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OnePlus 8 vs OnePlus 8 Pro: Which should you get?

What an interesting pair of smartphones to come out of OnePlus. The OnePlus 8 series represents both sides of the same coin that is OnePlus: both the flagship killer and the flagship it sought to kill. So, which OnePlus should you get? The OnePlus 8 Pro or the OnePlus 8?

OnePlus 8 vs OnePlus 8 Pro at a glance

Since the making of the video, OnePlus has finally revealed the official local pricing for their brand new smartphone lineup, and I gotta be honest, we were all a little surprised. The equivalent OnePlus 7 Pro (top spec) retailed at RM4,199 which is RM100 more than the OnePlus 8 Pro’s RRP. And, I don’t think anyone would disagree with the fact that the OnePlus 8 Pro is an objectively better smartphone in practically every single way.

This really helps OnePlus compete at the top with the 8 Pro because they make up for the lack of ecosystem features with a lower price tag. Not only are the spec-for-spec variants more affordable than something like Samsung’s Galaxy S20 series, but they also undercut smartphones like the Oppo Find X2 Pro and the Find X2. Even Huawei’s P40 series have higher price tags in the Pro and Pro+ devices, and those smartphones don’t even come with Google’s Mobile Services.

In case you can’t or haven’t watched the video, I think that the OnePlus 8 duo are an interesting split for a company like OnePlus.

With the OnePlus 8, it’s a smartphone that’s quintessentially OnePlus. It’s a flagship smartphone with almost all the specs that matter and nothing else—something that you’ve seen them consistently do with their handsets until the OnePlus 7 Pro. It’s got a high-end processor, good memory options, a good enough screen, a good enough camera and a good enough build. Sure, it sacrifices on stuff like wireless charging, but you still get solid stereo speakers, fast-charging, a clean near-stock Android experience and most importantly, a more affordable price tag.

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On the the other hand, the OnePlus 8 Pro is the aspirational flagship smartphone. It’s a device that people want to have because it basically doesn’t compromise on anything. It has all the bells, all the whistles, and all the specs it needs to compete with the best of the best. Yes, it lacks in terms of ecosystem features, but at this point nobody can really compete with Apple or Samsung for that, so the trade-off is that you get a slightly more affordable price tag. Ironically, OnePlus’ “never settle” mantra has never really held up until this smartphone—a handset that probably deviates furthest from the company’s original roots.

These two phones represent both sides of the OnePlus company. The very essence of the “people’s flagship” that gained them their notoriety in the first place, as well as the proper no-compromises flagship phone that they hope to grow into sometime in the future. And as a result, you get two very competitive smartphones at the high-end of the market. So, which OnePlus is for you? Well, that depends on who you are. because I think both of these phones are rather comparable in terms of value-for-money. Are they the unarguable best in their class? That’s hard to say for now but I think they’re pretty darn good.

If you’re someone who only wants the essence of what makes a flagship experience in 2020, then the OnePlus 8 will definitely meet your demands. In isolation, you’re really not losing out on much. However, if you don’t mind paying a little more for the “extra” features that really take you close to what it’s like to use an expensive “everything” smartphone, the OnePlus 8 Pro is probably the handset for you.

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Photography by Rory Lee on the Sony A6600.