8 things you need to know about the OnePlus 5

It's the most premium OnePlus phone yet - and it looks like being a winner

How do you follow up an absolute smartphone smash such as the OnePlus 3? By improving it in almost every way while still keeping the price low, low, low.

In truth the OnePlus 5 isn't quite the incredible bargain last year's phone was, but it's still far, far cheaper than any other flagship. And what do you get for your extra cash? Well, two cameras for starters...

 

1) It has two cameras

The rumour mill had this one pegged months ago: the OnePlus 5 has dual cameras round the back. That means it joins an increasingly crowded group that includes the LG G6, Huawei P10 and iPhone 7 Plus, and like the last of those phones it pairs one standard camera with one telephoto affair.

Here's how it works: the main camera has a 16MP sensor and light-gathering f/1.7 aperture, while the secondary camera is a 20MP snapper with an f/2.6 aperture. In use, the two team up to let you zoom up to 2x optically, as well as giving your pics loads of lovely bokeh - that's aesthetically blurred backgrounds, to the non-camera buffs among you.

The combination also gives you much sharper photos, according to OnePlus, and having tested it comprehensively in our review we're inclined to agree, so long as the lighting is good; in dim conditions we found it struggled a little.

Still, this is in all regards a seriously impressive photo setup, and a real step up from the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T. There's also a 16MP camera on the front, video at up to 4K @30fps, and an array of pro options in the camera app including histograms and a digital horizon so you can line up your shots properly.

2) It has a beautiful new look

This is the most premium looking OnePlus phone yet, with an aluminium body which curves round the sides and back and plenty of nice little touches such as the colour-matched antenna lines. 

That said, it's not quite in the Samsung Galaxy S8 league, and the fact that the dual camera module protrudes slightly out from the back also slightly spoils the clean lines. But it's impressively slim - just 7.25mm, in fact - and will look every bit at home among the other big smartphone flagships this year.

It's not waterproof, unlike some rivals, but on the other hand it does still have a headphone socket. You win some, you lose some, eh?

In terms of colours, it's available in Midnight Black and Slate Grey varities - not the most exciting, maybe, but at least you won't need to worry about whether it clashes with your outfit.

3) It's super powerful

OnePlus phones are always kitted out with beefy innards, and the OnePlus 5 is no exception. It runs on the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor - that's the fellow you'll find inside the HTC U11, Sony Xperia XZ Premium and some versions of the Samsung Galaxy S8, and it's about as powerful as they come. 

That chip is paired with 6GB of RAM, although you can level up to an 8GB version if you somehow feel that 6GB isn't enough (it is). Storage also comes in two flavours: 64GB or 128GB, although there's no option to add any more via microSD. On the plus side, though, it's super-fast UFS2.1 storage, which for the uninitiated gives you faster downloading speeds and also boosts game-loading times. 

We'll also mention the OnePlus 5's wonderful fingerprint sensor here; it's ceramic and is probably the fastest, most responsive we've ever used.

4) It'll last for hours

On the battery side of things, the OnePlus 5 has a 3300mAh cell, which is actually slightly smaller than the 3410mAh one inside the OnePlus 3T. However the Snapdragon 835 is a pretty frugal power-sipper, and in our testing we easily got more than a day's use out of it.

As is generally the case these days it's also equipped with a handy fast-charging option, which OnePlus calls Dash Charge. This will give you almost a full charge in about 30 minutes, and unlike most it won't slow down if you keep playing games or browsing while you're charging. Nice.

5) It runs vanilla Android with sprinkles

OnePlus phones have always been among our favourites when it comes to their light touch with Android. No stacks of bloatware pre-installed, no stupid UI changes just for the sake of it. That's particularly true of the OnePlus 5, which has probably the nicest version of Android 7 we've seen outside of the Google Pixel phones.

Sure, it's still overlaid with OnePlus' OxygenOS, but the changes are minor and almost entirely for the better - for instance the handy Shelf option which holds app shortcuts, and which we already can't imagine being without.

6) Its screen hasn't had an upgrade

So what's the catch, you're thinking? Where's the compromise here? Well, if there is one it's with the OnePlus 5's display, which is effectively the same 5.5in, 1080p AMOLED screen we saw on the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T.

How much of a problem that is probably depends on how much you care about 4K video, but many people will be perfectly happy with full HD, and it will definitely help out with battery life. Besides, the display is still a great one, with punchy colours and excellent viewing angles.

Sound is good, too - there's only one speaker, but it goes plenty loud enough to handle podcasts and the odd Netflix binge.

7) It's more expensive... but still super cheap!

The OnePlus 5 was never going to match the OnePlus 3's dirt-cheap price tag. And not given the further moves here towards proper flagship status such as dual cameras and improved design.

So how much does it cost? Well, you will have to shell out ₹32,999 for the 64GB and 6GB RAM base model which we think is a good choice. But if you need that extra storage and future-proofing, you might like to pay the ₹5,000 extra and get the 128GB version which comes with a whopping 8GBs of RAM. 

8) PayTm integration

With the increased utilisation of financial transactions online, OnePlus will integrate PayTm to allow seamless and safe transactions by using just your thumb print. We are yet to receive details on the roll out of this update and if the feature is exclusive to the OnePlus 5 or for all OnePlus devices.