OnePlus 5: Which model should you buy?

Do you require 64GB or 128GB of space? And is the extra RAM really that necessary?

OnePlus has certainly figured out its formula for selling smartphones: take a no-fuss design, shove in an all-day battery along with the latest processor, and keep the Android software tweaks at a minimum. The OnePlus 5 is a great depiction of that vision as it's equipped with all the components that fit in with the company's winning smartphone strategy.

This year, OnePlus is offering two different models of its marquee device in an attempt to appeal to those stray few who might still require a bit convincing to steer clear of a phone from a better-known manufacturer. Rather than go with a bigger screen, however, OnePlus is offering more storage space and more memory for an extra $60.

We're going to help you choose the OnePlus 5 model that's right for you.

Decide how much storage you need

There isn't much of a difference between the two OnePlus 5 models. You either get 6GB of RAM and 64GB of storage, or 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage — you can't pick and choose your RAM and storage independently. In either case, you'll get the same Snapdragon 835 processor, as well as a larger-than-average 3300mAh battery. You're also getting a 5.5-inch 1080p display, 16-megapixel rear camera, and a near-stock version of Android, which is partly what's helped make the OnePlus lineage of smartphones so attractive in the first place.

There's no SD card slot, so get the storage right from the start.

Your primary decision here is whether you'll need the full 128GB of storage — and that will depend entirely on your sort of usage. After all, there is no SD card expansion slot on OnePlus's latest, so you'll have to choose the right size from the start.

If you're stuck, try thinking of it like this: are you planning to shoot a ton of 4K video with the OnePlus 5? Do you install dozens of big games? Or maybe you expect to load up the device with movies and television shows you've purchased specifically for the long commute you endure daily? If you answered "yes" to any of those questions, you'll want to consider the extra space. For everyone else, 64GB of storage is probably sufficient, especially if you get into the habit of backing up your data regularly to multiple cloud services in tandem. On the flipside, if you're simply too lazy, or maybe life leaves you feeling a little scatterbrained at times, the bigger storage unit might be the best solution as it offers plenty of wiggle room.

What about the extra RAM?

Don't be fooled by the allure of having 8GB of RAM in the 128GB storage version of the OnePlus 5. Granted, it sounds like a good package, especially for the small additional cash, but that extra bit of RAM hardly factors into the performance of the smartphone. As explained by our own Andrew Martonik in his review:

…I'm using the model with 8GB of RAM, but this really doesn't factor into the performance at this point. The highest average memory usage I ever reached, according to the phone's settings, is 4.7GB — comfortably underneath the 5.5GB ceiling (500MB is reserved for the system) of even the standard 6GB RAM model.

You may personally decide that the added RAM is worth the price since it effectively helps future proof the phone — who knows what OnePlus may be able to do with software a year from now that uses the extra memory. That's a totally fine way of thinking; but don't expect the extra RAM to do much for overall performance in normal day-to-day usage today.

Choosing a color

Completely secondarily to internal specs that actually influence how the phone works, you'll also have to keep in mind the body color.

The sleek "Midnight Black" finish of the OnePlus 5 shown off in our review is available exclusively on the 8GB/128GB version. Then there's a slightly lighter shade, called "Slate Grey," that's available for both models. The colors are very similar when viewed from a distance, but if you like wielding the special thing, the extra $60 may very be worth it for the midnight black color alone. But also consider that once you option up for it and hit the $539 price point, it's not that much more money to get into the territory of buying an LG G6 or HTC U11 — it could change your buying decision altogether.

Which model of the OnePlus 5 will you be picking up? Let us know in the comments!

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