Three Things You Should Know About The OnePlus One

OnePlus Pre-Order Page

If you’re still on the hunt for the elusive OnePlus One, today might be your last chance to get one in your hands before year’s end.

Last month OnePlus retired its highly-criticized invite system and let customers pre-order their device on the company’s website. Apparently there were some technical issues, so a second pre-order window is opening up today between 11am and noon, Eastern Time. If you’ve already registered for a store account you can fill your virtual shopping cart—up to two devices plus accessories—beforehand, then go ahead and complete your purchase when the pre-order goes live.

I think any reasonable person would suspect that an unlocked, 64 GB, $349 USD “flagship killer” would have a few “gotchas”, as indeed, the OnePlus One does. I myself have done fairly extensive testing with two different units—one that ended up in last summer’s giveaway and another that’s with me on my desk as I write this—so I don’t think what I’m reporting here is a one-off production issue. Your OPO experience may end up being different than mine, but you should be prepared just in case.

1. It’s a fingerprint magnet.

At any given time there are way more fingerprints on my OnePlus One than on my Nexus 5, or any of the devices that I’ve recently used. I think it’s just a case of too-little oleophobic coating on the OPO’s display. Fingerprints may not bug you but consider also that this lack of protection makes your screen more prone to scratching. So adding a screen protector to your OnePlus order isn’t a bad idea. At the very least consider a case; I’m pretty happy with the TPU cases made by Diztronic.

2. You may experience connectivity timeouts.

This was an intermittent problem on my first OnePlus One, and is present again on my current unit. Basically, if you pick up your OPO after not using if for a while you may find that there’s no data connectivity—either with WiFi or through your cellular connection. It’s easily addressed by disabling and re-enabling the affected radio, but it can get annoying. The latest OTA from CyanogenMod—build 44S—seems to have helped a lot, but every now again I still pick up my OPO and find that the data connection has timed out.

3. CyanogenMod is better than stock Android.

So you’ve already figured out that a super-sized phone with gobs of storage that can shoot 4K video is a pretty good deal. What you may not know is that CyanogenMod gives you, the OPO user, an experience that I think is better than stock Android itself. Forget the eye candy of Android L; what I’m talking about is CM’s built-in permissions manager, which puts you in control over what apps can harvest from your device. Until Xiaomi starts shipping phones with LTE bands for the Americas you won’t be able to get this feature anywhere else out of the box.

I’m also having a lot of fun with Cyanogen’s theming engine. Unless I’m mistaken, the only other commercial Android firmware that lets you change your boot animation is again, from Xiaomi.

So there you go, just a few things—good and bad—to be prepared for with your new OnePlus One. Happy hunting!