OnePlus 5 review

The OnePlus 5 smartphone gets a +1 from me

The OnePlus Smartphone landed on my review desk lately and, if I’m honest, I rolled my eyes. I used to be smartphone mad but of late I’ve got jaded. They all just seem to be much of a muchness without much added oomph. However, some of my mates got extremely excited because the Chinese manufacturer is reportedly rather impressive and delivers on their promise of quality smartphones. I begrudgingly decided to give the OnePlus 5 a go.

OnePlus 5 review

I was given the 128GB unit to review and my understanding is this is the only variant of the OnePlus 5 available in South Africa. Straight out of the box it looks pretty. It has a sleek aluminium finish that comes in either Midnight Black or Slate Grey. I received the Slate Grey unit and it had an almost dark purple tinge to it. I liked it. The phone has a very similar look to the iPhone 7 but sits far sturdier in my little hands.

OnePlus 5 review

I think this is in part to the curved back which I always feel gives you a better grip on a phone. However, I did notice that the finish was prone to finger prints and, I’d presume, after awhile you can expect to scratch it when left in your bag. Inside the box you’ll also get a bright red charging USB C charging cable. I dig the red aesthetic, mainly because white cables get so grubby after a few days.

The nitty gritty

OnePlus 5 review

The OnePlus 5 smartphone comes with stock standard Android on it and runs super fast. With 8GB of RAM I’d expect that. I found it quick to scoot through apps and easy to navigate. The battery life was good. I get a day out of it and I’m what you’d consider a heavy user. I also didn’t feel any heating which I liked. While there are no IP ratings it does claim to be water resistant to a point, however I’m always loathe to test that out.

The screen offers up a full HD display but don’t expect the vibrant colours or high resolution. It is a decent display but they’ve got down on the shimmer to ensure better battery and performance. I’m okay with this. I did struggle with the display outside. It automatically adjusts to light settings and offers Auto Night Mode and Reading Mode – those two modes are rad BUT the automatic light adjustments outside annoyed me.

There’s a clever little slider on the side to adjust between modes and turn the phone on silent. I liked that. Overall the phone performs really well and does everything it says it will. From an every day use point of view it gets a +1 from me.

The camera

OnePlus 5 review

The phone has a dual camera with a 20MP and 16MP lens on the back. There is greater depth of field and it has some awesome effects including Portrait mode which I love. I’m still bleak my iPhone 8 doesn’t offer this. You can video record in 4K at 30fps or 1080p at 60fps. The images this phone produces are good. I’ve been banging a few on my Instagram and on this blog. The selfie camera is 16MP but doesn’t do the Portrait setting which made me sad. However, you can timelapse with the selfie cam. Not sure when I would but, hey, bonus feature. The daylight images are top class but it struggles a bit in the darker light.

Final verdict?

OnePlus 5 review

I liked this phone. The Dash Charging is awesome. It charges the battery quickly and is the best I’ve used with fast charging. I thought the overall performance was good and the phone really is a decent work horse. Getting hold of it is a different story though. If you want to purchase it cash you can buy it from the distributor direct for R11 970 else you can only get it on contract via FNB connect. That’s annoying, I wish more providers would make it available.

Disclosure: I was sent a review unit of the OnePlus 5 Smartphone – meaning it gets returned to the distributor. I don’t keep it. 


I'd love to chat to you some more.


I usually send out a weekly mailer with a recap of blog posts but also some personal anecdotes. If you want to know about competitions or just catch up in a more personal setting then you might like to receive the mailer.

Enter your email and get the scoop first: