OnePlus 5 review: An astoundingly powerful phone at a bargain basement price

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OnePlus is known for producing flagship quality phones for a fraction of the price of more established competitors. It’s the industry’s scrappy and charming underdog, frequently bloodying the noses of Google and Samsung by cramming top-end specs into mid-range handsets.

Now the four-year-old Chinese firm is demanding its seat at the top table. The OnePlus 5 is the most premium device they’ve yet made, both inside and out, and it comes with a correspondingly beefy price tag. At £449 and £499 it’s a step up from the existing OnePlus 3T, although still cheaper than the big boys. You’d struggle to get much more phone for your money.

The biggest improvement, bringing the OnePlus 5 truly shoulder to shoulder with top-end devices, is the addition of a dual-camera setup that combines a wide-angle and a regular lens to produce high-quality pictures in even the crappiest of lighting conditions, as well as lossless zooming and bokeh effects similar to those seen on the iPhone 7 Plus.

Read more: The do-it-all Huawei Watch 2 is the clown car of wearables

Speaking of which, the design of the OnePlus 5 takes more cues from Apple than the guy who goes around replacing the snooker supplies in Cupertino, but then there are few finer looking devices to lift an aesthetic from. The OnePlus 5 is subtly thinner than the 3T too, and its sensuously softened bezels and faintly curvier curves make it lovely to touch and hold.

Dash Charging is back, dumping half a day’s worth of power into the phone with just a few minutes of charging. One of the phone’s most unique features, a reading mode, will gently adjust the warmth and brightness of the display to match ambient lighting conditions and reduce eye strain. Not quite Kindle quality, but a useful touch nonetheless.

The software powering the phone is OxygenOS – a OnePlus-designed overlay built on Android – and unlike most other reskins of the operating system it’s designed to be lighter, faster and more refined than basic Android. In practice it’s the most slick operating system this side of iOS, keenly tuned for performance while stripping away the unnecessary apps and shonky bloatware that routinely comes pre-installed on Android phones.

The OnePlus 5 is one of the two best Android phones on the market right now – arguably the nicest looking too – and absolutely the best choice for those who have no more than exactly £500 to spend on a new phone. It skirts to the very edge of what could be considered a bargain, but you won’t find a better device at this price.

Price

£449 - 6GB RAM + 64GB storage
£499 - 8GB RAM + 128GB storage

Specs

Weight: 153g
Dimensions: 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25mm
Material: Anodized Aluminum​
Operating System: OxygenOS based on Android™ Nougat
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (Octa-core, 10nm, up to 2.45GHz)
GPU: Adreno 540
RAM: 6/8GB LPDDR4X
Storage: 64/128GB UFS 2.1 2-LANE
Ports: USB 2.0, Type-C, Support USB Audio, Dual nano-SIM slot, 3.5mm audio jack
Battery: 3300 mAh (non-removable)

Screen size: 5.5"
Screen resolution: 1920x1080​
Screen type: Optic AMOLED

​Rear cameras: 16MP f/1.7 and 20MP f/2.6
Front camera: 16MP f/2.0

oneplus.net/uk