Sadly, like so many other companies before them, OnePlus has also ended up flubbing big time after making a grand entrance last year with the still fabulous OnePlus One. I bought this phone almost without a second thought. How could a company that came up with such a great phone on their very first attempt go wrong? Well, they showed me how they could!
Hardware and build quality – This is one area in which the OnePlus One excelled. The Two is also a great looking, solid phone. There’s a good heft to it and you don’t get the cheap plasticky feeling you get with most other brand models. The metal rim circling the phone is iffy. It gives a more premium look to the phone and isn’t shiny or chrome-like but it fails to provide any decent grip at all. In the One, the sandstone back curved around on all sides so you had a great grip and it was almost impossible to let it slip from your hand. Try pulling this one out of a tight jeans pocket and you’ll know what I mean. The recent OTA update has only made things worse, the battery now heats up for no rhyme or reason, even if the screen is off and the phone on standby. Still, it is a great looking phone and is something you’d like to flaunt.
Camera – This was the biggest (only) gripe I had with the One, and it continues with this iteration. I’m not saying the camera is bad, but I got much better shots with the old Galaxy S3! Samsung makes the best phone cameras, bar none. The Two’s camera is an improvement over the One and focuses much faster, but for semi-professional/advanced amateur photography, it just doesn’t cut it.
Software – This is the biggest step back for the company. The loss of Cyanogen pinches, and how! The Oxygen tries to keep it basic, and as close to stock Android but loses out big time on the almost endless customization options that came built in to the One. A few examples:
1. You can’t reduce icon size on the homescreen to fit in more icons in a row anymore
2. There are no profiles in settings. I could switch off wifi, turn on bluetooth, set GPS to fine accuracy, reduce phone volume, enable auto-answer and much more at the touch of a button as soon as I sat in my car. I had separate profiles for home, driving, office, outside and so on. And all that has gone poof!
3. There is no gallery app! Google photos is the only option inbuilt and it’s your problem if you’re in an area with bad network coverage.
4. The recent OTA upgrade causes the camera app to freeze and shut down. The only way to get it started again is to reboot. Good luck getting that impromptu shot!
5. The fingerprint sensor that worked perfectly out of the box has started acting up. Accuracy is down from 100% (literally) to about 60.
You get the idea…..
The thing is, it’s still a great phone. The battery easily lasts a heavy day’s work, the screen in crisp and bright, the charging is fast enough (no turbo-charge mode though), the RAM is more than spacious (I’ve never closed an app, ever), signal strength is good and audio quality is decent enough. The issues are more software based, but that was what got the company its fanbase, it would be sad to see them migrate to, well, all over the place.
I hope the SW issues will be cleared up by the relevant dev team soon enough and I’ll be back to enjoying a great phone at a great price and bloat-ware free! If anyone has the One, hold it close and never let it go; if you don’t, buy this and hope the niggles get sorted out.
And oh OnePlus team, if the second SIM slot could double as a MicroSD card slot in the OnePlus X, would it have killed you to provide the same in your flagship? 😛