11 Aug 2017
4 min read
For a phone company with a short history of just three-and-a-half years, OnePlus has come a long way. With the 2013 OnePlus One, the brand introduced itself as a flagship killer--by offering premium specs at a bargain price. The 2015 OnePlus 2 and the 2016 OnePlus 3 continued that legacy, with two other models in between--the 2015 OnePlus X, which was the company's effort to get into the budget-phone segment, and the 2016 OnePlus 3T, which was a minor upgrade over the OnePlus 3. Now that it's 2017, a few things have changed for OnePlus, as reflected by their latest phone, the OnePlus 5.
Probably one of the best phones OnePlus has ever created, the OnePlus 5 comes packed with premium internal specs that rival some of this year's best-selling flagship phones. The OnePlus 5's robust metal unibody houses a powerful battery, which lasts longer and charges faster than almost all other phones in the market, and the phone comes with a dual rear-camera too.
Today, OnePlus is no longer a small company with a niche market or a lean supply chain. The company has stopped selling phones by invitations, and can no longer afford to localise their operations solely in China. This year's OnePlus phone shows that the company is transitioning from a startup company into a global player. The OnePlus 5 shows major design resemblances to phones by many other brands, particularly the iPhones, but comes up short in terms of innovative technology, which other flagships boast. And owing to the OnePlus 5's price, which ranges from Rs 59,499 for the 64GB model, the phone can no longer be called a bargain buy.
But if you're willing to put up with the price hike (which everyone usually does), the OnePlus 5 can be one of the best phones you can buy today. That's because the OnePlus 5 has great specs: a Snapdragon 835 processor; octa-core, 2.45Ghz and top-of-the-line Adreno 540 GPU; 64GB of storage with 6GB RAM or 128GB with 8GB RAM (which is overkill by all standards); a 3300mAh battery with Dash Charge; a 5.5-inch 1080P Full-HD AMOLED display; two 16MP and one 20MP cameras; USB 2.0, Type-C; Bluetooth 5.0; dual nano-SIM slots; and a fingerprint sensor at the front. That's some pretty impressive specs, but OnePlus probably should have thought about waterproofing, edge-to-edge display and a creative design aesthetic too.
The phone's glossy Full HD display, protected by a Gorilla Glass 5 panel is an AMOLED screen, which means it has added sharpness and contrast, and more vivid colours--often making its users forget about its resolution. The snappy fingerprint sensor--which is also the Home button--plus two other navigation buttons sit at the bottom of the screen, just above the bottom edge, which accommodates a grill speaker, a black, polished USB Type-C port, an upgraded microphone and a 3.5mm audio portówhich is pretty amazing for a body-width measuring 7.25mm. The body feels as good as it looks, with rounded sides and a smooth back, which make it suitable for prolonged use.
On the rear are dual cameras by Sony--a set of a 16MP, f/1.7 wide-angle camera and a 20MP, f/2.6 Telephoto camera, which work more or less like the ones in the iPhone 7 Plus and offer a decent mechanical zoom. The phone also features a portrait mode, which blurs the background and focuses on the subject for a more DSLR-like shot. However, it still needs some upgrades like the ones the iPhones required when they first launched. That said, these cameras are excellent and can shoot 4K videos at 30fps, 1080p at 60 and 30fps, and 720p at 120fps. There are features such as time-lapse and electronic image stabilisation, and you can even take RAW photos. You also have dual LED flash--one at the rear, and the other at the front--for the 16MP, f/2.0 selfie camera, with autofocus and the ability to shoot 1080p and 720p videos at 30fps.
The Android Nougat on the OnePlus 5 offers a lot of customisation options when it comes to notifications, display and day-to-day operations. The operation is super-fast and snappy, and does not exert too much pressure on the battery, which easily lasts a single day, even for power users. Although the battery is 100mAh smaller than in the previous model, the performance is uncompromised, and should you run out of charge in the middle of the day, the 5V-4A charging head and the Dash Charge feature will get you a full charge in no time.
Owing to all these features, you will have to pay a slightly higher price than what OnePlus previously used to charge--which is why the OnePlus 5 is getting some flak. But here's the thing: it still packs top-of-the-class specifications that easily rival phones that cost significantly more; sure, there's no waterproofing, but it still has robust hardware, and it offers key upgrades like a massive RAM, faster processors and dual cameras. These represent huge efforts on the company's part to make the OnePlus 5 a refinement over its predecessors without greatly deviating from brand legacy. The OnePlus 5 may not come at a bargain price, but it is by no means a ripoff: indeed the phone shows what a fine balance between quality and price actually looks like.
(Photos by Aayush Shrestha)