The OnePlus One smartphone has been getting a lot of attention lately. As such I though it would make sense to grab one for myself and share my thoughts!
For those who don’t know what the heck a OnePlus One is (no it’s not two), it’s a new smartphone with high-end specs, but a low-end price, competing at an off-contract price of $299 to $349, compared to a standard price of $650 to upwards of $900 for current high-end smartphones. Inside the phone is a 2.5GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB of RAM, and a huge 3100mAh battery to power the phone. The screen isn’t 4k, but it’s still a 1080p full-HD screen that measures a massive 5.5 inches Other features include a 13-megapixel photo/4k video back-facing camera, 5mp 80-degree front-facing camera, three microphones, 4G LTE support, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and all of the standard orientation-detecting sensors. As you can tell, this sounds like a flagship phone from a large brand that would require you to get a contract in order to not spend a fortune, but it’s not. The 16gb white model will run you $299, and the black 64gb model will only cost you an addition $50 for a total of $349. One question remains, though: how does it actually stack up?
The design of this phone is quite nice, with a slightly rounded back, top, and bottom, with straight sides and a non-curved screen. The phone is very thin and light, at 0.35 inches and 5.71oz, making it very comfortable to hold. If you get the black version, the back has a sandstone/fine sandpaper texture that’s very grippy and I personally really like the feel of. The power button is placed nicely so that smaller hands can easily reach it, and though the volume rocker looks nice, I did keep running into the issue of pressing the wrong side of the rocker because it is fairly small. However, that’s not too big of an issue and I did start to get used to it after a little while. Overall, the phone has clearly been meticulously designed with beautiful bezels and a fantastic feel, so props to OnePlus in this category.
With the 801 Snapdragon processor and 3GB of RAM, you’d expect very fast performance, and that’s exactly what you get. The One has one of the snappiest response times I’ve seen in an Android (in this case specifically CyanogenMod) phone in quite a while. Apps open up quickly and multitasking is a breeze. Browsing the internet is also very fast on WiFi with an 802.11ac antenna and with data over 4G LTE (though if you’re in the UK, you’ll likely not get 4G). Games can be easily played with no lag and they look beautiful on the large HD display. This is certainly another category where the One rocks!
Similarly to the other parts of the phone so far talked about, the battery is fantastic! I was able to use the phone regularly easily for a full day, and often for an additional half a day to a full day before needing to recharge. If you’re a heavy user, you may worry that you can’t just swap out a battery mid-day, but I can assure you that the One won’t require a second battery, as it lasts for an incredibly long time.
The camera certainly has its ups and downs. To start, it takes very nice photos for a phone, and CyanogenMod gives a lot more options for photos than the standard Android phone, so I liked that. At 13MP and f/2.0 aperture, the phone takes some very nice pictures. My one issue is the shakiness. I found that it’s hard to get a clear photo as there isn’t much stabilization. This is extremely evident when you take video, though, and the video almost becomes unwatchable if there was a lot of action. If that was fixed, I’d really like the camera, but as of now, I find it to be pretty annoying.
CyanogenMod has some nice features, with full customization options and theme packs (though some will cost you), and gestures while the phone is asleep. The customization allowed me to choose what I wanted the screen to look like, including app icons, backgrounds and more, which certainly appeals to some users, though that’s not too important to me. As for the gestures, they need to be improved. For instance, if I draw a V on the screen it turns on the flashlight… 5 seconds later. Most of the other gestures worked pretty well, but I found it very difficult to do if you’re doing it one-handed, as the software didn’t recognize a small circle or a non-close-to-perfect circle. However, the notifications looked great, and I really liked the feel of the operating system while using it.
In conclusion, this phone is very good, ranking highly in many categories. Though some features leave more to be desired, they still work well, and that’s a lot more that can be said compared to another phone that costs only $350. Basically, if you don’t want a contract but don’t want to spend a small fortune, I can’t think of a phone I would recommend more than this one. If I had to rate it, I’d probably give it a 4.5/5 for it’s great features and low price.