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The OnePlus 8 should've had a Snapdragon 765 processor, and a lower price

OnePlus 8
OnePlus 8 (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

There isn't a single discussion about the new OnePlus 8 that doesn't include mention of its price. OnePlus has historically hung its hat on offering fantastic value for money, undercutting the competition's prices by a wide margin yet delivering a flagship-like experience. In 2020, that margin is getting a whole lot smaller.

The OnePlus 8 now starts at $700, $100 more than the 6-month-old 7T — and OnePlus fans aren't happy. We get it, OnePlus wants to have an "ultra premium" 8 Pro with no shortcuts or missing features, and that necessitates a higher price. It has considerable advantages in display, cameras and features. But what about the 8? Being less expensive, it's inherently going to have shortcomings.

A $700 OnePlus 8 is a prime candidate for a Snapdragon 765 processor.

It seems like the main reason OnePlus chose the Snapdragon 865 is to make the OnePlus 8 seem like a higher-end phone than it is. The result is a $100 price jump over the OnePlus 7T, though there isn't a whole lot better about it. At the end of my OnePlus 8 review, I recommend buying the OnePlus 7T if it's still on sale.

This would've been a great opportunity for OnePlus to swallow its pride, step back from the expectation that it always has to have the highest specs, and choose a slightly lower-end processor for the OnePlus 8. This phone is a prime candidate for a Snapdragon 765 platform.

Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Knowing that the Snapdragon 865 (and X55 5G modem) is costly, likely pushing up the cost of phones, Qualcomm specifically designed the 765 to fill in the space underneath the ultra-premium phones. This platform is made for phones in this ~$700 price point that need great performance, but not all of the latest and greatest capabilities.

The Snapdragon 765 has performance roughly equivalent to a Snapdragon 845, with specific capabilities tailored to the price point. It has many AI, graphics and imaging capabilities similar to the 865, too. And importantly, it has an integrated 5G modem, so it can continue to offer the 8 as part of its "all in on 5G" strategy for 2020. This exact same calculation is why we're seeing rumors that LG's next top-end phone could use the 765G, and even Google could select the same chip for its Pixel 5.

If OnePlus really wanted to, it could pick the higher-binned 765G — nominally the "gaming" version — for the OnePlus 8 to keep up some semblance of "getting the highest specs for the money." But realistically, there is absolutely nothing about the OnePlus 8 that requires or is enhanced by the Snapdragon 865. Running a display at 1080p resolution and 90Hz is well within the capabilities of the 765. All of its camera features (minus 4K60 video), voice and video processing, Wi-Fi 6, LPDDR4X RAM, and on down the list can be done on a 765.

Nothing about the OnePlus 8's daily performance or features would be affected by using a 765.

And considering how well OnePlus makes its latest and greatest Android 10-based OxygenOS run on 2-year-old phones with less capable processors (and less RAM), I have zero worries about how real-world performance would stack up on a Snapdragon 765.

I know that the traditional OnePlus buyer really focuses on specs, but the recent price jumps have shown that demand for OnePlus phones isn't completely elastic — they do care about price, at some point. With the OnePlus 8 Pro fulfilling the "every single spec imaginable" need, of course with a Snapdragon 865 running the show, this would've ben a perfect time to take the pragmatic approach of stepping down the processor in the OnePlus 8.

We of course don't know the exact pricing of the 865 versus the 765, but we know it's less expensive. If that could've let OnePlus release the 8 at $670 — the same price as last year's 7 Pro at launch — it would've been an important win in making it feel like prices were reasonable this year. Instead, OnePlus still felt obligated to push the specs game, and it's a core reason why the OnePlus 8 is more expensive — and particularly controversial — this year.

Andrew was an Executive Editor, U.S. at Android Central between 2012 and 2020.

26 Comments
  • I totally agree with you, but expect resistance from the spec hoarders reading this 😅
  • I can agree with not always going for the best SOC but..You don't downgrade your successor either. Since there is no mid range chip available that's faster than the oneplus predecessor's 855+ chip..Going with the new flagship SOC was right choice. Now if the 765g was faster than 855 that would be different but it's not. It just has 5g support.
    On top of that Apple has dropped a bomb in the form of the iPhone SE. $400 phone with most powerful mobile soc in the market period. Yet sites like this think android users should settle for mid range processors in the successors of our flagships like pixel and OnePlus.🤷🏾‍♂️
  • Exactly!! Your comment makes more sense than this article. Samsung, Motorola, LG are already doing what this article says, going for an inferior processor to cut cost. If OnePlus does the same thing, then what's the point? I personally would like a phone with the best processor there is, best RAM and storage speeds, a good quality FHD 90Hz Amoled display, and a good battery that charges in an hour, in a nicely and strongly built package. I don't care about luxury or cutting edge features that don't add so much to my experience - IP rating, wireless charging, best camera setup, QHD 120Hz. I would even go with a flat display (which I prefer) to furtger cut down costs. Only gripe is that I can't have an 865 without 5G. This would have further reduced cost and improved battery life. 5G is currently nowhere to be seen in India and it won't be consumer ready for 2 years. Finally, apart from these minor gripes, OnePlus has done a decent job with the OnePlus 8.
  • That would have been a much more interesting phone.
  • No, OnePlus was right to go with thee Snapdragon 865 as that has been their philosophy from the get go, the latest powerful specs for a low price but those days are gone with the current OnePlus 8 series prices, what OnePlus should have done is make the regular OnePlus 8 4G only which would have made it more competitively priced and now Apple has done along with the iPhone SE 2020 and has killed of Android in the mid range market with what is basically a mini iPhone 11.
  • Their philosophy has always been to bring flagship features at midrange prices. What they should have done was keep the 855+ or go with the 765 and brought camera improvements and Qi charging down to the regular 8. They didn't have to end up with the 8 Pro's camera setup, but it seems the 8 has a marginally better camera than the 7t. Instead, we get warp wireless charging but slow Qi (a major compromise for most consumers).
  • They couldn't, Qualcomm forced everyone who used the 865 to use the 5g radio too.
  • Hilarious that the same tech community that questions Google possibly going the route of mid range processors and lower price, in the same breath question the OnePlus God for going flagship. Oh and beg other companies to focus on flagships (i.e Motorola). Pick a lane. Stay in it
  • Pixel going mid-range with the 765 has me intrigued.
  • It's just a reason to write an article. I doubt they really believe this stuff. 865 FTW!
  • I agree. I would love the Pro myself.. But I don't have $999 laying around and I'm not switching to T-Mobile from Metro.
  • I don't think the article is talking about the pro. He is talking about the regular OnePlus 8.
  • I can't believe the 765 isn't being used much yet. Qualcomm really hit it out of the park with that processor and manufacturers are not bringing it to the consumer.
  • It should be used more, but in mid range phones. Not in phones that previously had a 855 or 855+ already. It's not a upgrade for the successors to those phones except having 5g. The CPU and GPU is slower than either previous chip
  • Definitely a mistake from my POV. 8 Pro is just far too pricey and too big. 8 would have been of interest but no wireless charging (even normal Qi, they could have kept 30W for the Pro) and still expensive. Think I'll just stick with my OP6 and see what the 8T brings.
  • I agree, however I have to jump on all you people complaining about the price now. I remember you all kept complaining about not having wireless charging and an IP rating and how much the camera sucks. Well my friends, OnePlus gave you what you wanted. I hope you didn’t think all that stuff was gonna come at a cheap price. You wanted OnePlus to commit to being a full flagship, well with that comes flag ship prices
  • But the regular 8 still doesn't have wireless charging nor an official IP rating, so ofcourse people will complain about the price moreso now
  • Maybe they'll release the OnePlus Z in the US in July. I'm hoping they do.
  • If the rumours are true, the OnePlus Z will come with the MediaTek Dimensity 1000. Which by the look of things, should outperform the Snapdragon 765G.
  • And a flat screen.
  • I'm not a OnePlus user. A thought. When they entered the market at their original price point, what did they do that set them apart, yet earned them the title of 'flagship killer'? Why can't they do the same now with the price reflecting the same level proportionally? Just a thought....
  • Doesn't 120hz 1billion colors better battery insane charging speed both wireless and wired and many more sound like real flagship killer? but if u use your phone just to watch tiktok then its ok 😆😆
  • Sites keep pushing the idea of a mid range processor in Android phones like the pixel and OnePlus to lower price.. Meanwhile apple releases $400 iPhone with most powerful mobile processor on the market period..🤷🏾‍♂️🤦🏾‍♂️
    I'll keep my Pixel 4XL and wait for the Pixel 6 hoping it has Google's rumored custom SOC.
  • they nitpick it for clickbaits
  • Never settle (for a cheap phone)
  • Sorry but no
    Oneplus is the phone for specs and innovation
    they added something new so the price is fair
    instead of NITPICKING how about we APPRECIATE what we have got
    if they start making cheap phones they will be same like any other phone manufacturers