OnePlus on Thursday put rumours to rest as it officially launched the OnePlus 5, the latest in its lineup of premium flagship smartphones. Different spokespersons’ from the company ranging from their global marketing head to design heads and other special guests gave the audience an overview of the different features of the phone -- like the specifications and the design philosophy. Here is an overview.
From Zero to One (Plus One)?
In his book, Zero to One, venture capitalist Peter Thiel observed that going from zero to one, ie creating something from scratch is a lot harder than taking something from 1 to n, or adding more of something familiar. The goal with the OnePlus One, was to make a premium smartphone with the price tag of a mid-range phone.
Taking the stage first, Kyle Kiang gave the audience a brief overview of the company’s short history from their first device, the OnePlus One, to how they arrived at the OnePlus 5. Kyle said that customer centricity is at the core of the company and the team was actually surprised by how well the OnePlus One was received by customers, critics and media alike.
While thier other phones like the OnePlus 3 and 3T have also been successful globally, Kyle noted that the OnePlus 5 was their most challenging project to date as it took about 1,283 days (or three years) of work to achieve.
OnePlus Founder and CEO Pete Lau, in a statement, said,
The OnePlus 5 showcases our obsessive attention to detail and our focus on delivering the best user experience possible.We have applied this approach to all aspects of the OnePlus 5. For example, the dual camera provides some of the clearest photos in the smartphone market today and gives users more control to take stunning photos in all conditions.
An overview of specifications:
20MP+16MP primary dual camera and 16MP front facing camera
OnePlus claims that the OnePlus 5 features the highest resolution dual-camera system on a smartphone today. Talking in laymen’s terms, Brian Yoon, Design Director at OnePlus explained that two lenses helps the OnePlus camera capture more details and also better detect depth akin to how two human eyes do the same for humans. He explained,
A tailor-made 16 MP sensor is supported by a 20 MP sensor with a telephoto lens to accurately determine the distance between the sensor and objects in the environment. A large f/1.7 aperture allows for faster snaps and helps compensate for stuttering to improve image stabilization.
Going into more technicalities, in the Portrait Mode, the two sensors work together to create a focal separation between faces and backgrounds, while a custom software algorithm makes the subject clear and well-lit. This results in a professional depth-of-field (bokeh) effect that keeps faces sharp in front of a blurred backdrop.
Smart Capture combines optical zoom with multi-frame technology to let you zoom in with greater clarity, while Fast AF uses the dual-camera system to more accurately calculate depth to speed up auto-focus by up to 40 percent.
OnePlus also wants to bridge the gap between DSLR and phone cameras and with their Pro Mode gives smartphone users DSLR features such as ISO, white balance, shutter-speed, focus and exposure modification, as well as an on-screen histogram and RAW image file support for complete control of post-shot editing.
2. Design inspired by luxury vehicles?
At 7.25 mm, OnePls noted that the OnePlus 5 is their thinnest OnePlus flagship ever. The aluminum unibody features a continuous hard line around the edge of the phone.
Brian also noted that the final phone design was achieved after over 100 iterations and was also drew some inspiration from the design of luxury cars. The goal was to find the best angled design that fit into the palm of a hand. This is also achieved by rounded corners and edges which OnePlus notes makes it feel more comfortable to hold. He said,
The Horizon Line, a key element of OnePlus design, casts one half of the phone in light and the other in shadow, offering an elegant, streamlined appearance.
3. The engine under the hood: Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 octa core processor
With a Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 835 platform coupled with up to 6/8 GB of RAM for the 64GB/128GB variants, OnePlus aims to provide a smooth user experience at a lower power consumption rate(about 40 percent less power).
With up to 8 GB of LPDDR4X RAM, the OnePlus 5 can run a large number of apps in the background without a single second of lag. The OnePlus 5 also supports 34 GSM network bands, to cater to the needs of a global audience.
4. Reading mode: When a smartphone and e-reader have a baby together?
OnePlus’ custom operating system, OxygenOS, is designed to refine stock Android’s core functionalities with features and optimizations that add value to the user experience. New updates to the OnePlus 5 include Reading Mode, which utilizes an ambient sensor and gray-scale mapping to make reading as comfortable as reading an actual book.
Gaming Do Not Disturb Mode allows users to play their favorite games without being disrupted by notifications or accidental hardware button presses. With App Priority, OnePlus noted that their phone will learn user patterns and load their most-used apps more quickly to further improve performance. The feature will also be able to ‘kill apps’ that are running unnecessarily in the background.
Some miscellaneous features
OnePlus 5 also includes some familiar features such as:
- Dash charge: Also included in the OnePlus 3, this feature gives users a day's power in half an hour of charging.
- Fingerprint scanner: OnePlus has improved the performance here to 0.2 seconds for fingerprint verification for unlocking and making payments. The phone also includes a PayTm Quick pay feature.
Pricing and Availability
Like their previous versions, the OnePlus 5 was made available in an exclusive early access sale on Amazon.in. A sale began on June 22nd 2017 starting from 4.30pm and the phone was still in stock even at 10pm, when we last checked.
- The Midnight Black version (8 GB RAM / 128 GB storage) will retail at Rs 37,999.
- The price for Slate Gray version (6 GB RAM / 64GB storage) is Rs 32,999.
Commenting on the partnership, Manish Tiwary, Vice President, Category Management,Amazon India, said,
Reiterating our long-term exclusive partnership with OnePlus since 2014, we are thrilled to offer our customers exclusive access to the OnePlus 5. Customers across the country can now enjoy fast and reliable delivery of OnePlus 5 at their doorstep. Amazon.in has successfully brought the flagship OnePlus smartphone devices to Indian customers, and are now thrilled to offer the latest OnePlus 5. Smartphones are one of the fastest growing product lines and have repeatedly been one of the top selling categories on Amazon.in.
Select users will also be able to experience and purchase the OnePlus 5 at their pop-up stores across five cities in India on a first cum first serve basis: Mumbai: 22nd June, New Delhi on 23rd June, Bangalore and Chennai on 24th June and Hyderabad on 25th June. The OnePlus 5 goes on sale globally on 27th June 2017.
All OnePlus 5 users will be eligible for a complimentary 12-month accidental damage insurance by Servify on downloading the Kotak 811 savings account and activating it with an initial deposit of Rs 1,000 in the introductory period. Further, there are other partner offers including Amazon Prime, Kindle and Vodafone.
Additionally, SBI credit card and debit card users are eligible for a Rs 1,500 cashback on purchase of OnePlus 5 through any authorized sales channel till 28 June 2017.
The OnePlus 5 also includes a one-year manufacturer warranty for device and six-month manufacturer warranty for in-box accessories including batteries from the date of purchase.