- Relatively new to the smartphone world, OnePlus currently makes some of the best devices, according to Consumer Reports and other tech publications.
- With its simple, streamlined OxygenOS Android implementation, the OnePlus 8 beats other smartphones using the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 processor.
- Although Apple’s A14 Bionic chip is significantly faster in Geekbench tests, Snapdragon 865 processor optimizations bring desktop-level graphics performance to mobile devices.
Who is OnePlus?
OnePlus is a relatively new company. For most of us, Apple and Samsung encapsulate the smartphone universe. Those who follow Android closely are well aware of this innovative, disruptive smartphone maker and its ability to create fast, high-quality Android devices.
Founded in late 2013 by Pete Lau and Carl Pei in Shenzhen, China, OnePlus sought to compete with the Google Pixel line of smartphones. Focusing on quality and price, the company committed to implementing useful features instead of cramming its operating system with gimmicks and bloatware. The result, OxygenOS, is a remarkably intuitive, streamlined, and responsive operating system.
Focusing on the Indian market, OnePlus managed to unseat Samsung as the top provider of high-end smartphones. By 2019, OnePlus earned thirty-three percent of India’s premium smartphone market, compared to Samsung’s twenty-six percent.
OnePlus Phones Rival Apple and Samsung
Although OnePlus isn’t a household name in the United States, that’s changing rapidly. Consumer Reports recently ranked the OnePlus 8 Pro as one of the top smartphones for 2020. It’s one of a few recommended smartphones. According to Consumer Reports, OnePlus phones are as well-made as the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy series:
“Overall the OnePlus 8 Pro was excellent. It struck an exceptional balance of quickness, battery life, and camera quality. Ease of use on the 8 Pro was excellent. The touchscreen’s use of menus, web browser, camera, buttons, and unlocking the phone were top notch… Performance of the 8 Pro was excellent… Overall, the durability of the 8 Pro was Excellent. The phone scored an Excellent in our scratch resistance test. This phone passed our tumble test. The tumble test results are as follows: After 50 drops in the tumbler, our experts rated it as Excellent.”
At around $900, the phone’s features surpass that of Apple and Samsung, offering 120 Hz refresh rates at the highest resolution (QHD+), with amazing beyond-all-day battery life. With 48 MP camera sensors, the latest OnePlus phones also take amazing photographs, with some tests demonstrating superiority over the iPhone.
It’s not just about specs with OnePlus. 120 Hz refresh rate screens support faster frame rates, making videos look more lifelike than 60 Hz displays. Motion blur and other deleterious video artifacts don’t appear on 120 Hz displays. Its camera provides highly detailed telephoto shots with fantastic zoom capabilities. These are beneficial capabilities, not gimmicks backed up by meaningless specs.
Many Android apps, such as Netflix and numerous games, support 120 Hz refresh rate technology. Although Netflix videos don’t offer 120 frames-per-second natively, they support frame-generating “motion smoothing” technology, vastly improving video quality. My OnePlus 8 Pro is the best screen in the house!
OnePlus 8 Tops Android Geekbench Charts
Until recently, OnePlus only created smartphones. Unlike Apple and Samsung, this allowed them to focus on a few smartphones every year, and nothing else. The focus seems to have paid off, as the newly refreshed OnePlus 8 now tops the Geekbench Android charts.
Geekbench is a platform-independent benchmark for comparing smartphones, computers, and processors. Relying on commonly used algorithms, Geekbench runs the same tests on all devices, ensuring fair and accurate comparisons.
Two OnePlus smartphones currently top the Android Geekbench chart — the newly refreshed OnePlus 8 and the slightly older OnePlus 8 Pro. Samsung’s lineup of flagship S20 phones follow close behind.
Newer iPhone Models Faster than OnePlus 8
The iPhone is a high-quality premium phone, and its A-series processors are difficult to beat. Since Apple designs its own chips, iOS can leverage specific system-on-chip (SoC) technologies, making for speedier performance. The A14 Bionic processor also runs at almost twice the speed of the OnePlus 8’s Snapdragon, which is underclocked to boost battery life and improve thermodynamics.
According to Geekbench, Apple’s A14 Bionic processor scores a remarkable 1584 for single-core performance and 3912 for multi-core. The OnePlus 8 scores a less impressive 888 and 3220 for single-core and multi-core performance, respectively.
Apple seems to place a high value on single-core performance, as it offers a speedier user experience. Overall, the user experience on both the iPhone 12 and OnePlus 8 are close, as other factors are at play. Geekbench measures algorithmic performance; however, this does not capture user experience speed. Most users would find the OnePlus 8 to be just as fast as the iPhone 12, regardless of the latter’s beefier processor.
The OnePlus 8 features 12 GB of RAM — three times as much as the iPhone 12. This gives the OnePlus a distinct advantage. Frequently used apps are loaded into memory and launch instantly. Immersive games can load elaborate scenery into RAM, providing smooth gameplay without the slightest lag. Although RAM doesn’t significantly impact Geekbench tests, it helps launch apps faster and makes games buttery-smooth in the real world.
iPhone Display Years Behind Competition
The most surprising aspect of Apple’s newest phones is their lack of 120 Hz displays. Samsung, OnePlus, and many others offer far better screens than the iPhone. Beyond the faster refresh rate, the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro offer far brighter displays and superior resolution with the pro model.
Apple’s success seems to have gotten the better of them. The company needs to manufacture tens of millions of iPhones per quarter. This makes it difficult to order parts, such as cutting-edge displays or higher capacity batteries. Even if Apple could get better screens, the wimpy batteries in the newest iPhones would drain in a few hours.
Looking Beyond Apple
After buying two Macs in a row that broke for no apparent reason, I couldn’t purchase another Apple product. Maybe it’s a coincidence, but I’ve never experienced such abject failure from any other technology product. I still own a $140 Linux netbook that works after ten years. I had an iMac that lasted for six months and a MacBook Pro for only 18.
In hindsight, Apple did me a favor. By ripping me off, it forced me to look outside of the Apple ecosystem. I begrudgingly purchased my first Android device and approached it with skepticism and apprehension. After a few days, I realized it’s so much better than an iPhone; I would likely never switch back.
Becoming a droid isn’t for everyone, but it’s not difficult either. Whether it’s Android vs. iOS or macOS vs. Windows, these operating systems are all so similar. Tech corporations borrow ideas from each other, to the point of achieving platform homogeneity. My OnePlus 8 Pro works much like my iPhone because both corporations borrowed ideas from one another. Popular apps are fundamentally the same, despite running on different operating systems.
Apple has some users locked in. If you absolutely need to send iMessages, the iPhone is the only option. Instagram and other social media platforms optimize their apps for the iPhone. When you record and publish an Instagram story on an Android device, sometimes the results are disappointing.
If you have thousands of dollars worth of App Store and iTunes purchases, you’ll lose them when you convert to Android. It’s all the more reason to buy content from platform-independent providers such as Google Play and Amazon.
For most users, switching to Android is a breeze. I was not only amazed by how smooth this was, but also how fantastic OxygenOS is. I waited a few days after OnePlus released OxygenOS 11, thinking that, if major iOS updates always have defects, Android must be even worse. That wasn’t the case. After upgrading to OxygenOS 11, my phone is as flawless as ever, just with more features.
If you think Apple is the best, I know for a fact it’s not true. I’ve never installed a major iOS update without witnessing some apparent defects. I’ve had more apps close on me unexpectedly or exhibit weird behavior on iOS than on Android.
It used to be true that Android was mediocre at best and, in some cases, horrible. This is no longer the case. Android caught up to iOS a few years ago. For most people, today’s Android experience is superior to the iPhone. I can install Fortnite on my OnePlus 8 Pro. That’s not true of any iPhone model. The iPhone may be a celebrated device, but Apple’s monopolistic and controlling ways have diminished its possibilities.