Okay, we’ve all heard the grumbles and whines on how expensive OnePlus phones have become over the course of the brand’s existence. I know, they have. Being an early adopter and having used both the OnePlus One and the OnePlus 2, I’ll be honest when I say I can’t afford the latest OnePlus 8 Pro. I just can’t. But does that mean that the OnePlus 8 Pro is too expensive and just not worth it? Absolutely not.
The base variant of the OnePlus 8 Pro with 8GB+128GB is priced at $899 and the top-end 12GB+256GB variant is priced at $999.
Before I move on to tell you why I think the OnePlus 8 Pro’s price is justified, we need to understand that OnePlus’s brand positioning has changed over the years. Yes, it started out with the brand messaging of offering flagship killers that would undercut flagships from mainstream brands. But that’s the OnePlus we knew. OnePlus today is a different story altogether.
If the upselling wasn’t quite noticeable, OnePlus made it very obvious with the launch of the OnePlus 7 Pro back in early 2019. Unlike the regular OnePlus 7, the Pro variant was a step-up that – although still cheaper – was aimed to compete with premium flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S10 and the Google Pixel 3 XL. While it was a reasonable attempt, the OnePlus 7 Pro and its successor – the OnePlus 7T Pro, didn’t quite seem to convince users on just how premium they were.
But the OnePlus 8 Pro seems to change this status quo. Here are 5 reasons why I believe the OnePlus 8 Pro is not overpriced:
- IP68 Certification
“OnePlus is paying for Robert Downey Jr. ads instead of waterproof certification”
The above-mentioned Verge’s headline perfectly encapsulated the reaction of consumers when they got to know that the OnePlus 7 Pro – that was touted to be a premium flagship – didn’t have an IP certification. Beyond a certain price bracket, IP certification is a feature that we’ve come to expect from all flagship phones.
Also, the very fact that water-resistant IP certification is rarely seen on phones other than flagships, made it even more desirable on a flagship phone. After all, the iPhone XR, the Huawei P30 Pro and the iPhone XR all had a rating of IP67 and above.
Now, with the OnePlus 8 Pro, OnePlus has finally decided to splurge money on getting their phones certified. The OnePlus 8 Pro is IP68 certified which puts it right alongside the Samsung Galaxy S20 and the iPhone 11 in terms of water resistance. The absence of the pop-up camera was probably a step to make sure that water wasn’t a problem with the phone.
- Wireless Charging
While inching up the price axis, OnePlus conveniently ignored the inclusion of wireless charging on their phones. And while that’s something that isn’t a dealbreaker for me, the reasoning that OnePlus adopted for not including wireless charging was that it didn’t match up to OnePlus’s Dash/Warp charging technology in terms of speed. While that was true then, wireless charging never used to be about speed. It was all about the convenience of putting down your phone on a wireless charging mat and letting it charge without meddling with wires.
But what I’m happy about is that OnePlus is keeping its word with the launch of wireless charging on the OnePlus 8 Pro. The OnePlus 8 Pro has support for 30W wireless charging that matches the wired Warp Charge 30T in terms of wattage. If you’re not looking to grab OnePlus’s wireless charger to unlock its full capability, the 8 Pro also supports the Qi charging standard.
What else? Well, OnePlus has also decided to throw 3W reverse wireless charging that could come in handy to charge accessories like earbuds (OnePlus earbuds maybe?).
If there’s one thing that the OnePlus 7 Pro really did well, it was its display. Sourced from Samsung, the phone had a gorgeous curved AMOLED panel with QHD+ resolution and 90Hz refresh rate. With the OnePlus 8 Pro is pushing further in this segment.
The OnePlus 8 Pro has a 6.78-inch QHD+ display that now supports 120Hz refresh rate. And unlike the S20 series, you can use 120Hz refresh rate even at QHD+ resolution. But there’s more to the display. The 8 Pro has a dedicated MEMC chip that upscales regular 24fps videos – by digitally inserting frames – to up to 120fps. This is what we know as motion blurring and is usually a feature that’s found on high-end television sets which helps reduce motion blur.
Fortunately, for people who aren’t a fan of motion smoothing, you can also choose to turn it off. But it’s good to know that it’s there in case you ever want to use it. Not just this, the display is also touted be quite colour-accurate, has a max brightness of 1300 nits, and filters out 40% more blue-light than before (to reduce eye stress).
If previous displays on the OnePlus Pro series are any indicator, the OnePlus 8 Pro is all set to one of the most immersive viewing experiences on a smartphone.
- Software & Support
Packing hardware is one thing and making all that hardware work beautifully is another. But the latter part is precisely where OnePlus excels with OxygenOS. Touted to be the best iteration of Android there is, OxygenOS is a beautiful amalgamation of functionality and aesthetic that takes care of everyone under the umbrella. If you like it simple, OxygenOS’s idiosyncrasy of keeping a simple look will definitely be appreciated by you. And if you’re looking to spice things up, OnePlus hides a lot of functionality under folds that’s for you to explore.
While the budget segment is graced with some spectacular options, I’ve been yearning for a OnePlus phone to enter this segment as the software experience that OnePlus has to offer is far better than probably any other phone in the budget segment. This is precisely why I’m excited for the rumoured OnePlus Z or the OnePlus 8 Lite.
Coming back to OxygenOS, OnePlus has a dedicated team that’s solely focused on making optimizations and making the UI smoother than previous iterations. Not only the smoothness, but OxygenOS is also known for localization and developing features that are baked in keeping India in mind.
Also of paramount importance is software support when it comes to flagship phones. Fortunately, OnePlus has a pretty decent track record when it comes to Android and security updates. While it might not be quick as Google’s own Pixel lineup or Nokia in delivering updates (not a fair comparison since Nokia smartphones are a part of the Android One program), OnePlus does come through eventually.
Now, let’s talk about performance. The marriage of OxygenOS with top-notch internals has almost always delivered a performance that has arguably been the best in the industry. Despite using similar internals as its competitors, OnePlus’s slick animations and quick app-opening speeds has always delivered a nimble experience. With the Snapdragon 865 processor, up to 256GB UFS 3.0 storage, and up to 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM, things are expected to be quite similar with the OnePlus 8 Pro.
Not just raw performance, OnePlus’s OxygenOS does a very good job with multitasking and memory management. Haptics is also something that OnePlus has really improved with the Pro series of smartphones and the OnePlus 8 Pro will be no different.
Now, the intent of the piece is not to tell you to go buy the OnePlus 8 Pro as soon as it’s available to buy. Instead, this piece is simply an attempt to stop with the baseless calls of the Pro series being “too expensive” and “not worth it”.
Well, the OnePlus 8 Pro is definitely an expensive smartphone and it inches very close to the pricing of phones like the iPhone 11 and the Samsung Galaxy S20. But calling the OnePlus 8 Pro overpriced doesn’t quite seem fair. The phone brings a lot to the table, right from hardware to software, and has now finally caught up with other flagships with marquee features like IP68 certifications and 30W wireless charging. So being a flagship, we’re not quite surprised with the flagship pricing here.
Although, we’ll reserve our judgement when we get our hands on the phone. As a farewell statement, I’d like to reiterate that this piece wasn’t to convince you to get your hands on the phone. In fact, given the economic conditions that have prevailed due to the COVID-19 situation, premium smartphones seem to have lost their appeal for the time being. But only time will tell how the market pans out in the coming months.