The widely leaked OnePlus 5 finally become official yesterday, and the high-end handset can be yours a week ahead of time if you’re fast.

Black-Front-RGBFortunately the days of being invited to order a phone from OnePlus are long over, and last year O2 became the official UK carrier selling OnePlus phones.

O2 has once again retained this exclusive partnership, selling the phone on a range of contracts (you can see the O2 press release at the end of this post).

Alternatively, you can buy the phone for use with any network from the OnePlus website when it goes on sale on June 27th. But if you’re quick, you could have it in a couple of days!

Firstly, on June 21st there’s a ‘pop up’ event in London but that was a ticketed event and if you didn’t pre-register than it’s probably not a good idea to just try to turn up. There will only be a limited number of handsets for sale, and previous launches could mean you’ll be queuing all day for no reward.

However, fear not as you can order online for early delivery wherever in the UK you are. That sounds a lot more civilised doesn’t it?

Visitors who watched OnePlus’s webstreamed launch will have been given a code to enter on a special webpage, but if you missed it fear not as I have it for you. The code to enter on the dedicated Early Drop page is ‘Clearer Photos’. Order quick enough and the phone will ship from June 21st, up to a week before the phone sells to anyone else.

The Phone

Okay, so I’ve told you how to get one but haven’t said anything about the phone itself. But, I expect a lot of you will have already been following the news from the rumours to the official unveiling, and so I’m here to give my thoughts.

It seems some people will absolutely love that this phone has a top-end chipset and costs a lot less than similarly specced rivals, while others will be left wishing OnePlus hadn’t made some compromises that potentially ruined everything. You rarely get balanced opinions on the Internet!

Personally, I sit somewhere in the middle. The OnePlus 5 is an exciting phone, but has a few issues that stops it being a true ‘flagship killer’. At £449 and £499 for the two available configurations, it’s cheaper than a Galaxy S8, Sony XZ Premium, LG G6 or HTC U11, but it definitely has a few issues that may put you off – and it’s not as cheap as previous ‘flagship killers’.

Let’s go through and talk about some of the features, starting with the good points and then moving on the bad.

Please do add your comments below and add anything I’ve missed, and please do say if you’re planning to get one. Bear in mind that on June 27th, Honor will announce the Honor 9 (with a smaller 5.1-inch display) that has a dual-camera design and high-end chipset.

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Good Points

  • The OnePlus 5 has a top specification thanks to Qualcomm’s class-leading Snapdragon 835 SoC, with the choice of 6 or 8GB of RAM, and fast UFS2.1 storage. Everyone who has used one so far says it’s fast and has no lagging whatsoever. Do you need 8GB RAM? Well the jury is out on that.
  • Dual SIM (nano SIM).
  • 64GB or 128GB storage (but with no memory card expansion). It’s pretty amazing that 64GB is the ‘entry level’ model and probably enough for the majority of users.
  • An impressive twin-camera setup, offering a standard (f/1.7) camera with 16-megapixels, and a telephoto (f/2.6) camera with 20-megapixels choices. 4K video recording at 30 frames per second is also on offer.
  • There’s also a rather impressive front-facing f/2.0 16-megapixel camera.
  • An innovative reading mode that simulates an e-Ink display for better readability. Sure it’s just software and any phone could do it, but they’re not – so well done OnePlus.
  • VoLTE support and Wi-Fi calling for EE users, and possibly users of other networks too (when I know, I’ll update). This opens up the handset to accessing additional 4G coverage, as well as improving the ability to hand off from 3G to 4G, 4G to Wi-Fi and so on. No more dropped calls as you leave the house, or step out from the Underground. That’s the theory at least!
  • A 3,300mAh fixed battery, with the excellent Dash Charge feature that can get you close to a full charge in just 30 minutes. It really has to be seen to be believed, and with the clever tech in the charger, it stops your phone getting red-hot in the process.
  • Excellent battery life (I’m going out a limb a little with this) given the excellent power saving capabilities of the Snapdragon 835 chipset. I have found excellent performance on the Sony XZ Premium, with a similar sized battery, so I don’t doubt that battery performance will be great – although imagine if it had been 4,000mAh or higher.
  • Bluetooth 5.
  • 3.5mm headphone socket!

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Bad Points

Some of these bad points are not necessarily deal-breakers as I’ll try to explain as I go. They can’t go unmentioned though.

  • Rather ugly screen protector, similar to that fitted to the Huawei P10. Apparently without an oleophobic coating.
  • No memory card expansion. Choose wisely as you’re stuck with what you buy up front (64 or 128GB).
  • ‘Only’ full HD, which is fine for a 5.5-inch display (it’s AMOLED too) but not so good for VR. But, if you’ve no interested in VR then that’s not really a bad point.
  • No optical image stabilisation on any of the three cameras, but there is electronic image stabilisation. Just don’t expect miracles.
  • Only Cat 12 LTE, despite Qualcomm’s flagship chipset supporting Gigabit LTE (Cat 16). Why did OnePlus save a few cents and leave out something that, to quote OnePlus from previous campaigns, could have been a ‘flagship killer’? But, in context, this is still good for 600Mbps DL and 150Mbps UL. Not bad,  but it could have so easily been more.
  • No DxOMark rating, despite OnePlus working closely with the organisation early on. Did this mean the result wasn’t an award winning score so OnePlus stopped mentioning it? Early reviews are airing mixed opinions on the camera, especially the telephoto image sensor that is quite noisy in anything but optimal lighting conditons. But, let’s be honest, the camera isn’t going to be terrible (few phones are these days) and while we were probably all primed to expect this to be the best cameraphone on the market and, it seems it may not be, it doesn’t mean it will disappoint.
  • Possibly playing the benchmarking apps to boost the score, as reported by Xda-developers.com. Something OnePlus has been found out doing once before, but even with inflated scores it doesn’t mean the phone is anything but fast.
  • No IP rating for water resistance.
  • No wireless charging.
  • The Dash Charge feature is great, but if you don’t carry your original charger with you then you’ll be restricted to slower charging via the more commonly used chargers. One day, hopefully the industry will figure out that it’s better to have a single standard (and my personal preference would be USB-PD).

Full specifications

The full specifications of the OnePlus 5 can be found here.

OnePlus Pricing

Press release from OnePlus

NEW YORK / LONDON – June 20, 2017 – OnePlus today introduced the OnePlus 5, the latest in its lineup of premium flagship smartphones. With this new device, OnePlus is further demonstrating its mission to share the best technology with the world.

The OnePlus 5 features the highest resolution dual-camera system on a smartphone today for clearer photos than ever before. Dash Charge, OnePlus’ industry-leading charging technology, gives users a day’s power in half an hour. The Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 platform, coupled with up to 8 GB of RAM, provides a smooth user experience at a lower power consumption rate. The OnePlus 5 also supports 34 GSM network bands, keeping users connected around the world.

“The OnePlus 5 showcases our obsessive attention to detail and our focus on delivering the best user experience possible,” said OnePlus Founder and CEO Pete Lau. “We have applied this approach to all aspects of the OnePlus 5. For example, the dual camera provides some of the clearest photos on the smartphone market today and gives users more control to take stunning photos in all conditions.”

Attention to Design Detail

At 7.25 mm, the OnePlus 5, available in Midnight Black and Slate Gray colors, is the thinnest OnePlus flagship ever. The aluminum unibody features a continuous hard line around the edge of the phone. The Horizon Line, a key element of OnePlus design, casts one half of the phone in light and the other in shadow, offering an elegant, streamlined appearance. The minimalistic design is further reinforced by a new crescent-shaped antenna that blends seamlessly into the top and bottom edges of the phone. Rounded corners and edges makes the OnePlus 5 feel more comfortable in the hand.

Dual Camera. Clearer Photos.

The OnePlus 5 features the highest resolution dual-camera system on a smartphone today. A tailor-made 16 MP sensor is supported by a 20 MP sensor with a telephoto lens to accurately determine the distance between the sensor and objects in the environment. A large f/1.7 aperture allows for faster snaps and helps compensate for stuttering to improve image stabilization.

In Portrait Mode, the two sensors work together to create a focal separation between faces and backgrounds, while a custom software algorithm makes your subject clear and well-lit. This results in a professional depth-of-field (bokeh) effect that keeps faces sharp in front of a blurred backdrop. Smart Capture combines optical zoom with multi-frame technology to let you zoom in with greater clarity, while Fast AF uses the dual-camera system to more accurately calculate depth to speed up auto-focus by up to 40 percent.

The all-new Pro Mode gives smartphone users powerful DSLR features such as ISO, white balance, shutter-speed, focus and exposure modification, as well as an on-screen histogram and RAW image file support for complete control of post-shot editing.

A Day’s Power in Half an Hour

First introduced with the OnePlus 3, Dash Charge is the fastest charging solution on the global market. A quick half-hour charge gives the OnePlus 5 enough power for the day. By carrying more current and shifting the power management from the handset to the adapter to keep the phone cooler during charging, Dash Charge can continue to fast charge the OnePlus 5 even when using GPS or playing graphically intensive games. The 3,300 mAh battery also lasts up to 20 percent longer than the OnePlus 3T.

Smooth Experience 

Through a combination of powerful hardware and intelligent software, the OnePlus 5 provides a truly seamless smartphone experience.

The OnePlus 5 takes advantage of the top-of-the-line Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 835 platform that provides powerful performance while drawing up to 40 percent less power. With up to 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM, the OnePlus 5 can run a large number of apps in the background without a single second of lag. The combination of UFS 2.1 and a new two-lane ROM results in 26 percent faster storage performance in everything from installations to loading apps and games.

OnePlus’ custom operating system, OxygenOS, is designed to refine stock Android’s core functionalities with features and optimizations that add value to the user experience. New updates to the OnePlus 5 include Reading Mode, which utilizes an ambient sensor and gray-scale mapping to make reading as comfortable as reading an actual book. Gaming Do Not Disturb Mode allows users to play their favorite games without being disrupted by notifications or accidental hardware button presses. With App Priority, the OnePlus 5 loads your most-used apps more quickly to further improve performance.

Pricing and Availability

The OnePlus 5 will be available in an early drop sale on oneplus.net immediately after the keynote launch event on June 20 for customers using a special code that will be announced during the keynote. The OnePlus 5 will first be available for direct purchase at one-day pop-up stores in New York on June 20 and in London, Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam, Helsinki and Copenhagen on June 21. Open sales on oneplus.net begin on June 27.

The Midnight Black version (8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage) will sell for  USD 539 / EUR 559 / GBP 499 / CAD 719. The Slate Gray version (6 GB RAM / 64 GB storage) is USD 479 / EUR 499 / GBP 449 / CAD 649.

Press release from O2

20th June 2017, London: O2 has today announced that it is the exclusive high street retailer of the OnePlus 5 in the UK. The latest flagship smartphone from OnePlus will be available on the network’s renowned O2 Refresh tariffs in-store and online.

Available for pre-order from today, O2 customers can get their hands on the OnePlus 5 Midnight Black with 128 GB of storage or OnePlus 5 Slate Grey with 64 GB of storage on tariffs offering from 500 MB to 30 GB data.

For those who place their order during the first week of availability, tariffs include the 64 GB version for £49 per month for an impressive 30 GB data allowance and £51 per month for the 128 GB version with the same huge data allowance. Both tariffs come with a small upfront payment of £9.99.

OnePlus’ most passionate fans will even have the chance to get up close and personal with the new device at one of three special in-store events around the UK from 22 – 24 June, and will be able to walk away with their new handset on the same day.

Open to the public and select OnePlus fans, O2 will host an array of live product demos and offer users the chance to win goodies and receive support and advice from O2 Gurus, plus the opportunity to enter a prize draw to win a free OnePlus 5 handset.

These special events will take place at the following O2 stores:

  • Thursday 22nd June – Birmingham Bullring Level 1 (5-8pm)
  • Friday 23rd June – 134 Oxford St (5-8pm)
  • Saturday 24th June – Manchester Arndale (10am-1pm)

OnePlus started in 2013 with a simple idea: make a better phone, and a better way of doing things. Since then their phones have built up a cult following with the OnePlus One, OnePlus 2, OnePlus X, OnePlus 3 and 3T gathering more and more fans. The debut OnePlus 5 features one of the highest resolution dual-camera systems on a smartphone today for clearer photos than ever before. Dash Charge also gives users a day’s power in half an hour for complete reliability and the updated processor coupled with up to 8GB of RAM make the OnePlus 5 one of the most powerful smartphones on the market.

“As the only high street retailer in the UK to sell the OnePlus 5, we’re proud to be continuing our relationship with OnePlus and bringing our customers the OnePlus 5,” said Magnus McDonald, Director of Product and Category Management at O2. “Demand for OnePlus devices has exceeded all our expectations and we’re excited to see how successful our partnership with OnePlus can be as we continue to move forward.”

Thanks to the O2 Refresh tariff, customers can upgrade their phone whenever they like by paying off the remainder of their Phone Plan. Those who previously purchased the OnePlus 3T and would like to upgrade to the OnePlus 5 can take advantage of this opportunity by contacting O2. In addition, they can recycle their OnePlus 3T handset instore and receive up to £80 towards the remainder of their Phone Plan.

From 27th June, the only other place to purchase the OnePlus 5 in the UK, is online, directly from OnePlus. Subsequently from 29th June, standard pricing will apply with the 64GB version priced from £34 per month for 500MB data and the 128GB version from £36 per month. Both tariffs include the upfront payment of £9.99.

For more details on tariffs and pricing and to pre-order, visit: https://www.o2.co.uk/shop/phones/oneplus/5

 

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Written by Jonathan Morris

Writing about technology, with a focus on mobile, since the early 1990s! Former editor of What Mobile magazine, writer for The Telegraph, Stuff, Know Your Mobile, Pocket Gamer, Smart TV Radar and more. Regular Tweeter, occasional YouTuber, keen amateur photographer and forum moderator. If you like what I write, please consider deactivating your ad blocker or making a donation via PayPal to help fund this site.

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