Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Oneplus One SmartPhone Review

It is long overdue that I commented on Marcus's Oneplus One phone that I've had for the last 9 months or so.

Here is a mini review.

Why Android
Of course Android, and not the only other meaningful competitor which would be Apple iOS.

Android and iOS both have all the major applications that you might need from Google, and for Marcus specialist sports applications from the likes of Mio or Garmin.  

However Android simply is more hackable and you can unlock it, root it and customise it all within minutes.  Whereas hacking iOS is discouraged.

There are literally dozens of alternate Android OS distributions that you can install, for Marcus the obvious choice is still the high function CyanogenMod, based on Android 5.1.1

The Ridiculous Sales Strategy
Until recently and possibly because of volume manufacturing issues it was not possible to goto a Website and order the OnePlus One phone.

There was an invite system where you had to get an invitation from an existing user or from OnePlus.  This kept up exclusivity, kept down numbers of units sold and is basically totally and utterly ridiculous.  I suffered but you don't have to.

OnePlus One is now directly available from the Manufacturer site


Well OnePlus Two is just about to be announced.  So the OnePlus One will soon be the cheapo phone in the lineup.  If you are obsessed with having the /latest thing/  and don't mind the humiliating /invite system/ which the /Two/ will reintroduce then don't buy the OnePlus One phone and just wait.

The CyanogenMod Bustup
I documented the Cyanogen mod situation previously.

In a nutshell the pairing of the enthusiast Android version CyanogenMod to the new and initially unknown manufacturer OnePlus put both parties on the map.  It was a mutually beneficial relationship.

CyanogenMod then ruined the party leaving OnePlus no option but to produce its own OxygenOS.  If you order the phone today it will come with OxygenOS.  However it is a pretty simple procedure to replace that with CyanogenMod Android 5.1.1

The Simple Needs Audience

If you are one with the uses and needs  that I put my phone to then you could be the ideal Oneplus One buyer

- Cost
You could buy better, but hey, it's /only/ a phone and you want something with high specs but it does not need to shout "hey look at me".

It can be cool to the people that know though, that is enough

- Big Screen
My tired eyes need a big screen.

Full HD  (1920 x 1080) pixels on a screen that fits inside my hand is quite enough.  When you think that TV manufacturers of sets as large as 46 inches have only just gone above HD resolution to 4K, and then not many.   Having QHD  (2560 x 1440) resolution on a phone, well it is basically just one upmanship.  There is no practical advantage.  The existing HD resolution of the phone is more than the eye can see at 401 ppi.

- 4G / LTE
Needs to have strong Internet connection.   By which I mean it if can reliably get 30 Mbps or greater in my home town of Lausanne I am happy.  The above graphic shows good but not best speeds at home.  Yes, it is quite bonkers.

- You tube
I watch a lot whilst on the Metro or just taking a break between meetings.  The large 5.5 inch screen makes it a pleasure to watch the >20 videos I watch daily.

- Decent Camera
13MP f2.0 camera is a good backup to our Sony Alpha 7 full frame.  Whilst the Alpha is truly petite it's not always carried whereas the Oneplus is a constant companion and so a good backup camera

- Runs latest Android
Well I mean anything over Android 5.x Lollipop.  In fact I'm running 5.1.1 .  I documented the install process here 

Support for the base applications I rely on.  It's not a very long list because I'm a minimalist but includes

Feedly - RSS reader
DropBox - Transient file storage, auto upload of media
WeatherPro - Weather
SBB Mobile - Swiss train tickets
BBC iPlayer Radio - BBC Radio
YouTube, Gmail, Maps - Foundation Google Apps
Runkeeper - Cycle training display
Withings - Heart Rate, Blood Pressure, Weight recording
Google+, Facebook - Social Networking

- Bonkers Fast

I have 64GB memory and more CPU cores than I know what to do with. 

- Runs CyanogenMod
Some nice features including Privacy Guard  (only lets individual Applications access to the personal information you deem fit) and numerous custom settings.    So CyanogenMod is probably the best Android OS to go for 

- Excellent Ergonomics
It's got a thin bezel and is remarkably about 9mm thin and 162 grams in weight.

Missing Features
 - Battery is not removable officially. It is possible but doing so voids your warranty

- Not Waterproof
Almost a show stopper.   Being waterproof is very handy if you use the device during sporting activities.

- No Wireless Charging
I'm a big fan of Wireless charging, but it's not possible for the OnePlus.  Grrr.

For my modest needs the OnePlus surpasses my needs for a Smartphone in terms of speed, battery life, memory and disk capacity, screen resolution, 4G Internet Speed.   It is basically a tremendous phone that is at last available online directly from OnePlus 

Buy OnePlus One online now
OnePlus One Specifications
OnePlus battery removal
OnePlus forum