OnePlus 8 – Fast & Valuable in Test

We have tested the new OnePlus 8 phone for three weeks and found many good things but also some bad ones. The phone’s main advantages are that it’s fast and comes at a very attractive price point. 

Price increases: is the mid-range market segment underserved?

A lot of Kiwis have noticed how prices for new smartphones have increased in the last two years, especially for the top models. For example, the latest iPhones like iPhone 11 and Samsung Galaxy S20 series launched in the range $1,349-1,800 last year. This constitutes a hefty increase by around 30% over the last 24 months. As a result of this trend, new players like Xiaomi tried to enter the mid-market segment. However, there’s still ample space for new players. It also appears a bit odd that some of the leading manufacturers like Samsung hasn’t launched a successor to its cheaper S10e phone. Luckily, OnePlus offers the OnePlus 8 that fits smack in the middle of the mid-range segment. It currently retails at $1,049 for 128 GB storage. Users that take a lot of photos might want to add $160 for an additional 128 GB. The larger OnePlus 8 Pro costs $1,469.

Why are phone prices increase?

So how come prices are increasing? There are many factors. One of the main ones is the cost of the chipset. Qualcomm has doubled the prices for its latest 5G-enabled chips. Other factors behind the price increases are that the majority of phones features more advanced cameras and optics. Finally, phone manufacturers realise that the demand from consumers in the top-segment is relatively price-inelastic. This nears that the effect on demand and sales volumes is quite limited.

OnePlus 8 Look-and-feel

OnePlus 8 looks and feels great with a matt finish and rounded edges on both the front and back sides. I like the taller 20:8 aspect ratio of the phone as it thereby doesn’t feel so bulky in my pocket. Grabbing the phone by one hand is not a problem for my mid-sized hands. In fact, OnePlus 8 is 1.5 mm narrower than the predecessor OnesPlus 7T

It sports a fingerprint sensor located underneath the glass, which works really smoothly. I have no problem unlocking the phone. Alternatively, there’s also face recognition available for unlocking the phone.

Speed

Previous models of OnePlus phones have always been fast, and model 8 certainly isn’t an exception. In my view, it feels really fast and snappy every time I use the phone regardless of the type of usage. The high-performance mobile processor Snapdragon 865 obviously ensures basic speed. In addition, OnePlus’ parent company BBK Electronics claim s that it has optimised various aspects of the phones’ performance including memory allocation and graphics management. These performance improvements have resulted in a phone that’s snappier than many of the top of the line phones. Furthermore, OnePlus phones lack cloud services integration, which undoubtedly minimises lag and excessive processing.

Cameras

There are three cameras: the 48 MP main camera, a macro one for close-up shots and a wide-angle one for panoramic photos. Unfortunately, the macro camera yields quite blurry shots. In fact, the photo quality doesn’t differ much compared to the main camera’s when zooming in the object. The main camera, however, works great and shoots crisp high-quality photos both under daylight and indoor conditions.

Summary

It’s been a pleasure using the phone during these three weeks. Here are the pros and cons that I found during the test period.

Pros

  • Speed
  • Value
  • Size
  • Main camera

Cons

  • Macro camera
  • Limited storage for the standard model. Additional storage capacity can be added.

Please refer to OnePlus’ UK website for detailed information and specs.

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