Skip to main content

OnePlus 5 group review

The uSwitch Tech team go in mob-handed to test out OnePlus' new smartphone.

Thanks to a combination of high-end features and the sort of exhaustive attention-to-detail usually reserved for much more expensive phones, the keenly priced OnePlus 5 is being widely billed as '2017's flagship killer'.

But is that just a load of PR puff? Or is the new OnePlus effort really the pitch-perfect package we're led to believe?

To find out, we asked the uSwitch Tech team to spend time with it and report back. Here's what they told us....

Christine Torlay

Christine

Sufferer of chronic wanderlust. Cosmetics hoarder. Proud Starbucks groupie.

As an unashamedly die-hard Apple user, I was sceptical to say the least about switching from my beloved iPhone for the purpose of this review.

For as long as I can remember I’ve used iOS. And although I’ve tried a few Android devices recently, all have paled in comparison to my iPhone and its sheer simplicity.

On opening the box, the first thing that struck me was just how slick the phone looked. Thin and glossy, with an overarching air of luxury. That's something I didn’t feel when opening the box of my current iPhone 6. Although slightly bigger than the handset I’m used to, the OnePlus 5 was comfortable to hold.

Once using the phone, I began to realise just how responsive it is, especially the fingerprint scanner. With barely any delay, the device recognised my finger and responded. This is something my iPhone isn’t so great at!

Being a complete Instagram fiend but a not so great photographer, it’s important that my phone has an easy-to-use camera that can produce really great pictures. The OnePlus 5 has this down to a tee!

I was able to start taking great shots within minutes of opening the camera. Being able to edit pictures straight away means I didn’t have to download extra apps or widgets to do so. Again that's something my iPhone doesn’t do very well. I loved the timelapse feature the most. I can just imagine how many Insta posts I can get out of that one feature!

In terms of layout I was a big fan of the grid layout of the OnePlus 5. It took a little while for me to get used to swiping up to access all of the widgets, but once I did it was fine.

I also loved that you can group widgets like the iPhone, making the screen look and feel a lot cleaner. I couldn’t work out how to name the groups however, something the iPhone does automatically.

In terms of battery life, the OnePlus 5 certainly came into its own. I easily went through an entire day without having to charge it. The Dash charge feature is also a huge plus, as I’m pretty impatient when it comes to charging my phone. First-world problems, I know!

All in all, I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the OnePlus 5. I never thought I’d see the day when an Android phone could tempt me away from my Apple-dominated comfort zone.

The overall look and feel of Android system is something I’d still need time to get used to, but if there was ever a phone that would be my reason to jump ship, it would be this one!

Want a closer look at the OnePlus 5's camera? We zoom in super close on the details for our camera review.

Anand Parekh

Anand-OnePlus-5-image

Epicure. Knows a Googly from a Grubber. OnePlus fan.

I’ll admit it: I’m an avid fan of OnePlus phones. And after enduring love affairs with my OnePlus One and OnePlus 3, it’s fair to say I was very keen indeed to get my hands on its latest handset.

After taking the OnePlus 5 on holiday with me to the Isle of Skye, I’m happy to report I’m not disappointed!

I was perhaps most intrigued as to how it could be functionally better than the previous models and not just a cosmetic improvement.

But before we get to that, I should note that it's a great-looking handset. Much lighter than my OnePlus 3, it’s also a little bit more slippery in the hand. But that’s nothing that can’t be solved by investing in a cover from Amazon.

As I’d like to think my holiday photos attest, the phone’s standout feature is its camera. It really did justice to beauty of Glencoe Mountains, Isle of Skye and umpteen Lochs of Scotland. I was particularly impressed with the zoom feature, which really is second to none.

The detail of close-up images was fantastic and for a brief moment I fancied myself as a professional photographer. I even charged my friends for their photos.

All joking aside, it’s one of the best phone cameras I’ve ever used. The Portrait feature, which lets you blur the background and highlight the subject in foreground, yields some fantastic results. And the videos I took while driving were very clear and stable, with crisp sound.

What else enthused me? Well, for starters the 8GB RAM the phone is equipped with means it’s really fast, even with a number of apps open simultaneously. The fingerprint reader is much quicker than my current OnePlus 3 too.

Battery life is good and lasted me almost a day with quite a bit of usage with auto brightness on. If I’m being really picky, my sole reservation is that sometimes Wi-Fi didn’t connect automatically. But I’m willing to concede that’s likely got a lot to do with the poor quality of public Wi-Fi.

As a long term OnePlus user, I feel qualified to say that the OnePlus 5 is the best phone from the OnePlus stable. If you're looking for a quality phone with a great camera, an excellent set of features and plenty of power, look no further.

Catherine Hiley

Catherine

Lover of loud music. Lifelong Saints FC fan. Disney Princess.

I was a bit nervous about testing a new phone over a festival weekend. Would it last the pace?

Although my regular Samsung Galaxy S7 can’t survive a whole day of heavy use on one charge, I always keep an emergency battery pack in my handbag so I can boost my phone whenever it gets low.

So, heading out to an all-day event with a new phone was unchartedred territory. Surprisingly though, the OnePlus 5 survived a whole day of messaging my friends, checking train times and taking snaps without the dreaded battery warning coming on.

And the photos themselves were really good. The portrait mode was flattering even after a long hot day in a field (which, let’s be honest, is no mean feat) and the videos I took of the show were actually worth posting on YouTube.

After the gig, I used the GPS and the torch to find my way back to the tube station and then I still had enough juice left to play a couple of rounds of Disney Emoji Blitz on the way home. And the battery still wouldn’t die.

Then on the Sunday, I tried out a few of the modes included on OxygenOS. I really liked using the e-reader mode and the Gaming Do Not Disturb mode was the perfect way to use my phone and ignore my family at the same time.

So the big question: would I swap my S7 for a OnePlus 5? Well, despite being a die-hard Samsung fan, I was actually really impressed with the OnePlus.

I could definitely get used to having a battery that survives a whole day without the use of an external battery pack. And I really wish I looked as good as the Portrait Mode would have you believe.

If OnePlus were to release a pink model, I would be very tempted to switch.

Ru Bhikha

Ru-OnePlus-5

Original pirate material. You’re listening to the streets. Lock down your aerial

Before I begin to tell you about my experience with the OnePlus 5, it’s important to note what my previous two phones have been and why I’m so excited to test this one out.

I’m currently using the Galaxy S8 Plus, which I rate as the best smartphone on the market. It’s not cheap. But it’s nothing short of brilliant on the design front, which means the OnePlus 5 will have to go some to impress me.

Before that, I used the OnePlus 3T, which I still recommend to people to this day. The amount of smartphone you got for your buck was phenomenal. So the OnePlus 5 has a lot to live up to.

As soon I took it out of the box, I smiled. The fingerprint scanner is exactly where it should be. Not only that, it’s very, very fast and extremely responsive. I can’t stand where Samsung have put theirs, so much so I’ve completely turned off the feature. 1-0 OnePlus.

Now that I’m a new dad, it’s customary that I document everything that my son does. And after two days, I must say I’m very impressed with the OnePlus 5’s camera.

The no-nonsense software is simple for anyone to pick up and picture quality is superb. Little extras, such as portrait mode, really put the fun back into snapping and give you that “bokeh” effect without professional know-how.

The OnePlus 5 is lovely to look at and hold. Yes, it looks a bit like an iPhone, but there’s nothing wrong with that. I’m using the slate grey version (which actually looks a bit blue) and it feels every inch a premium device.

I’m glad OnePlus retained the physical button for alerts. I didn’t realise how much I loved it being there before I moved over to Samsung. But like Joni Mitchell said, you don’t know what you got ‘til it’s gone.

Like the 3T, the OnePlus 5 is dual SIM. Handy if you find yourself in patchy coverage areas and need to toggle between networks.

I love the vertical Scrolling widget page that lets me add unlimited widgets on one page without worrying about reorganising to save space. This not only enables you to get a quicker snapshot of your day-to-day business. It helps keep your phone’s screens tidy, too.

The battery easily got me through the day. I didn’t even need to use the Dash Charge fast-charge mode, but it’s nice knowing it’s there if required.

Overall, I think the OnePlus is an excellent phone. It’s pricier than previous OnePlus handsets, but still £330 cheaper than the S8 Plus which is a big saving! I’d recommend it to anyone.

Jonathan Leggett

IMG 20170305 223639 Bokeh

Vinegary churl. Poptimist. Likes girls' music.

Previous OnePlus phones were a real breath of fresh air in a world where every other handset seems to be an iPhone or a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. But three years and five OnePlus phones later, has the novelty worn off?

Not for me. Sure with its matte finish, curved back and clean design, the OnePlus 5 doesn’t look too different to previous models and sticks fairly closely to its user-friendly template of the warmly received OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T.

But it’s all change under the bonnet, with every facet of the handset, from its camera to its battery life, undergoing a massive and very welcome improvement.

Nowhere is that more evident than the camera, which has been upgraded to a dual lens model. This one-two combo, paired with a special Portrait Mode, allows you to take shots with a palpable sense of depth.

I’m no photographer. Truth be told, my snaps usually attract derision around the office. But not this time. I was amazed at how images I took with the OnePlus 5 were packed with detail and richly colourful. I even got some grudging praise from my peers.

Battery life is excellent too. I was able to get a day and a half’s use on a single, full charge. That’s thanks to OnePlus opting for what you’ll trust me is a huge 3,000 mAh battery. The Dash Charge fast charge mode works well too.

After hammering the phone one Saturday, I was fully out of juice. But after affixing the Dash Charge charger and special thick cable I was up to just shy of 60% in half an hour and was ready to be on my way again.

As a keen reader, I really liked the Reading Mode that replicates the ‘real paper and text’ feel of a trad-dad book. That meant I was able to leave the e-reader at home and travel light for once. Better still was that when I activated the mode on websites, I was a lot less distracted by shiny, bright ads and images that go all out to vie for my attention.

I really like the OnePlus 5. Granted, at 1p short of £450 it’s a little pricier than earlier OnePlus phones that helped the company make such a splash in such a short time. But it’s also a much, much better phone. If you’re done with Apple and Samsung and in the mood to try something different, it’s well worth the extra outlay.

Find out more and buy the OnePlus 5 here.

Category: Reviews
Tagged: oneplus, oneplus 5
back to top