OnePlus 5 review: This Android flagship is near perfect

OnePlus 5 review: OnePlus 5 is arguably the best Android phone you can buy. There are better phones out there, but then this is way more affordable than a Google Pixel XL or a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, thus making it a far better proposition for the buyer.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Written by Nandagopal Rajan | Updated: June 23, 2017 10:28 am
OnePlus 5 review, OnePlus 5 specs, OnePlus 5 review performance, OnePlus 5 video review, OnePlus 5 India price, OnePlus 5 price in India, OnePlus 5 specs OnePlus 5 review: Price in India is Rs 32,999 for the 6GB RAM version, and here’s our full review.

It is very rarely that a brand comes comes along with the ability to change the conversation. OnePlus has done that very successfully over the past few years. It might not be the most successful smartphone brand, but it sure has made much larger brands make course corrections with their product offerings. After many editions of smartphones that pushed the envelope on what specifications can be offered at a specific (budget) price point, OnePlus has now launched the new OnePlus 5. Here is our review:

OnePlus 5 specifications: 5.5-inch full HD SAMOLED | Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor | 6GB RAM/8GB RAM + 64/128GB storage | 16+ 20 MP rear camera + 16MP front camera with flash | Android Nougat 7.1.1 with OxygenOS | 3300 mAh battery |

OnePlus 5 price in India Rs 32,999

OnePlus 5 design, display review

OnePlus 5 is a thin sleek smartphone, but one that will give you a great sense of confidence every time you grip it. This OnePlus phone too sports the unique notifications button. On the rear is the one big noticeable difference from other phones, the dual camera. The dual camera does not result in a significant bump and it a phone that is just 7.25 mm thick, that is quite an achievement. The fingerprint scanner is up front. Though the phone has a USB-C port, OnePlus has retained that 3.5mm jack for earphones. However, this means, the phone has a single set of grilles for its speaker.

OnePlus 5 does not has a 2k or 4k display as was initially speculated. Many think this is a natural progression for flagships, but the fact is that such a high-resolution display is not yet a technological necessity. This means at least for a year more, companies are going to steer clear of this and pass on the cost benefit to the consumer instead. The OnePlus has a Full HD display that is sharp and bright enough to take care of all consumer needs at least for a couple of years more.

OnePlus 5 video review

OnePlus 5 is one of the loudest phones around. And I mean loud. Actually, I was a bit taken aback when I accidentally ended up covering the speaker with the hand and could feel the vibrations against my hand. Not sure everyone will enjoy that.

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OnePlus 5 performance review

OnePlus 5 will be the first phone in India to be powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835. So this phone could well be the most powerful phone in India at the moment. The benchmarks sure seems to suggest so, with reanking above the iPhone 7 Plus which has been on top since it launch. However, benchmark scores don’t always give a full picture and all that matters in the end is the experience. That is where the OnePlus clearly scores.

For instance, this phone has a really cool temperament and does not heat up whatever you do with it, even shoot 4K video. This is great for a flagship. Also, the phone does all tasks really well without stutter. From gaming to multi-tab browsing, the phone has everything well under control. Gamers will also love this phone as the graphics render smoothly adding to the overall experience. There are two RAM variants and I tried the 6GB/64GB version since being the more affordable one this is where the volumes will be.

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OnePlus 5 camera review

Even OnePlus seems to think that the best bit about this phone is its camera. And it is no ordinary camera. The OnePlus offers a dual camera setting on the rear, a mix of a 16MP primary and a 20MP telephoto lens. This combination is unique even though dual cameras themselves are becoming more common these days. The main camera also comes with a f1.7 aperture, which takes in much more light and makes your images look brighter than the surroundings in which you shot them. So, this is a good camera for low light, though like any other smartphone it has not been able to negate noise altogether.

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You will love the dual camera settings, especially when clicking photos where the subject is clear — like a face or a flower. There is a bit of software work going into these pictures and that is obvious, but the final results will help you overlook those smudges in the corners.

Even if you don’t use the dual camera, the results are great in good light. For instance, with an azure California sky as the backdrop, this phone can come up with some stunners. Plus, this camera has the best Pro or manual mode in an Android phone I have used. It comes with precision settings for ISO and white light and not preset points for the same. Plus you can click every photo in RAW and make that decision just before you click as the option pops up on the screen itself and is not something you pre-decide in settings.

The camera is also capable of great videos, be it Full HD or 4K. Since the phone comes with ample storage and does not heat up, you might as well go 4K all the time.

OnePlus 5 unboxing video

OnePlus 5 software, UI review

As with earlier OnePlus phones in the post-Cyanogen era, the OnePlus 5 too runs the company’s very own Oxygen OS based on Android version 7.1.1. However, this is one of purest skins you will find on an Android phone. Tha does not mean OnePlus hasn’t added tweaks. There are quite a few in fact. The phone supports more gestures than before and most of these are customisable.

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However, I am not a big fan of these as I keep forgetting what gesture is for what. What I really loved on the phone is the reading mode, which is almost like an e-ink display you would find on ebook readers like the Kindle. The way OnePlus has woven this feature in, you will be able to enable this mode just for specific apps, which is really good. Even with vibrations, the phones gives you customisation options. Also, reinforcing the fact that this is a good option for gamers, Oxygen OS now has a do not disturb mode for gaming where you can add specific apps.

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OnePlus 5 battery review

The phone has a 3300 mAh battery that will last you 12 hours of rigorous use if you ensure that the display is not on full brightness and you are not using the 4K recording on the camera much. In other words, this is a pretty decent battery, but you will need to charge is once in a while before reaching home. This is where the OnePlus 5’s dash charging comes in really handy, pushing the phone’s juice levels from 0 to at least 80 per cent in exactly 30 minutes. This Dash charging also presents a bit of a problem for some as the charger itself is quite large. It is certainly not something you want bulging out of your pocket and will need a bag to carry in. So, I presume a lot of people on the move might end up charging the phone without this enormous charger.

OnePlus 5 verdict

The OnePlus 5 is arguably the best Android phone you can buy. There are better phones out there, but then this is way more affordable than a Google Pixel XL or a Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus making it a far better proposition for the buyer. OnePlus has again shown that a flagship phone does not really need to be priced at the higher end. It has also shown that you don’t really need a big gimmicky feature to make a flagship appealing, just doing everything well will do. The OnePlus 5 is sure to extend the company’s domination in the mid-rung for at least a few more months.

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