So I got my hands on one of the very limited invites for OnePlus One, the new flagship killer phone from Chinese technology startup OnePlus. The phone came yesterday, and after 24 hours of using it I’m writing this review and unboxing video.
I purchased the 64 gigabyte Sandstone Black version. At $350 with no contract it provides the best cost-to-performance ratio on the market by far. The cheaper 16 gigabyte Silk White version costs $299, so if your wallet is light and you don’t need the extra memory, this is a very inexpensive phone.
So, enough raving about the specs. They’ve already been covered in just about every tech magazine imaginable. The real question is, how well does it actually handle and run?
When I opened the case, the packaging materials were quite well done. There was no instruction booklet or manual provided, however, and I found myself putting the SIM card in upside down by accident. I also managed to put in the wifi key to my network wrong, leading to a little bit of puzzlement on the initial setup. It also didn’t help that CyanogenMod asked me to refer to my non-existent instruction booklet for SIM card insertion.
When I attempted to put the cardboard case it came in back together, I managed to tear off the pull-tab and the case stuck closed. The large size of the phone compared to my Samsung Galaxy S4 took a few hours to get used to, and in the beginning I was afraid I would drop it.
However, my complaints end there. The screen is definitely the most beautiful I’ve seen on a phone yet. The 1080p resolution makes everything crystal clear, and the large screen size is a blessing. I prefer using the capacitive touch buttons on the bottom of the screen instead of the on-screen buttons, although the phone allows you your choice. I backed up and transferred my contacts to the new phone, and re-downloaded all of my apps from the Play Store.
The phone comes with zero bloatware, which is a serious complaint I’ve had with the Samsung Galaxy series of phones from ATT. I absolutely loathe the idea of preinstalled apps that I don’t use and can’t remove, and this phone is a breath of fresh air. CyanogenMod did an excellent job in packaging the software.
Sound quality is good, although the volume could stand to be a bit louder. However, CyanogenMod has reported that it is a software issue instead of a hardware issue, and will be fixed in an update soon. It comes with an app that allows you to set equalizers, and use presets to change sound quality. I will give this a shot soon.
All in all, I really have trouble believing that a small startup could release a phone this good at a price point half of its competition, with no contract, and open to use any GSM carrier you want. However, it’s sitting right here, causing me to ask some strange questions about the nature of reality.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to receive an invite, I would strongly recommend purchasing this phone without hesitation. Otherwise, I think we all have our fingers crossed hoping that they’ll be able to ramp up production to meet demand before the year ends.