We all got excited way back in 2017 when OnePlus came to our shores and brought with them the OnePlus 5 — it all seems so long ago. So much water has passed under the bridge since then and although OnePlus has gone from strength to strength with the release of each device and have expanded into many other markets, successfully mind you, they are still yet to make any commitment to Australia.
We see their stable mates OPPO, realme and Vivo making names for themselves with their high end hardware at affordable prices but we are yet to see OnePlus make a serious commitment to the greatest country on Earth. We can keep dreaming and although their phones cannot be purchased here we do know that there are many Australians that make that effort to get their hands on their phones.
You see it on the OnePlus forums and OnePlus themselves have told us that they see a lot of device activations coming from Australia and for that reason we do our best to get our hands on their devices each time they release one and bring our thoughts on them to you. How does it compare to what you can buy here in-store? How is the mobile signal and connectivity here? Does it charge as fast as designed with an AC adapter? Read on below for all that and more.
Hardware and design
If you are reading this you will already know what’s inside — in one word, everything. Snapdragon 865 with a Snapdragon X55 5G modem (but the phone does not work on Telstra’s 5G networks at this stage), bucketloads of LPDDR5 RAM (the exact amount depends on the version you buy — ours has 12GB) and 256GB of storage.
On the 5G networks, the international version we have supports n2, n5, n66, n41, n71 5G bands but we use n78 and n40 here in Australia. If you want 5G, the Indian and EU models support n78 which *should* support Optus and Telstra 5G networks.
So where to start? How about the display, sorry, the Fluid Display? We’d already heard all about the 6.78-inch QHD+ display with it being awarded as best-in-class in many categories by DisplayMate. The display is curved on the side but not like last year’s curve. It is more curved this year, like a waterfall display. The colours are bright and vibrant and the 120Hz smoothness needs to be seen to be believed — it is possible that the MEMC also makes a big difference when watching videos. Whatever, it works.
This display must have cost OnePlus a fortune and I’ll say it was worth every single penny. What do you look at more on your phone than the display? This display makes me think they’ve out Samsung’ed Samsung with this display. It’s fast, responsive and gorgeous — each and every display is apparently professionally calibrated.
This year OnePlus has added something their users have been crying out for for years — an official IP68 rating. Although I am yet, and hopefully not ever, it’s nice to know I have that backup just in case something goes wrong while in my “office”.
So what else have they added this year? Fast wireless charging — and boy is it fast. OnePlus has always said that they wouldn’t ever put wireless charging in their devices until it was able to match the speed and efficiency of their wired Warp charging. This year it does. Wired warp charging is 30W, as is their wireless charging. It is surprising that they did not increase the speed of their wired charging given that their stablemate OPPO, who’s charging speeds and types are often mirrored by OnePlus and vice versa, decided to go with 65W wired charging this year.
Back to the 30W Warp Charge Wireless charging. It’s quick — possibly too quick. I love how fast it can charge but I wonder if it is good for the battery to leave it sitting on there for too long. If I want a fast charge I can use the wired charger. Wireless charging is normally reserved for the continual top up during the day. Somewhere to keep your phone while not using it and have it trickle charge at that time. Maybe we now need to rethink our charging full stop. Do we ever need to use wired charging now that we have wireless this fast? As for the battery life, time will tell.
The problem with the charger though is that the cables are not removable. If you have your power sockets under the desk like myself and the desk is mounted to the wall, and you only have a 5-6cm hole for the cables to run through there is no way you will be able to fit this AC plug through the hole to easily stick it on your desk and hide the cable.
As for the rest of the hardware it’s very OnePlus. A gorgeous multi-layer glass rear which somehow is resistant to fingerprints unlike many other ultra premium smartphones — after all this phone is definitely that, an ultra-premium device.
Battery life really shouldn’t require a mention, let alone its own section but we have seen other 120Hz phones this year struggle to make it through even three quarters of the day, even on a lower display resolution. The OnePlus 8 Pro suffers no such issues Operating at 120Hz and the full QHD+ 2k resolution the OnePlus 8 Pro easily lasts the full day from 6am until past 10pm, with over five hours of screen on time which included a lot of Bluetooth streaming to the car stereo, to headphones and watching many YouTube videos. Of course if you do manage to run it out there is always 30W wired or wireless charging to quickly top it up.
Software second to none
OnePlus’ Android skin OxygenOS is the best Android skin, bar none. It lacks the smoothness of Pixel animations but no phone even comes close to the Pixel in that regards. The speed of it though is the best around. It transitions fast, apps open fast — most likely due to the sheer volume of RAM included more can be kept in memory, and the interface is fast, fluid and smooth. It was fast and smooth before the 120Hz display and now with the 120Hz display it is even better.
I’ve said it before but it’s like using a custom ROM without the buggyness and the requirement for root access. I don’t need to cover their software again. If you want more info go back and read last year’s OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7T reviews. Needless to say if you like a stock Android with a fair amount of decent tweaks that does not affect the speed of the device then this is for you.
For the first time I used OnePlus’ data transfer tool to go from the OnePlus 7 Pro to the OnePlus 8 Pro. This is the first time I’ve had one of these tools work so seamlessly. It was an easy transfer transferring all apps and data for apps across along with contacts, messages, accounts etc. There is no need to download anything from the Play Store, it is all transferred across, and quickly too.
Is this the year OnePlus finally bring a quality camera to the party?
Last year’s OnePlus 7 Pro, even though it ranked high on DxOMark struggled in real world scenarios — it did improve a lot after several updates but was still not up with the Samsung’s and Huawei’s of the world.
This year they have included a quad rear camera with three useful lenses. There is a 48MP main lens with full sensor omnidirectional PDAF, a 48MP ultrawide lens and a 3x zoom telephoto lens. The last lens is a colour filter camera which they are having to actually gimp as it could “see through” certain structures. It is basically a creative lens which allows you to shoot in a weird lens rather than applying a filter with post processing — not incredibly useful to be honest.
The photos produced remind me a lot of Pixel images in that the colours are accurate, not overly saturated but more an accurate reproduction of what it is “seeing”. Some may see this as muted colours but it’s more that it doesn’t overly post process them. They could possibly process them a bit more but it is a fine line to get that right as overly processed images are not great images.
Side by side with the Galaxy S20 Ultra it performed admirably, offering images that were incredibly close in quality. The S20 Ultra does seem to have more light in its photos — that pixel binning of the 108MP camera obviosuly works?). It is safe to say though that the rear camera on the OnePlus 8 Pro is finally ultra-premium quality, matching the rest of the phone. I would certainly feel comfortable carrying this in my pocket and not have any anxiety about creating a quality image at any time the need should arise.
Night mode still needs some work but let’s face it, the Pixel is far and away the best Android phone with this (I’m excluding Huawei because of their lack of Googley usefulness). Night mode is decent and better than some manufacturers — it’s amazing how picky we’ve become with our smartphone cameras.
The 16MP selfie camera takes some decent photos although of course that depends on the subject in those selfie photos. The quality 16MP lens definitely makes a difference and OnePlus have added a nice addition where a subtle halo lights up around the selfie camera so you know where to look when taking the photo.
Overall the OnePlus 8 Pro photography finally delivers what OnePlus has been promising us for a long time, and ultra-premium camera in an ultra-premium device. The camera may still not quite match Huawei or its stablemate, the OPPO Find X2 Pro but it is certainly no slouch and will not disappoint.
Surely it’s not perfect?
There is never going to be a phone that is perfect for everyone. The main downside of this device is the price — no longer is it in the “affordable” flagship range but moving into the ultra-premium price range. Well, for Australians it is. In Europe pricing starts at 909€ (AU$1,424), the US $899 (AU$1,145) but in India it will be Rs54,999 (AU$1,077). Let’s face it, ultra-premium with no corners cut costs money to make.
Of course for Australians another fault with the phone is that you can’t easily buy it here and get full warranty straight from OnePlus. With all of their stablemates here in Australia now it is surely just a matter of time until they share support and distribution channels with each other allow all of them to venture into our market.
The camera is a vast improvement over previous years but it is still not the best — but that is being nit-picky. If you look at the images above the OnePlus is definitely comparable with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. Not every manufacturer can be number one (there can be only one?).
The display I would prefer to not be curved but this year there is a LOT better accidental touch rejection — so much so that I am yet to have any issues at all with it. Samsung, the kings of displays, have gone away from curved displays such as this — is it time for other vendors to follow? The curve does take up some of the viewable display and to be honest is only there because it looks cool.
Ambient display of some sort is really something OnePlus need and have needed for a while. It is currently in development apparently and will arrive in the next few months — hopefully.
As for perfect. No it is not but it is possibly the closest I have ever seen to perfect, so far.
So should you jump through the requisite hoops to get one?
Those who love Android, and pure Android will want this phone. It provides a software experience second to none. It has the hardware that is the envy of so many other manufacturers. The cameras are finally at a level where they produce quality imagery consistently in a variety of conditions and the display is an absolute delight to behold.
This year OnePlus has included everything that they have been criticised for not including in the past — wireless charging and an IP waterproof rating. The wireless charging is a whopping 30W, better than most smartphones’ wired charging.
There is nothing that this phone lacks. If you really want an ultra-premium device and the local offerings fall short for you then you should look into getting one of these. You could always import one yourself but then that has all sorts of issues with warranty should you require that. The other option is to buy one from a grey market importer such as Kogan who have the 12GB RAM version for $1,649 — not cheap at all.
In the end though this is the best phone that you cannot buy locally. It is a shame that OnePlus do not bring it here officially and until then it is difficult to recommend something that may not have the best warranty coverage. If that is not an issue for you then I say go for it — it’s a great device, you won’t be disappointed.
too much effort to send back to New York
Scott. Great review. Looks like a good phone. Makes me sad though. Without local warranty and a high price tag the OP6t will be my last OP. Screen issues seem prevalent in this phone. What was your experience?
Maybe a Pixel for me depending on Pixel 5 price.
Same here OP6T will be the first and last oneplus I own.
Thank you for the review. however, I’m disappointed that there is no discussion of call quality.
Surely, lack of VoLTE and Vowifi, is the single biggest technical issue with this phone in the Australian context?
There are threads about it on XDA…
..but no real resolution, with confusion regarding ‘HD’ displaying in the dialler but no VoLTE status bar icon at the top. Testers don’t seem to know if their hacks are actually enabling VoLTE or not
Could Ausdroid please investigate? This is exactly what I need Ausdroid guidance on!
I am on it. have placed an enquiry to one of our friends in PR at Telstra.
Thanks Scott thats great
Here’s someone who contacted Telstra already
Just in case, it says…
I spoke with Telstra network team this arvo and they said OnePlus 8 is on their whitelist and is VOLTE compatible even they helped me diagnose the settings.
The OP then shows that he has ‘HD’ on his dialler screen but no VoLTE in the status bar so not clear whether he’s on VoLTE or not
Telstra have told us that (yes they had read this review) they can only test features etc on devices that they officially range and sell. They say the best way to test VoWIFI is *probably* by disabling your mobile connection and going on WiFi and then trying to call someone? (I tried that myself and it didn’t work for me)
(I did mention to them that they should bring OnePlus devices to Australia as well of course)
Thanks for following up Scott. Could you tell us what your experience has been like with call quality?
I’ve since understood that ‘HD’ on the dialler is independent of ‘VoLTE’ on the status bar (thanks J-dog)
Could you give an opinion on how much of a deal breaker lack of VoLTE/VoWifi?
Just for reference, I have VoLTE/WIFI working on Optus. I don’t have a Telstra sim for any further testing though
What model OnePlus are you using?
How did you enable ViWiFi?
Can you so a screenshot of VoLTE during a phonecall?
If it works on Optus I’m in
The OnePlus 8 Dual SIM Smartphone 12GB+256GB sell for $NZ1399 here in NZ and the Pro for $1798
I bought mine off a supposed Australian seller who imports them from hong kong. Legit bought it for $1,319 including shipping for onyx black 128gb. I got $20 off with a voucher from an eBay plus trial. It is honestly such a good experience and I’ve come from an iPhone xs max. The display is just something you have to experience in person. Amazing.
It’s a hard thing to describe the experience without someone using one. It is easy to see why OnePlus have success wherever they go.
Feel free to tweet this article to @carlpei and @oneplus to let them know just how much we need them here.
Not a fan of oneplus anymore. Too expensive. Camera still not up there compare to Samsung and Huawei. Doesn’t worth the premium price with no local warranty. My Oneplus 6t will be my last phone. $600 for less than half of the price got my LG V50 which ahs the best audio experience on DAC. I bought Oneplus 6T for less than $800 and was a great phone at the time. Even if I add the two phones together still cheaper than this phone. In fact I feel I got three phones with dual screen on V50 plus I get… Read more »
I had one from Verizon and sent it back. I didn’t get good cellular or wireless coverage.
There were only three cheaply made, overpriced cases made and sold through Verizon for the 5G version that was made for them, something the Verizon customer service agent made sure was very clear. That this wasn’t Verizon’s fault…lol. The additional of extra radio receivers for the 5G service moved the volume buttons down slightly.
The edge to edge screen, no way to hold the phone without hitting something else mid text.
Interesting you are having issues with the accidental touches. I had that issue on the 7 Pro but most definitely not the 8 Pro. Possibly a Verizon software bug?
Buying a $1000+ phone that is unsupported locally is unwise. Good luck getting it professionally repaired under warranty if it breaks or has issues, which increasingly happens.
Reputable companies like Samsung won’t even repair an international version of a phone sold here at their local support centre’s, so buyer beware!
Also, with prices now so high for their phones, it removes the one incentive to buy them in the first place! (especially without official local support).
this is my hesitation too .. but aside from the price the other incentive is that they give the best Android experience available — arguably better than the Pixels
Oh Berto. Because it’s made in China it cannot be the best of anything? Until you use a OnePlus phone you do not understand how good the experience is.
Since they refuse to sell it here, it deserves a total rating of 1 Star, at most.
So guys,when will OnePlus 8 pro release in India….We are waiting to buy this mob from a long time… Please do tell us realeae date in India….
June 4 apparently – Thursday
More of an FYI around the 5G aspect – I’m using the CN version of the OnePlus 8 Pro (model IN2020) and according to specs, it has n78 band for 5G. I’ve been using it successfully on Telstra 5G network with download speed tests varying between 350 – 560 Mbps .
Paid $1504 for mine from a reseller, have zero regrets so far.
that’s great speeds mate. any links etc for where you got it from for others?
I got the black colour 12gb/256gb CN model (IN2020) from Becextech.
This is the green version link and it’s only $1379 now (+delivery): https://www.becextech.com.au/catalog/onep8pro256gbgren-ins-p-12704.html
Also, speed test result on Telstra 5G for anyone interested:
I want that phone it looks amazing
Hopefully I’ll have my OnePlus 8 Pro tomorrow, upgrading from a OP6. I do wish it was still ‘cheap’ like my OP6, I think I paid ≈ $800 in August 2018, but it’s still cheaper than the S20 Ultra and a better phone
it is a bloody good phone. i really had to think hard to find something i did not like on the phone. The camera could be improved a bit but it is definitely still better than most cameras, i wish mine had Aussie 5G but I’m on vodafone these days and only use Telstra occasionally to test 5G speeds etc
Using it now, obviously too early to say anything meaningful about it but the screen sure is great. I didn’t really concern myself with the 5G aspect, I really dont care if i can download an app update 2 seconds faster
Got one, paid too much – no regrets
There is one very important thing that this and all one plus phones is missing and that is support for volte and vowifi on Telstra.
Agree, can we get a comment on this Scott? There have been som recent xda posts about it working on Telstra with some people at XDA reporting telstra whitelisting the device https://forum.xda-developers.com/oneplus-8-pro/help/volte-vowifi-australia-t4095097
Could we get an update, or any information on if Telstra has come to the table to enable this core function?
Definitely wish they sold these in Australia! I’m on the 7 pro and it was the best phone I’ve ever owned. Last year was easy enough to ship it to Australia but a lil worried this year with the limited flights and parcel delays.
Same re the 7 pro. The 8 pro is just that step up especially for the camera. There is an Indian reshipper that I’ve used in the past but tbh they were very hit and miss.
Mate, Kogan are selling the proper global models of the 8 and 8 Pro , so they have Band 28. Local supplier so no need to stress about shipping from overseas.
How are Kogan these days with their warranty? They are still a grey market importer and won’t be using proper Oneplus channels to repair any issues
My last 2 phones have been the OnePlus 3T and now OnePlus 7 Pro. My entire family (5 of us) got the OnePlus 3T. One’s got a OnePlus 6, another just bought the OnePlus 8. We’re just Aussies with an eBay account. That’s 8 phones all up, never had a single problem. No need to claim warranty, no repairs, nothing. I’m a big fan of OnePlus as you can probably tell. Fast and clean OS can’t be beat. The alert switcher is something I use daily. And with Samsung releasing their trash Exynos chip here in Aus, there’s no way… Read more »
Interesting to gear from a family of Oneplus users. I’ve never had a warranty related issue with imported phones so far. I started off with the Oneplus 3T which my mother still uses to this day. Interesting to hear how the rest of the family 3T’s are going….
My sister broke her 3T after 2 years, she still says it was the best phone she ever had. Got an Oppo because she needed a phone asap. One brother just upgraded to a Oppo Reno 10x because there was a great deal at Harvey Norman ($600 for basically OnePlus 7 Pro internals). His 3T still works. My other brother cracked the screen and was eager to upgrade to the 8. He finally pulled the trigger a week ago when he “accidentally” ran over the phone with his son’s ride-in Range Rover remote control car. My 3T died after I… Read more »
Never had an issue with imported phone until you got yourself the infamous LG G4