The OnePlus One Year Later

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As we all patiently wait for the OnePlus Two to be officially announced, lets take a look back at this past year, and my experience with the OnePlus One.

I’ll just come out and say it. The OnePlus One is the best phone I have ever owned. The OPO’s value, quality, battery life, performance, and community support have all far exceeded even my wildest expectations. I believe my experience is the norm and not the exception. Sure, there were a few rough patches along the way, but overall, the experience has been extremely positive. Let’s take a look at this past year with the OnePlus One.

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Performance

Even to this day, the OnePlus One is no slouch when it comes to everyday computing tasks. The Snapdragon 801 can still handle just about anything you can throw at it. That’s one of the biggest reasons I still own the phone, it just doesn’t feel slow. It’s not showing its age whatsoever. This is a testament to mobile processors and software maturity, both have grown by leaps and bounds over the past few years. I wouldn’t go so far as to say the OnePlus One is over powered, but there certainly some power to spare, should you need it in the future.

Affordability

Even though it’s less of a steal now than it was a year ago, at the time of launch, the OnePlus was exactly that, a fucking steal. It’s still a terrific bargain to this day, but competition has certainly ramped up over the past year, and higher end “affordable phones” are not all that uncommon (I’m looking at you Asus ZenFone 2). Let’s hope OnePlus can deliver another solid device that can also match it’s predecessors value.

Battery Life and Charging

I never expected the Oneplus One to have such outstanding battery life. But after a full years usage, I can happily report that the OPO has the best battery life of any phone I have ever owned. Even under heavy usage conditions, the battery has held strong. I have had issues with battery while using various custom ROM’s, but that’s certainly not the fault of OnePlus. But I never really had any issues while running stock.

Another feature I didn’t know about (before purchase) or expect was the OPO’s fast charging ability. The OnePlus can charge its battery just as fast, if not faster, than almost any high end phone on the market, excluding the GS5/6, Nexus 6, and Note 4 (lets not mention the fact that these phones cost $300 or more than the OnePlus One).

Camera

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I have been quite happy with the camera on the OnePlus One. I have had my fair share of shitty shots, but I have also snapped some amazing looking photos. The vast majority have been good photos. OnePlus has done a great job at keeping it’s camera updated with new features and improvements.

Video quality has also been terrific. 1080P video is clear and sounds great. Even though I own a 4K TV, I still have yet to shoot much 4K video. It takes up too much fucking memory to shoot all your videos in 4K, unless you are good at keeping your photos backed up and off of your phone, you are going to run out of storage quickly shooting in 4K. But that is not really a fault, no one is to blame, it’s just the nature of the beast.

Size

When the OnePlus was first announced, I was initially concerned with the 5.5″ screen size. I owned a Nexus 5 at the time and couldn’t image using something much bigger. But, I have come to realize that the 5.5″ screen of the OPO is just about perfect, for me. Not everyone will agree, a 5″ device will certainly suffice and I may go back to one someday, but I think I found my match at 5.5″. Unlike that beached whale that is the Nexus 6, I can still use the OnePlus One comfortably with one hand.

Community and Development Support

Making the OnePlus One a “mod friendly” device, has certainly gone a long way with the development community. People would still fuck with their phones if such a thing was frowned upon, but OP’s support of the modding community and embracing custom ROM development is a rare breath of fresh air in an otherwise tightly locked down and restricted environment.

OnePlus has established a very dedicated following and passionate development community that rivals that of the Samsung and Nexus branded phones of the world.

Having Options

At the heart of Android lies customization. If you don’t like it you can change it. The OnePlus One is the ultimate in phone customization. Cyanogenmod themes, style swap covers (yes I know, but there were at least three options eventually), onscreen or hardware navigation buttons, tap to wake/sleep, etc. All these options were available by default without any hacking or modding needed. Anyone can safely change the look and feel of their phone without the need to root or unlock their bootloader.

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Carrier Support

The OPO is unlocked and Supports numerous US carriers including T-Mobile, AT&T, and Straight Talk. I left Verizon to go to a carrier (T-Mobile) that allowed unlocked GSM phones such as the OnePlus One.

Dislikes

The biggest complaint people seem to have is with OnePlus in general is it’s customer service, or lack there of. I guess I have just been lucky. Apparently, there are a shit ton of people out there that have been “burned” by OnePlus and their customer service department. Though I do agree that there have been legitimate issues and their service could be improved for the launch of the OP2, I assume OP will be out of the growing pains stage with the launch of the OP2 and much more adept at handling the customer service challenges that await them.

But people like to bitch and blame someone else for their misfortunes. I have read far too many stories of dipshits dropping their phone, breaking the screen and expecting OnePlus to pay for a replacement. If you are the type of person that always finds a way to drop your phone in the fucking toilet, or accidentally drop your phone getting in/out of your car,  you would be much be much better off purchasing a phone from one of the big four so you can get your ass an extended warranty. Yes, I know some of you have suffered from legit defects, that are in fact the fault of OnePlus. But I think the vast majority of OPO users can agree, its a pretty solid all around device. End rant.

Screen Sensitivity and Yellowing  Issues

These have been issues since day one. Although I have gotten quite used to swiping and accidentally registering a tap, I have found that the issue is mostly localized to few apps that I use often (I don’t experience touch issues in every app). The problem used to be much worse than it is now, but it’s just one of those nagging issues that I don’t think will ever be completely fixed.

As far as the yellowing issue goes, I’ll be quite honest, unless I was actually looking for the yellowing issue, I rarely ever noticed it. Lucky its all the way at the bottom of the screen and not in the middle. I can only ever notice yellowing if I am on a completely white screen or webpage, but even then, I still don’t notice. Yes, it is a defect, and it should absolutely be addressed with the OP2, but its a defect that hasn’t really bothered me.

No Wireless Charging

I still miss my wireless charging, it’s a convenience that you’ll never know you miss until it’s gone. I experimented with a wireless charging work around, but needless to say, it just fucking sucked. You may not care about wireless charging, but I would really like to see it as a standard feature on the OP2.

Slow Updates

In my opinion, Lollipop took far to long to get to the Oneplus One. Lollipop was delayed several times, and it took OnePlus nearly 6 months to finally release a (mostly) stable build to the public. Be it the fault of Cyanogen, OnePlus, not enough man power, or whatever, it took too way fucking long.

Luckily the OnePlus One has an amazing development community (see likes section) behind it, so if you were really hurting for some Lollipop love, you’ve had tons of options for quite sometime now.

Invites

I will very briefly mention invites. Yes, it was a pain in the ass to get a hold of the OnePlus One when it first launched. The invite system was imperfect and ridiculous at times (not to mention the fucking forum begging), but if that meant OnePlus could better control their inventory and stay alive, I’m all for it happening again with the OP2. Patience is a virtue.

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OnePlus 2 Wish List (realistic)

Since we have been talking a bit about the OnePlus Two, here is my very short and simple wish list.

  • Spec bumps across the board (CPU, RAM, GPU)
  • 3200 mAh battery
  • 5.5″ QHD screen, same size or smaller overall device size
  • Improved design
  • Wireless charging
  • Improved 16 MP camera, 5 MP front is still fine with me (but I’m not much of a “selfie” taker)

Conclusion

If I was hard pressed for money, I could easily see myself holding onto to my OPO for another year. It wouldn’t even bother me all that much, and that’s coming from an early adopter. It’s that good. I have no bias towards OnePlus, I really like their phone and their community. Assuming the OP2 can even come close to matching the success of it’s younger sibling, I am positive OP will have another hit on their hands.

  • Oscar

    I agree with pretty much everything you wrote, just PLEASE PLEASE DON’T include that crap QHD display in OnePlus Two. it’s such a marketing gimmick. And don’t give me arguments about VR rarely any1 has a set and even if they do they pretty much don’t use it. This technology is way to new to require all new smartphones use a QHD screen. With the overall bump to catch up to new phones and staying at FHD screen it will ensure much better battery life as well as way more power for games and apps. And honestly if you can notice the difference between QHD and FHD on your phone and say it’s an issue ill call your argument bullshit.

    Give me 1 good reason why QHD is required (i only see it as a bullshit to make people who don’t know shit about phones to get a new model, because the screen has more pixel density…)

    • ETR

      Thanks for the comment. I have no issues with the current resolution of the OnePlus One. Certain aspects of the screen could use improvements, but if the OP2 doesn’t have a QHD screen, it’s certainly not going to be a deal breaker for me. The only good reason I could see OnePlus upgrading to a QHD display (even if it negatively affects battery life) is competition and sales. Keeping their specs inline with the competition (higher end) and giving current owners another reason to upgrade. Whether or not QHD will provide any noticeable difference is something that will need to be seen. My wife’s QHD display on her GS6 is the nicest I have ever seen.