Design & Build8.1
During the days leading up to the launch of the phone, Pete Lau tweeted that the OnePlus 5 would be the slimmest OnePlus yet. Not only is the OnePlus 5 thinner than the OnePlus 3T, it is also just ever so slightly narrower than its predecessor. For now, the phone comes in two colours; black and Slate Grey, but who knows, maybe OnePlus will release more colour variants over the course of next few months like they did with the OnePlus 3T. The OnePlus 5 does change the design when compared to its predecessor, but in the process, ends up looking like a clone of another flagship; the Apple iPhone 7 Plus.
Our review unit is the Midnight Black version which has a smooth matte back. The antenna lines run along the very top of the back plate, being almost invisible. You would have to really look to find the only two pieces of plastic that runs across the metal frame and we quite like this. Unfortunately, if you hide the bottom half of the phone and put it next to an Apple iPhone 7 Plus with a similar finish, you could be hard pressed to tell the difference between the two devices. Not a very inspiring choice by OnePlus, but then again, they did manage to maintain a thin form-factor despite a dual camera unit. Another feature about the build that feels nice is the nice, soft rounded blending on all sides.
The front of the OnePlus 5 looks very much like its predecessor, with a few minor, barely noticeable differences. There is 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5 to protect the display assembly along with a huge camera lens. OnePlus hasn’t experimented with the design much, possibly due to the whole “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While OnePlus could have gone with a 18:9 display like the LG G6 or the Samsung Galaxy S8, but Pete Lau admitted that the company did not have adequate access to LED panels during the prototyping stage. Could also be why the same rounded rectangular fingerprint sensor is in the same place as its been since the original OnePlus.
We found that the OnePlus 5 buttons are easier to use when the phone is being held by the left hand, but that could just be reviewer’s bias (even though the reviewer is right handed). The dedicated profile switch and the volume rocker are located on the left of the device while the power button is on the right. Initially, it is easy to confuse the power and volume buttons as they have the same smooth texture, but over time, you get used to their positions.
One glaring omission from the OnePlus 5 happens to be water and dust resistance. Every flagship available in the market comes with an IPX rating, but the OnePlus team seems to have left that out while designing the phone. When OnePlus prematurely updated the OnePlus 3 to the 3T, we wondered why they’d leave out water resistance as a feature and now, with the OnePlus 5 having had adequate development time, the question becomes even more pertinent.