You need to check out the new OnePlus 5 before buying any other Android smartphone

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Business Insider

The new OnePlus 5 is here – and it’s mighty impressive.

In fact, you should get a good, hard look at the OnePlus 5 before buying any other Android smartphone for two reasons: It’s an excellent premium smartphone, and it’s cheaper than other premium smartphones from big companies like Apple, Samsung, and LG.

The OnePlus 5 starts at $479 for the base model, which is $165 less than the base iPhone 7 and $240 less than the base Galaxy S8.

With the OnePlus 5’s cheaper price tag comes fewer features than the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S8, but the OnePlus 5 helped me realize that most of those extra features are superfluous and don’t necessarily contribute to a phone’s appeal.

The OnePlus 5 is available to preorder on Tuesday and will be available to buy on June 27.

Check out the new OnePlus 5:


The OnePlus 5 is a beautiful, if somewhat plain, smartphone.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

If you’re familiar with previous OnePlus models, you’d immediately recognize the OnePlus 5 as a OnePlus phone. You get the all-black glass front with the oval fingerprint scanner that’s typical of OnePlus design.


Just about everything about the OnePlus 5’s design is minimal.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

The OnePlus 5’s metal back is a plain and utilitarian: There’s nothing there save for the camera, flash, and OnePlus logo. Gone are the antenna lines from the OnePlus 3 and 3T, which makes for a no-frills design on the OnePlus 5’s back. And there are only two colors to chose from, including dark gray and black. Minimal, indeed.


Its edges are clean and featureless.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

It has a 5.5-inch, 1080p AMOLED display.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

High-resolution displays above 1080p are quickly becoming the norm for premium Android flagships, but OnePlus stuck with a 1080p display for the OnePlus 5. While it’s not as sharp as the Galaxy S8 or LG G6’s displays, the OnePlus 5’s displays was plenty sharp. I never wished it had a higher resolution.


The dark gray and black models have different specs and come with different price tags.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

The $479 dark gray model has 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, and the $539 black model comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Keen OnePlus fans will notice that the OnePlus 5 costs more than the $439 OnePlus 3T, which may be irksome. At the same time, the OnePlus 5 is still one of the cheapest premium Android smartphones you can get.


It’s one of the most comfortable premium smartphones out there to hold and use.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

At a depth of 7.25mm and a weight of 153 grams (5.4 ounces), the OnePlus 5 is incredibly slim and light compared to the iPhone 7 Plus and Galaxy S8+.


It doesn’t have nearly as many features as the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S8, but I never felt like I was missing those features.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

In almost every respect, the OnePlus 5 is more of a classic smartphone compared to the feature-laden smartphones from Samsung, LG, or Apple. That’s because the OnePlus 5 doesn’t have most of the fancy new features from the latest premium models.

Here’s a list of what the OnePlus 5 doesn’t have compared to the iPhone 7 and Galaxy S8:

– Ultra-narrow borders (Galaxy S8)

– Rounded display corners (Galaxy S8)

– Curved edge display (Galaxy S8)

– A display with a higher resolution that 1080p (Galaxy S8)

– A display with an unusual aspect ratio (Galaxy S8)

– Water resistance (Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7)

– An invisible home button (Galaxy S8)

– Wireless charging (Galaxy S8)

– Iris scanning (Galaxy S8)

– Facial recognition (Galaxy S8)

And yet, despite the OnePlus 5 missing all those new features from the latest flagships, I never felt I was using an outdated phone. I was never yearning for the Galaxy S8’s iris scanning, ultra-narrow borders, unusual aspect ratio, curved edges, or wireless charging.

With the OnePlus 5, you’re not paying as much for the latest flagships from Apple, LG, or Samsung, either.


It performs where it counts.

The OnePlus 5 is one of the fastest smartphones I’ve used. It glides effortlessly through my day of opening and using several apps.

The OnePlus 5’s stellar performance is partly due to the enormous 8GB of RAM in my review unit, which is the most RAM I’ve seen in a smartphone. To put that into perspective, the computer I’m using right now for work has 8GB of RAM.

RAM, for the uninitiated, makes for speedy and smooth multitasking. It’s like your phone’s back pocket where it keeps things like apps that you recently opened handy for when you need to open them again. The more RAM you have, the more apps you can run in the background without throttling you phone’s performance.


And, thankfully, OnePlus has kept the headphone jack.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

It also runs a near-stock version of Android 7.1 – the latest version of Android – which gives it a clean look and feel.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

Like many Android smartphone makers, OnePlus adds its own layer of software, or “launcher,” to run on top of stock Android. Unlike most smartphone makers, however, OnePlus’ “Oxygen OS” launcher is relatively lightweight and generally keeps the overall look and feel of stock Android.

It’s not the same as Google’s own Pixel launcher, which gives the Google Pixel a more modern feel over stock Android. Yet, Android enthusiasts will recognize the classic pre-Pixel stock Android aesthetic from the Nexus smartphones of old.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean the OnePlus will get Android updates as quickly as Google’s own Pixel smartphones. At the same time, OnePlus is one of the fastest to release updates after Google releases them.


The OnePlus 5 has a great 16-megapixel camera.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

The OnePlus 5’s camera takes great photos in bright environments that are similar in quality to the Galaxy S7 and iPhone 7.

Indeed, OnePlus has improved the camera since the release of the OnePlus 3T. It has added faster auto-focusing that OnePlus claims is 40% faster than the OnePlus 3T. I’ll be doing a separate, full breakdown of the OnePlus 5’s camera where I thoroughly test it against the Samsung Galaxy S8.

OnePlus also added a Pro mode that offers more DSLR-style controls over settings like ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and white balance. You can also takes pictures in RAW format, which is great for those who want to edit their photos, as RAW photos aren’t compressed. RAW photos also contain all of a photo’s data compared to the standard JPEG format, which makes it easier to edit.


But the Galaxy S8 is still king when it comes to low-light situations.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

Above is a photo taken with the OnePlus 5 in a low-light environment. Despite having an f/1.7 aperture that’s similar to the Galaxy S8’s aperture and is designed to allow more light to hit the camera sensor, the OnePlus 5 still can’t compete against the Galaxy S8 in low light situation.

Compare it to the same photo taken with the Galaxy S8:

galaxy s8 low light photo


The OnePlus 5’s dual-lens camera has a similar feature to the iPhone’s portrait mode, which blurs the background behind a subject for a professional effect.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

It also has a telephoto zoom that zooms into subjects while maintaining an incredible amount of detail.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

The fingerprint scanner is the fastest I’ve used in any smartphone.

OnePlus claims there’s a 0.2 second lag between the moment you lay your thumb on the OnePlus 5’s fingerprint scanner and the phone unlocking, but it feels instantaneous. It let me unlock my phone to do whatever I need to do more quickly than the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7’s fingerprint scanners, which is incredibly meaningful for such an often-used and important device such as your smartphone.

The OnePlus 5’s fingerprint scanner is accurate, too. I never had to press my thumb against the fingerprint scanner twice to unlock the phone during my time with the phone.


OnePlus’ Dash Charger is also a great feature.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

OnePlus’ Dash Charging feature is similar to the fast charging you’d find on the Galaxy S8, but it’s a little different in a good way. The OnePlus 5 can charge at full speed no matter what you’re doing on the phone while it’s charging. And that means it can charge faster during short bursts of charging.

OnePlus’ Dash charger lets the OnePlus 5 stay cool during charging, even when you’re using the phone while it’s charging. As a result of staying cool during charging, the OnePlus 5 doesn’t throttle the charging speed or the phone’s performance, which usually occurs when a smartphone gets hot from charging, especially when you’re using it while it’s plugged in.


And, in true OnePlus fashion, the OnePlus 5 has the signature silent switch, which no other smartphone has apart from the iPhone.

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Business Insider/Antonio Villas-Boas

It lets you switch your phone to silent or vibrate mode without having to wake your phone’s screen. OnePlus phones are still the only Android phones that let you do this.


Would I buy it?

I would strongly consider the OnePlus 5 if I were in the market for an Android phone, but it’s not an outright, clear-cut decision. That’s because I personally prefer phones that get timely updates directly from Google, and only the Google Pixel fits that bill.

However, if you don’t mind getting Android updates a little later than the Google Pixel does, the OnePlus 5 is a clear winner for its price tag. Sure, you wouldn’t get as many features as the Galaxy S8, but most of those features seem expendable after using the OnePlus 5.

The OnePlus 5 has the features and performance that makes a smartphone great, and I’d strongly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

You can pre-order the OnePlus 5 now from OnePlus’ website, or buy it when it goes on sale on June 27.