As most of you are likely aware, we are deep into leak season for the upcoming OnePlus 5, with many rumors, renders, and Blurry Cam photos of the device floating around. OnePlus has already begun their own social media campaign of teasers and calculated reveals, intriguingly posting a photo today that hints of a slimmer device with an updated design. The OnePlus 3 and 3T are arguably already svelte and attractive devices in their own rights, and it will be exciting to see if OnePlus follows the recent (and welcome) industry trend of an improved screen to body ratios.
The main focus of OnePlus’ teasers have been related to photography, however, excluding a single performance forum post. The company announced earlier this month that they have partnered with DxO Labs, owner of the well-known DxOMark camera benchmarking site, in their development of the OnePlus 5’s camera implementation. While I have done my best to explore and demonstrate the full potential of my OnePlus 3T as a tool for photography, there is no doubt considerable room for improvement. The partnership between DxO Labs and OnePlus will likely focus on improving software related to signal processing, rather than camera hardware, but Google has soundly demonstrated the difference improved image processing can make with both the algorithms behind Pixel’s impressive camera and more recent experimental software meant to improve low-light performance.
A Focus on Photography?
Combined with packaging leaks that may or may not confirm that the OnePlus 5 will sport a dual-camera, I am cautiously optimistic that the device will offer users a better experience than the 3 and 3T. Both devices have generally been received as solid but unremarkable in terms of camera performance, and flagships like the Pixel, Galaxy S8, and LG G6 all have demonstrably better low-light performance. OnePlus has, in turn, revealed (half of) a photo taken by the OnePlus 5 that indicates improved detail preservation and low-light performance, which would be a welcome addition. Take this with a big grain of salt, but there is also a chance that Carl Pei himself has already begun to post a handful of samples from the OnePlus 5’s camera. Go check out his personal Instagram for a potential sneak peek. As a familiar 3T photographer, I am reasonably confident that the last several photos he has posted are not something that the 3T could ever produce, which makes me very excited for the OnePlus 5.
On top of all of this, the company has begun accepting applications for a project out of their Lab program, tasked with selecting 10 skilled mobile photographers who will then be allowed to review the OnePlus 5’s camera and offer their thoughts and feedback. With nearly 20,000 applications thus far, there is certainly no shortage of eager volunteers. With this Lab, OnePlus has made it even clearer that an improved camera will be a central focus of their upcoming device.
Given the announcement of their partnership with DxO Labs, as well as their most recent teaser suggesting slimmer bezels, the OnePlus 5 has the potential to be an interesting device. One can only hope that rumors of large price increases will remain nothing more than rumors, but we will likely find out one way or another before the month of June is over, if OnePlus continues to follow a tradition of June releases.