When OnePlus launched the OnePlus 7 series almost a year ago, all eyes were pointed at the OnePlus 7 Pro. The Pro variant delivered a slick pop-up selfie camera, a triple rear camera system, and a 90Hz OLED screen.
Meanwhile, the OnePlus 7 was clearly treated like an afterthought, essentially being the OnePlus 6T with a new processor and a 48MP+5MP rear camera setup. But a few months down the line, we got the OnePlus 7T, and it blew the OnePlus 7 out of the water.
The OnePlus 7T fixed where the OnePlus 7 went wrong, being more than just a chipset upgrade for the standard model. We got a 90Hz OLED display, a flexible triple camera setup (normal/wide/telephoto), and 30W charging support. All of these features were also present on the OnePlus 7 Pro and, in the case of charging, you actually got quicker charging times on the vanilla model due to its slightly smaller battery.
Our own David Imel called the standard model “one of the best devices OnePlus has made in years” in his OnePlus 7T review. In fact, David also said the 7T was cheaper and had similar specs to the OnePlus 7T Pro, with the exception of screen resolution and battery capacity.
Why would you get the Pro then when the standard model offered practically the same for less? In fact, you couldn’t even get the Pro variant if you wanted it in the likes of the US, owing to a weird release strategy on the company’s part.
Two steps forward, one step back?
It looks like the manufacturer also wondered why people would buy the Pro model over the standard variant, and recently leaked specs point to a OnePlus 8 that is notably worse than the Pro model.
The OnePlus 8 is believed to lag behind the OnePlus 8 Pro in terms of refresh rate (90Hz vs 120Hz), IP rating (no significant IP rating vs IP68), and wireless charging (no wireless charging vs 30W charging and reverse wireless charging). This is aside from the Pro model usually having a slightly bigger battery and a sharper screen.
But arguably the biggest rumored downgrade is in the camera field, as the OnePlus 8 is tipped to arrive with a triple rear camera setup that’s actually less flexible than the OnePlus 7T’s rear cameras. Instead of a normal/wide/telephoto trio, we’re slated to get a normal/wide/macro combination (48MP/16MP/2MP).
Aside from the new processor and 5G, all signs point to the OnePlus 8 being a OnePlus 7.1T.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with a macro camera, but the OnePlus 7T and several other phones are capable of taking macro shots with their ultra-wide snapper. If anything, it seems like the company ditched the telephoto camera in order to save a few pennies rather than the macro camera actually being better.
Meanwhile, the OnePlus 8 Pro is tipped to offer a 48MP standard camera, 48MP ultra-wide snapper, 8MP telephoto camera, and a 5MP “color filter.” Either way you cut it, the Pro model is tipped to have the superior camera setup.
A bigger gap between OnePlus 8 and Pro?
That’s not to say the OnePlus 8 is shaping up to be a downgrade over the OnePlus 7T because it lacks a telephoto camera. But it’s not exactly looking like a major upgrade either. The OnePlus 8 is tipped to offer a Snapdragon 865 processor, 90Hz FHD+ OLED screen, 30W charging, and no IP rating. Aside from the chipset, you’re getting everything else with the older phone. So unless you absolutely need 5G or an even faster processor, a cut-price OnePlus 7T looks like a better purchase.
All of this suggests that the OnePlus 7T may have simply been too good, making it a more attractive option in markets where both options were available. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the OnePlus 8 will be bad if the leaks turn out to be true, but the gulf between the vanilla and Pro models would certainly be much wider than before.
Another possible reason for this apparent disparity between the OnePlus 8 and Pro variant is price pressure. Snapdragon 865 flagships are seeing higher prices than last year’s Snapdragon 855 flagships, and it’s reportedly due to the new chipset being more expensive. So it looks like OnePlus has to make compromises if it’s hoping to keep the OnePlus 8 price in check.
There’s less pressure to count pennies for the Pro model though, and it looks like OnePlus is embracing the premium segment in a big way by adding all the bells and whistles. So a two-pronged strategy of trying to cater to both the affordable flagship crowd and the premium segment could only make the phones stand out from each other in an even bigger way.
Looking for more OnePlus 8 series news? Then you can check out our dedicated rumor hub at the previous link.