OnePlus 8 launch live blog: Here's every big announcement you missed

OnePlus 8 Pro
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

After months of anticipation, the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro are finally official. The Chinese smartphone maker took the wraps off of these hotly anticipated smartphones during a special livestream event today (April 14), confirming many of the features we expected in addition to a few surprises.

OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro: Everything you need to know

The OnePlus 8 Pro is the real star of the show here, offering a smooth 120Hz display, an advanced quad-camera array, insanely fast charging capabilities and a slick design that comes in a variety of gorgeous colors. The standard OnePlus is no slouch either, offering many of the same core design and performance benefits with a slightly more modest screen and camera setup. 

We also saw OnePlus' new Bullets Wireless Z earbuds, as well as some attractive new Sandstone cases for the flagship phones. Looking to catch up on what you missed? Here's everything you need to know about the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro (including our full reviews), as well as our archived live blog below for our reactions to all the news as it happened. 

We're keeping an eye on any OnePlus 8 deals that get announced for our guide on how to order the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro.

OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro launch live blog

All times ET - refresh for latest updates

11:54 am: And that's a wrap. I was really impressed with OnePlus' presentation -- it was slickly produced, concise, and acknowledged the unique situation we're all living through right now. And the phones look pretty great, too. 

11:51 am: OnePlus is wrapping things up with the reveal of a new version of its Crackables crypto puzzle game (yes, that's a real sentence). Players can solve puzzles and complete challenges for a chance to win $10,000, and their efforts will also go towards supporting charities fighting back against COVID-19.

11:50 am: Here comes pricing! The OnePlus 8 will start for $699 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the OnePlus 8 Pro will start at $899. These are some of OnePlus' highest prices yet, but they're still notably cheaper than the latest Galaxy and iPhone devices. Check out the full breakdown:

OnePlus 8 (8GB/128GB) $699
OnePlus 8 (12GB/256GB): $799
OnePlus 8 Pro (8GB/128GB): $899
OnePlus 8 Pro (12GB/256GB): $999
Bullets Wireless Z: $49

11:47 am: Accessory time. The OnePlus Bullets Wireless Z earbuds are a pair of wireless earphones that look to match the color options of the OnePlus 8 series. More importantly they promise to offer 10 hours of battery off of just a 10-minute charge. And on a full charge? You're looking at 20 hours of playback. We're excited to see how that holds up in the real world.

11:45 am: Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon has joined the party to double down on the 5G conversation. It feels like 5G has been the topic of every major phone launch, but it still doesn't feel ubiquitous in the real world just yet. Perhaps phones like the OnePlus 8 could change that.

11:40 am: Let's talk about 5G. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau is hopping on from OnePlus headquarters to discuss the company's plans for supporting the ultra-speedy wireless network. Here's the big news: OnePlus is finally coming to Verizon! You'll be able to buy the OnePlus 8 5G UW, which is a special version of the phone customized to run on Verizon's 5G network.

11:30 am: Time to move on to the standard OnePlus 8. It looks nearly identical to the Pro in design, but it looks like you'll have to give up that 120Hz screen and the quad-camera array. Fenwick is playing the OnePlus 8 as the flagship to buy if you want a small phone that still has the display size and performance to keep up with anything you throw at it. He even referenced using it for Zoom calls multiple times, because that's where we're at in the world right now.

It's worth noting that the OnePlus 8 gives you significantly more real estate than the iPhone 11, thanks to its nearly borderless front display. We also got an up close look at its ultra-thin edges and feathery 108-gram design. 

OnePlus 8

(Image credit: OnePlus)

The regular OnePlus 8 has its own unique color option called Interstellar Glow, which has a mesmerizing color-changing, film-based design that presents a different color based on the angle you look at it from. I want it right now. 

Specs-wise, we're looking at a Snapdragon 865 processor, up to 256GB ultra fast storage, USB 3.1, Wi-Fi 6 and a beefy 4,300mAh battery.

11:25 am: Performance is up next. Fenwick is calling the OnePlus 8 Pro the best gaming phone ever, thanks to its advanced haptic feedback, Dolby Atmos sound, speedy Snapdragon 865 CPU and that smooth 120Hz display.

And here comes warp charge! Rumored for months, this unique 30W technology promises incredibly fast charging, and also supports reverse wireless charging so that you can juice up other wireless gadgets using the back of your OnePlus 8 Pro.

Warp Charge 30 Wireless promises to give you 50 percent power in just 30 minutes. And to demonstrate that, OnePlus showed a video of an 8 Pro, an S20 Ultra and an iPhone 11 Pro Max all charging for 30 minutes. The OnePlus 8 Pro juiced to 51%, while the S20 Ultra and Pro Max only charged to 35% and 22% respectively. Now that's impressive.

The OnePlus 8 Pro will come with three free months of Google Stadia Pro, so you can join the dozen or so gamers who stream games from Google's cloud gaming service. The phone also comes Alexa-ready for voice commands.

11:20 am: Time to talk cameras. This is OnePlus' first quad-camera setup, with a 48MP ultra wide camera, a 48MP main camera, a color filter camera and a 3x telephoto lens. It might not be able to match the Galaxy S20 Ultra's whopping 108MP shooter, but we're excited to see how the two stack up in real world use.

The camera samples we're seeing are seriously impressive, with tons of details visible in a zoomed-in shot of a desert, and a nighttime city shot that seems to boast much better low-light performance than the iPhone 11 Pro. The 3-HDR feature seems pretty neat too, combining three different shots to get the best possible dynamic range for a picture. Again, the sample here looks a lot better than Apple's.

11:15 am: We're seeing a side-by-side comparison of the OnePlus 8 Pro's 120Hz display vs the iPhone 11 Pro's 60Hz screen as they both scroll web pages, and the difference in fluidity is pretty staggering. OnePlus says its display is six times smoother than that of Apple's.

11:10 am: Here it is: the OnePlus 8 Series. The new phones look pretty much exactly like what we've seen in teases and leaks, but that doesn't make them any less sexy -- especially when it comes to those green and blue models. Fenwick is stressing the physical feel of the device, saying that "we want you to feel like you're picking up a work of art" every time you pick it up.

Fenwick went over some key specs such as the punch hole camera and IP68 water resistance rating, but it's really all about the display. He calls the OnePlus 8 Pro display the most advanced of any smartphone, with a 6.78-inch, 3168 x 1440 screen that can hit a whopping 1,300 nits of brightness. The real calling card is that zippy 120Hz refresh rate, but the 1-plus-billion colors the display promises is pretty exciting too. 

11:05 am: Rian Fenwick, OnePlus' head of corporate PR, started the show by addressing the elephant in the room and promising a unique online experience with presentations from around the world. Fenwick has rattled off some major awards and milestones, stressing how OnePlus has grown in popularity thanks to its strong bond with its community.

Fenwick is calling out OnePlus' strides in 5G, and highlighted the award-winning OnePlus Concept One phone from CES. T-Mobile's Chris Belter also chimed in via a phone video to talk about OnePlus' help in bringing T-Mobile 5G around the country.

(Image credit: OnePlus)

11:00 am: The show has officially kicked off with quick clips of people around the world working from home (and passing around what looks like OnePlus' fast-charging cable in the process). This is a fun way to start things off, and feels a heck of a lot more self-aware than a company trying to emulate the bombast of a big in-person show.

10:40 am: It's almost showtime! Just about everything about the OnePlus 8 has leaked already, but we're still excited to see the new phones in the flesh -- especially since we don't have to wait on a long line outside of a venue. If you want to watch along, you can find the YouTube stream below:

9:00 am: Now this is awkward. Another big leak happening just before the livestream, it appears that all OnePlus 8 models are currently available to buy at UK department store John Lewis. The leaked prices are as follows:

OnePlus 8 (8GB RAM/128GB storage): £599
OnePlus 8 (12GB RAM/256GB storage): £699
OnePlus 8 Pro (8GB RAM/128GB storage): £799
OnePlus 8 Pro (12GB RAM/256GB storage): £899

8:30 am: It wouldn't be a OnePlus launch without a ton of leaks. Just ahead of today's official announcement, the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro's full specs and pricing options leaked on Chinese social media.

Michael Andronico

Mike Andronico is Senior Writer at CNNUnderscored. He was formerly Managing Editor at Tom's Guide, where he wrote extensively on gaming, as well as running the show on the news front. When not at work, you can usually catch him playing Street Fighter, devouring Twitch streams and trying to convince people that Hawkeye is the best Avenger.