(Pocket-lint) – They might not be the newest flagships, but the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro are still available to buy in a number of global markets and could well be worth grabbing now that they’re cheaper than they used to be. Still, which should you pick?
With its flagship phones, OnePlus prides itself on pushing the boundaries of performance, whether that be gaming speed, UI responsiveness or even fast charging speeds. Despite this, they still generally undercut the big name competition in terms of price.
- OnePlus 8: 160 x 72.9 x 8mm, 180g
- 8 Pro: 165.3mm x 74.35mm x 8.5mm, 199g
- OnePlus 8: Water-resistant, no IP rating
- 8 Pro: IP68 rated
- Both models: Glacial Green, Onyx Black (Blue and Glow in selected markets)
As you’d assume from looking at any smartphone range with a regular model and a ‘Pro’ version, the OnePlus 8 Pro is the bigger of the two phones. It’s slightly taller and wider than the regular OnePlus 8, although it is a tiny bit thicker. There’s not really all that much in it though. While OnePlus touted the OnePlus 8 as its ‘compact’ model, it’s really not all that compact at all.
In the hand, you can still definitely tell the difference between the two. Unsurprisingly, the regular OnePlus 8 is a little more comfortable to hold, and doesn’t require as much stretching.
Apart from that, the two phones look very similar to each other. Unlike the previous 7T range, the camera housing is the same shape on the back, and the two phones both have curved glass on the front and the back with skinny bezels and a selfie camera cutout in the top left corner of the screen.
In fact, the only real difference apart from size is the waterproofing. Both phones are water-resistant, but the OnePlus 8 Pro is the only one with an official IP rating. Specifically: it’s IP68, which means it’s right up there with the likes of Samsung and Apple’s latest flagship in terms of water and dust resistance.
Both devices come in the same colours. In most markets that will just be the glossy Onyx Black and the matte frosted Glacial Green. Other select markets will also get the unicorn coloured Interstellar Glow and Ultramarine Blue variants.
- OnePlus 8: 6.55-inch Full HD+ AMOLED panel, 90Hz
- 8 Pro: 6.7-inch Quad HD+ AMOLED panel, 120Hz
- Both models: Curved glass and 4mm hole-punch cutout
While both phones feature the same screen design in terms of shape, looks and camera cutout, the two are different panels with different capabilities.
Of the two, the 6.7-inch display on the Pro model is the most impressive. It features both Quad HD+ resolution and up to 120Hz refresh rate. That means it’s pin-sharp and super smooth in terms of animation speeds and frame rates.
The regular OnePlus 8 has a slightly smaller, Full HD+ resolution display. It doesn’t have the 120Hz refresh rate, but does feature the 90Hz refresh that both the previous 7T and 7T Pro had. And, by any standard, that’s more than fast enough for every day activities and gaming.
What’s interesting is that when you look at them side-by-side, OnePlush has done a great job of ensuring the two screens have the same colour reproduction, so if you have the callibration set the same on both devices, they look virtually identical in terms of colour.
Even with both set to their respective highest refresh rates of 90Hz and 120Hz respectively, we didn’t notice all that much difference in smoothness or speed between them.
However, with the 8 Pro set to its maximum resolution, the panel definitely looks sharper. You get more densely packed pixels, and so rounded edges and fine text is smoother and crisper than on the regular OnePlus. If you want the best quality panel, this is the one to go for.
Both devices use “Fluid AMOLED” panels, and both boasting the same colour accuracy. We’re unsure on the OnePlus 8’s peak brightness, but the OnePlus 8 Pro can reach as high as 1300 nits, which is pretty exceptional for a smartphone.
- OnePlus 8: Regular/wide, ultra-wide, macro cameras
- 48MP main, 16MP 116-degree ultra-wide, 2MP macro
- 8 Pro: Regular/wide, ultra-wide, 3x telephoto zoom and photochromatic cameras
- 48MP main, 48MP ultra-wide, 8MP telephoto and 5MP photochromatic
If there’s one area that shows the biggest difference between the two phones, it’s in the camera department. OnePlus has gone all-out with the Pro model, offering an intriguing quad camera system.
The OnePlus 8 Pro has a primary camera alongside an ultra-wide camera, both featuring 48-megapixel Sony sensors, with the primary one using the better quality sensor. As well as that, there’s the 8-megapixel telephoto camera that has 3x optical zoom, and can zoom up to 30x digitally. Then, curiously, there’s a 5-megapixel photochromatic sensor, or colour filter camera.
In contrast, the OnePlus 8 has three cameras, but one of those is just a low resolution 2-megapixel macro sensor to help it focus to objects close up. It uses the same 48-megapixel in its primary camera that the 8 Pro uses in its ultra-wide one. It also has a 16-megapixel ultra-wide sensor.
In our testing, the 8 Pro’s main and ultra-wide cameras were capable of producing great photos with lots of detail and good levels of contrast, dynamic range and colour. The ultra-wide can also be used as a macro camera, to product great close-ups too. A feature we ended up using quite a lot.
Its telephoto zoom isn’t as strong, but it does mean the ability to zoom into scenes, even if they look a bit flatter. While the OnePlus 8’s main camera was decent and produced good results, the other two cameras underwhelmed.
Like the display, if you want the best all-round camera experience, the 8 Pro is the one to opt for.
Both phones feature the same 16-megapixel front facing camera in that tiny punch-hole cutout in the display.
Hardware and Performance
- Both models: Snapdragon 865 processor with 5G
- Both models: 8GB/128GB or 12GB/256GB RAM/storage options
- 8 Pro only: LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.0 storage
- OnePlus 8: 4,300mAh battery
- 8 Pro: 4,510mAh battery
- Both models: Warp Charge 30T fast wired charging
- 8 Pro only: 30W wireless Warp Charge
As is often the case, both of the OnePlus phones are based on the same platform: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor with X55 5G modem. That essentially means, at their core, it’s the same performance capabilities in terms of brain power and cellular download speeds.
It’s a similar story with storage and RAM. Both regular and Pro models come as 8GB/128GB and 12GB/256GB variants, so you don’t lose any memory for choosing the regular over the Pro. The 8 Pro has faster, more modern LPDDR5 RAM versus LPDDR4, but it has the same amount of it.
The biggest phone of the two, obviously, has the bigger battery, but there’s not a whole lot in it. It’s 4,510mAh versus 4,300mAh, so you do get a bit of extra capacity on the Pro, but in daily use with a bigger, brighter, sharper and faster display, that may mean the actual battery life is very similar.
How much life you get out of the two obviously depends on how much you use the phone, and what you use it for. In our testing, both phones were very capable of getting through a full, busy work day. We ended each day with around 30 per cent on the OnePlus 8, and somewhere between that and 40 per cent for the Pro.
Both phones are also equipped with Warp Charge 30T capabilities, which is OnePlus’ bespoke fast-charging functionality. It can get from 0-50 per cent in about 23-25 minutes.
The OnePlus 8 Pro, however, is equipped with wireless charging. And not just any wireless charging. It has 30W fast charging too, so, while not quite as speedy as the wired version, it’s not far off.
The OnePlus 8 Pro isn’t just Pro in name, it has a lot of features that the regular OnePlus 8 doesn’t. Whether it’s the IP68 rating against water and dust resistance, wireless charging or faster, sharper and larger display. That’s without mentioning the more versatile camera system.
So if the absolute best is the only thing that matters to you, then the Pro is clearly the way to go. The fact it costs less than the big-name flagships from the likes of Samsung, Huawei and Apple is the cherry on the cake.
What’s more, we think the extra £200 for those additional features and capabilities are more than worth it. You’re not just paying to get a bigger version of the same phones.
With that said, the OnePlus 8 still has a great screen and is very fast. In the daily experience, it will still feel like a proper flagship phone and one that will save you money versus the Pro. It’s also smaller and lighter, which is something worth considering.
Writing by Cam Bunton.