OnePlus 5 smartphone – review

OnePlus's new flagship phone is a sleek, fast upgrade offering great value for money


One plus five equals six – but the new OnePlus 5 smartphone is worthy of something closer to a 10/10.


I’m writing this in an age of devices costing anything up to £1,000 (thanks for that, Apple) so for those of us not wanting to take out small loans to afford top of the range tech, four-year-old Chinese company OnePlus have positioned themselves perfectly with their new flagship phone.

The OnePlus 5 has an awful lot going for it. For starters it looks gorgeous. Available in two versions – Slate Grey (with 64GB storage and 6GB RAM retailing at £449) and Midnight Black (128GB/8GB/£499), plus a limited edition Soft Gold version – this phone is sleek, slim (7.25mm) and nestles neatly in the palm of your hand… even if they’re hobbit-sized, like mine.

And even better? For those struggling to stretch their digits around ever-increasing screen sizes, OnePlus’s OxygenOS system, which overlays the normal Android operating system, allows users to pull up their notification screen by dragging downwards anywhere on their phone; an added plus for anyone who can’t easily reach the outermost corners.

But if you’re buying the OnePlus 5, the chances are you’ve taken the leap for the camera. It played a huge part in the phone’s launch campaign back in June and it delivers on the hype, snapping high quality, vibrant photos thanks to its ‘dual camera’ feature.


It’s all down to a dual-lens sensor – one 16 megapixels and an f/1.7 lens and the other 20 megapixels with a narrower f/2.6 aperture. The high megapixel count allows for lots of detail and the portrait mode affords plenty of variety in your shots, with the ability to blur your backdrop while keeping faces razor sharp.

In fact, there’s not much to fault this phone on. It’s got plenty of neat features built onto the previous 3T model, like the reading mode which turns your smartphone into something akin to a Kindle or other e-readers, reducing the glare and colour to protect your eyes. There’s also the screenshot function which allows you to scroll up and capture an entire page, rather than limiting you to just what you see on your screen.

There are welcome familiarities, too – the headphone jack remains, much to music lovers’ relief (no need for the easy-to-lose standalone buds Apple have adopted), although anyone choosing to go wireless can always connect via Bluetooth.

With several hundred pounds separating the OnePlus 5 from handsets at the highest end of the market, there are – unsurprisingly – a few limitations to mention. I found my WiFi often dropped, more frequently than on other devices, and the battery life, while decent, still can’t quite get me to the end of the day with a healthy level of usage (although dash charging enables you to go from an empty to full tank in an impressively short amount of time).

The OnePlus 5 will survive drops of rain but the phone is not waterproof, and has just one speaker, located at the bottom of the phone, which is all too easy to cover up if you’re holding the handset while streaming TV.

But for a phone in the region of £450-£500, the OnePlus 5 delivers a hell of a lot and is by far the fastest I’ve got my hands on. Loyal customers may be disappointed by the company’s price hike, but this new model still gives you value for money, no question.

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