It’s tough to hype up a phone while also keeping things realistic.
With the launch of the OnePlus 5 this week, we got to see a perfect example of what a delicate balance companies navigate in setting expectations and delivering on promises. OnePlus has always talked a (strategically) big game about many aspects of its phones — this year, it was all about the camera. Even during the launch event, at which point reviewers had been using the phone for over a week, the presenters espoused the wonderment of the new dual camera setup.
The only ‘issue’ here is the camera not reaching the great heights OnePlus claimed.
Reviews of the OnePlus 5’s camera were slightly mixed, but in general came to the consensus that it’s merely good, not great — and not challenging phones like the Galaxy S8, LG G6 and HTC U11. That’s a problem, but not necessarily one with the camera itself — it mostly stems from the marketing of the OnePlus 5 that centered around the cameras and set unreasonably high expectations. It’s a fine line: as a company, do you play it cool and then over-deliver? Or do you talk a big game to boost sales and run the risk of coming up short?
I think this time OnePlus overextended itself a bit too much in terms of claims about camera performance. Cameras are really hard to get right, and just about impossible to perfect, even for companies that have been at this for a whole lot longer than OnePlus. That’s what made this strategy so risky — despite the OnePlus 5’s camera actually being pretty good, the deck was stacked against OnePlus launching a game-changing camera experience.
Despite the hyper-analyzing of the camera performance this week, I still stand by the conclusion in my review:
Measuring the OnePlus