Some OnePlus 5 owners are seriously bugged by a strange scrolling issue

Oneplus 5 front
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The OnePlus 5 has garnered some pretty favorable reviews over the past week or so, including one from our own Andy Boxall who praised the device’s no-compromises, straightforward approach to a low-priced flagship. However, there appears to be an issue plaguing some units that have made their way to customers, and it’s an odd one.

Some have called it “jelly-like” scrolling. Others, like Damir Franc on YouTube, more accurately classified it as a “strobing effect.” Whatever the name, the fact is some OnePlus 5 devices have exhibited some pretty odd behavior while scrolling, the likes of which are off-putting for a phone with such a high-end processor and RAM spec.

There are many videos floating around online displaying this, including a litany of reports on Reddit, but the one above offers a pretty clear depiction of the problem. It’s a compression effect that gives menu items in a vertical list a strange sense of inertia. Scroll down, and you’ll find the items above your finger will bunch together and squish, while those below it will expand and stretch. The opposite is true when you’re going in the other direction, and to some degree it looks like an intentional design choice to make scrolling more weighted and animated. Instead, it just ends up feeling like you’re navigating the phone with drunk goggles on.

If it was intentional, it wouldn’t be the first touchscreen device to purposefully do some pretty strange things with scrolling. However even that’s not a satisfactory answer, for two reasons.

First, not all phones are exhibiting the issue. Second, the effect isn’t smooth — it’s downright jumpy. Looking at it in the video above, the compression is inconsistent and a little delayed. It’s almost as if vertical sync has been disabled, causing a juddering sensation that animates different parts of the display at different speeds.

Understandably, some owners have been left scratching their heads, while others have proposed theories. A user on the XDA Developers forums actually looked into the vertical sync possibility and found that the OnePlus 5 was in fact turning off the function regularly, but only when the device wasn’t animating anything on screen. Many others believe the display may have been mounted upside down on defective units based on the idea that the effect is less noticeable when you hold the phone the other way around, but that’s not a conclusive argument either. For what it’s worth, we haven’t encountered the issue on any of our OnePlus 5 units here in the Digital Trends office.

To make matters worse, OnePlus hasn’t been particularly helpful in sourcing the cause. It appears the company has taken the Samsung approach of denying the existence of a problem at all. This was the manufacturer’s response to XDA:

“The OnePlus 5 uses the same level of high-quality components as all OnePlus devices, including the AMOLED display. We’ve received feedback from a small number of users saying that at times they notice a subtle visual effect when scrolling. This is natural and there’s no variance in screens between devices.”

The problem is, of course, that the effect is anything but subtle, and seems to affect each unit differently. Although the situation appears dire now, the phone has only been freshly released, so it’s quite possible future updates could alleviate things as they did with the Galaxy S8’s red tint issue. We’ll keep you posted as things develop.