If you're looking for winning combination of software, features and camera - check out the OnePlus 5 Android smartphone.
Chances are, you haven't heard of the OnePlus name. That's understandable. The company didn't even exist until a few years ago. Since then, they've created one solid Android device each year that challenges the norm. You get more with a OnePlus phone at a price that's lower than flagship rivals.
OnePlus 5 is their latest device, and as in years past, it has been surrounded by a lot of hype from Android enthusiasts. But you don't need to be an Android fanboy to appreciate this phone. It's a solid combination of style, features and camera that you can rely on as an everyday device. Let's take a closer look at what you get.
Lots of reviewers are mocking the OnePlus 5 for copying the iPhone's look and feel. Don't worry about that. I test every phone that comes out and I will tell you that they are all the same - except for Samsung's latest design. I will also tell you that never ever once in a public place have I laid down a phone on a table and had someone comment on the design of it. No matter how cool or eye-catching I think it is. People have better things to do than judge the style of your phone. The OnePlus has a slick looking shell and the fingerprint reader is in the perfect place on the front of the device. My biggest grip is how slippery this phone is, but they do have cases, shells and skins to alleviate that.
The OnePlus 5 sports a dual camera setup on the back. The primary camera is 20 megapixels, the secondary camera is 16. This allows the OnePlus 5 to take those cool looking "bokeh" shots, aka the pictures of stuff with blurry backgrounds. Don't be misled by megapixels. More does not equal better pictures. In fact, the OnePlus 5 has a crazy 16-megapixel front facing camera! Just for reference, the iPhone 7 is 7 megapixels and the Samsung S8 is 8. Pictures from the OnePlus are generally good. If you look super close or get nitpicky you will find flaws but the only phone I've ever used that takes a perfect picture every single time is Google's Pixel - and most of that is because Google is working some crazy math magic with your shots after you take them to make them look better.
The first day I got the OnePlus 5 I took it to an event at Disney's California Adventure and it was an absolute pleasure to shoot with. Sure, some shots were a miss but overall it captured the night perfectly. You will be very happy with the camera on the OnePlus 5 and the pictures it takes for you on a daily basis. If you're a whiz kid on the camera you'll be happy to know there is a manual mode, too.
Don't even think twice about this. The OnePlus 5 battery is excellent and it charges faster than any phone out there. Keep in mind for this to work you must use their proprietary Dash Charger. Otherwise, regular chargers will work, your phone just won't juice up in record time. Seriously, you blink and this thing is charged. Additionally, if you use Dash charging in your car you can run GPS and keep your screen on and your phone will still fast charge. There is no wireless charging, but you don't need it.
The software on the OnePlus 5 is one of my favorite parts of the device. It doesn't run stock Android, but something called OxygenOS. It's Android with little enhancements here and there. Nothing like a Samsung, LG or HTC device where the entire look and feel is changed. OxygenOS feels like stock Android, but there are helpful little features tossed in. Basically, it's an Android nerd's dream because you can customize every single little aspect of this phone. Personally, I like how you can pick and choose every single icon that's displayed in your status bar. Choose from various battery styles (or hide battery altogether), network speed, time with seconds and which icons you want to see. Don't want to see your signal strength? Just toggle it away. This is the stuff Android dreams are made of.
One really cool feature I've never seen before on a phone is called "Reading Mode." Choose the apps you want to activate it and when you open one of them, your screen will adjust to look like a Kindle's e-ink. It's really handy and easy on the eyes.
OnePlus is better than many phone manufacturers about software updates. In just a few weeks of having the OnePlus 5, it's already gotten at least three tweaks. But, like any phone, the older it gets, the longer they take to arrive.
As for speed - this thing is super fast, and there is literally no bloat to hold you back.
Odds and Ends
OnePlus 5 has a lot of little things going for it. The device is sold unlocked and has support for carriers worldwide. Unfortunately, Verizon and Sprint don't work on it in the U.S. Technically, there is no reason why Verizon shouldn't, but that's another story.
There are two models of the device - 6 gigs of memory with 64 gigabytes of storage, and 8 gigs of memory with 128 gigabytes of storage. The device comes in gray and black.
At $480 for the base price, the OnePlus 5 - with all its features - is a fantastic value. That's almost $200 less than the price of many flagship devices. The only features you're really missing out on are water resistance, wireless charging, a memory card slot and potentially a "flagship" camera. This device would have been a steal at $399, but sub-$500 is still a pretty amazing value for an unlocked device that does so much.
Should You Buy One?
It depends on what you want out of a phone. At this point, the Samsung S8 is the one to beat. There literally isn't a feature that phone doesn't have. It also comes with a super-premium price tag. I'm not a huge fan of the software and carrier bloat on the S8, but I can deal with it because it has so many other things going for it. The Pixel - and it's perfect pictures - is showing its age at this point so I'd wait for the new model on that one. Also, the Pixel is going to cost more. If you want an Android phone that hits all the right marks - including price - go for the OnePlus 5.