Best Smartphone Deal for Prime Day 2021: $349 OnePlus 8

Bill Mount

OnePlus OnePlus 8 (Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.) Believe it or not, one of Prime Day’s best deals this year is a flagship phone. The OnePlus 8 was part of the phone maker’s 2020 lineup. Though the OnePlus 8 Pro […]


OnePlus

OnePlus 8 product image

OnePlus 8

(Ars Technica may earn compensation for sales from links on this post through affiliate programs.)

Believe it or not, one of Prime Day’s best deals this year is a flagship phone. The OnePlus 8 was part of the phone maker’s 2020 lineup. Though the OnePlus 8 Pro was bigger in size and spec, the high-level specs on this standard model still make it a decent flagship phone in 2021.

OnePlus phones have generally appealed to us by offering flagship-level specs and performance for less than the ever-ballooning price of most high-end smartphones. This year’s Prime Day sale takes the $500-600 OnePlus 8 down to $349, a much more competitive price that again gives more expensive (and less expensive) phones a run for their money.

Just looking at the spec sheet, you can see that—with 5G support (on GSM networks like AT&T and T-Mobile), a 6.55-inch 402 pixels-per-inch OLED display with a 90 Hz refresh rate, 8GB RAM (albeit of the slower LPDDR4X variety), 128GB of UFS 3.0 storage, and Qualcomm’s 2020 flagship Snapdragon 865 processor—the OnePlus 8 is a phone that remains competitive. Unfortunately, there’s no removable storage, though that’s not out of the ordinary in 2021.

There are big specs in the battery and camera department, as well. The 4,300 mAh battery uses OnePlus’ Warp Charge technology to juice the phone from 1 percent to half-full in 22 minutes, according to the company, and it tends to last about a day under normal usage. Wireless charging is not available, though.

To allow for varying shots and artistic expression, the camera array includes has three different cameras: one with a standard lens, one with a macro lens, and one with an ultrawide-angle lens. The cameras range from decent to not-so-great, though we had a few surprisingly good moments in our experience with the phone.

Thankfully, OnePlus is one of the better phone OEMs with regard to Android updates: the updates usually land within a few weeks of each release, though the company often lags 1 to 3 months behind on security updates. The company’s Oxygen OS still looks good and makes useful customizations to the Android operating system, but because the OnePlus 8 is already a year old, you should only expect one more major software update for Android 12 and a little less than two years of security updates.

The OnePlus 8’s update prowess, good looks, low cost, and not-cheap-feeling hardware are a lot more than we can say for many Android phones in 2021, particularly at this price point.



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