Introduction


The new OnePlus 5 is an evolution of a successful formula: it adds a dual camera with Portrait mode and the fastest Android chip around…

The OnePlus 5 is the newest _phone_ by OnePlus, a company that in just three years has fought its way to become one of the recognizable names among flagship makers. It did so by word of mouth and a large group of dedicated fans, standing by its ‘never settle’ motto. Oh yes, and by making flagship-grade phones with top specs at affordable prices.

The OnePlus 5, however, is its most expensive phone, and it’s got an iPhone inspired look and even a similar dual camera on the back.

It is the company’s best and the company’s most controversial phone. Also, it’s the only one it makes, OnePlus’ all-or-nothing bet.

How has it worked out? We have been living with the OnePlus 5 for a while and we’re eager to share our experience. Read on.

In the box:

  • Wall charger (5V - 4A)
  • USB-C to USB cable
  • User manual
  • Sim ejector

Design

Beautiful and stylish? Check! Not so much an iPhone once you get to actually use it. Also, alarmingly slippery and lacks water protection.

OnePlus 5 Review

You have probably seen the pictures: the back of the OnePlus 5 next to the back of the iPhone 7 Plus, all looking pretty much exactly the same. Yes, the resemblance is there and it’s hard to deny where OnePlus draws inspiration from, but once you hold the new OnePlus 5 in your hand you notice that there is far less similarity than those pictures might have convinced you of. The curved back, the accent line around the edges and a few other details make the OnePlus 5 actually feel noticeably different than the iPhone 7 Plus.

Curious fact: Yet still, the OnePlus 5 does not feel fully an original design. It feels like a mash-up. It’s no secret that OnePlus is owned by Chinese giant BBK Electronics, which also owns Oppo and Vivo, two very popular brands in China. And the OnePlus 5 is basically a mixture of those two companies’ flagships. If you live in the US and Europe, you probably have not heard about the Vivo X9 and the Oppo R9s , but if you want to see the OnePlus 5’s ‘mother and father’, just take a look at those two phones. The Vivo X9 is nearly a carbon copy of the OnePlus 5’s design, while the Oppo R9s uses basically the same dual camera setup and fast charging. After you look up those two phones, you will start seeing the OnePlus 5 as a bit of a Frankenstein phone. We know we do.

OnePlus 5 Review
OnePlus 5 Review

Now that we have addressed this, let’s say that the OnePlus 5 is a 5.5-inch _phone_ with a 9:16 display, and for its form factor it is a narrow phone that is comfortable to hold, but still definitely far from being single-hand friendly like the new breed of narrow phones with a tall display like the Galaxy S8. The back is curved and an already thin phone becomes even thinner at the edges, which contributes a lot to its ergonomics. Yet, it’s also devilishly slippery, tending to slip out of your pocket easily and while I haven’t dropped it yet, I feel like this is more of an inevitability with the OnePlus 5 than with other phones.

OnePlus 5 Review
Up front, you have a slightly larger than on earlier OnePlus phones physical home key. That’s also where the fingerprint scanner is. It definitely feels like one of the fastest finger scanners around, it’s nearly instantaneous, impressively zippy.

OnePlus has also gotten the little things right with the ‘5’: the side buttons are made of metal, clicky and easy to press, with nice travel to them. The 3-way mute key on the left has a textured surface, so you can easily find it by touch, without even looking at the phone. The USB-C is properly centered (but still limited to only USB 2.0 speeds), and there’s a 3.5mm audio jack.

There are two big features missing: the OnePlus 5 does not have any special water protection and it does not support wireless charging. OnePlus CEO says water proofing just makes phones thicker and heavier, and adds he’s not convinced it’s ‘a big consumer requirement’. Big or not, we find it a nice convenience and feel the OnePlus 5 would have been an even better phone if it had water protection.

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Front view | Side view
OnePlus 5
OnePlus 5
6.07 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches
154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25 mm
5.40 oz (153 g)

OnePlus 5

Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches
158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm
6.63 oz (188 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S8+
Samsung Galaxy S8+
6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches
159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm
6.10 oz (173 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8+

LG G6
LG G6
5.86 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches
148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm
5.75 oz (163 g)

LG G6




Display

5.5” AMOLED display with a 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution. It looks great.

OnePlus 5 Review

The OnePlus 5 features a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels.

The specs-obsessed will be quick to point out that it’s not a Quad HD (1440 x 2560 pixel) display, meaning that it’s less sharp than other 5.5” phones like the Google Pixel XL and the HTC U11. In reality, though, it’s almost impossible to notice the difference in sharpness. For most everyone, the resolution of the OnePlus 5 is more than sufficient and the phone looks sharp enough.

Color defaults to a punchy mode that most users really dig. Everything looks very vivid in this mode, very contrasty, but also somewhat bluish.

OnePlus also includes two ‘pro’ color modes. First, you have the option switch to sRGB colors, where sRGB is the color standard that most cameras these days default to and most content is optimized for. Colors in sRGB look less saturated on the OnePlus 5 and a bit dull compared to the defaults. The bigger issue here is that whites appear a bit too green, so we cannot fully recommend using this option. The OnePlus 5 display also has a new DCI-P3 color option. This is a newly implemented color standard on phones, one that the iPhone 7 supports as well. Colors here are slightly more saturated, wider than sRGB, but we again notice that whites tend to appear greenish. So at the end of the day, we stick to the default color mode on the OnePlus 5, which might not be the most accurate, but we find the most pleasing. You can find more details in the charts right below.

In terms of brightness, this is not the brightest one out there. This is an issue when you use the phone outdoors, especially now in summertime when the sun is bright -- it’s hard to see what’s on the screen.

We should also note that the screen is now protected by Gorilla Glass 5 on the OnePlus 5, which is more durable than on earlier OnePlus phones. Kudos to OnePlus for that.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
OnePlus 5 435
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8014
(Poor)
2.13
6.63
(Average)
6.29
(Average)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 672
(Excellent)
2
(Excellent)
1:1431
(Excellent)
6981
(Excellent)
2.2
3.11
(Good)
2.63
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 565
(Excellent)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6936
(Excellent)
2.14
5.06
(Average)
4.91
(Average)
LG G6 506
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:2164
(Excellent)
8639
(Poor)
2.12
5.68
(Average)
7.55
(Average)
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all



Introduction


The new OnePlus 5 is an evolution of a successful formula: it adds a dual camera with Portrait mode and the fastest Android chip around…

The OnePlus 5 is the newest phone by OnePlus, a company that in just three years has fought its way to become one of the recognizable names among flagship makers. It did so by word of mouth and a large group of dedicated fans, standing by its ‘never settle’ motto. Oh yes, and by making flagship-grade phones with top specs at affordable prices.

The OnePlus 5, however, is its most expensive phone, and it’s got an iPhone inspired look and even a similar dual camera on the back.

It is the company’s best and the company’s most controversial phone. Also, it’s the only one it makes, OnePlus’ all-or-nothing bet.

How has it worked out? We have been living with the OnePlus 5 for a while and we’re eager to share our experience. Read on.

In the box:

  • Wall charger (5V - 4A)
  • USB-C to USB cable
  • User manual
  • Sim ejector

Design

Beautiful and stylish? Check! Not so much an iPhone once you get to actually use it. Also, alarmingly slippery and lacks water protection.

OnePlus 5 Review

You have probably seen the pictures: the back of the OnePlus 5 next to the back of the iPhone 7 Plus, all looking pretty much exactly the same. Yes, the resemblance is there and it’s hard to deny where OnePlus draws inspiration from, but once you hold the new OnePlus 5 in your hand you notice that there is far less similarity than those pictures might have convinced you of. The curved back, the accent line around the edges and a few other details make the OnePlus 5 actually feel noticeably different than the iPhone 7 Plus.

Curious fact: Yet still, the OnePlus 5 does not feel fully an original design. It feels like a mash-up. It’s no secret that OnePlus is owned by Chinese giant BBK Electronics, which also owns Oppo and Vivo, two very popular brands in China. And the OnePlus 5 is basically a mixture of those two companies’ flagships. If you live in the US and Europe, you probably have not heard about the Vivo X9 and the Oppo R9s , but if you want to see the OnePlus 5’s ‘mother and father’, just take a look at those two phones. The Vivo X9 is nearly a carbon copy of the OnePlus 5’s design, while the Oppo R9s uses basically the same dual camera setup and fast charging. After you look up those two phones, you will start seeing the OnePlus 5 as a bit of a Frankenstein phone. We know we do.

OnePlus 5 Review
OnePlus 5 Review

Now that we have addressed this, let’s say that the OnePlus 5 is a 5.5-inch phone with a 9:16 display, and for its form factor it is a narrow phone that is comfortable to hold, but still definitely far from being single-hand friendly like the new breed of narrow phones with a tall display like the Galaxy S8. The back is curved and an already thin phone becomes even thinner at the edges, which contributes a lot to its ergonomics. Yet, it’s also devilishly slippery, tending to slip out of your pocket easily and while I haven’t dropped it yet, I feel like this is more of an inevitability with the OnePlus 5 than with other phones.

OnePlus 5 Review
Up front, you have a slightly larger than on earlier OnePlus phones physical home key. That’s also where the fingerprint scanner is. It definitely feels like one of the fastest finger scanners around, it’s nearly instantaneous, impressively zippy.

OnePlus has also gotten the little things right with the ‘5’: the side buttons are made of metal, clicky and easy to press, with nice travel to them. The 3-way mute key on the left has a textured surface, so you can easily find it by touch, without even looking at the phone. The USB-C is properly centered (but still limited to only USB 2.0 speeds), and there’s a 3.5mm audio jack.

There are two big features missing: the OnePlus 5 does not have any special water protection and it does not support wireless charging. OnePlus CEO says water proofing just makes phones thicker and heavier, and adds he’s not convinced it’s ‘a big consumer requirement’. Big or not, we find it a nice convenience and feel the OnePlus 5 would have been an even better phone if it had water protection.

Front view | Side view
OnePlus 5
OnePlus 5
6.07 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches
154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25 mm
5.40 oz (153 g)

OnePlus 5

Apple iPhone 7 Plus
Apple iPhone 7 Plus
6.23 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches
158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm
6.63 oz (188 g)

Apple iPhone 7 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S8+
Samsung Galaxy S8+
6.28 x 2.89 x 0.32 inches
159.5 x 73.4 x 8.1 mm
6.10 oz (173 g)

Samsung Galaxy S8+

LG G6
LG G6
5.86 x 2.83 x 0.31 inches
148.9 x 71.9 x 7.9 mm
5.75 oz (163 g)

LG G6




Display

5.5” AMOLED display with a 1080 x 1920-pixel resolution. It looks great.

OnePlus 5 Review

The OnePlus 5 features a 5.5-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels.

The specs-obsessed will be quick to point out that it’s not a Quad HD (1440 x 2560 pixel) display, meaning that it’s less sharp than other 5.5” phones like the Google Pixel XL and the HTC U11. In reality, though, it’s almost impossible to notice the difference in sharpness. For most everyone, the resolution of the OnePlus 5 is more than sufficient and the phone looks sharp enough.

Color defaults to a punchy mode that most users really dig. Everything looks very vivid in this mode, very contrasty, but also somewhat bluish.

OnePlus also includes two ‘pro’ color modes. First, you have the option switch to sRGB colors, where sRGB is the color standard that most cameras these days default to and most content is optimized for. Colors in sRGB look less saturated on the OnePlus 5 and a bit dull compared to the defaults. The bigger issue here is that whites appear a bit too green, so we cannot fully recommend using this option. The OnePlus 5 display also has a new DCI-P3 color option. This is a newly implemented color standard on phones, one that the iPhone 7 supports as well. Colors here are slightly more saturated, wider than sRGB, but we again notice that whites tend to appear greenish. So at the end of the day, we stick to the default color mode on the OnePlus 5, which might not be the most accurate, but we find the most pleasing. You can find more details in the charts right below.

In terms of brightness, this is not the brightest one out there. This is an issue when you use the phone outdoors, especially now in summertime when the sun is bright -- it’s hard to see what’s on the screen.

We should also note that the screen is now protected by Gorilla Glass 5 on the OnePlus 5, which is more durable than on earlier OnePlus phones. Kudos to OnePlus for that.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
OnePlus 5 435
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8014
(Poor)
2.13
6.63
(Average)
6.29
(Average)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 672
(Excellent)
2
(Excellent)
1:1431
(Excellent)
6981
(Excellent)
2.2
3.11
(Good)
2.63
(Good)
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 565
(Excellent)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
6936
(Excellent)
2.14
5.06
(Average)
4.91
(Average)
LG G6 506
(Excellent)
4
(Excellent)
1:2164
(Excellent)
8639
(Poor)
2.12
5.68
(Average)
7.55
(Average)
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

These measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface and Functionality

Mostly the same-as-before, clean Android experience with focus on speed. We noticed some bugs in critical apps like Facebook, though.

OnePlus 5 Review

The OnePlus 5 features a clean Android interface that the company calls OxygenOS.

The keywords here are “speed” and “no bloat”. Indeed, the OxygenOS is an exemplary interface with the useful customization options that it provides and with its focus on being... wicked fast. It is also built on top of Android 7.1.1 Nougat, a modern Android build. OnePlus has a somewhat sketchy history with Android updates, but it promised to change last year when it launched the OnePlus 3. So far, it has lived up to its promises with timely updates that address key issues, so we have no reasons to doubt its commitment to the OnePlus 5 as well.

There are very few new features in this latest OxygenOS: the big one is the swipe-up app drawer, similar to the one on Pixel phones. It’s a much more convenient, coherent way to access your apps. There is a new ‘Reading mode’ as well, that turns your screen to grayscale and increases sharpness, which should make reading off your phone easier on the eyes. It’s nowhere near as good as an ebook reader like the Kindle, but it indeed helps with eye strain.

Other neat little new features include a ‘do not disturb’ mode for gaming where an accidental press of a button will not quit a game, a new ‘secure box’ for your private files, expanded screenshots and auto night mode triggers.

For all else, the interface is the same as before. You can set quick shortcuts to open particular actions when you double press or long press the home, recents or back button (go into Settings > Buttons for that). For instance, we’ve now set our OnePlus 5 to lock with a long press of the home screen. You can also switch the recents and back keys your way (some think the back key should be on the left, while others like it on the right). Want to use on-screen navigation keys? You can enable that as well. This is an example of useful, great customization that we would love to see on other Android phones.

There is also a welcome Dark mode for the interface (go into Settings > Customizations to enable it). It turns all the backgrounds in settings and the app drawer dark, which is easier on the eyes at night, but also helps save battery life.

It’s not all roses, though. The OnePlus feels incredibly fast without feeling fluid. We would have liked a bit smoother transitions, and they are just not there.

One issue that spoiled the great experience was with the Facebook app. Scrolling the news feed feels jittery and slow. There were bugs with images: when you try rotating the phone horizontally, Facebook images would not rotate properly and you would need to pinch to zoom in and try to see them in full size. Those issues are frustrating, especially when it comes to an app that many people spend hours in, and we hope OnePlus works this out.

Processor, Performance and Memory

The Snapdragon 835 coupled with fast UFS 2.1 storage and proper optimization makes the OnePlus 5 fly. Also, 8 gigs of RAM because… why not?

OnePlus 5 Review

There are two ways to look at the OnePlus 5: on one hand, at $500, the OnePlus 5 is the most expensive OnePlus phone ever. On the other, it’s also the cheapest phone with the Snapdragon 835 currently available.

Whichever way you look at it, the fact that you have the latest and greatest Snapdragon 835 is important: it’s the fastest Android chip around and it is the only one built on the most advanced, 10 nm manufacturing node, meaning that it draws less power while providing more punch.

In addition, the OnePlus 5 features the newer UFS 2.1 type of storage, which is slightly faster than UFS 2.0 storage and much faster than older MMC storage. In practical terms, UFS 2.1 storage ensures that apps will not only load fast, but app installs will be faster and everything on the phone will get a speed boost.

The OnePlus 5 does not feel as fluid as the Google Pixel, the gold standard on Android these days, but it does feel surprisingly fast.

The OnePlus 5 still does not support a microSD card memory expansion slot, but with 64GB of storage in the base model, we don’t feel like this is a major omission. You also have a slightly costlier 128GB OnePlus 5 version, in case you need that extra storage.

The 128 GB 'Midnight Black' version also bumps the RAM from 6 gigs in the base model to 8GB of RAM. This is a first on a mainstream phone and while most users will not notice it, 8 gigs of RAM does mean that you can have a few games and a dozen of Chrome tabs open simultaneously. There are no issues with RAM management as on earlier OnePlus phones either.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
OnePlus 5 178968
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 179811
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 173945
LG G6 157208
JetStream
Higher is better
OnePlus 5 69.780
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 167.76
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 60.931
LG G6 57.368
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
OnePlus 5 60
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 58.2
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 60
LG G6 50
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
OnePlus 5 40
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 55.8
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 41
LG G6 14
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
OnePlus 5 3500
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 3119
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 3256
LG G6 2122
Geekbench 4 single-core
Higher is better
OnePlus 5 1941
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 3443
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 2006
LG G6 1797
Geekbench 4 multi-core
Higher is better
OnePlus 5 6678
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 5619
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 6708
LG G6 4285
View all

Internet and Connectivity

More 4G LTE bands than ever make the OnePlus 5 a true global phone.

The OnePlus 5 ships with Google’s Chrome as the default and only browser on board. By now, Google Chrome is the go-to browser for most people: it’s speedy, syncs effortlessly across devices and is comfortable to use. And it loads pages impressively quickly on the OnePlus 5.

Google’s Chrome - OnePlus 5 Review
Google’s Chrome - OnePlus 5 Review

Google’s Chrome

The OnePlus 5 is still not CDMA-carrier compatible: it will not work on Verizon Wireless and Sprint in the United States (it does work effortlessly on AT&T and T-Mobile, though).

This, however, does not mean that OnePlus is sitting still in terms of connectivity: the 5 comes with support for a whopping 34 frequencies, making it a truly global 4G LTE phone. Here is the full list LTE bands the OnePlus 5 supports:

  • FDD LTE: Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29/30/66
  • TDD LTE: Band 38/39/40/41

In terms of other connectivity option, you also have dual-channel Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX and aptX HD support, and NFC support.

Camera


The OnePlus 5 camera is fine, but not quite a home run. It’s impressively fast both to start and focus, but images turn out with a lot less detail than on the 3T. New ‘Portrait mode’ is a good start. 4K video lacks stabilization sorely.

OnePlus 5 Review

The OnePlus 5 comes with a dual rear camera system similar to that of the iPhone 7 Plus. You have a main, wide-angle camera and a secondary, ‘telephoto’ one that the phone uses to artificially blur the background and create DSLR-like portraits.

Curious fact: the OnePlus 5 seems to use the exact same camera system as the Oppo R9s.

The main, wide-angle camera has also changed from the OnePlus 3T: that phone used the Sony IMX298 sensor, while the OnePlus 5 uses the newer IMX398 with an f/1.7 lens on top. Both are 16MP sensors with the same, 1.12-micron size for individual pixels, but the OnePlus 5 also supports Dual Pixel auto-focus, the fastest auto-focusing technology around.

The secondary, ‘telephoto’ f/2.6 lens is built on top of a 20-megapixel camera. OnePlus says it is the highest-res around, but the term ‘telephoto’ here is really quite misleading. While the main camera has a focal distance of 24mm, the ‘telephoto’ one only has 36mm, nowhere near standard ‘telephoto’ lenses that have much higher values. It’s also not even 2 times the focal distance of the wide-angle camera.

So how does OnePlus achieve that ‘2x’ zoom effect in the camera app? It is not simply by switching to the ‘telephoto’ lens (which gives a 1.5x effect), but it is with a combination of using both the secondary lens and some form of digital zoom. Interestingly, ‘Portrait mode’ with its blurred backgrounds on the OnePlus 5 works differently: it defaults to a 1.5x zoomed view and when there is enough light it uses both rear cameras, but when it’s darker it can do just fine by using only the regular, wide-angle camera. Then, it adds some software magic to add the artsy blur effect.. Just like on the iPhone 7 Plus, the OnePlus 5 uses the ambient light sensor to read light levels and only uses the secondary ‘telephoto’ lens when there is enough light. If not, it just uses the main sensor and digital zoom.

The camera app on the OnePlus 5 is itself clean and impressively fast.

Here is a tip: double click the lock key to quickly start the camera.

You swipe left and right to go between stills, video and portrait mode, and you tap on your subject and slide up and down to adjust exposure. From the slide-out burger menu, you can view the full set of shooting modes: photo, video, portrait, pro mode, time-lapse, slow motion, and panorama. For selfies, you have a beauty mode that is not turned on by default (thanks, OnePlus), but you can manually turn it on and adjust the strength of the effect.

Image Quality


Enough with the intro, what about how images actually turn out?

Put simply, the OnePlus 5 camera is not a home run. It’s not bad either by any means, but just not quite there with the very best.

Here are the five major changes the OnePlus 5 camera makes to images in comparison with the 3T:

  • Noticeably softer focus
  • A lot of noise appears
  • Much higher contrast
  • Brighter
  • Slightly different, more yellow-ish colors than 3T

The added brightness and contrast makes the OnePlus 5 images at times more impactful and more cheerful than the OnePlus 3T. But look closer and you notice some big issues with image quality. The biggest one is just how soft and lackluster photos turn out when it comes to detail. It’s a big step down from even the 3T, especially noticeably in macros and close-up shots. Images are also surprisingly noisy, even on a bright sunny day.

What has improved without a doubt is speed: the new dual focus system is incredibly quick. In low light, the wide f/1.7 aperture helps get more light in and you get very good image quality.

The built-in dual LED flash is strong, but sneaks in a cold, green-ish cast to images that ruins the colors and we’d rather avoid using it.

When it comes to the front camera, we’re pleased with it. It captures detailed selfies with very good detail and with sufficient sharpness and dynamics.


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Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
OnePlus 5 1.1
1.5
682
682
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 1.33
2.01
No data
No data
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 1.2
1.3
730
622
LG G6 1.7
2.7
522
530
View all

Portrait mode, 2x zoom


So… there is a secondary, 36mm lens on the OnePlus 5. It requires plenty of light to work, so don’t be surprised if you discover that in other conditions the OnePlus 5 only uses the regular, wide-angle camera for portraits and even 2x zoom. When the secondary camera kicks in, though, it does provide that extra clarity and resolution, which make a noticeable difference.

Having a button to quickly zoom 2 times is neat: it produces a flatter picture with less barrel distortion, and while quality is definitely not top-notch, it’s a nice option.

What we were really curios was ‘Portrait mode’: did it perform as good as the iPhone 7 Plus?

The answer is… depends, sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s worse. You can see the results for yourselves below: while the iPhone often captures depressingly dark pictures that are barely usable, the OnePlus managed to actually shoot a more pleasing image. The iPhone did better at the edges, where you can see the artificial blur artifacts the most, but the OnePlus was not too far behind. Overall, it’s a toss up, but neither one is perfect.


Video quality


The OnePlus 5 can shoot up to 4K video, which looks very detailed and crisp… except, it lacks proper stabilization sorely. The OnePlus 5 does not have optical image stabilization (OIS), but it also seems to lack any proper digital one: the slightest hand jitter results in an earthquake-like commotion on screen. This ruins a lot of the appeal of 4K videos on the OnePlus 5, and we recommend using 1080p video, where you do get proper stabilization.

Otherwise, the dual pixel auto-focus shines in video. It’s able to acquire and lock the focus instantly, and this results in always-sharp footage.


Sound quality


You have a single bottom firing loudspeaker on the OnePlus 5, and it gets very, very loud. It might just be one of the loudest phones we have ever heard. Put a boombox case on a OnePlus 5, fire up music at maximum volume and carry it on your shoulder to get the full effect. Or challenge your friends’ phones to a ‘who’s louder’ battle. You will win.

This does not mean that the sound quality is great, though. Just like with most phones, it gets tinny and lacks depth, but we appreciate the ability to go extra loud, if only for those times when you want to share a YouTube video with some friends in a slightly louder venue.

There is an audio jack, so that’s nice, but you also have proper Bluetooth 5.0 support with aptX and aptX HD, two standards for high-quality sound when you use wireless headphones.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
OnePlus 5 0.96
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 0.992
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 0.74
LG G6 0.78
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
OnePlus 5 77
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 77.4
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 80
LG G6 74
View all

OnePlus 5 Review
Call Quality


Call quality on the OnePlus 5 is solid. We had no issues on both ends: voices in the earpiece are sufficiently loud and clear, easy to recognize with their natural tonality, and the mic output is also crisp and clear, so callers on the other end will not have any problems hearing you.

Battery life

The OnePlus 5 battery life is solid, without beating any records: expect to get through even busier days on a single charge, but not more.

The OnePlus 5 features a 3,300mAh, non-removable battery, a slightly smaller one than the 3,400mAh cell on the 3T.

However, with the power-efficient Snapdragon 835 and the non-excessively energy consuming Full HD display, the OnePlus 5 will get you through even those busier, longer days. It’s not quite in two day territory, though. And that’s more than your average phone, so we can safely say that battery life is very good. In real life we get between four and five hours of screen-on time, depending on usage.

OnePlus 5 Review

The OnePlus 5 also aced our custom battery test beating most flagships and ranking on par with the excellent iPhone 7 Plus. It scored 9 hours and 18 minutes, significantly improving over earlier OnePlus phones.

Then, there is Dash Charge. OnePlus’ proprietary fast charging solution allows you to fully recharge your phone in less than 1 hour and 40 minutes. Its key advantage over others, though, is that it maintains fast charge speeds even when you charge while using your phone. OnePlus says that you get a day’s power in half an hour, and we found that a half-hour charge will indeed juice up the phone to more than 50%. Keep in mind, though, that you need to use the wall charger and the red USB-C cable that come in the box, Dash Charge will not work with third-party accessories.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
OnePlus 5 9h 18 min (Excellent)
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 9h 5 min (Excellent)
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 8h (Excellent)
LG G6 6h 9 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
OnePlus 5 99
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 197
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 99
LG G6 97
View all

Price and alternatives


Things are different for OnePlus now. From the ‘Never Settle’ start-up that used to make super affordable phones to… the OnePlus 5. To illustrate the change at OnePlus, here is how pricing has changed throughout the years:

OnePlus One: $300 for 16GB, $350 for 64GB
OnePlus Two: $330 for 16GB, $390 for 64GB
OnePlus 3: $400 for 64GB
OnePlus 3T: $440 for 64GB, $480 for 128GB
OnePlus 5: $480 for 64GB, $520 for 128GB

OnePlus 5 Review

At this price, the OnePlus 5 might be the most expensive OnePlus phone, but it is also the cheapest phone with the Snapdragon 835 chip out there. There’s two ways to look at it. It’s still noticeably cheaper than most flagships, and it’s even cheaper than last year’s flagships. Here is how the price of the OnePlus 5 compares to direct rivals:

OnePlus 5: $480 for 64GB model
Pixel XL: $770 for a 32GB model
iPhone 7 Plus: $770 for a 32GB model
iPhone 6s Plus: $650 for a 32GB model
Galaxy S8: $725 for a 32GB model
LG G6: $700 (currently sold at $600)
HTC U11: $650

So it’s clear that despite the price hike, the OnePlus 5 is still one of the best value-for-the-money offers out there.

Your alternatives?

All the above phones, if you are looking for similar firepower and the Snapdragon 835 chip. If you start looking at the same prices, you will have to make do with less powerful devices like the Moto Z2 Play, a $500 phone with slightly better battery, but a less ambitious camera and a weaker, Snapdragon 626 system chip.

We would also look at the more affordable iPhones: the iPhone 6s and/or the iPhone SE if you are fine with their smaller sizes. These phones offer similarly powerful processors, timely updates and excellent software, but battery life is less impressive.

Conclusion


OnePlus 5 Review

The OnePlus 5 is a very, very good phone for a very, very good price.

Interestingly enough, it is also a victim of its own high aspirations to compete with the very best out there. It lacks just a bit to fully match them: it does not have the wow-inducing design of the S8, nor the fluidity of an iPhone or a Pixel.

Its best two features are a great price and fast performance, plus an impressively quick and accurate fingerprint scanner. The OxygenOS interface offers proper customization options where they are needed. The battery life is solid and Dash Charging is just as impressive as in previous OnePlus phones.

The dual camera, however, falls short of expectations and is not quite great. Actually using the phone reveals some unexpected issues, like the one we had with the Facebook app, where we encountered a number of bugs. And the phone itself is hella slippery (put a case on it!). But those are minor faults in an otherwise excellent package.

Overall, the OnePlus 5 does not feel as ground-breaking as the OnePlus 3. It’s an evolution rather than a revolution, but if you are looking for a solid all-around performer for a great price, the OnePlus 5 is still in a category of its own: one of the best — if not the best — option out there.