OnePlus 5 hands-on review: focusing on the big picture

Can a dual-lens camera continue OnePlus's winning streak?

The OnePlus range has long been a darling of smartphone connoisseurs, offering comparable performance, speed and build quality to premium flagships, but at a fraction of the cost. After the OnePlus 3 and 3T wowed fans last year, expectations for the follow-up have been high. In the hopes of continuing its win streak, the Chinese company has unveiled its latest device - the OnePlus 5.

The company has made a few subtle updates to its new phone, most notably in the camera department. OnePlus has opted for a dual-lens camera for the OnePlus 5, similar to the setup seen in the iPhone 7 Plus. The twin Sony-made lenses are 16MP and 20MP, with an aperture of f/2.6 and f/1.7 respectively, and OnePlus claims that they bring increased clarity, improved zoom functionality and support for depth-of-field shots for portraits. There's also a 'pro' mode, which lets you change the ISO, white balance, shutter speed and other settings. You can also shoot in RAW format, and save and edit histograms.

The design has been updated too, and the chassis is now smoother and more rounded, with a more pronounced matte finish As expected, the fingerprint sensor is still housed in the phone's capacitive home button. It's really rather attractive and feels excellent in the hand - not dissimilar to the Samsung Galaxy S7, actually - but it's a bit more slippery than the OnePlus 3T.

Specifications are one of the areas in which OnePlus has continually excelled, with truly top-notch components. Thankfully, this hasn't changed with the latest model. It's powered by a 2.45GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 CPU - the same processor that the Samsung Galaxy S8 uses. Just like the OnePlus 3T, it's also got 6GB of RAM - although an 8GB version is also available. It's also got 64GB of storage as standard, which we're thrilled to see making a return.

OnePlus hasn't updated the display since the OnePlus 3T, however, and it's still using the same 5.5in 1080p AMOLED panel as before - although the company has added the ability to switch between different colour modes on the fly.

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Sadly, rumours of a 4,000mAH battery proved to be inaccurate - the OnePlus 5 uses a 3,300mAh battery, just like its predecessor. That's still a very competitive size, though, and it's also compatible with the company's proprietary 'Dash Charge' fast-charging standard, which still outperforms most other devices in terms of charging speed.

While the OnePlus 5 looks like a very capable device indeed, it doesn't seem like the company has actually changed all that much since its last phone. The processor has been updated to Qualcomm's latest chips, sure, and the camera has been seriously beefed up, but aside from that, it seems to be largely identical.

On the other hand, we're not sure this really counts as a criticism. The OnePlus 3T was a truly excellent device, with the camera proving to be the only thing holding it back from beating most manufacturers' flagships at their own game. Now that this looks to be fixed, the OnePlus 5 may have returned the company to its former glory. And the best part is that in spite of predictions, the OnePlus 5 will retail for 449 in the UK, meaning it's still one of the cheapest mid-range devices going.

The OnePlus 5 looks set to continue the company's trend of producing truly excellent Android phones, and may even be on track to rival the Galaxy S8. Watch this space.

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