The OnePlus 5 launch was among the most highly anticipated launches of 2017. Why is it so? Well, it is because of the fact that OnePlus is well known for offering a flagship grade smartphone in the mid-range price tag. However, with the recent price hike, does it still offer the same value for money as it its predecessors?
Lets have a look at the device to see if it is worth the price hike or not.
OnePlus 5 just like its predecessors comes with all the bells and whistles that you would expect from a flagship smartphone. The phone is powered by the latest 10nm Octa-Core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU. The phones comes in two variants, the base variant offers 6GB of ram and 64GB of storage whereas the top of the line variant comes with twice the storage and 8GB of Ram. For the display, the phone makes use of a vibrant 5.5in Optic AMOLED screen. The department that saw the biggest overhaul was the camera department, following the trend of Dual Cameras, this latest offering from OnePlus comes with two rear cameras, the main camera is a 16 MP Sony IMX 398 sensor and the secondary unit is a 20MP Sony IMX 350 sensor that acts as the telephoto lens. The camera responsible for the selfies is a 16 MP unit with a Sony IMX 371 sensor. The battery capacity is down from 3400mAh in the OnePlus 3T to 3300mAh in the OnePlus 5.
The design segment also is updated for this new release from OnePlus. The company has followed a minimalistic approach for the design of this new device. The design language is reminiscent of Apple’s iPhone 7 and Huawei’s P10. The phone features an all-aluminum unibody design. The front end is dominated by a 5.5in Optic AMOLED display, the front mounted fingerprint sensor and “do not disturb switch” present at the left edge makes a return with this device as well. The tactile volume keys and power button cover the sides of the phone. The rear end features a clean unibody design with protrusion only for the new dual-lens camera. Unlike most recent flagships, the device does feature a 3.5mm headphone jack sitting at the bottom next to the USB Type C port.
Despite the addition of extra features such as a dual-lens camera, the device weighs 5 grams less and is thinner than its predecessor was measuring in at just around 7.25mm. The simplistic new design may not be to everyone’s liking, but most will appreciate the thinner profile and reduced weight.
Performance and battery life
In the performance department, the OnePlus 5 performs better than most of the competition in the price range. It is even able to outperform some of the more expensive flagships in the market. Under the hood, we can find the latest offering from QUALCOMM in the form of a 10nm 2.45GHz Octa-Core Snapdragon 835. The device handles multitasking with ease thanks to the 6 or 8GB RAM configurations. The base variant comes with 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage whereas the top of the line variant comes with a whopping 8GB of RAM and 128GB storage. The storage in both models is not expandable.
Thanks to the presence of ample amount of computing power, the OnePlus 5 flies through the interface. It is able to perform at the same level or in some cases even faster than much more expensive flagship smartphones such as the HTC U11 and Galaxy S8+. In the graphics department, it is able to outperform most of the competition because of the less power intensive 1080p display.
Battery life is another strong point of the OnePlus 5. The phone can easily last a day under heavy use and multiple days on casual usage thanks to the efficient 10nm Snapdragon 835 chipset and a modest 1080p screen resolution. Even if the battery goes down at any time, you can top it up within a few minutes thanks to the excellent Dash charge system. The device can reach up to 60% from empty in just 30 minutes, the complete charge cycle from depleted to 100% takes about just about an hour and a few minutes. Very few competing devices are able to hold their own against the OnePlus 5 in the battery department.
Rather than going the curved or bezel less display approach, OnePlus played it safe with a conventional 5.5in 1080p display. The display is quite similar to the one present in the OnePlus 3 with just a few improvements. The phone now comes with a DCI-P3 color profile along with a standard sRGB and an option for a custom profile.
A big complaint from users about the display of the previous OnePlus device was that the device only covered 89.8% of sRGB color space, resulting in some colors such as red exhibiting a dull nature. The new DCI-P3 profile fares much better in comparison. The OnePlus 5 thanks to the new DCI-P3 profile is able to cover about 95.3% of the sRGB gamut. The pre-calibrated mode offers a great viewing experience overall, the brightness levels are good for use under direct sunlight even measuring at around 419cd/m2.
The camera department sees a major upgrade in this latest offering from OnePlus, following the trend OnePlus has opted for a dual-lens camera setup for their flagship. The dual camera setup at the rear makes use of a standard 16MP Sony IMX 398 sensor with f/1.7 aperture and a 20MP Telephoto camera that utilizes a Sony IMX 350 sensor with an f/2.6 aperture. The telephoto camera with 2-x zoom allows the phone to zoom into objects without compromising much on the quality of the image and the small details. Very few competing devices offer comparable levels of camera performance. The 16MP unit works as your main camera and is responsible for capturing all the photos. The secondary camera works hand in hand with the main camera. It aids the main unit by producing a bokeh effect in the images and allows it to zoom in on objects by providing 2X zoom.
This combination allows the phone to capture very high–quality shots with great color accuracy. The dual-lens camera gets it very own portrait mode that allows you to blur the background of any shot by getting depth details via the secondary lens. This mode allows you to focus on a specific object or a person. The camera application offers a good variety of shooting modes including a manual mode.
The camera is able to hold its own under almost all lightning conditions. The low light shots do suffer a bit and show some hints of unnatural processing, but overall, the image looks crisp even under harsh lighting.
The rear camera can record videos in resolutions of up to 4k. The camera lacks Optical Image stabilization but more than makes up for it by offering an ultra-smooth electronically stabilized alternative. This EIS solution for stabilization of high–quality 4k videos was a much–needed post release feature added to the device via an OTA upgrade. The device produces natural looking highly detailed videos. The secondary camera comes in handy while recording videos as well as it can be used for zooming into far off objects.
On the front, we have a 16MP Sony IMX 371 sensor that captures detail-rich selfies. The camera comes with an f/2.0 aperture. Apart from the portrait mode, most of the rear camera features are available for the front shooter. The front camera is also able to record videos at resolutions of up to 1080p resolution.
OnePlus has mostly delivered on its promise of a high-end smartphone at a budget friendly price, but in the pursuit of offering a premium experience, the company was forced to bump up the price a bit. The phone is no longer the bargain buy that its predecessors used to be.
However, that has to be expected, as a good portion of the internals had to be upgraded to make the device future proof. The company could have just offered a minor spec bump for a small premium over their last offering, but they made a bold move by increasing the price and making the overall package more attractive and well rounded. The bump in processing power and change in the camera are some of the highlights of this device. Even small changes such as the addition of a DCI-P3 profile and a thinner build make a huge impact on the day-to-day usage. The display seems much more vibrant and the device feels great in the hand thanks to the tapered edges and a thinner build.
Despite the price bump, the OnePlus 5 still undercuts most of the competition. Even at a lower price, it offers almost twice as much RAM as some of the competition. The pricing, for now, may work out, but OnePlus will need to be careful with their next releases as manufacturers such as Huawei, OPPO and Xiaomi are now offering comparable devices at even lower prices, their presence outside of Asia, however, is quite limited thus allowing to OnePlus 5 to regain the crown in the Mid-range market. This phone still offers great value for money and is a great buy for anyone who is looking for a well-rounded flagship at a budget friendly price.