With the release of any new smartphone, we quite frequently receive reports about potential hardware or software issues that the Quality Assurance (QA) team may have missed. This occurs because issues that may be present in a small batch of smartphones might not be picked up until the phone is more widely available, as it is impossible for QA to catch every potential issue prior to release (though intelligent sampling of production devices often mitigates this issue). One such issue that is cropping up all over the OnePlus 5 forums on XDA, Reddit, and the official OnePlus forums is what users are calling the jelly scrolling effect.
If you still don’t see what I’m talking about, look for when the screen is being scrolled more slowly – text bunches up together and stretches when you swipe the other way making it appear as if part of the screen is not being refreshed as quickly as others. Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.
But if you try and replicate this issue on your own shiny, brand new OnePlus 5 – you may not notice it happen. The issue does not appear to universally affect each OnePlus 5 device, and there so far is no way to tell if your device will be affected by this issue besides actually attempting to replicate it yourself. In fact, we have yet to encounter this issue on our own review device, but have been told that a few reviewers (such as Damir Franc as linked above) have experienced this issue.
What is behind this issue?
A few theories have been thrown around.
First, a user on our forums noticed that Vertical Sync (VSYNC) was constantly being toggled on/off. An explanation of what VSYNC does in Android is beyond the scope of this article, but briefly it’s a method for the frame rate to be capped at the display refresh rate of the device (typically 60 Hz). I asked XDA Recognized Developer SultanXDA what he thought of this explanation, but he believes this is unlikely to be the cause of the jelly scrolling effect. According to him, VSYNC appears to be toggled when nothing on the screen is currently animating, hence there is no need for VSYNC to be active. He believes this is normal behavior unrelated to the OnePlus 5 jelly scrolling effect.
Second, and the more commonly put forward explanation, is the idea that the OnePlus 5 display is mounted upside down. Users are pointing out that when holding any other phone upside down that they can then see the same jelly scrolling effect on those devices – hence the fact that this effect occurs on the OnePlus 5 in its natural orientation suggests that the display is mounted incorrectly. Some users believe that this issue occurs because of the way the screen refreshes with respect to the display mounting orientation. I again approached SultanXDA to see what he thinks of this explanation, and he isn’t convinced that this is the issue. According to him, the video controller drivers in the kernel should be able to compensate for any display mount angle. If indeed the panel was mounted upside down and the video controller was not set up properly, the display would look “totally wacky.”
Instead, it may just be a boring software bug. SultanXDA is open to the possibility that he’s wrong, but at the very least the two above explanations put forward by the OnePlus community should not be taken as gospel.
Should you return your OnePlus 5?
Many users are crying foul and suggesting others immediately RMA their phone if they encounter this issue. To be fair, a consumer has every right to be concerned about the display given that they’ve paid hundreds for this brand new phone. However, given the opinion of SultanXDA, if it is indeed merely a boring software bug, then that means this is something that OnePlus can fix in a routine software update.
We have already reached out to OnePlus about this issue and can confirm that the company is looking into it. We do not have any information from OnePlus about what they believe is causing this issue on certain devices, nor do we know what plan of action they are to take. We hope to have that answer soon for those of our readers suffering from this issue.
P.S. don’t believe everything you read from online support. Not to throw them under the bus, but they often don’t have access to the same quality of information as PR representatives. We were told by our PR contact that the information posted in that thread is at the very least inaccurate.