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Should you buy the OnePlus 8: Hits and Misses

By: Sahil Gupta, The Mobile Indian , New Delhi Last updated : June 15, 2020 11:15 am

The flagship killer has become the flagship after making a killing in the market. However, the competition has also become tighter than ever. If you just look at India, the new OnePlus 8, it is more expensive than ever and for the first time ever it faces competition from — Apple and Xiaomi.
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 OnePlus 8 which was recently launched is more expensive than any of its predecessors ever and for the first time, it faces serious competition from other smartphones which are available in the same price bracket. The most prominent ones being  Apple iPhone SE and Xiaomi Mi 10.  Now OnePlus smartphones are no more an automatic choice for customers who are willing to spend more than Rs 40,000 for a smartphone. So let’s take a look at the hits and misses of this phone.

 

  I want a killer camera, should I buy the OnePlus 8?

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The answer to this question is simple. Don’t get the OnePlus 8 for photography as both the iPhone SE and Mi 10 have better cameras. While the iPhone SE has the better video camera, the Mi 10 is better at still photography. The OnePlus 8 is overall weaker than both these phones in the photography department.

 

In terms of colour accuracy, the iPhone SE has dead neutral colours while providing excellent dynamic range and detail on its photos when given good light. Its weakness is low-light where images become grainy and the lack of a dedicated night mode can't help it save the day. The Mi 10 shines in this department as it has more resolution to play with, alongside a bigger sensor. The pictures have good amount of detailing, natural blur is smooth and night mode will not disappoint you. It also takes good video coupled with crystal clear audio. It is also one of the few phones to have the ability to shoot in 8K.

 

That being said, the iPhone SE is still ahead in the video department thanks to its sheer size and the way it processes video.  It handles white balance quite effectively and autofocus works smoothly.  Even the stability 4K 60 frames per second will disappoint you. This is where the OnePlus ends up becoming the loser as it takes washed-out photos compared to the iPhone SE and Mi 10. It is not being able to match on detail, attractiveness or colour accuracy.  In the video department, even though OnePlus has made massive improvements with video stability and audio capture quality alongside a new cine mode, it seems like the iPhone SE still trounces it while the Mi 10 also can do more without breaking a sweat. 

 

I want a fast and reliable phone that will last me a long time? 

 

The OnePlus 8 will not disappoint you in this department. Its is fast and Reliable thanks to Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chip, coupled with UFS 3.0 storage and upwards of 6GB LPDDR4X RAM. OnePlus’s software layer Oxygen OS is one of the best UI over there and has been getting timely updates.  It might among the first wave of devices which might get Android 11. OnePlus has also proven with the OnePlus 5 series a longer commitment than normal with the recent update to Android 10.

 

That being said, the iPhone SE will do one better with 4-5 years of updates and will probably be faster and more reliable thanks to the A13 Bionic processor which is proven to be almost as fast as the Intel CPUs that are there on Apple's MacBook Pro notebooks. The Mi 10 falls behind the OnePlus 8, not because of the lack of hardware as it uses the same processor and type of memory, but rather the optimisation of the software layer which adds a combination of ads, tons of bloatware and some bugs in the user experience that cause crashes on apps like VSCOCam while ingesting images from its high-resolution camera. 

 

I love Android and I’m looking for the fastest Android phone? 

 

Even though phones like the iQOO 3 and Xiaomi Mi 10 have similar processing hardware like the Snapdragon 865 processor and UFS 3.0 memory, the OnePlus has faster app load times, a more stable system with no app crashes, no ads, no bloatware preloaded and instantaneous animations. It is fast and gamers will love playing games like Call of Duty Mobile which one can play at the highest settings without any major heating issue. It is even faster than the Mi 10 which admittedly has faster DDR5 RAM thanks to crazy software level optimisations. Perhaps, the only phone that can beat the OnePlus 8 in performance is its elder sibling the OnePlus 8 Pro. 

 

I watch a lot of videos on the go, will the OnePlus 8 provide me with the best multimedia experience?

 

With 6.55 inch display and 90 Hz refresh rate, One Plus 8 is expected to give an awesome multimedia experience but iPhone SE and Mi 10 will be better for most people. The Mi 10 just has a much better screen with the 90Hz refresh rate but higher brightness levels at 1100 nits and more detailed colours. It is also the larger screen at 6.67-inches. Overall, HDR10 content looks gorgeous on it. It also is married to balanced stereo speakers.

 

The iPhone SE is better in a different way. It smaller 4.7-inch size makes it easier to hold for longer periods for video consumption and its speakers are just outright phenomenal. The screen size and resolution of the iPhone SE also makes sure that it doesn’t face any letterboxing issues on apps like Netflix which is there on both the OnePlus 8 and Mi 10.

 

The OnePlus is somewhat in the middle as its display is slightly smaller than the Mi 10 which is not a big difference but there is a perceptible difference in the brightness levels (OnePlus doesn't share the official brightness levels of the phone) compared to the Mi 10 and iPhone SE. Those phones get brighter and don't have such an aggressive auto-brightness system. 

 

How good is the battery life on the OnePlus 8?

 

 On a full recharge, OnePlus 8 will last you a day without much stress. It has a 4,300mAh battery and iPhone SE can't challenge it in that department. The OnePlus gave me around 7 hours of screen on time and 15-16 hours of use while the iPhone SE never crossed the 6 hours screen on time mark. It would also not last more than 12 hours on a single charge.

 

The OnePlus also has fast charging protocols called the warp charge. Its 30-watts charger can get you 0 to 100% in less than 90 minutes. But again, if you spend Rs 5,000 more, then you get the Mi 10 which has 4,780mAh battery that has a bigger capacity as compared to OnePlus 8. This phone potentially can give one and a half day battery life with screen-on time because of larger battery and battery management on MiUI. It also supports 30-watt fast charging which also gets a top-up done in around 90 minutes but it can also wirelessly charge at 30-watts with a wireless charging pad that’s sold separately. This phone will even recharge another phone at 10-watts wirelessly. If wireless charging is your thing, then even the iPhone SE has it — the OnePlus 8 doesn’t provide wireless charging.

 

How does the OnePlus 8 look and feel?

 

The OnePlus 8 pretty much looks like the OnePlus 7 from the back. It has these gentle curves which make it quite easy to handle. It is also a pretty light phone for its size. On the front, the phone has wide 6.55-inch Super AMOLED panel with gentle curves on the side giving it a blocky look from the side similar to the Galaxy Note. There is nothing wrong with this design and it is very ergonomic in use. The challenge is that there is the Mi 10 which looks wild with its gradient back and aggressive slopes on the side. The Mi 10 also gets P2i splash protection which isn’t there in the OnePlus 8. And the OnePlus usability advantage gets further diluted by the iPhone SE as it uses the classic, yet dated iPhone 8 design — making it the most ergonomic phone of the lot. It also is arguably the most well built with series 7000 aluminium and IP67 water and dust resistance. 

 

I want to use the OnePlus 8 as my primary gaming device?

 

The combination of the 90Hz screen and balanced performance makes OnePlus 8 good smartphone for gaming and they also have a collaboration with epic games for a Fortnite mode which adds more to the OnePlus 8 street-cred. Though, the iPhone SE has faster CPU and GPU. iOS is also a fundamentally better platform for gaming with stuff like Apple Arcade also available for free for a couple of months. The OnePlus 8 will probably be the best mainstream Android gaming phone, but if you are just looking for pure gaming performance, the iPhone SE will win that battle out. 

 

Is it a hit or a miss?

 

The problem with the OnePlus 8 is that it is a drab boring update. They have not done much to improve the OnePlus 8, but they have significantly increased the price of the phone compared to the OnePlus 7 and 7T. At the same time, the competition has stepped up. Last year, the OnePlus 7 models were on their own, this year, they have Apple and Xiaomi to contend with apart from good phones from Samsung like the Galaxy S10 Lite. While the OnePlus 8 will provide a no-nonsense experience — it isn’t the flagship or even flagship killer it used to be. There are more misses than hits, this time around. It is only meant for the diehard Android faithful who is looking for the most fluid experience of the platform but for everyone else, the iPhone SE and Mi 10 make more sense as they are more rounded smartphones.


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