Camera

The OnePlus 5 camera is fine, but not quite a home run. It’s impressively fast both to start and focus, but images turn out with a lot less detail than on the 3T. New ‘Portrait mode’ is a good start.

OnePlus 5 Review

The OnePlus 5 comes with a dual rear camera system similar to that of the iPhone 7 Plus. You have a main, wide-angle camera and a secondary, ‘telephoto’ one that the phone uses to artificially blur the background and create DSLR-like portraits.

Curious fact: the OnePlus 5 seems to use the exact same camera system as the Oppo R9s.

The main, wide-angle camera has also changed from the OnePlus 3T: that phone used the Sony IMX298 sensor, while the OnePlus 5 uses the newer IMX398 with an f/1.7 lens on top. Both are 16MP sensors with the same, 1.12-micron size for individual pixels, but the OnePlus 5 also supports Dual Pixel auto-focus, the fastest auto-focusing technology around.

The secondary, ‘telephoto’ f/2.6 lens is built on top of a 20-megapixel camera. OnePlus says it is the highest-res around, but the term ‘telephoto’ here is really quite misleading. While the main camera has a focal distance of 24mm, the ‘telephoto’ one only has 36mm, nowhere near standard ‘telephoto’ lenses that have much higher values. It’s also not even 2 times the focal distance of the wide-angle camera.

So how does OnePlus achieve that ‘2x’ zoom effect in the camera app? It is not simply by switching to the ‘telephoto’ lens (which gives a 1.5x effect), but it is with a combination of using both the secondary lens and some form of digital zoom. Interestingly, ‘Portrait mode’ with its blurred backgrounds on the OnePlus 5 works differently: it defaults to a 1.5x zoomed view and when there is enough light it uses both rear cameras, but when it’s darker it can do just fine by using only the regular, wide-angle camera. Then, it adds some software magic to add the artsy blur effect.. Just like on the iPhone 7 Plus, the OnePlus 5 uses the ambient light sensor to read light levels and only uses the secondary ‘telephoto’ lens when there is enough light. If not, it just uses the main sensor and digital zoom.

The camera app on the OnePlus 5 is itself clean and impressively fast.

Here is a tip: double click the lock key to quickly start the camera.

You swipe left and right to go between stills, video and portrait mode, and you tap on your subject and slide up and down to adjust exposure. From the slide-out burger menu, you can view the full set of shooting modes: photo, video, portrait, pro mode, time-lapse, slow motion, and panorama. For selfies, you have a beauty mode that is not turned on by default (thanks, OnePlus), but you can manually turn it on and adjust the strength of the effect.

Image Quality


Enough with the intro, what about how images actually turn out?

Put simply, the OnePlus 5 camera is not a home run. It’s not bad either by any means, but just not quite there with the very best.

Here are the five major changes the OnePlus 5 camera makes to images in comparison with the 3T:

  • Noticeably softer focus
  • A lot of noise appears
  • Much higher contrast
  • Brighter
  • Slightly different, more yellow-ish colors than 3T

The added brightness and contrast makes the OnePlus 5 images at times more impactful and more cheerful than the OnePlus 3T. But look closer and you notice some big issues with image quality. The biggest one is just how soft and lackluster photos turn out when it comes to detail. It’s a big step down from even the 3T, especially noticeably in macros and close-up shots. Images are also surprisingly noisy, even on a bright sunny day.

What has improved without a doubt is speed: the new dual focus system is incredibly quick. In low light, the wide f/1.7 aperture helps get more light in and you get very good image quality.

The built-in dual LED flash is strong, but sneaks in a cold, green-ish cast to images that ruins the colors and we’d rather avoid using it.

When it comes to the front camera, we’re pleased with it. It captures detailed selfies with very good detail and with sufficient sharpness and dynamics.



Taking a pic Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec) Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
OnePlus 5 1.1
1.5
682
682
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 1.33
2.01
No data
No data
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 1.2
1.3
730
622
LG G6 1.7
2.7
522
530

Portrait mode, 2x zoom


So… there is a secondary, 36mm lens on the OnePlus 5. It requires plenty of light to work, so don’t be surprised if you discover that in other conditions the OnePlus 5 only uses the regular, wide-angle camera for portraits and even 2x zoom. When the secondary camera kicks in, though, it does provide that extra clarity and resolution, which make a noticeable difference.

Having a button to quickly zoom 2 times is neat: it produces a flatter picture with less barrel distortion, and while quality is definitely not top-notch, it’s a nice option.

What we were really curios was ‘Portrait mode’: did it perform as good as the iPhone 7 Plus?

The answer is… depends, sometimes it’s better, sometimes it’s worse. You can see the results for yourselves below: while the iPhone often captures depressingly dark pictures that are barely usable, the OnePlus managed to actually shoot a more pleasing image. The iPhone did better at the edges, where you can see the artificial blur artifacts the most, but the OnePlus was not too far behind. Overall, it’s a toss up, but neither one is perfect.


Video quality


Update: 2 months after the OnePlus 5 release date, the company has released OxygenOS 4.5.8 update that adds 4K video stabilization. We have updated the text of this review with this new update in mind.

The OnePlus 5 can shoot up to 4K video, which looks very detailed and crisp. While at first the OnePlus 5 lacked proper 4K video stabilization, OxygenOS 4.5.8 adds the feature and brings huge improvement to 4K capture. The OnePlus 5 does not have optical image stabilization (OIS), but the added electronic image stabilization (EIS) does wonders in most conditions and delivers very smooth-looking video. There is a bit of a jitter still noticeable in videos when you shoot handheld while walking, but if you work on a smoother walk, videos turn out nearly perfectly smoothly.

Then, there is dual pixel auto-focus, which shines in video. It’s able to acquire and lock the focus instantly, and this results in always-sharp footage.


Sound quality


You have a single bottom firing loudspeaker on the OnePlus 5, and it gets very, very loud. It might just be one of the loudest phones we have ever heard. Put a boombox case on a OnePlus 5, fire up music at maximum volume and carry it on your shoulder to get the full effect. Or challenge your friends’ phones to a ‘who’s louder’ battle. You will win.

This does not mean that the sound quality is great, though. Just like with most phones, it gets tinny and lacks depth, but we appreciate the ability to go extra loud, if only for those times when you want to share a YouTube video with some friends in a slightly louder venue.

There is an audio jack, so that’s nice, but you also have proper Bluetooth 5.0 support with aptX and aptX HD, two standards for high-quality sound when you use wireless headphones.

Headphones output power (Volts) Higher is better
OnePlus 5 0.96
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 0.992
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 0.74
LG G6 0.78
Loudspeaker loudness (dB) Higher is better
OnePlus 5 77
Apple iPhone 7 Plus 77.4
Samsung Galaxy S8+ 80
LG G6 74

FEATURED VIDEO

66 Comments

3. omnitech

Posts: 1131; Member since: Sep 28, 2016

8.2. So same level as the HTC U11. Oneplus vs HTC fanboys fight!

7. NoAllegiance unregistered

At least it scored higher than One Plus 2....

8. Martin_Cooper

Posts: 1774; Member since: Jul 30, 2013

So let me get this straight. U11 gets 8.2 because of an EXTRA software gimmick is not easy to learn, and yes that was one of the cons. OPO5 a phone with great specs, the smoothest fastest android phone, with great camera, 200-300$ cheaper than most flagships also gets 8.2. But an iPhone SE gets 8.8 even though when it came out it had LITERALLY the same design, same screen, same battery as a 4 year old iPhone 5 with just new cpu, gpu and better camera. Can you IMAGINE the s**t OPO or HTC would get if they did that? Just imagine OPO made a new phone with OPO1 design, same screen and just added new cpu, camera etc and priced it 500$. DAMN! PA

22. jjface

Posts: 184; Member since: Jun 07, 2017

Camera is mediocre. It is also no more than $100ish cheaper than most flagships these days. You can get the U11 right now for $599. LG G6 unlocked version on BH photo is $549. Then there are plenty of deals that give you other flagships for less eg the S8 with a trade in of a $5 phone for $425. Brand new G6s on ebay go for $400 for lots of different versions. Lots of people selling them off from carrier bogo deals or $10 a month deals etc. The SE is significantly better than the iphone 5. I wish oneplus had done that with the 3T-5. Upgrade the camera, upgrade the processor and battery. A guaranteed win.

67. Ricardonez

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 24, 2017

If oneplus 5 camera is mediocre, iphone 7 has a poor camera. Search for this video on youtube: OnePlus 5 4K EIS Video Update Test (vs iPhone 7 Plus & Galaxy S8)

24. TechieXP1969

Posts: 14967; Member since: Sep 25, 2013

What? The camera on the 1+5 is worse than the iPhone 7. Nother beats the S7 or S8's camera at all. Smooth? At doing what? Nothing?! Liek the iPhone? The camera has software OIS and it sucks. side by side videos show the camera is worse than the iPhone 7's. Is it possible to get high off ignorance? Because so many guys here are so high off their own stupidity.

51. cnour

Posts: 2305; Member since: Sep 11, 2014

As usual fake news...liar Techie.

60. ebilcake

Posts: 1189; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Camera is pretty good, I'd take it over the iPhone 7 camera. But clearly the android flagships are in different league, OnePlus 5 is a good phone but overpriced.

66. Ricardonez

Posts: 2; Member since: Aug 24, 2017

Worse than iphone 7 ?? Are you sure?? Search for this video on youtube: OnePlus 5 4K EIS Video Update Test (vs iPhone 7 Plus & Galaxy S8) Iphone 7 has a mediocre camera for the price.

48. rOHAN287

Posts: 10; Member since: May 06, 2016

Very well said. Phonearena should rethink about their review system. Rating iPhone SE 8.8 which has same 5s design small battery, OK camera and smallest battery. You people are definitely paid or give biased reviews.

11. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

I dont think the OP5 looks or feels like an iPhone aside from the camera. I think that was a stupid decision in OP part. They should draw a line a distance themselves. They need to make a name for their own products outside of China. A slightly different camera bezel and position of the flash would help.

16. adecvat

Posts: 582; Member since: Nov 15, 2013

Good review. Cheating in camera, cheating in benchmarks, no waterproof, no OIS. 2016 year phone. Better buy cheaper S7.

19. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5467; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

So... where did they cheat in the camera department?

40. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

Optical.zoom is not 2x, just 1.6x

43. RebelwithoutaClue

Posts: 5467; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

True but they never claimed it was 2x optical zoom.

44. Veteater

Posts: 59; Member since: Aug 04, 2015

OnePlus never claimed 2x optical zoom, that's the bull that all the reviewers are claiming the OP5 is capable of due to their own excitement about the camera similarities to the iPhone 7 Plus. The OnePlus 5 has 1.6x pure optical zoom, but is capable of producing 2x of maximum optical zoom by way of Smart capture MultiFrame Technology; look it up. So technically the OnePlus 5 has 2x lossless zoom, not optical. The benchmark thing is something that while I wouldn't call it cheating, I'd call it wrong and without purpose. Google has warned against this being done by OEMs and OnePlus still chose to do it anyway. There is no waterproofing on this device because of the savings in manufacturing costs. The OnePlus 5 is already more expensive than an iPhone to manufacture and is the same or similar in manufacturing costs to other devices on the market that sell in the $600 range. So, OnePlus is already operating on thinner profit margins than others; waterproofing the device would make OnePlus have to up the actual release price by enough to where there isn't a distinct difference between its price and other devices' price.

18. Lumberjack

Posts: 306; Member since: May 04, 2017

No QHD for 5.5 Pentile matrix instead of rgb No micro sd slot No IP against dust nor water Photos do not look better than 2015 flagships No 4K stabilization ( wil be added later) Ugly design No stereo speakers Still got same score of U11? LMAO !!!!

29. jellmoo

Posts: 2523; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

In Canada, the U11 is $250 more than the OnePlus 5. It's almost like that extra money buys you some things that the other handset doesn't have. Do you want to spend the money for the extras, or do you want to save the money and do without? Options are good.

56. p51d007

Posts: 694; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

SOFTWARE OIS for the camera, instead of HARDWARE OIS for the camera. They "settled" again. Software OIS is cheaper than the hardware variety. Not surprised. Remember the "stereo" speakers of the OnePlus one that was a twin MONO? The "we are just a startup", owned by Oppo and on and on.

20. jeroome86

Posts: 2314; Member since: Apr 12, 2012

Thought I was reading about the One Plus 5. Good grief. What the bleep.

21. itsikkan

Posts: 6; Member since: Jun 12, 2017

Unbelievable. It got the same score as the HTC U11 a phone a lot better...

27. wesley.

Posts: 202; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Hmmm... a quite expensive and already I can get a Samsung Galaxy S8 for a very slight amount more and an LG G6 for significantly less. Unlikely to get any discount on Oneplus's website either.

30. Plasticsh1t

Posts: 3084; Member since: Sep 01, 2014

Called it. This and the U11 scored 8.2 despite the U11 got a high end camera and one of the best available, superior audio quality, better hardware in general, superb software and fast updates from HTC, and an innovative squeeze feature. I call bulls**t. Please save yourself the trouble and never give scores in your future reviews.

33. davthom123

Posts: 116; Member since: Mar 02, 2015

if performance is a reason why at least the iPhone 7 gets a nine+ despite note being the highest specced flagship then one plus deserves the same on android

41. DBoss

Posts: 102; Member since: Feb 18, 2017

Iphones charging time in graph is a biggg middle finger...

45. sasch

Posts: 40; Member since: Sep 19, 2012

Unreal this page is starting to extremely piss me off with them stupid ratings . One plus 5 deserves at least 8.8. if not a 9 alone for what one plus has achieved in the price range and still packing 8 GB ram and 128 GB storage camera isn't perfect but good in my eyes design is great software is the best one out there full stop . Same for the HTC bloody great phone does everything better that the iPhone does so why only an 8.2 seriously pathetic. Apart from the bezel the phone is one of the most complete devices this year . I hope pA chockes on the apple Dik

59. ebilcake

Posts: 1189; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Nope, taking value into account I'd give it no more than a 8.0.

46. Ferrari458

Posts: 5; Member since: Jun 08, 2017

This year Oneplus 5 (with about 500$ price) IS NOT THE FLAGSHIP-KILLER! Maybe Xiaomi Mi6 ( same soc, ram, battery and better stabilized camera at 350-400$) could be!

47. ithehappy

Posts: 48; Member since: Apr 24, 2014

OK, so this phone gets 8.2 and U11 gets 8.7? Anything else? Sun moves around Planet Earth too.

57. perfectnine

Posts: 201; Member since: Mar 11, 2016

You should be the one revolving around planet earth. The u11 got 8.2 too.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

5
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 16 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, Octa-core, 2457 MHz
  • Storage 128 GB
  • Battery 3300 mAh

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