back to article OnePlus cash equals 5: Rebel flagship joins upmarket Android crew

In a little over three years, the Chinese giant BBK Electronics has made a big impact on the market using OnePlus as a guerilla operation. By throttling supply via an invitation scheme, and offering terrific value for money, the OnePlus brand built up an authentic word of mouth reputation: help yourself to flagship specs at a …

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  1. TonyJ Silver badge

    I had a OPO & OP2

    In fairness the OPO only remained in my hands long enough to list it on eBay as I'd had to replace my phone between ordering and delivery and it took many weeks.

    The OP2...it started off as a decent phone. One of the reasons I purchased it was the promised regular security updates but they were few and far between coming roughly every 4 months.

    No...my view of OP is that they're a massively successful marketing machine that just happens to produce a few phones.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I had a OPO & OP2

      A few of us where I work have got OPO (and OP3/Ts). Updates seem fine and better than most. Difficult to be sure though as most have moved over to LineageOS.

      I'm very happy with the phone but the 5 is just too expensive, I can't imagine spending that much on a phone of any kind!

  2. Lego Brick

    The trouble is

    For me, I found that both myself and people I've talked about the OP5 to would much rather pay the £150 for the 'extra' features like USB 3, water resistance, wireless charging, expandable storage etc. Plus the added benefit of not having to explain what phone I have to the unwashed masses.

    Oneplus just aren't bringing enough of a performance jump to entice OP3T users like myself to jump ship the the OP5 from what I've seen and heard from owners. Especially with the removal of optical image stabilization, bigger battery etc.

    1. NonSSL-Login
      Gimp

      Re: The trouble is

      OP1 and OP3T owner here and the higher price of the OP3 had me questioning whether to just pay the difference and get the Samsung alternative instead. With the deals it was between 50 and 100 quid more but a quality brand, waterproof, better camera and post processing and nice looking screen although still not convinced I want a screen that breaks easier.

      I purchased the OP1 because of price and it being the first phone with CyanogenMod as the standard firmware.

      If it wasn't for the 128gb of fast internal storage and 6GB ram I probably would not have gone for the OP3. Having now owned it and found that the OP3 only uses about 3gb of memory no matter how hard I try to fill it, because the software on it has intentionally limited it. Something to do with powering the rest of ram would make the batter drain quicker from what I understand. No software option to change this though, so the 6GB of ram is a bit of a gimmick.

      So now the newer OnePlus devices are not cheap, don't have CyanogenMod (yes you can flash yourself but usually means Banking apps, official streaming apps and other stuff refuses to work) and I feel a little bit tricked by them with the memory thing.

      My next phone I have a choice of an OP or say a Samsung, I would likely pay the extra for the Samsung. It's a bit like buying cheap chinese computer where you might have problems with drivers or getting virtualisation to work, just extra effort and it's never quite as good as buying the slightly more expensive known brand like HP, which just works and is reliable. I feel that with the OnePlus phones now and with the price difference being closer together, it's not a hard choice to make anymore.

      Saying that, I absolutely adore my Oneplus 1 with the sandpaper back and Cyanogenmod as well as my OP3T. But this is probably the end of the road for my OP love affair.

      1. Lego Brick

        Re: The trouble is

        I feel the same way, I had an OP1 too actually! I was one of the suckers that bought the OP3 then bought the 3T (I sold my OP3 to my dad)

        Oxygen OS is alright in the scheme of things, almost 0 bloatware. I hate to sound like an apple user but at least with Samsung phones you know they're going to work, plus if they don't you can take it into any shop and get it fixed/replaced. I hate to admit it but my love for OnePlus is dwindling. I just think £500 is a bit much considering the lack of features.

        I'd like to see them make a tablet or something mind you.

        I'm gonna stick with my OP3 for now as it's still perfectly capable of 99% of what I do day to day.

    2. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: The trouble is

      "I found that both myself and people I've talked about the OP5 to would much rather pay the £150 for the 'extra' features"

      Indeed, and you're certainly not alone in that. As the recent article on Samsung's quarterly results noted, consumers simply aren't interested in expensive but not top-end phones. If they want an expensive phone, they're going to pay a little bit more to get all the bells and whistles available, while if they're happy to compromise on features they simply don't want to pay that much. There's a good market for £250 or so and lower phones, and a smaller but profitable market for high-end phones, but OnePlus are jumping into the not-quite-good-enough niche just as everyone else is abandoning it due to lack of demand.

  3. Tom 38 Silver badge

    Upgrade problems

    I've got a OP2, the only thing it doesn't do that I might want it to do, is have NFC. Not sure spending £500 to make it easier for me to spend money is actually worth it.

    I'm far more likely to buy a newer battery and a replacement screen, spend £30 to keep this one going another 2 years.

  4. highdiver_2000

    Honor 9, non Snapdraon SOC. Lineage support is iffy.

    Open and shut case, OP 5 is a winner.

    1. Chz

      Qualcomm hasn't recently proven Snapdragon SOC to be a plus. Last year, the Huawei Kirin was a *better* choice than the 820. The 835 isn't very different to the current Kirin, being a tweaked A53/A73 combo and giving up on their custom cores. The big problem with non-Qualcomm was drivers, but against my expectations Huawei actually dropped the source so there are 3rd party ROMs for Kirin SOCs.

      I've got an Honor 8. Up to the May security patch bundle of 7.0. Supposedly we're getting 7.1 (and presumably a security update) by end of summer. That's not great compared to having a Nexus/Pixel, but it's not awful by third party standards. Certainly it could be better, but expectations are low. I'd say I'm happier with my (cheaper) purchase than a co-worker with the OPO3t.

  5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "During the review period, I received several OTA updates from OnePlus – a sign of attentiveness."

    Fairly meaningless unless we know how long the review period was. If OTA updates come in quick succession it could be less attentiveness and more "ship now, finish later".

  6. Valeyard

    Still using my oneplus one

    I'd have been tempted for the 5 since 4 generations is a good innings, but at this price i'll be keeping my oneplus one (preordered for around 230 quid and still well up to the job)

    think it'll be my last oneplus if this is any indication too

    1. Craigie

      Re: Still using my oneplus one

      I'm still using my OPO too. Now getting weekly software updates via LineageOS. It's still an excellent device and I'll be using it until it dies.

      1. Valeyard

        Re: Still using my oneplus one

        that sounds good, i'm still on cyanogenmod til i can decide on a new OS, i'll have a look at lineage

  7. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    No microSD port?

    No way.

    One day I'll see a phone that manages to do all the obvious, simple, boring things right.

    This is not it.

    1. Tom 38 Silver badge

      Re: No microSD port?

      Yeah, I don't fully understand it either. Most other dual SIM phones allow the second SIM slot to be used for an SD card.

      The SIM slots are hard to get to though, you probably wouldn't want to take the back off everyday to swap SD card, so maybe its a functionality vs form factor debate - you can have it sleek, or you can have the SIM/SD slots easily accessible.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: No microSD port?

        I have previously chosen phones with an SD slot, but found it more trouble than it was worth. Why? Some apps will shunt their data to the SD card automatically, which means that they get confused if you pop out the card to use elsewhere (for example, my MP3 player, my car stereo and my camera all use SD/micro SD cards). This immediately negates the idea of using the SD card to conveniently shunt data between devices (I.e use phone to download podcasts to car stereo, or use phone to email pictures taken with my Lumix camera). Plus, the damned things are small and easy to lose.

        If I really wanted dozens of gigabytes (which really, I can imagine a large music or video library requiring) then I would use USB OTG and a twin-headed (micro USB and USB A) memory stick. It might be inelegant, but that doesn't matter if I'm sat on an airline seat watching video.

        This is just my personal experience, YMMV.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: No microSD port?

          Oops, no edit on mobile site:

          I meant to write: " ...dozens of gigabytes (which really, I can imagine *ONLY* a large music or video library requiring)..."

          Okay, time for more coffee! :)

        2. Tim Seventh

          Re: No microSD port?

          microSD port has an advantage without relying on cloud backups when your phone breaks.

          Let's say for some reason, you dropped your phone from your hand and it just didn't work anymore. You could retrieve your data from the cloud, which will take some amount of time to re-download. or you could recover the small microSD and plug in to a new phone and be on your way.

          This is especially helpful when you have documents that you don't want to be on the cloud due to privacy or size, while relieving you from carrying a usb with a usb otg adaptor around.

          1. cyberdemon
            Devil

            Re: No microSD port?

            > microSD port has an advantage without relying on cloud backups when your phone breaks.

            This.

            When I mentioned on the OnePlus forum that the reason I think the lack of MicroSD is a mistake is because I want to be able to BACK UP MY PHONE, the response from the fanbois was literally this: "Your microSD card may fail at any time, but the cloud never rains"

            I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

            That just epitomises where the whole tech industry is heading though: Don't worry your little heads about keeping your data safe - your data is safe with US - it's OUR data now! >:}

      2. Jonathan 27 Bronze badge

        Re: No microSD port?

        I personally don't care if the microSD port is hard to access, as long as it's there. I'd rather buy one decent-sized card and leave it in there until I feel like I need more space than to swap cards all the time. A dual-sim card is pretty useless in the western world. OnePlus should have doubled up the functionality with a micro SD slot. My current Moto X Play is like that. The MicroSD card is on the bottom of the sim holder.

    2. Novex

      Re: No microSD port?

      At the price, I stopped reading after I read that it had no expansion option. For me, even if the microsd slot is inside the phone, it's an essential. If I want to move data between devices then I'd use USB-OTG anyway these days. The internal card means I can have my entire music library on MP3 in the phone on a 128GB card with headroom, and don't have to keep plugging in a USB card to either move files onto the phone for listening, or listen via the USB card directly (which uses more power).

  8. Tronald Dump

    1+5 looks decent

    But plenty mileage left on my 1+3, will wait a few more weeks and see what the 5T is like.

    1. Craigie

      Re: 1+5 looks decent

      The 5T will be non-existent. The 3T was only necessary due to having to support new processor features. Really they should have held back the 3 a little.

      1. iRadiate

        Re: 1+5 looks decent

        Rubbish.

        Far too many things wrong with the 5.

        They'll need to release a 'T' to stay in the game.

  9. psychonaut

    no removable battery, no sd slot. next!

    1. Craigie

      Which phone still has them though? Plus if you have a 64GB+ phone, it's a lot less hassle just using the space you have without having to manage an external SD.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Unless the SD is just full of low-priority stuff like media files which are easier to pass from phone to phone as you progress. And that still doesn't excuse the lack of removeable battery, which based on firsthand experience is a serious longevity and safety issue. Having pulled out plenty of bulging batteries in my years, I've made it a prerequisite.

      2. ChrisC

        Quite. I'd always been in the "must have a SD slot" camp, but as time has gone by I've now found myself (not entirely willingly) moving over to the "must has as much onboard storage as affordable" camp instead.

        I'd *love* it if Android actually did support SD cards as if they were nothing more than a second partition onto which you could do anything that it lets you do with the default internal partition, but since Android either continues to treat SD cards a a second-class citizen (by default) or as a fully tied-in part of the storage scheme (via adoptable storage), I'm finding that on my phone at least the benefits of having even a moderately large SD card are diminished by the inability to use the spare capacity on it to augment the rather more limited internal memory - how many times have I cursed the Android devs whenever the "insufficient memory to install this app" message pops up, when there's more free space on the SD card than the phone would be able to provide even if the entire internal memory was wiped clean... And don't get me started on how little love I had for them when they rolled out whichever version of Android it was that messed around with the SD access permissions for third-party apps.

        I can't even remember the last time I pulled the card out of my phone, so other than the continued somewhat obscene markup on buying additional storage space internally vs how much the same capacity would cost in a decent quality SD card, it might as well just all be internal...

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          "And don't get me started on how little love I had for them when they rolled out whichever version of Android it was that messed around with the SD access permissions for third-party apps."

          Don't blame Google there. IIRC it was the same version that allowed for encrypting the storage devices to allow a Lock-and-Erase that was actually effective. With that in place, Google discouraged app devs from using external storage (less likely to be encrypted) as a security measure. I actually DO encrypt the internal storage on my phone to take advantage of this.

          These days, internal storage is enough to store all the apps I would ever need. As noted, I keep the external card (unencrypted , in case of Murphy) for low-priority stuff where its security isn't really an issue (after all, who cares if my media collection is stolen; it's just a copy).

          1. psychonaut

            "Which phone still has them though?"

            my note 4. i cant find anything to replace it with. so i guess thats a good thing for my wallet.

            i just dont get why the below are so hard to find / difficult to do.

            want:

            1)waterproof

            2) big removable (or at least easily replaceable) battery and no i dont want to have to lug a power pack - my note is on its 3rd battery - still lasts all day from a single charge with everything on and constant phone calls

            3) fast charge

            4) decent camera with decent night shooting (which is where the note 4 falls down)

            5) headphone socket

            6) big screen

            7) sd slot (my music collection is large).

            open to suggestions if anyone has an opinion

  10. Dave 126 Silver badge

    No surprise re camera

    It shouldn't surprise the reviewer that the camera's result don't match the hardware specs on paper. Most high end phones use Sony sensors, yet Sony phones have never output the best images compared to reviews of Samsung, Apple or indeed Google's Pixel phones. The image processing software/firmware on the phone evidently makes a lot of difference.

  11. Alan Sharkey

    I've got one

    It is, apart from the camera, the best phone I have ever had. The Snapdragon 835 procesor handles everythig exceedingly fast and, while 8Gb is overkill, with 128Gb of fast memory, I really see no need for any more external storage.

    Charging is quick and, as you say, it lasts for ages before needing a charge. 2 days is not uncommon with my usage.

    The Dual Sim slot is a welcome addition and it can receive on both of them without doing anything (you tell it which one you want to dial out on either in settings or just as you dial). Both will do 4G.

    So - camera. Very disappointing considering the hype. Basicly, it needs OIS. Without it, it's just ordinary. But then, I have a real camera or two - but it's still disappointing, especially in low light.

    Would I swap it? No. It actually does what I need out of a phone.

    1. DrXym Silver badge

      Re: I've got one

      I've got one too and it's a good phone for the price although the "jelly" effect is noticeable on some apps. I'm also waiting for LineageOS to start supporting it because OxygenOS is a nice barebones Android, it still lacks additions I miss from Lineage such as privacy guard.

      Still it's very responsive, the screen is bright, it charges fast, the battery has been excellent so far, the finger print reader is great. The phone isn't burdened with crapware and it has lots of storage and ram.

      I like the camera but then again I come from a Oneplus One & Nexus 4 where the camera were so slow they were frustrating. Just taking a picture and seeing the picture in a split second is a novelty. Taking a picture which isn't a blurry mess is also a novelty.

      One criticism I have is not of the phone but the official flip cover case. It has a very neat feature where closing it turns off the screen, but the the damned thing makes it hard to push the volume buttons. Maybe the volume controls should have been on the right side and the power somewhere else.

      1. Alan Sharkey

        Re: I've got one

        I've got the same case, but I never use the volume buttons, so it doesn't seem to worry me.

        Alan

  12. tiggity Silver badge

    meh

    I will stick with my el cheapo (massively sub 200 quid) dual SIM phone I have had a while, removeable battery, its 6GB RAM, only 16GB stoarge but has (additional, not a dual use SIM slot) SD card slot to top up the storage.

    It's good enough, not the greatest camera but I have several proper cameras I take places when I'm expecting to do some photography so only use of phone camera is a quick snap of something unexpected when out & about.

    Fail to understand the mania for camera quality on a phone, even the best camera phones are dismal compared to low end cameras because physics - a proper size lens (i.e. not a phone tiny lens) makes a huge difference to image quality. My very old Canon DSLR (so archaic electronics compared to modern stuff) will (foreseeable future) always destroy phone camera picture quality due to having decent size and quality lenses.

    Same with screen resolution, it's a small screen, you soon hit diminishing returns on pixel numbers (and as the review mentioned, extra pixels eat battery) - little justification for some of the pixel counts on phones

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: meh

      > Fail to understand the mania for camera quality on a phone, even the best camera phones are dismal compared to low end cameras because physics

      Because even a phone camera is better than no camera at all. Most people have their phone with them most of the time, few people always carry a dedicated camera.

      You could equally say "I don't understand the mania for APS-C dSLRs, they are dismal compared to full frame cameras". There has always been a trade-off between image quality and convenience (read: size), but phone cameras have a head start on this graph: the screen and battery are already present. Indeed, Sony removed the screen and storage from their excellent RX 100 compact camera and offered it as a bolt-on for phones (though sadly the implementation wasn't flawless)

      Whilst a phone camera will be poor in low light compared to a £500 compact camera with a 1" sensor such as the RX 100, in brighter light a phone camera is often more than fit for purpose (most people won't be printing out A3-sized hardcopy).

      Phone cameras these days are surprisingly good, due to there being market demand for them.

      If you still don't understand, you must be trying very hard to not understand.

      1. psychonaut

        Re: meh

        get the cos physics argument, agreed, but the note 4 camera is fine for everything for me apart from night shots where it is abysmal. it takes ages to focus. i am not a photographer obviously, and i dont own a camera. and dont particulalry want to own one, i just use he note for taking about a million pictures of my kids, which i very rarely look at. but have to back up.

        1. psychonaut

          Re: meh

          by the way tiggity, which phone do you have?

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: meh

            I've been sticking with Note 4's. Still have the one I got about a year ago and got one for a good friend recently to replace an absolute dinosaur. It's the biggest Samsung phone that ticks all the boxes for me. I've since removed Qi charging from my list since I learned it raises serious heat issues that causes battery problems.

            1. psychonaut

              Re: meh

              yup, still got my note 4. theres nothing else that ticks the boxes for me. will need something to replace it with at some stage soon, mine is getting a bit knackered now. but the only option at the moment is another note 4

  13. TonyJ Silver badge

    By the way...if you have the Barclays mobile app don't go putting a second SIM in. They don't support it and after a week or so will revert to requiring you to re-register.

    Took me a while to get to the bottom of that one on my OP2.

    Don't know if that's still the case but worth bearing in mind.

    1. Alan Sharkey

      I've got the barclaycard app on my OP5 and it works OK with 2 sims in.

      1. TonyJ Silver badge

        "...I've got the barclaycard app on my OP5 and it works OK with 2 sims in..."

        Perhaps Barclays have finally got around to understanding that dual SIM phones are a thing.

        I'd be interested to know how long you've had it for though...mine would work for weeks on end then suddenly throw me to the new device registration screen.

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does anyone buy a phone based on camera performance ?

    Except a few niche applications ?

    1. iRadiate

      Re: Does anyone buy a phone based on camera performance ?

      No but all other things being roughly equal (ram, OS, processor etc) why would you want a phone that doesnt have at least decent camera performance.

      OP5 camera was really crap.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Bye bye Wileyfox ...

    These look nice, and the customer service cannot be any worse.

  17. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Uhh, Andrew?

    For £499 you get a slimline phone with absurd specs, on paper: more powerful than many laptops (8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage).

    This is The Register, not some tabloid rag. A technical audience that understands what makes a computer "powerful".

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Uhh, Andrew?

      Fair point!

  18. iRadiate

    Just returned mine after 13 days.

    Pcs (win7 and win10) wouldn't recognise the phone via USB. Had to use Google drive to transfer files.

    Camera was shit under anything but ideal conditions.

    My 2016 Mercedes wouldn't recognize the phone via usb.

    My new Sony MDR 1000x headphones had trouble connecting via Bluetooth.

    Random reboots.

    Random app crashes.

    These reviewers need to use the phone for more than a day or two to properly evaluate it.

    First and last time I'll be trying OP.

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