OnePlus One | First impressions

So, I have finally got my OnePlus One. I had signed up for an invite on their page, and during my holidays I received an email. I doubted for 5 minutes, but then had to buy it. Here are my first impressions of the phone after 5 days of use.

First a small description of the phone. It has basically top-end specifications in terms of processor, RAM, storage, display and camera, but it is priced at half of the bigger name competitors, such as the Galaxy S5, One M8, Experia Z2 and the G3. On top of that, for those of us that like stock Android, it runs a souped up version of stock, called Cyanogen.

So after 5 days, what has stood out most?

  1. Having 64Gb of on-device storage is great. An external SD card is nice to have, but that memory is a second citizen on the phone as off Kit Kat. I now much prefer having 64Gb of internal storage. Gone are the days I have to select what I want to store, because I can basically throw everything on it. Currently I have 2 movies and 2 complete TV series as well as 5 audiobooks on it and I still have 31Gb free! Wonderful.
  2. The battery life is pretty great. Even hitting it pretty hard with particularly watching vídeos, I got 18 hours out of it with 15% left. On a normal day, I use between 50-60% on a 16-17 hour day.
  3. It has an ample and good quality screen. It has a colder colour temperature than my Nexus 5, but I actually quite like that. It is great for watching vídeos and playing videogames.
  4. I really like Cyanogen. Cyanogen is basically another flavour of Android. However, it stays very close to stock Android, if that is what you want, because you can optionally theme just about everyting on it with the built-in Theme Engine. The particularly nice thing about Cyanogen is that is lets your tweak your stock Android experience and make it actually better/more functional. Admittedly, you have to look for it in the settings or read up on stuff on the Internet, but that’s actually a tickerer’s dream.
  5. Performance is generally good. I don’t feel it performs any better than my Nexus 5, but performance is generally speaking top of the line.
  6. I like the back cover of the phone. I have the sandstone version and it feels pleasantly rough, adding to the grip you can get on the phone. That being said, once the bamboo back becomes available, I will surely want to try that!

Although the phone is very good, it is not perfect, of course.

  1. The software is not finished yet. I feel that they may need another 2 months of fine-tuning in order to get it completely stable. I have had ocassional problems with the software registering taps, particularly annoying when you are trying to type. Also, I had issues with particular apps, like MX Player when trying to play some HD videos which I had never experienced on my Nexus 5. Just occasional hick-ups.
  2. Although I like the screen-size, the phone is a little big to be handled comfortably with one hand
  3. The speakers are not the best quality, although they do get more or less loud enough.

Also, I am still undecided about the camera. I have not been able to test it enough.

All in all, I would recommend it to anyone wanting to spend no more than 300 euros on a smartphone. The hardware is clearly future proof, and OnePlus One has committed to keeping the software up to date for 2 years. No real reason to consider anything else, in my opinion.

The issue is that it is hard to get right now – only through an invite system (I have no invites left) – but OnePlus has indicated that it is thinking of selling it through a pre-order system later this year. The truth is that the value proposition is so compelling, that they should have no problem selling all the phones they can manufacture, even though they lack the distribution and marketing power of the established players. Word of mouth will sell it, if it continues to be positioned at this price point. With that, they won’t sell 20 million OnePlus Ones, but I don’t think it needs to in order to be a succes. 

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