The OnePlus 2 was one of the phones I was looking forward to getting the most this year. Once I got it though the fun only lasted for a short while. The phone is great in it’s own respect, but the truth of the matter I lost interest just as fast as I got it. There are a few other factors that played into why I got rid of it so fast. But before we jump to any conclusions let me share with you my experience with the device. Because it really is a cool phone, but just not for me.
If you have followed my content regarding the OnePlus 2 you would know that I was rather pumped about getting one and I made it point to do my best to get one as soon as possible. Fortunately, through some connections I was able to order the phone during launch week, which was a lot sooner than I expected to get an invite to buy it. My excitement got the best of me for sure. However, it only lasted for a short while.
The main purposes of getting the OnePlus 2 was to use it as a secondary camera, create content about the phone, and simply have a fun phone to play around with. As I started using the phone though I began to realize it was not living up to all the #Hype. Honestly, I started to get a buzz kill as soon as Motorola announced the Moto X Pure Edition. But I tried to give the OnePlus the benefit of the doubt.
Recently, I have been using a smartphone to record some of my product reviews. The G4 and S6 produced really nice footage and I was hoping the OP2 would do the same, since it was dubbed as 2016 Flagship Killer I expected it would kill these 2015 flagships. Not so much. The footage from the OP2 in my not so professional expertise opinion came out over exposed and too bright. The focus does not work as I would like as well. It seemed to struggle to focus on the areas I needed to be focused on. Therefore the video quality was not as good as I hoped or compared to the G4 and S6. Once I began to notice the camera was just OK, my opinion and desire to have the device was drifting.
Camera quality on a smartphone is a big deal to me. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying the camera is bad, but it is not as good as the G4 or S6. Because of this matter, this gives a strike against the OP2 claiming it to be a 2016 Flagship Killer. How can you call it that and not be as good as current 2015 phones like the Note 5, LG G4, or Galaxy S6? Each year cameras get better and better especially with Samsung and LG phones.
Moving on to other elements of the phone that I think were not up to par. I found it quite irritating the USB Type-C was not a true USB Type-C. Yes it was in the shape of one, but that’s it. It is only USB 2.0. That’s just odd and pointless. Granted it is nice not to worry about what side of the cable to be plugged in, but I want to be quick charging as well. USB Type-C is also supposed to have faster data transfer. Since USB Type-C is not widely adopted yet and there are limited choices of having spare cables, it was not the set up I like concerning cables. Normally I have multiple cables for my devices. For example, I have a cable/charger in my bedroom, home office, work office, vehicles, and sometimes a spare in my bag. For the OP2 I had only one cable that I had to tote around everywhere. If I needed to charge or transfer files I had to have the slower USB 2.0 Type-C cable with me wherever I was at. Other devices I have owned like the S6 have quick charging it was great to charge it up rapidly. I could give more examples of why OnePlus dropped the ball with this supposed USB Type-C cable, but I think you get the point.
One of my favorite elements of the OnePlus One was the black (more like grey) Sandstone back. It feels amazing and is in my opinion the best material a phone has ever been suited up with. The material had a texture that caused me to never want a case to cover the back up at all. It’s just that good. The back was also solid and created a sense knowing you had a phone with great build quality. OK, so you get it, I like the back of the OPO a lot. The bummer is the OP2 back, while it is similar to it’s older brother it is not the same. It feels a lot like the OPO back, but the solidness is missing.
This year the OnePlus 2 has the option to easily remove the back to use SwapStyle covers. SwapStyle covers come in a few options like wood or carbon fiber. Those are cool and all, but what I noticed is there was a little play or air pocket between the inside of the back of the phone and the cover. Because of this the back no longer feels sturdy and solid. The back now gives the impression of being cheap. I mean the OnePlus One pretty much had a slab of some kind of stone as the back. How cool is that?
A few other points I want to bring up is the lack of wireless charging and NFC. These are two features most 2015 flagships have and becoming the standard of what is included with each device coming out at this point. Honestly, wireless charging is not too too much of a big deal to me, but it is nice to have. NFC is something I have started using more and more this year, especially with Google Wallet. Android Pay is rolling out as well. Again if you are gong to call yourself a 2016 Flagship Killer, how can you not have the same basic features as what 2015 flagships have? Granted the Moto X does not have wireless charging, but at least it has quick charging and NFC.
There are two sim card slots. They chose to have two sim card slots over installing NFC? They said people don’t use NFC. But from my experience, I don’t see many people at all using two sim cards. I would much rather have NFC over two sims card trays. Makes no sense to me.
Finally, the lack of all networks support. This is another blow to the OnePlus 2 comparing to the new Moto X because it, like the Nexus 6 can be added to any major carrier. If the OP2 had Verizon support it would be my current daily driver and I know I am not the only one who feels this way.
What I like
While there is plenty to not like about the OnePlus 2, there are still elements about it that I do like. For starters, the screen. The screen is only 1080p, but even in sunlight it was pretty good. Better than the LG G4. Not as good as the Galaxy S6. The screen resolution was tight. I say that in the cliche’ and technically way. The pixels look great and it was the first 1080p screen that I could say I could not tell as much a difference comparing to a 2k screen. The screen was on point.
The screen looked good, but it was also a good size. I do not like anything less than 5.5 inches, which is one of the reasons why I gave up the Galaxy S6. The S6 has a great looking screen and makes content pop, but I just can’t settle on a screen less than 5.5 inches.
Oxygen OS is what I like out of an OS. I like features. I used to say that I loved Stock Android, but I realized that in all reality it is missing features and I would end up loading a custom rom or xposed framework mods to have the features I wanted. For the most part anything like CM roms is what I like because they have the Stock Android vibe, but on steroids. Oxygen OS runs a lot like a CM rom. I don’t really find myself wanting or searching for features and can live with it being as is. There really isn’t a need to root or install a custom recovery unless you want to tinker or use rooted apps. Oxygen OS gives a great user experience.
I love the mute toggle switch! This is actually one of the things I like about iPhones. It’s a very useful switch to have. As a matter of fact OnePlus 2’s switch is better than the iPhone because it can toggle between three settings; mute, vibrate, full volume.
The fingerprint sensor is one of my new favorite must have features. I loved it on the Galaxy S6! The OP2 sensor works great as well. It was not what I was expecting though. For some reason I was expecting a clickable home button, rather it’s a capacitive button with a chrome border ascent. I think I would like a clickable button more, but it worked and gave no trouble for me. While on the subject of buttons, I am a fan of the capacitive button versus on screen buttons. There is also an option to customize where you want the buttons placed and what actions can be done. Very cool!
The build quality, other than the removable back, is solid. The metal frame is awesome. I appreciate such materials with phones like this because it adds to the quality of the device. Even when metal is added to phones like the Note 4 and still has a decent amount of plastic still makes the build that much better. My biggest gripe with the Note 3 was the plastic frame with painted chrome on it that ended up just rubbing off. With metal frames like on the OnePlus 2 it really makes it feel like a premium device. If you are like me, I like a little weight with a phone. It makes me feel like I am holding something and not some plastic toy. We spend enough of our money on devices that I want to have a premium feel, something I can feel proud of.
On the topic of money, the price is nice. Many people speculated the OnePlus 2 was going to cost $500+ and to our surprise they kept it under $400 for the 64Gb model (I don’t know why they bother with a lower GB model as they don’t release it for a while after launch). OnePlus actually set the bar with how GB pricing should be. Like last year, when you only have to spend an extra $50 for the next level of GBs, it only makes cents (see what I did there) to get the higher model. Now we are seeing some companies do the same thing, unlike Apple who overcharges their customers for extra storage. The price is great for what you are getting with the OnePlus 2.
I do feel like I need to add that for just about the same price the Moto X Pure Edition offers more features without the need of an invite to buy and can be added on any major carrier. Granted the price is better than most flagships, the OnePlus 2 was stripped of some features making it not as good as a buy compared to what the OnePlus One was like last year.
This next point might not be a deal breaker or big deal to anyone, but I did like the fact the phone and accessories came in one box this time. The OnePlus One’s charger came in a separate box. This time it’s all together, like it should be.
Much like the last point, this might not be a big deal, but OnePlus places a screen protector that can actually remain on the screen. You don’t necessarily have to get new screen protector, which is a little money saver for the customer.
While I said the removable backs is something I don’t like, concerning the air pocket, I do like there are replaceable backs. This is great for the person who does not use a case or simply likes a different texture over another. Personally, the Sandstone Black is my favorite. No matter what phone I get now, I always look for a case with a similar feel like the back. But if you like wood or carbon fiber more, this is a sweet deal for you. Being able to swap backs keeps the device looking fresh.
There are plenty of pros and cons about the OnePlus 2. This review simply went over my experience with the device and what I like and don’t like about it. I am sure that even though there are some cons that exist, you will still be happy with your purchase. It’s a great phone at a pretty good price. You’re gonna get a solid build other than the tiny air pocket between the back and SwapStyle Cover, pretty good camera, great performance, good battery life, great looking screen, and for the most part a great user experience. Overall, I want a device that gives me a great user experience and the OnePlus 2 definitely lives up to that desire.
You may be asking why I got rid of it. The answer is that I have to always be looking for ways to fund my device purchases. I pay for my devices out of my own pocket. I sold the OP2 because the window for selling at a great price was closing. If you did’t know, you can sell the OP2 for a higher price on places like Swappa.com because of the demand for the device. Put it this way, I was able to sell it for a good enough price for me to be able to buy a Note 5 for a really great price. The money I made off the OP2 directly paid for my Note 5. It was a deal/situation I could not pass up even though I regret giving up the OnePlus 2.
I like the OnePlus 2 a lot. Yes, there are some things I don’t like about it, but it’s a fun phone to have. My time with it was short lived, but it’s now time to move forward with other devices. At this point I would much rather put the money towards a Moto X Pure Edition.
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