The OnePlus 5 was (at the time) the most expensive phone the company has ever made, and subsequently had the highest expectations. The base plan to meet those expectations was to double down on the formula that has at least got OnePlus this far: high-end specs, solid hardware and super-fast software. Then there's the extra bit of marketing thrown behind its camera setup, which is the first substantial change to the formula of previous OnePlus phones.
The best place to get up to speed with the OnePlus 5 is right here — here are the top things you need to know about this phone.
The OnePlus 5T is here
Around the middle of October, OnePlus stopped selling the OnePlus 5. A few weeks later, the OnePlus 5T was announced with a new design and some new features. Since the OnePlus 5 is no longer available for purchase, you'll want to check out the 5T if you're interested in OnePlus's phones.
A whole heap of top-notch specs
For another generation, OnePlus is giving us just about all of the top-end specs we want to see in a high-end phone today. It starts with the latest Snapdragon 835 processor, and continues on with a standard 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage. There was also an optional 8GB RAM and 128GB storage model for just $60 extra.
You'll also see an above-average 3300mAh battery inside despite the phone's 7.25 mm thickness, and it offers quick charging that can match or exceed how quickly other phones charge up with their Quick Charge 3.0 tech. You get USB-C connectivity, of course, and a 3.5 mm headphone jack — unfortunately, an increasingly rare item these days.
We're missing waterproofing, though
But of course, a phone that sold for $479 can't do it all. There are still a few specs and features "missing" here that you could find on other phones ... but the biggest one is waterproofing.
Yup, you won't find an IP rating at all on the OnePlus 5, and that's something you find in just about all of the flagship competition. No matter that those phones are $150-250 more than the OnePlus 5, because OnePlus is definitely framing its latest phone as a competitor to those flagships.
Some things remain unchanged from the OnePlus 3 and 3T
For all of the advancements in the OnePlus 5, some parts of its experience remainedunchanged — or imperceptibly changed — from its predecessor, the OnePlus 3.
Much of what you find on the OnePlus 5 was introduced in 2016's OnePlus 3.
Some key parts of the hardware experience are the same now as they were before, including the 5.5-inch 1080p display, the one-touch fingerprint sensor below the screen, the great "Alert Slider" on the left edge, and the Dash Charge fast charging system. The phone's dimensions are also near-identical, with the OnePlus 5 being marginally thinner and narrower, and just shy of 2 mm taller.
The Android 8.0 Oreo software on the OnePlus 5 is also very similar in features to the OnePlus 3, particularly if you've dabbled in any of the beta builds for the older phone where the new software has been in testing. The experience of using the phones side-by-side today is hardly different, and the small differences can (and should) be brought to the OnePlus 3 in due time.
In many cases the stagnation isn't a bad thing, but it is worth noting that the OnePlus 5 has strong continuity with the phone that came before it and those that have come after.
OxygenOS is one of the best software experiences today
After a few early stumbles with its execution, OnePlus has created one of the best software experiences available on an Android phone today. OxygenOS, as OnePlus calls it, is based on the latest Android Oreo build from Google but also integrates several super-useful features that so many people desire in their phone.
You can tweak all sorts of little things like the status bar, launcher, theme, icon packs and the notification LED. But you can also change larger areas like choosing between on-screen or capacitive navigation keys, and adding screen-off gestures to launch specific functions and apps.
The best part about all of these changes is that they don't get in your way if you don't want them, and don't detract from the overall clean experience offered by Android the way it comes from Google. Performance on the OnePlus 5 doesn't suffer, either, which we can all be happy about.
You now have two rear cameras
A substantial area of change when compared to the OnePlus 3 is the OnePlus 5's camera setup. The new phone has a new 16MP camera, a faster f/1.7 lens and new image processing techniques, but has lost OIS (optical image stabilization) in the process. The main camera feels like an overall upgrade from the OnePlus 3, and it's capable of taking some great photos. But its lack of physical stabilization hamstrings it in scenes with mixed or little light, and the results end up being a bit grainy or blurry if you're not careful with stabilizing your hands.
Dual cameras give you new options — and one important omission.
Sitting right next to the "main" camera is another camera as well: a 20MP sensor with an f/2.6 lens that has a longer focal length — around 40 mm equivalent to the main's 24 mm. You can tap the "2x" button in the camera app to quickly switch to this lens and take photos with a unique perspective — and because it has 20MP of resolution you can even digitally zoom in a tad without losing much fidelity.
The big reason for including the second camera is "Portrait Mode," which is a way to use both lenses at once to create a faux background blurring effect to try and mimic what you'd see in a DSLR. It can be hit or miss (this software is really hard to do right), but when it works you get a cool-looking photo that's different from what you'd see from either camera on its own.
It works just about anywhere in the world ... but not Verizon
OnePlus surpassed a pretty big technological hurdle to be able to ship one model of the phone with radio support for 30+ countries — particularly in facing the Chinese market that uses many bands you don't find anywhere else. That means you can take your phone to most places in the world and have it work on the local carrier, which is great for international travelers. There are also two SIM slots, giving you even more possibilities.
The one shortcoming, speaking purely from a U.S. perspective, is its lack of support for Verizon and Sprint. Even though the OnePlus 5 technically supports some of the necessary LTE bands for the carriers, OnePlus is making no claim of testing or certification for those networks. It's annoying and frustrating, but you shouldn't buy the OnePlus 5 expecting to use it on Verizon or Sprint.
If you bring the OnePlus 5 to T-Mobile you'll find it works great, including support for both VoLTE and Wi-Fi calling. Unfortunately those advanced calling features aren't available on AT&T — you'll get the basic voice and data services there.
Dash Charge is awesome, but has some requirements
The in-house developed Dash Charge charging system helps your OnePlus 5's battery charge up incredibly fast. But because of the way the charger has to interact with the phone to perform the fast charging without generating much heat, it requires a special charger and cable. You must use a OnePlus-made Dash Charge charger and cable, or it just won't work. OnePlus includes the correct charger and cable in the OnePlus 5's box, and also offers extra wall chargers and car chargers on its website.
The only frustrating part about Dash Charge is that it isn't cross-compatible with other fast charging systems, like the widely used Qualcomm Quick Charge or the more generic USB-C Power Delivery spec. That means if you plug into another charger (or use another cable) it will likely top out at about 5V/2.4A — which is pretty fast, but not nearly as fast as Dash Charge is.
You can't buy one anymore
OnePlus has settled into a twice-yearly release cycle for its phones, and doesn't have any overlap between models. That means shortly before a new phone is released, the current model will stop being available to purchase. The OnePlus 5 met this same fate, with sales (at least, official sales from OnePlus's site) ending in mid-October 2017. A few weeks later, the OnePlus 5T was announced and became available.
You can still find the OnePlus 5 on Amazon — without official warranty, mind you — or used models on resale sites. The OnePlus 5 is still supported with the same software that the 5T has, and it's still a great phone. If you want to save some dough, looking into a used OnePlus 5 isn't the worst way to do it.
Oreo is here
OnePlus has a very light take on Android, but doesn't update its phones super quickly. Oreo was first released by Google in August 2017, but OnePlus didn't deliver a stable version of Oreo to the OnePlus 5 until January 2018. It's here now, though, and it's as great at OnePlus's software has been for years. There are the standard Oreo features such as notification channels, better autofill support and themed media notifications, but also new launcher and gallery features.
Read our review and other coverage
Get to know the OnePlus 5 in detail by reading our comprehensive review, as well as our second take review. You can see how the OnePlus 5 compares to the Galaxy S8 and then how their cameras compare, too.
Updated March 2018: Made sure everything is up to date and fresh! Plus, we now have reviews and more!
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