The smartphone market is witnessing some real fuzz over the past few weeks. We saw the launch of OnePlus 5, marking the debut of dual camera setup on a OnePlus device, and a liitle later, was the Honor 8 Pro reavealed, and is now being called by many to be the “FLAGSHIP KILLER’S KILLER”.

The premium flagship brands this year have clearly drawn the line by offering premium design (that the OnePlus cannot touch) with premium hardware and software features as well. With that battle clearly lost, OnePlus seems to now have another competitor standing right behind it in the form of the fallen warrior, the Huawei Honor 8 Pro with top-end specifications and a tried and tested dual camera system. This time around, Huawei did its homework, but so did OnePlus which is still looking up, to compete with premium smartphone offerings from Samsung, HTC and the like.

So how do the two compare? Let’s find out!

DESIGN: WINNER- HONOR 8 PRO

According to the OnePlus, they have spent quite a lot of time in finalising the design of Oneplus 5, sadly coming up with something which looks exactly like the iPhone 7 plus or an Oppo R11.

Looks are one thing, but I feel that the OnePlus 5, although lighter and more convenient to hold than the OnePlus 3T, does make you feel like it’s not really well finished or has gone enough runs through the CNC machine. The camera couple pops out of the device, and it is being reported quite a lot that it’s edges wear out easily.

On the contrary, since Huawei holds its own, more so because Huawei has been in the dual camera game for quite some time now and this adds to its originality. The quality and finish of the device is top class and feels smooth and polished like a flagship. It’s heavier than the OnePlus, but the large battery justifies the bulk. Despite its larger display, wider footprint and heavier build, the Honor is still slimmer than the OnePlus 5 at 6.9 mm. There is no camera protrusion on the device either, which makes the Honor 8 Pro the clear winner.

 

SPECIFICATIONS AND BENCHMARKS: WINNER- ONEPLUS 5

Though you might not feel much difference in day-today life, but there is some variation on the records for the specs of the two(Although OnePlus is being accused of manipulating benchmark tests). The Honor 8 Pro too has a good processor, it’s just that it falls behind (by quite a large margin) when it comes to graphics performance.

Indeed, there is plenty to talk about here, but I will add a simple table to make the comparison easier.

Smartphone OnePlus 5 Huawei Honor 8 Pro
Display Size (inch) 5.5 5.7
Resolution (pixels) 1,080 x 1,920 1,440 x 2,560
Pixel Density (PPI) 401 515
Display Type Optic AMOLED LTPS IPS LCD
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 HiSilicon Kirin 960
CPU Cores Octa-core Octa-core
CPU Clock Speed (GHz) 4x Kryo @ 2.45 & 4× Kryo @ 1.9 4x Cortex-A73 @ 2.4 & 4× Cortex-A53 @ 1.8
GPU Adreno 540 Mali-G71 MP8
RAM 6GB, 8GB 4GB, 6GB
On-Board Memory 64,128GB 64GB
Expandable Memory
Sensors Fingerprint, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass Fingerprint, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Proximity, Compass
Primary Camera 16MP, f/2.0, 20MP, f/2.6 12MP, f/2.2, 12MP, f/2.2
Optical Image Stabilization No No
Camera Array Dual Camera Dual Camera
Camera Setup Normal lens, Telephoto lens RGB sensor, Monochrome sensor
Autofocus System Phase detection Phase detection
Secondary Camera 16MP, f/2.0 8MP, f/2.0
Video Capture 4K 4K
Flash dual-LED dual-LED
OS Version Android 7.1.1 Nougat Android 7.0 Nougat
3.5mm jack Yes Yes
Radio No No
USB Type Type-C Reversible connector Type-C Reversible connector
Battery (mAh) 3,300 4,000

The OnePlus 5 is the clear winner here, but do head to the ‘Verdict’ section because the OnePlus 5 is not exactly value for money, whereas Honor 8 is.

 

DISPLAY: WINNER- HONOR 8 PRO

The OnePlus 5 has the same old 1920X1080 AMOLED display as the OnePlus 3T and has no new improvement to offer. Rather, it has a new ‘jelly effect’ flaw when scrolling through content.

The Honor 8 Pro packs in a QHD (2560×1440 pixels) IPS LCD display, it’s sharp and works well in every lighting condition. More importantly, it was quite accurate in terms of colour reproduction. With more screen real estate, higher resolution and great brightness levels, there’s little to complain here at Rs 29,999.

 

CAMERA: WINNER- HONOR 8 PRO

Both the phones sport a dual camera setup, but the implementation is quite different. The OnePlus 5 has a 16-megapixel sensor and a 20-megapixel telephoto lens while the Honor 8 Pro uses a 12-megapixel RGB sensor and a 12-megapixel monochrome sensor. The OnePlus 5 primarily uses the second sensor for better portraits by using it to calculate depth. The telephoto lens is only used in the photo mode when zooming into the subject. As for the Honor 8 Pro, the monochrome sensor is used to capture better details. You also get a monochrome mode which lets you shoot photos in black and white.

The OnePlus 5 has received two software updates  since the launch of the phone, which the company claimed improved camera performance. In our experience, quality did improve for general photos, but dropped for portrait mode.

If you check the camera apps on these device, you do get more modes in the Honor 8 Pro to play with. Both the phones have pro mode which lets you take complete control of the camera and click in RAW format. In this mode the Honor 8 Pro offers you the option to select metering method which the OnePlus doesn’t. But on the other hand, OnePlus does offer options to save your customisations.

When we compared the photos, it was evident that the Honor 8 Pro captured details better than the OnePlus 5. Even objects at a distance had good details in the photo clicked by the Honor 8 Pro. The OnePlus 5 has a dedicated portrait mode that the Honor 8 Pro misses out on but gets a wide aperture mode instead. Photos clicked in these modes saw the Honor Pro taking the lead again as it could separate the background from the foreground better.

Night photography is where the OnePlus 5 redeems itself. In low light we’ve seen the OnePlus 5 capture colour much better. The Honor 8 Pro on the other hand sharpens the image, which also introduces a lot of noise. Overall, the Honor 8 Pro manages things better than the OnePlus 5 in the camera segment.

 

SOFTWARE AND USER INTERFACE: TIE

When it comes to the software, the OnePlus 5 runs on Android 7.1.1 layered with Oxygen OS. Oxygen OS stays as close to stock Android as possible, but adds a few nifty features, like reading mode (which makes the display black and white). This mode can be activated manually or set to activate when certain apps are launched. The fact that the OS is so close to stock Android is always a plus in our books.

Straight out of the box, the Honor 8 Pro runs on Android 7.0 skinned with EMUI 5.1. Those that have seen Honor’s UI in action in the past will feel at home here. The UI doesn’t have childish or cartoony icons anymore, and the number of preloaded themes on the device are enough to give it a more mature look. By default, there is no app drawer and all the apps are listed on the home screen, but if you are someone that likes the app drawer, you can get that by changing the home screen layout in the settings menu.

You also have a bunch of permutations and combinations of the back, home and multitasking on screen button arrangement to choose from. You also have access to a bunch of motion controls, like raise the device to answer a call or flip to mute, a bunch of knuckle gestures, a glove mode and more. So, if you want to show off with a bunch of software enhancements, then the Honor 8 Pro packs in quite a few of them. Although in the long run, some of them are gimmicky whereas a few, such as raise to answer the call or flip to mute, soon become second nature.

Overall, we still prefer stock Android but EMUI 5.1 has enough to keep you interested.

GAMING: WINNER- ONEPLUS 5

A considerable amount of time was playing heavy games like Injustice 2, Asphalt 8 etc. on each phone. The bottom line here is that both the smartphones ran every game we threw at them with ease.

The only difference was in the loading time of the games, which ranged from 2 to 5 seconds, OnePlus 5 leading the way.

But be it heavy games, or run of the mill simple games, both the smartphones didn’t disappoint.

BATTERY: TIE

The OnePlus 5 packs in a 3,300 mAh battery while the Huawei Honor 8 Pro features a 4,000 mAh unit. We were a bit surprised to see a performance difference of 2 hours in our tests. The OnePlus 5 delivered an extra 2 hours of battery life in comparison to the Honor.

Surprised? Well, this is because the OnePlus packs in a top-of-the-line Snapdragon 835 that is manufactured using the 10 nm process while the Honor 8 Pro is stuck with a Kirin 960 that still uses the 16 nm manufacturing process. You also have to keep in mind that the Honor 8 Pro has a graphic-heavy QHD display to drive so despite its 4,000 mAh battery, the OnePlus lasts longer.

While the above talks about synthetic battery tests, in day to day usage, both smartphones will last you more than a day of use. This one’s clearly a tie as both come with their own software and hardware tweaks for battery life. Both devices also come with quick charging technology.

 

VERDICT

The beauty of choosing between either of the two smartphones is that you can’t go wrong by picking up either of them. The Honor 8 Pro, at 29,999/-  brings with it a great design, good camera for well lit situations and overall smooth performance. On the downside, the viewing angles of the display and brightness could have been better, along with low light photography.

The OnePlus 5 on the other hand, at 32,999/- and 37,999/-  has a brighter display, good camera for low lit situations and overall smooth performance, along with good battery life. As of now the 8 GB RAM OnePlus 5 is clearly only for bragging rights, but it won’t hold much weight when what you’re holding is an iPhone lookalike. Think twice before you spend that extra Rs 5,000 on the high-end model.

Yes, the Honor 8 Pro offers expandable storage and 128GB straight out of the box for a cheaper price, so those looking for a lot of storage have their decision quite clear.

So it all boil downs to this. If its value for money and good build quality that you are looking for, the Huawei Honor 8 Pro offers more bang for your buck. But if you want the latest software updates and you like tweaking your smartphone (with custom ROMs), then you can still go ahead with the 6 GB RAM OnePlus 5.

Do Leave your suggestions/comments on this Flagship killer war in the comment section below!