The Rare OnePlus One

Having finally got my hands on an invite to purchase the OnePlus One as well as purchase and receive the OnePlus One, I have had a good time to play with it to review it. I must say, it is something special!


What is the OnePlus One?

It is basically a premium Android smart phone with a very high specification for such a low price. OnePlus is the name of the company and OnePlus One (bit like HTC One) is the name of the phone.

10 unique facts about the OnePlus One?

  1. OnePlus is a start up company from China with decent monetary backing. (How?)
  2. OnePlus call it the “Flagship Killer” which essentially means that this phone is to take on other companies “flagship” phones and win. (i.e. Samsung Galaxy S5, iPhone 5S, HTC One M8, LG G3).
  3. OnePlus does not advertise this phone (which is why you haven’t heard of it from the usual channels of TV ads, Newspapers, etc) therefore not adding to the price of the end product. (How will they get people to know about it?)
  4. OnePlus don’t actually plan to make any profit from this exercise. (Why not?)
  5. It’s only £269 for a 64GB phone!
  6. Production levels are no where near its competitors.
  7. You need an invite to buy one.
  8. You can only officially buy it from OnePlus themselves.
  9. It comes with the most popular modified versions of the Android Operating System – CyanogenMod.
  10. You are allowed to root it! (similar to iOS jailbreaking – basically gaining unrestricted access to the phone)

 So let’s compare specs!

To gauge and idea as to where this phone ranks in the current market, we can quickly compare some key specifications with other high end phones to put it in place.

Phone OnePlus One Samsung Galaxy S5 HTC One (M8) Apple iPhone 5s
Screen Size 5.5 inch 5.1 inch 5.0 inch 4 inch
Resolution 1080 x 1920 1080 x 1920 1080 x 1920 640 x 1136
CPU (Power) Quad-core 2.5 GHz Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 450 Quad-core 2.3 GHz Krait 400 Dual-core 1.3 GHz Cyclone
Graphics Adreno 330 Adreno 420 Adreno 330 PowerVR G6430
Operating System Android 4.4.4 (CyanogenMod) Android 4.4.2 (TouchWiz UI) Android 4.4.3 (HTC Sense UI) Apple iOS7
Storage 64 GB 16 GB (with microSD slot) 16 GB (with microSD slot) 64 GB
RAM 3 GB 2 GB 2 GB 1 GB
Camera (Front) 5 MP 2 MP 5 MP 1.2 MP
Camera (Back) 13 MP 16 MP Dual 4 MP 8 MP
Battery 3100 mAh (1.5 days of usage) 2800 mAh (removeable) 2600 mAh 1560 mAh
Price £269 £474 ~£450 ~£600

As you can see, the OnePlus One is easily meeting & surpassing the ranks of the top phones of its generation with one key difference, the price. The specs per price ratio is by far the best which in my opinion makes it a no-brainer phone to purchase if given the opportunity.

The screen

OnePlus One Screen

The screen is beautiful. It sports a full HD resolution on 5.5″ display which gives it a pixel density of 401 ppi (pixels per inch). Over the years the resolution of my phone screen has forever been increasing and over the course of owning Android phones, you can see this trend:

Phone Size Resolution (px) PPI
HTC Dream (T-Mobile G1) 3.2 inch 320 x 480 180
HTC Desire 3.7 inch 480 x 800 252
Samsung Galaxy S3 4.8 inch 720 x 1280 306
OnePlus One 5.5 inch 1080 x 1920 401

So it’s pretty apparent that there is an evolution in screen sizes and resolution which somewhat attempts to justify why phones are getting bigger. Unfortunately, I think OnePlus One were aiming to have a Full HD resolution phone but that’s the lowest screen size they could achieve which meant the phone has to be big. I thought my Galaxy S3 was big however this is a lot bigger and it is a little difficult to control with my hand.

OnePlus One with Galaxy S3

OnePlus One in Hand

Nonetheless, the quality of the screen is amazing and I can only hope that future phone releases will provide a better sized phone. My peers are calling this a Phablet.

That “Must-Have” Operating System

One of the main reasons why I purchased this phone is because it comes with CyanogenMod which I have been using since my very first Android Phone (HTC Dream) and I have grown to believe that they have hit the nail on the head when it comes to the software features people are seeking for. The fact the Cyanogen team were involved with the making of the phone, the software run seamlessly! It is just a lovely bonus that you don’t have to modify your phone for the latest and greatest features. Although, there a few issues here and there, but with every update there’s an improvement and I have had 3 OTA updates since I got this phone (13th August).

OnePlus One Speakers

The Finish

One of the best things about this phone and the company itself is its attention to detail. From the pleasurable experience of unboxing the phone to using the phone, you feel like you are using something very special. It comes with a nice unique bright red USB to micro USB cable for charging and a nice premium tool to pop out the micro sim card. You can see what exactly is in it by watching the one of many unboxing videos on YouTube. The back cover feels like it has the grip of sandpaper but has the feel of suede – they call it sandstone. It is something you will have to feel for yourself though but I think you’ll like it.

Invite Only Purchase

Unfortunately, if you wish to purchase this phone then you are going to have to have an invite. Invites are limited and are only obtainable to the public via OnePlus forum community members, official OnePlus competitions, and purchasable for £20 to £50 on eBay (which is frowned upon and you are not guaranteed to even get a valid invite!). You can purchase the phone itself from eBay with a usual starting price of £350 (which is also frowned upon) however you may not be protected under the usual warrantee as I’d think they link the actual order number to the IMEI internally. The reason for the invites is to help control production levels based on demand. The usual approach for a well established company would be to have a “pre-order” system in place however that would mean the company would have to fulfill the order by a certain date which is difficult for a start-up company. By the way, I don’t have any invites.

Conclusion

Unfortunately I am unable to go through each and every little detail of the phone otherwise this review would be far too long however I will list down some important (and subjective) pros and cons:

Pros:

Cons:

  • The size
  • No removable battery
  • Bad customer service (as it’s a start-up company)
  • 4G not available for band 20 networks (O2, Vodafone, partly the three network)

Any questions? Pop it on the comments section below.

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