OnePlus unveils '8 series' smartphones to challenge Apple and Samsung

OnePlus has revealed its latest handsets that it hopes will pose a big challenge to industry titans Apple and Samsung.

The OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro were launched by the Shenzen-based company through a virtual news conference. Like all other tech brands at the moment, OnePlus has been hamstrung by the global coronavirus pandemic.

The phones themselves are sleek slabs of glass with a wide array of features thrown in to tempt users into upgrading. Despite its huge popularity within the tech community, OnePlus is still not as widely known as Apple, Samsung or Huawei.

Of the two phones, the OnePlus 8 Pro is the headline act with a 6.78-inch QHD+ Fluid Display boasting a 120Hz refresh rate. The motorised pop-up selfie camera of the OnePlus 7 Pro has been replaced with a hole-punch camera within the display. So the screen isn’t flawless this time around but the switch has been made for a very good reason. For the first time, OnePlus is able to boast official IP68-rated waterproofing for the 8 Pro.

Around the back is a quad camera system consisting of a 48-megapixel main camera, an 8-megapixel ultra wide camera and a 3x telephoto zoom camera alongside a colour filter camera used for better lighting and effects.

What may stand out to technology fans is the sheer amount of power and components that OnePlus has added to the phone. Inside there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor and an Adreno 650 GPU alongside a choice of either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage space.

Here’s how the pricing for the different models works out:

  • The OnePlus 8 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of ROM costs £599
  • The OnePlus 8 with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of ROM costs £699
  • The OnePlus 8 Pro with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of ROM costs £799
  • The OnePlus 8 Pro with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of ROM costs £899

The pricing remains strong given that Samsung and Apple charge over a thousand pounds for their top-tier handsets, however OnePlus has increased the price of the top Pro model by £100 since the OnePlus 7 Pro last year.

While the OnePlus 8 Pro and OnePlus 8 use Google’s Android operating system, it’s been modified into the custom OxygenOS that adds some nifty software features to the phones. You can enable Reading Mode that turns the display monochrome or Zen Mode that locks the phone altogether for a select period of time so you can, well, zen out.

The battery on the 8 Pro is a whopping 4,510mAh non-removable lithium ion battery that can be charged to 50% in 23 minutes when connected to the Warp Charge plug that comes in the box.

The regular OnePlus 8 comes in as a slightly less well-specc’d offering that will appeal to those on more of a budget. The phone has a smaller 6.55-inch display with a 90Hz refresh rate and a more modest 4,300mAh battery. The processor, GPU and RAM options remain the same so you’re not compromising with power on the smaller device.

However, the OnePlus 8 only features a triple camera on the back – opting for a 48-megapixel main camera, a 16-megapixel ultrawide and a macro camera for taking close-up shots.

Alongside the waterproofing, both phones have received another much-requested feature in the form of wireless charging. Like Samsung, Apple and Huawei, OnePlus has embraced the wireless trend. The company says the OnePlus 8 Pro will wirelessly charge to 50% in 30 minutes through its proprietary Warp Charge wireless charger that was also announced at the event. The Warp Charge wireless charger will be sold separately and costs £69.

Even better, OnePlus has borrowed a trick from the Huawei playbook and included reverse wireless charging. Once enabled, you can place a compatible device (like another phone) on the back of the phone and use it like a charging pad.

The OnePlus 8 comes in a choice of Onyx Black, Interstellar Glow and Glacial Green while the 8 Pro is available in Onyx Black, Glacial Green and Ultramarine Blue.

‘The OnePlus 8 series is the most powerful and beautiful flagship smartphone series we have ever created,’ said Pete Lau, founder and CEO of OnePlus.

‘The seamless immersive viewing experience provided by the OnePlus 8’s industry-leading 120Hz display, and the sleek design and compact form factor of the OnePlus 8, together deliver a burdenless, premium user experience like never before.’

Both phones will be available in the various configurations on April 21.

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