The Google Pixel 5 is the best phone that Google has ever released. It has the same excellent 12.2-megapixel camera as the Pixel 4, but it also comes with a 16MP ultrawide lens, a larger battery, 5G support, and a better display. It appears to be one of the best Android smartphones available, as well as one of the best phones under $700.

However, it is not the only sub-$700 Android. The OnePlus 8 is another strong contender in this category. It was released in April and includes excellent software, a long-lasting battery, an appealing design, and a very usable camera. OnePlus 8 is a great phone in its own right, but can it match the performance of the Pixel 5?

Specifications

Google Pixel 5OnePlus 8
Size144.7 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)
Weight151 grams (5.33 ounces)180 grams (6.35 ounces)
Screen Size6-inch OLED capacitive touchscreen (90Hz)6.55-inch AMOLED (90Hz)
Screen Resolution2340 x 1080 pixels (432 pixels per inch)2400 x 1080 pixels (402 ppi)
Operating SystemAndroid 11Android 10 (under OxygenOS)
Storage128GB128GB, 256GB
Micro SD Card SlotNoNo
Tap-To-Pay ServicesGoogle PayGoogle Pay
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 765Qualcomm Snapdragon 865
RAM8GB8GB, 12GB
CameraDual lens 12-megapixel wide, 16MP ultrawide rear, 8MP frontTriple lens 48MP wide-angle, 12MP ultrawide, 2MP macro rear, 16MP front
Video4K at 60 frames per second, 1080p at 30 fps4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 340 fps
PortsUSB-C, 3.1USB-C
Fingerprint SensorYes, rear-mountedYes, in-display
Water ResistanceIP68IP68
Battery4080 mAhFast charging (18W)Wireless chargingReverse wireless charging4,300mAhWarp Charge fast charging (30W)
ColorJust Black, Sorta SageOnyx Black, Glacial Green, Interstellar Glow, Polar Silver
Prices$699+$699+
Network SupportVerizon, Google FiVerizon, T-Mobile

Design, display, and longevity

The Pixel 5 ditches the Pixel 4’s ugly forehead bezels in favor of a stylish edge-to-edge display with a hole-punch selfie camera in the top-left corner. It also replaces the Pixel 4a’s unappealing plastic body with an aluminum case. As a result, it appears sleeker and more upscale.

Despite this, the Pixel 5 weighs 29 grams less than the OnePlus 8, which also has an edge-to-edge display. The OnePlus 8 is noticeably taller, slightly wider, and just as thin (8mm) as Google’s phone, implying that it carries more weight. Rather than being made of aluminium, its body is made of glass, which adds weight while also giving the phone a more sophisticated appearance than the Pixel 5. However, we believe that both phones are equally appealing in their own right.

Both phones have similarly impressive displays. The OnePlus 8 comes with a 6.55-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 2400 x 1080 pixels (402 ppi). The Pixel 5 comes with a 6.5-inch OLED screen with slightly fewer pixels overall (at 2340 x 1080 pixels) but 30 more pixels per inch (ppi). Because AMOLED screens have slightly higher quality than OLEDs, the difference in pixels per inch will most likely be balanced. Pixel 5 and OnePlus 8 both support 90Hz Refresh Rate, making any significant difference other than the half-inch size difference difficult to discern.

The same is true for durability. Both the  OnePlus 8 and the Pixel 5 have an IP68 rating. This means you can submerge them in up to 1.5 metres of water for up to 30 minutes if you so desire. The aluminium case may make the Pixel 5 more resistant to cracks, but we can’t be sure without long-term use.

Winner: Tie

Battery life, performance, and charging

Both the OnePlus 8 and the Pixel 5 have 8GB of RAM. The Pixel 5 is powered by the Snapdragon 765, whereas the OnePlus 8 is powered by the beefier Snapdragon 865. In practice, this makes a noticeable difference, with the OnePlus 8 likely to handle the most recent games and apps more comfortably than Google’s phone.

In terms of internal storage, both the Pixel 5 and the OnePlus 8 come standard with 128GB, though you can pay $100 more to get the OnePlus 8 with 256GB. The OnePlus 8 includes a microSD card slot, whereas the Pixel 5 does not.

The OnePlus 8 also has a better battery, with a 4,300mAh cell that outperforms the Pixel 5’s still-generous 4,080mAh cell. Our review discovered that it easily lasts a full day under heavy use, whereas our review of the Pixel discovered that it also comfortably lasts a full day. It will also most likely last two days of light use, which is a significant improvement over last year’s Pixel 4. However, the OnePlus 8 has the advantage in terms of battery life by offering faster charging (at 30W vs. 18W), so anyone who is likely to be in a hurry may prefer the OnePlus’ model.

Winner: OnePlus 8

Cameras

The cameras on Pixel phones are among the best on the market. The Pixel 5 is equipped with a 12.2MP wide lens and a 16MP ultrawide lens, which, while not particularly impressive on paper, have in the past proven to produce excellent photos. The OnePlus 8 goes all-in with a triple-lens 48MP wide camera, a 12MP ultrawide, and a 2MP macro rear camera.

This appears to favour the OnePlus 8, which takes very nice photos in typical everyday settings. However, we discovered that the macro lens, which is used for zoomed shots, frequently lacks colour and definition, while the main lens struggles in low light.

The Pixel 5’s camera, on the other hand, is every bit as versatile and competent as the Pixel 4a and Pixel 4. To put it another way, thanks to Google’s machine-learning skills, it’s a practically failsafe camera system that can produce amazing photographs in the vast majority of situations. In addition, we observed that its additional features, like as the ultrawide lens, Cinematic Mode, and the option to alter light sources in Portrait Mode, improve on its predecessors’ already great cameras.

Winner: Google Pixel 5

Updates and software

While the Pixel 5 runs Android 11, the OnePlus 8 is based on OxygenOS, OnePlus’ own skin of Android 10. It enhances the fundamental Android experience by simplifying and streamlining the core interface, which speeds up the system overall. Its slide-in, Google Assistant-powered screen is also very useful, providing you with quick news and weather updates as well as quick access to your own notifications and updates.

However, as you can see from the preceding paragraph, the Pixel 5 already has Android 11, whereas the OnePlus 8 only has Android 11 as a beta (as of writing). As this implies, Google’s phone will be the first to receive updates and new versions, so while we love OxygenOS, we’ll declare a narrow victory for the Pixel.

Winner: Google Pixel 5

Special features

We’re happy to report that both the Pixel 5 and the OnePlus 8 support 5G. However, AT&T does not support 5G for the OnePlus 8, and T-Mobile only supports the slower sub-6Hz band (only Verizon offers support for the faster mmWave frequencies). This may put the OnePlus 8 at a disadvantage when compared to Google’s phone, which has mmWave support from Verizon and AT&T.

Aside from 5G, neither phone has a standout special feature, owing to their lower prices. The Pixel 5 includes a few Google-exclusive features, such as the artificial intelligence (A.I.) Call Screen. Meanwhile, the OnePlus 8 has its own set of software quirks, such as Zen Mode, which shields you from notifications and interruptions for a set period of time.

This round is a tie because neither phone has an advantage in terms of specific features. Although the Pixel 5 appears to offer more thorough 5G capability, 5G is still not widely available, so most OnePlus 8 owners will not notice any difference.

Winner: Tie

Cost and availability

The Pixel 5 will be available in the United States on October 29th for $699. Verizon, Google Fi, and AT&T will all support it, and it will be available for purchase on Amazon.

The OnePlus 8 is available for $699 direct from OnePlus. OnePlus is currently selling the version with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage for $699. It is also available from all major carriers and the vast majority of major online retailers.

Google Pixel 5 is the overall winner

Although the two phones are nearly identical, the Pixel 5 outperforms the OnePlus 8 in terms of overall performance. Its camera is noticeably better, and it will benefit from faster updates. It also looks as good as the OnePlus’ phone, has a similarly vibrant display, and has the same long-lasting battery life.

However, if you don’t care about your phone’s camera, the OnePlus 8 comes highly recommended. It has a more powerful processor and user-friendly software, as well as 5G support. It’s certainly worth a shot if you can find its 12GB and 256GB versions for $699.

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