OnePlus 2: Hit or miss?

OnePlus 2 Hit or miss

The OnePlus 2 is coming to the UK and is being hyped as the 2016 flagship killer. With prices starting at £239, this smartphone certainly beats almost all flagship phones on price, but we need to dig a little deeper to find out if this phone will be a hit or miss.

OnePlus 2 design

The OnePlus 2 takes the concept of less is more to new levels. A single pane of black glass, toughened with Corning Gorilla Glass, gives a sleek look to the front face of the phone. There are no logos on the front and even the virtual keys fade away when not in use.

OnePlus 2 design

The aluminium and magnesium alloy frame brings strength and is trimmed with stainless steel, while the back has a Sandstone Black colour scheme. The StyleSwap rear cover brings the option of adorning the phone in other premium materials.

StyleSwap covers

Below the display sits a fingerprint sensor for unlocking the phone and this can be set up with up to five unique fingerprints. The antenna has been placed to receive the best possible reception and temperature regulation makes extended usage comfortable to the hand.

  • Verdict: As far as design goes, the OnePlus 2 is a definite hit.

OnePlus 2 hardware

The OnePlus 2 has a large 5.5” IPS LCD display with a great resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. This equates to 401 pixels per inch, which can be seen at extreme viewing angles of up to 178 degrees. High contrast ensures great view-ability under sunlight while the dark mode is easy on the eyes when the phone is used into the wee hours.

The octa-core 1.8GHz processor has 4GB RAM making it just as powerful as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+, which is most powerful smartphone on the market today. The Adreno GPU caters for 3D intensive gaming and there is a 64GB internal memory to hold a mass of downloads.

The OnePlus 2 uses the new USB Type-C cable, which is fully reversible making it easy to plug into the port. USB Type-C cables can transmit data at speeds of up 10Gbps and with a higher power output, a smartphone could actually power other peripherals, such as external hard drives. Finally we find a 3,300mAh battery than can easily sustain more than a days usage for most users.

  • Verdict: The only negative regarding hardware is that there is no microSD card slot for expanding the memory. While this may not be an issue for the 64GB version, the intended 16GB version could end up frustrating owners.

OnePlus 2 software

The OnePlus 2 is powered by the OxygenOS operating system but in reality it would more accurate to describe this as a UI (user interface). Based on Android Lollipop, this powerful yet light software keeps the key features of Android while adding a few thoughtful additions. These include support for custom icon packs and customisable navigation keys, where the back and recent app keys can be switched.

OxygenOS

On the side of the OnePlus 2 there is an Alert Slider key and this novel addition allows the user to switch between three notification profiles; All Notifications, Priority Interruptions and No Interruption. The SwiftKey Keyboard offers a good experience with AI learning techniques employed to learn, predict and correct your text input.

Alert Slider

Waves MaxxAudio sound design technologies, specifically designed for enhancing the sound on small devices, gives unparalleled sound quality with big sounds generated from the smallest components. The sound is project through the bottom edge of the phone, so there are no playback issues when the OnePlus 2 is placed on a surface.

MaxxAudio

  • Verdict: With Android Lollipop you can’t go far wrong and with the customisation offered through the OxygenOS there are few reasons, if any, to complain about.

OnePlus 2 camera

The final area of investigation is the camera set up. The OnePlus 2 has a 13MP camera but that isn’t the big news. The camera’s sensor has large pixels, sized at1.3µm, and these are the biggest ever used in a 13MP smartphone camera. These large pixels pull in a huge amount of light giving better results under low-light situations, with less noise.

OnePlus 2 camera

The camera app has an uncluttered look, making it easy to use, and exceptional photographic results can be achieved using OIS, the laser autofocus that is ready to go in under 0.2-seconds and the six lens elements that improve clarity.

4K video recording is possible, although you will need a 4K TV for playback at this quality. A few quirks exist including playback in slow-motion and the option to record time-lapse videos. On the reverse there is a 5MP selfie camera.

  • Verdict: The camera combo is almost on a par with that of the LG G4 (16MP), so once again the OnePlus 2 seems to be a winner.

Overall verdict: It is clear that the OnePlus 2 is indeed a flagship killer, when the price is taken into account. It goes to show that if OEM’s don’t invest heavily on marketing campaigns that something truly special emerges. It also gives the phone an air of exclusivity as only those who really love their tech are likely to have heard of it.

Written by: Michael Brown

XS SM MD LG