros). But on a daily basis, what is it really worth? Is it interesting to change if you have a previous generation? Is he at the same time efficient, autonomous and good at photography? This is what we will see in this OnePlus 8 review.
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Our REVIEW of the OnePlus 8 Pro
ONEPLUS 8 REVIEW VIDEO
ONEPLUS 8 TECHNICAL SHEET
Model OnePlus 8
OS version Android 10 Q
Manufacturer interface OxygenOS
Screen size 6.55 inches
Definition 2400 x 1080 pixels
Pixel density 402 dpi
Technology Super AMOLED
SoC Snapdragon 865
Graphics Chip (GPU) Adreno 650
Random access memory (RAM) 8 GB, 12 GB
Internal memory (flash) 128 GB, 256 GB
Camera (back) Sensor 1: 48 Mpx
Sensor 2: 16 Mpx
Sensor 3: 2 Mpx
Camera (front) 16 MP
Video recording 4K @ 60 IPS
Wireless Wi-Fi 5 (ac), Wi-Fi 6 (ad)
Supported bands 2100 MHz (B1), 800 MHz (B20), 1800 MHz (B3), 2600 MHz (B7), 700 MHz (B28)
Fingerprint sensor Under the screen
Ports (inputs / outputs) USB Type-C
Drums 4300 mAh
Dimensions 72.9 x 160.2 x 8mm
Weight 180 grams
Colors Black, Blue, Green
This REVIEW was carried out with an 8/128 GB smartphone which was given to us by OnePlus.
A DESIGN … BY ONEPLUS
Since the OnePlus 5T having signed the transition to borderless , the one who took it into his head to “kill” the flagships has only changed its design by small touches, refining it here and there to adapt to the new technologies available and the new needs of its fans. Also, it is not surprising that at first glance the OnePlus 8 shouts “ OnePlus ” in our face, almost exactly taking up the profile of the OnePlus 7T Pro.
It is a little less wide (72.9 mm), a little less high (160.2 mm) and a little less thick (8 mm), but it looks almost identical if you look at its back with its triple photo module arranged vertically on the upper half of the hull. Two small details differentiate the two cameras: first of all the logo, more subtle, and the absence of the laser sensor used for autofocus.
Note that the 8/128 GB model that we received is only offered in “Onyx Black”, a shiny black that marks fingerprints relatively difficult. Difficult is however not impossible, far from it. Fortunately, it cleans up with a quick swipe of a cloth, whether it’s a soft cloth intended for or your T-shirt of the day. Eyeglass wearers will understand.
Although the photo module is a little protruding, it is almost imperceptible in everyday life. Even when you type a message while the phone is placed on a table, it does not start to rock as hard as a boat in a storm, like some people (hello 8 Pro).
The front on the other hand is a bit more square with slightly less pronounced curvature angles, making it much less like the frame is overlapping the displayed area, although this may still be the case in some applications. This shows that OnePlus has looked into the small details to improve its copy.
The biggest novelty, however, comes from the front camera, integrated in a thin bubble 3.95 mm in diameter in the upper left corner. This is certainly the most discreet integration that we can have without compromising the user experience. Some will certainly regret the motorized mechanism of the OnePlus 7T Pro, but there are many points that we gain.
In addition to the speed of facial recognition and the noise reduction that it generates by removing this slider, it also saves on the weight of the device. With 180 grams on the scale, it is 10 grams less heavy than the OnePlus 7T, and 26 grams compared to the 7T Pro. It’s no small feat and if you’re the type of person to rest your phone on your pinkie when using it, your pinky will say thank you.
Beyond that, on simple aesthetic considerations, the OnePlus 8 is really a very beautiful smartphone. Its borders are fine and the curved edges at the front and at the back make the grip very pleasant.
Finally, to finish this tour of the owner, the new smartphone of the Chinese brand still has its alert slider allowing you to quickly switch to vibrator, silent or ring mode as well as the power button on the right side, the buttons volume on the left and a USB-C port accompanied by the SIM card drawer (double) on the bottom.
However, it should be noted, and this is the first time that this defect marks me at OnePlus, that the volume buttons are positioned high enough. In my case, reaching them while holding my phone in my left hand is not a problem, but my index finger cannot increase the sound without my palm having to reposition itself.
THE ONEPLUS 8 HAS ONE OF THE PRETTIEST SCREENS ON THE MARKET
Let’s come back to this front panel and especially to this magnificent 6.55-inch Amoled screen in 20: 9 format and Full HD + definition (1080 x 2400 pixels). Unlike the Pro version, it skips the QHD +, but we can easily forgive it given the quality of its panel, signed Samsung, a guarantee of quality.
Besides the infinite contrast of the OLED, the OnePlus 8 also benefits from excellent brightness making it perfectly readable, even in extremely bright conditions. In addition, its colors are brilliant and vivid without distorting the rendering of the image. No doubt, here we are in the presence of an excellent slab.
These observations are also confirmed by our probe, which displays a luminosity of 790 cd / m² and 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 color space with a delta E of 3.13 compared to this same space. Suffice to say that the screen is able to display many colors accurately. Basically, it is set a little cold (7500 K), but you just have to go to the settings and switch it to DCI-P3 mode for it to come back to 6700 K by itself, a very close measurement. of the expected ideal (6500 K).
The OnePlus 8 is limited to 90 Hz, but it is already sufficient
This extreme brightness is nevertheless felt at all levels, including the lowest. Without being totally dazzling, the minimum screen brightness level (2.49 cd / m², a rather low value though) can be disturbing at night.
If the Pro model goes up to 120 Hz, the OnePlus 8 is limited to a refresh rate of 90 Hz, but this is already more than enough, especially since it is coupled with the fluidity of the animations interface. Used to a Pixel 4 XL , yet also at 90 Hz, I had the impression of gaining speed by passing on the screen of the OnePlus 8. The effect is striking and makes each movement much more natural to the eye.
A WHIFF OF OXYGEN ON ANDROID
This exemplary fluidity is owed on the one hand to the screen, but also in large part to OxygenOS, the manufacturer’s in-house software interface, based on Android 10. At the time of writing, start April, the security patch is that of March 2020. OnePlus is also known for the responsiveness of its updates.
On the software part, OnePlus has long been exemplary in many respects, and if we omit a few bugs on the 2019 vintage, we can only be satisfied with the software layer of the OnePlus 8.
Very close in the spirit of the Pixel interface, OxygenOS brings as always a lot of customization elements and most of the features that one can expect from a smartphone in 2020, such as the dark system theme, navigation by gestures – or not – and settings do you want some here. While charging, we even find Google Assistant’s Ambient Mode for those who like to have it activated.
Overall, everything has been designed to simplify use and cause as little friction and frustration as possible. Almost everything can be adjusted as desired and the user remains in control of his experience. I would have liked that we could calibrate the sensitivity of the feedback gesture to avoid some unwelcome backtracking, but an update between the start and the end of this test has already solved many concerns at this level and that m now happens much less frequently.
One point nevertheless caused me some frustration during this test: unlocking. The OnePlus 8 offers two biometric methods, the fingerprint sensor – located under the screen – and facial recognition – 2D, based only on the front camera. Both respond in the blink of an eye when called upon, making the experience fluid and fast… When it works.
It happened to me many times that neither the fingerprint sensor nor the double tap to wake up the screen did not work, forcing me to press the ON / OFF button. An update is supposed to have fixed this issue since, but I couldn’t spend enough time with it to notice it.
THE POWER OF THE SNAPDRAGON 865 IN ITS RAW STATE
If there’s one thing OnePlus rarely makes concessions on, it’s power. As always, we find on board the OnePlus 8 the most powerful chip of the moment, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865, coupled with 8 or 12 GB of LPDDR5 RAM. This test was carried out with the less well-equipped version, with 8 GB of RAM.
However, we can not say that even in this configuration the OnePlus 8 has to turn pale. It easily keeps twenty or so applications in memory, never needing to reload them until they are manually closed and switching from one to the other is done very quickly without the slightest hiccup.
As for the raw power, the result is what one would expect from Qualcomm’s 8 series: performance is excellent and the GPU manages to consistently hold the most demanding games at 60 frames per second without batting an eyelid, or even more when it is. is available. Fortnite, for example, displays a solidly stable 60 fps, even in epic (highest) quality.
Such a quality will heat it up a bit. However, on a game a little less greedy in graphic power like Arena of Valor, chain several games with all the options pushed to the maximum (and at constant 60 fps, no matter what) only makes it warm.
THE PHOTO LEGACY OF THE PREVIOUS GENERATION
As for the photo, the OnePlus 8 incorporates many elements of the OnePlus 7T Pro, starting with its ultra wide-angle module, absolutely identical, as well as the sensor of its main camera. However, it draws a line on the telephoto lens to instead integrate a module dedicated to macro photos. We therefore have as configuration:
- Main: Sony IMX586 48 Mpx (0.8 µm), f / 1.75 (6P), OIS + EIS stabilization;
- Ultra wide angle 116 °: 16 Mpx, f / 2.2;
- Macro: 2 Mpx (1.75 µm), f / 2.4.
It should also be noted that only the main photo sensor is not coupled to the same lens, which is brighter on the 7T Pro, and that the autofocus laser sensor is once again a feature of the Pro model.
In addition, the 48 Mpx sensor can be used in 12 Megapixels and thus absorb more light thanks to pixel binning .
GOOD RESULTS IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
In broad daylight, the OnePlus 8’s main sensor is doing very well; the reverse would be surprising in 2020, when even smartphones priced at less than 200 euros are doing well. The application leaves the user the choice of the definition, by setting it to 12 Mpx by default and … it is more than understandable knowing that the gain in smoothness is not so noticeable because of the increase in noise and artefacts, as we can see here, in this crop of a photo taken in broad daylight and outdoors, the best possible conditions therefore.
Without zooming in, one obtains in both cases a clean result with balanced and natural colors, which do not overdo the contrast as is often the case on today’s smartphones.
However, all is not all rosy. UltraShot HDR mode, activated by default, attempts to display as much information as possible on the screen to avoid burnt (completely white) or blocked (completely black) areas.
However, the algorithm does not seem perfectly developed and tends to push the microcontrasts to excess. On a very contrasted scene, we therefore sometimes find ourselves with results that are no longer anything natural, and this as well on the main sensor as on the ultra wide-angle. This is the case, for example, in these photos where the bright areas stand out a lot while the shadow areas are bland, desaturated, or even blackened.
In full backlight, it manages to handle strong light quite well while retaining detail in the sky. On the other hand, the microcontrasts are again very present, which gives a lot of relief to areas which should not be so present, like the bitumen in this photo (which is also entitled to a small lens flare ):
At night, with street lights, the overall hue is a bit yellow, but it’s ultimately quite close to what we see with the naked eye. We notice that some areas are burnt,
The “night landscape” mode keeps colors very close and does not go surreal as is the case with some competitors and only gently flattens the contrasts. Areas that are too bright thus become visible, as well as areas that are too dark. Below, the normal photo is on the left and the night mode on the right. We see that the billboards and traffic lights are sharper, but the sky has also brightened, which is a little less true.
This mode also has the advantage of reducing image noise. The result is still quite vague if we compare for example to the P40, very impressive on this point.
The macro mode is of little interest. The result lacks detail, especially compared to the OnePlus 8 Pro and focusing is difficult to achieve. Suffice to say that this removes all the advantage of having a sensor dedicated to this.
SELFIE AND PORTRAIT
The selfie part is provided by a 16 Megapixel IMX471 sensor with 1 µm photosites, coupled with electronic stabilization (not optical) and a lens opening at f / 2.0. Note that the location of the bubble, in the upper left corner, has been designed so that the front camera is hidden when the smartphone is held horizontally for the consumption of multimedia content. The trouble is, this also applies if you want to hold your phone with both hands to stabilize it when taking landscape selfies.
If all the conditions are met, the pictures are pleasing to the eye, but let’s face it: the right conditions are not easy to meet. If you are a little too much in the shade, the colors start to drool and pixelate, while if the light is barely too strong behind, you quickly end up with a white veil in the photo and a part totally burnt.
Note that the portrait mode is not exceptional either, whether with the front camera or with the main camera. The bokeh is still very light, light years from a Pixel 4 for example, and the cut lacks precision, with even a few errors sometimes on my bald head.
SPEAKERS A LITTLE BEHIND
Long neglected by manufacturers, the audio part is more and more watched closely, as much by brands as by consumers. OnePlus therefore highlights here its dual stereo speaker (one on the front, as for calls, and the other on the lower edge, well positioned), but also its partnerships with Dolby and the integration of technology Atmos for reproducing a spatialization effect, as well as aptX HD and LDAC for wireless connections.
When it comes to the speakers, the first point to make is the right balance with uniform sound on each side. However, their quality is not exemplary. The sound clearly lacks depth, the bass is absent and the tones above the high mids quickly tend to saturate and appear half muffled, half nasal.
The sound remains powerful and quite correct for listening to videos or podcasts, but even in movies, we feel that the EQ emphasizes the mids (vocals), to the detriment of special effects, whether in the bass (explosions, gunshots …) or the treble (metallic noises …).
With a good headset, even in Bluetooth, the sound takes its whole body, with good spatialization and much better management of the different frequencies.
THE 90 HZ DOES NOT LEAD TO THE BATTERY
Often, smartphones with a 90 Hz screen or more do not have exceptional battery life. In the case of the OnePlus 8, its 4300 mAh battery allows it to last all day without worrying too much about whether we will have to find a charger before the end of the evening.
Without saying that it is exceptional, we feel that the Snapdragon 865 is intended to take on heavy uses (especially related to the 5G to come), and over a full day, I had no trouble keeping from morning to night with 6 to 8 hours of screen on depending on the use I made of it. We are nevertheless talking about static use linked to a period of confinement, which does not require much 4G therefore.
For example, an hour of video on YouTube consumes only 3% of battery. Suffice to say that it is not much.
The phone also comes with a very efficient 30 W wired charger that recovers 50% of battery life in 22 minutes and 100% in just under an hour. With 37% recovered in 15 minutes and 68% in 30 minutes, there’s not much to worry about.
A STABLE AND FUTURE-PROOF NETWORK
On the connectivity side, OnePlus has not skimped on the possibilities. It’s quite simple, we find on board all the latest technologies, from WiFi 6 to 5G (not tested for lack of compatible networks) via Bluetooth 5.1, or 4G LTE 4 × 4 MIMO category 18 up to ‘at 1.2 Gb / s in theoretical download.
With 5G NSA and SA
In use, we will notice that the performance, both in 4G and WiFi, is excellent and the reception is both good and stable. This should also continue since the OP8 is compatible with 5G NSA and SA , guaranteeing the acceptance of standards for the coming years.
As for the GPS, even indoors the landline phone very quickly and its compass is well calibrated. Finally, calls go well, ambient sounds are reduced and the voice is not too compressed, both in reception and in transmission.
ONEPLUS 8 PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The OnePlus 8 is available at 699 euros in its 8/128 GB Onyx Black version and at 799 euros in its 12/256 GB version in Glacial Green.
Where to buy the
ONEPLUS 8 at the best price?
It competes directly with the Xiaomi Mi 10 and the Huawei P40. However, it remains the cheapest of the three.
THE VERDICT OF ONEPLUS 8
The design is very successful, beautiful and pleasant in the hand, but the height of the volume buttons make their use a little difficult.
The screen of the OnePlus 8 is absolutely sublime. The more fussy will ask for a switch to QHD + and 120 Hz, as on the Pro, but it is clearly not a daily necessity to take advantage of its exceptional brightness, its infinite contrast and its bright and well calibrated colors.
As always, OxygenOS is a success. Not only do we know that updates are frequent, but the experience is also extremely fluid and customizable. The options are numerous, well organized and everything perfectly meets the needs of using a smartphone. Only downside, but this depends on the use of each: the sensitivity of the return gesture and the edges which could be better calibrated.
The Snapdragon 865 does what is expected of it: deliver the best performance today.
The photo has always been the point on which OnePlus has sinned and it is not the OnePlus 8 that significantly raises the bar. We feel an improvement, but some software algorithms are still not up to date. The HDR mode is capricious, the macro unnecessary and the portrait mode not precise enough. It’s okay for the price, but you’d expect more from a flagship.
The software optimization and the large battery give the OnePlus 8 good battery life allowing it to last a full day without the slightest worry. In addition, the fast charge at 30 W allows you to quickly recover the energy that would be lacking. Too bad there is no wireless charging.
Final review score 8/10
Powerful, fluid, pleasant to use, autonomous, beautiful to look at … The OnePlus 8 undoubtedly has many advantages and could certainly be the best smartphone in its price category, especially since it mainly faces a P40 without Google services and a Mi 10 which still struggles to justify its price.
However, it lacks some software improvements to grab an additional point, such as better management of the screen borders, a less capricious fingerprint sensor or even some finishing touches in the photo. The algorithms clearly lack finesse and against a P40, or even a Pixel 3a, the OnePlus 8 could prove to be much more convincing.
Still, it is less expensive than its direct competitors and still has serious arguments. The rest is a matter of updates …
- The best of performance
- A sublime screen
- Good autonomy with fast charging
- A careful design
- OxygenOS still going strong
- No wireless charging
- The somewhat capricious unlocking
- The volume keys a little high
- The somewhat finicky HDR mode
- (neither microSD nor IP68 nor jack)