In some ways, the OnePlus 5 marks a new direction for the young Chinese company. Now that its latest flagship is approaching the price territory of other high-end flagship smartphones, the OnePlus 5 cannot fall back on sheer value for money anymore: it has to be on equal footing with its competition.
Here at MWC Shanghai 2017, we managed to spend some time with the OnePlus 5 at Qualcomm’s booth. While we can’t say for sure if it’s a worthwhile flagship from our brief time with the device, the OnePlus 5 is easily the most refined smartphone yet from OnePlus.
Typical of OnePlus, the OnePlus 5 boasts some impressive hardware. These include a whopping 8GB – or a more “modest” 6GB – of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chipset, up to 128GB of fast UFS 2.1 storage, as well as a 3,300mAh battery. Of course, there’s also the much hyped-about dual-camera setup, but we’ll get to that in a moment.
Out of all its specifications, the OnePlus 5’s display is the odd one out. Much like its predecessor, the OnePlus 5 only comes with a 5.5-inch 1080p Optic AMOLED display; compare this with its other competition’s higher resolution displays. However, the OnePlus 5’s display is still plenty good: it’s sharp enough, colours are vibrant, and because it’s an AMOLED panel, black levels are impressive.
Build quality is also one of the OnePlus 5’s strong suits. In comparison to the OnePlus 3, the 5 is much more refined. There are no sharp corners here – even the USB-C port is filed down to a smooth finish – and the phone feels really, really good to hold. The OnePlus 5’s curved back and matte finish really help with its ergonomics.
If there’s one thing OnePlus does really well, it’s in the software department. In my brief time with the OnePlus 5, it feels very responsive and zippy. In fact, I’d say it feels faster than other flagship smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S8+ and HTC U11. Then again, I reckon this comes down to the OnePlus 5’s lack of any long animations.
And then we have the OnePlus 5’s dual-camera system. OnePlus set out to prove one thing with the OnePlus 5: it can make a good camera too. Now, not only is this a lofty goal (only a handful of phone makers managed to deliver truly good cameras) the OnePlus 5’s camera lack optical image stabilisation too, which isn’t a promising sign.
That being said, I reckon the OnePlus 5 is a decent – if not capable – shooter. It’s hard to say if it’s as good as other high-end smartphones in the market based on my short time with the device, but I certainly think the OnePlus 5 could potentially be a promising shooter. It locks in focus pretty quickly, the camera app is responsive, and the end results look great on the device.
The OnePlus 5 is definitely OnePlus’ most impressive smartphone yet, but whether or not it can stand on the same footing as other flagship smartphones released this year still remains to be seen; only a full review can shed some light on this.
But perspective is important here: the OnePlus 5 costs about RM1,000 less than the Samsung Galaxy S8+. With that kind of price difference, the OnePlus 5 definitely stands out in the highly competitive flagship segment; especially so if its camera performance is good enough.