The OnePlus 5 will arrive in the coming months, as the Chinese startup has now confirmed the name of its next flagship smartphone and that it will arrive during ‘Summer 2017’.
OnePlus has managed to consistently stand out from the crowd by offering high-end hardware at a mid-range price, but even to say that undersells its achievements.
The company often out-specs rivals with its ‘Never Settle’ mantra and clearly puts time and thought into its phones, yet still manages to sell them for less.
All of that is true of the OnePlus 3T, which has a massive 6GB of RAM, along with a premium build and high-end specs throughout, all for just $439, £399 (around AU$580).
It’s a remarkable phone then, but it’s not perfect and we’ve come up with a wish list of things (on page 2) that we want to see for the OnePlus 5.
You’ll find all the latest news and rumors about the OnePlus 5 on this page, along with speculation and analysis to fill in the gaps.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next affordable flagship from OnePlus
- When is it out? Summer 2017
- What will it cost? Probably around £400, $439, AU$580
OnePlus 5 release date
- A June or July launch
- Confirmed: coming ‘Summer 2017’
It’s more than likely then, that the OnePlus 5 will land in mid-2017, to keep the Chinese firm on the annual rotation of new handsets which is commonplace in the mobile industry.
That’s all but confirmed, with OnePlus revealing that the OnePlus 5 launch will take place during “Summer 2017” – basically we should only be a month or two away at most.
This all falls in line with Weibo tipster , who claimed a June or July OnePlus 5 launch, while another Weibo source reckons we’ll see it in June, and a store listing claims the phone will ship in early June.
TechRadar’s take: We’d be surprised if the OnePlus 5 landed before June though, with June or July the mostly likely arrival date for now.
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The name: OnePlus 5 vs OnePlus 4
- It will be called the OnePlus 5
- We won’t get a OnePlus 4
The eagle-eyed among you will note that we’ve not had a OnePlus 4. We’ve had the OnePlus One, OnePlus 2, OnePlus X, OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T – and now we’re getting the OnePlus 5.
Why 5? The number 4 is a sign of bad luck in China, which is the main thinking as to why we’re going straight to the OnePlus 5. It would also, technically, be the fifth flagship phone (ignoring the short-lived OnePlus X) with the OnePlus 3T taking the fourth generation spot.
Thing is, apparently neither of those are the reason behind the name. According to OnePlus, it was apparently inspired by the former NBA player Robert Horry who had a number five jersey and is a popular player among OnePlus employees.
OnePlus 5 screen
- A change in technology
- A 5.3 or 5.5-inch 2K display
The OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T have a 5.5-inch 1080 x 1920 display, just like the OnePlus 2 and the OnePlus One. Given how staunchly the company has stuck to that size and resolution combination it’s tempting to think it will do the same with the OnePlus 4, and that’s certainly possible.
In fact, one tipster has said exactly that, and also shared the image below, showing the phone with an edge-to-edge display.
But we reckon OnePlus might push the resolution up to 1440 x 2560, and that possibility has also been rumored, with talk of a 5.3-inch screen of that resolution, while another source points to a 5.5-inch QHD display.
The resolution of the screen on the OnePlus 3T is one of its few faults and one of the only areas you can really point to and say that’s where the company cut corners.
To make an impact next year it’s likely to push the resolution up, especially since by then just about every flagship is likely to have a QHD or higher resolution screen.
But why do we need to push resolution above 1080p on such a small screen? Two letters: VR. Virtual Reality was big in 2016, even OnePlus has got in on the act launching the OnePlus 3 in VR (and the OnePlus 2 in 2015), but for the best experiences you need a high resolution display.
A 2K screen would improve the VR experience on the OnePlus 5, as well as giving a boost to movies and gaming.
The rumored drop in size to 5.3 inches is more surprising. OnePlus only makes one or two phones a year and while there’s no such thing as one size fits all the company is going to want to get close.
Big phones are growing in popularity and it’s done well with the 5.5-inch size point, so we’d be surprised if it really gets any smaller, but any bigger pushes it into phablet territory, which is a relatively niche market.
We may see a move from AMOLED back to LCD though, as OnePlus is struggling to source enough AMOLED panels to keep up with OnePlus 3 demand. Then again, the first OnePlus 5 rumors point to AMOLED still.
TechRadar’s take: We reckon the OnePlus 5 will have a 5.3-5.5-inch QHD LCD screen – so roughly the same size as the OnePlus 3, but higher resolution to catch up with rivals, and a return to previous tech due to AMOLED shortages.
OnePlus 5 design
- A metal/glass body
The first design rumors suggest we could see a big change in the look of the OnePlus 5, with apparently a glass body in place of the OnePlus 3’s metal one.
You can see a rough render of how that might look below – note the absence of antenna bands, which wouldn’t be as needed with glass.
We’re not totally convinced by this though, as while it’s tough to pinpoint how OnePlus has kept the cost down in the final design of its handsets, it presumably aims to keep spending to a minimum during the development of the phone, which means a whole new design every year isn’t likely to be on the cards.
The company completely changed the design for the OnePlus 3, giving it a truly premium metal build, so we may see something similar for the OnePlus 5. It won’t be identical – look out for something slimmer and more refined, but it could have a similar overall look.
A clearer leaked image also shows a lack of antenna bands, as does a leaked photo, though if anything it looks more like a metal back here than a glass one, and whether glass or metal the overall style and shape looks similar to the OnePlus 3T.
We’re hoping for further bezel slimming – allowing the OnePlus 5 to sport a more compact frame even though it houses a 5.5-inch display. The Samsung Galaxy S8 also boasts a larger 5.8-inch screen, but it’s narrower and shorter than the OnePlus 3T, which means the OnePlus 5 should be able to slim down a bit.
We won’t mind if OnePlus makes its next flagship slightly thicker, allowing it to reduce bezel size while making a bit more room for a bigger battery. And space for a microSD slot? We can but dream.
TechRadar’s take: The OnePlus 5 could go glass, but we think the changes will probably be smaller – think evolution, not revolution.
OnePlus 5 camera
- A dual-lens camera
- 12MP rear and 8MP front snappers
- Augmented and mixed reality features
OnePlus has announced that it’s working with camera expert DxOMark to improve the quality of the camera on the OnePlus 5. No specifics were given, but we have heard rumors of the form these improvements might take.
For one thing, several leaked images show a dual-lens camera, and another rumor also points to a dual-lens snapper, with augmented reality and mixed reality functions, though no details are given on the specifics of these features.
Another leak details some aspects of the camera though, saying that both lenses will be 12MP, with one color and one monochrome (black and white one), which combine for improved contrast, more light and less noise in images. The same source says there will be an 8MP front-facing camera.
We’ve also heard again that there will be a dual lens camera, but that the lenses will be horizontally aligned rather than vertically, which would mean the images we’ve seen of the phone are inaccurate.
These changes are believable. A lot of work was put into the camera on the OnePlus 3T. Both rear and front sensors have a high megapixel count (16MP on both), there’s optical image stabilization and plenty of other features.
But the end result is a snapper which still isn’t quite up to the standards of the best around, so expect the camera on the OnePlus 5 to be further tuned and improved. That’s not to say it’s a bad offering, it’s just the bar has been raised so high it’s difficult – on a budget – to match it.
Surprisingly, a leaked sketch shared by Chinese site anzhuo has shown a dual front-facing camera. No details of its specs are included and this is the first we’ve heard of that, so we’re highly skeptical, but can’t rule it out.
TechRadar’s take: A 12MP rear camera is likely, as this would both change things up and fall in line with rivals. There’s a good chance it will also be dual-lens, but we doubt the front-facing camera will be.
OnePlus 5 battery
- A 4000mAh juice pack
- Seriously fast charging
Battery life is one area which OnePlus will hopefully be focusing on for next year’s handset. The company delivered great life with the 3,400mAh OnePlus 3T and we want to see a repeat of that – or something even better.
Fortunately, it sounds like that might be what we’ll get, with rumors of a 4000mAh juice pack.
Then again, another source says to expect just a 3,600mAh juice pack – but with 25% faster charging speeds.
The Dash Charge tech OnePlus has employed in the 3 is already impressive, and we fully expect to see it return in the OnePlus 5. It could be even faster too, as sister company Oppo unveiled an even speedier charging tech at MWC 2016.
One source claims it will have Dash Charge 2.0, though its description of being able to get a full day’s charge in half an hour is the same as the claims OnePlus made about the original Dash Charge. The same source says the phone will have a 3,580mAh juice pack.
TechRadar’s take: We doubt the battery will get much smaller than 3,400mAh and there’s a good chance it will get larger.
OnePlus 5 OS and power
- A powerful Snapdragon 830 or 835 processor
- 6GB or 8GB of RAM
OnePlus flagships are always among the most powerful around, at least on paper, and we don’t expect that will change with the OnePlus 5.
So it’s likely to have whatever the chipset of the moment is, probably the Snapdragon 835. More than one rumor has now suggested that the Snapdragon 835 will indeed be powering the handset.
Alongside that we may see 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, although another Weibo source claims that the amount of RAM could be upped to 8GB.
The 8GB of RAM spec has also been outed by PCPop.com, and it would certainly be eye-catching on paper – it’s unlikely to have much of a noticeable advantage in general usage though.
The OnePlus 5 will almost certainly run Android (likely Android Nougat) overlaid with OnePlus’ own Oxygen OS.
TechRadar’s take: The Snapdragon 835 is the obvious chip choice for the OnePlus 5, but RAM might stay at 6GB, since the OnePlus 3T is already ahead of the pack there.
OnePlus 5 other features
- 128GB of storage
- Two speaker grilles
- No headphone port
The OnePlus 3T has a fingerprint scanner, so expect that to return. It’s possible that OnePlus will add other features for its next phone, perhaps an iris scanner for example, since Samsung has started using them.
But, on the other hand, the company will likely be focused on making the best phone it can while keeping costs down, so if it doesn’t think a feature is worthwhile or likely to be used by many then it probably won’t include it. An example of that is the lack of NFC on the OnePlus 2.
The other question is whether the OnePlus 5 will come with a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Motorola and Apple have dropped the aging audio technology from recent phone releases – including the Moto Z Force and iPhone 7 – and it seems Carl Pei, co-founder of OnePlus, is interested in whether the community thinks the headphone jack is necessary.
The result was overwhelmingly in favor of the OnePlus 5 keeping the headphone jack, so you’d think it would be likely that the phone will keep the 3.5mm jack.
However, a leaked photo of the phone shows it without one on the bottom edge – though it’s possible that it’s simply been moved to the top edge, or that the image is inaccurate.
While there’s no headphone port visible, there is an extra speaker grille, so it’s possible that the OnePlus 5 is trading one audio skill for another.
As for storage, that could jump to 128GB if early rumors are to be believed.
TechRadar’s take: We don’t expect feature-overload on the OnePlus 5, but old features like the fingerprint scanner are likely to return, and more powerful speakers is entirely possible.
OnePlus 5 price
- The OnePlus 3T launched at $439 (£399, around AU$580)
- We expect there to be a price increase for the OnePlus 5
The super low price of past OnePlus phones may be about to disappear for the OnePlus 5.
A source speaking to Android Authority claims the company is planning to use “more costly components” on the new phone and will therefore have to increase the price.
The source claims the OnePlus 5 will cost about $650 (£500, AU$880), which is much more than the OnePlus 3T that launched at $439 (£399, around AU$580).
Previously a store listing suggested the OnePlus 5 would have a much smaller price increase only up to $449, but the latest information may supersede that. It’s looking pretty certain there will be a price increase of sorts, but we don’t currently know exactly how much it’ll be.
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The OnePlus 5 isn’t far off now, so here’s our top ten wish list for the next flagship phone. Check it out below and let us know if we missed anything that you want to see.
1. A QHD screen
OnePlus has stuck with a 1080p display since day one and with each passing year it becomes that little bit more questionable.
It’s still fine, but noticeably less sharp than a QHD display and it’s becoming less and less flagship-worthy, so we’re hoping for a jump in resolution next year.
Arguably that’s more important than power improvements, given that there’s not much that can tax top-end phones at this point anyway.
2. More storage and room for expansion
The OnePlus 3 comes with 64GB of storage, which is a generous amount, especially for the price. But there are no other options, so if you want more you can’t have it and equally if you don’t need that much and would rather pay a little less for something smaller that’s not an option either.
Worse, there’s no microSD card slot, so you really are limited to what’s built in. That 64GB will probably be enough for most people, but not for everyone, so it would be great if the OnePlus 4 gives us room for expansion.
3. Sharper snaps
As high-spec and feature-packed as the camera on the OnePlus 3 is it’s not perfect, with shots sometimes coming out blurry and a little dark, especially when the lighting isn’t ideal.
We don’t need more megapixels next year, but hopefully OnePlus will further tune and polish the camera so it can take shots that rival the best phones around.
4. Double tap to sleep
One handy feature on the OnePlus 3 is being able to double tap the screen to turn it on, but we’d like to see that being taken a step further, with you also being able to double tap the screen when it is on to turn it off.
This might take some work, to ensure that the phone knows when you mean to do that and when you’re just vigorously tapping an application or on-screen button, but it would be a neat, time-saving feature if they can make it work.
5. A more inspired design
The OnePlus 3 is undeniably a good looking phone, in fact it looks great, with a metal unibody and a comfortably curved shape. It’s a big improvement on the OnePlus 2 then, but it also looks a lot like plenty of other phones, with more than a passing resemblance to the HTC 10 and iPhone 6S.
That’s not a huge problem, after all there’s only so much you can do with a rectangle and most manufacturers are borrowing at least a little from rivals, but if the OnePlus 4 is to wow on more than just its price, then a different, unique design would really help.
6. Two days of life
The OnePlus 3 has more RAM, a faster processor and a higher spec camera than the OnePlus 2, but the battery has shrunk.
With Dash charging you can juice it up quickly, but that doesn’t help when you’re nowhere near a charger, so we’d really like to see improvements in life for the OnePlus 4, either through a larger juice pack or just optimizations.
The OnePlus 3 aims (and largely succeeds) to last a day, but two days of life would be vastly preferable. That way even if you typically stick to a nightly charge you can be confident that it will see you through if you forget or are unable.
While the OnePlus 3 looks great it can’t survive a soaking, which is a problem, given that 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water.
Waterproofing still isn’t a standard feature on phones, but we’d like it to be, especially high-end ones, so hopefully the OnePlus 4 will join the club.
8. Stronger speakers
The OnePlus 3 has a single downward firing speaker, which can pump out audio at a pleasing volume but has a tendency to distort if you turn it up too high.
So it would be nice to see a strong speaker in the OnePlus 4. Better yet two speakers, and not on the bottom where they can easily become covered. Improvements to audio through headphones would also be welcome, such as the ability to upscale music quality.
9. A curved screen
Curved screens are likely to become more and more common over the next couple of years. Samsung has embraced them and might be going curves-only for the Galaxy S8.
Apple is also rumored to be adding curves to its phones in the near future and once that happens everyone is likely to follow, so it’s not too far-fetched to think that OnePlus might.
Of course curves for the sake of curves could be pointless, but Samsung has shown how they can be genuinely beneficial with Edge screen functions and we’d like to see OnePlus follow suit, or come up with its own uses for curves.
10. A dual-lens camera
The OnePlus 4 is bound to have a better camera than the OnePlus 3, but we don’t just want a better camera, we want an extra lens, giving it more versatility.
An implementation a bit like the LG G5 – where one lens is specifically designed for wide-angle shots, would be great. Then the other can be a standard one along the lines of what the OnePlus 3 has, so users will have the tools to take great shots in almost any situation.