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.
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.
- Availability is a big issue.
- No FM Radio.
- No Micro SD card slot.
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.
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.
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.
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!!
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.