One Plus 5 shows flagship phones don’t have to be pricey

by Haadi Bakar
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With prices of flagship phones now creeping into laptop territory, your only option for a cheap high-end phone is to turn to brands from China.

One particular brand that offers great value for a premium phone right now is the One Plus. With Google now focusing on making pricey Pixel phones, the Chinese brand has become sort of the new Nexus phones right now.

Today, the company launched an all new phone, the One Plus 5, a beautifully designed and well-spec’d device that doesn’t burn a hole in your wallet.

The One Plus 5 is the brand’s fifth flagship following the well-received One Plus 3T last year, and with this update comes more power, improved build quality, solid battery life and a new dual lens camera system.

The new phone runs on the latest octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip with the Adreno 540 GPU. There are two RAM and storage configurations; 6GB of RAM for the 64GB Slate Gray model, and 8GB for the 128GB Midnight Black model. Both storage options are non-expandable, however.

Dash Charge makes a return on the One Plus 5, which allows fast charging on the phone’s 3,300 mAh battery via USB Type C. One Plus claims its latest phone lasts 20 per cent longer than the One Plus 3T it’s replacing.

The phone also retains the 3T’s 5.5-inch 1080p AMOLED display. Once again, not a quad-HD display like other competing flagships are going for, but with a 401 PPI, it’s sharp enough and would be really hard for the average user to notice any difference.

The One Plus 3T runs on Oxygen OS version 4.5, a modified version of Android 7.1.1 Nougat, and it’s a very clean OS. The One Plus series have always been about pure Android experience without OEM bloatware, and the tweaks from OxygenOS are pretty subtle, which is why I dubbed the One Plus as the new Nexus.

The standout feature is the new rear dual lens camera module, which is similar to that on the iPhone 7 Plus – one standard and one telephoto – but with double the megapixel count.

Okay so it’s not really a standout feature considering Apple came up with this setup first, but there aren’t any telephoto camera in the market right now other than the iPhone 7 Plus and the One Plus 5 makes for a cheaper alternative for those who really want some telephoto action and doesn’t want an iPhone.

The sensor on the standard lens is a 16-megapixel Sony IMX398 with an f/1.7 aperture, while the telephoto lens uses a 20-megapixel Sony IMX350 sensor with f/2.6 aperture. Like the iPhone 7 Plus, users can create depth-of-field effects with blurred backdrops (digitally) with this telephoto lens.


Photography is now the main focus on this new One Plus phone. Over the last few weeks, the company has been teasing the image quality produced by the phone all over their Instagram, and so far they have been pretty impressive.

The cameras can also shoot 4K video and has an image stabilisation system.

However, I can’t help but notice the striking resemblance of the One Plus 5’s rear to that of the back of an iPhone 7 Plus, particularly the Midnight Black model.

The all-metal build quality is top-notch nonetheless, but the location of the One Plus logo, the camera bump and the antenna lines makes this phone look like a blatant Apple copycat.

At least this phone has a headphone jack.

The Slate Gray version of the One Plus 5 costs US$479 (B$665) while the top tier Midnight Black is priced at US$539 (B$750). The One Plus 5 is slated to go on sale next week, with the company taking pre-orders on its official website as usual.


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