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June 20, 2017

OnePlus 5: Release date, hardware specs and everything else you need to know

by John_A

After weeks, even months, of speculation and leaks, the OnePlus 5 is finally officially. It is no doubt the company’s most powerful phone so far and continues the trend of offering a flagship phone experience in a device that costs considerably less than its competitors. 

  • OnePlus 5 review: The flagship-killer’s coming of age

From its look and feel, to its internal specifications, cameras, software and hardware, this is everything you need to know about the latest flagship killer. 

OnePlus 5: Design

  • 7.25 mm thin
  • All metal body
  • Ceramic fingerprint sensor
  • Midnight Black or Slate Grey colours

Like the OnePlus 3 and 3T, the OnePlus 5 is hewn from a single block of aluminium which is bead blasted and finished in the popular Midnight Black colour, or the new Slate Grey. 

While it’s similar, there’s a clear difference in shape between this and any previous OnePlus. The corners are more rounded, and the antenna bands bend inwards to follow the corners, similar to the iPhone 7. 

At just 7.25mm, the OnePlus 5 is the thinnest phone made so far by the ambitious tech company. The line around the edges – which OnePlus be-musingly gave an actual name to (Horizon Line) – has moved further up, to improve the ergonomics, making it more comfortable in hand.

It weighs just 153 grams and comes with the standard set of ports and buttons in a familiar layout. That means the textured alert slider on the left, above the volume switch, and the power button on the right.

The front plays home to the pill-shaped home button which – as usual – sits between two capacitive buttons and acts as the fingerprint sensor. Above the 5.5-inch screen you’ll find the classic OnePlus selection of earpiece, front camera and notification LED. The back is devoid of anything except the new dual camera system, which protrudes slightly in its elongated housing and is joined by a round dual-LED flash.

Prior to launch, rumours did speculate that the OnePlus 5 would feature a ceramic finish. This is only partly true, and was likely leakers getting their wires crossed. In fact, it’s the fingerprint sensor that’s ceramic. The rest of the front is glass.

OnePlus 5: Display

  • 5.5-inch AMOLED panel
  • 1080 x 1920 full HD
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 5

Like last year, the OnePlus flagship has a 5.5-inch full HD (1080 x 1920) display. That means a pixel density of 401ppi, and being AMOLED, contrast levels are very high, for nice, inky blacks.

The screen is covered in Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which curves slightly at the edges. For the nerds, the panel supports both sRGB and DCI-P3 colours.

Of all the specifications, it’s the display resolution which will lead many to question the phone’s “flagship killer” status. With a bump in price, and a resolution that still doesn’t match the highest rated phones on the market, it’s perhaps the only set of numbers on the spec list that don’t reach as high as tech-enthused consumers will like.

OnePlus 5: Hardware

  • Snapdragon 835 processor
  • 6GB or 8 GB RAM
  • 64 or 64GB storage
  • 3,300mAh battery

As is customary for a OnePlus flagship, the company equipped the phone with the latest Qualcomm processor. In this case, that’s a 2.4GHz Snapdragon 835.

The OnePlus 5 features a 3,300mAh non-removable battery, which isn’t quite as capacious as the OnePlus 3T’s 3,400mAh cell. However, because of the newer, more efficient processor and type of RAM being used (LPDDR4X), it should last longer than its predecessor’s. OnePlus claims up to 20 per cent longer.

OnePlus 5: Dash Charge

  • 30 min charge provides day’s battery
  • Fast even when phone in use

For the past year, OnePlus has earned plaudits for its fast charging technology. Dash Charge returns in the OnePlus 5 and will still provide enough juice in 30 minutes to keep you going for a full day.

Dash charge is unique in that it keeps voltage down, with more current being pushed through a cable to the phone. The cable also dissipates the heat, so the phone can charge quickly even when it’s being used for high intensity tasks like GPS navigation, gaming or video watching.

OnePlus 5: Camera

  • Dual 16MP/20MP rear camera
  • Telephoto lens for 2x optical zoom
  • Potrait mode
  • New Pro Mode

As rumours suggested, the OnePlus 5 has been equipped with a brand new dual camera system on the back. It has one 16-megapixel Sony sensor with f/1.7 aperture and a 20-megapixel Sony sensor with f/2.6 aperture and a telephoto lens. The main 16-megapixel sensor is equipped with electronic image stabilisation, while the telephoto camera combines with it to offer 2x optical zoom and background blur.

That means, in this instance, OnePlus appears to have gone done the same route as the iPhone 7 Plus, rather than opting for an LG G6-like secondary wide angle lens, or one colour/one monochrome system like Huawei uses.

The camera app has a portrait mode that adds a depth effect and lots of background blur while keeping the subject in focus. It also has a new, much more detailed “Pro” mode. You can change ISO, white balance, shutter speed, focus and exposure as is common. What’s new is that now you get a histogram in the top right corner of the interface, and a reference line to make sure you’re holding the camera straight.

Similar to previous phones, Smart Capture helps to improve the clarity of photos and works in the background as you shoot. In low light conditions, it works to reduce the noise and uses auto HDR to keep things clear, even when there’s heavy back-lighting.

Pro mode will also let you store up to two settings profiles for quick adjustments and easy access. As previously, you can shoot in RAW format too.

The rear camera system can shoot up to 4K resolution video at 30 frames per second or slow motion 720p video at 120 frames per second. There’s also a new noise-cancelling microphone which will make audio captured during video recording even clearer.

The front camera is also a 16-megapixel Sony sensor with EIS, but with an f/2.0 aperture. To light up your face in dark scenes, the phone will use the display as a flash, and auto HDR can help your photos look dynamic and vibrant, even in challenging lighting conditions.

OnePlus 5: Software

  • OxygenOS based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat

OnePlus 5 ships running the company’s OxygenOS system based on Android 7.1.1 Nougat. It retains OnePlus’ features, like the Shelf that lives on the left of the main home screen, and keeps all the customisation options regularly found in OxygenOS.

Like the Pixel’s pure Android software, you drag the app drawer up from the bottom and can long-press compatible app icons and to bring up the quick options.

OnePlus 5: Price

  • £449 or £499

OnePlus 5 prices start at £449. That entry level price will get you the Slate Grey version with 6GB RAM and 64GB storage. For £50 more, you get the Midnight Black model which is equipped with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. 

OnePlus 5: Release Date

  • General sale on 27 June
  • O2 exclusive carrier
  • Early bird offer on 20 June

As usual for OnePlus, the release isn’t entirely straightforward. Those watching the live stream on 20 June will be able to get a unique code, and order it on that day. There will also be pop-up events around the world during the launch week where hopeful customers can buy.

Regular online purchasing will be available globally, direct from OnePlus from 27 June. In the UK, O2 will once again be the exclusive carrier for those who want to buy it from a regular high street phone shop.

OnePlus 5: Conclusion

On the whole, the OnePlus 5 seems to be a promising phone despite the price increase. Its internal specifications and performance should push it close to the best phones available, and its price is still far lower than the likes of the Galaxy S8, Pixel and iPhone 7 Plus. It’s still disappointing not to have a Quad HD display, but that’s seemingly the only thing letting down the otherwise great-looking phone.

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