As of my most recent impulse-buy, I’m now a mildly unashamed owener of a OnePlus 5, and I thought I’d jot down some thoughts about that.
The OP5 is a farily sizeable upgrade for me, coming from a OnePlus One I quite enjoyed.
I didn’t really need to upgrade, as my OP1 is still intact, unstolen and unscratched, but you know what they say about buying things you really want and how that’s a perfectly fine thing to do if you have the ability to do so. It’s a really concise saying, I swear.

A Bit of History

I was fairly late on-board the smartphone train, and as far as owning phones goes, I’ve never been the enthusiast I could have been given my curiousity, so my past devices are not really much too look at, but we’ll do so anyway.

2011: HTC Desire

My first smartphone was an Android, because at the time Android sucked a lot, but iOS also sucked in some other ways and also I didn’t have that much disposable income to splurge on an (at the time) ne device category for me.
The Desire was a decent phone until the point came where there were — of course — no more software updates, and I had to dip my toe in the tinkery wonderland of custom ROMs for the first time. After a lot of trial and error I settled on CyanogenMOD, which was at least stable and reasonably customizable. Now that I think of it, that was also a time where you had to root your phone to be able to take screenshots. Things were weird back in the day, I tell y’all young folk.

The worst part however was the absolutely tiny internal storage, clocking in at about 150MB(!) if memory serves me right. Bear in mind that was at a time where Android couldn’t easily move apps to the external storage 1, so I had to resort to various hacky things some custom ROMs/apps offered (app2sd, d2w, all that jazz). It was an interesting time, and also a time that kinda sucked.
Thankfully it didn’t take me that long to upgrade.

2012: Nexus 4 (LG)

Oh boy did I like that phone. After the Desire, this was the prettiest and smoothest thing ever. It was also slippery as fuck all, but oh well.
As a Nexus, I could count on reasonably fast updates, a vibrant custom ROM ecosystem and better specs that made the whole thing fun in a way the Desire never was. By the time I had gotten accustomed to CyanogenMOD, so after I grew bored of stock Android I switched to CM relatively quickly, and never regretted it. For the first time I was actually one of those bleeding-edge people, with daily CM nightlies and whatnot. As a student, stability was not that big of a deal so even if I encountered random reboots or app crashes, they didn’t really bother me that much. I even used a fork of the standard custom recovery at the time only because it supported EXT4 formatting, and I never even cared about any benefits I of that, I just did it because it was new and kewl.
Sadly, the phone got stolen in 2014, which is a real shame because I wanted my mom to inherit it, who was by then using my old HTC Desire and also ran into storage issues.
At least that paved the way for a even upgradier upgrade.

2014: OnePlus One

I actually had to go scavanging through forums to get an invite for the damn thing, but at least it was worth it. The OP1 was a really good phone for the price point, and it was huge. Also, the amount of RAM was huge. The clusterfuck with CyanogenOS was also huge, so yeah, back to CyanogenMOD community builds it was, once again.
The prettiest thing about the phone was, without a doubt, the sandstone back finish. I immediately discarded the OP3 as a possible upgrade because I grew so attached to the sandstone alone, even if I really wanted this newfangled fingerprint thingy.
In the past few months, I’ve encountered random reboots maybe once a day, usually when I was on the go and listening to a podcast or using it as navigation in the car, so yeah, I got kind of sour with the bleeding-edge life on CM14.1 Nightlies. With the most recent stable version of OnePlus’ own OxygenOS still stuck on the previous version of Android, falling back to a stable OS wasn’t really a possibility. Too many eggs in the Nougat basket.
I could have just wiped everything and do a clean flash of the latest LineageOS weekly, but do you have any idea how lazy I am?
Very.
Very lazy is how lazy I am.

So I impulse-bought the OP5, because I’m really good with handling impulses.

Sandstone :(

I really really liked the sandstone back on the OP1, but now I’m using a sandstone back protector on the OP5 and it’s a little rougher and grippier than the (presumably noticeably worn down) back of my OP1, so… yeah, that turned out to be no big deal at all. Holding the OP1 in my hand now feels way too smooth, so I guess I got used to the new back really quickly.

There are other things the OP5 lacks, luckily none of which I particularly care about:

  • Water resistance: Never had issues with that, thefuck you people do with your phones? But sure, technically a nice thing.
  • Optical image stabilization (OIS): I’ve never had OIS on a phone before, so I don’t really know what I’m missing. I’m very happy with the OP5 camera, especially compared to the OP1 (which was just very slow, but that could have been a custom ROM thing)
  • I don’t even remember if it has wireless charging or not ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • >1080p: I don’t know if I would prefer a 2K/4K screen, but never having used one I’m perfectly happy with regular HD, which probably benefits battery usage anyway. Seriously, higher resolutions might be nice, but I don’t consume any media on my phone that would warrant such resolutions, and ever since the retina transition I considered resolution on phones a solved issue for me.
  • No expandable storage: It’s 2017 and the thing has 128GB. I don’t know why I would need a microSD card slot ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • Other things people care about: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Fingerprint and AMOLED :)

As a happy user of 1password, the best thing about the upgrade was finally having a fingerprint reader to quickly unlock 1password, as my master password is obviously fairly long and hard to mistype on a phone keyboard.
It’s also *really really fast**, which surprised me for some reason, given how fingerprint readers are pretty much standard components since a few generations ago.
I’m also a fan of the camera, but maybe that’s just the novelty of having a really damn fast camera app again for a change. The dual camera thing is neat, and the pro mode where you can manually tweak all the settings is also kewl, but I haven’t had a chance to really test it.

Then there’s the display. I’ve only had LCD-devices so far, so seeing what “the blacks are truly black” with regards to AMOLED really means was very nice. Sadly, it kind of ruined other displays for me, primarily my iPad Air 2, which I use for both reading and as a bedside clock. While I don’t use it exclusively for these things, they really highlight how non-black the LCD black is, making me a sad panda.

As with the OP1 in the past, the OP5 also comes with ridiculous amounts of RAM again. This time it’s 8GB, and I feel like I have to mention that I’ve owned a computer with more than 8GB of RAM for only about one and a half years. My first computer had 512MB RAM and my current laptop has 16GB. Phones are getting weird, man.
I don’t know enough about the internals of Android to make assumptions how much of that RAM is actually useful, aber oh well, I guess I’ll at least be able to keep a really really long list of recent apps I guess? Also, future-proofing. When in doubt about the justifiability of currently over-the-top specs, always claim future-proofing.
Oh, and if you thought the OP1 was already charging pretty quickly, let me tell you how impressed I am with the dash carging thing. It’s really frikkin fast. Talking 50-100% in “let me just look through twitter and slack for a minute” kind of fast.
Now if only that car charger was currently shipping in Germany, that would be rad.

I don’t even want to tear it apart!

As I mentioned, I’ve been running CyanogenMOD (or more recently, its successor LineageOS) for pretty much most of my Android days, and I’ve gotten used to various customizability features like editable quick draw tiles and the likes before they way standard parts.
I’ve also used Nova Launcher as a homescreen replacement for stock launcher for so long, I was basically unable to switch back to stock because I was so used to various little things I didn’t want to compromise on.
However, now I’m on the latest OxygenOS, the OP stock ROM, and I don’t really miss anything. The shelf to the left side of the homescreen is a nice play for lots of widgets I would usually need to spread out over multiple screens, and the rest is pretty decent, too. The only thing that I really miss from Nova is the customizable app drawer where you can create tabbed sections for apps, which I used to group them by category (games, social, media stuff, tools), but oh well, I’ll get used to it. Now that I have more screen space available because all the widgets can live on the shelf, I don’t have to primarily rely on the app drawer anyway.

The only customization I made was rooting it, which is a thing I also do almost out of habit and not for any particular feature I really need. Except host-file based ad-block, because VPN ad-blocking is annoying and also fuck you and everyone you know if you force ads into your apps without giving me the option to pay for an ad-free experience (which I gladly do very often, but some devs seem to just hate people).

I think that’s about it as far as first impressions go, so here’s a wallpaper for any other recent AMOLED converts out there:

Full album — Hmmmmm, black blacks.


  1. which it had, at least. Remember micro SD cards? Me neither [return]