OnePlus phones have generally had decent displays
Surprising absolutely no one, OnePlus finally decided to hop on the high-end fleet of premium-priced smartphones. But what do they have to show for it? The most specs and features packed on a smartphone screen to date.
Though by now, we should all know that hardware and their specs on-paper are only part of the overall quality and experience. There are subtle nuances of panel characteristics, screen calibration, and software implementations that can all change how your content is seen.
The budget-friendly OnePlus handsets of the past could afford a few omissions and shortcomings due to their price. And for the price, OnePlus phones have generally had decent displays. Now, the OnePlus 8 Pro is priced sternly in the premium category, and there is minimal room for faults; anything that can be nitpicked should be nitpicked.
“Premium flagship” components
In regards to the whole device, the OnePlus 8 Pro is very well-built. Every component included is high-end, and nothing of major significance has been omitted from the handset. Though while higher quality parts increase headroom, it should be noted that they often require greater care and maintenance to integrate to their full potential.
The panel in the OnePlus 8 Pro is sourced from Samsung Display, but this time around OnePlus doesn’t seem to settle for anything but Samsung’s best. The OnePlus 8 Pro has a tall 6.78-inch screen that runs at QHD+ (3168×1440, 513 pixels per inch) resolution with a high 120 Hz refresh rate. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S20, the OnePlus 8 Pro is capable of rendering 120 Hz at its full QHD+ resolution. In terms of color volume, the OnePlus 8 Pro gets as bright and as wide as Samsung’s own flagship, the Galaxy S20. Furthermore, the OnePlus 8 Pro has a native 10-bit display panel, which fills in more of its color volume. It should theoretically allow for smoother color gradients and finer shadow details.
The display in the OnePlus 8 Pro is an ambitious endeavor in creating the best possible display experience on a smartphone. I had no reservations in the effort OnePlus was putting into the display. However, over the last few months, many customers of the OnePlus 8 Pro have faced some abnormalities with their OLED displays. These abnormalities involve screen uniformity issues, black crush, and a darkened row along the front-facing camera. I’m facing these same issues with my own unit, as well as with a replacement unit that I’ve received, but I found the quality control on mine to be acceptable. However, after seeing abundant quality control reports from other users, perhaps that was the price they had to pay to afford using Samsung’s latest and greatest panels. We reached out to OnePlus for a statement on the dark row problem, to which all we were told was that “under some low-light settings, an extremely slight brightness difference may potentially be observed. This will not impact the performance of the device.” Unfortunately, it doesn’t tell us anything we don’t already know, and it leaves us commentless on the dark row problem.
The OnePlus 8 Pro retains the two universal Android color profiles: the sRGB-conforming Natural profile and the punchier Vivid profile, which is based on Display P3 with a cooler white point. OnePlus also has three more profiles under the “Advanced” option, allowing the user to manually switch between sRGB, Display P3, and the native gamut of the display while giving the user the option to adjust the white point.
Compared to the sRGB color space, the Vivid gamut is up to 49% larger, with about 23% larger reds tinted towards orange, and 33% larger greens. AMOLED Wide Gamut is up to 55% larger than sRGB, with 26% larger reds tinted towards orange, 36% larger greens, and 18% larger blues sharply tinted towards cyan.