Read more: Under Creative Commons License: Attribution No Derivatives -->

Monday, May 12, 2014

Review: One Plus One

This isn’t the latest avatar of the HTC’s one line up and no it’s not a mathematical equation where you can say ‘Oh! The answer is 2’

This is the ‘Flagship Killer’ phone from the startup One Plus. Yes ONE PLUS is a company!
The entire tech world was eagerly waiting for this new device, after months of teasing by the company with the tagline

Tagline used by the One Plus company to create hype about the One

A lot of hype has surrounded this phone since its release too (It still isn't available for users to buy but has been unveiled at an event in China). The hype although might seem too much for a startup at first glance but dive deeper and you will know why!
Let us look at various aspects that make the phone never settle.


On first glance, this is a huge phone comparable to the likes of the Galaxy Note 3 and the Oppo Find 7. On the front and you have beautiful 5.5’ 1080p LCD IPS display that is just gorgeous. Colors are vibrant and do not over saturate as is the case with Super AMOLED displays. Color reproduction is pretty real. You have 3 capacitive buttons for home, recent apps and back but they don’t glow up bright to be seen (for a good reason though which we shall see later). On top you see the speaker grill along with a 5MP front facing camera. Other than that the entire front panel has significant bezel not that it will intrude with everyday use but as it has become of lately the thinner the bezel the better the handling.

Flip to the back and you see 2 very interesting logos. Just below the camera sensor sits a small neat One plus logo.The interesting of the two is the logo at the bottom of the back panel. Yes you all android geeks out there its CyanogenMod. For those who don’t know Cyanogen is a 3rd party Android software developer that gives a highly customizable Android experience. (More on this later)

The company logo which can be found on the back of the One Plus One

The entire back panel is made using a ‘baby touch’ plastic back which is specially designed for the One. This material as the company claims ‘can only be felt when rubbed against your cheek’. I don’t know how true that is but certainly the phone looks great. On the top of the back panel you can see a 13MP shooter with a dual LED flash. The back cover is removable and you have a huge number of designs to choose from for your back including a denim cover!

The buttons are located ergonomically on the sides with tacky response to them which makes the handling of the phone a breeze despite its monstrous size.

Phone looks front and back
The One Plus One

Wood, Denim, Black
Choice of back covers for the One


So what there to not settle with the design? Even the Moto X came with customizable options. What makes the phone really not settle is its power under the hood. It is powered by the best in class processing package.

Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SOC clocked at 2.5GHz
Ardreno 330
3 GB
3100 mAh (non-removable)
16GB and 32GB (non-expandable)

Now that’s on paper even more powerful than the HTC one M8 and the Samsung Galaxy S5 which were recently unveiled. With 3Gb RAM the experience on this phone is buttery smooth with the customized CyanogenMod 11S software highly customized for the One. This phone really takes the battle of the flagships to an all new level providing the best in class processing package.


This is where the most interesting part lies. After partnering with Oppo to provide a custom install of CyanogenMod replacing the inbuilt Color OS, Cyanogen went ahead and partnered with One Plus to actually make the entire software for the phone. The One is running Android 4.4.2 Kitkat CyanogenMod version. Now for folks who have no idea of what CyanogenMod is here’s what it is. Just like the way Samsung, HTC or any other big company change the way the Android OS works on a NEXUS phone by building custom builds of the software and naming them ‘TouchWiz, Sense, etc etc’ Cyanogen changes the original Android system and makes it highly customizable and optimizable.

No what Cyanogen has done by partnering with One Plus is provide a complete feel of the stock Android experience with a lot more feature in built and right out of the box.

To name a few would be
a.       The Camera: Stock Android Camera on a Nexus just sucks. Google has done a blunder with the camera algorithm and the Nexus just shoots horrible pics. Cyanogen has customized the camera app and made significant changes to it. It has added many filters which are just a swipe away, a plethora of options for shooting mode, 4K videos and for the ones who like to tweak every photo according to their like a multitude of setting wherein you can adjust the expose, white balance and other stuff
b.      Security: Yes Cyanogen increases the security of the phone by adding features under the security tab under settings. Here you can determine what data an app uses and customize every single move that app makes (Its hardly useful but to have a setting is always welcome)
c.       Themes: You can choose the way your entire experience on the One looks and feels by changing your theme from the proprietary theme market. Although not all of the themes are free but you get plenty of options none the less.
d.      Mods: The tweaks that Cyanogen puts in its software are commendable. Listing the full mods available will take up a lot of time but the most significant one is the option to change from hardware keys to on screen keys and changing the functionality and layout of all of them. (the reason probably why the hardware keys are not illuminated bright enough)


So what makes the One Plus One such an attention seeker? It’s the price at which this phone is lauched!

16GB - $299
32GB - $349

Yes you are not seeing a mistake, that’s true the price of this phone is its trump card. No other phone other than the Nexus 5 comes even close to this phone’s price! Although with a very weird marketing strategy in place, we really don’t know when this phone will be available in stores.


The One certainly catches the eye with the awesome pricing and all the goodies it comes loaded with. It is definitely a phone to look forward to although I won’t say in the near future. It might be long before it finally hits the market getting over the horrendous marketing strategy the company has put in place.

With the kind of on sheet specs and verdict coming from people who have got to use this phone, it’s definitely going to challenge the biggies like Galaxy S5. HTC one M8 and the Sony Xperia Z2.
The only rival I see threatening this phone is the rumored Nexus 6!!!

Shoot in your comments below and tell me if the One Plus One is really a flagship killer?

Keep tuned into TechKarate because we are your source of all things Tech!

No comments:

Post a Comment