Back in April, when most tech companies were postponing new product launches, OnePlus was one of the few that went full-steam ahead and launched its 8-series smartphones. With the India pricing being considerably lower than global prices, many were looking forward to these new phones. Ironically, despite being early to launch, we've still had to wait for more than a month before the first sale, as local manufacturing has been impacted due to the ongoing pandemic.
OnePlus has opened sales of the OnePlus 8 in small batches for the time being, and now that we've finally got our hands on our review device, it's time to take a closer look at it. This is the successor to the OnePlus 7T (Review), and expectedly costs a bit more than last year's model. Unlike with the OnePlus 7 (Review) and 7 Pro (Review) series, the OnePlus 8 shares many design cues with the 8 Pro, which is fair considering that its starting price is above Rs. 40,000.
The packaging is quite attractive, similar to that of the OnePlus 7T series. Inside, you'll see the standard set of accessories. Some of the stickers seem new, and the silicone case now has bold ‘OnePlus' lettering on it. OnePlus still doesn't provide any headphones in the box.
We were surprised at how light the OnePlus 8 felt when we first picked it up. It's only 10g lighter than the OnePlus 7T, but this is quite noticeable. It's also slim, and the curved glass on the front and back makes it very comfortable to grip. It's well-balanced for one-handed use too. One thing that we didn't like was the pre-applied screen protector. It's quite an eyesore as it doesn't cover the front glass edge-to-edge, and grazes against your finger every time you perform a navigation gesture.
All the buttons and ports on the phone are where you'd expect them to be. There's no headphone jack, but this has been a trend for a while now on OnePlus devices. The OnePlus 8 sold in India doesn't have an official IP rating, however a rubber lining around the SIM tray indicates that it could very well have some degree of water resistance. The Verizon-locked version of the OnePlus 8 sold in the US boasts of an IP68 rating.
The overall design might not be so different from last year's models, but the big change is in the display. OnePlus has embraced hole-punch cutouts, and the one here looks nice. The diameter of the cutout isn't the smallest we've seen but since it's tucked away in the left corner, it hasn't been much of a bother for us.
The display itself is the same size as the OnePlus 7T's, measuring 6.55 inches. It's an AMOLED panel, with a full-HD+ resolution, HDR10+ compatibility, and a refresh rate of 90Hz. OnePlus also brags about the panel's high colour accuracy. From what we've seen so far, the display is definitely bright, with good sunlight legibility and punchy colours. You also get lots of options in the Settings app to tweak the colours to your liking.
It's been less than two days since we began using the OnePlus 8, and so far, things are looking good. OxygenOS feels snappy, apps load very quickly, and we haven't noticed any heating issues yet. The OnePlus 8 uses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chip, and our test unit is the variant with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. We will be testing a lot of games on this phone, and we'll have a full report on how well the OnePlus 8 handles stress in our full review.
We haven't spoken about this phone's cameras yet, but we're expecting similar performance to what the OnePlus 7T delivered. That's because OnePlus has used more or less the same hardware from that phone on the 8, barring the telephoto camera, which has been swapped for a macro camera. We're not too thrilled about this, given the limited use case for a macro camera.
The OnePlus 8 starts at Rs. 41,999 for the Amazon-exclusive 6GB RAM variant with 128GB of storage. There's also an 8GB + 128GB version at Rs. 44,999, and a 12GB RAM + 256GB storage version at Rs. 49,999. The OnePlus 8 will compete with the newly launched Mi 10 5G (Review) from Xiaomi, the Realme X50 Pro 5G (Review), and in a way, the Samsung Galaxy S10e (Review) and Apple iPhone XR (Review) — all of which cost around the same.
We will be testing the OnePlus 8 thoroughly in the coming days, so stay tuned for a detailed breakdown of its performance, camera quality and battery life analysis in the full review.
Will OnePlus 8 series be able to take on iPhone SE (2020), Samsung Galaxy S20 in India? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.