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January 26, 2018

OnePlus 5 Quick Review and Case Comparison - Guest Post

Here at Fiscally Free, we don't like spending a fortune on cell phones (or anything, really), which is why we love OnePlus. They make great phones and charge a lot less than the competition. What's not to love? Chrissy and I both have a (used) OnePlus One, and even though it came out almost four years ago, it still works great. My friend and former coworker Mitch is also a fan of OnePlus, and he recently upgraded from a OnePlus One (OPO) to a OnePlus 5 (OP5). He offered to write a post about his thoughts on the new phone and several cases he got for it, so here it is.

Editor's note:  This post is very pro-OnePlus, however, it is NOT sponsored content. We are simply big fans of their phones. However, we have included referral links to OnePlus which will give you $20 off accessories and give us "referral points" if you buy a phone.
Also, we know the OnePlus 5 has been discontinued and replaced by the OnePlus 5T. That just means you can find a better deal on a used OP5, like my friend did.
Finally, OnePlus has had some recent security issues with their site, so proceed with caution.

OnePlus 5 Review (vs. the OnePlus One)
Editor's Note #2:  I will warn you, Mitch is incredibly picky about his phone, so be prepared for some neurotic engineer nitpicking. Here are his thoughts on how the OP5 compares to the OPO:

I bought a used OP5 because I wanted to get a fast phone with a button on the front and a headphone jack--a lot of the newer phones have moved the button to the back and eliminated the headphone jack.

I was still 90% satisfied with my OPO; it is fast enough for me but the camera is lacking, so I have to carry a point and shoot when traveling. Also I’ve been looking for a new phone for my girlfriend, so “new phone” has <unnecessarily> been on my mind.

How the OP5 is better than the OPO
  • Fast. Crazy fast.
  • Camera is way way better and takes pics almost instantaneously.
  • Fingerprint reader prevents accidental home button presses while typing.
  • USB-C is great, and the adapters are only $6 for 5 adapters on Amazon.
  • Has a hardware slider switch for ring/vibrate/silent, however, the positions are not intuitive and you can’t reconfigure them.
  • Headphone jack is on the bottom next to the usb-c plug, so when it is in the car holder all cords exit downwards (less stress on the cords and jacks).

How the OP5 is equal to the OPO
  • Both Good:  Capacitive buttons (instead of onscreen buttons like the newer phones).
  • Both Good:  Phenomenal battery life.
  • Both Bad:  Vibration is still weak like the OPO.
  • Both Bad:  I still accidentally hit the capacitive back button while typing sometimes.

How the OP5 is worse than the OPO
  • Fingerprint reader doesn’t act as a true button--it only works if you use a finger that has been scanned, and it only holds 5 fingerprints.
  • Screen is curved at the edges--requires a special wraparound screen protector to get full screen coverage.
  • Some cases can peel the wraparound screen protector off. I’m afraid to take the phone out of the case now.
  • Phone is narrower overall--if you are a guy with full sized hands the phone feels narrow. I like OPO width better.
  • Software isn’t as refined or as customizable as the Tugapower ROM on the OPO.
  • It’s under warranty, so no rooting yet. That means I can't block advertisements.

The Best (Cheap) OnePlus 5 Case
In his quest to find the perfect (affordable) case for his new phone, my friend bought four different cases. Here are his thoughts on them.

+ Very grippy to the touch
++ Reinforced corners

- Clear back has poor appearance
-- Plasticy finish, not rubber
-- Terrible tactile key feel

Conclusion: Poor key feel, cheap appearance, avoid.

I didn’t want a kickstand model, I just wanted something that was very grippy. This looked grippy.
+ Soft rubber with a plastic outer shell
+ Nice key feel
+ Actually works better WITHOUT the hard plastic shell--edges are easier to grip

- Tire tread appearance is cheesy
-- Kickstand feature protrudes significantly
--- Case edge is in the exact wrong spot and it PEELS BACK FACTORY OP5 screen protector! 

Conclusion: AVOID if you have the factory wrap around screen protector

++ Excellent key feel, by far the best of the four
+ Gripper texture on sides is somewhat effective
+ No cutout for Oneplus logo = less dirt

- Faux carbon fiber back inserts are hokey
- Plain rubber back is slippery
- Case barely sticks up above screen--limited protection
- Case is thin overall and corners are not reinforced
- Tough to pull out of jean pocket compared to the others

Conclusion: A good basic case that works right out of the box

++ Case sticks up above screen protector, offers good protection
+ Corners are slightly bulged
+ Gripper slots on edge
+ “Brushed” finish on back offers a little bit more grip than plain rubber of the Tudia case

-- Key tactile feel is poor 
- Reinforced edge around the screen lacks gripper slots--case is much more slippery
- Reinforced edge protrudes further out than the keys, making key presses extra difficult
- Volume slider is tough to get to because case is thick in the corner area
- Faux carbon fiber back inserts are hokey

+/- Cutout for Oneplus logo will let dirt into the case, but also gives another spot to grip
+/- Raised lip on back of phone offers good protection, but scoops up dirt and lint out of your pocket 

So what case did I end up using? The Biuzko, but with a whole bunch of modifications.

Biuzko Modifications
Mod 1: Used a cutoff wheel (Dremel) to put a ton of gripper notches in the upper edge of the case. This was the biggest improvement.

Mod 2: Used an X-Acto knife to clearance the rubber around the slider.

Mod 3: Used an X-Acto knife to slice along the power and volume buttons to allow for better tactile feel. I did this in a few stages to get the feel where I wanted it.

Mod 4: Used the cutoff wheel to clearance the edge above the power button to allow easier access. I didn’t clearance the volume button side, as I use the volume buttons much less often than the power button.

Was this interesting? Do you want to see more random product reviews? Let us know in the comments.

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