OnePlus 5 was launched to almost rabid fanfare at an event in Mumbai on 22 June 2017. Probably one of the most surprising revelations from the event was that the company’s flagship smartphone would go on sale on 27 June, the same day it would start shipping globally. Today marks exactly one week since units of the Flagship Killer started making their way into the hands of Indian fans. In this period of time, OnePlus has pushed out a number of updates for the phone, fixing various issues. Our review unit came with OxygenOS 4.5.0 a week before launch and is now on Oxygen OS 4.5.3. Three software updates later, the phone continues to be plagued by various issues.
Dual Camera, lots of confusion
There seems to be a lot of confusion over the OnePlus 5’s dual lens camera implementation. The mismatched megapixel count on the two sensors means that in low light, you get images shot from the 16MP sensor, upscaled to 20MP, resulting in quality loss. The secondary lens is not a telephoto lens and the depth effect gives you a field of view that is somewhere between the two lenses. The worst bug so far is that when shooting in Pro mode, as we discovered that the secondary sensor is completely disabled. When switching to the 2X mode, your photo will be taken on the 16MP sensor and them cropped to represent the field of view of the secondary lens. We were sorely disappointed with the software implementation of the OnePlus 5’s camera and how it severely limits not just the hardware, but also the images. Thankfully, all the issues are fixable by means of a software update, however, three updates later (two of which said they came with ‘camera fixes’) seemed to have not done anything about this problem. The company has not issued any statement either, meaning that a fix may or may not be in the works. We’ve listed out the detailed issues with the OnePlus 5 Dual Camera in a separate article.
The Jelly Effect
Numerous users were reporting that while scrolling through various apps, the content on screen seemed to move slower than the rest of the display. The content would appear to move like jelly does, hence the name “Jelly Effect.” The good people of XDA and other forums tore into the issue at hand and discovered that the display kernel was set to rotate the display 180-degrees, prompting one user to actually take the phone apart. It was then discovered that some displays on the OnePlus 5 are mounted upside down, causing the issue. Carl Pei, co-founder of OnePlus tweeted that the Jelly Effect was normal behaviour. He even said that taking the OnePlus 5 into a service centre for repairs would not guarantee that the issue would be fixed.
Audio Cross Connection
The third (and very much fixable) issue with the OnePlus 5 occurs when you record video on the smartphone in landscape mode, with the headphone jack pointing to the right. When you play back this footage, the audio channels would sound inverted, that is, sound that originated on the left of the smartphone would come out of the right channel and vice-versa. Turns out, this issue is only prevalent when the video is being shot in landscape orientation with the headphone jack pointing to the right. If your phone is flipped the other way, then the audio is fine. Audio is also fine if you shoot video in portrait mode. OnePlus has said that they are aware of the issue and will issue an update to fix this problem.
In an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit, Carl Pei and team shared that they chose to opt for Electronic Image Stabilization over Optical Image Stabilization in order to maintain the phone’s slim profile. While users have been complaining about the EIS not being very effective while recording 1080p video, it turns out stabilisation is not even available if you decide to shoot in 4K. Again, OnePlus has said that they will be issuing a fix for this and introduce EIS while shooting 4K video.
Probably one of the most annoying aspects of the updates pushed out by OnePlus is that they never mention exactly what issue they are addressing. Changelogs tend to mention vague aspects such as “camera fixes” or bluetooth fixes,” but they never mention what is being fixed in the camera or with the bluetooth. A little transparency in this matter would go a long way in cementing the faith the consumer has in their products.
What OnePlus got very right
Given that the camera is riddled with issues, one of the areas where the smartphone was supposed to wow the consumer has failed. If you’re looking to buy the OnePlus 5 for the camera, we strongly recommend that you hold off till the company fixes these issues. However, this is not to say that everything is lacking with the OnePlus 5. The unmatched hardware (Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 with 8GB RAM) has made this the fastest Android phone in the market. We noted in our review of the OnePlus 5’s Performance that there was nothing that the smartphone couldn’t handle, be it multi-tasking, gaming or photo editing. Great hardware is complemented by a really well built operating system. OxygenOS 4.5.1, as we concluded in our review of the OnePlus 5 Software and UI is an extremely well polished OS, not faltering even once in our testing.
If you’re in the market for a smartphone that performs unquestionably well, the OnePlus 5 is the device for you. Hopefully, if you buy a unit, it won’t be plagued by the unfixable Jelly effect. Whatever issues have cropped up other than that are all fixable by software updates and we hope that te company will tend to all of them, especially the ones relating to the camera.
Update: As of writing this story, OnePlus has started rolling out OxygenOS 4.5.4 Hotfix OTA, that fixes issues with Netherlands 4G network. Still no fix for any of the above problems.