OnePlus 5 – Flagship vs Flagships

One, two, three, three T, five. OnePlus has a strange way of counting, because four is an unlucky number in China. What is not unusual is that the OnePlus 5 once again puts the competition on edge with top specifications, dual camera and a competitive price.

OnePlus 5

Price € 499,- / € 559,-

Colour Gray / Black

OS Android 7.1

Screen 5.5 inch amoled (1920x1080)

Processor 2.45GHz octa-core (Qualcomm Snapdragon 835)


Storage 64GB / 128GB

Battery 3,300mAh

Camera 16 and 20 megapixel dualcam (rear), 16 megapixel (front)

Connectivity 4G (LTE), Bluetooth 4.1, Wi-Fi, GPS

Format 15.4 x 7.4 x 0.7 cm

Weight 153 grams

Other Fingerprint scanner, usb-c, dualsim

Website // 8 Score 80

  • Pros
  • Oxygen OS
  • Screen
  • Fast
  • Build quality
  • Dash charge
  • Negatives
  • No memory card slot
  • Not waterproof
  • Battery life

Because OnePlus, unlike Samsung and Apple, among others, always offers a top smartphone for a competitive price, they invariably call their devices 'flagship killers'. But the price of OnePlus' smartphone has increased from about 300 euros at the time of the first device to 500 euros (560 for the more luxurious variant). As a result, I was a bit disappointed during the presentation. Can you still call such a device a flagship fighter if you lift your device into the highest price range? Anyway, the OnePlus 5 is going head-to-head with flagships from Samsung, Apple, Sony, LG, HTC and Huawei more than before.

In terms of specifications, that is a must: the Snapdragon 835 processor is one of the most powerful smartphone processors of the moment. There are two versions, one with 64GB of storage space and six gigabytes of RAM and a variant that costs sixty euros more that has 128GB and eight gigabytes (!) of RAM on board. The amount of RAM is a bit exaggerated. I myself have never come up short with four gigabytes, even if I put a smartphone to the test. The amount of working and storage memory is in any case pleasant for those who use a lot of apps. However, the amount of storage memory cannot be expanded with a memory card, but an extra SIM card can be placed. That's a bit crazy, many smartphones offer space for a memory card or a second SIM card.

Having many apps open also means that you use more energy. That's where the shoe pinches a bit.


But having a lot of apps open also means that you use more energy. That is where the shoe pinches a bit, because the 3,300 mAh battery does not really give you the best battery life. I sometimes have trouble getting through the day, especially when I have my VPN on and connected to a sports bracelet via bluetooth. That is a bit different from the Zenfone Zoom S from Asus, which has about the same price tag. With the exception of the battery life, however, this smartphone loses on all fronts to the OnePlus 5.

Fortunately, OnePlus manages to mitigate the suffering reasonably with Dash Charge: a special charger that charges the device at lightning speed via its USB-C port. However, you must carry a dedicated Dash Charge charger with you. Incidentally, the smartphone also charges via all other USB-C chargers, but less quickly.

light metal

The build quality also gives the device the look that the other top devices such as the Huawei P10 and iPhone 7 Plus have, which also have a metal finish. In the images that OnePlus used during the announcement, the OnePlus looked very much like the iPhone 7 Plus, but just with a headphone jack. Fortunately, when I got my hands on the device for the first time, this impression diminished a bit. The device has a round finish at the back and despite the same screen size of 5.5 inches (14 cm), the device is a lot more compact due to its thinner screen edges.

The metal back ensures that the device is not such a huge fingerprint magnet, but also feels very light, sturdy and high-quality. There is a dual camera on the back, while the fingerprint scanner is attached to the front. This scanner is also the home button, but it is a bit awkward that it cannot be pressed.

On the top left side is a slider to switch the sound profile on, off or do not disturb. Although the button was already on the OnePlus 3, it is also a bit copied from the iPhone. Moreover, I personally did not find it really an enrichment for the device because the slider in my pocket sometimes jumped.


Like its predecessors, the device has a 5.5-inch (14 cm) full HD screen. With the somewhat disappointing battery life in mind, this resolution was the right choice and if you don't use your smartphone for VR, the difference is barely noticeable. The screen is large, but the size of the OnePlus 5 is within limits due to thin screen edges and thin construction. The placement of the fingerprint scanner under the screen makes the device a bit more elongated, but the scanner in this place simply works the most naturally.

The screen quality is also something to write home about. The color rendering is especially wonderful. Especially if you have shot colorful photos in good lighting conditions (I'll tell you about the camera in a moment), then the colors come across as very natural. That is different from, for example, the Samsung Galaxy S8, which tends to exaggerate colors. Because it is an amoled screen, black is really deep black, so that there is hardly any transition between the black device itself and the screen. Impressive.

When I was in bright sunlight, the OnePlus 5 had some trouble lighting the screen enough to be able to read everything properly.


The camera is impressive on paper alone. Not only is there a dual camera on the back, 16 and 20 megapixels, an aperture of f/1.7 (and f/2.6) and pixel sizes of 1.12 and 1 µm are to brag with. Two good lenses is nice on paper, but it is still quite difficult to make these work well together in software. Huawei, in collaboration with Leica, puts a lot of money and research into the operation of the dualcam. Apple got it wrong, so a portrait mode that blurs the background didn't appear until months later via an update, and the Zenfone I tested recently choked occasionally, leaving parts out of place, like someone moving in a panorama.

The dual camera of the OnePlus 5 is well adjusted and shoots beautiful photos, with a lot of color and detail visible. Just like with the iPhone 7 Plus, the cameras are used to enable a kind of optical zoom, by using a wide-angle lens and a smaller lens. The zoom button switches displays. Still, the OnePlus 5 is not a flagship killer in terms of camera. When the camera has to do its job in darker environments or outside in cloudy conditions, there is too much noise and blur.

The two lenses are quite different when you consider the number of megapixels, aperture and pixel size. Yet there are few noticeable differences when I use the wide angle and the zoom lens. It therefore seems that OnePlus has managed to make the two lenses work optimally together. But despite that, they still have to recognize their superiority in the flagships of HTC, Samsung, Apple, et cetera.

Breathtakingly good

What made the OnePlus 5 one of the most enjoyable smartphones for me to test, however, was the way OnePlus handles Android 7.1. In other words, hardly ever takes care of it. The Android skin Oxygen OS has no superfluous bloatware and no major changes in Android, in fact, you have more options to set up everything to your own taste. Android is fully blossoming. The overview screen that appears when you swipe the home screen to the right (where other manufacturers place Google Now, Bixby and the like) is a clear list that you can scroll vertically and also put widgets in. Useful!

Normally, when testing smartphones, I tend to install Nova Launcher to give the device a bit of the Android feel. The OnePlus 5 is an exception to this, and that is a very big plus.

Android is fully blossoming.


The OnePlus 5 isn't the flagship killer it was at the time of the first OnePlus smartphone. The price is simply too high for that, 500 (or 560) euros actually falls into the flagship price range. However, the OnePlus 5 is a formidable flagship competitor. Build quality is impressive (although I miss waterproofing), Oxygen OS lets Android thrive, the display is beautiful and the specs are superb. 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage offers plenty of room for many, many apps. However, the somewhat smaller battery does not rhyme with this. That's a shame. I also expected more from the camera. In difficult light conditions, this must nevertheless recognize its superior in the other flagships.

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