OnePlus’ claim to fame the very premise of offering a premium smartphone experience at half the price of flagship devices. It took everyone by surprise when the relatively unknown startup managed to sell more than 1.5 million units in a year’s time.Riding on the success of its first ‘flagship killer,’ the company has now launched the OnePlus Two, which boasts of a better build, a bigger battery, faster processor, and a fingerprint sensor among other improvements.
Body and Design
The OnePlus 2 for sure looks more refined compared to its predecessor and exudes a premium feel thanks to its aluminium-magnesium alloy frame and stainless steel chamfered edges. The all-black front panel is dominated by a 5.5-inch full-HD (1080x1920p) IPS LCD In-Cell display. I have to say the OnePlus 2 is one of the most gorgeous looking mid-range phones I’ve seen. Despite its big 5.5-inch display and 175gram weight, the phone offers a good one-hand use experience thanks to the optimum screen to dimensions (151.8 x 74.9 x 9.85mm) ratio.
The phone’s 5.5-inch full-HD (1080x1920p) IPS LCD In-Cell display is sourced from JDI and comes with Gorilla Glass protection to guard against minor scratches. OnePlus claims the display is one of the brightest at 600nits. I found the display to be brighter than the OnePlus One. The display looks crisp and bright with wide viewing angles and good sunlight legibility. Touch response was excellent.
The OnePlus 2 runs Oxygen OS based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. It looks very similar to stock Android but includes some additional customisation features including a dark mode, app permissions, gesture support and a new homescreen feature called Shelf that features list of frequently used apps and accessed contacts. The only pre-loaded special system apps that come with the phone are Files (a file manager), Audio Tuner (for customised sound profiles powered by MaxxAudio) and Camera. I feel OnePlus could have included a Galley app as well. It uses the Google Photos app for picture management.
The OnePlus 2 sports a 13MP rear camera with f/2.0 aperture, optical image stabilisation and a dual LED flash, and a 5MP front camera. According to OnePlus, the rear camera sensor features large, 1.3μm light-collecting pixels to capture better low light shots. It is also one of the few phones to come with laser focus system to lock in focus in under 0.3 seconds. The phone supports 4K, time lapse and slow motion video modes and RAW image support is also coming with a future software update.
The phone comes with a minimalist Camera app and you need to swipe from the left edge to the right to reveal the menu for changing the shooting modes. There is a visual cue when you launch the app so it’s not very unintuitive. However, there is no option to control granular settings. You can change the exposure composition after locking the focus similar to the iPhone. There are also HDR, Clear Image and Beauty modes in addition to Panorama.
The Optical Image Stabilisation helps in capturing detail in low light conditions even if you have shaky hands. The HDR mode enhances exposure and boosts contrast and has slightly saturated images that look really good.The front camera also does a decent job of taking selfies. The beauty mode enhances facial features to give you a flawless look.
In terms of hardware, the OnePlus 2 is pretty well endowed with 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with 1.8GHz Octa-core CPUs, Adreno 430 GPU and 4GB DDR4 RAM. The phone comes with 64GB storage out of which 54GB is available to the end user. There’s no microSD card slot.
The hardware specifications are class leading with the only other phones featuring a Snapdragon 810 processor being Sony Xperia Z3+ and LG G Flex 2, which are priced above Rs 50,000. Though Snapdragon 810 is notorious for overheating issues, OnePlus executives claim that thermal gel and graphite have been used to ensure that the heat generated from the processors is evenly dissipated.
A major addition to the OnePlus 2 is dual-sim functionality. You can use two nano-sim cards and the phone supports 4G connectivity on both. I was not able to get calls to auto-forward from a Vodafone sim to Airtel and vice-versa though.
Call quality was very good and the phone works well even in weak signal areas. I observed that the phone catches signal even weak Wi-Fi signals. It also supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi, which means it will work new routers capable of offering higher transfer speeds. OnePlus 2 supports Indian LTE bands and we were able to use Airtel’s 4G networks in Delhi (2300MHz+1800MHz) in areas with good signal. It comes with GPS and A-GPS for navigation and maps and was easily able to lock a signal.
Is the OnePlus 2 the perfect ‘value-for-money’ smartphone you’ve been waiting for? Well, the phone ticks most of the right checkboxes; it’s got a good built, bright display, clutter-free software, great camera, smooth performance, a fingerprint sensor and decent battery backup.
It’s certainly not a flagship killer as the phone lacks some high-end features including a QHD panel, NFC and even quick charging.
However, at Rs 24,999, it’s certainly the most power-packed and feature-rich phone that money can buy at the moment. But you also need some patience (or luck) as the OnePlus 2 is only available if you have an invite.