Apple iPhone 7 Plus full review
With a price tag at least £150 cheaper than Apple’s flagship smartphone range, it doesn’t seem possible – or does it? OnePlus is famed for creating flagship-level smartphones with mid-range prices, and that seems to be the case with the OnePlus 5.
Here, we break down the specs of the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus and OnePlus 5 to decide which is most deserving of your hard-earned cash.
Not sure which iPhone to buy? Take a look at our iPhone buying guide for 2017.
UK pricing and availability
Pricing is a huge factor to consider when comparing the likes of the iPhone 7 and OnePlus 5, especially if you’re looking to buy the smartphone up front with no contract. Apple has always been known for high-end products with high-end price tags that match, and the iPhone 7 series is no different.
The iPhone 7 will set you back £599 at a minimum with 32GB of storage, bumped up to 128GB for £699 and 256GB for £799. If you thought that was expensive, brace yourselves; the iPhone 7 Plus starts at £719 for 32GB, up to £819 for 128GB and an eye-watering £919 for those that want 256GB. Those interested can pick one up on contract or on pay-as-you-go from the Apple website.
The OnePlus 5, on the other hand, is much cheaper – a huge selling point for the “flagship killer”, although it’s not as cheap as previous models have been at launch. The OnePlus 5 is also only available in two configurations with varying specs.
You can buy the £449 Slate Grey OnePlus 5 along with 64GB of storage and 6GB of RAM or you can opt to pay £50 more and get the £499 Midnight Black OnePlus 5 with 128GB of storage and 8GB of RAM). Both are available to order via O2 on contract in the UK, with the phone going on-sale on the OnePlus website on 27 June 2017.
It’s worth noting that neither the OnePlus 5 or iPhone 7/7 Plus feature a microSD card slot so there’s no way to increase storage after purchase.
Read next: Best cheap iPhone 7 Plus deals UK
Both the iPhone 7 series and the OnePlus 5 look stunning, featuring aluminium bodies with minimalistic aerial lines that avoid ‘breaking’ the overall design. But while there are subtle differences in design and build between the iPhone 7 with its single camera setup and OnePlus 5 with its Alert Slider, the same can’t be said for its’ larger sibling.
It has got to be said: the OnePlus 5 and iPhone 7 Plus look almost identical, especially on the rear. In fact, they’re so similar that it’s almost a bit awkward. The iPhone 7 Plus and OnePlus 5 share the same dual-camera and flash setup, similar logo placements and even identical antenna lines at the top and bottom of the smartphone.
Going beyond the general look of the smartphones, the iPhone 7 is not only the lightest of the bunch at 138g compared to the 153g OnePlus 5 and 188g iPhone 7 Plus, but is the thinnest at 7.1mm too (both the 7 Plus and OnePlus 5 are 0.2mm thicker at 7.3mm). The reason is most likely to do with the larger 5.5in display present on the iPhone 7 Plus and OnePlus 5, compared to the smaller 4.7in display of the standard iPhone 7.
Despite featuring the same size display, the OnePlus 5 is actually smaller than the iPhone 7 Plus. The OnePlus 5 measures in at 154.2 x 74.1 x 7.3 mm, while the iPhone 7 Plus measures in at 158.2 x 77.9 x 7.3 mm. As you can see, the OnePlus 5 is both narrower and shorter than Apple’s equivalent, making it slightly easier to hold in one hand – an important aspect to consider when thinking about buying a 5.5in smartphone.
There are also differences when it comes to colour options.
Both the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus are available in Black, Silver, Gold and Rose Gold, while users that opt for 128- or 256GB capacities also have the choice between the more premium Piano Black and Red. The OnePlus 5 is a little less colourful, and is available in a single colour for each build: Slate Grey for the £499 model, and Midnight Black for the £499 model.
However, while the OnePlus 5 isn’t as colourful as the iPhone 7 series, it does offer one benefit over Apple’s flagship: it features a 3.5mm headphone jack on the bottom of the smartphone. It comes at a cost though, as unlike the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus that feature IP78 water resistance, the OnePlus 5 features no kind of IP rating.
Features and spec
It’s in the features department that the differences between the iPhone 7 and Plus and OnePlus 5 become more apparent.
Let’s start with the displays: the iPhone 7 features the smallest display at 4.7in, while the iPhone 7 Plus and OnePlus 5 feature 5.5in displays. The size isn’t the only difference either, as the technology and resolution varies between the devices.
Both the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus feature IPS LCD displays, although there’s a difference in resolution. While the iPhone 7 Plus features a 1920 x 1080 resolution, the iPhone 7 is capped at 750 x 1334. The OnePlus 5 is the clear winner in this respect with a 5.5in Full HD AMOLED display that provides more colourful and vibrant images when compared to standard LCD displays.
However, while the display may be of a higher quality in the OnePlus 5, it doesn’t feature the same 3D Touch technology of Apple’s iPhone 7 series. The display of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus feature pressure-sensitive technology that allows for an additional level of input and greatly enhances the overall iOS experience.
Processor and RAM
Beneath the display, the iPhone 7 boasts Apple’s Apple A10 Fusion chipset along with 2GB of RAM. Similarly, the iPhone 7 Plus features the Apple A10 Fusion along with 3GB of RAM, offering a slight speed bump compared to the regular model although both are blisteringly fast in general use.
The OnePlus 5 on the other hand features Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 835 processor coupled with a whopping 6- or 8GB of RAM depending on the variant you buy, putting it in line with the likes of the Sony Xperia XZ Premium and Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus.
That’s at least triple the amount of RAM of the iPhone 7 and double (and a bit more) the RAM available in the iPhone 7 Plus – not bad for a smartphone that’s cheaper than Apple’s flagship.
In the camera department, the OnePlus 5 and iPhone 7 Plus are evenly matched. The iPhone 7 Plus features dual 12Mp snappers with f/1.8, Optical Image Stabilisation, phase detection autofocus, a 2x optical zoom and a quad-LED flash. The iPhone 7 lags behind somewhat, offering a single 12Mp camera with f/1.8, OIS and quad-LED flash.
In terms of a front facing camera, the both the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus feature a 7Mp camera.
While the OnePlus 5 features slightly higher resolution dual 16Mp cameras with f.2.6 along and phase detection autofocus, it can’t compete in other areas. For example, it only features Electronic Image Stabilisation compared to Optical Image Stabilisation, two LED flashes instead of four and 1.6x optical zoom compared to 2x.
Many of the photo modes of the iPhone 7 Plus are shared with the OnePlus 5, from the portrait mode to the optical zoom layout in the Camera app.
Battery life is another important factor to consider when buying a new smartphone and while we can’t accurately say how long each smartphone will last, we can compare the battery capacities.
The iPhone 7 (unsurprisingly) has the smallest battery at 1960mah, while the iPhone 7 Plus features a 2900mAh battery and the OnePlus 5 features a 3300mAh battery. This means that the OnePlus 5 should last the longest of the three, although it’ll depend on usage amongst other factors.
It’s also worth pointing out that unlike the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, the OnePlus 5 features the company’s own Dash Charge technology, providing around 50 percent of charge in only half an hour. It’s an impressive feat, and something that Apple’s current range simply cannot compete with.
Read next: iPhone 7 vs iPhone 7 Plus
In terms of software, the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus somewhat obviously offer Apple’s own mobile operating system, iOS 10, while the OnePlus 5 offers OxygenOS, a heavily customised version of Google’s Android operating system. Of course, each have their benefits: Apple’s iOS system offers synchronicity between other iOS devices via iCloud, while OxygenOS offers the ability to understand knuckle-drawn shortcuts and perform custom actions based upon them, from opening specific apps to controlling music.
There are of course other benefits to each operating system, but there are far too many to list and essentially boils down to whether you prefer using iOS or Android.
Apple’s iOS does have an upper hand over OxygenOS in the form of Siri, its virtual assistant. While Android’s equivalent, Google Assistant, is available on a number of 2017 flagship smartphones, the virtual assistant seems to be missing from the OnePlus 5. It does have the slightly older Google Now for contextual on-screen help, but there’s nothing that you can converse with.