The past few months has been one of the most exciting for us, smartphone enthusiasts (Android, in particular). What causes this? It’s no other than the long-awaited and inevitable release of the OnePlus 5. The enthusiast-focused brand that got everyone falling in love back in 2014 when it first launched.
Several leaks have been swarming around the internet about the upcoming OnePlus flagship. The leaks, while fun and exciting to read, should all be taken with a huge grain of salt though. Several contradicting leaks exist out there which means that one of them (if not all of them) must be fake.
I personally see these fake leaks as the manifestation of what die-hard OnePlus fans want to see in the phone when it is released. While I also think that some of them has some credibility, these leaks can provide an idea as to what OnePlus fans really care about. We keep seeing the ‘leaked’ information regarding the battery size, dual-camera setup, RAM size, display resolution (sometimes also including the panel type), and the pricing. As for the chipset, we rarely see interesting story about them because I think Snapdragon 835 is practically a no-brainer if OnePlus still want to be a ‘flagship killer’.
Here are the 5 things that I think OnePlus needs to do with its upcoming OnePlus 5.
Remember the OnePlus 3? It was an extremely fast phone when it came out and it still is right now, but it was lacking in the battery department. 3,000 mAh battery will barely last you a day these days. Then, OnePlus came back a few months later with its next iteration, the slightly improved OnePlus 3, the OnePlus 3T. It came with 400 mAh more juice for you to use but the combination of powerful CPU and not-so-efficient architecture means that it will also struggle to last a full day with heavy use. Sure, the improvement is nice but I think people would want to see a better battery life in their smartphones after seeing what Lenovo P2, Redmi Note 4 (Snapdragon Version), and Zenfone Zoom S could achieve. Sure, average people won’t care that much about the battery life of their phones but this is OnePlus we’re talking about, their target audience is the enthusiasts, the most nitpicky group I would say (I know because I am). Since we can safely assume that the OnePlus 5 is going to use Snapdragon 835, which brings roughly 25% more battery life according to this, I would love to see the OnePlus 5 to sport 3,600 mAh or more battery to have a noticeable improvement over the OnePlus 3T. This can be achieved if they utilize the space cleverly by reducing or completely removing the camera bump which is very annoying and serves no purpose at all. So, take note OnePlus! Big battery and no camera bump!
Keep the RAM Size
Most flagship phones today come with a minimum 4 gigs of RAM. It’s been kind of a norm that anything below 4 gigs is considered lacking. That doesn’t mean the OnePlus 5 can get away with only 4 gigs of RAM. Last year’s model had a whopping 6 gigs of RAM and I think that means anything below 6 will be considered a downgrade. There are also chatters that say the OnePlus 5 will sport an 8 GB RAM which I find overkill at the moment. Sure, future-proofing is nice. Sooner or later there will be a lot of phones out there with that amount of RAM. Still, I would prefer that this year’s model come with ‘only’ 6 GB of RAM to keep the cost as low as possible. In fact, I seriously think that OnePlus should make 2 different models, one with 4 GB RAM and one with 6 GB RAM. Having an option to buy the cheaper one is always nice. Assuming OnePlus will again do an awesome job at optimizing its Oxygen OS, I personally think a cheaper model with 4 GB RAM and Snapdragon 630/660 will be a nice alternative considering the rumored increasing price of the OnePlus 5. But, we just know that’s unlikely to happen here.
OnePlus has sticked with the 1080p panel since the first iteration of their phone dating back to 2014. It has launched 5 different phones with the same display resolution which was perfectly fine at the time of the release, even for OnePlus 3T. But, I genuinely think it is time for them to ditch the 1080p display to move on to 2K display. I am by no means saying that the 1080p is not sufficient for day-to-day use, it is still perfectly fine. The problem is that the industry is now facing a new trend that is Virtual Reality and OnePlus has dived deep into this trend by releasing their very own Virtual Reality device called ‘Loop’. Had OnePlus decided not to put their hands on this VR game, I seriously would have thought that the OnePlus 5 should still use 1080p panel to (again) keep the cost as low as possible and make the battery life slightly better. I am one of those people who think that 1080p on a 5-5.5 inches devices is already more than enough (which is the case for day-to-day use).
Yes, it is. One of the main reasons why flagship phones priced at >$700 stay relevant in 2017 when there are so many way cheaper alternatives offering decent performance is the camera quality. The budget phones are always lacking in this department and manufacturers keep pushing the boundaries of its camera quality for their flagship phones to provide a good reason for people to spend those extra hundreds bucks. Last year’s OnePlus 3 and 3T managed to produce a comparable image quality to those of the pricier ones like Samsung Galaxy S7, iPhone 7, and the Google Pixel. Sure, those pricier ones noticeably take better photos most of the time, but the OnePlus can always hold its grounds against them even in low light conditions. Simply put, the OnePlus 3 and 3T’s camera was also a very good one considering the price tag. This year, OnePlus is again expected to go toe-to-toe against the Galaxy and the iPhone. My initial expectation is that the OnePlus 5 will again hold its grounds pretty well like last year but it all changed when they teased that they are working with DxOMark to improve the camera quality. I begin expecting more of the camera and they’d better deliver this time. Some people think that OnePlus working with DxOMark is kind of cheating because DxOMark is the one to give the rating for camera quality, which means that they are working with the ‘jury’ this time. I expect that the OnePlus 5 camera rating will be very high and I really hope that it will be reflected in the actual use of the camera. Otherwise, it will all just look like a marketing ploy and that will only damage their brand, especially in the eyes of their main target market, the enthusiasts.
Sub $500 Price
The four other points I made above are pretty much still negotiable. Small battery? OnePlus provides Dash Charging anyway. RAM too big? Meh. 1080p display? Just don’t use it for VR and you’ll be fine most of the time. Poor camera? Impossible! Even the OnePlus 3T camera quality is still perfectly fine for 2017 and I don’t expect them to downgrade the camera. But, how about the price? This is the one where I don’t think OnePlus could negotiate with us. Sure, the price of the OnePlus phones always increase every year (ignoring the short-lived OnePlus X), but I don’t think it is a good idea for them to release phone with more than $500 price tag. OnePlus should always remember that the thing that people see them as a budget alternatives from the other flagship phones. The reason it got so many attention back in 2014 is because it offered a flagship specs for half the price. Even though one could argue that OnePlus has now come pretty far in terms of build quality and general usage of the phone (last year’s OnePlus 3 and 3T was arguably one of the quickest phones out there), it still doesn’t change the fact that one of the reasons people love their phone is because of the price. With not-so-good customer support, lack of physical presence in major countries, and questionable warranty claim procedure, people are going to think twice to buy their phones if the price tag is somewhat similar to the Galaxies and iPhones. That is why I’m calling bullsh*t on the rumors that say it will be significantly pricier.
So, there you have it folks, the 5 things that OnePlus 5 needs to keep the enthusiasts interested in the phone. As for the dual camera, it has been pretty much confirmed now with this post right here from OnePlus. I personally see them quite useful but not that it matters much in terms of camera quality, for now.
I am very excited about this whole OnePlus 5 saga and can’t wait to watch the launch tomorrow. How about you guys?