There is still a lot to cover in regards to the self-proclaimed “flagship killer” that is the OnePlus One; today I’ll get to as much of it as I can, and also weigh in with some final thoughts on the device. I’m hesitant to call my collective writings over the course of this past week a “review”; I’m really only trying to give you enough information to help you decide whether or not the OPO is right for you.
Display and Screen
Viewing angles are very good and the screen is readable in bright sunlight… But what I really want to say here is that double-tap to wake is my new favourite thing. You can put your OPO back to sleep by double-tapping near the notification bar.
In regards to the lag issue that users are reporting when returning to the home screen from somewhere else, I think that must have something to due with Cyanogen’s Trebuchet Launcher—there’s no lag whatsoever with Nova, which is my go-to Android launcher anyway.
As you can see from the results above, the OPO is very capable of delivering fast data speeds on Bell’s LTE network in downtown Toronto. Had I cherry-picked some sweet spots that I know I could have yielded even better numbers, but I’m honest that way. 🙂
One small issue with my OPO has to do with the WiFi radio, which has timed out a number of times while in standby mode. Fixing it is as easy as toggling the connection, but I shouldn’t have to do that.
Audio and Call Quality
The OPO doesn’t actually have stereo speakers, just two very loud mono drivers at the bottom of the device. They don’t sound anywhere near as good as the front-firing speakers on an HTC One, nor anywhere as bad as the awful mono speaker on my Nexus 5.
As for call quality, I found the earpiece to be a little on the quiet side but very clear—in stark contrast to my Nexus 5, which is loud but somewhat distorted. Folks on the other end of a call with my OPO said I sounded fine.
The results from the AnTuTu benchmarking app… In real-world use the OPO is plenty quick, with more than enough horsepower for games and anything else you want to throw at it.
My OPO is now on its third charge. After charging overnight with my Nexus 5 charger battery life was nothing special; switching to the official OnePlus charger seems to get better results. I’m generally not ok with proprietary chargers, but almost 20 hours later my battery is sitting at 51%. Pretty happy with that!
I am definitely going to miss inductive charging, though…
When all else is said and done, the OnePlus One’s biggest shortcoming is its availability. All I can say about this is that it doesn’t really cost you anything to wait. If you’re coming off a carrier contract and are considering another one with a subsidized device then the OPO is probably too expensive a proposition for you anyway. Likewise, if you don’t live in the United States the OPO is less of a bargain than you might think. When all was said and done I paid $479.06 CAD for mine—$11.20 CAD more than a 32GB Nexus 5 from Google. Of course, such a small difference for a smartphone that is significantly better in almost every way is… well, astounding is what it is.
If you’re coming from any other Android device and have the opportunity to purchase a OnePlus One I don’t see how you could possibly be disappointed. You’ll get a SIM-free device with an unlockable bootloader, software that respects your privacy and is 100% free of carrier bloat—plus a spec sheet that you’d think was impossible for a sub-$500 device.
For those coming from a Nexus, particularly the small subset of users who are into custom ROMs, the OPO’s lack of availability is definitely putting the brakes on the development of custom firmware. I’m hopeful that the situation will improve as more devices make their way to this part of the world. Again, it doesn’t cost you anything to wait.
And when your number comes up like mine did last week, I say go for it. The OPO isn’t just a great smartphone, it’s an important one—a crowning achievement for Cyangoen, Inc. and, teething problems aside, a pretty amazing first effort from OnePlus. You want a number? Fine. 5 Howies out of 5. But if you want a better indicator of what I think of it, the OnePlus One is just about enough to wean me off my Nexus. And that’s a pretty big deal.