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OnePlus 5 Review - The Legit Affordable Flagship?

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OnePlus has continued to disrupt the market by introducing flagship specs and polish at unbelievable prices that gives the competition a run for their money.
OnePlus 5 Review - The Legit Affordable Flagship?
OnePlus 5 review

Their latest, the OnePlus 5 brings back the same philosophy but at a price that has been frowned upon by the international community. Is it still worth the PHP 25,990 starting price tag?

Is it really the flagship killer we all want even without the now standard IP water and dust resistant rating?

We'll see in this review!


Display Quality

Bright display even against more powerful light sources!
Bright display even against more powerful light sources!

It is equipped with a 10 point multi-touch 5.5 Inch Optic 401 ppi AMOLED 1920 x 1080 resolution 2.5D curved screen that is protected by Gorilla Glass 5. 

The screen is bright with sharp details, saturated colors and deep blacks. You wouldn't notice that it was 1080p unless you put it side by side with a higher resolution display.

In fact the only time that we were looking for QHD or higher is when we were playing PC gaming footage on YouTube at the native 1440 resolution which is rare because we could only do this at home where we had Fibr.

If you streamed footage like that with via data service, your bill would skyrocket. So we don't see the need for the higher resolution unless with specific cases. The lower resolution also means that less power is consumed to push and use the display. So we find the 1080p the best resolution for everyday tasks.

Audio Quality

Loudest single speaker around?
Loudest single speaker around?

For audio, the OnePlus has two speakers (one at the earpiece and the other at the bottom) and multiple microphones for noise cancellation.

The earpiece speaker only works for calls while the one at the bottom may just be a mono speaker but it is loud. It's so loud that even if we purposely cover the speaker grills that sound can still pass through. The sound quality from the bottom speaker is great with clear, crisp and full details that has great isolation and acceptable sound stage. It is outstanding for media consumption.

The OnePlus 5 does not come with earphones so we used our handy dandy RHA S500i. The sounds are clear, full and crisp with great mids that are separated with powerful highs without distortion and punchy bass.

Microphone is good for both recording and calls. Thanks to its noise cancelling technology. We have never had problems like dropped calls or complaints from the caller on the other end.

Battery Life

Ridiculously good standby time!
Ridiculously good standby time!

The OnePlus 5 is equipped with 3,300 mAh battery that is big enough to power the 5.5 inch 1080p display with the Snapdragon 835 with hitch!

Very good battery performance!

As a result, battery performance is GOOD! The phone had problems with our usual PC mark battery benchmark so we could only share our experience with the phone. With our normal use of calls, texts, LTE, ride sharing, waze, chrome browsing, YouTube and e-mails, the phone would be unplugged at 7 am and we would get home at 7 pm with an average of 20% battery life each time depending on how much LTE data usage we did.

It has the standard battery saving modes where it lowers performance and background tasks to improve longevity. It includes a regular power saving mode that will darken the screen and disconnect you to WiFi, data or Bluetooth and Smart-saving that consumes less power. It can be set to turn on automatically when the phone reaches 15% or 5%.

Charging time is around 70 minutes depending on how much battery was left. The fast charging works because the phone is fully charged under 90 minutes which is a big deal especially when our power banks are low.

Camera

Dual cameras!
Dual cameras!

It is equipped with a dual 16 MP, f/1.7, 24mm, EIS (gyro) + 20 MP, f/2.6, 36mm, phase detection autofocus, 1.6x optical zoom, dual-LED flash at the back and a 16 MP, f/2.0, 20mm, EIS (gyro) with 1080p video recording and with auto HDR.

This makes the main dual camera able to take the bokeh effect for portrait modes where you can digitally add out of focus background (bokeh) to your images. The bokeh effect / depth effect works well, and to our eyes, it looks less artificial than the Huawei P10 and P10 Plus.
Camera interface
Camera interface

The pro mode is good with manual focusing, aperture control, exposure compensation and manual ISO. It maxes out at ISO 3200 and the shutter speed maxes at 30 seconds and can go as fast as 1/8000th of a second which is unprecedented on a smartphone! Some DSLRs cannot get that high! You can also manually select white balance, exposure compensation and focus.

The auto camera experience is good. The white balance accurately reproduces the color of the subject while the autofocus finds focus quickly and accurately with almost not hunting. The flash is there if you need it and you can seamlessly transition from one camera to the next and to video mode quickly. The HDR is surprisingly fast compared to other devices. We almost never got the two shot then merging delay which is quite an achievement.

Images captured are stellar for a smartphone!

The images are stellar! When we compared the images with the latest HTC U11, the OnePlus 5 may have a narrower field of view but it is a hair sharper and the white balance is always accurate!

Rear Camera Samples

Daylight 1
Daylight 1
Daylight 2
Daylight 2
Good background blur
Good background blur
Well detailed indoor shot
Well detailed indoor shot
Bacon indoor dim!
Bacon indoor dim!
Indoor dim
Indoor dim
Indoor lowlight
Indoor lowlight

On the other hand, the 16 MP f/2.0 Sony IMX371 w/ EIS selfie camera of OnePlus 5 is arguably the best on all the flagship smartphones we tested yet.

It has a 9 level beauty mode and a 2 second or 10 second smile timer where the phone recognizes if the subject or subjects smiles and then focuses and counts down to take the shot which enables the selfie takers to just focus on balancing the phone and taking the shot! The smile detection works 9 out of 10 times for us.

It uses an auto-face recognition autofocus. It works 9 out of 10 times which is an amazing experience whenever we don't have to struggle with using both hands or one hand while trying to balance the phone and tap the shutter button.

The selfie camera performs similar to the main where it works well in bright lighting conditions and will do a decent job in low light. It does perform better in low light than most cameras. It loses some resolution to grain but it is negligible and isn't a bad thing. It has screen flash as well.

Selfie Camera Samples

Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie
Daylight selfie
Indoor well-lit selfie
Indoor lowlight selfie
Indoor lowlight selfie
Night selfie
Night selfie
Groufie in super lowlight with team GIZGUIDE, Josh of Village Pipol and Jaja Ramirez
Groufie in super lowlight with team GIZGUIDE, Josh of Village Pipol and Jaja Ramirez

For videos the rear camera can shoot in 4K 30 fps with EIS, 1080p 30fps / 60fps with EIS, 720p and 480p with EIS while the selfie camera can shoot up to 1080p 30 fps with EIS. The quality of the main camera and secondary camera is good!

The grain is noticeable but the resolution, color saturation, white balance and focus accuracy is one of the best we have ever seen! It is near from our experience with the Samsung Galaxy S8's dual pixel performance! And even though it uses EIS with a crop factor, it isn't that big which allows for a wide enough field of view.

Video Samples


Performance

Raw power!
Beast!

The phone packs an octacore Snapdragon 835 with 6 GB (up to 8 GB) giving this phone great performance on paper and with the Adreno 540 this could potentially be good for gaming! Even the benchmarks back it up!

Everything is seamless!

The result is silky smooth multitasking and good gaming performance with almost no hiccups with normal tasks like web browsing, texting or e-mailing.
NBA 2K17 all high? No problem!
NBA 2K17 all high? No problem!

We've never had lags or stuttering with our time with the phone even with demanding games like NBA and Asphalt 8! In fact almost everything is seamless.
Android 7.1 based OxygenOS
Android 7.1 based OxygenOS

Equipped with the latest Android 7.1 based OxygenOS which is relatively stock but with added functional features like customizable interface (menu, colors etc) buttons, and gestures! We enjoyed being able to switch from a black theme to white without downloading themes. We could also add gestures that can quickly launch what app we assigned to each gestures and we could even pick if we wanted on screen navigation keys or the hardware capacitive keys. OnePlus 5 enables you to use your phone how you want to use it.
Customizable gestures and buttons
Customizable gestures and buttons

For gamers, OnePlus introduces a gaming do not disturb mode which blocks notifications and locks certain buttons which prevents unnecessary distractions like notifications accidental button presses which is a great thing if you like playing immersive games on the One Plus!

The phone also has no bloatware that could compromise the user's experience!

The fingerprint scanner is fast, accurate and seamless. In our three weeks with it, we only had one fingerprint misread.

Telephone connectivity is good with strong signal and steady 4G data connectivity. There's the usual WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS as well that never failed us.

Pros - Solid, beautiful design, bright saturated colors and deep blacks of AMOLED display, flagship performance, camera performance is on par with flagships, 4K+EIS video recording, Dash Charging is still the fastest and safest, good aftersales support, long battery life, unbeatable price
Cons - 1080p resolution, no OIS, water resistant but not IP certified 

Verdict

The OnePlus 5 has very few downsides which are the 1080p display, no OIS and not IP certified but these are all negligible in our opinion because the starting price is less than PHP 30,000 which undercuts all of the flagships of today!

Yes it's not IP certified but it is water resistant so it can stand splashes and do you really swim with your phones? No, we don't.

So yes it compromises certain things but so what? We can live without those and if you can too, then this is the best phone with the price! It can keep up with raw power and camera performance anyday. So we highly recommend this phone to anyone!

Also note that u
nlike some brands with almost no accessory support, Digital Walker the exclusive distributor for OnePlus 5 offers several accessories like myriad of cases, bags, extra cables and power plugs.

It is great because most of the time I would have a hard time finding a good case that would protect a phone that I bought. And in some cases, I find myself accidentally losing or breaking my wires/power plugs. So it is good to know that there is after sales support.

Build / Design - 4.5
Display - 4.5
Audio - 4.5
Battery - 4.5
Camera - 4.5
Performance - 4.5
Average - 4.5 / 5
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