14
May
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Can you make a smartphone without compromise? Is it possible to cram top-of-the-line hardware into a slim phone body, then fit it with well-regarded software, then sell it for about half the price of competing devices, and call the resulting product a "flagship killer?" Can you, as the ceaseless OnePlus promotion machine so succinctly puts it, "never settle?"

In a word, no. The OnePlus One, the maiden Android phone from a boutique manufacturer, is not completely without its shortcomings (or indeed, its compromises). But even so, it's a brilliant first effort, and one well worth considering for the Android enthusiast or the bargain hunter. With excellent hardware and a fresh build of the open-source aftermarket Android ROM CyanogenMod, the One shines in many categories, and it's only dull in a few. For $300, it's easily one of the best deals on the market for those who want an unlocked and contract-free phone... assuming that they can actually buy it when it goes on sale next month.

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OnePlus One: Specifications
  • Price: $299 (16GB), $349 (64GB)
  • Processor: 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
  • GPU: Adreno 330
  • Network compatibility: GSM-LTE, unlocked (Micro SIM)
  • Operating system: CyanogenMod 11S - Android 4.4.2
  • Display: 5.5" IPS LCD 1920x1080 (401 DPI)
  • Memory: 3GB RAM / 16GB storage
  • Cameras: 13MP rear, 5MP front
  • Battery: 3100mAh, non-removable
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi A/B/G/N/AC (dual band support), NFC, Bluetooth 4.0
  • Ports / expandable storage: USB 2.0 (with USB OTG), no MicroSD card
  • Thickness: 8.9mm
  • Weight: 162g


The Good
  • The One has the most powerful hardware available at the $300-350 price point, bar none.
  • Build quality is great, and much more impressive than I would have expected at the price point. It blows the Nexus 5 out of the water and is noticeably better than any Galaxy you care to name.
  • On top of Android 4.4.2, CyanogenMod adds a ton of options and settings that will please power users.
  • Battery life is very good, and regular users can expect 2 days with heavy WiFi use and at least one full day on 3G or LTE.


The Not So Good
  • The 13MP rear camera is sub-par, tending to wash out colors and perform poorly in low light despite impressive specifications.
  • The screen size isn't going to please everyone. While some will appreciate it for video and reading, the phone is slightly too big for one-handed operation.
  • Purists who refuse to buy a phone without a removable battery or MicroSD card slot will dismiss the One out of hand.
  • The invitation system required for purchase is borderline insulting.

Hardware

From a stylistic point of view, the One could be called "conservative." It does little to change the status quo of the big-screen slate form factor that dominates smartphones. Big screen up front, camera in the back, buttons on the sides - you won't find any dual cameras or fingerprint scanners on this machine. That's fine by me. Such things are only meant to draw the eye of the casual consumer, and OnePlus is hoping to appeal to more discriminating tastes.

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Though the One has a standard plastic body, it's much more sturdy than other polycarbonate phones. Compared to a Galaxy S4 or Nexus 5, the One feels like it's much more sturdy, approaching the impressive build of HTC and Motorola. The white back on the 16GB model can be removed, though not without quite a bit of effort. The battery, however, is fixed in place. Given its large 3100mAh capacity, it's unlikely that you'll miss the option (though some certainly will). Even with a removable back and large battery, the One keeps a relatively svelte 8.9mm profile, no doubt helped by the 5.5" screen. Note the NFC module embedded in the back cover.

The screen is a black plane of Gorilla Glass floating on a bezel made of a separate piece of plastic painted chrome. While it won't fool anyone, it does look much more sharp than, say, the faux metal bezels of some Samsung phones. I'd have preferred the tapering side design seen on some LG and Motorola devices to the straight ones here, but perhaps the benefit of that particular choice (being able to shrink the screen bezels without fear of accidental taps) isn't necessary with such a large phone anyway. There's a multicolor LED notification light hidden next to the front-facing camera.

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Overall, the looks of the One are like a Camry: appreciable without being bombastic. The phone won't turn heads (unless they opt for one of the more crazy swappable style covers, which we didn't get to try out), but neither will it attract unwanted attention. The build quality is good, if not great, and the matte finish of the plastic won't show fingerprints even on the white back. The OnePlus logo and Cyanogen badges are on the rear of the phone only, stylishly understated. That's part of the benefit of eschewing carrier partnerships.

Screen

Screen size is a divisive topic when it comes to smartphones: you'll be hard-pressed to find two users who like exactly the same size. I myself don't like screens larger than 5", since it pushes beyond the boundary where Android becomes usable with one hand. The One is definitely a "two hand" phone, though its slim bezels and beveled back mean you'll be able to do some (not all) things without resorting to two. You get the benefit of a larger area for videos and browsing, of course. I think that this size is something of a no-man's land - too big to use with one hand, but just small enough that you want to. Why not give up the pretense and become a mini-tablet, like the Xperia Z Ultra or the Oppo N1?

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Objectively, the 1080p LCD panel isn't the best I've seen, but it's far from the worst. Colors are bright without any real "pop", and the 5.5" size is a good match for this resolution, with sharp text and big, eyesight-friendly videos. The maximum and minimum brightness are plenty separated, and I did not notice any significant light bleeding, which is more than I can say for other "budget" phones with high-resolution LCD screens. The auto-brightness feature is a bit too dim outdoors at the default setting, but thanks to CyanogenMod, you can manually adjust its performance and trigger points. You'll find that CyanogenMod improving the already solid hardware is a common thread in this review.

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I binged Netflix and read a pulp novel to test out the panel, and both experiences were more than adequate. If you want a big screen in a thin body, as seems to be the fashion with smartphone hardware, the One will not disappoint. It's by no means the best, and I miss the luminosity of my preferred AMOLED panels, but the One's screen is perfectly capable. Considering the price of the overall phone, that's a relief - the screen is often the first thing to take a hit on budget hardware. That is not the case here.

Buttons

The buttons on the One deserve some special attention. Not the power and volume buttons, on the right and left of the phone, respectively. I'll say that they're too thin for my taste and hard to hit with my meaty digits, but not overly so. No, the interesting thing about the One's button design comes in the navigation panel. The hardware includes capacitive menu, home, and back buttons beneath the screen. You'll have to look hard to see them: the weak backlight disappears in any strong light (such as, for example, the photo lights in a humble gadget blogger's home office).

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Point one against them is that they are out of order from standard Android. I'm used to having the back button on the left side of the screen, whether it's physical or capacitive, and on more than one occasion I hit menu multiple times before remembering. That's easy enough to get over, but I don't see why it's necessary. Point two: a menu button? Really, OnePlus? A skeptical reviewer might point out that the young company has a lot of corporate ties to Oppo, which makes the Find 7, a phone with remarkable similarities to the OnePlus One, right down to identical capacitive buttons. But I digress.

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CyanogenMod comes to the rescue here. If you don't like the default layout, some - but not all - of the functions can be changed. The menu button can be switched to activate the Recents view with a single press, which at least brings the buttons back to Android's standard three. You can also assign long-tap actions to the home and menu buttons, as well as double-tap for the home button, Samsung-style. These aren't unlimited, but the defaults include most of what you'll probably want, including Google Now or a camera launcher. The back button cannot be modified.

But wait, there's more! Cyanogen also lets you ignore the physical buttons completely, opting for a Nexus-style on-screen navigation bar instead. With the virtual nav bar enabled, the capacitive buttons will ignore all input, becoming all but invisible with the backlight disabled. And like most custom ROMs, the virtual buttons can be added, subtracted, and re-arranged. If you miss Android's dedicated search button or want an always-on menu button, you're welcome to throw them in. The swipe-up option for Google Now can be re-assigned or expanded into three common actions, including any app you'd like. Cyanogen's Expanded Desktop option even allows you to hide the navigation bar, summoning it with a swipe from the bottom of the screen. 

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I suspect that the inclusion of both kinds of buttons stems more from an existing Oppo hardware design than from a true desire for flexibility. I would have preferred them to leave out the physical buttons altogether and make the phone that much smaller, if possible. This is another one of those design choices with fans on both sides, so at least you're given the option.

Performance

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor in the One has four cores with a top speed of 2.5GHz. Paired to 3GB of RAM and an Adreno 330 GPU (clocked at 537mhz, slightly faster than some 330 variants), the specifications will meet or beat any phone currently on the market. On paper, the One is the match of the previously mentioned Oppo Find 7 and Sony's flagship Xperia Z2, and it has the same processor and more RAM than the HTC One M8 and the LTE versions of the Galaxy S5.

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In everyday tasks, the One is a champ, with nary a slowdown or dropped frame to be found. That's pretty much expected from this kind of hardware. With CyanogenMod's relatively light RAM load compared to Sense or TouchWiz, those who like to keep their phones humming along will be in hog heaven. Even while recording 1080p video the phone is silky smooth, and in a game of Crazy Taxi the device is on par with other phones equipped with an Adreno 330. XCOM: Enemy Unknown, the heaviest and most intensive game that I can find on Android, looks better on the One than any of my other devices.

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I often compare the Nexus 5 to a pony car: super-powered hardware in an understandably cheap body. The OnePlus One falls into the same category, but its hardware is even better (even allowing for extra development time), and the sturdy chassis shows none of the flex and flimsiness found on the Nexus 5. If you are a shameless spec hound you'll find no fault here, at least in terms of performance.

Audio, Reception, And Call Quality

The One has two stereo speakers that flank the USB port on the bottom of the device. (They're real stereo, by the way, not the fake stereo grilles as seen on the Nexus 5.) These are pretty typical of smartphone speakers: tinny and not really suitable for music. But they are surprisingly loud - about 1.5 times as loud as the single speaker on my DROID MAXX, which is no slouch itself. It's more than suitable for speakerphone conversations or listening without headphones, and the placement on the phone's edge means they're audible whether it's face down or face up.

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Reception on the phone is admirable, even in my remote location where AT&T's 3G signal is hard to come by. Once I got into the city I had no problem pulling down a reliable LTE signal, outdoors or indoors, and the speed matched the connection. Call quality was a problem at first, not because of reception, but because of volume. The earpiece above the screen was far too soft, making it hard to hear the other party even in a quiet room.

After I mentioned this in my initial hands-on, a OnePlus representative said that they were aware of the problem. Sure enough, the first timely software update boosted the volume of the earpiece considerably. It's still not quite as loud as I'd like it, but you won't be straining to hear someone unless you're getting some pretty loud noises around you. The other parties in my phone calls all said I was coming in loud and clear.

Storage And Battery Life

The $300 base model of the OnePlus One comes with 16GB of storage, the unfortunate standard for some time. It's not unreasonable for a phone at that price range, but the lack of a MicroSD card slot is regrettable, and goes against the "Never Settle" attitude. This is somewhat mitigated by 64GB model, which will be offered for just $50 more - an excellent value, compared to competing phones and their $100 upgrades for 32GB - but not much of a comfort if you can't afford the extra expense. The CyanogenMod software takes up just shy of 4GB of storage, leaving 12GB left for the user.

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The 3100mAh battery, on the other hand, was a pleasant surprise. I found that I could easily go for more than a day on the One if I stuck primarily to WiFi, even with lots of browsing and Netflix. Once you're at the mercy of the more draining mobile networks, the One still manages to go for the better part of a day before dipping below 20% juice. While I'm not a fan of larger screens, it's hard to deny the material benefit of fitting bigger batteries into phone bodies. The excellent longevity of the OnePlus One should help mitigate worries about the lack of a removable battery. 

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Left: a typical work day for me. Right: the day I went to the zoo for the photoshoot. I rode the phone hard, using high brightness and Google Maps navigation without charging, and it managed about 5 hours of life with the screen on. With more normal use you can expect about double that.

Camera

We've seen this again and again, haven't we? Shoving more megapixels onto a tiny camera sensor will make your photos bigger, but not appreciably better. Such is the case with the 13 megapixel rear shooter on the OnePlus One. When I took the phone to the Fort Worth Zoo for an impromptu photo shoot, the photos were consistently washed-out and showed poor contrast between light and dark areas. OnePlus claims that the Sony Exmor camera and F/2.0 lens combo should outperform other, similar cameras, but alas, I probably could have gotten better results (at lower megapixel ratings) from a point-and-shoot.

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Perhaps that's an unfair comparison - after all, even a cheap single-purpose device will generally outperform an all-in-one. But according to the promotional page, the 6-lens system takes "amazing pictures even in low light conditions." When moving indoors, where the low F-stop value should really shine, I found the same disappointing lack of contrast and flat colors. Also worthy of note: the OnePlus One takes photos in a 4:3 format, as opposed to the 16:9 format native to the screen. There is no option to change this, as seen on some (but not all) competing high-end phones. This doesn't particularly bother me, since I'm used to shooting with a DSLR and cropping afterward.

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Video, too, has a tendency to wash out bright spots and ignore darker ones. The lack of optical image stabilization doesn't bother me for stills, but it's more apparent in video, when even the biggest phone will tend to wobble in your hands. If you care for such things, the camera can record in 4K resolution, or slow motion if you bump it down to 720p.

The underperforming camera is easily the most disappointing hardware feature on the OnePlus One, falling far short of similar sensors on the Samsung and LG flagships. It's not bad, at least in the greater scope of Android phones - I generally prefer its photos over the lackluster ones taken with my DROID MAXX, for example. But if you want a truly excellent mobile camera, go for the Galaxy S5 (or, if we're being really honest here, the iPhone). The front-facing camera is 5 megapixels, so if you're a serial selfie snapper, you'll be better off with the One than with other phones in this price range.

Software

The OnePlus One runs CyanogenMod 11, a tweaked and customized version of Android 4.4.2. In fact it's a little more tweaked than usual, since this is a build developed especially for OnePlus, labeled "CyanogenMod 11S." Even the Oppo N1, the first phone to be available with CyanogenMod pre-installed, didn't get that honor.

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So if you're a regular custom ROM user, you know what to expect here: an almost slavish dedication to "pure" Android in most respects, with a lot of advanced options for power users to dig through. As a CM user since 2010, I'm thrilled to see the newly-incorporated team getting some real recognition, and though I'll admit to a somewhat biased favorability of their work, there's no denying the appeal of an Android variant with all the safeties off.

But what if you're just a regular Joe, with no interest in root or bootloaders unlocked or otherwise? Then it's best to think of CyanogenMod 11S as another manufacturer skin, albeit probably the best one available. In addition to the latest version of Android and the tacit promise of faster updates than other devices, the OnePlus One has more options than just about any other phone I've seen with the possible exception of the Galaxy S5. And here the options make sense, allowing for deep customization right out of the box, no experience necessary.

Interface

I loaded up the latest build of CyanogenMod 11 on my Nexus 5, just to compare the features between that rom and "11S" directly. The first noticeable change is the lockscreen, which abandons Android's semi-translucent one for a cyanogen-colored slab that slides down to unlock or to the side for the camera. That's about it. It's interesting (and there's more to come), but not all that much better than the basic lockscreen. I disabled it after a while to get access to the full-screen music cover art in default Android.

11S also has more fine grain control over themes than standard CyanogenMod, allowing the user to apply an entire theme, or overall style, icons, fonts, wallpapers, boot animations, or even sounds at their leisure. None of this is impossible with standard CM11, but the settings menu makes it much easier on the One.

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The One does some interesting interface tricks as well. There's a wake-to-launch feature a la the Moto X, but it seems more like a promotional tool for Qualcomm than an actual feature add. You can train the phone to awaken to a command. Well, one command, and only one: "Hey Snapdragon." Thanks, Qualcomm, you found a way to make voice control even more awkward. In its favor, the Qualcomm implementation does allow you to set it to activate any app, but I don't think you'd want anything except for Google Now. This feature should be making its way to more phones this year, at least if Qualcomm gets its way. Come on, folks, let us pick our own messages: I want to command my phone with "Computah" and pretend I'm Patrick Stewart.

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Much more useful is the ability to wake your phone with taps and gestures. There's a double-tap to wake option, a la LG's KnockOn, and inside the Interface menu you'll find more ways of commanding your phone while it's off. Music can be controlled with a two-finger upward swipe to play or pause, and left or right arrows to go forward or back. My personal favorite is activating the flashlight with a "V" motion - every manufacturer should throw in a way of turning on the camera LEDs when the phone is off.

As cool as the tap and gesture functions are, I found that the music controls would often be activated while the phone was in my pocket. (The gestures rely on capacitive input, not vibration - I don't know how it happened.) I turned them off after a while, after one too many song skips and "butt dials" - I think this feature needs to be combined with standard proximity detection to make it truly useful.

Apps

The OnePlus One also gets a few custom apps that aren't part of the CyanogenMod stable. The familiar DSP Manager is replaced with AudioFX, a more swanky version of the basic equalizer app. The camera app is slightly altered, perhaps to accommodate the extra features: instead of a long-press to open up various manual controls, they're tied to more conventional virtual buttons, and swiping down will scroll through various scene and image options. Unfortunately, I would often accidentally scroll through these just by trying to take a photo or refocus.

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The theme manager mentioned above gets its own icon. Other than that, CyanogenMod's customized versions of Android apps like the homescreen and calculator are present and accounted for. Strangely, the customized Apollo music player is not present, which I suspect is a function of Google's certification of the consumer-ready One - all of Google's standard apps are pre-installed, whereas you have to download them from the Play Store after flashing Gapps on standard CyanogenMod.

The Other Stuff

Other than the differences outlined above, this is standard CyanogenMod. Technically our review unit came with pre-release software, and I did notice a few niggling bugs, but everything except a weird wallpaper formatting error was fixed with a small software update even before I started writing this review. The OnePlus One has an unlockable bootloader and presumably it will play nice with any properly-formatted ROMs, but unlike a CyanogenMod build flashed onto another phone, it is not immediately rooted.

There are far too many features in CyanogenMod to list them here, but I've selected a few of my favorites. These enhance Android for the power user, and even casual users should be able to find some things they enjoy.

  • Customizable navigation buttons (see above)
  • Full theme support
  • Customizable pull-down quick settings menu
  • Notification tray settings (Samsung style)
  • User-set shortcuts on the lockscreen and Google Now pop-up launcher
  • Battery percentage icon option
  • Expandable desktop (hide the nav bar and/or notification bar, returns with a gesture)
  • Settings profiles and reboot options in the power menu

The presence of CyanogenMod is very cool, but not exactly essential for power users, who would probably have installed their own custom ROM anyway. For someone who wants an impressively customizable phone that runs the latest version of Android, the OnePlus One's software is quite attractive. But if you've already installed the custom ROM of your choice on your current phone, the additions found only on the One (for the moment) aren't worth seeking out a new device by themselves.

Value And Invite System

There's no way to deny it: considering the hardware and software, the OnePlus One is the best deal around for a high-end device. At approximately half the cost of flagship devices from HTC, Samsung, LG, and Sony, the One really is a "flagship killer" if all you care about is the price. The Nexus 5 can be had for a few dollars more, but its build quality, screen, camera, processor, RAM, and camera (such as it is) are all wanting. Add in the fact that the 64GB version of the OnePlus One is an entirely reasonable $350, and it's an amazing value. (Sorry, Verizon and Sprint customers: there's no CDMA option, and the One will not work on your LTE bands.)

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But there is a fly in the ointment. OnePlus is using an invitation system, so in order to earn the privilege of buying their product when it goes on sale in June, you'll need to enter a lottery. Actually, it's not even a lottery: you can only get invitations by joining in the teeming masses on the OnePlus forum or by watching the social promotions closely. If you happen to know someone who's already done that, you can bug them for an invitation instead.

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OnePlus claims that this is a way to reward loyal fans, and to "cut out the middlemen" of distributors and retailers. Cynically, I suspect that this is simply a way to limit the initial rollout of limited stock draped in marketing mystique. Let's call this what it is: an attempt at fake exclusivity and hype. The self-congratulatory and condescending nature of the OnePlus promotion machine thus far has not endeared me to their business model, and the invitation system is just shy of insulting to anyone whose excitement for the One hasn't manifested in slobbering praise on the company-hosted forums.

Here's a business tip from my grandfather, OnePlus: never make it difficult for people to give you money. Low inventory and manufacturing delays from a brand-new company making a niche product would be understandable. But this faux exclusivity for an ostensibly community-minded product is simply frustrating.

Conclusion

The OnePlus One is not the perfect, everything-to-everyone phone that its creators might like you to think it is. But it is an amazingly powerful and versatile device, even before you consider its staggeringly low price. The addition of software and updates from CyanogenMod makes it a compelling option for anyone who's in the market for an unlocked GSM phone, especially if they're looking for power on a budget. Great specs, impressive battery life, excellent build quality, and plenty of user-facing options are all points in favor of the One.

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A regrettably underpowered camera is not an insurmountable hurdle, and neither is the somewhat divisive choice of a 5.5" screen. A lack of a removable battery and a MicroSD card slot don't bother me. What might sour potential buyers more than anything else is the invitation system, which has already caused consternation even among OnePlus's most ardent supporters. When the phone launches in June, and probably for at least some time thereafter, it won't be "One for all."

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That being said, the One will be worth a bit of effort to procure for those who are excited by the powerful hardware being sold so cheaply, and by the further progression of CyanogenMod as a viable alternative to manufacturer-customized software. If you like your phones fast, your screen big, and your price tag low, there's no better option in the current crop of Android phones than the OnePlus One.

OnePlus.net

Michael Crider
Michael is a native Texan and a former graphic designer. He's been covering technology in general and Android in particular since 2011. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

  • http://www.corbindavenport.com/ Corbin Davenport

    The specs page lists CyanogenMod 11S as having Android 4.2.2 :P

    • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

      You saw NOTHING.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      4.4.2 will go down in history as the most mistyped (as "4.2.2") version in history.

  • Karlo

    @androidpolice can you please check storage partitioning.Is it like Find 5 whit 2 partitions?

    • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

      I can't see anything out of the ordinary in the CM file manager, but I've seen weird partitions like the one you're talking about before. Is there anything I should be looking for?

      • Karlo

        Go to Settings>Storage
        If there are 2 storage options you have 2 partitions( Find 5 has 2GB for Main System and other 10GB as SDCard).

        Main problem here is when you are out of storage on main system your device will scream "No more storage,delete apps" even if you know there is lets say 8GB free on another partition.
        Unless app wants to go emulated SDCard(2nd partition) you are safe if not you screwed.

      • Karlo

        This is how it looks on my Find 5 whit 2 partitions.
        http://i.imgur.com/0obq2Gp.png

        • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

          Nope, the storage is all on one partition. I imagine that's probably the work of CyanogenMod.

          • Karlo

            Thanks

      • Faris Fitri

        Maybe see if it's formatted like the Nexus 5 with /data for apps and media and /system for the os?

  • remister

    Brace yourselves, the invite requests are incoming.
    PS I would like one.

    • Alex S

      invite pls n tank u

      edit: /s

  • Bassam

    "But this faux exclusivity for an ostensibly community-minded product is simply frustrating."
    Can't agree with you more

    • neoand12

      Its very frustrating for users to get their hand on the device I understand. But after using the device its indeed worth a months wait IMO. Its one of if not the smoothest Android phones I have ever witness. Anyway there are many other flagships thats on its way out so look forward to that, LG G3 and Nexus 6 are good choices but I believe if people give this device a little bit of time. they would truly be happy with the $300 purchase.

      • Fr3dBZH

        I see something in your screenshot.
        The light in the low front... Don't seem good.

      • Fr3dBZH

        I see something in your screenshot.

        The light in the low front... Doesn't seem to be good.

        • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

          That's simply the menu for the Speedtest app...

          • Maxim∑

            lol

      • remister

        Good job #38

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      *dons tinfoil hat*

      My guess is that they literally can't afford to sell these phones in major quantity at this price in the US or EU. I honestly believe they're selling the One at a loss to drum up PR, and that OnePlus is riding on Oppo cash and hoping profits in China (where a high-end phone at this price can be a moneymaker, and it will not ship with CM) can eventually balance things out. I think the scale required to make the One profitable outside China at this price would be enormous, much higher than what OnePlus could ever achieve. Thus, an invite system: as profits in China increase (the hope obviously being they will as western buyers and press outlets give OnePlus free promotion), the number of invites for international buyers will float up as well.

      Their long term goal is obviously to make selling internationally profitable by increasing their production scale to a point where a low price point is a viable business model, but I wouldn't expect to see OnePlus sell enough units to ever really do that. After the initial hype dies down and invite requests aren't pacing with sales anymore, they'll announce "open availability" - which everyone will of course write up as news - and a second wave of buyers will come in, and they'll suddenly be out of inventory, gasp! And then when the next round of availability comes, more stories get written, rinse-repeat ad nauseam for 6 months until rumors of the new phone start swirling.

      At least, that's my conspiracy theory.

      • darkdude1

        If this phone is really as popular as it's made out to be, they are probably looking at a few million units, and it depends how much profit they are making as to how feasible this is - this invite system certainly has the potential for people who are looking for a quick buy to look else where, and can allow potential competitors to respond to this phone with a similar offering, I'm thinking potentially nexus 6...

        • Arthur Dent

          A few million units ... I LOL'd

          I'd guess in the US the initial availability will be a few thousand units, max.

          Joe Public has never heard of this thing.

      • bhake

        Agree 100% .The invite system makes no sense. It limits the upside. Like you said, make it easy for people to buy. Now that's viral marketing! The Nexus 5 did alright. I would buy the phone if I could. Apparently 140,000 people were ready to smash their phone to get one = they would probably buy it too. Not millions, but damn good effort with next to zero marketing dollars for a no-name company. I would ditch the invite system, get a pre-order system going, order 150,000+ units, let people wait for their phone and let the free market system take over. You want it, buy it. No begging required. The invite system seems to me that they don't have the confidence to go big yet. Did they not know It takes balls to succeed in the hardware business?

        • alamarco

          The invite system makes sense if you look at it from a demand point of view. Limiting the supply creates a system where you have people wanting more and more. It generates more interest as people talk about it. The supply looks low so you get in the must buy now mode. You rinse and repeat and you cycle through selling out and selling out.

          They are trying to create an artificial demand. Nothing was proven, but rumours were Apple did the same thing. Obviously the scale with Apple was bigger and Apple wasn't invite only, but Apple was rumoured to limit stock. They're a huge company yet never can keep stock at release for months at a time. Just a rumour, but that low supply created a demand for the phones.

          • Rachel John

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        • celestre

          "The Nexus 5 did alright."

          Wow, talk about rose-colored glasses. The Nexus 5 launch was horrible, with everyone wildly mashing buy buttons in the hope of getting one from an overloaded website. People were complaining for months on forums about how they'd never buy Google products again.

          I actually think the invite system is a better idea than just throwing the gates open to buy if they don't have enough supply like the Nexus. At least it's orderly, and selling first to their biggest fans sounds like a decent concept.

          • dwean

            wrong

          • G0dr4y

            Someone correct me if i'm wrong, but i believe that was the case with Nexus 4 not 5.

          • celestre

            No, the Nexus 5 launch was horrible, here's the Android Police article on it: http://www.androidpolice.com/2013/10/31/16gb-black-nexus-5-sells-out-in-the-us-play-store-after-just-33-minutes/

            To be fair, though, the Nexus 4 launch was also a total disaster: http://www.androidpolice.com/2012/11/27/no-nexus-4-you-anatomy-of-a-smartphone-launch-disaster/

          • Simon Belmont

            The Nexus 5 launch may have had its issues, but it was no where near as bad as the Nexus 4 launch. The N4's launch was a travesty of fail.

            FWIW, I was easily able to grab my 32GB white N5 within the first minute or two of it becoming available. Google definitely did better with the N5 launch.

          • Dan Wilczynski

            Not sure if you had a different experience, but when I ordered my Nexus 5 It was a breeze compared to the Nexus 4. I got on the Play store many hours (although the same day) after it was initially released, placed my order, and a short time later it arrived at my doorstep.

            Granted - I did WANT to buy a 32GB White N5, and that seems to have had the least amount of supply issues.. Overall, still magnitudes better than the N4 launch.

          • Michael Anderson

            The invite system limits market share and drives away priority customers. If this company had hired a qualified marketing consultant and actually acquired worth while investors, they might have had an extremely profitable launch.

            "Meet Bill. Bill is in the market to buy a phone as his current one is on its proverbial last leg. Bill hears of a new phone, the OnePlus One, codenamed the flagship killer and is intrigued. A search engine and five minutes of research reveal to Bill that he must be invited to purchase the new product. Bill decides to take his money elsewhere as he requires a working phone now, not some time in an unspecified future."

            Great phone; terrible management. This is why companies hire individuals with business degrees.

      • Franco Rossel

        And there goes my dreams of buying this phone outside the US. Sigh.

      • luckyrand

        It's hard to know what will happen to Oneplus One in US or EU. However, the invitation system is a very successful business model in China. Another company, Xiaomi, push the invitation system into limit. Xiaomi's new phone always require an invitation, or a lucky draw after shareing the information about the new phone on social media.

        People love or hate the model, but it's a successful business. It seems that Oneplus is trying to push a similar model internationally. Let's see what will happen. At least, they attracted enough attention without throwing much money on advertisement.

      • elpcmaster

        Yes I agree with you. This phone is being sold at at loss. They are hyping up their company by sending a phone to reviewers and only making it available to a hand full of people.

  • joeljfischer

    I'm sick of all the phones getting larger. When I can't handle it with one hand anymore, I'm out. 4.7" - 5" seems to be about the limit for me.

    • http://tonybullard.com/ Tony Bullard

      I would buy this phone (pending OnePlus letting me) if it were under 5 inches. I already have tomes when I have to use my nose for my GS3, I don't need something any bigger.

    • Mikeb3ll

      ' I can't handle it with one hand anymore, I'm out. 4.7" - 5" seems to be about the limit for me.'

      That what she said!

  • jbkly

    *Ctrl+F "battery"
    "manages to go for the better part of a day before dipping below 20%"

    Damn. I was really hoping for more details on the battery life.

    • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

      We aim to please. I added a bit more info and screenshots of a low-power day and an exhaustive drain.

      • David Li

        It has 9 hours screen on time?

        • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

          On that day, yes. It probably could have gone much further without 3 hours or so of Google Maps navigation.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

            Holy crap.

          • David Li

            That is really impressive! I'm lucky to get 4 hours on my HTC One M7.

          • syntaxxerror

            No, look at the history details in the picture you posted. The screen was on for maybe half the time. Can you give exact screen on time figures?

          • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

            Hmm, looks like you're right. Sorry, my eye wandered on the weird formatting. I've updated the text.

          • Evan Jenkins

            i don't wish to bug you, but what is that great wallpaper you are using?

        • Noah P

          It looks to me like the screen was on for half that time, or less.

          • Dario · 753 a.C. .

            anyway.. i guess it was on for 4 hours at least. and you gotta consider that he did a lot of usage of gps that usually drains the battery

      • jbkly

        Thanks for adding some more details and for a pretty thorough review.

  • solbin

    Selling invite for $25. BTC payment only.

    • David Li

      seriously?, i want one

      • Arthur Dent

        So sad ...

    • Brian

      Nice Try, they haven't released any invites yet.

      • grumpyfuzz

        And this is why the invite system sucks... People will try to sell them like this.

    • kungfutigerr

      I'll give you 1000 Doge

    • Arthur Dent

      I'll give you 1,000,000,000 DentCoins. It's worth a lot, really! And they are truly just as real as that invite you are selling!!

    • solbin

      Yeah. I'm not really selling anything. Just trolling and having a little fun seeing the replies. If anything, I would think bit coin payment would give it away that wasn't really serious.

  • Josh Coppinger

    Their webpage is nothing less that ludicriuos too. I click on the big "BUY" button and it pops up with an impossible to read box with a huge X in the corner. :/ you had me at no contract but this is kind of a deal breaker with how hard it seems to buy the phone.

  • Evan Jenkins

    what is that gorgeous wallpaper?

  • Nicholas Brehm

    So what you have to be one of the first 3000 people to sign up on the one plus one website. Then create your first Twitter account ever to help promote the One +1 and then change your avatar on your social media accounts to the OPO avatars. Send out electronic notifications through social media to 50 of your friends. Then send in and email describing in length how you will destroy your current phone on video to be able to get one of the first 100. Basically whore yourself out to promote a phone so they don't spend a dime on advertising. Do all that and all you get is a invite so you can give them your money?

    The answer is NO! I did everything above because for me it really is the perfect phone (yes it is true I resisted getting a Twitter account until O+1 came along...LOL) But nope...no invite for me. Guess I'm not cool enough to have their phone. I am still jealous of anybody who does get one but I can only imagine what they were willing to do! On second though, I don't wanna know...LOL.

    Maybe I'm cool enough that LG will let me give them my money for a LG GPro2.....

  • Kareem Ayman

    great job on the review, really thorough, i genuinely enjoyed it.

    The earpiece above the screen was far too soft

    • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

      Damn, that one even got past our copy editor.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/pamela-hill/ Pamela Hill

        ARGH!!

  • Mr McScooby

    Great review, can you confirm whether MHL or Slimport work on this?

    • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

      Sorry, I don't have any MHL or Slimport gadget handy.

      • Mr McScooby

        That's cool thanks for your response. Also to query have you played around with the contacts and seen how the social network integration is? I've never used Cyanogenmod so i'm curious

        Thanks

    • Kareem Ayman

      It does have Miracast support according to: http://oneplus.net/one#features.

      • Mr McScooby

        That's cool but I want the ability to mirror the screen without using wifi and all that. Thanks though

  • supremekizzle

    I'll suck a dudes dick for an invite.

    • flosserelli

      Have fun with that. I'll just wait until June/July.

      • Dangleesak79

        You'll still need an invite. The phone isn't available otherwise.

    • elpcmaster

      Even if it is a female who made that statement, that is just nasty.

  • supremekizzle

    LG G3> Oneminus One

    • onePLUSone

      but double the price :/

      • supremekizzle

        As long as it's under $1000 I'll buy it though. When price is your primary concern, you SETTLE. The only reason I bought the N4 was to save a few bucks, now I'd rather pay full price to know I'm getting what I want and won't have to deal with B.S. corner cutting.

  • brkshr

    Off-topic: Which manufacturer/phone has the one-handed mode, that shrinks the on-screen content to a one-handed size? Is it the Galaxy Note?

    • supremekizzle

      In the biz that's called fap mode... only need one hand to pause, play, rewind, and fast forward. No more getting junk juice on your phone.

    • shlk7

      I thought that was a feature on the LG phones?

    • neoand12

      Yes, The Galaxy Note III has it. used it many times.

    • Nicholas Brehm

      My note III has it as well as my LG G2 before. But both were rooted so all I know for sure is the Note III has one hand mode native. I'll let you know when LG gives me the privilege to buy one of there G Pro 2's..LOL..

    • EH101

      Stock S5 has it as well.

    • hp420

      There is also an xposed module that can do this for you.

  • shlk7

    The always on voice command feature isn't completely polished.
    I got an answer from an Administrator (Carl) on the forums and the final version of it is activated by "Hey, OnePlus". The current version is just to showcase that it's a feature on the product. No reply on when that feature is added completely.

    Also, I agree about the invite system. It's just a marketing strategy that is wanting to hype the product through "exclusivity". But, production wise it's a smart strategy, as you avoid any excess inventory (Inventories are considered as waste in my field). Traditionally a preorder system gives you a good forecast of the demand and you can schedule your production and the lead times based on that. It also helps you manage your inventory levels to a good confidence level. The invite system is initially removing all "forecasting" at first basing everything on supply instead, and later by scaling up production making it available without invites (general availability). This implies that the invite system is because of the production plant and the OnePlus team handling it by wanting to try a different approach.

  • neoand12

    "Hey Snapdragon." Thanks, Qualcomm, you found a way to make voice control even more awkward"

    Truer words have never been spoken. I really wish they just used "OK Google" or let you use your own voice lol. "Hey Snapdragon" is tedious I just turned it off altogether.

    • shlk7

      Aren't you the one who won the contest and just got your OnePlus One?
      The final version of the "always on" voice feature will be "Hey, OnePlus".

      • neoand12

        Thats good because the word "snapdragon" just feels so strange lmao.

        • shlk7

          I got you by your avatar. It's the same on the forums _(0.o)_/

    • Kareem Ayman

      because it's a stock implementation of voice activation by Qualcomm in the 800, going forward, Snapdragon line of SoCs.

    • Simon Belmont

      Yeah. Well, at least when Google implements the always on voice control wake from sleep feature in the Nexus 5 it'll be "OK, Google."

      Guessing us Nexus 5 owners will see that with the next major update to Android. You know, that whole OK, Google everywhere jazz.

    • CrackaAssCracka

      I wish it was "Oi google"

  • Arthur Dent

    Thank you for calling out OnePlus on their RIDICULOUS invite system and "fake exclusivity", which I have railed on repeatedly. It is literally one of the stupidest marketing moves in years. I usually root for the underdog, but if what David Ruddock points out below regarding 1+ possibly selling at a loss and using this fake exclusivity to cover it up and prevent taking too big a loss, while they try and coax a profit out of China, well then they can go ahead and just fail quickly as far as I am concerned.

  • Naga Sridhar

    The nexus 5 looks tiny next to it! When I was considering Nexus 5 too big when I wanted to purchase it, this one looks way too big!!

  • Liquid Snake

    When is it available without the invite?

    • Arthur Dent

      2027.

  • Dentou

    I wonder who is going to paid Microsoft royalties first? CM Inc. Or One Plus? MS got every Android company paying.

  • nf1web

    This was really a great review... awesome job and thank you for it.

  • Cat Astrophy

    > A lack of a removable battery and a MicroSD card slot don't bother me. What might sour potential buyers more than anything else is the invitation system, which has already caused consternation even among OnePlus's most ardent supporters.

    Oh come on. You really think more people are just going to avoid this out of principle and not be concerned about the lack of a staple feature to have a removable battery and MicroSD card slot? Who cares if it doesn't bother YOU? The Galaxy flagship series is the best selling Android series on the market and if they didn't have MicroSD or a removeable battery they'd at best sell as well as HTC's One series.

    • http://thegumshoe.com/ Michael Crider

      This is a review. I made allowances for other people's tastes in regard to screen size, battery, and expandable storage, but at the end of the day, I have to say what I think. If you want 100% objectivity, you should read a spec sheet.

    • Arthur Dent

      Overreact much?? Geez.

    • hp420

      You're an idiot.

    • blumpkinator

      really? You atribute Samsung's sales numbers solely to the removable battery and SD slot? It has nothing to do with their massive advertising campaigns and brand recognition?

      The sad truth is that for average people, they only know the iPhone and Samsung. In their mind Samsung = Android. Or even worse they have no idea what Android actually is and only know the Galaxy branding.

      • RTWright

        It may not be the only thing that drives their sales, but you would be surprised at how many people ( Myself included ) would desire to have removable batteries and microSD's and look at that in the specs. There are quite a few people out there that are not stupid and do read the hardware specs on phones even after seeing the fancy ads and commercials before making a decision. So while it isn't the main driving force behind their sales? It does indeed affect their sales to a point. I am on several forums and there are tons who ask about microSD's and removable batteries. Especially the Battery, because if it goes bad? You're stuck sending it in to get it replaced or voiding your warranty by doing it yourself. That's IF you can actually purchase the same Battery that's inside it already. So that concern is always there and a lot more than you're giving credit for.

  • SmartyPantsPhone

    How does the camera compare to the Moto X? The Moto X is decent overall but low light photos are really noisy. That's been my worst complaint with the X. Otherwise it's a great phone.

    When I saw photos (especially low light) from the users that got demo units from a photo contest, I was very impressed and was ready to get rid of the X for this. Now that the press is releasing photos and reviews, the photo quality seems pretty lackluster.

    Why the discrepancy? I've asked on One's forums but gotten no answers. I'm really having my doubts about this company. I may wait to see what the X+1 has to offer.

  • Godspoken

    You ride that phone, Michael. You ride it hard.

  • HTCOneXyolo

    Why is the HTC One X still the benchmark for top performance in that benchmark app?

  • Ali

    I Would like a invite to buy this phone, too many haters judging it :)

    • Arthur Dent

      The "haters" are judging the stupid, pathetic invite system.

  • EH101

    That screenshot does not say 9 hours screen-on time. If so, my S5 gets 9 hours too. Lol. What it does show, is 9 hours or so of awake time. (attached screenshot from S5 for comparison; look at the bar for screen on, very similar to the above)

    • flosserelli

      Mr Crider never claimed 9 hours screen on time. He clearly stated "I rode the phone hard, using high brightness and Google Maps navigation without charging, and it managed about 5 hours of life with the screen on. With more normal use you can expect about double that."

      • EH101

        He fixed it. Somewhere in these comments you can see where he stated 9 hours, and then was corrected. It said 9 hours in the caption of the battery life screenshots, specifically. Now says 5.

    • Zach Mauch

      I noticed this to. Looks like there is a wake lock issue somewhere.

      • EH101

        He did mention using the phone for navigation during that time, so maybe that's the wake lock?

  • motoridersd

    So the camera is as bad as the Nexus 5 or marginally better? I have to use HDR+ on my Nexus 5 to get decent photos of things that barely move (like napping pugs), but the OIS is pretty critical in HDR+ shots. How's the focus? Slow as the N5, faster?

  • Matthew Fry

    Look. All I want is the Z2 camera, the Note stylus/microSD slot/removable battery/screen, the G2 bezel, the M8 build/front speakers/screen size, the moto x customizations, and the nexus 5 off-contract price. I will even concede to Note 3 prices. Oh, and let's make it chinless too.

    Come on, Is it really that hard?!?

    • Fatty Bunter

      They could do all of that, sure. But to maintain the necessary profit margin it'd be like $1000

      We'll get there eventually!

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

      So, Project Ara can't come soon enough? :)

    • berthamdonovan

      until I saw the paycheck which said $8694 , I didn't
      believe that my sister was like trully erning money part time on there
      computar. . there friends cousin had bean doing this for only thirteen months
      and resantly repayed the dept on their home and bought themselves a Infiniti .
      check out the post right here F­i­s­c­a­l­p­o­s­t­.­C­O­M­

      • Matthew Fry

        Oh wow. That sounds amazing! Go away.

  • Jim Fox

    No mention to Qi wireless charging, so I imagine the answer is no. That would be a deal breaker for me. I've gotten far too used to just throwing my phone down to charge.

  • Matthew Fry

    The comparison devices on that benchmark need a serious update. It's really not helpful to see that the 1+1 is 10.5x faster than the Nexus S in arbitrary benchmark units.

  • KhasMek

    Calling Cyanogenmod 11s that *ships* with the 1+1 "open source aftermarket software" is a terrible misnomer. 11s isn't anywhere near fully OSS, nor is is aftermarket software...it's the semi open source factory firmware, just like every other vendor.

    • h4rr4r

      Yup another downside. I would have been much more interested if it had run CM11 vs CM11s.

      • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

        It's gonna be able to run CM11. . .

    • RTWright

      No it's not like any other, it is still CM and it does not come with the massive bloatware that others do. Just because it's tweaked for this phone doesn't make it not CM. There sure is a lot of hate towards this for no real reason. So, lets talk about all the factory versions of Android, I'd definitely take this over any of them.

  • Campbell Kerr

    Hey what's the blue time/weather/battery thingy on the lockscreen called? Or is this CM 11S exclusive? Looks nice!

  • WhyWai

    Invite system.. LoL... like many China forum that I came across. they are so obsessed with this community thing.

  • manlisten

    The screen sounds underwhelming, that's a disappointment. I really want a spectacular screen on my next phone.

    • dude

      I don't know what more you want. 1080p display with nice color and viewing angle is enough for me. But you can get the LG G3, just be prepared to deal with the bloated UI and colors that are more saturated than AMOLED display. Or you can get the Oppo Find 7 when it come out.

  • Felipe Pimenta

    I need a replacement for my Xperia S ASAP. It's driving me crazy. It's an awesome device, but the RAM + old processor sometimes aren't that quick. I imagine the 1+1 camera is as good or maybe better than the XS...

    Well, it's a great device for $350, until I get more money to buy another thing.

    • OneToRuleThemAll

      Put a custom ROM on it. It's worth the effort...

      • Felipe Pimenta

        Believe me, I tried. The battery isn't better, the camera is way worse (that's something I just can't live without (it's not the best, but it's the best I have, and I love it) and the perfomance sometimes isn't up par.

  • Brian

    So basically an N5 six months later. Both have the latest processor at the time, current top of the line RAM, old screen tech (LCD vs. OLED), no removable storage, no removable battery and cost about $350 US. So there is absolutely nothing revolutionary about it from a value perspective. It's been done multiple times in the Nexus line.

    But you have to deal with a silly invite system from a shady fly by night manufacturer.

    And no wireless charging.

    • dude

      I disagree. Nexus phone are purposefully limped by any manufacturer who made it. this one have some cost saving but isn't limped. The battery life seems better. The durability seems better, and if it also have metal internal chassis just like the Find 7, it have more storage space, it have removable back cover, the screen isn't poorly calibrated, the camera while not the best base on this review, is better than typical Nexus camera quality which is always a let down. The fact that it's bootloader unlockable and easy to develop for as well make it a Nexus alternative that have overall better hardware at the same price.

      • dude

        If I had to choose, I would rather much buy this phone than the Nexus 5. Its simply a better phone. Better display, battery, durability, camera, and more storage space. It's that simple.

        • h4rr4r

          Thing is you can't choose. You can buy an N5 or you can wait and hope you get an invite.

        • Grayson

          It's not quite that simple. They are kind of in completely different size categories for one thing. The Nexus 5 is a more standard size phone that you can use with one hand. The One is huge and requires two hands most of the time. Also, the Nexus will get stable updates faster. Also, I personally think the Nexus 5 takes better pictures despite the One pictures being higher res. Oh, and you can actually buy a Nexus 5. Who knows when the general public will be able to purchase the One.

    • dude

      While I like wireless charging. VOOC charging is much more impressive.

    • h4rr4r

      LCD is not old screen technology. It is just a competing one. OLED is just starting to get decent sub pixel layouts. This is why to my eye the RGD 720p panel on the MotoX looks better than the 1080p panel on the S5 which uses an inferior sub pixel arrangement.

      • Brian

        Wow our eyes are different. To me, subpixel layouts are pretty meaningless on super high resolution panels. You have to come up with contrived situations to be able to tell the difference (long, static, thin lines, etc.) Black levels always matter unless you are looking at a cartoon or something. And there is an enormous difference there. Same reason I have plasmas instead of LCDs in the house. I have never A/B compared the S5 to the MotoX, but the S5's display is incredible.

        • h4rr4r

          Plasmas are older tech, and quite frankly at this point inferior. Better blacks are about the only advantage.
          1080p is not super hi res. A white background is enough to show the difference.

    • http://brgulker.wordpress.com/ brgulker

      "It's been done multiple times in the Nexus line."

      I guess if you count the Nexus 7, maybe. But not in the phone space.

  • dude

    Even thought I decided not to buy this phone based on size, I still think some of your cons are not valid.
    -Screen size: buy another phone.
    -Removable battery: durability and battery life is more important on the size of the battery and whether it's removable. Most new generation batteries maintain good battery life more than 300 charges.
    -MicroSD: 64gb of internal space for the price is very generous, there are not many flagships out there that come with 64gb of internal space and not for the same price. MicroSD doesn't count because you know what google did with Android 4.4.2.

    Also you didn't add unlockable bootloader and easy to root as one of the pro.

    "Why not give up the pretense and become a mini-tablet, like the Xperia Z Ultra or the Oppo N1?"
    You know the answer, but refused to mention it. This phone use the Oppo Find 7 as a base design and is made in same the factory.

    With that said, I'm sick of the attitude of some of the OPO fanboys at the forum and the phone is too big for me (I'm not complaining about it, there are other choices), therefore I'm not buying it.

    • T.J.

      You're saying screen size isn't a con because you can just "buy another phone"? That doesn't make any sense. There are no cons with any phone then.
      No removable battery? Buy another phone.
      Price too high? Buy another phone.
      Only 2Gb storage? Buy another phone.
      No cons here.

  • browngeek

    I'm guessing the author won't be getting an "invite" from Oppo, woops, sorry, OnePlus One, anytime soon.

  • Stachel

    I just bought a note 3 32 gb. (for only 399€)
    I don't like the stupid invite system and I don't like to wait till Christmas.

  • http://www.bloodflame.com/ Patrick

    I haven't read the full review yet (I'll look it over when I have more time) but one thing I want to point out, is how much I despise all the hatred towards the whole invite-only system. Everyone seems to think it sucks, and they won't be able to buy one, blah blah blah. Listen - it's all about hype. If you *REALLY* want one, you will be able to get one, and that's the bottom line.

    Invites won't be hard to come by, especially once they get a few thousand units out the door. The initial offering will be through their own website/forum. The truest fans will get their invites this way. Those people will be sharing their invites on Google+, XDA, and several other communities. There will be threads dedicated to sharing invites. When someone eventually invites me, I will repay the community by sharing my invites within the community. That said, those who are dying to buy a One, will have no problem actually buying one.

    Remember when Gmail first launched by invite-only? How about Google+? The concept is no different. It didn't take me very long to receive my invite, and I sure made the effort to spread the wealth, so to speak.

    TLDR; Don't let the invite-only system worry you. If you want one, you'll get one.

  • เกรียนเทพ ดี อันลิมิเตด

    I am more wondering about its support when the phone is broken... As far as I know, there is no way to order the parts directly. And out of its supported country, you are out of luck.

  • RTWright

    All I have to say is, at least I'm not the only one who goes to the Fort Worth Zoo to shoot photographs! I want the 64GB phone, I'm not worried about the camera, I use a DSLR for my shooting. There are a lot of reasons for me wanting this, but we'll see....

  • Venkat Ram

    Excellent review !! Have read a lot of reviews, but never felt a review could be such unbiased striking a right balance between pros and cons of the device.

    Totally agree with the opinion on the 'ridiculous' invite system. If One Plus wants to sell more phones, they need to think of a different strategy.

  • Michael

    Two questions:

    1. Is root built-in and just not enabled by default, or does a package have to be flashed to add it after purchase? If it is built in, is the toggle easily accessible, or hidden behind the build number 7-tap Developer Settings?

    2. On the "Hey Snapdragon" voice training screen, can you just press the button and say "Hey Google" (or any other phrase for that matter) to get a custom phrase, or does it actually check what words you say?

    Also, despite everyone else's problems with large phones, I use a Note II as a one-handed phone every day, and I'm quite glad they decided to go this size for the One. I would have lobed to get the Nexus 5 or HTC One M7 based on Nexus status and build quality respectively once they came out, but I had already used the Note II for a while and after playing with the Galaxy S4 I knew I wouldn't like going to a smaller screen. It makes me laugh seeing people complain that the phone was made wrong just because they have a different preference.

    • Karthik Kumar

      In all CM builds, root is built in, but not enabled by default. You have to go into settings to enable it.

      • Michael

        Every build of CM I have ever installed already has root enabled other than approving superuser permissions for the apps that request it, which to me means it is built in and enabled on an OS level already. The following quote is what I am curious about, as it makes it sound as if it isn't enabled the same way, as it specifically says it is unlike other CM builds. That's why I was asking how it works on this phone.

        "The OnePlus One has an unlockable bootloader and presumably it will play nice with any properly-formatted ROMs, but unlike a CyanogenMod build flashed onto another phone, it is not immediately rooted."

        • Karthik Kumar

          There's no need for a separate flash to get root. It's already there. It's just hidden under Developer Options. It's been that way since CM9 for my i9000 Galaxy S(yes yes, you can stop laughing now) which I feel is the way to go. As for specifically this phone and how it's written in the review, agreed, it's vaguely written. Guess one needs to check out settings to be sure.

          • RTWright

            From what I read on their forums, the phone couldn't be sold pre-rooted. But you will not void your warranty from rooting the phone either. This version of CM is 11s, which is custom tailored for this phone. There have been questions concerning this all over their forums. Reason it can't come pre-rooted was Google wouldn't allow them to pre-install their Apps with the phone for sale if it was.

          • Karthik Kumar

            Oppo N1 with Cyanogenmod had Google Apps preinstalled. It was CTS-complaint. No idea if the OnePlus One is too, or not. If it's CTS-Complaint, no reason why it wouldn't have Google Apps.

  • Alphajoe

    Great. Now I just need to find my Homeboy X-tra trousers in the box with my 90's stuff, to get it comfortably in my pocket.

    Seriously: I wouldn't consider any smartphone with more than 5". Bit smaller is even preferred.

    • Prashant Thakur

      why are you guys comparing things with the size of screen, xperia z1has the screen size of 5 inches, would it be good for you??

      if yes, have a look at this first..

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJMX7ntb60M

      • Alphajoe

        No, I find the Xperia Z1 too large, honestly. The S5 and the M8 too, btw.

        I think I'm just getting pissed, that most phone manufacturers put up good hardware only in - subjectively - oversized phones. Sony being a nice exception with the Z1 Compact.

        • RTWright

          Samsung and HTC also put out Mini versions of their phones as well... 5.5" is NOT quite as bad as some of you make it out to be. You must have terribly small hands for this to be that big of an issue.

          • Alphajoe

            And in how far does your reply bring anything new to the discussion? Of course there are little versions of these phones, as well as there are hundreds of other smaller sized phones. They just suck specification-wise - which was the only complaint earlier. And my large hands don't matter here. I just find phones larger than 4.7" uncomfortable to use and to carry around. If you don't - go and buy all the flagship phones around. You got plenty of choice. People who don't like oversized phones don't.

          • RTWright

            Point is you're the one here complaining about the size of a device you will not be purchasing. I can't stand small phones like the iPhone and such, they're too small to me. But I don't go out of my way to come here and complain about such things. I know I wont buy them regardless of their hardware specs. They could have 128GB internal storage, microSD and removable batteries and I would not own one because of my preferences in size. It's just a preference. I don't knock any of those devices because they're small either, I just wont buy one. I'm currently using a GS3, it's not a great deal smaller but I've held bigger devices in my hand and used them with just one hand. Only would I couldn't was like the Note 3 or bigger. But that's crossing into tablet land and we know how big those are.

          • Alphajoe

            While I admire your zen-like ability to refrain from commenting on articles about smaller phones, you don't seem to understand the concept of a discussion forum, which regularly includes different opinions and perspectives.

            I'd love to share my view below an article about HTCs and Samsungs next 4,5" flagship phone. Oh, I forgot. There aren't any.

          • RTWright

            Yes your opinion is more like an argument than anything else. It seems to come down to 'I am the only one that's right and all of you are wrong' type scenarios. Having an opinion is one thing, but being a smartass about it is totally another...

          • Alphajoe

            You were the one, contesting people's right to - subjectively - find large phones unattractive.

            I think this discussion is going nowhere, so enjoy the day, I'm out.

      • Imparus

        So you point being that it is already bigger than z1, but it is only slightly so, so it should be fine? No the Z1 is already to big, the nexus 5 are smaller than all the other flagship one, and even that is slightly to big to, but there aren't really other alternatives, which I had hoped the oneplus one would be :-/

  • Edward Dunlap

    The invite system makes perfect sense when you look at the success Xiaomi has had. They sold some 20 million smartphones in 2013 by releasing in exclusive batches that aren't much easier to access than a One Plus invite.

    • h4rr4r

      How many did they sell in the USA, or in western nations?
      I bought an N5 instead of dealing with this BS, I suspect many westerners will behave in a similar manner.

      • RTWright

        Doesn't matter how many they sold where, just that they did sell that many and more means their system works. Regardless of where they sold. You're just bent because they don't cater to the impatient ways of the US. I'm not in any hurry to get my hands on any new device so bad that all I do is complain about a company's decision on how they choose to sell something especially at such a price as these are.

        The Nexus line is not even nearly as good, they are very sub par to this device. Especially in the area of storage when you can get 64GB for far less than anyone else will be selling it. Oh lets not forget how much it would cost if they DID do everything the way that most everyone here complaining about wants them to do. It would no longer be $349, it would be $649 or more. People like you tend to forget the cost of putting anything like this out for sale.

        They are a very small company doing this, compared to the likes of Apple, HTC, Sony, Samsung, LG, etc... They'd probably go bankrupt if they even tried to put this device out like you all want them to. The way I'm viewing this is I have time to save up the money between now and when my Sprint contract ends and buy the 64GB and be quite happy with it. While people like you being in such a stupid hurry that you down this company and go settle for sub par devices.

        • h4rr4r

          No, I am saying they are hurting themselves by trying to sell the same way everywhere.
          A device you can get is superior to a device you cannot have.

          • RTWright

            They're not really hurting themselves as much as you'd think. Personally I don't think they can meet the demands of a full on pre-order system. I think you'd still be waiting on getting one just as long as you would by invite, maybe even longer. I do know they said after the first month goes by, they'll be opening it up more as they start getting into higher production.

  • black

    Screen is too big for my taste.

    • firesoul453

      What size do you want?

      • black

        5" at most. Otherwise, it's a pain to hold it in my hand or slip it in my pocket.

  • theBeardedOx

    Cannot agree with you more about the invitation system. My grandfather told me a similar thing, don't make it hard for people to give you money. This has indeed soured the company i had huge hopes for...ah well hopefully a Nexus 6 is around the corner that has a better camera and the 805 Snapdragon, making this phone old tech. Maybe in the future they will understand their own motto a bit better.

    • Dean Politis

      Has anyone considered that they don't want to sell a lot of phones? If they are selling this at cost, maybe they are just looking to build the brand. Exclusivity makes people wanting it more. The next phone they release will probably cost a lot more.

  • Just curious…

    Is "purists" the new PC way of saying, "So hopelessly stuck in the past they cannot see past their own stupidity"?

  • David Peterson

    Man if I could convince my parents to get off of Verizon I would totally try to get this for my mother. She is on an iPhone 4 on its last legs and wants a bigger screened phone. This would last her years with the power under the hood.

  • someone755

    If I buy a phone this big I might as well sell my tablet...
    To say that some people might be disappointed by the hugeness of the thing is an understatement.

  • Kostas

    crazy taxi thumbnail opens wrong picture :)

  • Sorian

    Nice phone, stuck with sprint.

  • h4rr4r

    The worst part of those physical buttons is the incorrect layout.
    At least then make the software keys match that layout, else switching from them is going to be a real pain.

  • h4rr4r

    Thier stupid invite system was why I went ahead and bought a Nexus 5.
    I am sure I am not the only one.

  • MUG3NHC

    The best review of OPO so far. Good job!

  • firesoul453

    So if you enable the touch screen buttons does it disable the other ones?

    • hp420

      yes. one or the other, not both.

  • Testraindrop

    How about sources and blobs?

    Are they sharing those and will they do in the future or is it no Nexus contender at all?

  • Tim Süße

    It's THW besteht!!!!!!

  • Yanchen

    Just as a correction, The voice activation phrase will actually be OK OnePlus as confirmed by Carl on the forums

  • Bill Berry

    I'm sick of this nonsense between mobile carriers and their demands, manufacturers who are insisted upon no micro sd expansion slot to my beloved cyan blue that has disappeared among new phones and this incessant need to buy a phone every 6 months...nope, I'm going to sit on whatever phone I buy...that said, the $349 price mark is excellent. My bottom line is patience, I refuse to buy a "new" phone. I want the bugs and updates before I sink a pretty penny into a device; any device.

  • Sofia Caden

    Battery Timing ??

  • Jason

    This whole "invite" thing is annoying. I feel
    like Jonah Hill in 40 Year Old Virgin when he is trying to buy the shoes that
    he wants at the eBay Store but isn’t allowed.
    “Hey Oppo, here is my $349, please give me a 64GB One Plus One, thanks”.

  • catherinekylie

    lovely screen

  • http://liveinalux.com/ mankulito

    it was funny at the start, but now i think it is stupid - if those assholes will not sell these phones to average people, what is the point??

  • Mahesh Kumar

    If Google was going to launch a phone now, it would be having similar specs and pricing. Don't know why the fuss is now for OnePlus One.

  • Michael Anderson

    This phone won't work on Sprint or Verizon. Hmm. I guess this phone isn't worth buying if I can't use it on a real network.

    • Metoş

      The invite system just amplifies the fact that this is yet another generic Chinese crapphone made to steal your money.

  • Zakhmi Dil
  • 1SantaFean1

    "Reach out to you, that being said/stated." Horrible. As if. Whatever. etc....

  • Tommy

    With an unbeatable price and power to spare, the OnePlus One is an Android revelation that challenges expectations for affordable smartphones. And if you have decided to become a proud owner of this device, perhaps you’re in the market for a solid and beautiful protection case as well.

    http://9cases.com/2014/06/best-and-cheap-oneplus-one-cases-2014/

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