Type Flagship Smartphone
Price $473 (64 GB) / $576 (128 GB) from Gearbest
OnePlus made quite a name for themselves with the release of the original OnePlus One, it was an affordable phone with killer insides capable of competing with the flagships of the time.
Their philosophy has always been to provide the best hardware, at the lowest cost possible, leveraging their identity as a small organization (compared to giants like Samsung) and the operational freedom it provides. The OnePlus 5 is possibly the culmination of their efforts and is slated to be their greatest triumph to date. Today, we are going to put this to the test and find out just how the OP5 compares to other flagships of this year.
Our review sample was provided to us by Gearbest who are offering promotional discounts to Wccftech readers. You can get the OnePlus 5 6 GB / 64 GB variant for $473 from Gearbest ($29 cheaper than Amazon) and the maxed out OnePlus 5 8 GB / 128 GB variant for $576 from Gearbest ($41 cheaper than Amazon). Since local e-tailers usually add their own markup, and these devices are usually priced just right, you can buy this phone directly from their website and it will be shipped to your doorstep.
1. Introduction and Specifications
The OnePlus 5 is a Snapdragon 835 phone which means that it has the fastest chipset on the planet right now. The Snapdragon 835 is based on the bleeding edge 10nm process and features an Octa Core CPU cluster with 4 Cores clocked at 2.45 GHz with Adreno 540 GPU. This is the highest end configuration you can get with the Snapdragon 835 currently or really anywhere on the planet for Android phones. This also means that the primary driver for differentiating performance will be how effectively the SOC is cooled. The less the thermal throttle, the more the device will perform compared to other Snapdragon 835 flagships.
This is also the first OnePlus phone that has a dual camera. I have been a vocal opponent of the Dual Camera design and for good reason. When you are putting two cameras for the budget of 1, you are going to see some deterioration in quality no matter what. However, since this seems to be the latest ‘trend’ we aren’t really surprised that OnePlus 5 has embraced it too. In fact, the camera is one of their major punchlines this time around as can be seen from the package design which states “Dual Camera. Clearer Photos”. We will be taking a look at the camera and its output later in the review as well.
||One Plus 5
||2G bands GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2
CDMA 800 & TD-SCDMA
3G bands HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100
4G bands LTE band 1(2100), 2(1900), 3(1800), 4(1700/2100), 5(850), 7(2600), 8(900), 12(700), 17(700), 18(800), 19(800), 20(800), 25(1900), 26(850), 28(700), 29(700), 30(2300), 38(2600), 39(1900), 40(2300), 41(2500), 66(1700/2100)
||154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25 mm
||1080p Optic AMOLED (401 ppi)
||5.5 inches (~73.0% screen-to-body ratio)
||1080×1920 pixels (~401 ppi pixel density)
||Oxygen OS (Android 7.1.1 (Nougat))
||Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 (Octa-core, 10nm, up to 2.45GHz)
||Octa-core (4×2.45 GHz Kryo & 4×1.9 GHz Kryo)
||6 GB / 8GB
||64 GB / 128 GB
||16 MP Sony IMX 398 and 20 MP Sony IMX 350
||1/2.8″ sensor size, 1.12 µm @ 16MP & 1/2.8″ sensor size, 1.0 µm @ 20MP, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama
||2160p@30fps, 1080p@30/60fps, 720p@30/120fps
||16 MP, f/2.0, 20mm, EIS (gyro), 1.0 µm pixel size, 1080p, Auto HDR
||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
||5.0, A2DP, LE, aptX HD
||Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
||2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
||Fingerprint (front-mounted), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
||Non-removable Li-Po 3300 mAh battery
The OnePlus 5 base edition features 6 GB of RAM with 64 GB of ROM. This is a very generous helping of memory from the company and one of the highest out there as it is. The higher priced variant, has 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of ROM. This is an asbolutely bonkers amount of RAM for a smartphone. In fact, the PC i am writing this article from currently (an i7 2600k based rig) has 8GB of RAM! With this much excess of RAM we expect the UI and experience to be butter smooth.
The mobile supports most of the international bands and features dual sim capability. It has a 3300 mAH battery, which coupled with the 30% power saving of the 10nm based Snapdragon 835 should be more than enough juice to last a day and then some. Finally, it supports high end audiophile codecs like the Apt-X HD and of course has the fingerprint scanner. The full specifications are given above for anyone wanting to peruse through them.
2. Unboxing and Contents
The packaging of the OnePlus 5 features an understated and minimalist design; this is probably the first ‘inspiration’ from Apple aesthetics that we see but definitely not the last, not that is in any way a bad thing. The box itself will come wrapped in tube based bubble wrap (if you order from Gearbest) that will protect your set from any courier mishandling that the package may run into.
Inside the box you will find:
1x OnePlus 5
1x Dash Charging Cable
1x Dash Charger
1x Sim Card Puck
1x Quick Start Guide
1x Plastic Screen Protector (already applied)
The contents of the box are just as minimalist as its design but contain all the essentials and then some. The addition of a plastic screen protector is a nice gesture and will be sure to come in handy while you go about acquiring a case and even a tempered glass protector. The cable and charger have a very sturdy build quality and look like they will easily last a few thousand bends, not to mention the red and white aesthetic of the cable is very pleasing to the eye.
3. First Look and OxygenOS – The Vanilla Android Experience? (By Uzair Ghani)
The OnePlus 5 looks and feels very similar to the iPhone 7 Plus. In fact, it could actually be mistaken for Apple’s flagship from a distance – and that might or might not be a good thing for some. In any case, the entire design feels very polished and sleek in nature and has an excellent overall aesthetic.
The edges of the phone feel soft and hand grip is perfect. Since the phone is very light, this is certainly a one-handed phone (for many) with none of the issues associated with a large phablet. The OnePlus 5 incorporates a silence button (much like the iPhone) which could come in useful for business meetings, and also includes the 3.5mm jack! It really doesn’t get better than this folks.
Lets talk about the UI and the actual experience for a bit now.
The OnePlus 5 ships with an almost stock Android ROM which is dubbed OxygenOS – and this is a good thing, because it means that there is zero bloatware onboard which often slows downs other Androids like the ones from Samsung in the long run. They have, however, cusomized the ROM enough to make it much more similar to the Pixel then any thing else out there. The app drawer can be found by sliding up and contains the same transparent divider as that of the Pixel. The top section however, is still the aged Android look. No innovations there.
I will say this however, the OnePlus 5 is very, very responsive. In fact, it’s probably one of the more snappier Android smartphones we have tested. Their almost-vanilla Android build combined with over 6GB of RAM makes this experience almost guaranteed to last for quite a few years. The latest OxygenOS build also features the new slate font which we found to be a bit softer on the eyes than the default one. OxygenOS also contains a blue light filter by default (dubbed night mode) and contains screen calibrations for sRGB mode should you want to do away with the pleasantly vibrant colors of the AMOLED display.
The entire UI experience of the OnePlus 5 is absolutely superb I must say. It is not flashy like the LG G5 or cartoon-ish like that on a Samsung, but feels like a sister version of the Pixel UI. If you want the Android experience in its true form, this will almost certainly suffice after the Pixel.
Screen visibility in day light is not exceptional, but perfectly adequate. The picture above was taken outdoors in the afternoon and as you can see the screen is clearly visible. Of course, once smudges are present on the screen and glares come into play because of that, it might be an entirely different story but with a clean screen, the OP5 passes the daylight visibility test easily.
4. Testing the brand new Dual Camera
The One Plus 5 has two cameras, a 16MP one and a 20MP one. Interestingly, the zoom lens is the one that has the 20MP sensor and the wide angle lens is the one that has a 16MP sensor. This is a design choice that is arguable in nature considering that you are sacrificing detail on the wide angle sensor by opting for the 16MP lens. The camera itself has excellent color preservation and preserves detail in good lighting conditions remarkably well. I have posted some camera samples taken directly from the OP5 below and shown without any compression:
As you can see, the camera performs exactly as advertised in good lighting conditions, but the true test for any camera sensor is how it performs in less than perfect light. For this, we revert to our bog standard piano in the dimly lit room test, which will show us not only detail preservation in low light but also how the camera is able to interpret white areas in a dimly lit picture (which are often mistaken for highlights). Shadow detail will also be obvious here.
The dual camera design choice comes at a cost: quality trade-off as compared to a single camera of the same price.
For this test we, compared the One Plus 5 to the Nexus 6p which has an exceptional single camera with only 12.3 mega pixels. We did this to make sure that we give the 16MP lens on the OP5 fair play. Like we expected however, the dual camera of the OP5 cannot keep up with the 6p’s sensor. Not only is it able to preserve detail in low light much more accurately but it mistook the white areas of the picture for highlights – note how the 6p does not make this mistake.
That said however, this isn’t really a fault of OnePlus. All dual cameras will have this quality tradeoff when compared to a single high quality camera. In fact, we have previously tested a dual camera on the Xiaomi Mi 6 and the OP5 blows it out of the water. As far as Dual Cameras go, the OnePlus 5 has an exceptional ‘Dual Camera’ (probably the best one we have ever tested) but it will not compare to high quality single camera designs out there, not that any dual camera ever will (given the same budget restraints). It does however, have one caveat at the moment: the RAW .DNGs we took had a very intense pink hue which rendered them unusable, so if you are a photography enthusiast who takes RAW pics, you might want to hold off till OnePlus 5 can fix the problem.
5. Benchmarks and Performance
Alrighty, now comes my favorite part: putting the OP5 through the paces to find out just how much power it really has. As I mentioned before, since it already has the most powerful chipset around (the 10nm Snapdragon 835) so it will undoubtedly beat out every other Android out there, so to keep things interesting, we will be comparing it to another Snapdragon 835 flagship: the Xiaomi Mi 6. Keep in mind however, that the primary variable that makes a difference will be the thermal design of the phone. If the SOC is able to dissipate heat well, it will be able stay at higher clocks for longer periods of time and therefore get a high score.
||Xiaomi Mi 6 (Snapdragon 835)
||OnePlus 5 (Snapdragon 835)
|Geekbench v4 Single Core
|Geekbench v4 Multi Core
|PCMark Work 2.0
As you can see the One Plus 5 performs remarkably well. In fact, only in two tests does it get a lower score than the Mi 6 and it was able to get the No. 2 rank in Antutu (with the iPhone 7 ranking No.1 with just 2 thousand points to spare). The mobile was tested in an area where temperatures are around 31c so to give the SOC another chance, we decided to let it cool in the fridge for 5 minutes before trying again and lo and behold, it managed to snatch the top position from Apple’s iPhone 7 and get the No. 1 rank in Antutu. For the sake of fairplay however, we decided to only include the score from the room temperature run.
One thing is for sure however, this is probably the most powerful android on planet earth that you can buy right now and until the Snapdragon 836 comes out, it should stay that way. Equipped with a 1080p screen, the Adreno 540 GPU absolutely sneezed at any attempts to tax it and will blow away even the most demanding titles on mobile very easily. Daily tasks and all sorts of heavy processing will be an absolute breeze on this. We did check the infamous ‘jelly effect’ that people were talking about due to the inverted screen but were able to notice no such thing ourselves. All in all, the OnePlus 5 takes the top rank in all of our performance testings done so far.
6. Conclusion and Verdict
The OnePlus 5 was a pleasure to test. If you want pure power and performance combined with sleek and understated aesthetics, you really cannot go wrong with this mobile. I hate to say it, but it really has got it all. In fact, the only thing we disagree on with OnePlus is their design choice of shifting to a Dual Camera – and that is more of a problem with then entire industry at large than this one company and cannot really be helped.
So our verdict? Is the One Plus 5 worth it at the given price tags? Hell yes. You wont be able to find a cheaper Snapdragon 835 equipped flagship out there. The One Plus 5 is by all intents and purposes a very premium flagship, well, in all departments but one: price. It has all the polish and curves of the Apple philosophy, the world’s greatest performance metrics and even a 3.5mm jack – the flagship killer is back. You wont get higher value than this in any smartphone purchase in this class ans if you buy it from Gearbest – who are offering discounts to our readers – you can get it at the lowest price possible. The 64 GB International Version costs $473 and the 128 GB International Version costs $576 – both are dual SIM variants.
One Plus has reclaimed its title of the flagship killer with the OP5. Starting from $472 and equipped with the Snapdragon 835, it is one of the best options out there for affordable flagships.
Design & Aesthetics8.5
- One of the fastest smartphones in the world (we were able to get the No.1 rank in Antutu benchmark)
- One of the best Dual Cameras we have tested so far
- Extremely responsive UI, no android bloat
- Massive 6GB or 8GB RAM options
- 64 GB variant (this is something we can no longer take for granted after the Pixel)
- Battery life up to mark
- Has a 3.5mm port
- Typical Dual Camera design choice trade-offs in picture quality
- RAW .DNGs currently have an intense pink hue (this is something we expect to be fixed shortly)
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