OnePlus went back to the drawing board for the 5, and the result is a much slimmer phone (7.25mm compared to 7.4mm). It is hard to shrug off the uncanny resemblance to the Apple iPhone 7 Plus, but nothing can take away from the usable design. It is lighter (153g) than the OnePlus 3T (159g), but the pursuit of slimness has sacrificed the more reassuring heft of the 3T’s design. It’s hard to fathom why the 5 isn’t waterproof—that’s not a deal-breaker, but a top-notch phone should tick that box.
The 5 runs the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor. Last year, the OnePlus 3 and 3T led the way to make 6 GB RAM the standard in flagship smartphones, and this year, OnePlus wants to stretch that to 8 GB. Yes, this variant of the 5 becomes the first phone with 8 GB RAM. Chances are, this will be more than your PC or laptop. Not many of the apps you use right now will be geared to make use of 8 GB RAM, but they will in the future. The way Android works, it’ll be able to stretch its legs more, and this will result in slightly better performance than the 6 GB version.
The 5 has a primary 16-megapixel wide-angle camera (Sony IMX 398) and a secondary 20-megapixel telephoto camera (Sony IMX 350). For all the optics prowess, it alternated between some fantastic photographs and some perplexingly dull ones. Certain HDR photographs turned out to be better than what the HTC U11 (arguably now the best Android camera) could manage. Low-light shots, because of the f1.7 aperture, are bright and crisp. On the other hand, simple photographs with uncomplicated lighting can turn out too soft or noisy, owing to the lack of optical image stabilization (OIS). OnePlus needs to iron out these inconsistencies with software updates, and fast.
The 5 has the same 5.5-inch display (1,920 x 1,080 resolution) from the 3 and the 3T, but it now has Gorilla Glass 5, while its predecessors had Gorilla Glass 4. This screen, however, gets the wider DCI-P3 colour mode in the display settings. The Apple iPhone 7 and Samsung Galaxy S8 support this mode, which makes the colours bright and more accurate.
The 5 has a 3,300 mAh battery. It easily lasts a day, and can stretch to a day and a half on a single charge too.
This is the most expensive OnePlus phone ever. It is spot on with the blazing-fast performance and good battery life. The camera can be excellent, but needs refinement to be genuinely consistent. What the OnePlus 5 doesn’t have is the advantage of disruptive “flagship killer” pricing—the higher price just makes the few faults more glaring.