Not long ago, a startup company by the name of OnePlus released its debut smartphone, named simply, the One. While the name may illicit a chuckle at first, its performance and price tag will certainly have any tech consumer singing a different tune before too long.
Since the device first came out it’s been Lauded is the Flagship Killer; had a very public spat with Software Partner Cyanogen, subsequently successfully launched their own ROM; then made up and managed to avoid a major snafu in India!
How has the One Plus One been able to gain so much notoriety in such a small amount of time? Find out in our review below.
While some smartphone users base their next smartphone purchase primarily on aesthetics, others make their purchase through sheer performance. If I absolutely had to pick just two words to describe the One, those would be it, “sheer performance”! And that’s not to take away from the phone’s visual appeal as it’s still a very sleek and premium looking device.
When major league companies such as the Samsungs, HTCs and LGs of the world release flagship products of their own, the common consensus is that very few products will be able to compete with them. But the One Plus One is no pushover; this device features none other than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, the same SoC present in the other flagship smartphones we mentioned earlier. With a quad core Krait 450 processor running at a 2.5 GHz, you can expect some serious processing power from the chipset. It might not be a 64 bit processor, but even then, it will do your bidding far more than you had hoped for.
There are only a handful of devices out there that possess RAM value of over 3 GB (Galaxy Note 3 and Xperia Z2 to name a few) but the One Plus One also happens to be amongst those devices. For the average user, even 1 GB of RAM will suffice when all you have to is perform casual tasks on your smartphone. For a heavy multitasker however, 2 GB is the recommended amount; and even that tends to run low when you’re being overzealous by opening up multiple applications at one time. Not to mention that most smartphones come with pre-loaded applications or “bloatware” that users hardly use. These apps use up system resources and make your phone appear slugish. If you are the kind of user who must absolutely access apps without closing or killing them, then the One Plus One will accommodate you accordingly. After close to 8 months of heavy use I can honestly say that the OpO is the first phone that never stutters, no matter what I throw at it. And I’m a pretty heavy user in that I use a custom launcher, have tasker running, and am constantly listening to music or streaming something, among a great many number of other things.
Apart from the blazing fast Krait 450 quad core processor, the One Plus One also comes armed with the Adreno 330 GPU, which is capable of delivering impressive frame-rates in graphically intensive games. If the GPU’s capabilities were not enough, then the availability of the Krait 450 processor will easily supplement the missing power. Whatever your mobile gaming needs, the One Plus One will be able to bulldoze anything you throw in its path.
Screen size and display resolution
Since most smartphones that possess a screen size of 5 inches or more are technically categorized as a ‘phablet’, the One Plus One has able to gain entry in that category as the device possesses a screen size of 5.5 inches. The screen size alone will make the device an encumbrance to carry but some users will more than certainly welcome the extra screen size. This is especially true for chronic consumers of video or those who like to work on their phone as they will have plenty of room to maneuver their thumbs and fingers across the screen. As for the display resolution, the One Plus One possesses a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels. One a personal note, having a 1080p screen resolution should be the ‘be all, end all’ resolutions of smartphones because any resolution that is higher than this amount will start to have detrimental effects on the user’s experience. This is because additional processing power will be required to render that ‘beyond HD’ resolution and if the processor keeps on being stressed, then it will have a major impact on the battery, depleting it before the day has even ended.
For a startup company that have launched its debut flagship smartphone, the employees did take the requirements of the daily smartphone users in to consideration. This is because the One Plus One is powered by a non-removable battery with a 3,100 mAh battery. This is enough battery level to last you an entire day and is very generous when you consider the S5’s battery clocks in at 2,800 mAh. Some users might feel that the company should have added additional flexibility by making the battery removable to facilitate replacement, should the need ever arises. Regardless, if you take care of your battery well, it will last you more than you’d expect.
Unlike several smartphone vendors, One Plus took a different approach to assimilating the operating system with the device. Instead of using Google’s official Android operating system, the company has decided to fit the phone with a custom ROM designed and developed by CyanogenMod. CyanogenMod was once thought of as “The Real Face of Android” but a turn towards conformity in the very anti-establishment community of Android modders has seen them fall out of favor in recent years. With that said, CM is still a far superior experience than most standard versions of Android. The operating system is based on the KitKat version 4.4 and there are several perks to using a custom ROM over an official operating system. One of them happens to be the absence of useless apps (crapware) that nobody uses. They cannot be uninstalled (unless you root your smartphone) and all they do is utilize system memory and storage resources. With a custom ROM, your processor will not be unnecessarily stressed and you will have sufficient memory and storage resources present at your disposal.
The One Plus One comes packed with two cameras. Details below:
Rear camera: 13 Megapixels = 4128 x 3096 pixels
- Dual-led flash,
- Touch focus,
- Face detection,
- Panorama, and
- 2160 pixels (more commonly known as the 4K resolution) @ 30fps
- 2160p (DCI) @ 24fps
- 1080p @ 60fps
- 720p @ 120 fps
Secondary camera: 5 Megapixel, with video recording at 1080p @ 30fps.
How is it so cheap? OnePlus One is basically an offshoot of major Chinese Manufacture Oppo. In fact, some of Oppo’s best and brightest left to form OnePlus; and through a somewhat counterintuitive deal with their former employer, have managed to build a smartphone that all the big players are afraid of. They are able to do this because Oppo allows them limited access to their manufacturing plants. This in turn allows OnePlus to focus their attention on research and development, marketing, and distribution; rather than having to set up costly production centers. That also had a potential downside, because they were only allowed limited access (Oppo had to keep up with their own demand as well of course) they only had capacity to produce a relatively small number of handsets at any given time. This arguably became a boon for them when some marketing genius decided to make the phone available by invitation only and made it one of the trendiest phone’s on the market.
Regardless of how impressive a smartphone may be in its specifications, the one factor that ends up making or breaking the potential customer’s purchasing decision happens to be the price tag that the product has been stamped with. Fortunately for you, the One Plus One comes with a price tag that will put the remaining flagship smartphones and their price tags to shame. Currently, the device is being shipped in two storage variants.
- 16 GB, which carries a price tag of $299
- 64 GB, which carries a price tag of $349
With those monstrous specifications and the price that you are being handed with, you’d be a fool to look for any other smartphone product. There is the absence of a microSD card, which is typically a showstopper for me but this is somewhat alleviated when you see a 64 GB model fat the killer price of $349. That’s not all. With a wireless 802.11 ac adapter and LTE capable connectivity, you have everything but the kitchen sink dumped in to this speedy device. In our opinion, there has not been a greater price/performance smartphone device than the One Plus One. It is a legitimate contender to any high end Android currently available.