Ramping up to the official reveal of the new OnePlus 5, many leaks and renders made me scratch my head. Is that an iPhone, or a budget Android that competes spec-for-spec with the best flagships? Nope, it’s definitely a OnePlus, and it’s definitely a drastic departure from their past devices in almost every way. Almost.
Let’s address the elephant in the room. Looking at the back of the OnePlus 5, it could easily be mistaken for an iPhone 7. Seriously, they took the stereotype of Chinese smartphones copying Apple and made it a reality. Dual cameras and a flash sit at the top left corner, identical to the iPhone, and only differentiated by the logo in the center. Crazy!
Aside from that, the big story is the new specs and the new price. While the 5 still undercuts the greatest Androids from Samsung and LG, it doesn’t undercut them by much. OnePlus have discarded mid-range materials and compromises and have gone all-in! Up to 8GB of RAM (is this a phone or a PC?) and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 (are you paying attention, LG?) complement the upgraded premium materials. Dash Charge is back for quickly juicing up the 3,300mAh battery. Oxygen OS remains a minimal interpretation of stock Android. This is all a recipe for success!
This recipe does come with some shortcomings though. For instance, OnePlus haven’t moved on from a 1080p display. While the average consumer can’t tell the difference, today’s flagships are rocking 1440 and higher. A lack of water resistance means people like myself have one more reason to pick up a Samsung, LG, or Apple product. While the OnePlus 5 does have NFC, there is no wireless charging, a common staple of expensive Androids. Also, there is no WOW factor, like you get with the latest cutting-edge flagships.
So, how much does this recipe cost? The phone starts at $479 for 6GB RAM and 64GB of storage, and will run you $539 for the 8GB/128GB model. These are the most expensive OnePlus phones ever built and are soundly in flagship territory. Think of it this way though: for not much more, you can have wireless charging, water resistance, a QHD display, and even an Infinity screen. Or, you could have an Apple iPhone with its simplicity, reliability, and support. Your choice.
Enthusiasts will buy the OnePlus. Android purists might even consider it against the Pixel. Apple loyalists will just stick with the iPhone. While the 5 is indeed a departure for OnePlus, it still feels like a stepping stone to something more – perhaps a true flagship with carrier support that deserves a $600-700 price tag. Nevertheless, the company is growing up, and therefore giving into a higher cost.
So what do you geeks think? In the saturated market, is this new phone enough to pull you away from more established brands? Sound off in the comments now!