The Google Pixel 5 is the best Pixel Google has released to date. Featuring the same excellent 12.2-megapixel camera as the Pixel 4, it adds a 16MP ultrawide lens, a significantly larger battery, 5G support, and an improved display. It looks set to be one of the best Android smartphones you can buy and one of the best phones costing $700 or less.
But it’s not the only sub-$700 Android. Another strong contender in this category is the OnePlus 8. Released in April, it also features great software, a long-lasting battery, an appealing design, and a very usable camera. It’s a good phone in its own right, but is it better than the Pixel 5?
We answer this question by directly comparing the Pixel 5 and the OnePlus 8 across a variety of categories. By taking a closer look at their specs, performance, designs, batteries, cameras, and software, we should be able to help you decide which is the right $700 Android for you.
|Google Pixel 5||OnePlus 8|
|Size||144.7 x 70.4 x 8mm (5.70 x 2.77 x 0.31 inches)||160.2 x 72.9 x 8mm (6.31 x 2.87 x 0.31 inches)|
|Weight||151 grams (5.33 ounces)||180 grams (6.35 ounces)|
|Screen size||6-inch OLED capacitive touchscreen (90Hz)||6.55-inch AMOLED (90Hz)|
|Screen resolution||2340 x 1080 pixels (432 pixels per inch)||2400 x 1080 pixels (402 ppi)|
|Operating system||Android 11||Android 10 (under OxygenOS)|
|MicroSD card slot||No||No|
|Tap-to-pay services||Google Pay||Google Pay|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 765||Qualcomm Snapdragon 865|
|Camera||Dual lens 12-megapixel wide, 16MP ultrawide rear, 8MP front||Triple lens 48MP wide-angle, 12MP ultrawide, 2MP macro rear, 16MP front|
|Video||4K at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 30 fps||4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 340 fps|
|Bluetooth version||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 5.1|
|Fingerprint sensor||Yes, rear-mounted||Yes, in-display|
Fast charging (18W)
Reverse wireless charging
Warp Charge fast charging (30W)
|App marketplace||Google Play Store||Google Play Store|
|Network support||Verizon, Google Fi||Verizon, T-Mobile|
|Colors||Just Black, Sorta Sage||Onyx Black, Glacial Green, Interstellar Glow, Polar Silver|
|Review score||4 out of 5 stars||3 out of 5 stars|
Design, display, and durability
The Pixel 5 replaces the Pixel 4‘s ugly forehead bezels with a chic edge-to-edge display, which houses a hole-punch selfie camera in the top-left corner. It also substitutes the Pixel 4a’s cheap-looking plastic body for an aluminum case. As a result, it looks sleeker and a little more up-market.
Even with that, the Pixel 5 is still 29 grams lighter than the OnePlus 8, which also sports an edge-to-edge display. The OnePlus 8 is noticeably taller, a little wider, and just as thin (8mm) as Google’s phone, meaning it carries more mass. Its body is made of glass rather than aluminum, so this adds extra weight while also making the phone look slightly more sophisticated than the Pixel 5. However, we’d say that both phones are more or less equally attractive in their own ways.
Both phones also have equally impressive displays. The OnePlus 8 packs a 6.55-inch AMOLED display, providing 2400 x 1080 pixels, or 402 ppi. The Pixel 5 has a 6.5-inch OLED screen, which offers slightly fewer pixels overall (at 2340 x 1080 pixels) but 30 more ppi. Because AMOLED screens tend to offer a little more quality than OLEDs, this difference in pixels per inch will likely balance. Both phones also support a 90Hz refresh rate, so you’ll have a hard time distinguishing any significant difference other than the half-inch difference in size.
The same thing applies to durability. Both the Pixel 5 and OnePlus 8 have received an IP68 rating. This means you can dunk them in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes, should you be that way inclined. The aluminum case may make the Pixel 5 more resistant to cracks, but without long-term use, we can’t say this for sure.
This opening round is a tie. The Pixel 5 and OnePlus 8 are similarly pretty and come with similarly sharp displays, so it would be a little fussy to pick one over the other here.
Performance, battery life, and charging
The Pixel 5 and OnePlus 8 come with equal amounts of RAM: 8GB. However, the Pixel 5 is still powered by the Snapdragon 765, while the OnePlus 8 benefits from the beefier Snapdragon 865. This makes a noticeable difference in practice, with the OnePlus 8 likely to handle the latest games and apps more comfortably than Google’s phone.
As for internal storage, both the Pixel 5 and the OnePlus 8 carry 128GB as standard, although you can choose to pay $100 more to buy the version of the OnePlus 8 with 256GB. The OnePlus 8 also packs a microSD card slot, while the Pixel 5 doesn’t.
The OnePlus 8 also boasts better battery specs, with its 4,300mAh topping the Pixel 5’s still-generous 4,080mAh cell. Our review found that it easily lasts a full day under heavy use, although our review of the Pixel concluded that it also comfortably lasts a full day. It’s also likely to last two days of lighter use, representing a big improvement compared to last year’s Pixel 4. However, the OnePlus 8 takes the edge in the battery department by offering faster charging (at 30w compared to 18W), so in anyone likely to be in a rush may prefer OnePlus’ model.
Taken with the more powerful processor, this means that the OnePlus 8 wins this round.
Winner: OnePlus 8
It’s no secret that Pixel phones have some of the best cameras around. The Pixel 5 has a 12.2MP wide lens and a 16MP ultrawide lens, and while these don’t sound like much on paper, based on previous Pixel phones, they’ll deliver excellent photos. The OnePlus 8, on the other hand, goes in hard with a triple-lens 48MP wide camera, a 12MP ultrawide, and a 2MP macro rear.
This would appear to give the edge to the OnePlus 8, which does take very nice photos in common everyday settings. However, we found the macro lens — used for zoomed shots — often lacks color and definition, while the main lens isn’t great in low light.
By contrast, the Pixel 5’s camera is every bit as versatile and capable as the cameras on the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4. In other words, it provides a nearly idiot-proof camera system that can take great photos under the vast majority of conditions, harnessing Google’s machine-learning capabilities to good effect. Our review also found that its new features — its ultrawide lens, Cinematic Mode, and the ability to change light sources in Portrait Mode — improve on the already excellent cameras of its predecessors.
This round is, therefore, a win for the Pixel 5. The OnePlus 8 takes solid photos, but Google’s phone takes things from very good to great.
Winner: Google Pixel 5
Software and updates
While Pixel 5 runs on Android 11, the OnePlus 8 is based around OxygenOS, which is OnePlus’ very own skin of Android 10. It improves on the basic Android experience by simplifying and streamlining the core interface, something which speeds up the system overall. Its slide-in, Google Assistant-driven screen is also very helpful, offering you quick news and weather updates as well as speedy access to your own notifications and updates.
However, you will notice from the paragraph above that the Pixel 5 is already running Android 11, while the OnePlus 8 has Android 11 only as a beta (as of writing). As this suggests, Google’s phone will be the first in line for updates and new versions, so while we are big fans of OxygenOS, we’re going to declare a slim victory for the Pixel.
Winner: Google Pixel 5
We’re pleased to say that both the Pixel 5 and OnePlus 8 support 5G. That said, 5G isn’t available for the OnePlus 8 from AT&T, while T-Mobile offers support only for the slower sub-6Hz band (only Verizon offers support for the faster mmWave frequencies). This arguably puts the OnePlus 8 at a slight disadvantage compared to Google’s phone, which benefits from mmWave support from Verizon and AT&T.
Aside from 5G, neither phone offers a standout special feature, largely due to their more reasonable prices. The Pixel 5 offers a few Google-only exclusives, such as the artificial intelligence (A.I.) Call Screen feature. Meanwhile, the OnePlus 8 offers a few software quirks of its own, such as Zen Mode, which saves you from notifications and disturbances for a predefined period.
Neither phone has the advantage when it comes to special features, so this round is a tie. Yes, the Pixel 5 appears to have more comprehensive 5G support, but 5G still isn’t particularly widespread, so most OnePlus 8 owners will hardly feel the difference.
Price and availability
The Pixel 5 is available from Google for $699 and will ship in the U.S. from October 29. It will be supported by Verizon, Google Fi, and AT&T, and you’ll also be able to buy it from Amazon.
The OnePlus 8 is available directly from OnePlus and begins at $699. As of writing, OnePlus is selling the version with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of memory for $699. It’s also available from all major carriers and most major online retailers.
Overall winner: Google Pixel 5
The two phones are pretty evenly matched, but the Pixel 5 is just a little better overall than the OnePlus 8. Its camera is noticeably superior, while it will also benefit from speedier updates. It’s also just as nice to look at as OnePlus’ phone, has a similarly vivid display, and offers the same long-lasting battery life.
However, if you don’t care about the camera on your phone that much, the OnePlus 8 is highly recommended. It comes with a more powerful processor and offers very user-friendly software, as well as 5G support. If you can find its 12GB and 256GB version for $699, it’s certainly worth a shot.
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