One of a Kind: OnePlus One Review

The OnePlus One is a peculiar kind of device. The brand name, the manufacturers, and their marketing strategy projects a different perspective from what we normally see from other phone makers. The device in itself is unique. Solid hardware, flagship specs at a surprisingly (relatively) cheap price. On paper already, this is the perfect device to own.OnePlus One (2)

We ask, “what’s the catch?” Is there such thing as a perfect phone? Why the OnePlus One?

Looking at its key features:

  • 5.5 – inch IPS display, with 1080 x 1920 pixels and 401 ppi.
  • Running CyanogenMod 12.1 underneath Android Lollipop 5.1.1 .
  • Snapdragon 801 chipset with Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400 processor, Adreno 330 GPU and 3 GB of RAM.
  • 13 MP Autofocus camera with dual-LED flash, pixel count 4128 x 3096 pixels and Video recording of 1080p and UHD 4k.
  • 5 MP front-facing camera, with pixel count 2592 x 1944 pixels and 720p video recording.
  • 16/64 GB options, with 54 GB usable and no microSD card slot.
  • Single SIM, Micro SIM, USB OTG, Notification light.
  • 3100 mAh battery, Non-removable.

Main Disadvantages

  • Availability is a big issue.
  • No FM Radio.
  • No Micro SD card slot.

Read the full detailed OnePlus One specifications , as well as our OnePlus One Hands on experience and Unboxing.

Hardware and Design
The OnePlus One has a unibody design though the back cover can be swapped, the battery is non-removable. The phone doesn’t really fit unless you have big hands. We have a metal frame at the top and the edges are not so curved.

OnePlus One (4)

 

The back side is a rough surface called sandstone which we really like since it helps with grip . At the top lies the earphone jack, SIM slot and volume buttons at the left side. The power button is found on the right side while then bottom carries dual speakers with a centrally placed changing port and external microphone beside it. The screen takes up a huge percentage of the front side, hence the bezels are small.

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It is claimed this phone’s design was stolen from Oppo Find 7a, but hey, who cares?

Software and Display UI

The OnePlus One comes initially with CyanogenMod with Android 4.4 KitKat underneath it, though our review unit came with Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. The software is highly optimized and full of many tweaks, but then it glides through the phone with no lags.

You can configure all the buttons on the phone to perform as you please. There are also options to tweak the display, LCD density, notification light and many more. There are also settings to manage notification drawer, status bar. Most notably we have a setting here called Privacy guard which is used to manage app permissions.OnePlus One software

 

The OnePlus One has a rich 5.5 inch display with 1080 x 1920 pixels and 401 pixels per inch. The display is very crisp and sharp. The viewing angles are great, and it has very good sunlight legibility. This phone’s display amazingly adjusts to your environment. Day or night, indoor and outdoors. Amazing!!

Camera

The OnePlus has a very very good camera. The back camera takes in lots of pixels. The output is very sharp both in well lit situations or in low light with flash turned off. It can also record videos in 1080p and best of all in UHD 4k (Only few phones have this feature).

OnePlus One Camera

 

The front camera here will make you love taking selfies. Pictures come out with natural colors, crisp and well lit. It also covers a pretty wide angle, and can record videos in 720p.

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Multimedia

The dual speakers of the OnePlus One can be described in one word. Awesome!! You don’t need earphones to enjoy good music on this device. The speakers got you covered. The music player here has a simple interface though the phone occasionally starts playing music on it’s own. Don’t know what’s the cause of this.

Video playback here is really good, owning to the very good display. The video player handled all the video formats we threw at it.

Multitasking /Performance and Battery Life
The OnePlus One comes with Snapdragon 801 which is great in performance. This phone literally flies like a jet. It responds with every touch, and as you would have it, the 3 GB RAM does justice to its multitasking. Apps don’t close down on you. From the Antutu and Quadrant scores (see screenshot) you can see this device rubs shoulders with Samsung Galaxy Note 4 and Meizu MX4.OnePlus One Performance

 

The OnePlus One can take you through almost 2 days of average use with data turned on. With heavy usage and pressing which covered 5 hours of hotspot, 5 hours of movie playback we were able to hit 13 hours plus before the battery gave way. There are no issues with the battery life.

OnePlus One Battery

 

Miscellaneous

The OnePlus has USB OTG, Call clarity here is OK. It comes in two variants 16 GB and 64 GB, and our review unit was the later with about 54 GB usable. It also has Notification light you can tweak in the settings to changes colors as you like.

With the many amazing things on this device, you may wonder what could possibly be wrong. First of all the sales box doesn’t come with a wall charger. Secondly, there’s no microSD card slot – this will make you go for the 64 GB version. Also, there’s no FM Radio available this device. Occasionally, music starts playing on it’s own, also sometimes when a call comes in you won’t see who’s calling, except you slide down from the notification bar.

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Final Words

From the first few days of use, the OnePlus One gave off this kind of weird vibes I really couldn’t explain. But later, it dawned on me this was not a phone for everyone. It’s not for a typical or first time Android user.

But then, the OnePlus One can be related to that one girl that is so hard to find – till you eventually find her. A keeper. One that ticks all the boxes. One you shouldn’t ever let go.

The specs are top of the line. The price is very affordable. If only it were readily available. Since it lacks a microSD card slot it would be a foolhardy not to buy the 64 GB version. The lack of FM Radio we can live with, asides that, we have also excellent camera. The OnePlus One is ‘one’ of it’s kind.

Etoniru Chibueze

Chibueze is an award-winning gadget reviewer and geek. He loves research, while living and breathing tech. You can reach him on Facebook, Twitter ,OR LinkedIn

0 thoughts on “One of a Kind: OnePlus One Review

  • July 7, 2015 at 6:00 pm
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    One Plus One was dubbed the flagship killer on Nairaland, when it first came out.

  • July 7, 2015 at 6:42 pm
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    the design is based on the Oppo Find 7a, that’s not really surprising since Oppo is/was one of OnePlus’ backers

  • July 7, 2015 at 6:45 pm
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    really * surprising
    auto correct strikes again
    we really should be able to edit our comments

  • July 7, 2015 at 10:40 pm
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    My infatuation with the OnePlus One word off two months after its announcement. Thank God I’m free! I have seen the light!

  • July 8, 2015 at 5:43 am
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    The OnePlus One is definitely an android enthusiast’s device, from the myriad of customization options and mods available.

    Since the review unit is likely running on a nightly version of Cyanogen Mod, the issue with the music player and co is a bug which may have be irony d out in the latest release.

    An option to flash official Cyanogen OS or Oxygen OS exists, and will be a different experience.

    With a device with ample storage space, the lack of a micro SD slot is forgivable. Xiaomi for example argues that most issues with phone with a Micro SD slot is as a result of substandard cards on the market. Flash storage is definitely faster and more reliable. That wouldn’t be the case with Apple, as users with the 16GB versions of their phones had issues with upgrading to iOS 8 cos of low memory.

    PS: The phone does come with a USB charger, but it’s packed separately since the sales box is quite slim.

    • July 8, 2015 at 8:06 am
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      Biola, thanks for pointing that out.

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