It seems crazy to think about, but 2020’s OnePlus 8 Pro was only the third Pro-level device from OnePlus. It might seem like the company’s been playing the flagship game for ages, but that’s really not the case. With that in mind, you might be wondering how the phone has held up over the past year. That’s what this OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review is all about!
When the phone launched in April last year, it was at the top of its class in many ways. Now, with the existence of the OnePlus 9 Pro as well as some sizable competition from Samsung and Xiaomi the OnePlus 8 Pro isn’t as much of a powerhouse as it once was. Still, that doesn’t mean the phone can’t hold its own.
Related: OnePlus phones: A history of the company’s entire lineup so far
With this long-term review, I want to focus on a few of the things that have stood the test of time with this phone. I also want to call out some stuff that hasn’t aged well. Ultimately, I’ll deliver my final verdict and let you know the million-dollar question: is the OnePlus 8 Pro still worth buying?
About this OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review: I used the OnePlus 8 Pro as my daily driver for six days in April 2021. The phone was running Oxygen OS 184.108.40.206.IN11AA (based on Android 11) with the March 2021 security patch.
OnePlus 8 Pro review recap
With all eyes on the OnePlus 9 Pro over the past few months, you may have completely forgotten about the OnePlus 8 Pro. Well, don’t worry: we’re here to refresh your memory!
You can read our original review of the 8 Pro, our six-month revisited review, or watch the video review above.
Still fast, still smooth
When the OnePlus 8 Pro first launched, it landed with Android 10 out-of-the-box. Around the launch of the OnePlus 8T, both the 8 Pro and the vanilla OnePlus 8 saw upgrades to Android 11.
The Android 11 upgrade faced some considerable controversy from OnePlus fans. First, there was the news that the upgrade would come with Facebook services pre-installed, and you’d be unable to get rid of them. However, OnePlus back-pedaled on that decision when the fires got too hot. Then, the overall aesthetic upgrades of Oxygen OS for the Android 11 release looked a lot like Samsung’s One UI designs. This didn’t sit well with OnePlus fans, either, who saw the unique identity of Oxygen OS as an important part of the OnePlus experience.
See also: Oxygen OS vs One UI: A thorough comparison of the two popular Android skins
However, now, long after the dust has settled, I found the software to be a true joy during my OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review. The company’s “fast and smooth” ethos hasn’t worn down at all over the past year. Obviously, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 under the hood of the 8 Pro assures a fast experience, but the “smooth” aspect is all down to software.
It is true, though, that Oxygen OS looks more like a Samsung skin than ever. I can only hope that OnePlus doesn’t venture too far down this path, as Oxygen OS is among the biggest reasons fans don’t abandon the brand. With Samsung pushing Android updates and upgrades faster and more consistently than OnePlus, the last thing the company should be doing is making fans feel even more inclined to switch teams. In that same vein, the OnePlus 7 Pro only got its own upgrade to Android 11 a few weeks ago about seven months after the operating system’s launch. Let’s hope the OnePlus 8 series doesn’t face the same wait for Android 12.
When it comes to power, you’ve got options
When it launched, one of the biggest features of the OnePlus 8 Pro was the introduction of wireless charging. It’s crazy to even say out loud, but this 2020 smartphone was the first ever from the brand to support a wireless charging feature.
Thankfully, OnePlus didn’t just stop with standard wireless charging. With the use of a proprietary dock, the OnePlus 8 Pro can charge wirelessly at up to 30W, which is roughly the same speed that it charges with a wire. Of course, even without that specific dock, you can still get normal charging speeds with any of the docks or pads you currently own.
Related: The best wireless chargers: A buyer’s guide
With fast wired and wireless charging (and even reverse wireless charging), the 8 Pro has lots of options when it comes to power, and isn’t far behind some of the fastest charging phones you can buy today. Granted, the 4,510mAh battery inside provides plenty of battery life I saw two days with light use. But, if you are running low, you can top it up with just a few minutes on the dock or with the cable.
While this is all great, it’s difficult for us to throw too much praise at OnePlus for finally offering a feature pretty much every brand had offered for years. The OnePlus 8 Pro started at $899 when it launched. If it didn’t have wireless charging, OnePlus would have been a laughing stock. Still, during my time working on this OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review, I was happy with pretty much everything related to battery life.
The camera has, uh… some issues
In case you forgot, the OnePlus 8 Pro’s camera was a PR mess at launch. It posed a big problem for a company that has faced criticisms for its cameras pretty much since Day One.
First, review sites including ours pointed out that the chromatic lens on the OnePlus 8 Pro was little more than a gimmick. Then, once the phone got into the hands of the general public, OnePlus faced an onslaught of complaints that the lens could simulate x-ray vision, allowing you to see through thin fabrics, including clothes. OnePlus responded by temporarily disabling the camera. Then, eventually, it permanently nerfed the lens altogether.
Related: The best camera phones you can get right now
In addition to that, the telephoto lens on the rear isn’t a true telephoto lens. Instead of optical zoom, the OnePlus 8 Pro’s zoom camera crops in from 12MP to 8MP for lossless zoom, which captures less detailed shots than that of rival camera phones.
This all means that, if you buy a OnePlus 8 Pro today, you’re buying a phone with one lens that barely works as originally advertised and another that doesn’t do what you likely expect it would. To its credit, the ultra-wide and main lenses are pretty good, though. But is that enough to justify an $899 list price?
Thankfully, OnePlus learned its lesson here. With the OnePlus 9 Pro, it ditched the gimmick lenses and delivered a true telephoto experience while retaining and even upgrading the exemplary main and ultra-wide lenses.
Too curvy for its own good
I will be the first to admit that the display of the OnePlus 8 Pro is stunning. The 120Hz refresh rate combined with the crisp 1440p resolution results in one of the best smartphone displays I’ve ever experienced.
However, the display quality doesn’t mean much when it’s housed in curved glass that makes the phone quite difficult to use.
Related: Which Android phone series should copy the iPhone 12’s flat design?
I faced multiple issues related to the ultra-curved sides of the phone during my time with it. Phantom touches were a big problem. Sometimes, I’d be tapping on the display to open an app and my taps wouldn’t register because the phone thought my other palm was “tapping” the display just by, you know, holding it. There were also a few apps with features or controls on the side of the display that I found difficult to manipulate. I faced that issue every day while doing my Instagram Story for the Android Authority account. It was infuriating.
Thankfully, OnePlus dialed back the curved sides for the OnePlus 9 Pro. Additionally, it claimed it tweaked that phone’s version of Oxygen OS to help diminish phantom touches. However, no software patches can fix the OnePlus 8 Pro’s extreme curviness.
That, of course, brings us to the train of thought we’ve been dancing around this whole time…
OnePlus 8 Pro vs OnePlus 9 Pro: No contest
If you examine specs and specs alone, there is almost nothing about the OnePlus 8 Pro that the OnePlus 9 Pro doesn’t match or exceed. It has four working rear camera lenses that are of higher quality and versatility than the 8 Pro’s. It has an even better display with dramatically reduced curvature at the sides. It has a faster processor and faster wired and wireless charging.
Here are the specs so you can see for yourself:
|OnePlus 8 Pro (2020)||OnePlus 9 Pro (2021)|
|Display||6.78-inch curved AMOLED20:9 aspect ratio3,168 x 1,440 at 513ppi120Hz refresh rate||6.7-inch curved LTPO AMOLED20.1:9 aspect ratio3,216 x 1,440 at 525ppi120Hz refresh rate|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865||Qualcomm Snapdragon 888|
|RAM||Min: 8GB LPDDR5Max: 12GB LPDDR5||Min: 8GB LPDDR5Max: 12GB LPDDR5|
|Storage||Min: 128GB UFS 3.0Max: 256GB UFS 3.0No external storage support||Min: 128GB UFS 3.1Max: 256GB UFS 3.1No external storage support|
|Power||4,510mAh batteryWarp Charge 3030W charger in box
Warp Charge 30 WirelessOutput: 30W (with prop. charging stand)
|4,500mAh batteryWarp Charge 65T65W charger in box
Warp Charge 50 WirelessOutput: 50W (with prop. charging stand)
|Ports||USB-C 3.1 Gen 1No 3.5mm headphone jackNo microSD card slot||USB-C 3.1 Gen 1No 3.5mm headphone jackNo microSD card slot|
|Connectivity||5G supportWi-Fi 6 support2x2 MIMOWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/axNFC supportBluetooth 5.1||5G supportWi-Fi 6 support2x2 MIMOWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/axNFC supportBluetooth 5.2|
|Cameras||Rear:1) 48MP main (Sony IMX689)1/1.43-inch sensor1.12m/1.8, EIS, OIS2) 48MP ultra-wide1/2-inch sensor/2.2
3) 8MP telephoto1.0m, /2.4
4) 5MP color-filter (soft-disabled)
Front:- 16MP single1.0m with EIS/2.5, fixed focus
|Rear:1) 48MP main (Sony IMX789)1/1.43-inch sensor1.12m/1.8, EIS, OIS2) 50MP ultra-wide1/1.56-inch sensor/2.2
3) 8MP telephoto1.0m, /2.4
4) 2MP monochrome
Front:- 16MP single1.0m with EIS/2.4, fixed focus
|Video||4K at 30 or 60fps||8K at 30fps4K at 30, 60, or 120fps|
|Audio||Bluetooth 5.1aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, AACDual stereo speakersDolby Atmos||Bluetooth 5.2aptX, aptX HD, LDAC, AACDual stereo speakersDolby Atmos|
|Security||IP68-ratedIn-display fingerprint sensorFace unlock (insecure)||IP68-ratedIn-display fingerprint sensorFace unlock (insecure)|
|Software||Android 10 out-of-boxUpdate available to Android 11Oxygen OS 11||Android 11Oxygen OS 11|
|Dimensions and weight||165.3 x 74.4 x 8.5mm199g||163.2 x 73.6 x 8.7mm197g|
|Colors||Glacial Green, Ultramarine Blue, Onyx Black||Morning Mist, Pine Green, StellarBlack|
Simply put, the OnePlus Pro tops the 8 Pro on nearly all fronts. The only substantial thing that keeps the OnePlus 8 Pro appealing is that it costs less than the 9 Pro.
But let’s be real: if you’re ready and willing to spend $900 on your next smartphone, you’re probably ready and willing to spend $1,000 on a newer and better one. Granted, OnePlus has already periodically discounted the OnePlus 8 Pro to as low as $699, which is pretty enticing. In that situation, the 8 Pro is certainly worthy of consideration. But if you’re going to let $70 stand between buying the $899 OnePlus 8 Pro or the $969 OnePlus 9 Pro, you’d be making a poor choice.
OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review: The verdict
After my six days working on this OnePlus 8 Pro long-term review, I came away with one overarching sentiment: this phone isn’t likely to go down as a fan favorite in several years. For the sake of comparison, head to the OnePlus forums or the OnePlus subreddit and search for what people say about this phone’s predecessor, the OnePlus 7 Pro. I don’t think fans will be heaping on the same praise for the 8 Pro when 2022 comes around.
Related: OnePlus buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know about the brand
Meanwhile, the OnePlus 9 Pro seems like it has all the makings of a OnePlus hall-of-famer. If you have the choice of grabbing one of the two, the 2021 model would be a far better investment even if it will cost a pretty penny.
Of course, I am not at all trying to say that the OnePlus 8 Pro is a bad phone. It most certainly is not. It has a long-lasting battery, a terrific display, and a software experience that’s near the top of its class. However, it also has a nerfed camera system, an unwieldy design, and a high probability of slow/infrequent software updates as the months go on. Unless you’re paying for it at a steep discount, there is no reason to buy this phone in 2021 when the OnePlus 9 Pro exists on the shelf right next to it.