On the back, the OnePlus 8T has a glass panel with a matte finish while the Pixel 5 sports an aluminum body that’s more utilitarian than fancy. The 8T is slimmer, although its camera bump protrudes slightly more than that of the Pixel 5. Speaking of camera bumps, they’re both kind of boring looking, nothing really noteworthy about them. We’ll get more into the cameras themselves later.
When we get to the internals of these two phones, the differences become even greater. If you're looking purely at the specs sheets of the OnePlus 8T and the Pixel 5, you wouldn't guess that they're priced only $50 apart. Why is that? Well, see for yourself:
The OnePlus 8T wins in pretty much every category. It has a higher-refresh-rate display, much faster system chip, 50% more memory, twice the storage (which is also faster), bigger battery and faster charging. It's like the two phones are from completely different price categories, yet they aren't. Which speaks volumes for both devices. OnePlus
deserves a pat on the back, while Google, well... a stern look? A disappointed look? We're not even sure anymore.
And yes, to be fair, the Pixel 5 does have wireless charging
and an IP68 water-resistance rating. But really, compared to all the extra stuff you get with the OnePlus 8T, that's a Pyrrhic victory.
It's also true that most people don't use these powerful chips to their fullest. But if you're planning to hold on to your phone for a few years, the extra performance will come handy sooner or later, even for your everyday tasks.
But we know what you'll say: "People don't buy the Pixel for the specs, they get it for the camera." Yes, that's mostly true as well, so let's talk cameras.
OnePlus 8T vs Pixel 5: camera comparison
You'll have to be patient for our camera samples from the two phones, but they are coming, rest assured. We're as eager to see the photos from the two phones compared side-by-side as you are. Until then, let's take a look at the hardware that the phones have at their disposal.
The picture isn't much different as it was with the rest of the specs. Sure, the Macro Lens and the Monochrome Lens of the OnePlus 8T can mostly be ignored, but that still leaves it with a better main sensor and similar if not the same ultra-wide-angle one.
So, it's not like Google spent money on superior camera sensors, nor has it made quantum leaps in its camera software. Plus, when you get identical photo quality from the much cheaper Pixel 4a 5G, excusing the price of the Pixel 5 becomes even harder.
Meanwhile, OnePlus is improving its own camera software with every generation and the OnePlus 8T photos will likely be perfectly fine for most people.
OnePlus 8T vs Pixel 5: software comparison
Another field where the Pixel 5 is supposed to compensate for its lackluster specs. But even here, OnePlus is closing the gap. Of course, Pixel phones will always have some of the unique features Google has developed and be the first ones to get software updates. But in terms of the latter, OnePlus is already on their tail. The OnePlus 8T comes with Android 11 out of the box and other OnePlus phones are quick to get it as well. Plus, OxygenOS also has features that the Pixel's "stock" Android lacks and it's actually preferred by many.
Operating systems are kind of like a home's interior. We all have our preferences, so it's hard to say that one is better than the other, but what's sure is that neither phone is significantly inferior to the other when it comes to software. So, where does that leave us?
Again, for the moment, we're more or less looking from above at the OnePlus 8T and the Pixel 5. Once we delve deeper, phone in each hand, we'll have the final verdict. But even now, it's pretty obvious where things are headed.
The Pixel 5 in itself is not a bad phone by any means. But each phone has to be judged in the context of its price. That's what brings the bitter taste in the Pixel's case. For $700, it's way overpriced. Yes, there are already deals that let you get the Pixel 5 cheaper than that, but a deal is a deal.
In the other corner, we have the OnePlus 8T. Which, for $50 more, money you often pay just for a 256GB storage upgrade, gives you upgrades across the board. And while OnePlus can send you a software update that improves the 8T's camera performance (and they surely will), Google can't upgrade your phone's processor over the air.
Phone comparison isn't hard science, but this case seems closed before we've even opened it.