Everything we know about the OnePlus 5.
Update June 7, 2017: This post has been updated with the latest rumors of what to expect with the OnePlus 5, including new renders of the device.
OnePlus has had a pretty good year, what with the success of its OnePlus 3 and 3T phones and some massive overhauls internally that, against all odds, led to improvements to its Oxygen OS software, with more frequent updates.
Now we're seeing the first signs that a sequel is in the company's future and that OnePlus is skipping the "4" name altogether and readying flagship successor, the OnePlus 5. Here's everything we know so far.
What will it be called?
After previously confirming the OnePlus 5 name to Android Central, OnePlus has since started to use the moniker on its website and in promotional materials. This one's official.
Why would OnePlus skip the OnePlus 4 name? One thought is because in Chinese culture, the number four is considered bad luck when attached to a product. And besides, the OnePlus 3T is sort of a fourth OnePlus phone, so there's that angle, too.
When will it be available?
The OnePlus 5 will be unveiled on June 20, as OnePlus announced an online launch event for that day at 12:00 p.m. ET. This is just a week later than the OnePlus 3 launched last year.
OnePlus has planned nearly a dozen pop-up events on both June 20 and 21 to let fans get an early look at the phone and even buy one on site. We don't yet know if online sales will open on launch day, but considering the company's previous launches it would make sense to at least take pre-orders right after launch.
What are the specs?
The specs of the OnePlus 5 aren't clear just yet, but there are a few elements we know and a couple others, based on leaks, we can pretty accurately guess.
Here's what we know so far:
|Operating System||Oxygen OS based on Android 7.1.2|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 835
Adreno 540 GPU
|RAM||6GB LPDDR4 (8GB in some markets)|
|Storage||64GB storage (128GB in some markets)
|Rear Camera||Dual 12MP|
|Audio||3.5 mm headphone jack|
|Security||Front one-touch fingerprint sensor|
I wouldn't be so sure about an 8GB RAM version for North America.
Breaking it down a little more, there are a few variables to keep in mind. We know that the phone will launch with a Snapdragon 835 processor, because of course it will — OnePlus' CEO even confirmed it. OnePlus has launched all four of its flagships with that year's canonical Qualcomm SoC, and this year will likely be no exception. The OnePlus 3 had 6GB of RAM, so you can expect that same number in the OnePlus 5; it also came standard with 64GB of internal storage, so you can expect that, too. I wouldn't put too much credence in the idea that it will ship with 128GB standard, nor that it will come with 8GB of RAM. We're not there yet, and OnePlus gains little from offering those in a base configuration.
We've heard that there may be an 8GB/128GB variant of the OnePlus 5 for China, specifically, which makes a lot of sense since that country is obsessed with maxing out what's possible in a phone, but I wouldn't count on it coming to North America. It's possible OnePlus will, instead, offer a 6GB/128GB or even a 6GB/256GB model in North America for $50 or so more.
On the screen front, we're hearing that OnePlus will keep its 5.5-inch display size and that, while the screen will do away with as much of the top and bottom bezels as possible, it will keep the front fingerprint sensor, and may also maintain the OnePlus 3 series' 1080p resolution. From a battery-saving perspective, it would make sense to keep the OnePlus 5 at 1080p, especially if the AMOLED panel used is of very high quality — even devices like the Huawei Mate 9 have fantastic screens despite relatively low pixel densities — but given that most competing phones have upgraded to 2560x1440 or an equivalent QHD resolution at various aspect ratios, it would make sense for OnePlus to do the same.
A dual camera setup on the OnePlus 5 could be its most exciting feature.
At either resolution, we'll likely see the OnePlus 5 support Google's Daydream VR platform, which will make for another popular handset in the category.
Finally, another big upgrade is to the battery. While the OnePlus 3T already saw an improved capacity, from 3,000mAh to 3,400mAh, the OnePlus 5 is expected to pack a 3,580 to 3,600mAh cell. That could translate, along with the more-efficient Snapdragon 835, to much better battery life.
What about performance?
Pete Lau, OnePlus' CEO said in a blog post that the phone will not only run a Snapdragon 835, the fastest chip on the market to date, but it will also be optimized for touch latency and RAM management, two areas where the OnePlus 3 and 3T were heavily criticized. He said this in a post on the company's forums:
But choosing the right components is only the first step. You also have to optimize performance to create the best user experience. When we began developing the OnePlus 5, we envisioned a smartphone with flawlessly smooth performance. To illustrate how we made it happen, we'd like to share a bit about our process.
One of the main areas we wanted to improve was touch latency. Our engineers tested why scrolling occasionally differed between phones. There wasn't a lot of precedent for them to work with – no benchmarks, no industry case studies to learn from. So we used a special high-speed camera to track screen movements and measure input speeds. As a result, apps respond quickly to your touch for a seamless user experience.
We also wanted to improve the overall feeling of smoothness. To achieve this, our engineers added a feature to OxygenOS to better manage the way your apps perform. The apps you use most are ready to go when you turn on the OnePlus 5. Apps you rarely use are deprioritized and kept from affecting performance.
That's really good news, considering that even now, after a few updates, the OnePlus 3 and 3T have excellent touch latency and, while still not great, much improved RAM management.
A few odds and ends
- Despite rumors to the contrary, there's no reason to think that OnePlus will drop the headphone jack from this year's unit.
- We haven't heard whether OnePlus will add waterproofing to this year's flagship, but the company would be doing itself a huge disservice by going another year without it.
- Wireless charging? Not likely, since it looks like OnePlus will stick with a metal back again.
- Renders show that OnePlus is likely to keep its physical mute switch on the side of the phone.
- Dual speakers? Not this year.
- Removable battery? gtfo.
What will it look like?
As mentioned above, the OnePlus 5 is probably not going to look too different from its predecessor — don't expect the same jump that we saw from the OnePlus 2 to the OnePlus 3. Instead, you can be sure that OnePlus is going to go out of its way to shrink the phone as much as possible without sacrificing usability. Front-facing fingerprint sensor? Definitely, but you'll probably also see space-savings elsewhere on the device.
Our most reputable look at the phone, shown above, comes from Android Police and shows a more rounded look, with dual cameras on the back and a more pronounced "2.5D" glass front. It's hard to get a sense of scale from the render, though.
So it will have a fingerprint sensor on the front?
Yep, the company's CEO confirmed as much to GizChina in an interview, which means that it will still likely have a 16:9 aspect ratio and optional capacitive buttons on either side of it.
Have you heard anything about the camera?
The camera on the OnePlus 5 is expected to be cameras. OnePlus is expected to be adopting the dual camera trend, with two identical 12-megapixel rear sensors. It's unclear at this point whether the lenses will be of different focal lengths, but either way you can expect some cool camera tricks and an overall improved photo taking experience.
What would be cool is to see a OnePlus 5 with the same wide-angle lens as the LG G6, since I think a lot more people would be interested in that than the "telephoto" distance of something like the iPhone 7 Plus. An improved front-facing camera, likely with auto focus, is also in the cards.
We do know that OnePlus is teaming up with popular camera benchmark company, DxO, to optimize and "enhance" its cameras.
We're happy to announce that we have teamed up with DxO to enhance your photography experience with our upcoming flagship, the OnePlus 5. DxO is perhaps most well-known for creating the defining photography benchmark, the DxOMark. They've got years of imaging experience and expertise, both for professional cameras and for smartphones.
Working alongside DxO, we're confident the OnePlus 5 will be capable of capturing some of the clearest photos around.
What about the software?
Expect another iteration of Oxygen OS on the OnePlus 5, launched with a slightly updated version of what we currently have on the OnePlus 3 and 3T, running Android 7.1.2. The phone will launch long before Android O is public.
Oxygen OS has turned into quite the capable piece of Android software, and while it's unclear whether the OnePlus 5 will have any distinctive hardware elements that change up the software experience, what is clear is the company's desire to keep Android as simple and fast as possible, while relegating the gimmicks to the background.
And software updates?
OnePlus doesn't have a great track record of maintaining updates for longer than a year or so — the OnePlus 2 still doesn't have Nougat despite a number of promises — but the OnePlus 3 and 3T are still getting regular updates well into their lifespans, and after a somewhat close call on a promise to get Android 7.0 by the end of 2016, the phones are now seeing new software regularly.
In other words, we don't know. Hopefully, OnePlus will keep the OnePlus 5 updated long into its lifespan, but we have more confidence in its ability to do just that than we did a year ago.
What will it cost?
Judging from the minor price bump between the OnePlus 3 and 3T, coupled with rising component costs throughout the world, the OnePlus 5 may cost somewhere between $449 and $499, which puts it creepingly close, but still a step below, the flagships that it's competing against. At $399, the OnePlus 3 was a serious contender for "amazingly cheap"; at $439, the OnePlus 3T is just "inexpensive." A OnePlus 5 at $469 or so would be close to "Should I spend the extra money on another phone?" Still approachable, and maybe even affordable, but losing its pricing edge.
Color me impressed!
Oh right, colors! Almost forgot! OnePlus has teased four color options for the OnePlus 5, including black, red, gold and what looks to be a multi-colored gradient extravaganza. Fun!
Will I still be able to buy a OnePlus 3T for a little bit less?
Nope! The OnePlus 5 will completely replace the 3T, according to the company. Too bad, since we really like the OnePlus 3T and think it could be a great buy at $100 less than its current $439 price tag. But you also have to understand that OnePlus is interested in getting people up to date with its latest hardware.
We'll have lots more on the OnePlus 5 when it's unveiled in "early summer," which is getting here sooner than later! In the meantime, check out our OnePlus 3T coverage and let us know what you want in OnePlus's new flagship!
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