Earlier this week, it was revealed that independent phone maker OnePlus was collecting all manner of information from phones running its OxygenOS — without telling users, of course. Caught red-handed, the company is backing off from the opt-out data collection program, giving users a choice up front instead of buried in the options.
The offending telemetry was discovered earlier this week, when software engineer Christopher Moore happened to snoop on his phone’s traffic for a hacking challenge. He noticed that the device was phoning home to OnePlus when it crashed — which is expected and benign — but also every time the phone was woken up or put to sleep — which is odd and intrusive.
Looking closer, he found that the device was also repeatedly sending its IMEI, phone number, serial number, wi-fi network and MAC address, and numerous other metrics. Having the option to send this information with, say, a bug report would be understandable, but it was sending this information every time an app was launched.
OnePlus said at the time that the data was to “fine tune our software according to user behavior” and “provide better after-sales support.” It could be partially turned off in advanced settings, or totally removed with a command line tool.
Of all phone manufacturers, of course, OnePlus probably has the users most likely to go snooping around for this kind of stuff, so it’s strange that such plainly intrusive metrics would be employed. Users were clearly bothered, so yesterday OnePlus provided a more substantial response on its support forums.
After the standard “We take our users – and their data privacy – very seriously” boilerplate and assuring people that this was all a big misunderstanding, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei explained the practical steps the company was taking:
By the end of October, all OnePlus phones running OxygenOS will have a prompt in the setup wizard that asks users if they want to join our user experience program. The setup wizard will clearly indicate that the program collects usage analytics. In addition, we will include a terms of service agreement that further explains our analytics collection. We would also like to share we will no longer be collecting telephone numbers, MAC Addresses and WiFi information.
He also notes that the company never sent this information to any third parties, which is good. But opting out of the “user experience program” doesn’t appear to stop telemetry data from being sent — it just means “your usage analytics will not be tied to your device information.” Users may prefer to know that their data is not being collected at all, but for now that option appears to be limited to the same command-line tools as it was before.
Inventory for the OnePlus 5, the best value for a premium Android phone, have reportedly dried up. All models of the phone are listed as out of stock on the company’s website, which could mean a revamped model is on its way.
According to a report from GizmoChina, OnePlus might be preparing to launch the OnePlus 5T, a redesigned version of its 2017 flagship with a larger edge-to-edge display to better compete with phones like the iPhone X, Galaxy Note 8, and Google Pixel 2.
It would seem odd for a company to release an updated version of its phone so soon — the OnePlus 5 launched to rave reviews only four months ago — but it wouldn’t be an unprecedented move.
Last year, OnePlus replaced the OnePlus 3 with the 3T less than half a year after its release, and it didn’t appear to hurt the company or its bottom line.
When I asked OnePlus’s head of marketing Kyle Kiang why it was launching the 3T so quickly after the 3, he told me the company’s small size and scrappiness means it doesn’t need follow annual launch cycles. It launches new products when they’re ready, and if that means it’s sooner than fans expect, then so be it.
The report claims the new 5T might come with a larger 6-inch 18:9 aspect ratio display with curved edges. The screen’s resolution might also finally get a bump up from 1,920 x 1,080 to 2,160 x 1,080. That makes it higher-resolution display than the OnePlus 5’s, but still short of the crisper displays Samsung and LG use in their flagship phones.
Not else is known about the purported 5T, except that it might resemble a Galaxy S8 with slim bezels above and below the display:
Depending on how you like your phones, that’s either extremely flattering or disappointing.
When OnePlus launched the 3T, it included a slightly faster processor, better front-facing camera, and larger battery. It’s possible a 5T could include improvements beyond the screen. What’s likely to remain is the dual camera system on the back, which enables Portrait mode like on the iPhone 8 Plus.
And if the 3T is any indication, the 5T could also cost more. OnePlus built its brand allegiance with premium design and specs with affordable pricing, but it’s already shown that it’s not against hiking prices with each new device. Even if you don’t like the higher pricing, OnePlus’ phones still usually cost hundreds less than competitors. With Samsung and Apple’s best phones now at the $1,000 price range, OnePlus has plenty of wiggle room between $500-$1,000.
We’ve reached out to OnePlus for more information on the OnePlus 5’s out-of-stock status.
OnePlus, the startup phone company behind the well-reviewed OnePlus 5, appears to have an issue with another sequence of numbers. Unfortunately, that sequence happens to be 9-1-1.
A video shared to Reddit shows one of the sleek new phones rebooting immediately after being used to dial the three-digit distress code in a test run, making it impossible for its owner to reach a dispatcher in the event of an actual emergency.
OnePlus owner Nick Morelli posted about the flaw on the OnePlus subreddit, noting that he was able to replicate the reboot process over multiple test calls.
The video shows the Android phone recognizing the emergency protocol, flashing a bold SOS icon onscreen. But the phone doesn’t appear to actually dial the number (Morelli turned the speaker on to demonstrate the dead noise after placing the call), and after a moment, it immediately reboots.
Check it out below.
At least one other OnePlus owner commented on the original post, reporting the same problem. Others speculated the issue might stem from and issue with connections through the enhanced 911 services code or the phone’s GPS.
When we tried to replicate the problem on our OnePlus 5 model at the office, we found that the phone worked properly. It completed our test 9-1-1 call without a hitch. The flaw doesn’t appear to be widespread either, but it’s still a concerning issue given how important this particular function is.
Mashable reached out to OnePlus for more information about the supposed bug, but did not receive a response.
The Next Web, however, did hear back. The publication was told OnePlus has contacted Morelli about the issue and are currently working to resolve it. If you have a OnePlus 5 and find the flaw in your device, the company says to get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
July 18, 2017 / Comments Off on Some OnePlus 5 phones might have a problem with emergency calls
It’s the perfect phone for anyone who loves Android and wants the iPhone 7 Plus’s cameras, and hates iOS.
The OnePlus 5 didn’t just happen overnight. It’s the end product of years of iteration, and it really shows.
Not to mention, the OnePlus 5 is priced to kill — it’s far more affordable than the premium flagships Samsung and Apple sell.
For the full deep dive on all of the OnePlus 5’s features, you’ll need to read our review. For y’all who are TL;DR (seriously, come onnnn), here’s all that you need to know about the phone, and why you should care about it.
1. It feels incredible
Ignore the fact that it looks very similar to an iPhone 7 Plus. A phone is more than just its appearance. How it feels is just as important, and the OnePlus 5 feels incredible. Though it has the same 5.5-inch display, the OnePlus 5’s smaller footprint and its subtle curves make it a pleasure to hold in your hand and use. And, it has a headphone jack. Boom!
2. Reading Mode will save your eyes
Studies suggest the blue light emitted from LCD screens can have a negative impact on your health, and severely hinder your ability to fall asleep. Phones with “night modes” adjust the color temperature of the screen to warmer tones to emit less blue light, and that’s great, but the OnePlus 5’s “Reading Mode” goes even further.
Turn this setting on (you can also assign which apps automatically activate this feature) and the screen fades from color to black and white with a warmer color temperature. It’s like you’re reading a newspaper or on an e-reader, and it’s made my eyes feel a whole lot less strained.
3. Portrait mode is hot fire
Yeah, yeah, it’s another feature copied from the iPhone 7 Plus. When you’ve reviewed as many phones as I have, you’ll get used to all the rampant copying — everyone copies (even Apple).
All that really matters is photos look great. The regular 16-megapixel with f/1.7 lens takes amazing photos even in low light, but it’s the secondary 20-megapixel f/2.6 telephoto lens that takes your photos to a whole new level. Not only does it enable 2x optical zoom, but it also takes “Portrait mode” shots that blur out the background and make your photos really pop. Like the iPhone 7 Plus’ Portrait mode, the OnePlus 5’s version isn’t perfect, but it’s still really good and should get better over time.
4. It’s sooo powerful and fast
Tech nerds, this is your phone. Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 chip, 6GB RAM with 64GB of storage or 8GB RAM with 128GB of storage, 3300 mAh battery that lasts 20% longer than the OnePlus 3T, and Android 7.1.1 Nougat. 16-megapixel selfie camera, 16-megapixel rear main camera and 20-megapixel telephoto camera.
If these specs make you hot and bothered — good! — because they come together to make the OnePlus 5 a ridiculously powerful, feature-packed, fast, and responsive phone. It feels faster than a Galaxy S8 and smoother than Google’s Pixel.
5. Fingerprint sensor is wicked responsive
Fingerprint sensors have become really good over the last few years that pretty much all of the ones on flagships are excellent. The OnePlus 5’s front-positioned fingerprint sensor is — as on the OnePlus 3T — fast AF and unlocks in 0.2 seconds. It’s almost too quick, but I’ll take it.
6. Price destroys every other flagship
Besides building bitchin’ hardware, OnePlus has always stood for value. It sells premium phones without the premium price tag. Compared to an unlocked 64GB Galaxy S8 ($725) or 32GB — there’s no 64GB — Google Pixel XL ($770) or iPhone 7 Plus ($770), a 64GB OnePlus 5 costs hundreds less at $480. Even the 128GB OnePlus 5 ($540) costs way less than Apple, Samsung, or Google’s flagships. Use all the money you saved and put it towards into your piggybank for another day.
June 20, 2017 / Comments Off on 6 reasons why the OnePlus 5 is the Android phone to get
I really want to stop calling OnePlus the “startup you’ve probably never heard of that’s making kick-ass phones” but sadly they still aren’t ready to outgrow that status.
Not that the company cares that it’s still seen as the underdog in the increasingly saturated smartphone world. In fact, the metaphor that OnePlus is David and everyone else is Goliath only pushes the company to “Never Settle” (its tagline) and keep doing the seemingly impossible with its impressively affordable phones.
If you’re one of the many who’ve never heard of OnePlus, there’s no better time to get to know the company than with their new flagship OnePlus 5 smartphone.
It feels like a trick that the OnePlus 5 is this spectacular. It feels like even more of a trick when you realize it only costs $479 (Slate Gray; 64GB with 6GB of RAM) or $539 (Midnight Black; 128GB with 8GB of RAM).
But ridiculously premium phones with prices that cost hundreds less than Samsung’s or LG’s or Apple’s flagship phones is precisely what OnePlus is known for and how it’s built a cult-like following in the nearly four years since it vaulted onto the stage.
I’ve watched the company’s ambitions grow and its phones continue to push the limits of industrial design, software, and value since the beginning.
Now with the OnePlus 5, which I’ve been testing for a little over a week, the startup phone maker finally claims phone perfection for Android.
Looks like iPhone, but feels incredible
The haters will look at the OnePlus 5 and say it’s an iPhone 7 Plus clone, and they wouldn’t be wrong.
Kyle Kiang, the company’s head of global marketing, told me the company isn’t (at least not yet) spending gobs of resources building a phone that looks dramatically different from others just for the sake of doing so.
That wasn’t an answer I wanted to hear — original industrial design is what gives a phone an identity — but I can’t say that I was shocked by it either.
The phone does look like Apple’s biggest iPhone, but what phone isn’t derivative of another? Sure, Samsung’s Galaxy S8 looks distinct with its long curved display, but things weren’t always that way. Google’s Pixels look like an iPhone as well, but so do many others.
Skin resemblance aside, the OnePlus 5 does feel different from an iPhone or Galaxy S8 in the hand, and that makes a big difference. OnePlus says the OnePlus 5’s curves are a natural evolution of the OnePlus 3T’s.
The aluminum unibody is remarkably thin at 7.25mm (0.29 inch — a hair thinner than the iPhone 7 Plus). The longer sides of the display stretch edge-to-edge allowing for a smaller physical footprint compared to the iPhone 7 Plus.
The OnePlus 5 isn’t quite the supermodel the Galaxy S8 is, but it looks like one next to Google’s Pixel. There’s not a single button or port that’s out of place, and the lack of any logos besides the OnePlus logo, “Designed in…” text, or model numbers on the back, only makes the phone look that much purer.
Flagship inside and out
It’s for the better that OnePlus dropped the “flagship killer” nonsense last year. OnePlus’s phones don’t need to dethrone another to be winner. Hell, and it’s unlikely to do so until it ships as many as Samsung does in a year, which probably won’t be for a while.
For the money, the OnePlus 5 checks off all the boxes you’d expect from 2017 flagship. The industrial design is right up there in Apple and Samsung’s league, and so are the specs.
• 5.5-inch AMOLED display (1,920 x 1,080)
• Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor
• 6GB RAM/8GB RAM
• 64GB/128GB storage
• 3,300 mAh battery
• Dual SIM
• Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 ac
• 16-megapixel f/1.7 camera + 20-megapixel f/2.6 2x “tele” lens
• 16-megapixel f/2.0 selfie camera
The phone comes with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 chip with two RAM and storage options (6GB of RAM with 64GB of storage or 8GB of RAM with 128GB of storage). On paper, these specs beat the pants off the Galaxy S8 and in reality they do as well (although not by much).
The OnePlus 5 beats the pants off of the Galaxy S8 in specs and responsiveness.
That extra 2GB or 4GB of RAM over the Galaxy S8 means everything is faster and smoother. Apps open and close in an instant. 3D games power through with virtually no choppiness. You can flick through what feels like hundreds of suspended apps in the multi-tasker.
Android fans will wonder why there’s no microSD card slot for storage expansion again. When I nagged OnePlus about this, their reps said they found memory-card performance was sub-par compared to onboard storage, and so they decided to skip it and switch to UFS 2.1 built-in storage, which speeds up everything from performance to loading.
This insane speed is noticeable all throughout OxygenOS 4.5.0, which is really nearly stock Android 7.1.1 with some very minor customizations and custom settings.
Kiang says the company didn’t add more RAM just to have more than the competition. The extra RAM helps improve responsiveness and reduce touchscreen latency, which all contribute to the phone working faster and actions feeling more fluid.
Android purists will cling to their Pixels and say that’s what a pure Android experience is, but I think I might like OxygenOS more. Aesthetically, the launcher looks practically the same as stock Android. But dig around and you’ll find OnePlus’s handful of unique features like the Shelf board that’s a swipe over from the main home screen, dark theme, expanded screenshots (take longer screenshots), unique off-screen gestures, and more.
New to OxygenOS is a handy “Reading Mode” that drains the screen of its color to black and white for an e-reader-like experience and a “Gaming Do Not Disturb Mode” that mutes notifications when you’re, well, gaming. Both of these features can be toggled on manually or set to automatically activate on an app-by-app basis. They’re small features that you might gloss over, but, man, are they useful.
The rest of the phone’s features are also top-notch. The fingerprint sensor is impossibly quick (and thankfully not on the back next to the camera), there’s a headphone jack, and the battery easily lasts a full day. Dash Charging, OnePlus’s own version of Quick Charge, also continues to kick ass, juicing up the OnePlus 5 from 0 to 60% in 30 minutes.
The phone’s also splash-proof. It’s not IP-rated for water-resistant, but OnePlus says it’ll be able to handle rain and a drop in the toilet, no probs. Sure enough, my review unit survived the recent torrential downpours in NYC.
The only thing that could’ve made the OnePlus 5 even better would’ve been stereo speakers; the phone’s mono speaker is loud, but it’s just like the Galaxy S8: side-firing instead of forward-firing.
iPhone 7 Plus-like cameras
The dual cameras on the iPhone 7 Plus — one regular lens and one 2x optical zoom “telephoto” lens — are considered the best in the phone game. On top of that, its “Portrait mode” which blurs out the background has been described as game-changing and good enough to shoot magazine covers.
It was only a matter of time before an Android phone copied it. And copy the OnePlus 5 does so without shame.
The OnePlus 5 has the same type of dual-camera system mounted on the back, only with higher-resolution image sensors. There’s a 16-megapixel wide-angle lens with f/1.7 aperture and a secondary 20-megapixel 2x “telephoto” lens with f/2.6 aperture.
They work just like on iPhone 7 Plus: tap a little “1x” and “2x” icon to switch between the two lenses. The OnePlus 5’s even got the same “Portrait mode” with a “Depth effect” icon that appears when you’ve got your subjects within a few feet to blur out the background.
iPhone 7 Plus
How good are photos taken in regular, 2x, and Portrait mode? Unsurprisingly, very, very good… most of the time.
Let’s start with regular photos. They look phenomenal. Colors are rich (if not a little too warm and oversaturated than reality), details are crispy, and low-light pics just look amazing.
I’m more of a “life-like” colors kind of guy, and prefer to edit and saturate my photos on my own terms, but I recognize a lot of people like the more vibrant colors, so it’s really a matter of preference.
The OnePlus 5’s HDR+ mode (default) also tends to over-process images to an extreme, washing out details and giving them a cartoon-like look when you view them up close. This isn’t a problem on your phone screen, but zoomed in, it’s clear the cameras could dial back on the processing — an issue that could be fixed with a software update.
As for 2x zoom and Portrait mode, those look pretty tight as well. The lenses are wider than on iPhone 7 Plus so the optical zoom isn’t quite as close, but they’re still solid.
Just like on iPhone 7 Plus, Portrait mode blurs out the background making foreground details pop. The iPhone 7 Plus has softer (considered better) “bokeh” than the OnePlus 5, but they’re both impressive for a phone.
Selfies from the 16-megapixel f/2.0 front camera look as good as they did on the OnePlus 3T. That is they’re sharp enough for Instagram and Snapchat.
Not bad. Not bad at all, OnePlus!
The OnePlus to rule them all
Three years after it launched the OnePlus One to critical acclaim (and silly invite-to-buy shopping experience), the startup shows no signs of slowing down.
The OnePlus 5 is arguably the best no-nonsense Android phone of the year. There simply is no better phone when it comes to value.
The OnePlus 5 is still the best phone value in town.
Die-hard OnePlus fans might have reason to pause with the price increasing with each new model, but if you compare that to the prices you’d pay for other unlocked flagships — $725 for an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S8 (64GB), $770 for an unlocked Google Pixel XL or iPhone 7 Pkys (32GB; there are no 64GB models, but you can jump up to 128GB for even more) — the OnePlus 5 is a steal.
I said it when I reviewed the OnePlus 3T and the same holds true for the OnePlus 5: It fills the void left by Google’s Nexus phones. With Google playing in the premium phone game, few have stepped in to offer that same kind of value-performance package of the Nexus line except OnePlus.
The Galaxy S8 is Samsung’s best phone ever. Same goes for Google and its Pixels, LG and its G6, and Apple and its iPhone 7.
The OnePlus 5 is OnePlus’ best phone ever — and maybe one day it’ll command premium prices just like Samsung — but for now, it’s still the best deal in town.
Crisp, bright display • Ridiculously speedy and responsive performance • All-day battery life • Genuinely useful new software features (i.e. Reading Mode) • Dual cameras second only to iPhone 7 Plus
Still no microSD card slot • No formal IP rating for water resistance
The Bottom Line
The OnePlus 5 is the best no-nonsense smartphone you can buy. Period.
June 20, 2017 / Comments Off on OnePlus 5 review: Spectacular on every level