It was a similar problem with the OnePlus 3. Well, it still is actually. We are talking about smartphone design. While everyone (including myself) loved and praised the OnePlus 3T, its design wasn't special, meaning it was not something that stood out from the crowded market of flagships which included the likes of the Samsung's Galaxy S7 edge or like last year's odd-looking Sony Xperia XZ.
This time around, thanks to the abundance of leaks, OnePlus seems to have a problem and its co-founder has even taken to Twitter to defend the company's rather controversial design choice for its latest flagship, the unannounced OnePlus 5.
— Pete Lau (@petelau2007) June 8, 2017
While most leaks cannot be trusted, the ones that have shown up, courtesy of OnePlus (above), cannot hide the fact that it looks very similar (if not identical) to the recently launched Oppo R11, if not the Apple iPhone 7 Plus. A report by GizmoChina also makes it abundantly clear that both smartphones should look and feel identical, save for the button placement (which again seems to overlap) and the missing Alert Slider on the R11.
While earlier rumours pointed out similarities to the Apple iPhone 7 Plus, it's easy to see that OnePlus' offering will be slimmer at least, if not too different.
Antenna bands stretched to the top and bottom edges? Check! Dual camera setup that is raised from the rest of the metal back? Check! Heck, you even get an identical Black finish, as can be seen in the teaser. And Carl Pie, co-founder of OnePlus sure seems worried about the backlash. As GizmoChina pointed out, he even took to Twitter to clarify that people would stop complaining once they see the real live OnePlus 5.
History will repeat itself once people see a real live OnePlus 5. — Carl Pei (@getpeid) June 14, 2017
As I pointed out in my previous piece, OnePlus, especially this year, needs a unique design, one that stands out from the crowd of smartphone flagships. This is more so because Sony, Samsung and HTC have raised the bar with their unique design philosophies. In fact, the bar is set so high up that OnePlus may find it hard to compete because of the lowered price that the brand will have to deliver to its faithful customers. LG attempted a simpler design with the G6, and look where that got them.
Sadly, though thanks to the pricey Qualcomm Snapdragon 835, that new design may not become a reality. OnePlus fans could be treated to a OnePlus 5 that looks very similar to the Oppo R11, a phone that will not make it to India because of the very fact that it will interfere with OnePlus' sales (big brother BBK Electronics knows this too well).
Switching bodies with better internal hardware — or may be even the same hardware — is nothing new. BlackBerry pulled it off with the DTek 60 (Alcatel Idol 4s lookalike with an SD 820 chipset inside). Heck, even car manufacturers share designs all the time.
But can OnePlus fans bear up with comments like, "It looks like an iPhone 7 Plus!" Or "That's a copy of the Oppo R11, isn't it?" Well, surprisingly, they actually may. Because frankly speaking, they won't really care.
OnePlus customers will get what they want. Top-end specifications like a Snapdragon 835 chipset with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage and a 16 MP dual-camera setup (that could perform better than the Xperia XZ Premium) that's going to sell at a price that's about Rs 20,000 lower than most smartphone flagships. At that price, you just cannot complain, nor argue (especially when it comes to custom ROM support).
Will you buy a OnePlus 5 that looks like an Oppo R11 or an Apple iPhone? Or do you simply hate the idea of having new wine in an older bottle. Sound off in the comments below!