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#7DayReviewChallenge - Insights from a long time Android junkie

  1. Nikostoen
    Honeycomb Nov 30, 2017

    Nikostoen , Nov 30, 2017 :
    Hello all!

    Thanks for taking the time to check out what I have to say. Like I mentioned in the title, I've been an Android hobbyist for some time and jumped on the OnePlus train pretty early on. I remember hustling for an invite on these very forums (Thanks to @Waterdroid for sending that invite from an anonymous benefactor) and being ecstatic when my OPO arrived at my doorstep. What an upgrade from my Galaxy S4! Needless to say, I've been a fan of OnePlus from the beginning and I'm always excited to see what they'll do next.

    I've played around with the idea of reviewing phones for the past couple years. I've owned and used a lot of them, and I spend a lot of time reading up on industry news. Why not share the knowledge I have with the rest of the world? That being said, this is my very first review (thanks for the template OnePlus!) so go easy on me.

    Let me start by saying that I was looking forward to getting my OP5T, but I wasn't excited. I had just returned my Pixel 2XL and switched back to using my Pixel XL (2016). I ordered the Galaxy Note 8 and cancelled the order before it shipped. I even thought about switching to the iPhone X (I know, forgive me).

    I have been frustrated with 2017's lineup of flagships. Every single one of them felt like a compromise in some way. After watching the OP5T launch event, I was interested but skeptical. Can OnePlus really do what other manufacturers failed to do this year? I expected it to be exciting and impressive just like every other phone this year, and then ultimately disappoint me like every other phone this year.

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    Day One: Unboxing Day

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    Wow. Talk about a first impression. This unboxing experience was the most satisfying that I've had since, well, the OPO. I waited for the top half of the box to slide off and I was immediately greeted with this sleek, black, nearly all screen, 18:9 rectangle just begging to be fired up. I'll admit that I couldn't wait and didn't even look at the rest of the contents of the box until I played with the device for a few minutes and took it through initial setup. More on that experience later.

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    Looking through the rest of the box, I found a DASH Charger, SIM tool, standard safety and information booklets, and much to my delight, a thin, translucent case. Including a case like this in the box is such a simple, inexpensive gesture and an easy way to make a customer feel appreciated. ZTE did this with the Axon 7 that I had last year and I thought it was a nice touch. At the very least, it will save some money and headaches while I wait for my favorite case to be released. I'm also excited about finally getting my hands on DASH Charging technology as it is arguably the best fast charging tech on the market (This is a great write-up in case you aren't familiar: https://www.androidcentral.com/dash-charge).

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    Overall, I was incredibly impressed with this unboxing. I went from looking forward to playing around with this phone for a while, to being hopeful that this could not only become my daily driver, but the phone of 2017.

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    Day Two: Design/Display Day

    If the unboxing was the OnePlus 5t's first impression, then the second impression is its display. The 5t has 18:9, 1080p AMOLED display coming in at 401ppi. I've got to say, when I read that OnePlus decided yet again to put a 1080p display on their latest device, I was disappointed. I've been a QHD proponent for a couple years now and I've considered anything less to be unacceptable.

    That is, until now.

    The display on this phone is gorgeous. It is exactly what I had hoped the display on the Pixel 2 XL would be like. Vibrant colors and deep blacks. There is no graininess, no color shift except for at very extreme angles, and no black smear issues in low brightness. Unless you plan to use this phone for VR, you will not notice a difference in sharpness or clarity compared to QHD displays on other devices. A nice bonus to note is that we should see less battery drain from this display compared to pixel dense QHD screens. Personally, I'd rather have better battery life than the ability to strap a cloth box to my face for 15 minutes at a time, but that's just me.

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    Now let's talk about the hardware design for a minute. The first thing I noticed after picking it up is that the 5t is very thin and surprisingly light thanks to the curved back and the aluminum body. It is definitely a large phone, but not unwieldy, and I have no issues using it in one hand - though it is fairly slippery. The dual cameras look nice even if they are an iPhone clone, and the antenna lines on the top and bottom are well hidden. Unfortunately we didn't get wireless charging or waterproofing this year and while that's not a deal breaker for me, it would have been nice to have. Thankfully, we did get to keep our headphone jack, which is all too rare these days.

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    There are a couple notable changes from the OnePlus 5 design that I very much enjoy. First off, the bigger, nearly full screen display that we've already talked about. Next, and as a result of the bigger screen, the fingerprint sensor has been moved to the back of the phone. This is where a fingerprint sensor should be (I'm looking at you Samsung).

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    Overall, I'm very pleased with the hardware design of the 5t and have thoroughly enjoyed the past few days using the device.

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    Day Three: Camera Day

    In case you thought I was a little bit of a fanboy so far, this part of the review should change your mind.

    We have to talk about the camera.

    If I could sum up my feelings about the camera in one word it would be "disappointing". To be totally fair, under ideal conditions, some of the images I've been able to produce actually look pretty good. What I mean by "ideal conditions" is plenty of natural light and perfect stillness. Anything less than perfect stillness and a lot of natural light and image quality goes downhill fast. Some of the worst images I've captured are of my kids inside our home, and that is incredibly frustrating.

    Images tend to be very noisy in dark areas or they suffer from a severe lack of sharpness and detail (probably as a result of the post processing trying to remove the noise from the image). The lack of OIS here is definitely noticeable and I cant help but wonder if the majority of my qualms about the camera would disappear if it just had optical image stabilization. I have noticed that images produced using portrait mode tend to be much clearer and more detailed than when I use the default HDR auto mode, so I'm hopeful that a software fix will actually yield noticeable improvement. I'll stop and let you make the call. Here are some of the best shots I've taken over the past few days:

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    (Portrait Mode)

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    (Portrait mode)

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    Day Four: Performance Day

    I purchased the 8GB RAM + 128GB Storage version of the 5T and I gotta say, this phone really is a beast. From the moment that the new Face Unlock feature absolutely blew my mind for the first time, I knew everything about this phone would be blazing fast - I was not disappointed.

    I consider myself to be a power user, and my phone typically sees pretty heavy usage. Taking pictures/videos, browsing social media, using Slack, watching YouTube, reading news articles, mobile gaming, and heavy SMS/MMS use all make up a typical day for me. Even with all of that thrown at it, the 5T never skipped a beat. In fact, I feel like it laughed in the face of my so called "power usage". I honestly don't know what I would have to do to make this thing stumble.

    I thought about putting the 5T through some complicated speed test to try and measure the extent of its stellar performance so I could report back to you. While I was considering the best way to do this, I realized that's not really the point. Up until then, I'd been using the phone just like I normally would and I was constantly impressed with what it was capable of. That real world usage is what's important and that should be enough of a performance test for anyone.

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    Day Five: Dash Charge/Power Consumption Day

    I mentioned earlier that I was excited about getting my hands on the latest Dash Charging technology because it was arguably the best fast charging tech on the market. Well, since I wrote that a few days ago, it has been discovered that Dash Charging actually is the best fast charging tech on the market (https://www.tomsguide.com/us/fastest-charging-phone,review-4933.html). I didn't perform any scientific tests myself, but I can say that I'm not surprised at the results outlined in this article. I've used many phones over the years that have had some form of fast charging technology, so I'm used to being pleasantly surprised at the battery level of my phone after just a short time on the charger. I've even gloated about it to my wife (a long time iPhone user) on occasion. Charging the 5T was the first time that I've been shocked at how fast my phone charged. I mentioned that the lack of wireless charging in the 5T was a bit of a bummer, but the effectiveness of Dash Charging more than makes up for that omission.

    In my time with the 5T so far, I've found the battery life to be superb. The 3,300 mAh battery paired with the 1080P screen means that this phone will easily last a full day for heavy users and into the day and a half - two day range for light/normal users.

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    Day Six: OxygenOS Day

    I'm going to come right out and say it. OxygenOS is my favorite flavor of Android.

    For the past few years, I've believed that pure, vanilla Android was the only way Android should be experienced. OEMs were far too heavy handed in their implementation of "features" and skins (more shade headed your way Samsung) and the only way to enjoy Android as it was intended, was to purchase a Nexus device or root your device and find a bone-stock ROM to install. While this may have held true a few years back, things have changed. Even Google's own Pixel phones have abandoned vanilla Android in favor of their own exclusive skin and software features. OnePlus is bringing back everything I loved about vanilla Android and adding all the right extra features that I used to only be able to find in a custom ROM. I didn't expect this to happen. When I tried out the first version of OxygenOS on my OPO back in the day, I was disappointed and missed Cyanogenmod. OnePlus has come a long way, and I am incredibly impressed with what they have accomplished with their custom OS.

    Here are some of my favorite things about OxygenOS:

    -All the customization potential. I can change the system theme, accent colors, display size, font and font size, night mode intensity, vibration intensity, status bar information, gestures, and nav bar button configuration just to name a few. Seriously, the potential I have to make this feel like my own personal phone is astounding without feeling overwhelming.

    -Reading mode is a cool addition and I like it more than I thought I would. Especially for reading at night.

    -I love that there are so many screen calibration options and that I even have the option for custom calibration.

    -There is an easy way to access the changelog for info on the latest update! What a simple way to make your user feel valued and included. I don't know why other companies don't do this.

    -Built in, fully featured launcher settings means I can do simple things like adjust the home screen grid and change icon packs without having to install a whole launcher on top of the phone's stock launcher.

    -OnePlus' take on ambient display is my favorite yet. The only thing I would change would be to make it an always on display like the Note 8 or the Pixel 2 XL. I enjoy the design of it so much, I want to be able to see it whenever my screen is off without having to touch it.

    And now for my least favorite things:

    -The alert slider feels like it wasn't really well thought out. Ring, Vibrate, and Silent. That's all I need. If you disagree, that's fine, but we should at least be given the option to customize the alert slider to our liking.

    -Incoming calls are answered by swiping down. This feels unnatural and counter-intuitive and that may just be because I'm coming from a Pixel XL, but I've seen others complain about this too.

    As you can see, I don't really have a whole lot that I don't like about the software on the 5T. OnePlus has come as close to perfection as I've seen, and I'm excited to see how Android 8.0 Oreo is implemented on this phone in the near future.

    Here's an album with a tour through the software: https://imgur.com/a/ukwsm

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    Day Seven: Conclusion Day

    Well, that 7 days went by quickly. It's been an enjoyable experience taking each of the past 7 days to focus in on specific aspects about this phone. It's helped me to really gather my thoughts and spend time understanding what I like and don't like about the phone. Overall, I think the OnePlus 5T is a phenomenal phone that can easily stand up against the best that 2017 (and probably 2018) has to offer. When you consider that it comes in at around half the price of the phones it competes with, getting a OnePlus 5T is almost a no brainer.

    I did say "almost" a no brainer, so let me explain. If you are a person that values your camera above any other aspect of your phone, then the OP5T might not be for you as the camera is just ok and cannot really compete with the likes of the Pixel 2 or the iPhone X.

    If you are a person that believes timely and consistent software updates are the most important thing, then this may not be the phone for you. OnePlus doesn't exactly have the best track record for supporting their devices for very long post-sale. While they seem to have improved in recent years, software support is still very much a grey area with OnePlus as they have no official policy on software updates and make no guarantees that their customers will see any major updates. For the sake of comparison, Google recently announced that their Pixel 2 devices will receive 3 years of software and security updates, and they tend to under promise and over deliver on this kind of thing.

    If you value an exceptional support experience any time you may have an issue with your device, OnePlus may not be the company for you. There are countless stories across the internet about customers having issues with the support experience. From RMA requests being denied, to misleading or flat out confusing conversations with support representatives, this is far from a world-class support experience. Again, the quality of OnePlus support has improved by leaps and bounds over the years, and I've heard more stories recently about people being impressed by their experience than I ever have. They definitely seem to be trending positively and maybe in the near future this won't even be a concern at all.

    I would absolutely recommend this phone to any and everybody, and in fact, I already have. What OnePlus accomplished here is nothing short of incredible. The OnePlus 5t is not just an excellent phone for the price, it is simply an excellent phone.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017

    #1
    skhaan, G_plusone, Crystal Z. and 2 others like this.
  2. dcmcc24
    KitKat Nov 30, 2017

    dcmcc24 , Nov 30, 2017 :
    Nice review so far. Your pics are broken. Also OnePlus One had the best unboxing experience. Loved that box. I've also had the Axon 7 and Essential and those had nice boxes as well. I'm getting a little bored of the OnePlus box. It's been the same since the 2 I think
     

    #2
    Nikostoen likes this.
  3. Nikostoen
    Honeycomb Nov 30, 2017

    Nikostoen , Nov 30, 2017 :
    Thanks, I think I got them working now. Been a while since I posted here!

    I agree that the box itself wasn't the most exciting thing I've ever seen, but there was something about the simplicity of it and how I felt after opening it that made me feel great about my purchase.
     

    #3
    dcmcc24 likes this.
  4. dcmcc24
    KitKat Nov 30, 2017

    dcmcc24 , Nov 30, 2017 :
    Nice pics. Unboxing a new oneplus phone is always special :) I do hope they change up the boxing next year, but it's not that big of a deal. I did like the midnight black 3T box I got.
     

    #4
    Nikostoen likes this.
  5. Nikostoen
    Honeycomb Dec 2, 2017

    Nikostoen , Dec 2, 2017 :
    Camera part of the review is up. Let me know what you guys think of the camera!
     

    #5
    dcmcc24 likes this.
  6. Waterdroid
    Lollipop Community Expert Dec 2, 2017


    #6
    Nikostoen likes this.
  7. MentalDraco
    Marshmallow Dec 2, 2017


    #7
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  8. Crystal Z.
    Global Community <3 Staff Member Dec 4, 2017


    #8
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  9. Nikostoen
    Honeycomb Dec 4, 2017

    Nikostoen , Dec 4, 2017 :
    Thanks all! I've really enjoyed writing this review so far, so I'm grateful for the feedback.
     

    #9
  10. G_plusone
    Marshmallow Dec 4, 2017


    #10
    Nikostoen likes this.
  11. Nikostoen
    Honeycomb Dec 5, 2017


    #11
  12. Nikostoen
    Honeycomb Dec 6, 2017


    #12