Just in case you haven’t been keeping up with the news today, OnePlus has officially announced its latest phone, the OnePlus 5. Many people who have purchased the company’s previous handsets will likely notice that the starting price for the OnePlus 5 is a bit higher compared to any phone the company has previously released. But is it still a good deal, even with that price hike? That’s the question we will attempt to answer.
The OnePlus 5 design is a step backwards
OnePlus 5 versus previous OnePlus phones
Here’s the (very basic) breakdown: The company has a Slate Gray color version of the OnePlus 5 for sale at $479/€499, with 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of onboard storage. The Midnight Gray edition of the phone has 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage, and is priced at $539/€559. Both versions have the latest and fastest mobile processor you can get in a phone: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835.
The OnePlus One, which launched in 2014, had the incredible starting price of just $299. That got you 3 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, along with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor. The OnePlus 2, released in 2015, had either 3 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage, or 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage, and a faster Snapdragon 810 processor. It had a slightly higher starting price of $329 for the 16 GB model and $389 for the 64 GB version.
The OnePlus 3 launched in 2016 and boosted the RAM inside up to 6 GB and its storage to 64 GB for its basic model, but also saw the price go up again to $399, in part to its faster Snapdragon 820 chip. The OnePlus 3T, released just a few months later, put in an even faster Snapdragon 821 processor, and a higher price of $439, but kept the 6 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage.
The OnePlus One and 2 came with LCD displays, while the 3 and 3T sported AMOLED panels. The OnePlus 5 keeps that 5.5-inch AMOLED display as well.
The bottom line is that if you want to get the very basic OnePlus 5, you will have to spend $180 more than you did three years ago with the original OnePlus One, $150 more compared to the OnePlus 2 and at least $80 more than the OnePlus 3. Based just on that perspective, the OnePlus 5 is not as good of a deal compared to its predecessors.
However, comparing the price of the OnePlus 5 to the company’s earlier handsets is just one way of looking at this issue. Another way is to compare the OnePlus 5 to the current high-end flagship devices that are already out on the market — namely the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, the LG G6 and the HTC U11.
OnePlus 5 versus the Galaxy S8 / S8 Plus
Based just on their normal unlocked retail prices, the OnePlus 5 has both of these Samsung phones beat. The unlocked Galaxy S8 normally costs $724.99 directly from Samsung while the Galaxy S8 Plus’s price is $824.99. Even with that company’s current $100 discount, both phones are much more expensive than even the higher end model of the OnePlus 5.
OnePlus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S8: quick look
Both the new Galaxy S8 models in the US have the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor as the OnePlus 5, but both limit their storage to 64 GB versus the 128 GB option for the $539 variant of the OnePlus 5. Both the new Galaxy phones also have just 4 GB of RAM, versus 6 or 8 GB on the OnePlus 5 models. However, the displays on the 5.8-inch Galaxy S8 and the 6.2-inch Galaxy S8 Plus are larger than the 5.5-inch OnePlus 5 models, and both Galaxy devices support higher 2,960 x 1,440 resolutions compared to the Full HD display on the OnePlus 5 phones. It’s likely that if OnePlus were to increase the size of the display and resolution of its new phone, the price would be higher, but we still think that it might be a tad cheaper than the Galaxy S8 models.
OnePlus 5 versus the LG G6
The LG G6 was only released in early April, but it already doesn’t compare as well to the OnePlus 5 in terms of value. Its biggest issue is its use of the older Snapdragon 821 processor, compared to the OnePlus 5’s new and faster Snapdragon 835 chip. It also only has 4 GB of RAM and 32 and 64 GB versions, while the OnePlus 5 has options for 6 or 8 GB of RAM and 64 or 128 GB of storage.
As with the Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus, the LG G6 does beat the OnePlus 5 in terms of having a large 5.7-inch 18:9 display, with a resolution of 2,880 x 1,440. However, we just don’t think that is enough to compensate for what it lacks compared to the OnePlus 5. While you can get the G6 for a lower unlocked price if you look at some retailers like eBay or B&H Photo, we believe the OnePlus 5 offers an overall better value.
OnePlus 5 versus the HTC U11
The HTC U11 is the most recent phone among the ones we compared to the OnePlus 5 in terms of value. The $649 unlocked U11 is well above the prices for both models of the OnePlus 5, even though it has just 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of storage. It does use the same Snapdragon 835 processor and also has a 5.5-inch screen, though the U11 does have a higher 2,560 x 1,440 display resolution. Ultimately, its higher price makes us believe it is not a better value than the OnePlus 5.
We feel that we need to mention that our definition of “value” is subjective, and you may have your own ways of determining if one phone is worth it compared to others. However, while the starting prices of the two OnePlus 5 models are indeed higher compared to their direct predecessors, we believe that overall they present as good of a deal, if not better, than their main flagship rivals from Samsung, LG, and HTC.
Spec showdown: OnePlus 5 vs the competition
However, we definitely want to hear from you on this subject. Do you think the OnePlus 5 is a good overall deal with its balance of price and features? Would you have preferred OnePlus to have kept the price lower and closer to its previous phones? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Check out our other OnePlus 5 coverage: