OnePlus 5 review by

OnePlus was a very popular brand among the tech community, simply because it offers the best bang for the buck when it comes to the best mobile processor. Unfortunately, it was never officially sold and supported in Singapore market. Hence, I never got a chance to properly review it.

Until now.

OnePlus 5 (A5000) is officially released in Singapore market through Lazada with 18 month local warranty and servicing support. This is exciting news for a lot of Android users who like me are less adventurous to buy them from overseas online stores at the risk of no warranty support.

To set you in perspective, OnePlus 5 is fitted with Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, the latest fastest processor. It has 2 variants: the 6GB RAM 64GB storage retails for S$769, and the 8GB RAM 128GB storage retails for S$869. You can never find another smartphone with this spec at this insane price. Here are the prices of the other 2 smartphones with Snapdragon 835: Sony Xperia XZ Premium retails for S$1098, while the HTC U11 is selling at $998.

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So what’s stopping people from buying them? After reviewing for 2 weeks, here are the features I like:

OxygenOS UI

I like that the UI is clean. App drawer is retrieved by swiping up, notification drawer is pulled down by swiping down anywhere on screen, no need to pull from the top.

Following stock Android, the apps offer contextual menu when the user taps and hold.

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The 3 Android buttons can be configured with additional actions on each button: long press and double tap. This means you can have up to 9 short cut actions, just like that. I love the ability to double-tap the home button to turn off the screen.

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The Night mode calibrates the screen to appear warmer to reduce fatigue at night. It also has a reading mode that also auto-calibrates the colour temperature.

I can select whether the UI is light or dark.

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I can select how to display the time on the status bar, or choose which icons to hide.

The UI also supports screen gesture, like double tap to wake, draw letters to start apps.

Other configurable features include selecting the Bluetooth audio codec manually – SBC, aptX or aptX HD. Or, when clearing recent apps list, to clear normally or “deep clear”.

OnePlus 5 review by

The phone also supports Ambient Display, where the screen wakes when there are incoming notifications and displays them for a while.

Alert Slider

The dedicated alert slider has 3 positions: ring, do-not-disturb, and silent. Very convenient to silent the phone instead of accessing the drop-down menu, though most Android users would simply adjust the volume button with the same outcome.

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With Snapdragon 835 and 6GB RAM on this review unit, the phone is fast in navigating among the screens and apps, only limited by the screen transitions. Fingerprint sensor unlock is extremely snappy. If you are in need of raw power for gaming and media processing, this phone will get things done in an snap.


The left-most home screen page is “Shelf”, where you can post widgets that scrolls down continuously without being constrained by the limits of the page. This allows me to fit in more widgets in this page which I find is better than trying to fit widgets within fixed page sizes.

Dash Charger

The proprietary OnePlus Dash Charger can charge the OnePlus 5 3300mAh battery from almost 10% to 100% in 60 minutes. One of the fastest smartphone chargers in the market. Battery drain is normal, does not offer any significant battery-management capability. Fortunately, I can charge up the phone in a jiffy as fast as me spending the battery.

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OnePlus 5 needs brushing up on some of these features to compete against the big boys:


The 5.5-inch AMOLED display appears neutral, lacks the brilliance and saturation. I personally prefer neutral faithful display, but other phones have option to change the display quality to Vivid. Not OnePlus 5.

Normal Speaker Quality

The mono speaker is loud, compressed but harsh. Not inspiring.

OnePlus 5 review by

Not Waterproof

If OnePlus 5 were waterproof, it would be another plus point to buy it.

No Micro SD card slot

One of the rare smartphones in the market that do not come with expandable storage.

Camera Quality

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The OnePlus 5 offers above average camera that fails to match the best in the market. They are not bad, but when the phone price is at the lowest range of the premium-tier, I would expect better. It sort of justifies the relatively low price for the OnePlus 5, which is unfortunate.

OnePlus 5 sample photo by

The two camera lenses come with different fields of view – standard f/1.7 and telephoto f/2.6. Depending on the amount of light, OnePlus 5 may choose to use the standard lens to shoot at telephoto, effectively using digital zoom. At close scrutiny, the images are heavily processed to remove noise, resulting in a blotchy water-painting effect, albeit not as severe as some other budget smartphones.

The Depth Effect attempts to mimic shallow depth of field, but unlike Huawei’s dual camera, the blur effect cannot be adjusted after the shot is taken. The good thing is that the camera saves the non-depth effect photo at the same time, in case you are not pleased with the outcome.

OnePlus 5 sample photo by

On the whole, the effect is more subtle compared to Huawei.

OnePlus 5 sample photo by

In general, the camera’s white balance is skewed towards the warm tone, so I find my images mostly warm. The exposure is also conservative. HDR effect is also not too aggressive. Night shots look usable on the whole without inspecting the details, as there are no significant chroma noise for web sharing.

OnePlus 5 sample photo by


There is nothing strikingly bad about OnePlus 5. It is a great value, powerful and speedy smartphone that is going to delight all users who desire a top-spec device with raw processing abilities. I love the slim profile with the curved metal back that makes it feel sleek and light. I enjoy the customisation capabilities of the UI. But after one week, I find myself gravitating towards HTC U11, the other smartphone I am reviewing at the same time. The U11 feels more premium, the screen display looks more vibrant, the camera quality is outstanding. I feel it is worth paying that extra $100+ for the HTC. The OnePlus 5 is a great phone, but lacks the bling to be desirable.

If you are attracted by the simplicity of OnePlus 5, order yours from Lazada and enjoy 18 month local warranty instead of 12 months. Join LiveUp programme with 2 months free trial and enjoy additional 5% rebate which you can spend on your next Lazada purchase.

Technical Specifications

  • Display: 5.5-inch FHD AMOLED
  • Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (Octa-core, 10nm, up to 2.45GHz)
  • Memory: 6/8GB RAM, 64/128GB UFS 2.1 Storage
  • Camera: 19MP (Rear), 13MP (front)
  • Operating System: OxygenOS based on Android 7.1
  • Ports: USB 2.0 Type-C, Dual nano SIM slot, 3.5mm audio jack, no microSD card slot
  • Wi-Fi: 2×2 MIMO, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, 2.4G/5G
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.0, support aptX & aptX HD
  • Battery: 3300mAh
  • Dimensions: 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.25 mm
  • Weight: 153g

Product photos shot in lightbox provided by Whitebox Technologies. Read review here.

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