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OnePlus 5 review

We get to grips with 2017's 'flagship killer'.

Pros

  • Stunning design
  • Superb dual lens camera
  • 3.5mm headphone slot

Cons

  • Great looks, but quite similar to an iPhone
  • We'd love for it to have been water-resistant

First Impressions

OnePlus 5 in-hand shot

Pull the OnePlus 5 from the box and you’ll be immediately wowed. This is a svelte, tidy device that puts design front and centre.

The metal frame feels durable, the curved back making it feel secure in the hand.

The large 5.5–inch screen pops with colour and looks every bit as sharp as that found on rival devices.

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Design

  • Fantastic looking handset
  • Feels expensive and well constructed
  • Matte finish means it won't be a fingerprint magnet

OnePlus 5 back of phone hero size

The OnePlus 5’s design is sharp, clean and as good as anything we’ve seen this year from the likes of Samsung, HTC and LG.

We tested the midnight black version, which looks the part, even if it seems somewhat similar to the jet black iPhone 7 Plus.

That similarity aside, what makes the OnePlus 5 stand out is its ease of use.

The large fingerprint scanner at the bottom of the phone is a welcome antidote to the Samsung Galaxy S8’s clunky, rear–mounted effort and makes opening and unlocking the phone a speedier, more pleasant experience by comparison.

The matte finish doesn’t attract fingerprints, which is always welcome considering how long we keep phones in our hands these days.

Meanwhile, the inclusion of a 3.5mm headphone slot is very much appreciated. Apple’s decision to ditch the age–old tech from the iPhone still reverberates and OnePlus has read the mood perfectly by keeping that vital jack in place.

Build Metal and glass
Weight 153g
Dimensions 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.3mm

Screen

  • Really clear in bright light
  • Very much the equal of the S8 and iPhone 8
  • Impressively large 5.5" screen in slim, light phone

OnePlus 5 standing next to box hero

With full HD, 1920 x 1080 pixels, the OnePlus 5’s screen doesn’t stack up against the eyeball popping 2K efforts found on rival Android devices. At least on paper.

But for everyday use, only the most hard-core of smartphone users will notice the difference.

With 401 pixels per inch (ppi), the OnePlus 5 performs excellently in bright light, with stunning colour reproduction that looks every bit as good as Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Apple’s iPhone 7.

Like counting megapixels, screen resolution numbers can be misleading.

OnePlus’ less is more approach makes no odds for everyday users and looks great whether you’re reading web pages or watching clips on HD YouTube or Netflix.

Size 5.5 inches
Resolution 1,920x1,080 pixels

Camera

  • Might just be the best smartphone camera around
  • Zoom is excellent and takes great depth-of-field shots
  • Selfie camera excels too

OnePlus 5 camera in-action stage hero size

The dual lens camera is where the OnePlus 5 truly stands out. It features one 16-megapixel lens and another, 20-megapixel telephoto effort, which work in conjunction to produce images that are every bit as good as those taken with Google’s Pixel and Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus.

The zoom functionality is of particular note, allowing for quick, 2x zooms by simply tapping and up to 8x zooms by using the on–screen slider.

The optical zoom tech, in conjunction with OnePlus’s camera software, delivers shots full of detail and without the nasty graininess often found when trying to get tight on a subject when shooting with a smartphone.

The excellent Pro Mode allows for a level of control that matches standalone compact cameras, while the front–facing 16-megapixel camera takes selfies that are terrifyingly accurate, to the point of being unforgiving.

A special mode for smoothing out lines and wrinkles is most welcome, at least for this older user.

Camera 16MP and 20MP dual-lens rear-facing, 16-megapixel front-facing
Optical image stabilisation Yes
Unique features SmartCapture makes it easy to take professional-looking shots

Performance and battery life

  • Very speedy and smooth to use
  • Exclusive OxygenOS brings some unique and handy features
  • Battery lasts all day and fast-charge is best-in-class

OnePlus 5 Dash Charge

The OnePlus 5 model we tested had a hefty 8GB of RAM, with 128GB of storage for stashing games, videos, music and as many apps as you could ever possibly need.

The RAM, coupled with the top–end Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, meant that the OnePlus 5 ripped through tasks, from web browsing to searching email, without a second’s hesitation. It’s one of the brawniest smartphones we’ve used this year.

With Android 7.1 on board, OnePlus has ensured its flagship is also up there with the very best Google–backed handsets.

Pleasingly, its Oxygen OS does not hamper things like other custom skins, instead adding some nifty extras into the mix.

There’s the ability to set up custom gestures to wake the phone, control music and take screen shots, while the alert slider is a handy addition when it comes to notifications.

With a massive 3,300-mAh battery, the OnePlus 5 outstrips rivals. It’s actually smaller than the one found on last year’s OnePlus 3T, but OnePlus says it can last 20% longer thanks to software adjustments.

This was borne out in real world testing, where one day of solid use saw the battery drop from full to 50%. This is certainly a welcome change from a world of endless battery drain and clunky covers that give extra juice.

The Dash Charge function also delivers a full charge in just one hour, something competing devices simply can’t manage.

RAM 8GB
Battery capacity 3,300mAh
OS and version Android 7.1 Nougat with OxygenOS

Value for money

OnePlus 5 on bench hero image

Although pricier than older OnePlus models, the OnePlus 5 remains great value. This is every inch a flagship and when considered in that light, a 6GB RAM/64GB storage version for £449 and a 8GB RAM/128GB model for £499 are prices that are easy to love.

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 starts at £689, with the iPhone 7 Plus and Google Pixel XL both available from £719.

Verdict

  • Stunning camera
  • Great design
  • Good value for money
  • Excellent battery life
  • Clever software customisations
  • Bright screen

OnePlus 5 hero leaning against tree

OnePlus has done it again. This is a killer flagship phone, taking the fight to bigger name rivals with features that many simply can’t match.

Easy to use and easy to love, the OnePlus 5 deserves to be a huge hit.

Find out more and buy the OnePlus 5 here.

Category: Reviews
Tagged: oneplus, oneplus 5

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