OnePlus 5 Review : The One True Flagship Killer

Editorial Reviews

THE ONEPLUS 5 is here, and arrives is the firm’s latest (and most-expensive yet) flagship killer.

OnePlus claims to have ‘listened to its customers’ in order to step up its game against the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S8, equipping the phone with 3.5mm headphone jack and USB-C, a great camera setup (DXOMark quote) and, wait for it, 8GB RAM.

We’ve been using the OnePlus 5 for a few weeks now, so read on to see if we think it’s worth its price-tag.

Design – OnePlus 5 Review
The OnePlus 5 is undoubtedly a good-looking, high-end smartphone, but it’s by no means a design we have not seen before. With its matte black aluminium unibody chassis and visible antenna bands, OnePlus is not being subtle about the fact that a OnePlus 5 could easily be mistaken for an iPhone 7 Plus. Still, there’s no denying that the smartphone feels well-built, though, perhaps more so than other smartphones in its price range.

OnePlus’ latest flagship has a smaller footprint than the iPhone 7 Plus, though, despite packing an identically-sized 5.5in display. At 154x74x7.3mm, we were able to reach all corners of the display, while the handset’s subtle curves mean the OnePlus 5 sits comfortably in hand. We’re not a huge fan of the sizeable bezels above and below the display, but as OnePlus stated in the launch ceremony, they simply did not have the money or the technology to bring out something like the magnificient screen of the Glaxy S8. That is okay though, considering the OnePlus 5 is almost half the price of the S8.

Elsewhere on the OnePlus 5, you’ll find a physical home button underneath the display complete with a zippy fingerprint scanner baked-in. It is one of the fastest we have seen and the ceramic button makes sure that the scanner won’t be damaged/scratched easily.


You’ll also find a Dash Charge-capable USB-C port, 3.5mm headphone jack and five machined holes for the loudspeaker.

The alert slider on the side still warms our heart with its simple yet effective use and the metal buttons of the volume rockers and power button are sharp and clicky.

Display- OnePlus 5 Review
The OnePlus 5 packs a 5.5in AMOLED Full HD display, the same on the OnePlus 3T before it.

While we’re disappointed that OnePlus didn’t upgrade to a QHD resolution(VR is the call of the hour!), especially considering the handset’s now more expensive price tag, we have few complaints when it comes to what this screen is capable of. The use of AMOLED means that blacks are inky, while colours are really vibrant and saturated in the default calibration.

The display on the OnePlus 5 can be changed to show sRGB or DCI-P3 colour standards, the latter being the wider colour gamut that you’ll find on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, which offers up a more natural, less saturated appearance.

We’ve seen a couple of people complain about issues with the handset’s display – including ‘jelly scrolling’ – but we’ve had no problems here at Tech Indian.


Performance and storage – OnePlus 5 Review
Qualcomm’s 10nm Snapdragon 835 processor sits comfortably under the hood of the OnePlus 5, alongside a top of the line Adreno 540 GPU and a hefty 8GB RAM (or 6GB in the 64GB model). These souped-up internals aren’t just for show, as the OnePlus 5 is one of the snappiest smartphones we’ve tested this year and effortlessly handled any task we threw at it.

The smartphone’s UFS 2.1 storage is just as zippy, which helps when loading games. The model we’re testing packs 128GB storage,  which should be enough for most, considering there is no microSD slot.

Antutu benchmark scores came in at a 175,023, beating out the more expensive Sony Xperia XZ Premium and corroborating our experience.

Software – OnePlus 5 Review
The software on the OnePlus 5 feels a lot like vanilla Android 7.1 Nougat, with the firm’s custom OxygenOS adding just a handful of subtle tweaks and improvement. This is a welcome sight for sore eyes troubled by the disastrous and heavy UI’s by the kinds of Asus and LG.

OxygenOS has the same swipe-to-open app drawer as Google’s flagship Pixel smartphone, along with the same notification tray and same Settings screen. There’s no bloatware either, with OnePlus adding only its own Gallery app and OnePlus community portal to the device.

It has added a feature called Shelf, though, which first debuted back on the OnePlus 2 and is a welcome addition that helps to keep your home screens looking clean and uncluttered. Shelf, accessible by swiping right, keeps all your widgets, recently used apps and other important deets – such as your available storage – in one manageable screen. It’s a decent addition, and we found ourselves using it more than Samsung’s Bixby Home alternative.

OnePlus has also equipped its latest flagship with a tweaked version of Night Mode that now, much like the Night Shift feature found in iOS, kicks in automatically, and lessens the amount of blue light emitted by the display.

There’s a dedicated Reading Mode on the OnePlus 5 too, that switches the screen to grayscale. This was an extremely useful feature for me personally as I love to read my Kindle books on my daily driver while commuting. The grayscale screen also means that with the OnePlus 5’s AMOLED display, more battery will be conserved.

Camera – OnePlus 5 Review
Dual cameras are nothing new, with the likes of the iPhone 7 Plus and Huawei P10 having rocked a twin sensor set up for last two quarters. OnePlus’ claims it’s doing it best, though, with its latest smartphone pairing a main 16MP f/1.7 sensor with a 20MP f/2.6 secondary sensor which, the firm claims, together add up to offer the highest raw pixel count of any dual-camera smartphone.

It’s not just all about pixel count, and like the iPhone 7 Plus, the OnePlus 5 offers 2x digital zoom, while the two sensors can work together to produce portrait photos with a blurry bokeh effect in the background. You’ll also find phase-detect autofocus, but the OnePlus 5 is lacking when it comes to optical image stabilisation. {UPDATE: OnePlus has compensated somewhat by giving an OTA with EIS which works smoothly)

As you’d expect given how it sounds on paper, photos taken with the OnePlus 5 are well detailed, sharp and offer up natural colours, while the secondary lens proved handy for getting close-up shots without losing too much detail. The secondary lens, thanks to its f/2.6 aperture, is lacking when it comes to low-light performance, but the main 16MP sensor offers up decent results.

Our favourite feature of the OnePlus 5’s camera is its built-in Pro mode which allows you to manually adjust focus, ISO sensitivity, shutter speed and white balance. There’s also a built-in histogram, along with a toggle to enable RAW directly on the viewfinder.

On the front of the OnePlus 5 sits a 16MP camera with f/2 aperture, which proved more than capable for the occasional pub-selfie and use as a makeshift mirror.

Sample Images – OnePlus 5 Review

Battery – OnePlus 5 Review
OnePlus reckons that the 3,330mAh battery inside the OnePlus 5 will last 20 per cent longer than that inside 3T, and we’re not going to argue. We found we easily made it through an entire day with at least 25 % juice left in the handset, while on days where we used the handset less frequently, we found it’d breeze through into a second afternoon.

OnePlus says you can get a full day’s battery life in just 30 minutes, and we agree. The Dash charging on OnePlus is the fastest we’ve seen on any smartphone, that too, without heating up the device too much. We love the fact that the device can quickly top up while you take a shower or have lunch.

Verdict – OnePlus 5 Review
The OnePlus 5 is, undoubtedly, the best phone you can buy right now for less than Rs 30,000.

That’s not to say the OnePlus doesn’t have is flaws. Its camera, billed as the handset’s standout feature, can struggle on occasion – in particular, in low-light, it packs an ageing Full HD display as opposed to QHD, and, the metal back can be slippery without a case.

However, for the current price tag, you’re not going to find another smartphone with such impressive performance, nor with a battery life that will make it into a second day with some juice left. And, it’s still one of the most premium-looking ‘mid-range’ phones on the market.


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