When the OnePlus 5 launched back in June, I was impressed. It was one of the first devices to launch in India with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC, and also one of the first phones in the world to feature an incredible 8GB of RAM. Many jokes were made on how the phone has more RAM than most laptops, but the simple fact is, the phone is an absolute powerhouse. And priced from Rs 32,999 onwards, the OnePlus 5 also stuck to its impressive pricing, while continuing to offer the flagship smartphone experience.
I’ve been using the midnight black 8GB RAM OnePlus 5 since June, with the vast majority of this period seeing the device as my primary smartphone. I’ve seen firmware updates, changes in the interface and multiple tweaks to the device in that period, and of course, put it through the paces extensively. As my primary device, it’s been my phone for gaming, web surfing, social media, pictures, phone calls and more. Here are my new insights into the phone, after four months of continuous use. ALSO READ: OnePlus 5 Review
Still an absolute powerhouse
With the best processor made by Qualcomm to date and a mammoth 8GB RAM under the hood, the OnePlus 5 has been a solid performer from the word go. For me, flawless performance is the most important factor in any smartphone, since I’m easily frustrated by waiting times and performance lag. Even today, despite using plenty of newer smartphones since, I’m always tempted to quickly go back to my preferred OnePlus 5. Whether it’s multi-tasking with many apps running, gaming or running the Chrome browser with several tabs open, the OnePlus 5 has rarely let me down, after some initial issues with the Facebook app.
Something that often bothers Android customers is a lack of software support, but that hasn’t been a cause for concern with the OnePlus 5. At launch, the phone came with OxygenOS 4.5.0 based on Android 7.1.1. While the phone is still running the same version of Android, OxygenOS has since been updated multiple times and is on OxygenOS 4.5.10 at the time of this review.
Improvements have addressed various aspects of the phone such as bug fixes, Android security patches, camera improvements, battery optimizations and more. The appearance of the interface has also seen some changes when it comes to app icons, widgets and font. Additionally, the OnePlus 5 is confirmed to be in line for an update to Android Oreo in the coming months. It’s therefore safe to say that software support is not a cause for concern with the OnePlus 5, and the company has a proven track record as one of the better manufacturers around when it comes to software updates. ALSO READ: Xiaomi Mi Mix 2 Review
(Camera samples shot with the OnePlus 5)
A camera that’s improved
As mentioned, software updates have frequently addressed issues with the camera, and have even delivered improvements to the algorithms and functioning. While there haven’t been any path-breaking improvements to the camera in terms of added features, there have certainly been subtle improvements to the way the OnePlus 5 takes pictures.
Although the algorithms for the portrait mode don’t seem to have been improved significantly, there is a noticeable difference in ordinary photos and videos, particularly when it comes to low-light shooting. Close ups and macro photography feel considerably better, and I’ve been getting excellent results with some of the products that I shoot for my reviews. Pictures taken at night in low-light conditions are the most improved, as can be seen below. Detail, color and overall composure remains in place, and pictures taken with the OnePlus 5 retain the punch that gives the phone a unique touch.
(Camera samples shot with the OnePlus 5)
The battery remains capable
While you would expect battery life to deteriorate over time, battery life degradation on the OnePlus 5 has been negligible at best. This is perhaps due to continuing battery optimizations on the device, as well as my personal experience with how best to keep the phone going as long as possible between charges. I continue to easily get a full day of usage on a single charge, although this has entirely depended on how I use the phone. The Facebook app in particular continues to drain battery quicker than others, especially when shooting live videos, and gaming always takes a big chunk out of the battery.
The OnePlus 5 has also changed my charging habits to a great extent. Because of the raw speed of the Dash Charge technology in the phone, I’ve resorted to charging the phone in bursts more often than at one go. 15-20 minutes charging sessions about 3-4 times a day, with either the regular Dash Charger or the OnePlus-branded unit I have in my car keep the phone going through the day. As before, a little over an hour of charging can take the phone from close to zero to 100%. The phone does tend to heat up a little bit with heavy use or while charging, but cools down quickly enough.
A relatively small complaint with the OnePlus 5 is with the screen protector film that comes out-of-the-box. The screen not only doesn’t cover the entire screen (which looks a bit odd), but is also very susceptible to scratches. I soon peeled it off, and placed the phone in the official OnePlus 5 flip cover, which I’ve found to be the best way to protect the screen when the phone is in my pocket. ALSO READ: OnePlus goes on sale offline, will be available at Croma
Four months later, the OnePlus 5 is still a capable device that doesn’t disappoint. It’s remained as efficient and powerful as it was on day one, and having 8GB of RAM under the hood means that it won’t slow down any time soon. Battery life too is something that doesn’t cause any concern, and the fast charging remains one of the most useful and practical features of the smartphone.
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What has perhaps been the best part of using the OnePlus 5 for the last few months is the frequency of software updates. These have kept the phone running smoothly, addressed bugs and issues, improved on the camera and kept things secure and safe from online threats. And with an assurance of support for the months to come, the OnePlus 5 remains an excellent option long into the ownership period.