OnePlus 5 Review: Fighting With The Giants

OnePlus 5 Review: Fighting With The Giants

Hit or Miss?

Just like every smartphone in the past three years, there’s been rumors, leaks, renders, speculation. But now its real, it’s here in the flesh and this everything you need to know. So, OnePlus history is limited and they’re a young small company and because they’re a small company, they don’t have access to all this super high-end tech that the Apple’s, Samsung’s, Motorola’s and HTC’s of the world do. That’s a disadvantage. But the advantage to being a small company is you can actually listen to what your core fan base and what your core customers want and try to give them that exact product.

So, OnePlus 5 is another incremental improvement over OnePlus 3t with a few bullet point changes and a couple minor touch-ups. The first thing you’ll notice is the insane specs. You can tell it’s an enthusiast brand here.

Snapdragon 835.

Adreno 546 or 8 GB RAM.

64/128 GB Storage capacity.

Dual Camera system on the back. 16 & 20-megapixel cameras.

Bluetooth 5.0.

3300 mAh Battery.

5.5inch 1080p AMOLED Display.

Updated Unibody metal design.

Now let’s break it all down;

Design (OnePlus 5)

OnePlus 5

The all-new design is what’s turning heads this time. You saw the renders and then you saw all the replies; ‘Oh they’ve become Apples’, ‘from the back it looks like Apple’, ‘they copying apple’, ‘they’ve become a copycat company’. Honestly, I only agree with some of this. The render is when we saw them from that one angle, that obviously looks like an iPhone because it’s got the dual camera system, up in the top left corner. But If you look at the whole entire body of the phone, it does resemble some other phones even more so than this Apple. Plus, they have kept a lot of design cues from the previous OnePlus phones from 3 & the 3t, with the alert slider and the ports at the bottom with the USB type-C. It’s kind of like Frankenstein smartphone design, pulling parts from a bunch of different places. But again, how much do you actually look at the back of your phone? Its 7.5mm thin, it’s got all these rounded sides and it’s all metal. So, you don’t have to look at it as much as you have to feel it and OnePlus 5 is a good feeling phone. They kept that alert slider which I like and always got used to, quickly. They kept the fingerprint reader up at the front, the same as last year, in the year before; same size and same position. But the design is kind of limited because the only colors you can actually get these phones in literally black and almost black which I love. But if you want some variety, you can always go for skins. So, this does mean you’re not actually getting the big bezel displays that a lot of phones have been moving to, this year as we expected like Apple’s iPhone and LG’s V3. We still have some pretty side bezels here but it’s definitely not quite the same effect.



The dual camera system on the back is pretty stimulating. It’s the headlining new feature; it’s on the box mentioned twice so it’s clear what they want you to focus on. Its 16-megapixel F 1.7 primary camera with electronic image stabilization and then a 20-megapixel F 2.6 telephoto camera as a secondary. On paper, that looks pretty good and then when you open up a camera app, you’ll notice that it is a blatant copy of the iPhone camera app, no doubt about that.1x to 2x button for switching between lenses is there, setting in the strip on the left, shutter button on the right, it’s pretty basic and then slider of course between the 1x and 2x, in zooming in, it’s definitely a copy here and no one can really deny that. So, this 1x to 2x button and the slider in the camera it’s kind of the best way to do it, So, how are the photos? Well, they’re pretty good and there’s no doubt that the sensor is capable of some pretty great clean photos again. I wish it had optical image stabilization but essentially this camera is a hit or miss experience. Dynamic range is pretty much always great. Snapdragon 835 can handle taking multiple exposures at the same time so you’d expect it to be great and detail is always on point. The center of the frame and whatever is in focus is always sharp. Colors and image processing were average. Nothing was pushed too far in contrast of saturation except maybe the Reds a little bit because sometimes they get over saturated but otherwise is pretty subjective whether you like the look of the photo or not. I think objectively, it’ll score high on camera benchmark test because it’s very fast, very sharp and has a huge dynamic range but side-by-side with the same shot from the pixel or an iPhone, it could be a toss-up which is quite good for a phone at this price. Then there’s this portrait mode, from the secondary telephoto camera. Honestly, overall this wasn’t any better than the same attempts from the iPhone 7Plus but also not worse. It kinds of struggle with complex edges but for the most part, it does a pretty good job blurring backgrounds. It does a much better job on humans than it does on less-predictable-less-potraity subjects and it still has some weird halo effects near the edges. But just overall, it doesn’t quite match having a naturally shallow depth-of-field.

Front Panel

I think it’ll get better with time with software updates like Apple has. You know, Apple was horrific when it came out and was in beta but it learnt and it’s gotten better with time and I think this one will too. But right now, it’s nothing new in here. Now, you must be wondering why the secondary telephoto camera sensor with the worst aperture gets the 20-megapixel sensor while the primary gets the 16-megapixel. The logic for that is simple; It’s that when you are doing all that zooming and you go way zoomed in, you’re using all the data from the telephoto sensor so, you want it to be a high resolution so it makes sense.

So, besides the design, the camera and the specs, there are couple more minor things are new and a lot of the rest is the same stuff we have seen from the previous OnePlus phones. It’s a great stuff but it’s the same stuff.

Battery & Display


So, the battery here is 3300 mAh, so not bigger. It’s actually 100 million powers smaller than the 3t but the battery life is about the same, lasts comfortably all day, thanks to the chip and the display. And that display, that 1080p AMOLED display is probably the thing that’s going to get looked at as the biggest downside of a phone when you compare it to the more expensive flagships but those are all the phones that enthusiasts are also considering buying so you kind of have to note those all those 1440p displays or higher. But I’d always challenge those people to really look at the display and tell if really does looks that much worse. So, it’s a pretty good display, gets bright enough, has pitch-black blacks from being AMOLED. Then of course that 1080p display also means performance is A+.

Performance & Other Cool Features


A snapdragon 835 with the Audrina 540 and 8 gigs of RAM, of course, all pushing near stick android on a 1080p display, it better not hiccups. This thing flies through android and that’s its biggest asset. Tons of apps stay in memory for a long time, haven’t had any memory leak issues and that’s credit to OnePlus, keeping the same software philosophy again so you can do things like switch between the off-screen or on-screen buttons again with OnePlus 5, you can still mess with the shelf to the left of the home screen by adding widgets to it or messing with the built-in widgets that OnePlus includes or you can disable it completely, your call. Now. There’s also a gaming Do Not Disturb mode which halts all banner notifications from popping up when certain apps like games are open. Now the camera app has a pro mode which lets you go full on with manual mode for everything that you know aperture, focus distance, white balance, ISO etc. it shoots raw and has the live and a live histogram for exposure. The extended screenshot mode is pretty cool; you start the extended screenshot mode and it literally starts scrolling infinitely until you tell it to stop and that’s where the screenshot ends. It’s pretty intuitive and fun to watch. Charging is pretty awesome so if you’re a super heavy user and you get this through this whole thing in a day, it recharges as fast as any other smartphones out there. Bluetooth 5.0 is onboard, NFC is not skipped this time, the vibration motor is a lot stronger and louder and more noticeable and now the microphones are also improved – so for recording video in super loud environments, these will do better.


So, is OnePlus 5 worth your money? Well, if you can get over the design, if you are not one of those people who just want to say it looks like an iPhone, if you can get over that then yeah, this is definitely a great phone. There’s not a whole lot that you can get; with the Snapdragon 835 and 8 gigs of RAM and near stock android. So if you can get over the design and not having an infinity display, this is going to be a great phone for the money and I’ll give it a thumbs up. Go and get one; I think you’ll enjoy and that’s pretty much it

Also, check my take on Beats X Wireless earphones.

Salman S. Khan

Fitness Enthusiast. Blogger. Fancy playing video games in my spare time.