A hand holding a OnePlus 7 Pro so that you can see the back, which is the Nebula Blue color.

Credit: C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Opinion post by
C. Scott Brown

For multiple years now, I’ve used a OnePlus device as my daily driver. When I first started working here at Android Authority, I used a OnePlus 5. I then upgraded to the OnePlus 6T and, shortly afterward, the OnePlus 7 Pro. However, judging from the rumors we’ve seen so far, I probably won’t be upgrading to the OnePlus 8 Pro.

I want to be clear that we are still over a month away from the launch of the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro (and, ostensibly, the OnePlus 8 Lite). Between now and then, rumors we’ve heard might not pan out and the OnePlus 8 series could be drastically different from what we expect. I’m basing my opinion on what we know (and think we know) right now, today. And right now, what I’m seeing isn’t enticing me to buy.

In fact, what I’ve seen so far suggests that upgrading to a OnePlus 8 Pro from a OnePlus 7 Pro could actually be more of a downgrade in a few areas.

Let me walk you through the rumors we know so far about the OnePlus 8 Pro and talk about why, so far, the OnePlus 7 Pro seems like the superior device.

OnePlus 8 Pro: The essential rumors

oneplus 8 pro 5K render onleaks91Mobiles

In the leaked render above, you can get a good look at what we expect the OnePlus 8 Pro to be like. On the back, you can see a very similar sensor array as we saw on the OnePlus 7T Pro. The laser autofocus module (the thin dark line to the left of the camera array) is lengthened as compared to the 7T Pro, and a new lens (likely a depth sensor) sits atop it.

The hardware buttons all look the same as the entire 7 series from OnePlus: a volume rocker on the left with a power button and the alert slider on the right. On the bottom, you’ll find a USB-C port, the SIM card slot, and a bottom-firing speaker grille.

The biggest change with the OnePlus 8 Pro as compared to the OnePlus 7 Pro and OnePlus 7T Pro is the display. This render suggests that the pop-up selfie camera on the two phones from 2019 might not carry over to 2020. Instead, the render suggests OnePlus could go with a display cutout very similar to what we saw on the Samsung Galaxy S10 series (albeit on the left instead of the right).

Why would the company abandon the pop-up selfie camera? The rumor mill tells us that OnePlus might finally deliver one of the most-requested features of its fans: an IP rating. The pop-up selfie camera likely needed to go for an official IP rating certification, which OnePlus has said in the past is not necessary.

All in all, this seems like a fine phone. But there are a few things about it that would make me hesitant to upgrade, should they become a reality.

A display cutout? No thanks.

OnePlus 7 Pro wathing YouTube video

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

If someone were to ask me what my favorite feature of the OnePlus 7 Pro is, I would answer “The display” without hesitation. It’s got everything you could ask for: a 1440p resolution, a 90Hz refresh rate, and no notches or cutouts in sight. It’s just all screen all the time, and it’s beautiful.

In fact, here in the United States, the OnePlus 7 Pro was the first — and is still the only — smartphone you can buy at a carrier store that offers a display like this. The iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus don’t offer it. The Google Pixel 4 XL doesn’t offer it. Even the just-launched Samsung Galaxy S20 series doesn’t offer it.

The all-screen display on the OnePlus 7 Pro is its defining feature. Why would OnePlus take it away?

That’s why it’s so crazy that it appears that, with the OnePlus 8 Pro, the company might set aside the one thing it has that literally no other OEM in the US has. Why would it introduce a notch-less, cutout-free display in the 7 Pro and then take it away for the 8 Pro? If that’s not a downgrade, I don’t know what is.

Look, I know there are a lot of people out there who really like IP ratings. They want to be assured that their phone can survive some water and some dust. But I feel like OnePlus 7 Pro (and OnePlus 7T Pro) owners out there who know and love the display on their phones would gladly give up an IP certification to keep it. I use my phone’s display every single day. How many days am I worried about water and dust? Maybe three per year? That’s not an equal trade.

The other OnePlus 8 Pro downgrade disguised as an upgrade

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 in hand front

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Although we don’t know much yet about the internal specs of the OnePlus 8 Pro, there are a few things we can be relatively certain about. One is that we can practically guarantee it will come with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset. Another is that it will very likely be 5G-capable (although whether it will support both mmWave and sub-600Hz 5G is anybody’s guess).

While the SD865 is obviously faster than the SD855 in the OnePlus 7 Pro (and the SD855 Plus in the OnePlus 7T Pro), it isn’t universally better. For example, those 5G connections likely aren’t nearly as power-efficient as 4G LTE connections. While we haven’t done in-depth testing on the subject yet, we have anecdotal evidence that strongly suggests 5G chipsets are not as power-efficient as non-5G chipsets.

In other words, the SD865 will offer slightly more speed and stability (and I mean slightly) at the expense of more power consumption. I don’t know about you, but my Snapdragon 855 is plenty fast and I likely wouldn’t notice a difference between it and the SD865 during a day of normal use. Meanwhile, a battery consumption increase by even a few percentage points I would notice instantly.

Additionally, the SD865 is reportedly 50% more expensive than the SD855. OnePlus is certainly not going to eat that cost when it comes to the OnePlus 8 Pro. Nope, that cost is going to get passed on to us consumers, which means the OnePlus 8 Pro will undoubtedly be much more expensive than the OnePlus 7 Pro.

Related: Is Qualcomm working an a Snapdragon 865 Plus processor?

Finally, the OnePlus 8 Pro will likely have tons of RAM and plenty of internal storage. It will probably also have a few camera upgrades. However, my OnePlus 7 Pro has 12GB of RAM, which is already more than enough, and I’ve still got plenty of storage space left out of the 256GB in the device. The camera on the 7 Pro is also already pretty great and I highly doubt the camera on the OnePlus 8 Pro will be better enough to warrant an upgrade based on it alone.

I mean, what else is there to a smartphone? What else could OnePlus have up its sleeve that will pull me away from the OnePlus 7 Pro?

Dear OnePlus: Help me change my mind

OnePlus 7 Pro phone angled on table back

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

I’ll be the first to admit it: I’m a smartphone geek. I love smartphones and that’s why I love my job. When rumors surrounding the OnePlus 7 Pro started I looked at my OnePlus 6T and said, “This is fine,” but then I actually used the OnePlus 7 Pro and immediately bought one.

The main reason I made that decision is the beautiful, uninterrupted display. The OnePlus 8 Pro might not have that. That, to me, makes me feel similar to how some likely felt when OnePlus removed the headphone jack. I’m left asking, “Why would I buy this?”

Maybe OnePlus has something that we don’t know about. Maybe there’s some unbelievable feature on the way that will make me look past the display cutout. However, that feature definitely won’t be an IP rating, nor will it be the rumored wireless charging support. I couldn’t care less about either of those features (even though the rumored 30W wireless charging speed is quite impressive).

As we get closer to the imminent launch of the OnePlus 8 Pro, we might find out that the company has some surprises in store for us. Maybe I will be buying the OnePlus 8 Pro on launch day, just like I did with the OnePlus 7 Pro. At this point, though, I can’t see that happening.

Maybe the OnePlus 8 Pro will come in red. Then maybe I’d be tempted to buy it.

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