OnePlus 5: Incremental, Brilliant on its Own, But Hardly Innovative

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The OnePlus 5 is supposedly a brilliant android phone in every usable aspect. It has got a nice 5.5-inch AMOLED screen with full HD resolution and powered by what is currently the fastest Snapdragon processor, 835, with either 6 GB or 8 GB of RAM depending on its storage capacity. It has also got a 16MP dual rear camera which is a first for a OnePlus device. The phone has been reviewed by various international websites and one thing is common in all of them, that the 5 is a remarkably fast smartphone that runs on Android Nougat 7.1.1. And it better be with that humongous 8 GB of RAM!

The company, once again, has shown that it can produce a speedster of a phone at a decent price. Considering its history, this is usually true and especially the OnePlus 3T has been quite appropriately called “the flagship killer”. Its price and performance factor is so impressive that it’s nothing less than a revolution in the mobile industry. No other company, quite literally, has ever churned out a smartphone with such impressive numbers and made it so affordable.

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However, as impressive as it is, the latest device must be seen in direct comparison to certain other flagships that were made available quite recently (most notably the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+) and even a year earlier (iPhone 7 Plus). After all, you can’t be the best unless you’ve beaten your competitor fair and square in most departments (if not all). And this time, the competition is a bit too strong. At least one of them has come out with all guns blazing!

OnePlus 5
OnePlus 5, one of the most affordable flagship?


Incremental, Rather Than Significant

Let us first put the 5 against its predecessors, the 3 and more specifically 3T. The 5 is using the same 5.5-inch display, in fact, the 3T is said to be slightly brighter in general. This screen has been the same since OnePlus 3 all the way to the 5 (with some minor improvements for color accuracy).

When it comes to the design the phone leaves a bit too much to desire. We believe that OnePlus has let go of a great opportunity here. From the front, it looks similar to the 3T (which may not be a bad thing), but from the back it reminds us of the iPhone 7 Plus due to the arrangement of its dual camera (and the antenna strips) and especially the Oppo R11/R11 Plus. Other than missing the originality, the makers of 5 could have gone for a screen dominant display for a fresher look.

Galaxy S8
Samsung Galaxy S8/S8+ look radical with a screen dominant display


The Samsung Galaxy S8 (and the S8+) is a perfect example of that; even purely by its design, it appears as an all-new phone. Its HDR 10 compliant screen with infinity display is considered to be the best right now. And though such a high resolution may not be everyone’s priority, nobody would say no about having it. But here’s the advantage, the combination of a 1080p screen with 8 GB of RAM means that the 5 is faster than the S8 duo in several performance tests. It is especially noticeable in regular tasks and while graphic heavy games. Thank pure Android as well for that.

The dual camera, although a first for OnePlus, is a bit too much of a copy of the one on iPhone 7 Plus, right from its design and arrangement, and how it goes about the pictures. Sure, it is 16MP, 4MP more than the Apple, but the images it produces aren’t really better. They are either as good or even a bit inferior (the portrait mode) in quality. But it does give you manual controls which the iPhone doesn’t.

OnePlus 5
Arrangement of the dual camera along with the antenna strips mark a remarkable resemblance to the iPhone 7 Plus design


One thing where the 5 loses against both the iPhone and the Galaxy is in water and dust-proofing. While the iPhone 7/7 Plus come with IP67 certification, the Galaxy S8 duo get the even better IP68 stamp. OnePlus 5 has none. This is, quite honestly, unexpected.

Upping the Game

Make no mistake, the OnePlus 5 is going to be one of the best android phones around as the sales commence. Regardless of its shortcomings, people are going to buy it and the proof is that it has become the fastest selling OnePlus device (in an “early sale” organized by the company). It has now been launched in India as well with an impressive price tag of INR 37,990 for the 8 GB RAM/128 GB storage model and INR 32,990 for the 6GB/64GB model. Not bad even if it is the most expensive OnePlus device.

OnePlus 5
The fastest OnePlus device by far, although, lacking originality in design


But here’s the thing, there are people who want the best of everything. Galaxy S8 may not “feel” as fast but it is fast, is fantastic to look at, has a better screen, camera and is IP68 certified. And as for iPhone, Apple is prepping up for its 10th anniversary iPhone and expectations are rightfully higher than ever.

OnePlus 5, overall, could be revolutionary neither for the company itself nor for the industry. It is a very good phone at a good price, but that is it. The game has moved on and now, possibly for the first time, OnePlus will have to play catch-up with its next phone.

Feature image credit: The Verge

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