The OnePlus One is definitely the most unique phone on the market right now. It features flagship-esque specs with a budget phone price. You get the whole package with the OnePlus One; design, performance, camera, battery life, and customization on top of it all.
The one thing that everyone is criticizing OnePlus about, is their control of production. The only way to get your mitts on this device is to receive an invite from OnePlus or know someone that has bought one previously. You can also find invites on eBay running upwards of $50. So if you really want one, you just have to pony up a couple extra dollars. If you think this is a case of ‘you want what you can’t have and have what you don’t want’, you’d be wrong. This is definitely a device you want, and if you can get your hands on it, you won’t regret it.
The OnePlus One’s greatest feature may be its price tag, but the hardware and performance don’t suffer from the low price point. The OnePlus One features very similar specs to one of the most popular devices in 2014, the Galaxy S5. You may wonder, how is the S5 going for $600+ and the One is starting at $300 with identical specs? The answer comes from OnePlus’s marketing strategy. They want to sell a device, that retails for near their production cost. They want to change the smartphone landscape, that is by showing consumers they are overpaying for their devices. Quality doesn’t necessarily come with cost.
Screen size: 5.5″
Resolution: 1080 x 1920 (401 ppi)
Camera: 13 megapixels – 5 megapixels (front)
Hardware: Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 – quad-core
Battery: 3100 mAh
Water resistant: No
Features: CyanogenMod, Customization, Price
The design on the One is simple, yet it feels premium. The first thing to catch the eye is the textured back, and it definitely feels good in the hand. It has enough grip to stay in the hand, but it still is able to be removed from a pocket with ease.
The buttons click very nicely, and are tight against the chassis. There is no wobble to the buttons like seen in the Galaxy series, so it has a definite premium feel to it. The bezel on the device is extremely thin, but still has enough lip to protect the Corning Gorilla Glass 3 from objects it might come into contact with when it is face down.
The One comes with dimensions of 6.02 x 2.99 x 0.35 inches. Some might call a phone that size with a 5.5 inch phone display too small to be a phablet, but too big to be a phone. We find that the size and weight of this device feel right at home in your hands. To compare the weight to other devices, here are the weights of the top smartphones. Once again, it comes in at the higher-mid range as far as weight goes.
OnePlus One: 5.71 oz
LG G3: 5.26 oz
Galaxy S5: 5.11 oz
Galaxy Note 3: 5.93 oz
HTC One M8: 5.64 oz
iPhone 5s: 3.95 oz
With a low price, you would expect something on the device to suffer, and the screen is definitely isn’t it. To turn the screen on, all one has to do is press the unlock button, or tap on the screen twice, and the monster will come to life. The OnePlus comes with a beautiful 5.5 inch display with 1080p resolution. The One comes with a very respectable 401 ppi, which is 40 less than the Galaxy S5, yet above the Note 3’s 386 ppi. The colors seem very on point, especially when comparing the device to the display king, Samsung. The display is really great for viewing HDR photos and watching HD video. We would put it towards the top of smartphone displays this year.
The OnePlus One is running a CyanogenMod OS over vanilla Android. At first glance, some would suspect that the One is running stock Android, until you dig deeper in the settings. With CyanogenMod you can dig deep into the power of the device, controlling and monitoring CPU power, choosing custom theme packs that overlay the OS, and anything else that comes with a device that is rooted.
Multitasking is a breeze and you can’t even tell that multiple apps are open. The device rarely ever stutters, and is fluent on every screen. The transitions from app to app or to the home screen are always smooth as well. The home button is almost instantaneous. Lag while pressing the home button was a problem in earlier builds of CyanogenMod.
The 3GB of RAM and Snapdragon 801 processor can power through any app or game, and can handle graphic intense content. We played Leo’s Fortune on the stock CPU settings (balanced) with no lag whatsoever.
The One boasts a 13 megapixel rear shooter that can capture quality images similar to that of the Galaxy devices or iPhones. While taking pictures can be as simple as tap and shoot, so can switching modes. On the One, you can easily swipe through all the camera modes with no delay. The daylight shooting is great, but pictures get grainy in low-light, which is common among smartphones.
The stock camera app offers twelve shooting modes: Auto, HDR, Aqua, Posterize, Sepia, Mono, Steady Shot, Night, Action, Slow shutter speed, Beauty Mode, and the new Clear Image Mode. Unlike common devices where you have to go to settings to change the shooting mode, on the One, you just have to swipe up or down. It really cuts down time on in-the-moment type of picture taking. Another convenience they added is the way to get to the gallery from the camera. All you have to do is swipe from right to left, and it shows previously taken pictures.
It may not be as good as the Galaxy S5’s camera, but it will definitely hold its own. It is quicker to start up and switch over to the gallery from the camera app, which is stutters on the S5. Coming at half the price tag, the picture quality is nothing to complain about.
The major feature of this device is first and foremost, the price. No complaints here for a $350 price tag. Comparing it to the S5 and iPhone 5s, it makes us wonder what are we thinking paying over $600 for a device. We know that phone manufacturers are making a killing, but we want the latest and greatest software, and we are willing to pay for it. The fact that OnePlus stepped outside the box and decided to have a low price point shows change is in the air.
One feature we like the most, is the theme packs you can download for the interface. If you are not a fan of stock android, there are multiple themes that will suit your needs. For instance, there is a TouchWiz, LG G2, LG G3, and our personal favorite, Android L themes. Not only can you pick certain themes, but you can mix-match them all together. If you personally like Android L’s style, but like TouchWiz’s icons, you can do that. If you are in to customizing your phone, the One is the phone for you.
The last feature we will go over is CyanogenMod. Some critics were worried that CyanogenMod wouldn’t keep up with updating the device, but they have been wrong. CyanogenMod has been steady to sending out updates that improve performance and fix bugs. We have had the phone for a week now and it has already updated twice (one counting 4.4.4). OnePlus and CyanogenMod have also promised that Android L will be available on the One within 90 days of Android L’s release. Which is comforting.
First, if you can secure an invite, we definitely advise you to pick up this device. It is a very solid phone, both inside and out. If you are an Android fan at all, this device will fit right in with your routine; that doesn’t matter if you are used to TouchWiz, HTC Sense, or any other interace. The design is subtle, yet enough to catch your eye. The internals make the phone lightning fast and it can blaze through anything you throw at it.
The OnePlus One is a one of a kind phone, featuring CyanogenMod out of the box. We can tell you first-hand they definitely made the right choice. It has a nice blend of vanilla Android with some extra spices to it that make it all the better. The display is vivid and the performance great. This will be one of the most powerful devices you have ever laid your hands on, especially for the price.
Below our video review can be seen.