OnePlus has just launched its 2020 flagship smartphone, the OnePlus 8 Pro. The company, which has been around only for a little over six years, used to refer to its devices as “flagship killers.” It has not used the term for the past few years, but the name may never be more appropriate than now.
The 8 Pro is packed with top-end technology, including Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 chipset, which in addition to plenty of processing power, also provides 5G connectivity. It uses fast LPDDR5 RAM and UFS 3.0 storage, and is capable of 30W wireless charging. The QHD+ OLED display features a 120Hz refresh rate and comes with a dedicated MEMC (Motion Estimation and Motion Compensation) chip. MEMC is a technology that has been adopted from television. It inserts additional image frames between existing ones to decrease motion blur in videos. For the OnePlus 8 Pro, this means the device will be capable of upscaling 24fps content to 120fps. OnePlus says the new technology works with apps from Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar, BiliBili, iQiyi, MX Player, Netflix, OnePlus Gallery app, Tencent Video, VLC, Youku, and YouTube.
The front camera uses a 1/3-inch Sony IMX471 with 16MP resolution. The focus is fixed, and video clips can be recorded at 1080p Full-HD resolution and 30 frames per second.
In terms of appearance, the OnePlus 8 Pro isn’t all that different from the 7T Pro, but there are some important modifications at the front. Thanks to a pop-up front camera, the OnePlus 7 Pro and 7T Pro featured an all-screen display without notches or cutouts. The 8 Pro has abandoned this concept and instead comes with a punch-hole cutout for the front camera. On the plus side, this means the new model is the first OnePlus device to come with an IP68 rating for environmental protection.
Camera: solid high-end specifications
Let’s have a closer look at the main camera now. The camera layout looks pretty much the same as on the 7T Pro, with the camera modules vertically aligned on the back of the device. As it is pretty much the norm on flagship smartphones these days, the OnePlus 8 Pro comes with a dedicated tele-camera and an ultra-wide module next to its primary camera.
The primary camera uses a fairly large 1/1.4-inch 48MP Quad-Bayer sensor, coupled with a stabilized f/1.78 aperture lens and 2×2 On-Chip Lens (OCL) autofocus. The tele combines optical magnification in combination with computational methods for a 3x hybrid zoom, and the ultra-wide provides a 16mm-equivalent field of view by default.
On the video side of things, the 8 Pro is capable of recording 4K video 30 or 60 frames per second. For slow-motion clips, you can use 720p/480fps or 1080p/240fps settings. HDR video recording and a time-lapse mode is on board as well.
At a first glance, the camera specs look pretty average for a 2020 flagship phone. This said, we dive a little deeper in the table below and compare the OnePlus 8 Pro’s camera specs to two of the very best smartphone cameras in our ranking, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro and the current leader in our ranking, the Huawei P40 Pro.
The OnePlus 8 Pro main camera features an 48MP Quad-Bayer image sensor that produces 12MP image output by default. The 1/1.4-inch sensor is one of the largest in current smartphones, but not quite as large as the sensors in the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro and the Huawei P40 Pro (which boasts the largest sensor of all current smartphone cameras). Nonetheless, the Quad-Bayer pixel-binning technology should produce good dynamic range in both photo and video modes.
The main camera also comes with optical image stabilization and a fast f/1.78 aperture lens with a 26mm-equivalent focal length, which is roughly in line with the 8 Pro’s most direct competitors.
The OnePlus 8 Pro’s tele-camera comes with a 74mm-equivalent focal length, which looks a little short next to the top performers in the zoom category. The Huawei P40 Pro, for example, features a 125mm-equivalent stabilized tele, and the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro even divides its tele duties between two cameras, a 50mm short tele for close- to medium-distance zoom shots, and a 94mm variant for larger magnification factors.
Looking at those specifications, we would expect the OnePlus to do quite well at short to medium zoom ranges, but slightly lag behind the best in class at long range, especially when the light is dim.
At 16mm, the ultra-wide camera isn’t the widest compared to some competitors — for example, the models from Samsung that offer a 12mm field of view; but it’s wider than the Huawei P40 Pro’s 18mm and the same as the Xiaomi in our comparison table. The 1/2.0-inch sensor size is decent and should ensure ultra-wide images with wide dynamic range and good exposure down to low light levels. This said, the current best performer for texture/noise, exposure, and other attributes in the Wide category, the Huawei P40 Pro, comes with a considerably larger 1/1.54-inch sensor. We do not expect the OnePlus to be quite on the same level as the P40 Pro for those attributes; however, the 8 Pro has a wider field of view going for it, and should therefore garner some extra points in the Wide test.
Shipping in late spring 2020
Looking at our comparison table above, on paper, the Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro comes with the most ambitious camera hardware specifications. However, while the Mi 10 Pro is indeed one of the best devices we’ve ever tested, the Huawei P 40 Pro bested it in our DXOMARK Camera tests. This means hardware is only one side of the story, and camera software and tuning are at least as important for image quality and camera performance. So stay tuned and see what the OnePlus 8 Pro camera is capable of achieving with its hardware in our upcoming full review, which should be available soon. For those who just can’t wait, the OnePlus 8 Pro will be available for purchase from April 17th in China, April 21st in Europe, and April 29th in North America and various other regions.