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OnePlus 5 Review

OnePlus 5

Posted: , by Victor H. Victor H.

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Interface and Functionality

Mostly the same-as-before, clean Android experience with focus on speed. We noticed some bugs in critical apps like Facebook, though.

OnePlus 5 Review

The OnePlus 5 features a clean Android interface that the company calls OxygenOS.

The keywords here are “speed” and “no bloat”. Indeed, the OxygenOS is an exemplary interface with the useful customization options that it provides and with its focus on being... wicked fast. It is also built on top of Android 7.1.1 Nougat, a modern Android build. OnePlus has a somewhat sketchy history with Android updates, but it promised to change last year when it launched the OnePlus 3. So far, it has lived up to its promises with timely updates that address key issues, so we have no reasons to doubt its commitment to the OnePlus 5 as well.

There are very few new features in this latest OxygenOS: the big one is the swipe-up app drawer, similar to the one on Pixel phones. It’s a much more convenient, coherent way to access your apps. There is a new ‘Reading mode’ as well, that turns your screen to grayscale and increases sharpness, which should make reading off your phone easier on the eyes. It’s nowhere near as good as an ebook reader like the Kindle, but it indeed helps with eye strain.

Other neat little new features include a ‘do not disturb’ mode for gaming where an accidental press of a button will not quit a game, a new ‘secure box’ for your private files, expanded screenshots and auto night mode triggers.

For all else, the interface is the same as before. You can set quick shortcuts to open particular actions when you double press or long press the home, recents or back button (go into Settings > Buttons for that). For instance, we’ve now set our OnePlus 5 to lock with a long press of the home screen. You can also switch the recents and back keys your way (some think the back key should be on the left, while others like it on the right). Want to use on-screen navigation keys? You can enable that as well. This is an example of useful, great customization that we would love to see on other Android phones.

There is also a welcome Dark mode for the interface (go into Settings > Customizations to enable it). It turns all the backgrounds in settings and the app drawer dark, which is easier on the eyes at night, but also helps save battery life.

It’s not all roses, though. The OnePlus feels incredibly fast without feeling fluid. We would have liked a bit smoother transitions, and they are just not there.

One issue that spoiled the great experience was with the Facebook app. Scrolling the news feed feels jittery and slow. There were bugs with images: when you try rotating the phone horizontally, Facebook images would not rotate properly and you would need to pinch to zoom in and try to see them in full size. Those issues are frustrating, especially when it comes to an app that many people spend hours in, and we hope OnePlus works this out.

Processor, Performance and Memory

The Snapdragon 835 coupled with fast UFS 2.1 storage and proper optimization makes the OnePlus 5 fly. Also, 8 gigs of RAM because… why not?

OnePlus 5 Review

There are two ways to look at the OnePlus 5: on one hand, at $500, the OnePlus 5 is the most expensive OnePlus phone ever. On the other, it’s also the cheapest phone with the Snapdragon 835 currently available.

Whichever way you look at it, the fact that you have the latest and greatest Snapdragon 835 is important: it’s the fastest Android chip around and it is the only one built on the most advanced, 10 nm manufacturing node, meaning that it draws less power while providing more punch.

In addition, the OnePlus 5 features the newer UFS 2.1 type of storage, which is slightly faster than UFS 2.0 storage and much faster than older MMC storage. In practical terms, UFS 2.1 storage ensures that apps will not only load fast, but app installs will be faster and everything on the phone will get a speed boost.

The OnePlus 5 does not feel as fluid as the Google Pixel, the gold standard on Android these days, but it does feel surprisingly fast.

The OnePlus 5 still does not support a microSD card memory expansion slot, but with 64GB of storage in the base model, we don’t feel like this is a major omission. You also have a slightly costlier 128GB OnePlus 5 version, in case you need that extra storage.

The 128 GB 'Midnight Black' version also bumps the RAM from 6 gigs in the base model to 8GB of RAM. This is a first on a mainstream phone and while most users will not notice it, 8 gigs of RAM does mean that you can have a few games and a dozen of Chrome tabs open simultaneously. There are no issues with RAM management as on earlier OnePlus phones either.

Internet and Connectivity

More 4G LTE bands than ever make the OnePlus 5 a true global phone.

The OnePlus 5 ships with Google’s Chrome as the default and only browser on board. By now, Google Chrome is the go-to browser for most people: it’s speedy, syncs effortlessly across devices and is comfortable to use. And it loads pages impressively quickly on the OnePlus 5.

Google’s Chrome - OnePlus 5 Review
Google’s Chrome - OnePlus 5 Review

Google’s Chrome

The OnePlus 5 is still not CDMA-carrier compatible: it will not work on Verizon Wireless and Sprint in the United States (it does work effortlessly on AT&T and T-Mobile, though).

This, however, does not mean that OnePlus is sitting still in terms of connectivity: the 5 comes with support for a whopping 34 frequencies, making it a truly global 4G LTE phone. Here is the full list LTE bands the OnePlus 5 supports:

  • FDD LTE: Band 1/2/3/4/5/7/8/12/17/18/19/20/25/26/28/29/30/66
  • TDD LTE: Band 38/39/40/41

In terms of other connectivity option, you also have dual-channel Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX and aptX HD support, and NFC support.

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OnePlus 5

OnePlus 5

OS: Android 7.1
view full specs
PhoneArena rating:
8.5Excellent
Display5.5 inches, 1080 x 1920 pixels (401 ppi) AMOLED
Camera16 megapixels
Hardware
Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2457 MHz, Kryo processor
8 GB RAM
Size6.07 x 2.92 x 0.29 inches
(154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25 mm)
5.40 oz  (153 g)

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