- Great display screen
- Quick and reliable fingerprint scanner
- Great battery life
- The dual camera is impressive
- This phone is fast and responsive
- No expandable storage
- Not available on CDMA networks such as Sprint and Verizon
- No wireless charging
- Not water resistant
The Chinese smartphone manufacturer OnePlus has come a long way since 2013 when their company was founded. The new OnePlus 5 is the successor to the OnePlus 3T. With every phone that OnePlus releases their brand has been getting more recognition in the smartphone industry.
The OnePlus 5 comes with an extremely fast chipset and a dual camera setup with Portrait mode. In this review, I will discuss some of the features and functionalities that this phone has retained from its predecessor as well as the new features.
OnePlus has earned a reputation for making great phones and selling them at an affordable price. OnePlus continues to raise the bar in the smartphone industry. In this review, I will discuss some of the things I like as well as some of the things I dislike about the OnePlus 5.
OnePlus 5 Design:
The OnePlus 5 has a 5.5-inch display screen with the typical 16:9 Aspect ratio. This is a narrow phone which is rather comfortable to hold, the back panel of the phone is curved and it feels a bit slippery when holding it.
Located at the front of the phone is the home button which is also the fingerprint scanner. The home button is a bit larger on this phone than it is on its predecessors. However, the fingerprint scanner is extremely fast and it works really well when unlocking the phone.
Located on either side of the home button there is a capacitive button. The button on the left is the back button and the one on the right will display a list of your recent apps.
You can customize the functionality of these buttons in the settings menu. You can switch them around or you can choose an on-screen navigation bar instead. You also have the ability to assign shortcuts to each button including the home button when they are long-pressed or double-tapped.
The volume rocker is located on the left side of the phone in the typical position. Above the volume rocker, there’s a mute button which OnePlus refers to as an ‘Alert Slider’. This button is great because it gives you the ability to silence notifications without having to unlock the screen.
The Alert Slider has a nice textured surface to it so it’s relatively easy to locate this button without having to look at the phone. On the Alert Slider there is a three-step toggle between ring, do not disturb, and completely silent. This is a great feature on the OnePlus 5 that sets it apart from other Android phones on the market.
There’s a 3.5mm audio jack located at the bottom of the phone along with the USB-C port, however, it’s limited to USB 2.0 speeds.
The OnePlus 5 does not have wireless charging capabilities, it’s not waterproof, and there’s no expandable storage. These are three things that would have made this phone better. Maybe OnePlus will implement these features on their next phone.
OnePlus 5 Display Screen:
The OnePlus 5 has a 5.5-inch AMOLED display screen with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. So this phone does not have a Quad HD (1440 x 2560 pixels) display screen such as the LG G6 and the Samsung Galaxy S8. On paper, it means that the picture quality is not as robust as it is with the phones I mentioned above.
However, in reality, it’s very difficult to notice a difference because this display screen has a wide array of vibrant colors which are full of contrast and deep blacks. The display screen on the OnePlus 5 is great even when viewing it at different angles in direct sunlight it manages to keep its integrity.
The default color looks great and it will probably work well for most users. But aside from the default mode, there are two pro color modes as well. You also have the option to switch to sRGB colors, this is the color standard in which the majority of cameras are optimized for.
On the OnePlus 5, the sRGB colors do not look as rich and vibrant as the default colors. There’s also a new DCI-P3 color option, this is a new color standard for phones. The iPhone 7 is another phone which supports the DCI-P3 color standard. This standard supports a wide color Gamut which is used in 4K UHD TVs and Digital Cinema.
The display screen on the OnePlus 5 is made of Corning Gorilla Glass which is scratch resistant.
OnePlus 5 Performance And Hardware:
The OnePlus 5 is offered in two variants. There’s the variant with 64GB of storage which has 6GB RAM, and there’s the more expensive variant which has 128GB of storage and 8GB RAM. Both variants have the same processor it’s the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 along with Adreno 540 GPU.
The OnePlus 5 is a mid-range phone which performs as well as some of the flagship phones that are currently on the market. This is an extremely powerful device which is fast and responsive. The responsiveness of the OnePlus 5 has been improved from that of its predecessors.
The 8GB of RAM gives this phone the ability to keep lots of apps in the memory while maintaining its speed and responsiveness. The OnePlus 5 is made of ceramic and iodized aluminum which makes the phone great at resisting scratches.
The OnePlus 5 comes with Bluetooth 5.0 which is the latest version of Bluetooth. It also comes equipped with two SIM card slots this is uncommon among phones which are available in the U.S. The sound quality of the built-in speakers are okay, however, it becomes a bit distorted at the maximum volume.
OnePlus 5 Camera:
The OnePlus 5 has a new dual camera setup, this is a feature that has become more common among flagship phones within the last year. The features and functionalities of the dual cameras vary from one phone to the other. The OnePlus 5 takes great photos, the picture quality is great and the colors look extremely natural.
The primary camera is a 16 MP (Mega Pixel) camera with a f/1.7 aperture with electronic image stabilization. The secondary camera is a 20 MP camera which has telephoto lens with a f/1.7 aperture. The telephoto zoom on this phone is a combination of optical zoom and software. The optical zoom is at 1.6x and 0.4x will be utilized through SmartCapture multi-frame technology.
Photos taken with the primary camera on the OnePlus 5 are rich and vivid with great detail. The secondary camera with the telephoto lens does a great job when taking photos at a close range while maintaining the structural integrity of the image.
When taking photos in a darker setting the primary camera takes great photos. However, when taking photos with the secondary camera in a dark setting the image quality is not as good. There are a few reasons for this there’s no image stabilization, fewer pixels, and a smaller aperture.
When it comes to the video, the primary camera has electronic image stabilization and it can record 4K video. This camera records great high-quality videos. You have the ability to switch to the secondary camera at any time, however, this camera does not have electronic image stabilization. Therefore, the quality of the videos recorded with this camera will not be as good.
OnePlus 5 Camera Software:
The camera and the software that powers the camera on the OnePlus 5 has been upgraded. There’s a new portrait mode which allows you to focus on the subject while making the background blurry (bokeh). This feature works great when you’re trying to make the subject more prominent in the photo by creating a bit of a separation between the background and the subject.
If you’re familiar with OnePlus phones you will know that the predecessors to the OnePlus 5 have a manual mode. On the OnePlus 5, the manual mode has been replaced with a pro mode. The software has been refined and some new features have been added which gives the user a bit more control.
There’s a built-in histogram which will tell you about the brightness levels of an image. The white levels are measured on the right side of the graph, and the black levels on the left. Whenever there are spikes in the graph this can help you to identify over exposed or under exposed pictures before you get to the editing phase.
OnePlus 5 Software:
The OnePlus 5 runs on the latest version of OxygenOS which is based on stock Android 7.1.1 Nougat with some minor customizations. The operating system on OnePlus phones has always been great. With the release of every phone, the operating system becomes more refined which makes for a great user experience.
Here are a few great features that the OnePlus 5 has retained from its predecessors. You can double tap the display screen to wake, customize accent colors, enable on-screen navigation keys. And you have the ability to use off-screen gestures to open any application you would like to.
There are some great new features that’s been added. The do not disturb mode that I mentioned earlier is one of the new features on this phone. There’s a reading mode which turns the screen to grayscale with a blue light filter it’s reminiscent of an e-reader. And the app drawer has been refined to access the app drawer you must swipe upwards.
OnePlus 5 Battery Life:
The OnePlus 5 has a slightly smaller battery than that of its predecessor. The OnePlus 3T has a 3,400 mAh battery while the OnePlus 5 has a 3,300 mAh battery. I think it would have been great if this phone had a bigger battery. However, I understand why OnePlus made the decision to use a smaller battery.
The OnePlus 5 is thinner and more narrow than that of its predecessor which makes it a little easier to handle. Thus the reason for the slightly smaller battery.
Never the less, the battery life of the OnePlus 5 is great. The battery will last for a full day of heavy use. On days when the phone is moderately used the battery will be between 40% to 50% at the end of the day.
OnePlus’s Dash Charge works extremely well. It charges the battery to 60% capacity in half an hour and it takes roughly one hour and 20 minutes to fully charge the battery.
My Final Thought:
OnePlus has raised the bar yet again with the release of the OnePlus 5. This is a superior mid-range phone, it may cost more money than the other mid-range phones on the market. However, it can perform as well as the more expensive flagship phones that are currently on the market.
The OnePlus 5 is available on GSM networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile. But it’s not available on CDMA networks such as Sprint and Verizon. I think this was a bad decision on the part of OnePlus, it would have been better if the phone was available on both networks.
At the time this review was written the OnePlus 5 was available at Amazon.com for US $599.00, price subject to change. Please let me know your thoughts about this phone in the comment section below.