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OnePlus 5 prototype leaked in design sketches

Design sketches of the OnePlus 5 have appeared, but they are of a prototype and not the final product.

Published onMay 9, 2017

Design sketches of the OnePlus 5 have appeared on Weibo, but according to our sources, they show a prototype model rather than the final OnePlus 5 design. Nevertheless, we can assume some features will make it onto the final product, including the hotly anticipated dual camera and the popular Alert Slider. But other features only serve to reinforce the likelihood of the sketches being of a prototype only.

For starters, the design sketches reveal dual cameras on both the front and back of the device. While it is possible that OnePlus could manage this, putting four cameras on a device with razor thin profit margins would likely make the OnePlus 5 price too high, both for OnePlus and OnePlus’ fans. You’ll remember even Samsung reportedly opted out of using a dual camera on the back of the Galaxy S8 because it was going to be too expensive, even with the S8’s vast profit margins.

The sketches also show a ceramic half-shell on top of a metal chassis (I’m taking the antenna bands to indicate a metal build). While this would make for better reception, it would also add a significant additional material cost to the already inflated camera bill. We’ve predicted the OnePlus 5 might cost even more than the OnePlus 3T, but this would be a little too much for a mainstream model.

Putting four cameras and ceramic on anything but a limited edition OnePlus device would be costly, risky and unlikely.

As a quick refresher, the ceramic version of the OnePlus X cost an additional $100 over the regular Onyx version and had a yield rate of just 20 percent. This is a cost/benefit ratio OnePlus would be unlikely to go with on a primary flagship, even if the ceramic panel is smaller. If anything, we’d only expect to see ceramic used in a special limited edition run of the OnePlus 5.

Moving on to less contentious features, a USB Type-C port, speaker grill, 3.5mm headphone port and pinhole mic appear on the bottom edge of the sketch. We don’t get a look at the chin of the device, but we presume that is where the fingerprint scanner would be located and not under the display glass (although who knows, feel free to speculate).

The two inset diagrams of the camera appear to show both a dual lens and single lens option, with what could be interpreted as a sandstone finish around the camera glass. (That single lens inset also has us puzzled, as it seems to show a laser auto-focus module like that used on the OnePlus 2 before the switch to PDAF on the OnePlus 3). It looks like the camera bump might be set for a return too.

All this said, we’re only looking at a design sketch here which may or may not have ever progressed beyond spitballing (we’re trying to find out), so don’t put too much stock in what you see. Some things do seem clear though: the rumors of a dual camera are well-founded; we may not have seen the last of ceramic on a OnePlus device; the Alert Slider isn’t going anywhere; and OnePlus apparently doesn’t want to get all courageous where the headphone port is concerned.

Note: It’s also worth pointing out that the source of these design sketches claims the OnePlus 5 launch will be in June.

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