OnePlus 5 Review: Still Worth A Punt In 2018?


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OnePlus’ current flagship is now the OnePlus 6, which has absolutely stormed the smartphone market with record sales for the company – it sold 1 million units in only 22 days after going on sale.

Rave reviews are circulating across the internet, both from professionals such as ourselves (you can read our full review here) and from satisfied consumers, who seem to love the OnePlus 6 to bits for its gorgeous design, great battery life, smooth and fast performance, and an absolutely superb camera.

The OnePlus 6 usurps and replaces the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T as OnePlus’ one-and-only model officially on sale, which you can buy direct from OnePlus or from a number of third-party retailers. However, that doesn’t mean the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T are unavailable full stop, you can still buy them from a number of places, not to mention second-hand and refurbished units.

And make no mistake, although the OnePlus 6 is a much better handset, the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T still have a ton of amazing features and a lot to recommend. They’re still plenty competetive on the current market.

Especially when you consider the price: the OnePlus 5 is available via Amazon for $459 – so, proper cheap!

The OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T now run Anroid 8.1 Oreo thanks to an Oxygen OS update to version 5.1.0. The update download clocks in at 766MB and includes the latest Android Security patch on top of the UI changes, new features, and optimisations. Gaming mode, in particular, has been optimised and now has better power efficiency and improved network performance. The OnePlus 5T also gets full-screen gesture support.

The OxygenOS 5.1.4 update has now landed for both OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T models, which as well as bringing the July Android Security Patch and the usual slew of bugfixes and optimisations, the update also adds a few new features.

Noteworthy new features include Sleep Standby Mode, which reduces battery consumption when the phone is inactive by using AI to track your usage patterns and adapting accordingly. In other words, when you’re asleep at night it’s going to do all it can to reduce the tick-over drain, assuming you don’t just charge your phone every night of course!

The default messaging app also gains Group Messaging, and the camera software has been tweaked for “improved clarity”. Here’s the changelog:

  • Updated Android security patch to 2018.7
  • Added sleep standby optimization (Settings -> Battery -> Battery optimization -> Advanced optimization -> Sleep standby optimization)
  • Improved photo clarity
  • Added Group Messaging
  • General bug fixes

OnePlus has also now officially confirmed that the OnePlus 5/5T will be updated to the brand new version of Android coming later this year – that’s Android 9.0, aka Android P.

Both OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T models will be updated, but not before the OnePlus 6 gets its run first. After the OnePlus 5/5T are updated, the OnePlus 3/3T will also be jumped to the new version.

“OnePlus is committed to giving users the best possible experience, consistently delivering software updates for two years after the launch of a device, and security updates for an additional year after that,” the firm said, in a statement.

“Over the past few months, we have been working closely with Google on the Android P Beta program. Thanks to everyone’s participation and continued feedback, the progress we have made together has been greatly accelerated. The Android P update will be available on the OnePlus 6, OnePlus 5/T and OnePlus 3/3T, in this order. We will keep you all updated in the coming months.”

We don’t yet know when these updates will take place, in no small part due to the fact that Google is yet reveal when it will launch Android P.  New Android builds have typically arrived on new Pixel hardware first, which is often launched in October and there is speculation this might happen with the Pixel 3 series.

However, there are rumours that the Android P launch could happen in August.

OnePlus’ phones are flagships in every sense of the word, but the company consistently outdoes all of its peers with respect to price – no one else makes phones of this quality this cheap.

This is why OnePlus has grown, in a few short years, from a general outsider to one of the most well-known brands in the mobile space. People like good deals and OnePlus serves them up consistently every year.

Without further ado, let’s look at the OnePlus 5!

OnePlus 5 Review: Design & Display

In the design department the OnePlus 5 falls under the “good enough” label, being decently premium looking for a flagship and definitely good for the price, but at the same time; it’s nothing particularly special either. In a way, that’s not even OnePlus’ fault, in the sense that it’s very difficult in the current market, saturated as it is with very good looking metal and glass slabs, to make something that really stands out. 


There’s a bit of everything in here; Huawei, Apple iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, LG, HTC. None of it bad, mind you, as on the whole it’s a very pleasing phone to look at. It is, to be fair, probably on of the best looking OnePlus handsets to date, using a minimalist aluminium unibody instead of the older design with various material finishes on the back panel.


For the display, OnePlus has decided to keep things fairly simple, likely in the interest of keeping the price down so that it’s nice and competetive when all other specs are taken into consideration. The screen is not one of those fancy pants edge-to-edge affairs with an 18:9 aspect ratio – the kind we’ve seen on Samsung, LG, Huawei, and Apple’s handsets this year. Nope, this is a regular 5.5in screen with a 1080p resolution.


OnePlus has enhanced it slightly with sRGB, custom, and DCI-P3 colour profiles, so you can really dial in the settings how you want them.

Long story short, it’s a great display. It’s just not a monumental or stupendous display like some key rivals. But as we mentioned, this seems to be a conscious decision to keep costs low and perhaps improve the battery life a bit (1080p is not going to be a huge drain, after all). So, we can be quite forgiving here.

OnePlus 5 Review: Performance

The OnePlus 5 is certainly not trailing behind its peers in the hardware stakes, it’s running the same flagship tier chip as most of its competitors; Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 SoC clocked at 2.45GHz and either 6GB or 8GB of RAM depending on which variant you go for. In either scenario you’re looking at blistering speeds, not only from the chip itself, but also both those RAM options are higher than a lot of competing phones using the same silicon.

Basically, you’re saving £200 on what you’d pay for something like the Samsung Galaxy S8 or HTC U11, both of which have been some of the fastest phones we’ve reviewed this year; and the OnePlus 5 is easily just as quick, delivering very similar benchmark scores, multitasking performance, and real-world use performance too. GPU performance is even faster than the Galaxy S8 thanks to the use of a lower-resolution display.

OnePlus 5 Review: Battery

This is always where we start getting worried that a perfectly good phone in many other areas is going to be let down by poor battery life. There are, of course, more phones out there than ever before that have pretty good battery life, but it’s still something of an elusive Holy Grail, on the whole.

Fortunately, the OnePlus 5 manages to seriously impress with its 3,300mAh cell. In our video testing, battery consumption was on par with the Samsung Galaxy S8+, which was and still is one of the best performers in this regard we’ve ever seen, let alone inside 2017.

Put simply, this handset is unlikely to leave you in the lurch, even if you’re the most intensive of power users you’ll still make it through from dawn til dusk, probably longer. For most people with normal use it’s going to last several days at least on a single charge, which in the smartphone era is no mean feat.

OnePlus 5 Review: Camera

Prior OnePlus camera setups have seemed initially somewhat impressive, but have often been plagued with bugs and hiccups following launch. The OnePlus 5 packs one of those fancy new dual-sensor camera arrays as the primary shooter, which is on the one hand a good way of adding a bunch of new features and improving the image quality. On the other, it’s a whole new can of worms as far as potential bugs is concerned.


You can relax, however, OnePlus has done well here when push comes to shove. The hardware incorporates a 16-megapixel f/1.7 optical stabilisation (OIS) sensor together with a 20-megapixel f/2.6 sensor using a telephoto lens. The image quality is seriously high and detail rich, while the 20MP sensor allows for 2x optical zoom as well as post-processing effects like bokeh and depth-of-field. Essentially it’s as good as the top-of-the-line iPhone but MUCH cheaper, and better than other impressive shooters like the Google Pixel.

The front-facing secondary has not been neglected either, it too is a 16MP setup with an f/2.0 aperture, 4K video capture and electronic stabilisation (EIS).

OnePlus 5 Review: Hardware & Specs

  • Dimensions: 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25mm
  • Weight 153g
  • Display: 5.5in Optic AMOLED  capacitive touchscreen (73.0% screen-to-body ratio), 16M colors, 1080 x 1920 pixels (401ppi pixel density), Corning Gorilla Glass 5
  • Software: Android 7.1.1 (Nougat) with Oxygen OS
  • CPU: Qualcomm MSM8998 Snapdragon 835 Octa-core (4×2.45GHz Kryo & 4×1.9GHz Kryo)
  • GPU: Adreno 540
  • Internal storage & RAM: 64GB with 6GB RAM OR 128GB with 8GB RAM
  • Primary Camera: Dual-Sensor; 16MP with f/1.7 aperture, 1/2.8″ sensor size and 1.12 µm pixel size, optical stabilization (OIS) + 20 MP with f/2.6 aperture and 1.0 µm pixel size, phase detection autofocus, 2x optical zoom, dual-LED flash, geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama
  • 2160p video @30fps, 1080p video @30/60fps, 720p video @30/120fps
  • Secondary Camera: 16MP with f/2.0 aperture and 1.0 µm pixel size, electronic stabilisation (gyro), 1080p video, Auto HDR
  • Loudspeaker: Yes
  • 3.5mm jack: Yes
  • Connectivity: WLAN Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, Wi-Fi Hotspot, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, USB Type-C 2.0
  • GPS: Yes, with A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS
  • Battery: Non-removable Li-Ion 3,300 mAh battery
  • Colors: Midnight Black, Slate Gray
  • Other: Fingerprint scanner

As you can see, that’s a pretty robust spec line-up by current standards, and storage options are decent too, with both 64GB and 128GB tiers. The fact that you get this all for less than £500 – £449, to be exact – is just bonkers, frankly.

OnePlus 5 Review: Verdict

Insane value for money, essentially – something that OnePlus has become well-known for, but even by its own measure it has knocked the ball well out of the park. Yes, the price has gone up a bit from earlier models, but it is still WELL short of the competition in terms of similar spec lineups.

Make no mistake, you are getting a LOT of bang for your buck here.

This is easily the best OnePlus flagship to date, and that’s before we even factor in that the firm has clearly gone away, carefully considered the feedback on its past camera and battery attempts, and has seriously put in the work to make massive leaps forward.

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