Stop Complaining About the OnePlus 5 Design

Posted on June 9, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Android, iOS, Mobile with 22 Comments

Stop Complaining About the OnePlus 5 Design

After a series of leaks and mini-reveals about the upcoming OnePlus 5, many are complaining that this new handset too closely copies other smartphone flagships. Guys, relax. That’s the point.

By which I mean, the OnePlus smartphones have always filled an important and necessary role in the market. They provide flagships features and functionality for far more reasonable pricing. That is its own kind of innovation, frankly.

And that’s it. They don’t do anything else. They don’t need to do anything else.

This role has been filled by other devices over time as well, of course. Google’s Nexus lineup flitted in and out of this territory, most famously with the original Nexus 5, and then the later Nexus 5X and 6P. All of these phones offered high-end features and specs at affordable prices. Moto does this as well, with most of their devices.

And so, too, does OnePlus.

With the OnePlus 5 specifically, the complaint is fairly classic: It too closely resembles the iPhone, in its design, especially, but also with its dual camera system. Guys, so does virtually every other smartphone on earth, leaving aside a handful of newer devices like the Galaxy S8. It’s a handsome and attractive look, especially in black.

More to the point, I’d love to get an affordable Android flagship that met the iPhone’s look and feel and functionality and performance … but at a fraction of the price. You should, as well.

Put another way, flagships like the Samsung Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7 are largely aspirational for much of the customer base. They’re just too expensive. But as we see with Surface Pro on the PC side of the fence, copycats quickly arrive to provide those features for less.

This isn’t something to mock, it’s something to celebrate. It’s the way the world works. And if you’re not driving around in a new Porsche and living in a million dollar home, you pretty much rely on this in virtually ever facet of your life. I certainly do.

I’m glad OnePlus exists. I’m glad they’re making good design and high-end features and specs more affordable. And like many of you, I’m going to consider buying a OnePlus 5 when it’s unveiled next week. Because supporting companies that do the right thing can be good for your wallet. And for your soul.


Tagged with , , ,

Join the discussion!


Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Comments (22)

22 responses to “Stop Complaining About the OnePlus 5 Design”

  1. Rob_Wade

    Basically, this is the same logic used by all the cheap knock-offs of clothing you can buy in Korea and the Philippines. And that's fine, if that's your goal. One of the reasons my wife and I gravitated to the earlier Lumia line of smartphones, besides Windows Phone 7 and 8, was the dramatically different design. I absolutely despise all the garbage coming out now because it all looks the same. Oh, and I really hate metal bodies on smartphones, which is even worse. So, if the goal is as suggested in the article, fine. But if, as a consumer, we truly want different, better styling, then the OnePlus fails dismally.

  2. Locust Infested Orchard Inc.

    In reply to Paul Thurrott:

    Quote: "I'm glad OnePlus exists. I'm glad they’re making good design and high-end features and specs more affordable. And like many of you, I'm going to consider buying a OnePlus 5 when it's unveiled next week. Because supporting companies that do the right thing can be good for your wallet. And for your soul."

    I couldn't agree more. Your comment is suggestive that Apple's products being heavy/bad for one's wallet, have a particularly detrimental effect on one's soul.

    Henceforth, Apple products shall be referred to as 'soul destroyers'.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to Locust Infested Orchard Inc.:

      The Apple products cost as much as the Samsungs and they are supported for longer. The iPhone 5 is only about to lose support five years after its release. The Galaxy S6 is already out of support and the S7 just received the one major update it is likely to get. My Nexus 6P will get one more update to Android O and be done after two years.

      The OnePlus One seems to have stopped support at the mod of Android M.

      The OnePlus 2 was supposed to have 24 months of updates and OnePlus backed off and that phone will never get an upgrade to the Oxygen Android N variant.

      So for Android, OnePlus is good. But Apple delivered an update that freed up storage to all iPhone 5 and better phones just a few months ago by deploying a new file system. No Android phone will be supported in five years.

      So let's say that you keep a phone for its whole supported life cycle. The OnePlus 3T costs $219.50 per year in the 64GB format, assuming 24 months of support. The 128GB iPhone 7 Plus costs $217.25 over a four year period. If it is supported for five (likely) then it's only $173.80 per month.

      This also means an iPhone has a lot more value on the secondary market for resale. You will recover more of your expense due to the lengthy support. I still know tons of people with iPhone 5 phones. I know one that is anxiously waiting for the iPhone 8 because it'll make the iPhone 6 more affordable on the used market.

      I'm not an Apple fan, but I've gone from Windows Phone to Android (Nexus 6P) to the iPhone 7 Plus. the iPhone is the best experience. The battery life is better. Apps are better - and its the same apps I used on Android like Instagram, FB, Snapchat, etc. Everything is snappier and it doesn't slow down over time.

      Sure, brand new iPhones are available for everyone but you can buy a used iPhone 6 Plus for the same price as a OnePlus 3T and the iPhone will get three more years of support compared to the 2 years on the OnePlus.

  3. Narg

    I agree. 1000%

    I'll cover any phone with a case anyway, so looks mean nothing to me (aside from butt ugly, then maybe it matters a little bit.)

  4. ruusterc

    the pixel only parts of it look like the iphone which is okay but the oneplus is ripping off the iphone design entirely if i want to buy something that looks like an iphone i will buy an iphone i dont care how much the phone costs theres no excuse for blatently copying another companys design

    • Cain69

      In reply to ruusterc:

      The current design of iPhone is a rip of a Samsung's design. If anyone is ripped off... it's Samsung!

      There are only so many ways one can make a rectangle box look and feel different. To attribute any well designed or good looking phone to iPhone is just silly. The distinct look of the iPhone ended when they decided to copy Samsung and go big.

      • ruusterc

        In reply to Cain69:

        They didn't copy Samsung because they made a size increase because that's a trend and if that's your definition of copying well then Samsung copied apple by coming out with the galxy s series in the first place and second of all i understand that your not gonna be able to design a phone that's totally different so copying parts of a phone is okay my problem is when they go out of there way to make the whole thing look like an iPhone there's no excuse Samsung makes phones that looks different htc makes phones that look different the pixel looks different

    • Bart

      In reply to ruusterc:

      Paul just made that argument. He is right.

  5. RoHo

    Thanks for the article Paul. As a 1+3T owner I don't think there is a better smartphone available with the all features and at an affordable price. I don't care if some think it a copy, I wouldn't know, I don't know anyone with a $1000 smartphone. The 1+5 looks like it will be another winner, but I don't think it will be necessary for me to upgrade this time. I love the fast charging.

  6. UbelhorJ

    It's a black rectangle with a screen on one side and cameras on the other. I don't think they've shown off the front yet, but you could also make the complaint that the front of the 3T looks like most HTC phones.

    Most people are just going to put it in a case anyway and make it look even more generic.

  7. ben55124

    OP needs to be careful about copying Apple designs too much. Ask Samsung. Perhaps we have reached the point where all smartphones look the same. If I were OP, I would try to differentiate more, but as the user of a OP3, I wish them success.

  8. merlinprem

    Hi Paul,

    Reading your articles since 2 weeks.

    There is nothing more to add to your article about OnePlus5. I have a 1+ 3 and will upgrade to 1+5

  9. Nicholas Kathrein

    I have to agree with your complete article. I'm guess the cost for them to get the bezels smaller would have been to much and next years version the screens will be more available and not at a premium. It will make the phone look dated however but you get a great phone either way.

  10. wunderbar

    the one thing is that it's widely believed that the OnePlus 5 will not be an inexpensive phone, that it will carry a "flagship price"

  11. SvenJ

    It's the internet. Complaining is the primary function.

  12. Waethorn

    I'm still complaining because Chinese companies release better designs for less money.

  13. obarthelemy

    I'm not complaining about the 1+5 copying the iPhone design, I'm complaining about both having a sucky design with way too much bezel.

    Also, at that price, I can get an LG G6 or a GS8 (though the GS8 commits the bigger sin of having not enough bezel for durability).

Leave a Reply