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The OnePlus One has been dubbed as the unicorn device in the world of Android. If you’re not familiar with the OnePlus One it is a new phone from a new company that wasn’t even founded for a year at this point in time. OnePlus is the name of the company and the One is the first device. While the phone looks like a member from the same tree of OPPO Find 7/7a, OPO (OnePlus One) is deemed it’s own company. OP has put themselves on the map by means of an invite system to get the One. This invite system has cause quite the uproar because it sold at an amazing price of $299 for a 16GB version and $349 for the 64GB while rocking top of the line specs as we see with most flagships. OP’s marketing motto is the “Flagship Killer.” With all that said, is this One actually a flagship killer? I have had the OPO for about a week now, used it as my daily driver for a few days now and can give you some insight to my thoughts about the OPO at this point. Here are my top five things I love about the OnePlus One in no particular order.
1. CM11s Out of the Box CM11s is a catered version of Cyangenmod for the OPO. Cyangenmod is one of the top AOSP/stock Android roms. Catch is that is a beefed up version of Android. In my opinion this is the rom that should be run on Android devices. CM has SO many customization features. You can truly make the device your own. The OPO makes me believe that it is not necessary to root the device. It is built the way I want it. However, I do own some rooted apps and would miss some of those that I would normally use on a regular basis. But even some of the rooted apps I do not need with the OPO, such as screen recording because the One has it built in CM. CM11s is one of the best features of the OPO.
2. The Black Sandstone Back This is the first phone that I really don’t want to use a case with. The back of the Black Sandstone variant feels amazing! I put a cheap eBay special clear snap on case and immediately put a bad taste in my mouth. For the short amount of time with the OPO I am spoiled by the smooth yet rough feel of the back. It compares to the texture of a fine grade of sandpaper. It simply feels nice to the touch. I was pleased to find a case from AliExpress that has a similar material feel as the OPO’s back. I literally don’t want to use another case without the same feel as the Sandstone back. Honestly, this phone has made my Note 3 feel and look ugly compared to the OPO. The Note 3 feels cheap now.
3. The 5.5″ Screen The size of the OPO screen has become my favorite size. For me it is just right. Ever since the Note 3 came out it has been my go-to device, my favorite and daily driver. The Note 3 sports a 5.7″ screen which is massive for some, but not for me. I like big screens I cannot lie! OPO’s 5.5″ screen is large for some people, but not me. It actually has become my favorite size at this point. OPO designed the body to be slightly thinner compared to the Note 3 and even as small of difference there is, it is a welcomed difference. Because of the minor slimmer body of the OPO it makes it that much easier for one-handed use. Mind that I have large hands, the Note 3 I still had to shimmy up and down the device for one-handed use attempts and in all reality makes it is a two handed device. The OPO screen is well designed as far as size goes. I will say the Note 3 has a more vibrant screen and looks better in some cases, but the OPO still looks good and has more a warm hue to the screen. Either way both devices have a good screen and I enjoy using both.
Sound quality has become an important component for my devices. More so along the lines of call quality. Out of all the devices I have owned Samsung wins in this department and is my gauge to compare with other devices. I have never had an issue with not hearing well on the Note 3 or Galaxy S5/4/3. Of other recent devices the HTC One M8 ironically with BoomSound does not have a good call quality speaker. The Moto X was not that great either. While the OPO is not as good as a Sammy phone, it only ranks slightly lower compared to the Samsung phones I have used. I have not had a hard time hearing anyone during a phone call. The stereo speakers on the bottom get just an average score from me. They put out some sound, but not anything that sounds good. It’s very tingy and has no substance. The HTC One M8 has been by far the best speaker experience because of the sound quality and the placement of the speakers. The M8 also sounds great with earbuds. Like the M8, the OPO sounds good with earbuds. The EQ settings are some of the best stock sound settings I have used. Normally I install Viper for Android to make whatever device I am using sound good (to me). But the M8 and OPO have left me not needed to install apps like Viper for a better sound experience.
5. Price I can’t leave out the price point being one of my favorite things about the OnePlus One. I’ve been on the fence about switching networks and the Nexus 5 has had my eye for a little while. Mainly because it is an affordable price. I had the Moto X which is another phone at a great price. But the X was too small, the camera sucked, only 720p screen and the sound was a bit of an issue for me. I loved having a developer edition rocking a trueish stock Android experience and Moto has made some nice changes to their whole system. The N5 just wasn’t enough of phone for me to make that the phone to pull me over to the other side. Mind I am a Note 3 lover and I don’t think I would be happy with the N5 as I am with the Note 3. But the thing I realize is the Note 3 is a premium device priced respectively. Same with the N5 and Moto X. Therefore, I made a point to be patient and wait for either the Nexus 6 to come out and make the switch or await a coveted OPO invite. Sure enough as soon I as pretty much moved on from expecting an invite anytime in the near future; I get an email congratulating me on getting an invite.
I was happy, excited and anxious to try out not only the phone but if a new network was possible. This unicorn in this Android world is a great price with top of the line specs. Some of the same specs we see in this years flagships but for half the cost. To buy a new Galaxy S5 full retail you’d spend over $600. There is a 16GB version but for only $50 more you’re able to get 64GB in storage. Well worth the money. To put this in perspective. If you were to jump from a 16GB iPhone to a 64GB, you’d pay an additional $200.
In conclusion, The OnePlus One is probably one of the most controversial phone releases in smartphone history. Personally, I am psyched to have one in my possession. So far I am enjoying the phone, it has given me a new perspective and given me opportunities to explore a new Android experience. If you’re one of the chosen few to own the One, what are some of your favorite features and characteristics about the OnePlus One? Leave your comment below.
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