The OnePlus 5 is finally here in all its official glory and is the subject of intense media scrutiny right away. That’s hardly surprising given all the pre-launch hype we have been through though the phone too comes across as a surprising mix of hits and misses.
The first to hit you is, of course, the looks, and that again is where you have the first bummer. For the phone’s stark similarity with the iPhone 7 Plus is hard to miss. From the placement of the side buttons to the rear antenna lines or the rear camera setup, everything is bound to remind you of the big iPhone.
A unique design theme has been the hallmark of all OnePlus handsets so far. Unfortunately, that is not the case anymore with the OnePlus 5. Otherwise, it is a 5.5-inch 1080p OLED display that greets you, which isn’t exactly a bad thing. For comparison’s sake, the likes of the Galaxy S8 or LG G6 does better here.
Also, while still on looks, the phone seems to hark back to the days when the world has just started its fascination with thin side bezels. While the likes of the S8, G6 or the more recent Essential have since taken things closer to a full front display, it is surprising to see OnePlus still continuing with a design that had already started to look dated in 2016.
Design apart, the device sports an excellent fit and finish and the manner that even quirky details have been attended to with the utmost dedication is really commendable. Case in point, even the interior of the Type-C port bears a flushed finish.
Coming to the camera, this is one aspect of the OnePlus 5 that its makers are banking on heavily to push sales. And they sure have the figures to prove their point. Of the dual rear lenses, one is of 16-megapixel resolution having a f/1.7 aperture. The one next to it is 20 megapixels f/2.6 telephoto lens that provides for a 2x zoom.
Both the lenses make for a combined 36-megapixel resolution, which OnePlus claims is the highest on any smartphone currently available. OnePlus is also claiming the camera is able to capture one-third more light than the 3T while still being 40 percent faster as well.
Image quality does match with the camera specs by and large with enough clarity and color depth on offer. That said, the Galaxy S8, HTC U11 or even the Pixel still seems to have an edge here, and that is hardly reassuring for a device that is betting a lot on its cameras.
Performance wise, the OnePlus 5 is a speed monster. The Snapdragon 835 together with the 6 or 8 GB RAM really puts things on fire. Even the base 6 GB model which comes with 32 GB of storage will be enough to put many biggies to shame. And that includes even the S8 whose UI animation does eat up a few milliseconds.
In contrast, the OnePlus 5 with its almost stock Android ensures things are slick and buttery. Its raw grunt that the phone exudes and can shred any task that you throw at it. And that is still the 6 GB version. You really got to be using the 8 GB version to have an idea how fast and slick a smartphone can be.
A 3,300mAh battery powers the OnePlus 5 and it does its job reasonably well. Unfortunately, there is no wireless charging here but OnePlus hopes to make up for that with its proprietary Dash Charge feature. You should have guessed it already, Dash Charge will let you refill the juice in real quick time but does not conform with Qualcomm QuickCharge. As such, you got to be carrying the OnePlus provided charging infrastructure at all times. In a comparison video with Galaxy S8, OnePlus also showed how fast is Dash Charge.
Mention must be made of the unique Reading Mode that makes its debut on the OnePlus 5. Essentially, this allows for the most convenient reading environment on the phone, one that has the least strain on your eyes and is achieved but suitably adjusting the color, brightness, and saturation to match surrounding light conditions.
Price and Availability:
The 64 GB version comes for $479/£449 while the top-of-the-line 128 GB model will set on back a cool $539/£499.
If you have been watching the keynote address, you should have the code that can let you purchase the OnePlus 5 right away. Otherwise, the handset will be on offer from OnePlus from June 27 onwards.
There are also special events planned in London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Helsinki, and Copenhagen on June 21 where one can buy the OnePlus 5. The same happens in New York on June 20.
On the whole, the OnePlus 5 is an excellent smartphone that is blazingly fast and has reasonably good cameras, if not the best. The software side is equally exciting, particularly the near stock Android experience that is on offer. Reading Mode is another nice feature as well.
Whether those are enough to warrant upgrading from the OnePlus 3T will, however, be an individual choice.