A feature-packed and highly specified smartphone undercuts Apple
In June OnePlus released their latest smartphone which, like its predecessors, has won many friends for its high specification, quality and very reasonable price. It provides stiff competition for leading smartphones, especially the iPhone 7, at a price that significantly undercuts Apple’s hugely popular handset.
Who are OnePlus and what do they offer?
OnePlus are a Chinese smartphone manufacturer of barely four years standing. In this small space of time they’ve already carved out a reputation for making top class, well specified smartphones at prices that are considerably below what’s on offer from the market leaders.
Many reviews sung the praises of the new 5 and its predecessors, so lower pricing clearly doesn’t mean a compromise in performance. Does it offer a value for money option to the fabled iPhone?
The short answer is ‘yes’.
The OnePlus 5 is quite remarkable in offering a higher specification than the iPhone in certain areas such as memory and storage at price points undercutting the Apple offering.
For example, the standard iPhone 7 with a 4.7 inch screen costs £600 in 32GB storage guise, while the lower priced of the two One Plus phones offers twice the storage (64GB) for £450 – a saving of £150. Indeed, the next model up still undercuts the entry level iPhone by £100.
When you consider the OnePlus 5 also has a larger 5.5 inch screen as standard, then its price advantage over the iPhone is even more pronounced. Apple’s iPhone Plus features a 5.5 inch screen, but in entry level 32GB form its price tag is £720 so you could have a OnePlus 5 with four times the storage (128GB) for £220 less.
One way of sidestepping the heavy investment required to own a new iPhone is to consider a refurbished iPhone 7.
The iPhone 7 Plus, along with a bigger screen, offers a dual lens camera compared to the standard iPhone’s one lens offering but so does the OnePlus 5. Therefore, if photography is important then the Chinese company’s smartphone matches the better of the Apple’s cameras.
This is even more of an advantage when comparing the standard 4.7 inch iPhone to the OnePlus in that you’re getting a far more advanced camera system and a larger screen at a lower price.
Power and memory
The OnePlus features a larger battery than that in the iPhone Plus. While both have shown to be capable of lasting a full day of mixed use before recharging is required, the OnePlus has a key trump card – a fast charging option enabling you to add some battery power quickly to tide you over.
As discussed above, the OnePlus offers significant price advantages at various storage option points, but while the OnePlus offers a maximum of 128GB storage, the iPhone offers 256GB storage options. They’re pricey though: on the standard iPhone this level of memory will cost £800 and not far short of four figures (£919) on the Plus version.
Where the OnePlus really out specifies the iPhone is in RAM (Random Access Memory); depending on which of the two versions you specify there’s a whopping 6 or 8GB compared to a maximum of 3GB on the iPhone.
To put this in perspective, that’s way ahead of the competition and actually the same amount of RAM as fitted to some of Apple’s highly specified MacBook laptops.
Where the iPhone scores
Finish options – while both phones look remarkably similar, the iPhone offers more finishes with five options including silver, gold and two blacks with one being a striking, glossy ‘piano black’ type. The OnePlus only offers two very similar black or slate grey finishes.
Waterproof – the iPhone is also waterproof to IP67 standard, which means it’ll cope with being doused in water, and could survive being submerged to depths under one metre for up to half an hour. The OnePlus by contrast doesn’t offer any water resistance.
Probable resale values – while the iPhone isn’t cheap to buy, it does hold its value well, so when changing phones you’ll likely recoup a decent slice of your initial outlay on your older phone.
Image – while the OnePlus looks very similar to an iPhone and offers comparable levels of quality in terms of fit and finish, ultimately it’s not an Apple iPhone which has a cachet all of its own for many.
What will you buy?
The OnePlus makes a strong argument for itself in that it offers mostly the same or better specifications than the iPhone at significantly lower prices model for model. That said, if you’re used to Apple’s iOS operating system, you may be more inclined to stay with it rather than moving over to the Android platform.
On the other hand, if you’re already an Android user and are thinking of switching to Apple, the attractions of sticking to what you’re familiar with and owning a cutting edge phone at a price far less than the iPhone and other Android offerings may be the deciding factor.
Comparing the iPhone 7 with the OnePlus 5 to see whether the 5’s huge price advantage comes at a cost of quality and features and whether it’s worth considering.