OnePlus can make a mean flagship smartphone. It’s shown time and time again with its flagship OnePlus One, 2, plus the latest 3 and 3T. They’ve attracted somewhat of a cult following in the consumer space and have thrived in it.
But one of the things OnePlus fans have always felt their devices lack, myself included, is the a truly great camera. Well, with the upcoming OnePlus 5, it looks like they’re listening to us and are pouring a not insignificant amount of resources into making sure they nail this one aspect.
While not awful, OnePlus has always fallen a little short when it comes to camera performance. Thanks to this fascinating video by TheVerge, we do get a little more insight into the thought process behind this upcoming “most expensive” flagship smartphone from the Chinese company.
According to OnePlus, it was a very difficult thing to do. They set out to make three big changes to the device: They wanted to make the battery life better, they wanted to make the device thinner, and of course they wanted a great camera.
The first two points traditionally disagree with each other but it does look like OnePlus may have figured it out. We know at least for sure that the device will be thin because they themselves have said that it would be the thinnest flagship smartphone.
On the other hand, the cameras, those were a little more tricky. OnePlus’ imaging director Simon Liu said that it was definitely a difficult task because a dual-camera setup would take up a lot more space than your standard single camera setup.
However, they were adamant on including a Portrait bokeh feature with the OnePlus 5 so they went ahead with two cameras anyway. Simon did say that there were single-camera portrait mode solutions, however, they weren’t up to snuff.
If I had to pick one truly fascinating part about this video, it would be the glimpse into the various different prototypes that preceded the final design. OnePlus experimented with a single-camera body, a dual camera body with the module in the middle, and even a dual-camera body with a visor like the Huawei P10.
In the end, they settled with it being located in the top left of the smartphone, much like the iPhone 7 Plus. According to Simon, it was very hard to make a dual-camera smartphone look good because there were so many holes in the back, so I guess it makes sense that they just picked what they know already works.
As for the cameras themselves, the Oneplus 5 will feature a 16-megapixel Sony sensor with an f/1.7 aperture lens while the secondary camera will be a 20-megapixel unit (also from Sony) with an f/2.6 aperture “telephoto” lens. OnePlus says that this is the highest resolution dual-camera system on a smartphone today…well, except for one other device.
Yep, if you’ve been keeping up with the news, you would have seen OPPO launch their new R11 smartphone which also features this exact camera module. In fact, it is thanks to OPPO’s buying power that OnePlus even managed to get their hands on this dual-camera system in the first place. OnePlus does insist that once they had to parts, the “engineering” and “software development” from then on was completely its own.
What I did find peculiar is the lack of mention of a collaboration between OnePlus and DxOMark which was confirmed by the company awhile back.
What the video doesn’t reveal is any kind hardware paper specifications beyond the camera. From what we’ve gathered, we also don’t have any confirmed specs beyond the fact that it will be powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor. Rumours do point towards 6GB RAM and 8GB RAM variants, but nothing has been officially confirmed. One thing we can say with almost certainty, based on past experiences, is that the OnePlus 5 won’t be a slow phone. The OnePlus 5 will launch on the 20th of June (21st locally) so we’ll get all our juicy specs then.
With what we know so far, is there anything else you’d like to see on the OnePlus 5? Let me know in the comments below.
Personally, if they really nailed the camera and battery life, I’d love to see some stereo speakers and water resistance too. I wonder if that’s too much to ask?