Camera battle: Watch as the OnePlus One mops the floor with the iPhone 5s [VIDEO]


OnePlus One vs iPhone 5s camera test 2

Once little more than an afterthought, today many prospective buyers look to camera quality as a main selling point when choosing a new smartphone. Just check out any recent smartphone review and scroll down to the comment section to find dozens of people critiquing a smartphone’s camera quality, whether or not they’re a camera buff.

Chances are you’ve heard the hype surrounding the OnePlus One (that is how they made a name for themselves after all). But processors, RAM, and battery life aside, we’re sure many of you are still wondering how the phone stacks up in the camera department. Thankfully, a YouTuber by the name of OT4Tech decided to pit the OnePlus One against one of the best smartphone cameras in the biz: the Apple iPhone 5s. Needless to say, we were surprised by the outcome.

The best part about the video, aside from being encoded in 4K, is that it randomizes the side-by-side comparisons, only showing you the name of phone after you’ve made your judgement. This should help keep everyone’s judgements honest and free from their personal bias. Take a look for yourself in the comparison video below.

Our victor? Hands-down, without a shade of a doubt the OnePlus One won in nearly every comparison. Colors were more vibrant, contrast wasn’t washed out like on the 5s (even when it wasn’t in HDR mode), and we’d have to say it just handled images all around better. Of course, the obvious exception being the slow-mo video and front facing camera test. The OnePlus One’s audio was atrocious and appeared to only record in mono, with no audio what-so-ever in slow mo. Guess that’s something for the OnePlus guys to work on in a future.

Before we leave you, make sure to let us know which smartphone camera you think reigned supreme, and if this changes your opinion at all about the OnePlus One. Cheers.



Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. Yeah too bad people can’t actually BUY this phone, all they do is play games and “smash your phone” and an “invite system” gtfo oppo

    1. I see it this way: the ones that get the opportunity to buy it should feel super lucky. In some ways, it would feel kinda neat having an amazing phone that no one else does.

      1. That’s the same feeling early iPhone adopters felt. Ok, so only a few have the privilege of using the oneplus one… You believe they should feel lucky and I’m sure they do but what’s that do for the rest of us?

        1. It also reminds me the Nexus 4 supply issues back in the day. Fun times… Ha

          What baffles me is that people can see a great product and want buy it so bad, they actually become angry and/or offended when they can’t have it.

          Sure it’s frustrating, but that’s on the OEM. I can happily wait around with my LG G2 while OnePlus works on their supply. If something better comes my way, I’ll be moving along. Simple as that.

          1. That’s a simple view, as it should be. Consumers being upset because they can’t buy this new phone is par for the course. If it’s on sale and there’s already folks getting delivery it’s only natural those who can’t get it would feel outwardly disappointed.

            I try to remember we’re human and that kind of thing is just part of human nature even though I try to divorce myself from emotion when it comes to stuff like this. That shiny new toy on the block can get your mojo going, sometimes it’s hard to turn it off and be patient.

          2. That’s sorta the thing with the OPO. I don’t technically see it as being made available for sale. It’s only for early preview via the invite system. I mean, how cool is that?

            Imagine if Google said that 150 people — right now — could get invites to receive the Nexus 6 before it came out. Everyone would be like screaming praises.

            OnePlus does it, and everyone grabs pitchforks cuz they want it so bad. -_-

          3. Oh geeze… if Google did that folks would riot. NEW NEXUS 6?! THERE’S A NEXUS 6 IN THE WILD!

          4. I wholeheartedly approve of this photoshopped old/new school picture.

          5. Finally someone gets it…
            Other OEMs take 2 months to release their products after announcement, OnePlus does it and its anarchy.
            Ive said it time and time again, the invite system is to reward EARLY adopters and contributors…..after that, it will be a phone anyone can get.

          6. You just took me to a dark place in my life lol. I managed to get a pair for me and the wife at launch, but I almost ended up with 6 because the system would put the order through and not give you any sort of confirmation. Not to mention they launched in the middle of the day and earlier than Google said it was going to happen. My finger is still sore from hitting F5 over and over again!

    2. Yes. I was pretty stoked about the phone but after all of the hype and the final size of the product, I doubt I will get it. There is something to be said about just making enough of a good product so people can actually purchase it.

      1. If the Oneplus was G2-sized I would have bought it as soon as it became available for relatively easy purchases.

  2. Clean win for OnePlus.

  3. I chose about 65% for 5s. Just being honest. Both are better then my RAZR maxx HD.
    How is the battery life on those two?

    1. IPhone has decent battery because it’s so locked down, but as soon as you start turning on some syncing it drops horribly.

      The One I saw someone on Twitter with I think 5-6 hr screen on time and ~24 hr battery use with ~26% battery remaining. He said he was on a mix of 50% brightness and auto bright.

  4. Why is the iPhone the device the oneplus one is being pitted against? What about the M8, Note 3 or Xperia Z2?

    1. The iPhone is sadly always the device to beat on smartphone camera comparisons.

      The guy did say at the end if you want more comparisons to let him know.

      1. Just strange to me that he defaults to the iPhone rather than other top of the line Android devices. We’ve seen more innovation with cameras on today’s newest Android phones than the last iPhone.

        1. OEMs are adding more and more tricks/features, but it’s hard to deny the iPhone 5s’ camera performance. It’s an all around solid shooter. Some would say, the best on the market.

          1. No denying the iPhone’s camera is a solid p&s but it’s difficult for me to see it’s the best on the market. It’s in the top 5 out of every device out there. Ah, it’s all subjective anyway.

          2. For the most part. As a camera buff, I’m often surprised to find photos from friends family were taken with the iPhone 5s. But like you said, it’s mostly subjective.

          3. I’m going to have to side with the iPhone 5s being 2a (Lumia 1020 is 2b, and Pureview 808 is #1). Even the best Android-based camera tend to excel in one area while sucking at everything else. You can take the Galaxy S4/5, HTC One M7/M8, LG G2, or any Xperia, and you can absolutely find a situation where it will take a better photo than the iPhone. But in those situations, the iPhone photo will still be very good. But quality on Android phone cameras is just not consistently good.

            This is by far the best I’ve seen on an Android phone, but I still give the edge to the iPhone 5s. In photos, the iPhone was consistently good or great. The OnePlus was inconsistent and poor to great. But once you got to video, audio recording, and the front facing – the iPhone blew the OnePlus out of the water.

            By far the best camera on an Android device today and a huge step in the right direction. But my 1, 2a, and 2b remain unchanged.

          4. Hop on over to the CNET comparison between the 5s, M8, and S5 and watch the S5 cream the competition.

          5. This one?

            Look at ALL of the photos, not just the first few. As is typically the case, the GS 5 was > the iPhone 5s for overall detail (16mp vs. 8mp will do that) and for well lit areas. As you dialed back the lighting, the iPhone 5s did better. And the iPhone 5s had a clearer photo when motion was involved. The problem is that they took numerous outdoor, well-lit photos and only one motion-based photo and a few indoor shots. They also didn’t take any real low-light photos. It was a poor comparison, but for those who read between the lines you can see that the iPhone 5s camera was still more consistent and overall superior to the S5’s camera. Still, huge improvement over my S4.

          6. Food pic went to the S5 for sure. The 5s did have more detail on the candles, but it blew out the faces pic with the flash (a worse photography sin than being a bit cool in coloration because it’s unfixable). Pictures in the movie theater were way better with the S5, and the selfie had the best exposure (5s blew that picture out). That means the only other win for the 5s was the color chart. The S5, though, overwhelmingly won in daylight, and more than half the photos indoors. Throw in the low light mode when you can’t have the subject blown out by flash, and that’s the ballgame.

          7. Some people will probably claim Samsung threw the people at CNET some kind of “incentive” to have the S5 come out on top. I don’t think so, but some will, no doubt.

          8. Pureview 808? I’ve never heard of it.

          9. A ton depends on the shooter. Focus selection, mode, steadiness of the hand, light source management… We were recently updating our church phone book, and we wanted submissions of candid photos of members during events and outings. A guy with the same phone I have gave me over 70. I was only able to use two of them. It was the saddest gallery ever.

          10. You laugh at them on the inside when you realise the pictures aren’t what they’re cracked up to be, don’t you, Chris? Haha.

          11. The iPhone is (and has been) very easy to use, fast and it takes good pictures without much effort from what I can tell. It’s not the culmination of awesome in mobile by any means (Tasker and many other insane things Android devices can do certainly prove that).

      2. The 4S and 5 did outperform quite a few devices back when they were new but I understand your disappointment about the iPhone (still) being considered as the benchmark of what a device could and should be.

    2. Note 3 would produce similar results to the OnePlus One, maybe better due to Samsung’s tweaks but I doubt it would make much difference, the Xperia Z2 would wipe the floor with the OnePlus One.

      The M8 wouldn’t do that well, that camera has too many issues of it’s own, it’s not a competitor in this category as even last years flagship devices excluding the M7 have better cameras.

      Would have been more interesting to compare the OnePlus One to another 13MP shooter like the Note 3 or Galaxy S4 than to the iPhone.

  5. Oh my gawd that’s shocking

  6. Been looking forward to the OnePlus One this year though I honestly found the pictures to be somewhat unimpressive in bright areas. Look at how badly it blows out white or lighter colors especially in outdoor photos where the sky is represented (or even the light through windows indoors). How about the white marble fountain in the church? Blown out so no detail or reflection shown at all from the 1+1. iPhone you can clearly see texture and above light reflecting on the left side.

    Still want to test drive a 1+1 should the opportunity ever arise via the invite system. Have a feeling will be buying that one, the G3 or Moto X+1.

    1. Seems like the OnePlus tends to favor the brightening up darker areas in the images rather than lowering the metering to compensate for the bright sky or lighting.

      Even in the instance of the marble fountain in the church, the richness in the colors of the wood and contrast obliterated the iPhone. Like most phone cameras, I’m sure tapping on the fountain would have cause the OnePlus to focus and expose for the white, then more details would have come out.

      The image of the church interior directly after the marble fountain comparison I feel shows all the results in this test the best: the OnePlus tends to “overexpose” a tad bit to brighten up the entire image, while the iPhone keeps everything looking drab, lifeless, and with a purple tint to them.

      With HDR on — my default setting when shooting with the Nexus 5/iPhone 5s — the One is unrivaled. It’s probably the best HDR I’ve seen on a smartphone camera to date. The question is if it performs as quickly as the Nexus 5/iPhone 5s for everyday shooting.

      When it comes to video, they were evenly matched in 1080p, but the 4K absolutely blew me away. Super impressed with the OnePlus One, even more so when you factor in it’s only a fraction of the price of an iPhone 5s.

      1. You do realize the iPhone image was on top for that comparison? The 1+1 is over exposed, with much more blown out highlights, plus the chromatic aberration is so bad almost the whole right side of the window arch on the right is fringed with purple.

      2. Um, the first HDR comparison with the light in the trees… I’ve never seen a worse handling of lens flare than the OPO.

        1. It just literally capture every ray of light. Lol Aside from the rays, you can see every detail in the tree which is incredibly well lit. The iPhone 5 shot just looked like a normal iPhone 5 photo without HDR.

          1. Every ray of light at the total expense of the right half of the photo. You couldn’t see anything over there.

        2. Sounds the lens flares were even worse than the 2009 Star Trek movie.

          1. Hilarious. Did you see the How It Should Have Ended on that one, too? :-)

  7. Yeah, I’m not seeing it. I think the OnePlus has a good camera (and I’ve been super excited about this device in general), but watching each comparison I chose the iPhone version in pretty much every test except the HDRs.

    I definitely think the title and final thoughts of this article are way off, there’s no “mopping” going on here.

    1. Completely agree. The shot of the inside of the church the iPhone “mops” the 1+1, check out the detail, and actual colors in the stained glass.

      1. When you’re taking a picture inside a dimly lit church, chances are you’re trying to capture the dimly lit areas, not the small areas of super bright light. If you were trying to capture the bright areas (and not the dark), you’d either tap-to-focus meter on the windows, or walk up to them so they occupy more of the image (and the metering can compensate). I dunno, different strokes for different folks and all that.

        1. I believe what he was trying to point out is the fact that the one plus one doesn’t do very much in the way of color scaling. It’s all just kind of washed out. That was the biggest disappointment for me and all of the photos where I picked the iPhone.

        2. Yes, but notice that in those images the iPhone tends to capture BOTH the inside detail and some detail/color from the stained glass. That wider latitude is pretty handy. Also worth noting that the 1+ images from the church are marred by really strong blue fringe in the bright areas.

          The 1+ camera is super impressive all around, it’s interesting that so many reviewers to date have been disappointed with its camera. I suspect that most smartphone reviewers in general have no clue how to handle a camera, set it for optimal results, and actually take pictures that reveal its capabilities. The photos in this are much better, too bad he only posted tiny, compressed images.

        3. If im taking a picture of anything my main goal is usually represent the scene as I saw it in real life. Brighter and more saturated, doesnt make it a better photo, but yes different stokes. :o)

    2. But why though? The only advantage the iPhone has is in handling background light where OnePlus One gets more accurate colors in the iPhone its more so overly saturated. Iphone just tricks you into thinking its better because its darker.

      1. Many of the 1+ images have areas that are blown out, which is unrecoverable data. The iPhone’s darker image can be corrected in PS to recover shadow data.

        On the few images where the iPhone version is more washed out, the 1+ version tends to be oversaturated with unnatural colors AND overly contrasty blacks that swallow detail and can’t be recovered.

        The thing is, iPhone images tend to be much better for working with in post, such as with Photoshop. Flatter images give you a lot of range and choice. Of course, this whole topic is subjective (not everyone wants to correct their images after the fact) and this is all from my own personal wants/needs in a camera.

  8. iPhone won on most pics as everyone else has said. that’s really disappointing considering the high hopes that I had for the one + one. and for those wondering why it’s up against the 5s, that is the best camera on a high end smartphone aside from the windows phone which no one buys. I think the G3 will be good competition, Note 4 maybe (doubtful), and then the iphone 6 will blow everything out of the water and android will be playing catchup again.

    1. The iPhone did win about 50%, but the S5 is the current champ. It kills the iPhone stone cold is detail (due to double MP’s) of course, but it also has excellent color & contrast levels. No chromatic aberrations, and IsoCell really does seem to work at keeping pixel cross-talk down, especially when dealing with a backlight. The only big fail is the flash, which is both too bright and all white. Going dual would have been a real plus, but maybe next year. In the meantime, S5 owners should count on HDR for dim and the excellent Low Light setting for really dark environments.

      1. Is there a review that you can link to showing this? Most of my shots are low light in the club pictures, and I prefer not to use flash if possible. I’m switching back from my 5S to either the G3, GN4, or Galaxy K, and camera is definitely a huge factor for me.

        1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6rkeRcg7Qs


          In CNET’s, they give you an idea of what they thought the picture looked like, which is very helpful. Sometimes a picture looks great, but the sky, for instance, is too blue, but you have no way to tell. In general, Samsung got it nice, clear, good coloration, and high detail in well lit areas. Indoors, they did lose the candles photo (by a touch) and the flash blew up the color chart, but otherwise, they did really well. Food plate and movie theater picks were wins hands down. The selfie they thought should go to the iPhone, but it looks way to overexposed to me. Also, they liked the skin tones of the faces indoors with the flash for the iPhone, but I’d argue that the glare from the flash is too stark to fix well in post processing…but the cooler hue in the Samsung is totally fixable, and in only 30 seconds. That makes the glare the greater sin.

          In the video review, it’s harder because you don’t necessarily know what it’s supposed to look like. That said, I’d give 5 or 6 of the photos to the iPhone, but the vast majority still go to Samsung.

          1. I looked at one of the links but I thought most of the pictures were very close, but I’m taking shots of people indoors for the most part, usually quickly moving, sometimes food, also quickly moving at times. I think the outdoor shots these high megapixel cameras do well but in general I need the photos in focus or the amount of detail in that blurry picture does nothing for me. Also, the problem is that this is the 5S which is a 2013 phone, and I expect these latest flagships to blow it out of the water. I’m crossing my fingers the G3 has an SD slot and the camera is excellent, otherwise I’ll be forced to get the GN4. I will be giving up my 5S and not going for iphone 6 until ios8 is jailbroken at the very least.

  9. i only picked one photo for the iPhone and that was because of the blurred movement in the background in the church. but i actually liked the camera on the oneplus. the video was a bit mixed for me and hope they fix that mono recording. But its a good thing i don’t use my phone to take pics lol. i have the nexus 5 and yes the pics or dull looking but with some editing they can look very good. same thing with video but then again i barely use the camera.

  10. I picked the OPO 13-9 in for the pictures, although that score was closer until the OPO swept the HDR for me. In the video I liked the color and detail of the OPO shots, but preferred the smoother motions of the 5S. Not really a “moping”, but still a win.

  11. On the contrary, a lot of the pictures with the one plus one were washed out, with very little color. Take a look at the umbrella shot, for instance. Honestly, it was a 50-50 for me. Best thing on the OnePlus was brightening up the areas in shadows, but that’s HDR for you. Best thing about the iPhone were the colors and contrast (although it “blue”it with the sky over the church, pun intended). Again,I was split on most of the photos. The photographers need to put them on stands and take the pictures simultaneously! Too many shots were from different angles and clearly different times. That’s a horrible way to run a side by side. Overall, I wanted to see the iPhone really take it, but the OPO is only up to the task of matching, not crushing.

    1. I too favored iPhone’s take in quite a few cases.

  12. Apple just got slapped in its best category. Ouch

  13. I am not sure who won here both seem equal to me

  14. The blown highlights on the OnePlus One are awful. It’s usually pretty trivial to brighten a darker part of an image whereas it’s impossible to recover data from blown highlights.

    1. Bingo. If something is dark, that can be fixed. If something comes out white…you’re pretty well hosed.

  15. Most of the OnePlus One images were better, In one comparision I was thinking eww, the OnePlus One looks really washed out but then realised they swapped them round and it was the iPhone 5s. :S

    Video was shockingly bad on the OnePlus One, I’ve seen better samples but that is worrying.

    Hopefully they can fix that.

  16. iPhone 5s colors are definitely muted and the OPO handles contrast much better. However, the OPO is going up against a phone that is almost a year old, which is an eternity in the tech world. I am no iPhone fan, but I’m pretty sure the contest results will be different when the iPhone 6 arrives. But for now, I would give the nod to the OPO.

    1. Yeah I hate how you guys take last years phones and compare them to the latest like it’s a big deal especially when a new one is soon to be announced that will be a better contender. It’s like pushing over a kid in a wheelchair. That’s just mean

    2. I think you got that first sentence mixed up. Go back and check. Pic 1, OPO blows out everything that ISN’T in shadow…poor contrast. Pic 2, color is much better on the 5S. Umbrella shot, both contrast and color go to the iPhone. I’m not saying the iPhone won every time, it was more like 50-50. OPO does make dark areas much brighter, but it’s often at the EXPENSE of color and contrast. Combine that color/saturation loss with a couple of shots showing chromatic aberration, and you have the short-comings of the phone as a shooter. They aren’t horrible, but they are there. The S5 is pretty much the only phone out there that can take all comers (see the CNET comparison between the S5, M8, & the 5s).

      1. even if I don’t really love Apple, I do agree with you, When I look at this test, I choose 7/10 the 5s’ pic’, it seems more natural :)

    3. True but you could buy like two 1+1 with a price of one iphone 5s so in the end the screens bigger and the shot is more stable in 1+1

  17. LOL at the title of this article. I like how you compare a brand new phone to a phone that’s been on the market for a while now.

    I do however like the OnePlus One and am trying to figure out if I want it or the LG G3,……..Ahhh decisions, decisions

    1. I think it’s only because so many people see the iPhone 5s as the best camera currently out there. Also, @Gamercore:disqus isn’t the one that made the video, he just made the article, which I thoroughly enjoyed :-)

      Secondly, I liked the 1+1 HANDS-DOWN in the comparisons. The only picture I didn’t pick the 1+1 on was the purple flowers, but I had a very time picking a favorite on that one.

    2. I used to think that way, but someone pointed out to me something that I never thought about before. Phones don’t come out at the same time.

      I mean,the iPhone 5S isn’t even a year yet, I believe. Last year’s tech is only about 10%-30% weaker.

  18. Is there a blind test with the HTC One M8 camera? I’ve yet to see the disappointment in this camera. I’ve also started modifying the settings to help with the exposure. Good lord.

    I like this test. Camera test should be like this.

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