OnePlus 5 Review: The Fastest Android Phone You Can Buy?

Now, most of you (67% of 4,600 of you to be exact) actually told me to skip doing the OnePlus 5 review since there’s just been so many already (and I only just got mine).

OnePlus 5 Poll

And what’s the point of me doing these polls if I don’t listen to you guys, right? So I skipped the OnePlus Review video and looking at the comments you guys left on the poll seems you wanted me to do comparisons instead so, I did one (and compared EVERYTHING you mentioned in one video). Check that out if you’re interested.

As for those that wanted the review, I figured I’d still do one just in written form here so as not to annoy those that didn’t want the video. Here’s my quick take on the OnePlus 5.

OnePlus 5 Review

OnePlus is back at this year with a new “flagship killer”. And while this is the 4th year OnePlus has launched a phone–and technically this is the 6th phone they’ve released–they’ve called it the OnePlus 5 (after all 4 is unlucky in Chinese).

Normally known for packing tons of features that are normally reserved for the flagship devices from other manufacturers (see: uber expensive models), OnePlus has always been able to deliver them in a much more budget friendly price range. The big gripe thing this time around is the fact that they’ve put less of those sought after features in this new model while also managing to launch their most expensive device to date. Is the underdog selling out? Let’s discuss.

Styling

First up, EVERYONE is quick to call this an iPhone 7 Plus clone and, well, it’s not without some warrant. They do look pretty similar from behind. But, I think OnePlus also has a lot of their own styling that should be appreciated in here, too.

OnePlus 5 vs iPhone 7 Plus

From the super slimmed and curved edges and the matted backing to the ultra-bright and wonderful AMOLED screen, to the fact it feels so light and thin in the hand, it is the most premium feeling device OnePlus has ever made. For sure.

The housing is made out of an anodized aluminium and coming in black and slightly-less-black (they call them Midnight Black and Slate Grey, but seriously, they’re real similar) depending on the specs you choose–more on that later. Either option looks good, just bear in mind because of the way they’re made the backing is a bit slippery.

Something else that is clearly missing (or more accurately isn’t missing) are the bezels. The device, while having super thin side bezels, has a much more traditional smartphone look. It’s funny, because if it weren’t for a few select popular devices having come out with such thin (and in some cases entirely missing) bezels, this wouldn’t have even been something to bring up. But, since they do exists, it just has made any devices that don’t have that styling, look a bit out-dated.

OnePlus 5 vs G6 vs GS8 Plus

And, frankly, that’s not OnePlus’ fault, really. The company just isn’t large enough to have the resources that those others do and therefore couldn’t afford to do something like that with the design of the OnePlus.

Another thing missing that other flagships have this year? Waterproofing. Again it comes down to resources and OnePlus just couldn’t make that happen.

Screen

So some people aren’t happy that the OnePlus comes with a 5.5″ 1080P screen instead of the more flagship-esque 2.5K resolution ones that most others have, but frankly it doesn’t bother me at all. The truth is putting it up to another device with a 2.5K screen, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference (unless you’re watching a lot of things at a much higher resolution but most things are 1080P).

OnePlus 5 Screen

The thing that makes a much bigger difference in the perceived quality to me is the brightness and contrast you get with the screen and, thanks to the AMOLED screen, the OnePlus has plenty.

Audio

I’m not a big audiophile really, but I do appreciate a speaker on a phone that can get loud without distorting the sound. My own personal test is if I can hear a song clearly while it’s playing on the bathroom counter while I’m in the shower, which, the OnePlus 5 was able to do.

OnePlus 5 Headphones

Beyond the loudspeaker, plugging in headphones (the way I usually listen to music) sounded great and was crisp and loud enough for me when wandering the streets of NYC. There’s no DAC so don’t expect crazy quality to be coming out, but it’s good.

Camera

OnePlus went with a very similar setup to the iPhone 7 Plus: one telephoto lens and one standard one. This means, that just like the iPhone 7 Plus, it has a 1x shooting mode and a 2x telephoto option for getting a bit closer to subjects and also has the same Portrait mode, blurred background effect.

Close Up of OnePlus 5 Cameras

Here’s some samples of the camera for your inspection. All of them are unedited, the the doubles are the portrait mode, and the goofy ones of my face are the front camera. (For a full comparison of shots, check out the aforementioned Comparison Video here).

All in all it’s a good camera. Is it quite as good as the iPhone 7 Plus or the Galaxy S8 or Pixel? No, most other phones though, it has them beat.

Something I would have liked to see that is missing, however, is optical stabilization. Instead we have electronic stabilization which helps, but just can’t ever really compete with the analog version.

Performance

This is sort of where the OnePlus 5 shines. Thanks to its top of the line Snapdragon 835 processor and 6 or 8GBs of RAM (6 is a lot and 8 is just nuts), the device handles any app, game or task you can throw at it and just feels super smooth.

Now, the other big contributing factor to this is the fact that Oxygen OS (the skin OnePlus puts on all of their devices since the OnePlus 2) is basically stock Android. Less bloat, less UI changes, and just less of everything else most manufacturers put on their Android phones means less the processor and RAM have to constantly deal with and that makes a world of a difference (think the Pixel, a pure Android device, vs other devices with similar specs–it’s a noticeable thing).

Another thing that I consider performance-based because we do it so often, is the fingerprint scanner. And the OnePlus’ fingerprint scanner is the fastest I’ve ever used. Period. You can literally tap your finger on the home button/fingerprint scanner combo on the bottom of the front of the device and it’s unlocked. Boom.

Battery Life

OnePlus Battery

Battery life is decent. Not amazing, but decent. As always, I am not your average user and am on my phone a lot. So no phone ever lasts me an entire day without needing to plug it in at some point and the OnePlus is no different.

According to that comparison video and the very unscientific battery test I did, it seems to beat the iPhone 7 Plus and G6 and dies just before the S8 Plus (which all makes sense considering the battery capacities in each of those devices would be in that order just about).

In addition to the battery capacity, it also has the newest version of their Dash quick charging system which allows the phone to charge from 0 to

Pricing

OnePlus 5 Pricing

The device comes in two versions a 6GBs of RAM/64GBs of internal storage Slate Grey model and an 8GBs of RAM/128GBs of internal storage Midnight Black version.

The 6/64GB version is $479 and the 8/128GB version is $539.

Conclusion

Now, if this phone were the same price as the 3T for the top model ($439), I’d say it’s a no-brainer at that price, but the issue is that it starts at $479 for the lowest tiered model and is $539 for the higher end model, much higher than OnePlus has ever charged before.

While even at that higher-tiered price though, it’s a good $210 cheaper than an S8 unlocked, but it doesn’t quite match the specs. The whole flagship killer concept, at least if we’re just looking at specs, is harder to agree with this time around.

But, with that said, $200 is $200 and the thing this phone creams the other phones I’ve been mentioning in is performance (which is a big deal to me). As mentioned, stock Android mixed with that processor and RAM is a recipe for a super smooth experience using the phone.

So if you’re looking for a phone that is probably the fastest Android device on the market right now (yes, it beats the Pixel even), and get a good camera, great screen, battery life, fastest fingerprint sensor available, and save $200 in the process? It’s a great choice.

Let me know what you guys think of this review, of the OnePlus 5, me skipping the video thanks to the poll, and whatever else in the comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe to the weekly newsletter as well and, as always, thanks for reading!

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