This is the best Android phone currently on the market. It has a solid design, amazing cameras, intuitive software, and it's cheaper than other flagship devices. If you can survive without waterproofing, you should get the OnePlus 5.
If you’re considering getting a new high-end Android phone, your search is over.
The OnePlus 5 is not only the best smartphone currently available, but it’s also the cheapest high-end device. Starting at $479, it’s more expensive than previous iterations of the OnePlus line but still significantly cheaper than its closest competitors, like the Samsung Galaxy S8 ($574), HTC U11 ($649), and Google Pixel ($649).
And, not only is it cheaper, it’s also better. Read on to find out what we thought, and enter the competition to win our test device for yourself.
- Color: Space Grey
- Price: $479 for 6GB/64GB or $579 for 8GB/128GB at time of writing
- Dimensions: 154.2mm x 74.1mm x 7.25mm (6.07in x 2.92in x 0.29in)
- Weight: 153g (5.4oz)
- Processor: Octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
- RAM: 6GB or 8GB
- Storage: 64GB or 128GB
- Screen: 5.5? 1080p AMOLED display
- Cameras: 16MP and 20MP rear-facing cameras, and a 16MP front-facing camera
- Speakers: Quad speakers, two on the top and two on the bottom
- Battery: 3,300mAh battery, charged using USB Type-C and Dash Charging
- Operating System: OxygenOS, based on Android 7.1 Nougat
- Extras: Fingerprint scanner, LED notification light, physical silent/ring toggle, headphone jack, NFC
OnePlus has come a long way since the rough, sandpaper-like texture of the original OnePlus One. The OnePlus 2 and 3 were okay in terms of design, but they weren’t spectacular by any means. And if you’re wondering where the OnePlus 4 went, they skipped right over that, since 4 sounds like “death” in Chinese, and is therefore considered unlucky.
However, the OnePlus 5 is designed beautifully. The matte aluminum body is modern and sleek. The edges are curved so that it fits softly in your hand. It has a fingerprint scanner built into the home button (not on the back like so many other Android phones). The screen is big and bright and colorful.
Strictly in terms of hardware, it’s what other Android manufacturers should aspire to.
That fingerprint scanner, by the way, is remarkably fast. It’s flanked by two capacitive keys, but you can almost never see those. There’s an option to have them backlit in the settings, but they’re just tiny dim dots.
Along the bottom, you can see it has a headphone jack, USB Type-C port, and a speaker. That speaker is shockingly loud, so as long as your hand isn’t covering it while holding it in landscape, it makes listening to music a treat.
The power button and SIM card slot are on the right, but on the left, you’ll find the volume rocker and a silent/ring switch. It actually has three modes: Silent, Do Not Disturb, and Ring. Do Not Disturb is intended as a middle ground where some approved contacts can reach you, but no one else.
Because this switch is built into the hardware, you can’t switch between Silent/Do Not Disturb/Ring in the settings. This might take some getting used to for Android folks who’ve never dealt with a silent/ring switch, but it can be rather assuring to know that as long as the switch is toggled all the way up, your phone will stay silent.
The rear cameras together offer some neat tricks. There’s a portrait mode, which creates a nice bokeh effect around your subject. It also has an optical zoom up to 1.6x, “lossless zoom” up to 2x, and digital zoom up to 8x.
Aside from that, it’s just a really solid camera. Low-light performance is amazing. Photos are captured quickly. It’s easily on par with the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7.
Turning to the software, OnePlus’s Android skin isn’t all that different from stock Android. It’s called OxygenOS, and it’s home to just a few simple tweaks.
Though you can replace your launcher, the OnePlus Launcher is what’s available by default here. It’s a basic, yet relatively customizable launcher with a fluid swipe-up motion to bring up the app drawer.
If you swipe over to the left, you’ll find the “Shelf”, which is essentially a place to put widgets and other shortcuts.
In the Settings, you’ll notice that there are a few unique customizations options. For one, you can enable or disable the on-screen navigation keys. This allows you to choose between software or physical keys, and it lets you customize what those keys do.
You can even set it to continue using the fingerprint scanner as a home button — even with the software keys on — which is a standout feature, in my opinion. Most Android phones keep the fingerprint scanner on the back, which means you can’t use it while your phone rests on a table.
But with the OnePlus 5, you can turn the screen on or off just using the fingerprint scanner, all while the phone lies on a flat surface.
There are other little features in the Settings, like Double Tap To Wake, a custom LED notification light, and the ability to customize what’s visible in the status bar.
Together, these little tweaks make for a solid software experience, all without taking away from the feeling of stock Android.
With the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, the OnePlus 5 is blazing fast. Not only that, it either has 6GB or 8GB of RAM depending on which model you get. That’s massive overkill for a phone, but it also future-proofs the device thoroughly.
Most modern Android phones are satisfyingly snappy, but the OnePlus 5 really does not hesitate. Multi-tasking is near instantaneous, and I never accounted a second of lag. If you really have no patience for slow phones, the OnePlus 5 is ready for you.
With a 3,300mAh battery, the OnePlus 5 gets better-than-average battery life, but it’s not mind-blowing. With light usage you could go two days, but with medium-to-heavy usage, you’ll probably just make it one day.
That being said, in a world where phones regularly die halfway through the day, the OnePlus 5 is a welcome relief. It’s not the battery-packed champion it could be, but it’s still quite good.
Plus, the included Dash Charging cable can take it from 0% to 100% in just over an hour.
Should You Buy The OnePlus 5?
Yes. This is the Android phone that can actually challenge the iPhone 7. It’s just as good, if not better, than all the other high-end devices out there — and it’s a good deal cheaper. You won’t find better value than the OnePlus 5.
That being said, it does lack one major feature: Waterproofing. That’s become common among many other devices, but OnePlus just isn’t there yet. If you plan on getting your phone wet, you’ll need to look elsewhere.
But, if you can survive without a water-resistant phone, the OnePlus 5 is hands down your best choice. Grab yours now from GearBest for just shy of $500.