After the launch of the eagerly awaited OnePlus 5, some of the top guys from OnePlus hosted an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit. Taking questions at the OnePlus AMA were people from various departments within OnePlus such as Product, Imaging and even e-commerce, but perhaps the most pronounced name on the list was Carl Pei, co-founder, OnePlus. Redditt users took the opportunity to ask a myriad of questions not just about the latest launch from the company, but also their previous lineup of devices and potential upcoming gear. The OnePlus team was very candid with their responses, at least for the queries that they did answer. We’ve scoured through the entire AMA and summarised the key aspects of the interaction for you below
One of the most frequently asked questions revolved around the topic of software updates for the current and past OnePlus phones. Many users wanted to know whether their OnePlus 3/3T would receive the Android O update, given how OnePlus abandoned users of OnePlus 2 after leaving them hanging for a year. BobC_Oneplus from the OnePlus OxygenOS Product team re-assured Redditors that all OnePlus 3/3T units would receive the Android O update by the end of the year. In another thread, Robin_Z (Robin Z from OxygenOS Product Team) confirmed that an Android O based ROM was already under development for the current devices and should be out by the year’s end. Unfortunately, closest we got to receiving any clarity on the OnePlus 2 Nougat update came from Carl Pei in the form of the following statement: “Totally understand. We’ll need to show that we’re a good company to deal with, and with all the water under the bridge, it may take a lot of time for us to earn back the trust of some of those we let down.”
Back when the OnePlus 3 was the company’s flagship device, OnePlus has said that they would release the camera blobs for third party ROM developers. These ‘blobs’ would ensure that third party ROMs were able to give the best camera experience, but without them, developers have had to rely either on Google’s stock camera app or reverse engineer a camera app that could fully utilize the camera hardware. During the OnePlus 2’s Cyanogen ROM development, one of the major issues plaguing development was getting the Laser assisted AF to work properly. If these camera blobs were released, development on ROMs would speed up significantly. OnePlus promised to release these blobs, but have failed to do so. Despite repeatedly being asked about the status of camera blobs, the OnePlus panel remained silent on the issue.
The Over-hyped DxO Partnership
In the days leading up to the launch of the OnePlus 5, the company had announced that they were partnering up with DxO to “to enhance your photography experience with our upcoming flagship, the OnePlus 5.” Unfortunately, the launch events held in New York and Mumbai saw a complete omission of the mention of DxO. The OnePlus team avoided every question regarding the partnership that was raised during the AMA. Interestingly, the scores for OnePlus 3, OnePlus 3T and the OnePlus 5 are not yet available on DxO Mark’s website. The last and only phone to appear on DxO Mark’s website are for the OnePlus 2.
The Dual Camera
Once again, we saw users raise multiple issues with the camera. The most pronounced being the lack of image stabilisation while recording in 4K, which the company said they will fix via a software update in the coming days. When asked why they chose to go with the inferior electronic image stabilisation instead of the more effective optical image stabilisation, turns out it was to ensure a slim profile of the smartphone. Many users took issue to the claims of 2x optical zoom which were later changed to 2x lossless zoom, along with the lack of RAW output from the secondary sensor, just as we pointed out in our article detailing the flaws with the OnePlus 5 camera, the team responded that the software was the camera was still under development and improvements would make their way into the OnePlus 5 by means of software update. We’ve received two software updates till now, but none of them has addressed the issues we’ve pointed out.
The Issue of a Pricier Smartphone
Many Redditors were quick to point out the rising price point of the OnePlus smartphones which is a fair enough question, given that OnePlus was always supposed to be on the cheaper end of the spectrum. However, Carl Pei shared during the AMA that rising costs of components has led to an increase in price. A similar statement was made by Pete Lau in his interview with the Indian Express as well. Given that fact that the OnePlus 5 uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 (manufactured by Samsung), a dual camera setup and more expensive DDR4 standard of RAM (8GB!), it is understandable that the price of the phone has gone up. Despite that, it is still the cheapest smartphone with the specification set.
Dash Enabled Power Bank
Multiple users asked if the company was working on a Dash Charge enabled powerbank. Carl Pei dashed all hopes by concluding that “the manufacturing costs are too high and it won’t reach scale.” This means that users will not have an option for fast charging their OnePlus smartphones on the go and will have to carry that bulky charger around with them at all times. On the other hand, devices that are Quick Charge enabled now enjoy the luxury of QC 3.0 enabled portable chargers being made by various third party companies.
Waterproof or Water Resistant?
Users were eager to understand as to why OnePlus decided to not go for an IPX rating for the OnePlus 5. Company representatives said that they chose to forego water resistance as it wasn’t a feature users really asked for. Additionally, waterproofing would have made the device thicker and their goal was to have the thinnest OnePlus smartphone ever. Vito Liu from the OnePlus Product team explained that “For water resistance, we didn’t do like IP68, but in every OnePlus smartphone we all have some protect features for daily water resistance.” Honestly, if a company can’t get behind the claim of water resistance and offer a warranty on it, then it is best to consider that smartphone not water resistance and hence, keep it away from liquids as much as possible.
Some bad news for OnePlus 3/3T users
For anyone using the OnePlus 3 and the 3T smartphones, the Reading Mode of the OnePlus 5 will not be making their way onto your smartphones. The reason as explained in the AMA is that the Reading Mode relies on an ambient light sensor which measures not just the brightness of the light, but also the colours by using RGB sensors. These sensors are missing in the OnePlus 3/3T and therefore, the Reading Mode experience will not be the same as it is on the OnePlus 5.
For Dual Sim users
The OnePlus 5 is a Dual Sim Dual Standby type smartphone. What that means is that as long as you are not using either of the SIMs, both of them will be active and on standby. However, the minute you make or receive a call engaging either SIM 1 or SIM 2, the other one will become inactive. If someone calls you on the now inactive SIM, they will get a message saying that the user in unreachable. Smartphones can also have the DSDA (Dual SIM, Dual Active) type implementation, which keeps both the SIM cards active at all times, even when one is engaged in a phone call. DSDS is more power efficient than DSDA as it allots the same unitary radio and processor core to both the SIM cards while DSDA requires that each SIM has its own transceiver and processor core.
The AMA has a lot many more questions that the team has answered, such as the status of the silent mode, the OnePlus 3/3T open betas and even why the company still opts to use USB 2.0 standard despite having a USB-C port. While Team OnePlus doesn’t answer every question posed on the AMA, they do tackle a number of important ones. There’s a lot of insight offered on the decision making that went into making the OnePlus 5. What is very evident is that the company was very clear about what kind of a smartphone and experience they wanted to deliver to their loyal customers.
If you would like to know more about the phone, you can head over to our exhaustive review of the OnePlus 5. If you’ve bought the OnePlus 5, let us know what you think about the phone in the comments below.