OnePlus One is a top cellphone at a very low price
Chinese OnePlus surprised the smartphone market with a flagship phone from the top shelf but at half the price. And there is a good reason for the large producers to be aware, because OnePlus has hit very accurately with this phone.
I bought the OnePlus phone OnePlus One 64GB from Aliexpress.com for 400$ including shipping, saving me a staggering 150$ compared to Danish retail prices. A 5.5 inch Android phone with CyanogenMod and specs matching flagship phones like Samsung GS5, LG G3 and HTC One (M8), but only at half the price.
If you’re still considering buying the phone, you may well feel excited. It is a “small” masterpiece.
The company’s slogan “Never Settle” meets the expectations.
The packaging is nice and provides a “wow” feeling.
Almost like opening a package from Apple.
After a long struggle to get the opportunity to test the phone and an even longer wait, because my OnePlus One phone was stopped by Danish customs, because their “CE logo” was too small??? I finally got hold of the package with the phone.
So how does the OnePlus One telephone feel?
It was like standing with genuine unicorn horns in my hands.
After the brown cardboard had been removed, I stood with a red and white package that is well executed and gave a “wuaw effect” even before I had the phone in my hands.
A feeling that I would otherwise have received only by Apple’s packaging, which simply gives a sense of quality even before you have had the product between your fingers.
The phone itself heighten the feeling of “wuaw”. The large 5.5 inch screen of Gorilla Glass almost fills up the front entirely with thin black borders around it and buttons at the bottom.
The screen is slightly raised from the rest of the phone which is bordered by aluminum and it gives a little different, but still minimalist look. I was initially not wildly impressed when I had a feeling that the screen was prone to scratches but the included screen protector has not yet received any scratches, so my fears were unfounded.
On the back there it has the possibly best plastic I’ve ever touched. The tested version with 64 gigabytes of memory and it comes a “Sandstone” -cover. It should feel like sandstone, but Im not a geologist but it does feels nice.
The hole where the Sim card must sit, is well hidden. It is almost impossible to see where the hole is because it has been cut incredible precisely. If it just had a matching slot for micro-SD it would be even better but that is unfortunately not available on some of OnePlus’ two models. Too bad.
My phones only two hardware buttons are located on either side of the phone. Volume buttons on the left, standby on the right, and they are strategically placed so that you can press both with one hand. It would have been hell if the button had been sitting on the top as some manufacturers still have on their phones with screens above 5 inches.
Although I have hardly used the start button which with the phone’s software can determine at best LG-fashioned way to start and turn off your phone with a double-tap on the phone screen. A highly underrated feature.
What on earth is CyanogenMod?
As soon as you turn your phone on you are greeted by, for some, a somewhat unknown logo. CyanogenMod.
CyanogenMod is a modified version of Android which a group of enthusiasts have developed. Most of all it looks like a “stock Android” which is the purest form of Android but it’s much more than that. There are hardly a detail, button or addition you cannot alter.
In addition to this the developers behind CyanogenMod already tweaked, improved and changed a large part of the system so that it works better.
Among other things 3G and 4G automatically turns off when you are on a wifi network and you have the option of using the top bar as light level button, slide your finger from right to left. These are small things but there are many of them. I am yet to find a change that is not smart.
The phone has a snapdragon processor 801. It is the same processor-series the HTC One (M8), Sony Z2 and Samsung Galaxy S5 uses. At the moment it is only LG G3 which has a higher processor type, and frankly, it’s more than plenty. It does also have three gigabytes of RAM, which is in the absolute top of the flagship scale.
At no time did the system trouble me or being slow due to lack of power in the engine compartment. It is becoming a rarity at all flagship phones but from time to time it happens, particularly I experienced it with the Samsung’s Galaxy S5.
I have experienced some problems with CyanogenMod – with apps. Too often I was greeted with a “Application XXX Unfortunately stopped”. Both camera, Google search and trebuchet, which is the phone graphical surface (Launcher) is “unfortunately stopped” – and not just once.
It’s not a big problem but it happens more often than some of the more established manufacturers.
I have previously owned a CyanogenMod-rooted Samsung Galaxy S3, so I’m used to how the system behaves. Therefore, I expected the apps from time to time would stop. I see it as a compromise.
If you can live with a few app errors you will in return get one of the best Android systems on the market. CyanogenMod is frequently updated and minor errors have all been addressed after a week.
Power Saver and powerwresler!
On the battery side we find a 3100 mAh battery that can easily withstand a normal day’s use. I am not disappointed with the battery but with such a large battery I expected just a bit more.
In a test with a console emulator (Drastic; Nintendo DS emulator) I was able to squeeze just over seven hours of viewing out of it. It’s half an hour more than when I did the same with LG G3.
But if you are dissatisfied with the battery life or would you like it to work even faster, so long live CyanogenMod. In an enlarged and more easily hidden menu field you will find performance management. Here it is possible to change the phone to constantly run on power-efficient, balanced or full performance.
Are you more nerdy and in full control over your Android, you can go even further into the system and change the phone’s processor. Maximum CPU frequency, lowest CPU frequency or how the phone handles apps in its memory. It is somewhat very advanced and there is a lot that can go wrong, which CyanogenMod also warns against.
Does the OnePlus One screen and camera live up to the rest
Screen and Camera
The screen which is kept going by the large battery – a Full HD 1080p IPS screen. Briefly this means the screen is perfectly sharp with good viewing angles and vivid colors. With a pixel density over 400 you cannot complain about the sharpness.
The screen is also one of the phone’s potential minuses. 5.5 inch is very large and it will also be too large for many. The growing phones is a strong tendency, especially in Asia, where the Galaxy Note and tablets are big business but it still needs to become fully integrated in Denmark where having room for a phone in a pair of tight jeans is still important.
However, it is impossible not to love such a phone. I have personally been reversed and now I am pleased with a gigantic sand-blasted brick in my pants pockets. Especially because it works very well as an e-book reader.
On the backside of the phone we have a 13 megapixel camera. The camera is actually one of the few places where I could wish for a little more. The camera takes brilliant pictures in natural light but as soon as you get into a dark room or in the late evening hours. The image quickly blurs and have a good amount of noise.
Chinese phones and European network …
If you are still not sure, I love OnePlus. In fact, I already made up my mind that it will be my telephone at least for the next month.
But it fails big and heavily from time to time. Coverage.
I use 3 as my telephone company and together with my old phone, an Iphone 5s, it gave an almost constant 3G / 4G connection in all major cities. However, I had to live with 2G – 3G at times when I visited my family in Jutland but it was still acceptable and in line with other companies that I have had throughout the ages.
With OnePlus it is different. A little too often I end up with no connection and cant even call or send text messages.
It is also important to know if you are a TDC customer you may end up having a phone that in the vast majority of Denmark cannot get 4G connectivity (LTE), as TDC uses 800 MHz (LTE Band 20) which OnePLus One does not support. 3 uses 1800/2600 MHz.
OnePlus One is undoubtedly the phone of the year. This is due to a combination of aggressive pricing, a beautiful design, choice of materials and CyanogenMod which I’m falling in love with.
If you buy a OnePlus One, you will end up with one of the best phones on the market.
However, it is not without flaws. Issues with an otherwise fantastic software allows small nuisance problems from time to time but CyanogenMod is quick and good at correcting deficiencies – much faster than their more “professional” competitors.
The coverage is from time to time a problem. When the 3G / 4G are possible, you have a super fast phone that surfs along but personally I experienced a range of coverage problems.
As mentioned earlier, this will be updated if it turns out to be different with other networks.
Network problems or not this is my new personal favorite phone together with HTC’s (M8)