This is the latest phone from the company Android fans can't get enough of

  • The OnePlus 5 costs almost $200 less than the Galaxy S8.
  • It offers flagship-level specs, including the best processor from Qualcomm.
  • There are a lot of features missing that you'll find in other phones, however.
CNBC Tech: OnePlus 5 4
Todd Haselton | CNBC

OnePlus announced the OnePlus 5 on Tuesday, and we've been trying it out for the last couple of weeks.

You might not have heard of OnePlus before. It's a company that hardcore Android enthusiasts love, because it sells high-end Android smartphones that cost hundreds of dollars less than phones like the Galaxy S8.

We think this phone has enough appeal to continue that momentum. Is it going to take considerable market share from Apple or Samsung? No, but this is a special phone for people who only want OnePlus products.

Let's take a look at what makes it a solid new entry.

The phone looks almost exactly like an iPhone 7 Plus

CNBC Tech: OnePlus 5 8
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Seriously — note the dual camera setup, the flash right next to the cameras, the antenna lines along the top border and even the location of the logo. This isn't bad. I like the rounded edges and the sleek matte black color. It just looks awfully similar to my iPhone 7 Plus.

The screen is really crisp and sharp

CNBC Tech: OnePlus 5 1
Todd Haselton | CNBC

The OnePlus 5 has a bright and sharp screen. While it's not as good as the screen on the Galaxy S8, it's great for browsing the web or watching a quick TV show.

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

There's a fantastic new "reading mode" function that turns on gray-scale and lowers the brightness, making it feel like you're reading from an eReader. This function was one of my favorites.

The camera is pretty good

CNBC Tech: OnePlus 5 9
Todd Haselton | CNBC

The camera is pretty good at those iPhone 7 Plus style "portrait" shots. It blurs the background so that your subject is the only object in focus, creating a "bokeh" or blurred effect that you typically get from high-end camera lenses.

It didn't work as well as the iPhone 7 Plus camera, though, and seemed a little finicky when I was trying to capture a shot of my dog on the beach. It also didn't work great when my colleague took a couple of pictures of me with a wall in the background — it just blurred my body. When I moved and had more of the newsroom in the background, it worked much better.

CNBC Tech: OnePlus 5 camera sample
Todd Haselton | CNBC

Regular pictures, like the one above of my dog Mabel on the beach, came out just fine. The Galaxy S8 was still able to focus much better, though.

It charges really quickly

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

OnePlus calls its technology "Dash Charge" and you can juice up fully in about an hour or so. This meant I didn't have to worry if my phone was dying before I had to run out the door for lunch on the weekend, for example. I just plugged it in for about 15 minutes and had plenty of juice to get me through to the evening. I was usually able to get through a work day and into bed without the battery dying, which is great.

The OnePlus 5 is crazy fast

CNBC Tech: OnePlus 5 2
Todd Haselton | CNBC

The phone has the latest Qualcomm processor, and OnePlus optimized the software and hardware so the phone feels really zippy. It feels like one of the fastest I've used all year. OnePlus fans are used to this.

There's enough storage included on the base model (64GB) that you probably won't run out of space quickly, even if you have some movies and large games.

Lots of customization options

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

You can customize all sorts of features of the OnePlus 5, which is another reason it has so many fans. There's a dark mode that makes the screen black, or you can tweak the accent colors throughout the phone to one of 8 colors. There's also a widget shelf that's always available with a swipe across the home screen. It helps you find your most-opened apps, frequent contacts and more.

OnePlus is offering some unique covers, like the wooden one you can see in an image below. They can be purchased separately and look really cool. Pricing wasn't immediately available, but they typically cost about $30 a pop.

It's missing some things, though

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

You won't get support for VR, which is starting to become more prevalent in new Android devices. Wireless charging also isn't available, and the phone isn't resistant to splashes of water or a downpour of rain like other flagship smartphones. These are must-haves for me, because I like having the latest and greatest tech.

Not really a 'flagship killer'

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

OnePlus initially made its name as a "flagship" killer. I don't think it's really out to do that anymore.

There's no way the whole OnePlus 5 package is better than the Galaxy S8 — it just lacks features in too many key areas. It does pack a ton of high-end hardware, though, which Android fans seeking bragging rights are going to love. (Without getting too geeky, it comes with 8GB of RAM, which isn't on many other phones.)

It's a great phone with a really attractive $479 starting price.

But buy a Galaxy S8 if you like Android and can afford it

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Todd Haselton | CNBC

A Galaxy S8 without a carrier contract costs $625. That's the phone you should buy if you can spare the extra dough, since it's water resistant, has a better screen and offers bonus features like VR support and wireless charging.

The OnePlus 5 is a solid successor to the OnePlus 3T, though, so OnePlus fans will definitely like what's offered.