After all the waiting, all the speculation, all the hoping, the wait for the OnePlus 5 is nearly over.
In less than two hours' time we'll get to see exactly what OnePlus' new flagship smartphone will look like. And to describe us as excited would be an understatement akin to saying that Theresa May's not had a good couple of weeks.
The OnePlus 5 launch event will begin at 1700 BST today (June 20), and you can follow it all with us below. And to entertain you until it starts, why not scroll down below that, where you can read our wish-list for the new handset.
Follow the OnePlus 5 launch here with us
What the OnePlus 5 needs to do to retain the smartphone value top spot
Since the launch of the OnePlus One back in 2014, Chinese startup OnePlus has been the go-to brand for thrifty smartphone shoppers seeking more bang for their buck.
Marketed under the banner “Never Settle”, all of OnePlus’ handsets to date have offered specs, performance and build quality that goes above and beyond what we’ve come to expect from a mid-priced device.
And now, with a brand new OnePlus phone poised for its grand unveiling, we’re asking: what does the OnePlus 5 need to be to make it as much of a value-for-money hit as its predecessors the One, Two, 3 and 3T?
1) Keep the price right
When we talk about value, the actual price tag is perhaps the most important factor. One of the reasons previous OnePlus models have grabbed attention is the gulf in price that exists between them and other flagship phones, and OnePlus needs to maintain at least some measure of distance between the 5’s RRP and those of the phones with which it’ll be competing for attention – like the Apple iPhone 7 (from £599), Samsung Galaxy S8 (from £689), HTC U11 (from £649) and LG G6 (from £649.99).
Thing is, the OnePlus 5 looks likely to be a bit better-equipped than previous OnePlus models. With talk of a dual rear camera and Snapdragon 835 SoC on board, we suspect we’re not looking at a £350-£400 device here, but more like a £400-£500 one.
That’s hardly peanuts, but if OnePlus can keep it around the £450 mark while offering flagship-level performance, it’ll still be able to claim it’s the natural choice for bargain hunters.
2) Step up camera quality
There’s nothing wrong with the rear or front cameras on the OnePlus 3T – they do a decent enough job.
But with almost all rivals’ snappers offering something really special – whether it be the crisp low-light snaps of the iPhone 7, the wide-angle shots of the LG G6 or the 960fps super slo-mo of the Sony Xperia XZ Premium – it’d be nice if OnePlus could take a step forward on the photography front.
It does seem like that might be the case: not only has OnePlus drafted in image processing experts DxO to help out with the 5’s camera, but rumours abound there’ll also be some kind of dual-lens setup for the rear shooter – potentially with some kind of augmented or mixed reality system included. Colour us interested.
3) Squeeze in a sharper screen
1080p displays were acceptable for a flagship in 2015, but today smartphone shoppers could be forgiven for expecting something a bit sharper. With the 5, OnePlus really needs to be looking to up its pixel game with a Quad HD/2K display.
Good news here, then: we’re hearing it’ll have a 5.5in 2560 x 1440 screen, which would put it on a similar footing to most of its rivals.
4) Keep the standard headphone jack
3.5mm forever! Well, maybe someday we’ll hear a convincing argument as to why a phone shouldn’t have a standard headphone socket, but for now we’d really like to be able to plug our cans directly into the OnePlus 5, and preferably without having to dig out some kind of adapter that renders the charging port unusable.
We don’t foresee any issues here, though: back in October 2016, CEO Carl Pei ran a Twitter poll asking whether users like headphone jacks. The answer from the public was a resounding yes. So unless Pei ran that poll with the intention of ignoring its results, we think the 3.5mm port is safe.
5) Waterproof the body
Not every flagship is water- and dust-proof, but a lot of the phones that OnePlus 5 will be going up against (Apple iPhone 7, Sony Xperia XZ, Samsung Galaxy S8, LG G6, HTC U11) are – so it’d be a huge tick in the “good value” column if OnePlus could get it up to IP67 or IP68 standards. It’s probably not a deal-breaker, though.
6) Don’t fluff the launch
OnePlus’ previous phones have not always been the easiest to buy: limited pre-order campaigns and invite-only purchases aren’t customer-friendly, and serve only to frustrate the very people who are ready, willing and able to spend their hard-earned money on your product.
Hopefully OnePlus can ensure sufficient stock levels of the 5 at launch, in order that everybody who wants one can get their hands on it quickly and easily.