The OnePlus 5 was officially announced earlier this week and the company has wasted no time sending review units out to major publications. We have been sent the black 128GB variant with 8GB of RAM. That is not a mistake. This phone comes equipped with 8GB of RAM, 128GB of internal storage, a Snapdragon 835 CPU, 16-megapixel front-facing camera, a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera that is paired with a 20-megapixel rear-facing camera sensor and there’s Android 7.1.1 running on the software side of things.
This phone is absolutely going to appeal to the spec-heads out there. In terms of strictly specifications, this phone is a stunner; especially when considering it can be purchased for less than $500 depending on the model you select.
So we can unbox this phone by removing the shrink wrap and sliding off the top of the box. The OnePlus 5 will be sitting right on top. Tucked directly underneath the OnePlus 5 is a Get Started Guide and a SIM card removal tool. There’s a neat picture that has a letter from Carl Pei, the CEO of OnePlus, thanking you for your support of OnePlus over the years. In terms of accessories though, there’s just a 5-volt dash charging power adapter and a USB-C cable.
Now we can take a look at the OnePlus 5 and remove all the protective plastic. You’ll see that the design is very similar to the previous model in that it features a metal build construction and it’s very thin. It has been altered and greatly resembles an iPhone 7 Plus. In fact, if I hold these phones up side by side, you’ll see the similarities are striking. The OnePlus 5 tucks the antenna lines away to the top and bottom of the phone. There’s also a dual-camera system that we’ll discuss more later but it definitely does look like the same camera system in the iPhone 7 Plus. What is relatively unique is the tapered edges that do help make this 7.25mm thick phone feel all the more slim in the hand, which cannot really be said about the iPhone 7 Plus.
The display has more or less remained the same over the years. It features an AMOLED display with a 1080p resolution and to be honest, it doesn’t look bad upon first impressions. It’s just harder to justify a 1080p panel in 2017. But what matters more to me personally is the display type. The AMOLED display is nice to see but once again, it’s nothing new. The OnePlus 3 and 3T both featured an AMOLED display.
The software is basically stock Android but technically it’s OxygenOS version 4.5.1 running on top of Android 7.1.1 Nougat. You can customize a lot of things that you normally can’t in stock Android, which is very appealing to the Android geeks and nerds out there. The app drawer is a little bit more transparent than stock Android, I believe and there is a new reading mode that, when activated, will actually transform your phone into basically a Kindle. Everything on your phone will be grayscale, which will supposedly make reading content easier on your eyeballs. There’s also some behind-the-scenes changes in optimizations. But for the most part, this phone is running stock Android. What’s also neat to see is the lack of bloatware.
The pre-installed community app appears to be new, which will take you to OnePlus’ related forums. You can log in with an account and talk about OnePlus devices. It’s kind of neat especially if you’re really into OnePlus and their devices. I think this app does a great job helping OnePlus sell the “small company” feel that it tries to use to hype up its devices. What’s neat to see is that you can uninstall this app if you don’t like it and if you don’t feel like you need it. Samsung or LG would probably not let you uninstall an app like this on their phones so good on you, OnePlus for letting us uninstall these unnecessary applications.
So as for performance, I can’t really comment too much on it this early in the review process but I’ll repeat what I said earlier: the phone comes equipped with either 6 or 8GB of RAM with either 64 or 128GB of internal storage and a Snapdragon 835 CPU. OnePlus phones have always performed well for me over the years and this phone appears to be no exception. The 8GB of RAM is, I think, purely a selling point and I don’t imagine it to actually translate to any significant or real-world performance gain over the competition. In fact, it might have some sort of placebo effect that might actually make it perform noticeably better than some of the other phones. But in terms of numbers, I don’t expect the extra 2GB of RAM to really make a difference.
So the cameras are interesting. OnePlus is actually advertising the cameras on the box so they’re obviously a pretty big deal for the company. On the rear, we have a 16-megapixel and 20-megapixel sensor, a similar configuration as the iPhone 7 Plus. The 16-megapixel sensor is the main shooter while the 20-megapixel sensor acts as sort of like a telephoto sensor that can offer 2x zoom. However, it’s a bit misleading as it actually only offers 1.6x optical zoom with the remaining 0.4x zoom “realized through smart capture multi-frame technology.”
In a tweet, OnePlus CEO Carl Pei actually said “We’re claiming 2x lossless zoom, not optical.” Still, it’s a pretty neat feature to have. There’s also a portrait mode that will be able to use software to blur the background of a subject to create extra Bokeh and milky depth of field shots. The cameras and camera-related features will of course need to be tested in detail before I can really comment on their performance. I do also want to add that the 16-megapixel front-facing sensor is the same sensor found in the OnePlus 3T.
The 3300mAh battery should be enough to last a full day with moderate usage but if that’s not the case, the dash charging support will definitely come in handy. It’s able to charge a phone faster than the competition and OnePlus, in its launch event, was actually advertising the fact that many users have decided to stop charging their phone overnight and just use dash charging whenever they need it.
Overall, there’s a lot to drool over with this smartphone but there’s also some kind of head scratching things about the device. The model with 8GB of RAM, for example, costs $539; which is a pretty good chunk of change and is approaching flagship-like prices. You get a lot of high-end specs but you don’t get water-resistance, stereo speakers, and edge-to-edge display, or support for all four carriers in the US. It’s still a GSM-only device and will not work with Sprint or Verizon.
I really like what OnePlus is offering with the OnePlus 5 but the market is even more competitive than it was a year ago. And every year that goes by it seems like OnePlus has a tougher time trying to convince users to buy its phones over the flagships offered by Samsung or Apple.
Make sure you are subscribed to PhoneDog.com so you can be notified when the full review of the OnePlus 5 is released. We’ll, of course, be answering the question on whether or not this phone is worth buying. But I want to hear your thoughts of this device in a comment below.