OnePlus 8 review

GSMArena team, 25 April 2020.

Good old OxygenOS with a couple of new features

There aren't any major changes in the new OxygenOS except for a couple of new features that come with the new OnePlus 8-series. And some of them might end up in the older models as well. But the overall stock-ish Android experience with some small additions are once again here.

OnePlus 8 review

We will start with what's new. First and foremost, the new Dark Mode 2.0 offers refined and deeper integration with third-party apps supporting the dark theme. Not much has been disclosed but it's supposed to work better and with more apps. It's still a switch you have to flip in the Customization menu. Which, by the way, doesn't add any new options this time around and you can still play around with custom accent colors, the shapes of the quick toggles in the notification shade, the font style and the icon pack. The only new thing here is that OnePlus is giving you the HydrogenOS icon pack - the Chinese version of the ROM. But that's pretty much it.

Lock screen, home screen, notification shade, general settings menu - OnePlus 8 review Lock screen, home screen, notification shade, general settings menu - OnePlus 8 review Lock screen, home screen, notification shade, general settings menu - OnePlus 8 review Lock screen, home screen, notification shade, general settings menu - OnePlus 8 review Lock screen, home screen, notification shade, general settings menu - OnePlus 8 review Lock screen, home screen, notification shade, general settings menu - OnePlus 8 review
Lock screen, home screen, notification shade, general settings menu

Additional settings and features for the home screen = - OnePlus 8 review Additional settings and features for the home screen = - OnePlus 8 review
Additional settings and features for the home screen =

Still no Always-on display feature but the good news is that OnePlus promises to bring it with an update in the near future. Probably older handsets will get it too. But for now, the so-called Ambient display options should do it and it really is a second-best option. Unless you don't want an Always-on anyway, so this is the best option for you. With a single or a double-tap - depends on how you set it up - you can see the clock, notifications and some contextual info like appointments, the current weather, etc. The fingerprint area also lights up.

Ambient display - OnePlus 8 review Ambient display - OnePlus 8 review
Ambient display

Speaking of which, it's still one of the best under-display fingerprint solutions around. As we already mentioned, it has been moved a little higher to go along with the taller aspect ratio and increased diagonal. OnePlus didn't say anything about it, so it's safe to assume that it uses the same fingerprint sensor from before. However, we can't get over the notion that the the screen illuminates a bigger area on and now it looks easier to place your whole fingertip on the area. As for speed, reliability and functionality, we can't say anything bad about it. It's super snappy and accurate. Unless, there's a bright sun shining right onto the screen, Then, the fingerprint scanner struggles to recognize your fingertip and battles with the bright light. Then you should probably let the facial recognition feature take over. Since you are not waiting for a pop-up selfie cam, it it's even faster. At least compared to the 7 Pro and 7T Pro.

OnePlus 8 review

Another subtle change we've noticed is the vibration motor. It feels a bit more precise and "punchy" in a way. It really adds to the overall snappy experience when unlocking, performing a gesture, typing on a keyboard or when taking photos.

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Biometrics security options

With the introduction of the punch-hole camera design, there's a new feature in the Display settings menu. You can choose between the default option of showing all content around the camera itself or just hide it with a black bar. And since this is an OLED panel, it's really hard to tell whether there's a camera there or not. Interestingly enough, unlike other similar implementations we've seen, this one pushes down the status bar icons and everything just below the camera. In short - you just disable a chunk of the display creating a thick forehead. It's kind of nice, when you think about it because it really eliminates the punch-hole design and if you find the 20:9 aspect ratio a bit too much to handle, it helps with that one as well. Notice the difference between the last two screenshots below.

Hiding the hole for front-facing camera - OnePlus 8 review Hiding the hole for front-facing camera - OnePlus 8 review Hiding the hole for front-facing camera - OnePlus 8 review
Hiding the hole for front-facing camera

Digging deeper into the Buttons and gestures menu, we find the usual suspects - settings for the alert slider, the navigation gestures options and the so-called quick gestures. The latter set of gestures are a well-known feature for OxygenOS users - you can draw different letters on a locked screen to launch an app immediately. You can also take a screenshot with a three-finger swipe. The raise-to-answer functionality is also pretty nice - you can answer an incoming call without touching the screen. It's especially useful if your hands are dirty and you don't want to mess up your screen. The double-tap-to-wake is also available along with gestures for music playback control.

Navigation gestures and quick gestures - OnePlus 8 review Navigation gestures and quick gestures - OnePlus 8 review Navigation gestures and quick gestures - OnePlus 8 review Navigation gestures and quick gestures - OnePlus 8 review
Navigation gestures and quick gestures

The navigation bar and gestures menu gives you just two options - the good old software buttons or Android 10's default gesture-based navigation. You can remove the tiny navigation bar on the latter, while the software buttons support a ton of additional options. You can launch apps or assign actions by holding or double-tapping on each button.

The battery menu is mostly the same with the small but important addition of the so-called Optimized charging feature. What it does is preserves the battery in the long run by learning your charging habits. For example, if you leave your phone charging overnight, it would charge to something close to 90% and then stop charging until a couple of minutes before you reach for the phone. This way the battery won't be left at 100% during the whole night but instead will be kept at a more reasonable percentage until it's time.

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Battery options

And as usual, OnePlus is offering deeper battery optimization by killing apps in the background that haven't been used in a while. You can also whitelist apps, which you need in the background at all times.

Moving onto the Utilities menu, we find some old-new features. The so-called Pocket mode makes a return after being absent from last year's OnePlus handsets, probably because the OnePlus 7 Pro and 7T Pro used a different approach by combining several sensors, including a proximity one under the display. With the OnePlus 8-series, the company has returned to using the good old IR proximity sensor making the Pocket mode functionality possible. If the proximity sensor is covered, it will lock the screen.

OnePlus 8 review

What's truly new is the "Enable dark tone in more apps" in the OnePlus Laboratory sub-menu. It essentially enforces the dark mode in third-party apps that don't support it. The feature is still experimental so some apps may not work properly. You can always exclude those from the list.

Additional options in the Utility menu and OnePlus Laboratory - OnePlus 8 review Additional options in the Utility menu and OnePlus Laboratory - OnePlus 8 review
Additional options in the Utility menu and OnePlus Laboratory

So those familiar with the OxygenOS experience would know this but we still feel compelled to point it out. It doesn't offer as much features as other custom takes of Android, although the set of features has expanded significantly in the last few years, but it offers one of the fastest and smoothest experiences in town. The OxygenOS is OnePlus' most powerful weapon drawing in current OnePlus users year after year. It's indeed one of the snappiest and most refined Android experiences out there but it may not be suitable for everyone, especially users looking for that extra customization or just want to break free from the stock Android look and feel.

Performance

It's needless to say that for the time we used the device, we didn't encounter any hiccups or hangs. The OS ran smoothly and without any issue, which is to be expected with the Snapdragon 865 chipset on board. Speaking of, it's based on the 7nm+ EUV manufacturing process promising marginal power savings compared to the Snapdragon 855 chipset while offering better overall performance. It consists of an octa-core CPU and an Adreno 650 GPU. The processor consists of a single Kryo 585 core clocked at 2.84 GHz, another cluster of three Kryo 585 cores running at 2.42 GHz and four more Kryo 585 ticking at 1.8GHz. The chipset, in this case, is aided by 12GB of LPDDR4X memory and 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage. Unfortunately, the vanilla 8 misses on the LPDDR5 memory whereas the Pro is using it. The other configuration makes use of 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage.

OnePlus 8 review

Additionally, the chipset comes paired with an external Snapdragon X55 modem supporting 5G. This may be of concern, however, even if you don't have 5G in your country as the 4G connectivity is also handled by the Snapdragon X55 modem. And as most of you know, external hardware draws more power than integrated one. The HiSilicon Kirin 990 chipset is superior in this regard.

So here's how the phone stacks against the competition and how it fares compared to its predecessors.

GeekBench 4.4 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 8
    13291
  • Oppo Find X2 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    13245
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    13171
  • Huawei P40
    12619
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    12269
  • OnePlus 7T
    11394

GeekBench 4.4 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    4873
  • Oppo Find X2 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    4273
  • OnePlus 8
    4256
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    4237
  • Huawei P40
    3887
  • OnePlus 7T
    3644

GeekBench 5.1 (multi-core)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 8
    3399
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    3374
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    3331
  • Oppo Find X2 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    3269
  • Huawei P40
    3148
  • OnePlus 7T
    2858
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    2703

GeekBench 5.1 (single-core)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 8
    919
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    905
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    902
  • Oppo Find X2 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    900
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    886
  • Huawei P40
    778
  • OnePlus 7T
    776

AnTuTu 8

Higher is better

  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    595246
  • Oppo Find X2 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    593717
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    573276
  • OnePlus 8
    564708
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    500114
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    489371
  • Huawei P40
    486583
  • OnePlus 7T
    485585

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 8
    88
  • Oppo Find X2 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    87
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    86
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    86
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    85
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    85
  • OnePlus 7T
    79
  • Huawei P40
    75

GFX 3.1 Manhattan (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    75
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    75
  • OnePlus 8
    60
  • OnePlus 7T
    59
  • Huawei P40
    58
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    43
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    43
  • Oppo Find X2 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    43

GFX 3.1 Car scene (1080p offscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 8
    52
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    51
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    51
  • Oppo Find X2 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    51
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    50
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    50
  • OnePlus 7T
    48
  • Huawei P40
    44

GFX 3.1 Car scene (onscreen)

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 8
    46
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    42
  • Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro 5G
    42
  • OnePlus 7T
    41
  • Huawei P40
    37
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    25
  • Oppo Find X2 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    25
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    24

3DMark SSE OpenGL ES 3.1 1440p

Higher is better

  • OnePlus 8
    7290
  • Oppo Find X2 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    7159
  • OnePlus 8 Pro (120Hz, 1440p)
    7127
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (120Hz, 1080p)
    6819
  • Samsung Galaxy S20+ (60Hz, 1440p)
    6735
  • OnePlus 7T
    6296
  • Huawei P40
    6079

Reader comments

  • Idontknow

In term of speed test on youtube nord 2 more speed in open apps than oneplus 8, Maybe main camera too bcos new sensor But i like oneplus 8 more, Btw nord 2 more compact only a mm than oneplus 8 so more comfortable to grip than op 8

  • Marc

Had to say goodbye to my OnePlus 5t, now looking at OnePlus 8 (380 €) or OnePlus Nord 2 (399 €). I liked my 5t very much, so which of the two of OnePlus 8 or OnePlus Nord 2 is of similar experience? Software, browsing experience, speed etc? I do...

  • Chris

Seriously?i dont think so..i think you have a clone one plus 8