Can OnePlus Become True Giant Killers With Their New Lineup?
Updated: Jul 28
Currently sat beside me as I write this is a OnePlus 7 Pro that I've had since December 2019. Before that I had a Google Pixel 2, and before that an LG G5. I've always been an Android fanboy, not least for phones that aren't released by the big manufacturers. Before my love affair with Android, I owned a Windows Phone, which was an experience to say the least. The point I'm making is that firms like OnePlus aren't recognised for what otherwise are fantastic products.
With a slogan like "NEVER SETTLE", you might be forgiven for thinking the Chinese manufacturer are a little above their station, stating that you shouldn't be lumbered with a sub-par phone. For reviewers, the phone I'm using lacked some must-have features on a flagship like wireless charging and water resistance, meaning they couldn't use it as a daily driver, so it in-fact seemed like you were settling for an inferior product. To some of us though, Qi charging and water resistance aren't a make-or-break factor, and for a phone that's still cheaper than rivals from Apple or Samsung, it's a hell of a deal. The triple camera setup and crisp (and notch-less) 90Hz display is a panel fit for kings, and the incredibly fast in-screen fingerprint display works a treat, and that's just the start.
Some might say that the OnePlus 7 Pro was punching well-above its weight class and was destined to fail against the big manufacturers, but review sites such as Mashable stated that this sparked a new dawn for the Chinese manufacturer, and they're not half wrong. With the announcement of the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro, reviewers have been quick to mince their words and are now hailing the new phones as properly usable daily drivers, not least the king of tech YouTube Linus Sebastian, a man whom I admire greatly. OnePlus' latest range seem to have caught the eyes of the tech press to, with sites such as Trusted Reviews or TechRadar hailing it as a "great, big Android phone" in Max Parker's eyes for Trusted Reviews and "a proper flagship phone" in John McCann's for TechRadar. The 8 Pro has a lot going for it, especially compared to Samsung's pricier S20 series, with a 120Hz refresh rate and a myriad of screen customisation options that other manufacturers simply don't have. As much as the array of cameras are a modern selling point, OnePlus are making it big on the displays.
Even with a phone jam-packed with a features that now includes wireless and reverse charging, as well as the aforementioned 120Hz display and full IP certification (hindered on previous models such as my 7 Pro by the dust-proof pop-up camera), the OnePlus 8 Pro clocks in at a lower price than competitors from Apple and Samsung, as well as fellow Chinese manufacturers Huawei. At a price of £799 or £899 dependent upon storage and RAM needs, it's not exactly cheap for an Android device, but with both Samsung and Apple's latest offerings well in the region of £1000+, the OnePlus 8 Pro looks like a good deal. Huawei's latest offering, the P40 Pro, that hit retailers earlier this month, has retailed with the same price of £899 and some frightening specs to give the OnePlus 8 Pro a real run for its money. However, the P40 Pro does fall short in terms of a 90Hz display and lack of a cheaper model with less storage for those who don't need 256GB and can make do with 128GB. In addition, due to Google cutting ties with Huawei, you won't find any Google-related apps like Google Go or Gmail on your new handset.
That being said, the OnePlus 8 Pro doesn't come without its faults. As much as the P40 Pro doesn't come with any Google applications and Samsung's new S20 Ultra is a bit more expensive, maybe the more expensive handsets might be up your alley. One glaring thing the new OnePlus range lacks is expandable memory, but then again, not many manufacturers have stuck by that principle. The top models of Samsung's S20 line come with up to 512GB of internal storage, as well as an SD card slot that can double your storage potential to 1TB, which is crazy for a smartphone. The top-end OnePlus 8 Pro comes with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of internal storage, which isn't actually any upgrade on the previous Pro model. There's no headphone jack present either, something which LG's Velvet flagship has brought back into the fold.
OnePlus, with their new lineup of phones, can, and have become true giant killers. Their moving with the times, having righted the perceived wrongs of previous models, have given them a proper place at the table with bigger players in the smartphone business. That being said, maybe it's time to rethink that slogan and company ethos. With eye-bulging specs and gleaming reviews left, right and centre, maybe OnePlus aren't really giant killers anymore. Instead, maybe these phones are a message to the world that there's a new big player in town.