First impression: OnePlus 5 hits a sweet spot between pricing and hardware

OnePlus co-founder and CEO, Pete Lau during the launch of OnePlus 5 smartphone in Mumbai on June 22, 2017. (Photo: KAMLESH PEDNEKAR)
OnePlus on Thursday launched OnePlus 5 in India priced at Rs 32,999 for the 6GB RAM and 64GB storage version and Rs 37,999 for 88GB RAM and 128GB storage version.

 
The fifth iteration of the OnePlus, a Chinese upstart aptly known to make flagship-killer phones, is the priciest yet. However, given that the pricing is still quite some distance cheaper than popular flagship phones – the iPhone 7 and Samsung S8 -- the OnePlus 5 will continue appeal to the its loyal clientele.

 
The phone will also be an attractive preposition for a whole bunch of Android users wanting to graduate from the Rs 15,000-20,000 price point to something more premium. With the mass-market, Xiaomi virtually ignoring the premium segment in India and other brands like Huawei and Motorola also not aggressively vying for the premium space, the OnePlus 5 could virtually be uncontested in the less than Rs 38,000 price bracket.

 
One major reason why OnePlus is popular is that it has hit a sweet spot between pricing and hardware. The main draw of the OnePlus 5 is the top-of-the-line hardware, which rivals most phones. The latest device comes with Snapdragon 835 processor with up to 8GB RAM, making it up-to-date device on the technology front.

Taking inspiration from the iPhone 7 Plus, OnePlus has for the first time launched a dual-camera phone. The OnePlus 5 sports a 16 mega-pixel (MP) plus 20 MP rear dual-camera, which the company claims performs even better than the iPhone 7 Plus camera. Besides, features like dash charging and unibody all-metal design, fast fingerprint scanner and dual sim slots (no memory expansion slot) make it a complete hardware package. The screen continues to be 5.5 inches 1080p fullHD with only a minor improvement over the previous generation. On the software front, OnePlus comes with proprietary Oxygen OS with Nougat 7.1.1 underlying. The OS is similar to stock android OS with minor improvisations. It would be appealing to see if the company has managed to reduce bugs such as touch latency bug that plagued the earlier versions. 

The OnePlus 5 is ergonomically-superior, making it is ease to hold despite its large-screen. The phone’s back and side looks are appealing and it even has a resemblance to iPhone 7 Plus. The front look isn’t a much bump up over previous models.

Downsides

Key features offered by other flagships but missing in the OnePlus 5 is the lack of waterproofing or wireless charging. Also, in the age of bezel-less displays, the OnePlus 5 top and bottom bezels look usually large. The company has slimmed the size bezels which is a saving grace. The phone comes in only two colours---variant of black and grey---both look quite identical.

The company, however, would be selling attractive cases which can add some colour to the device.

The shortcomings notwithstanding, the latest OnePlus continues to offer more bang for the buck just like its predecessors.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel