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Wednesday 19 July 2017

Oneplus 5 review

Oneplus 5 review

OnePlus has come a long way from its humble beginnings as a startup with its frustrating invite system to being one of the most sought-after enthusiast brands. All of its smartphones have stood for one thing – delivering leading specifications at aggressive prices, which is what has earned them the nickname "flagship killer". With each generation so far this has proven true, and the OnePlus 3 was a big leap forward over its predecessor when it launched.

The company officially unveiled its 2017 model, the OnePlus 5 on Tuesday, and it has already been launched in India. The OnePlus hype machine has been doing a good job of keeping the buzz alive, and there is huge pressure on the company to deliver yet another standout product. The OnePlus 5 has already garnered massive response back on its home turf, and was also teased in the final match of a recently concluded cricket tournament last Sunday.

OnePlus 5 key features

Body: Anodized aluminum body, 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5 display glass. Midnight Black and Slate Gray color schemes.

Display: 5.5" AMOLED, 1,920x1,080px resolution, 401ppi; sRGB/DCI-P3 color space support.

Rear cameras: Main camera: Sony IMX398 sensor, 16MP, 1.12µm pixel size, f/1.7 aperture, dual pixel phase detection autofocus, EIS; multi-shot noise reduction; 2160p/30fps video recording. Tele
camera: Sony IMX350 sensor, 20MP, 1.0µm pixel size, f/2.6 aperture.

Front camera: Sony IMX371 sensor, 16MP, 1.0µm pixel size, f/2.0 aperture; 1080p/30fps video recording.

OS/Software: Android 7.1.1 Nougat; OxygenOS custom overlay.

Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835: octa-core CPU (Kryo 280, 4x2.45GHz + 4x1.9GHz), Adreno 540 GPU.

Memory: 6/8GB of LPDDR4X RAM; 64/128GB UFS 2.1 storage.

Battery: 3,300mAh Li-Po (sealed); Dash Charge proprietary fast charging (5V/4A).

Connectivity: Dual SIM; 3-Band carrier aggregation, LTE Cat.12/13 (600Mbps/150Mbps); USB Type-C (v2.0); Wi-Fi a/b/g/n/ac; GPS, Beidou, Galileo; NFC; Bluetooth 5.0.

Misc: Front-mounted fingerprint reader; single speaker on the bottom; 3.5mm jack; tri-position Alert Slider.

OnePlus 5 performance, camera, and battery life

With Qualcomm’s speedy processor and the slick new OxygenOS, system and app performance is excellent. The phone uses the ample RAM onboard to ensure things run smoothly. On average, we found around 3.9GB being used, leaving us with about 1.7GB on the 6GB model. Flicking through the apps in the app drawer and switching between them doesn’t put any stress on the phone, and the transitions are buttery smooth - dare we say Pixel-smooth. Call quality is very good and we never faced any audio issues during a call. The speaker is also pretty loud for conference calls.The ambient light sensor can be a bit too aggressive in low light, and we needed to override it manually at times to make the display brighter.

The OnePLus 5 excels at gaming and media playback. We went through extensive sessions of Asphalt 8 and GTA: Vice City and the phone easily held its own. We noticed a few dropped frames in Asphalt 8 in some levels but other than this, we had smooth framerates throughout. The best part is that the phone doesn’t overheat even when we used outdoors in our humid climate. The back gets a bit warm but nothing that would make you have to stop to let it cool down. The display produces very good colours and deep blacks, thanks to the AMOLED panel.

High-resolution videos played with ease, and the mono speaker belted out pretty high volumes. The phone also supports Dirac HD audio enhancements with earphones. This helps a bit, but we didn’t find the in-built DAC to be anything exceptional.

More than the design and powerful components, the biggest change that the OnePlus 5 ushers in is its dual rear cameras. The similarities with the iPhone 7 Plus extend well beyond just physical design, as even the camera app is pretty much identical. The app has a simple layout and it's easy to find what you’re looking for. Shooting modes are hidden in the hamburger menu in one of the corners.

The primary camera has a 16-megapixel sensor (Sony IMX 398) with a large f/1.7 aperture and electronic stabilisation (EIS). The focal length here is 24mm (35mm equivalent). The lack of optical stabilisation (OIS) is a big disappointment given that the OnePlus 3T had it. While we couldn’t get any official response from OnePlus as to why this decision was made, we think it could be due to the slimmer profile of the phone and perhaps done to keep the overall cost within control.

Loyal OnePlus fans and enthusiasts alike have been hoping that the OnePlus 5 would be yet another breakthrough product, especially since the company skipped the number 4. As it turns out, the new model is more of an iterative update to the OnePlus 3T, and after reviewing this phone, it feels a bit like it was rushed out in order to meet a deadline. On one hand, we have some notable changes like the more comfortable design and a better primary camera, and the improved specifications result in a significant boost in performance, but there's nothing about this phone that renders its predecessor obsolete.

We would have liked a better display, in terms of a higher resolution and better sunlight legibility. There's no wireless charging or waterproofing either, which is now common across today's flagships. The dual camera implementation doesn’t seem to be very well thought out, as not all the features work as they should right now. The lack of stabilisation at 4K is a big letdown, and EIS is step down from what was offered with the 3T. OnePlus could refine some rough edges with future software updates, but there might also be a mid-year OnePlus 5T with a bumped up SoC (hey, you never know).

If you currently own a OnePlus 3T, upgrading to the OnePlus 5 won’t change your life in any significant way. If you’ve been on the fence about upgrading from an older phone, we recommend getting the 6GB version of the OnePlus 5 as it offers very good value. The 128GB option feels a bit too expensive at its current price of Rs. 37,999. Once stocks of the OnePlus 3T diminish, we hope that the 6GB OnePlus 5 will take the 3T’s current spot at Rs. 29,999, bringing the 8GB version down to a more attractive price as well.

OnePlus' focus for the OnePlus 5 seems to be refining a winning formula rather than slaying flagships. It's still a great smartphone for the price, but if you were hoping for refinements and features that Samsung and Apple offer today in their flagships, then you might be disappointed.

We discussed everything you need to know about the OnePlus 5, its price in India, and how it compares against the competition on Orbital, Gadgets 360's weekly technology podcast. You can subscribe to Orbital via Apple Podcasts or RSS or just listen to this episode by hitting the play button below.

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