The much awaited OnePlus 5 has been officially launched by OnePlus in an unique livestream event. The launch event had no live audience but it was streamed at five locations around the world. As expected, most of the leaks surrounding OnePlus 5 since many months stand true to what the phone actually offers.
It’s the costliest OnePlus device yet and the flagship killer tag might be fading away soon. However, the spectacular specs that the OnePlus 5 packs cannot be overlooked. The phone is still absolute value for money and competes closely to be among the best Android devices on the planet. It’s a performance beast with key focus on the right areas.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei showed the full specifications of the phone early on in the event and announced, “If you came just for the specs, you can leave now”. Clearly, a smartphone is more than just its specifications and OnePlus says there are 6 (1+5?) main ingredients to focus on while creating the best smartphone. Let’s see how they pan out and whether OnePlus succeeds in its smartphone philosophy.
Design theme of the new OnePlus 5 seems to be deviating away from the traditional OnePlus approach, which became very popular and still continues to be. It’s difficult to ignore the striking design resemblance with the iPhone 7 Plus due to the positioning of the dual camera setup and antenna bands. OnePlus was admired and respected until now for having its own design identity in a huge pool of other Chinese manufacturers who never shy away from ripping off some other phone’s design. With the OnePlus 5, this unique brand identity seems to be lost.
On the hardware part, it’s the slimmest OnePlus device ever with a thickness of 7.2mm. OnePlus 5 fits a 5.5 inch Full HD AMOLED display. The phone includes the customary alert slider and volume rockers on the left. The power button and the sim tray are located to the right as usual. However, the biggest shock came when OnePlus’s senior designer announced that they have ditched the headphone jack. Fortunately, to everyone’s relief, he later assured that it was just a joke and the OnePlus 5 comes with a 3.5 mm headphone jack at the bottom. The phone is available in two different colours: Midnight Black and Slate Gray, both of which look pretty similar.
OnePlus claims it took more than 100 iterations to reach this final design. Although it looks premium and well built, a non-resembling design with the most popular smartphone in the world could have better justified the 100 iterations.
Camera seems to be the major point of focus (pun unintended) and upgrade in the OnePlus 5. A total of 52 megapixels work hard in the phone to capture great pictures, if we combine all its three cameras. OnePlus showed some camera comparisons and the pictures looked quite impressive.
The dual rear setup includes a 16MP sensor and a 20MP sensor with a telephoto lens. Auto focus is now 40% faster due to this camera setup. This also makes it the highest resolution of dual cameras in any smartphone.
The Smart Capture technology works its magic in the OnePlus 5 after the pictures are taken. De-noise, Dual Camera zoom, and Improved HDR are some of the perks which the new dual camera setup offers.
Portrait mode obviously exists and results shown by OnePlus seems promising. They have also provided a Pro mode for those who want to access advanced options to make their pictures look even better. It has a f/1.7 aperture and thus, the low light photography looks good.
They didn’t talk about the front camera at all in the launch event but it has a 16MP sensor with a f/2.0 aperture for selfies and video calling.
Dash Charge 2.0 has made its way into the OnePlus 5 and it’s decently better than the previous version. However, it’s not cross compatible with Quick Charge 2.0 and thus, you would need to carry the OnePlus charger and cable along with you all the time for fast charging. If you are among those who uses a single USB Type-C cable for all your devices, this might be a challenge you would face.
As for comparisons, it slays the Samsung Galaxy S8, which has Quick Charge 2.0. The test results as shown by OnePlus are as below:
The below comparison is for measuring the charge speed while the phones are in active use, the gap further widens here.
The OnePlus 5 is powered by the fastest Qualcomm Soc so far, its flagship processor Snapdragon 835. OnePlus CEO Pete Lau and Qualcomm had already confirmed this prior to the launch.
For graphic intensive applications and games, it now has the Adreno 540 which makes the phone 25% faster in terms of graphic than its predecessor OnePlus 3T.
They have also come up with a new software feature known as ‘App Priority’. OnePlus claims that it prioritizes the apps you use often and thus, opens them quickly. It also de-prioritzes the apps you use the least. This leads to better battery efficiency and a smoother performance.
OnePlus 5 now uses the UFS 2.1 Dual lane storage which promises up to 50% faster speeds while reading and writing files. Even the touch latency is now said to be lowered to allow a seamless user experience.
In terms of performance, there is no denying that this is probably the best you can get from an Android device at this price range.
OnePlus’s very own Oxygen OS has also received some upgrades for the new OnePlus 5. They have now introduced a reading mode, which changes the display temperature to better suit your eyes for long durations. This feature is nothing new and is already provided by a host of other phone operating systems.
Another new feature is what OnePlus calls the Expanded Screenshot which captures long pages in a single snap. Even this feature is already available in many other phone operating systems.
In a nutshell, Oxygen OS brings features to the OnePlus 5 which already exist in many other phone operating systems.
OnePlus says it continuously strives hard to improve the overall smartphone experience of its users. Every smartphone box by OnePlus will now have the line, ‘Created together with our fans’. This is a community enhancing move which will definitely please fans.
They also showcased how the company seeks feedback at every stage through the OnePlus community. They have an OS beta program and a bug reports platform to make their phones better as well.
All of this should be brought into practice and OnePlus must focus more on after sales service which it seems to currently lack.
OnePlus 5 is priced at $479 for the 64GB/6GB variant and $539 for the 128GB/8GB variant. The phone seems to justify the pricing and is approximately similar to the previously leaked prices.
Pricing for the Indian market will be announced in OnePlus 5’s India launch event scheduled on June 22 in Mumbai. However, some recent leaks suggest the base model to cost Rs. 32,999 and the superior model to be priced at Rs. 36,999. Both of which seem very appropriate given the specs and official international pricing.
Apart from all the major benefits and features it comes with, the phone has its fair share of downsides as well. OnePlus 5 still has huge bezels and isn’t waterproof yet, a flagship competitor in 2017 without both of these seem concerning. However, performance is uncompromised with and the dual camera setup is a huge upgrade.
The six key ingredients for creating the best smartphone according to OnePlus do exist in the OnePlus 5, but in certain proportions. Let’s see how well it fares and whether it lives up to the massive expectations once it hits the market.
With valuable inputs from Narender Charan.