OnePlus 5 with 128 GB of storage now also available in Slate Gray

When launched, the OnePlus 5 variant with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage only came in Midnight Black. Now, the high-end version of the device also comes in Slate Gray, the color initially only available for the entry-level version of the smartphone — 6 GB/64 GB.

It’s already available for purchase on the company’s website and will set you back $539 in the US and €559 in Europe. As a refresher, the OnePlus 5 sports a 5.5-inch AMOLED screen with Full HD resolution and is powered by the latest Snapdragon 835 chipset.

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It’s equipped with a dual-camera setup featuring 16 and 20 MP sensors and packs a 3,300 mAh battery with the fast Dash Charge technology, which should get the battery up to 100 percent in around 90 minutes. Other things worth mentioning are a 16 MP selfie snapper, a metal body, a front-mounted fingerprint scanner, and Android 7.1.1 Nougat with OxygenOS on top. To learn more about it, check out our review of the OnePlus 5.

Those of you interested in getting the 128 GB version of the OnePlus 5 in Slate Gray can do so by visiting the company’s website via the button below.

Just keep in mind that in addition to Slate Gray and Midnight Black, the smartphone has also been available in the Soft Gold color option for a few weeks now — only 64 GB version.

The OnePlus App Locker Feature Can Be Easily Bypassed

The software flavor found on OnePlus phones is known as OxygenOS. It adds a couple of nifty feature on top of stock Android without deviating too far from what you would expect on a Google device. I recently started using the OnePlus 5 as a daily driver myself, and despite the controversies I think it’s a great upgrade for any fans of the Google Nexus line. With that being said, I scrutinize every new device I receive for every minor aspect I like or dislike. While digging around in the OxygenOS settings, I came across the OnePlus App Locker feature which locks apps that you choose behind your pin/password/fingerprint.

OnePlus App Locker OxygenOS App Lock

Left: XDA Labs Hidden by App Locker. Right: XDA Feed Hidden by the App Lock Feature.

I’m generally a fan of third-party solutions to feature requests since they aren’t forced on you and usually offer more features than a first-party solution. In the case of an app lock, though, I much prefer an integrated solution such as the OnePlus App Locker as they are supposed to be harder to kill (thus more secure) as well as faster (since they don’t rely on Accessibility Services or read from the Usage Statistics API). I was shocked, however, to find that the OxygenOS app lock feature could be easily bypassed.

The above demonstration was performed on a OnePlus 5 running OxygenOS 4.5.8

Admittedly, I’m not treating this as some major security flaw or anything as this feature is mostly used when you want to share your phone with someone (hopefully someone you already trust). If you’re relying on this feature, then that means you’re handing your phone over already unlocked to someone, so it’s not as if this bypass gets around your phone’s main security measures like the password/pin/fingerprint or other encryption measures or factory reset protection. Still, a flaw is a flaw, and if someone like me, who isn’t a security researcher, could find this then anybody could.


OnePlus App Locker Bypass Explanation

As shown in the video above, I have hidden the XDA Feed application behind the app lock feature. As expected, I cannot open the app without entering my password. If I attempt to go to Settings –> Security & fingerprint –> App locker, I am prompted to enter my password. But when I go back to the home screen and tap on a mysterious app icon for an app I made called “OnePlus App Locker Bypass”, it opens the App Locker settings page where I can freely disable any existing app locks.

OxygenOS App Lock Settings 1 OxygenOS App Lock Settings 2 OnePlus App Lock Settings

Accessing the OxygenOS App Locker feature normally requires password/PIN input

Anyone should be able to replicate this process on their OnePlus device running OxygenOS if they have a launcher such as Nova Launcher installed (that would be a ton of people) or any other application that can launch activities. Since the app lock feature is most likely used by people who only want to hide certain sensitive applications (such as a super secret gallery app containing totally family friendly pictures) while showing off their shiny new phone, it’s unlikely that most people would think to hide their launcher app. Furthermore, since there’s no way to hide the package installer behind an app lock, one could also install a bypass app like my own to get around the OnePlus App Locker.

If you’re using Nova Launcher and are curious how to do this, it’s simple. Just add an activity shortcut to “App Locker” which is found under “Dashboard.” Simply tapping on this shortcut will launch the App Locker settings without it asking for your password.

OxygenOS App Lock Settings Activity

OxygenOS App Locker Settings Activity

I am not really sure why the App Locker settings doesn’t ask for password entry when the activity is launched from a third-party app. One way to solve this would be to simply make the activity an unexported activity so it cannot be accessed from any other app.

<activity android:label="@string/app_lock_label" android:name=".applocker.AppLockerSettingsActivity" android:screenOrientation="nosensor">
<intent-filter>
<action android:name="com.oneplus.security.action.APP_LOCKER"/>
<category android:name="android.intent.category.DEFAULT"/>
</intent-filter>
</activity>

The AndroidManifest.xml file of com.oneplus.security, part of which is reproduced above, shows that indeed the activity for the OnePlus App Locker feature is an exported activity. Adding android:exported=false to the activity label should solve this problem, I believe.


OnePlus is Aware, will Fix in OxygenOS Update

We notified the OxygenOS team of this issue and they have acknowledged it in the following statement:

We are aware of this issue, and we will be fixing it in an upcoming OTA.

If you are using the App Lock feature right now and want to make sure that nobody can bypass it, I recommend that you add any launcher and browser apps on top of your existing app locks. This issue, in my opinion, doesn’t detract from the software experience of the OnePlus 5, but let this be a reminder that any security measure might potentially have a hole in it. Thankfully this time, the security hole is a rather minor one.

The OnePlus 5 Has Twice As Many Media Volume Steps As Other Phones

Any application that plays music, videos, podcasts, or game audio uses the media audio stream to control its volume level. By default, nearly every Android device uses 15 steps for media volume. Unfortunately, this often results in the volume level still being far too high at the lower levels. There are some apps out there that enable more fine-grained volume control and there’s also a build.prop method to edit the media volume steps, but neither solution is perfect. Using the Precise Volume app requires you to manually use presets or the notification slider, while the latter method I outlined requires your device to have root access. Fortunately, neither method is required on the OnePlus 5 as the device ships with twice the number of media volume steps by default – 30.

That means twice the level of media volume granularity as other phones. It might take twice as long to go from the lowest volume level to the highest, but it’s not like that takes a lot of time anyways. You’re also less likely to blow your eardrums out at night in a quiet room when trying to listen to something at low volume levels. Every Android phone should have this.

The change is so subtle (our editor-in-chief, Mario Serrafero, has had the phone for much longer than myself and didn’t even notice it until I pointed it out), yet it is very much appreciated. This is one of those features that is found on many custom ROMs that, for whatever reason, never seem to make their way onto consumer software builds. The OnePlus 5 is certainly the first phone I’ve ever noticed to have more than the default 15 media volume steps.

Hopefully other OEMs will start to offer more minor tweaks such as this that, in my opinion, enhance the quality of the software experience. Samsung has made some strides lately with the release of the SoundAssistant app which lets devices control the media volume with the volume keys by default. Currently the only way to take advantage of that popular custom ROM feature is through various third-party apps, but perhaps this is something that OnePlus may add in a future build of OxygenOS.

Or at least, we hope so. At the very least, we would love it if they could open up alert slider customization.

How does the Nokia 8 stack up against the competition?

After months of rumors and speculation, HMD Global unveiled the Nokia 8, the first Nokia flagship that runs Android. This carries a bit of historical significance, but it also means that Nokia has entered a domain full of strong and worthwhile contenders. Whether the Nokia 8 remains afloat in this crowded field of smartphones partly depends on how much the Nokia name can carry the phone, but also whether the Nokia 8 is a good option on its own.

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On the spec tables below, I’ve included the Moto Z2 Force, OnePlus 5, HTC U11, Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus, and LG G6. Keep in mind there are other notable releases from this year and even from last year, a particularly strong point if you are someone willing to save some scratch to get something a bit older.

Starting things off with processors, the Nokia 8 joins the growing list of phones that feature Qualcomm’s latest 10nm Snapdragon 835 mobile platform. All the phones except the LG G6 feature the processor, with the LG G6 featuring last year’s Snapdragon 821. It is still a speedy chipset, but the Snapdragon 835 will give you more future-proofing, extra performance, and more battery life in the long run.

 OnePlus 5HTC U11Galaxy S8 / S8 PlusLG G6Huawei P10 Plus
Display5.5-inch
1080p AMOLED
(1920x1080)
5.5-inch
QHD LCD
(2560x1440)
5.8-inch / 6.2-inch
QHD+ AMOLED
(2960x1440)
5.7-inch
QHD+ LCD
(2880x1440)
5.5-inch QHD LCD
(2560x1440)
SoCSnapdragon 835Snapdragon 835Snapdragon 835 or Exynos 8895Snapdragon 821Kirin 960
CPU4x 2.45 GHz Kryo 280 +
4x 1.7 GHz Kryo 280
4x 2.45 GHz Kryo 280 +
4x 1.7 GHz Kryo 280
4x 2.4 GHz Kryo 280 +
4x 1.7 GHz Kryo 280 or
4x 2.4 GHz Samsung M2 +
4x 1.7 GHz Cortex-A53
2x 2.35 GHz Kryo +
2x 1.6 GHz Kryo
4x 2.4 GHz Cortex-A73 +
4x 1.8 GHz Cortex-A53
GPUAdreno 540Adreno 540Adreno 540 or Mali-G71 MP20Adreno 530Mali-G71 MP8
RAM6 / 8 GB4 / 6 GB4 GB4 GB4 / 6 GB
Storage64 / 128 GB64 / 128 GB64 GB32 / 64 GB64 / 128GB
MicroSD?NoYesYesYesYes

The Nokia 8 also keeps pace with other flagships in terms of displays, with the phone featuring a Quad HD (2,560 x 1,440) resolution. Apart from the OnePlus 5, which sticks to a 1080p AMOLED display, all the other displays feature at least QHD resolution. Even putting the OnePlus 5 aside, however, discrepancies remain between display technology.

For one, the Nokia 8’s and LG G6’s panels are LCD, which means that they do not support Daydream VR. Meanwhile, the LG G6’s and Galaxy S8/S8 Plus’ panels support HDR, but even then, the specifics are a bit fuzzy. All of the displays are scratch-resistant to an extent, but the Moto Z2 Force’s display technology prevents it from shattering when dropped, at the expense of a scratch-prone screen. Finally, whereas the LG G6 and Galaxy S8/S8 Plus feature taller, 18:9 displays, the Nokia 8, Moto Z2 Force, OnePlus 5, and HTC U11 feature more traditional 16:9 displays.

In other words, if you do not care about any of that, the Nokia 8’s display will serve you just fine. If you sweat over the details, however, it might be best to do a bit of homework on all of the phones.

Things get a bit simpler when it comes to memory. The Nokia 8 features 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB UFS flash across the board, though the Tempered Blue variant features 6 GB of RAM and double the storage. Regardless of the color choice, the fast UFS options are a boon and the microSD card slot is there if those storage amounts are not enough.

 Nokia 8Moto Z2 ForceOnePlus 5HTC U11Galaxy S8 / S8 PlusLG G6
CamerasDual 13 MP f/2.0 rear with OIS
13 MP f/2.0 front
Dual 12 MP f/2.0 rear
5 MP f/2.2 front
16 MP + 20 MP f/1.7 rear with EIS
16 MP f/2.0 front with EIS
12 MP f/1.7 rear with OIS
16 MP front
12 MP f/1.7 rear with OIS
8 MP f/1.7 front
Dual 13 MP f/2.4 & f/1.8 rear with OIS
5 MP f/2.2 front
Battery3,090 mAh2,730 mAh3,300 mAh3,000 mAh3,000 / 3,500 mAh3,300 mAh
NFCYesYesYesYesYesYes
FingerprintYesYesYesYesYesYes
Fast chargeQuick Charge 3.0TurboPowerDash ChargeQuick Charge 3.0YesQuick Charge 3.0
IP ratingIP54NoNoIP67IP68IP68
3.5 mm audioYesNoYesNoYesYes
ExtrasUSB Type-C, Nokia OZO audioUSB Type-C, Moto ModsUSB Type-C, Hi Res Audio, 2x Optical ZoomUSB Type-C, Boomsound Hi-Fi, HTC Connect, Hi Res audio, AI assistants, Edge SenseUSB Type-C, Bixby, Facial Recognition, Wireless Charging, Samsung Pay, HDR displayUSB Type-C, Wireless Charging, HDR Display, Hi Res audio
OSAndroid 7.1.1Android 7.1.1Android 7.1Android 7.1Android 7.0Android 7.0

Moving right along, Nokia puts its relationship with Carl Zeiss optics to good use with the Nokia 8’s dual 13 MP cameras. Both sensors feature f/2.0 aperture, but the color sensor is the only one with optical image stabilization – the monochrome sensor does not feature OIS. The front-facing sensor also stands at 13 MP with f/2.0 aperture and auto-focus, which allows the Nokia 8 to include its “bothie” feature.

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This feature allows pictures and videos to be taken with the front and rear cameras at the same time. The phone also utilizes Ozo Audio that uses its microphones to capture a high dynamic range and record binaural audio. It is nice to have these features available out of the box, but, at least with the “bothie” mode, it can be replicated with the right app.

This is where the other options come in. The Moto Z2 Force, OnePlus 5, and LG G6 also feature dual rear cameras, while the single rear sensors found on the HTC U11 and Galaxy S8/S8 Plus are still impressive. The LG G6’s selfie sensor is really the only “okay” option available, but we are at a point where Android flagships finally feature capable cameras on the front and back.

In terms of battery, the Nokia 8 features a 3,090 mAh battery with Quick Charge 3.0. The standard allows for rapid charging, but the emphasis is on improved efficiency. If fast charging is all you want, then things do not get faster than the OnePlus 5’s Dash Charge. You have to use the cable and power brick included in the box if you want to use Dash Charge, however, and the OnePlus 5 does not support any other fast charging standard.

Finally, the Nokia 8 does not mess around too much with bonus features. The phone features IP58 certification, so while it is reasonably protected against dust, it is only splash-proof. The phone also retains the 3.5 mm headphone jack, NFC, and Android 7.1.1 Nougat. We know that last bit is a weird thing to include for bonus features, but that is for a good reason: timely updates, which Nokia promised for its Android phones and has so far delivered.

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The HTC U11, Galaxy S8/S8 Plus, and LG G6 also feature IP ratings for water and dust resistance, but the Moto Z2 Force and OnePlus 5 do not. With more and more flagships featuring IP ratings, it is becoming less of an excuse for higher-tier phones to have water and dust resistance.

Finally, we have to discuss virtual assistants because, for some reason, HTC and Samsung are dabbling with them with Amazon Alexa and Bixby, respectively. They, along with the Nokia 8 and the others, also use Google Assistant, with Nokia choosing to put efforts elsewhere.

Wrapping up

Overall, the Nokia 8 checks off all the boxes that a 2017 Android flagship needs to. The problem, and one you might have caught on, is whether the Nokia 8 does enough to differentiate itself from the competition. Sure, the Nokia name is still an evocative one, but I am not sure whether it will convince folks to buy the Nokia 8 over something like the Samsung Galaxy S8/S8 Plus.

Another concern is the Nokia 8’s price, which currently sits at €599. My fears would be greatly diminished if it sold for $599, but if the phone sells for the conversion rate of around $705, that puts the Nokia 8 in a financial pickle. The OnePlus 5, which features similar specs across the board sans the display, sells for $200 less in the US. Funny enough, the only phone in this comparison that costs more than the Nokia 8, at least in USD, is the Moto Z2 Force.

Even with all of that being said, the Nokia 8 looks to be a solid Android flagship, but what do you think? Do you think the Nokia 8 stacks up well against the best of the best that Android has to offer thus far?

Check out our other Nokia 8 coverage: