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OnePlus 2 Review, Hands-on User Experience

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I was one of the few lucky ones to get the much coveted invite for OnePlus Two last week, and while I had 48 hours to make the purchase – it did not take me more than couple of hours to place the order. Keep in mind that I have been a OnePlus One user for about 8-9 months and it was not an easy decision for me upgrade.

Experts are still debating whether OnePlus One users should upgrade or not – and if you are in that boat, by the end of this post, you should get a clear idea whether to upgrade or not.

OnePlus Two was delivered to me by Amazon in less than 24 hours of placing the order (Yes, I asked for next day delivery) – and when the shiny red box arrived, I could not keep my hands off it for too long.

Right out of the box, OnePlus Two feels the stronger sibling to OnePlus One. At 175 grams, it is the heaviest smartphone I have used till date. The build is solid, and your hands feel that you are holding on to a sturdy device. Another thing you will notice is that like the predecessor, OnePlus team have give ample attention to detail on OnePlus two as well. Infact, I would say the look is sharper and more refined.

All the joints are flush and finish of the side metal frame is top notch. The magnesium and aluminum alloy housing with steel control keys and other accents give it a real premium feel and style. Any new person having a look at OnePlus two for the first time will want to check out the attractive monolithic slab that it is.

The phone that I ordered (which is also the only one currently available) was the 64GB storage and 4GB RAM Sandstone Black version.

Lets look at each aspect of this phone in greater detail

In The Box

The bright red box was quite attractive from out side, but inside the box, apart from the phone, only thing you will get is flat USB Type C cable and the charger adapter (apart from quick start guide and user guide)

The Build / Form Factor

As mentioned earlier, OnePlus two is thicker and on the heavier side at 175 grams. It is one of the sturdiest phone I have come across (atleast that’s what you feel in your hands). In comparison, the OnePlus One weighs 153 grams and is much thinner. We are not sure why so much extra weight on the phone, but we guess it must be due to larger 3,300 mAh battery and also the side frame which is Aluminum-Magnesium.

Dimensions of the phone, for those who want them, are 151.8 x 74.9 x 9.85mm

The back panel on the OnePlus two can be easily removed and you spruce up the phone with extra StyleSwap back panels that OnePlus has come out with, though they are steeply priced at around Rs. 1,700. We picked up the Bamboo version, and some of the photos below will show you how it looks.

Another thing, if you think OnePlus Two has a removable battery because of backpanel, it is not. The battery is actually concealed and you will need to go through hoops if you ever need to remove your battery.

Unlike most smartphones in the market right now, OnePlus does not have a small hole in the side, which when pierced brings the sim tray out. The OnePlus Two (henceforth called OPT) has smartly done away with it. Just open the back panel and pull out the Sim tray residing in the top-left portion of the phone.

Display

The display on OPT is more or less same as OPO, and still one of the best out there. It is 5.5-inch display with Gorilla Glass 4 protection. While I had expected the resolution to be atleast 2k before the phone was launched, it still remains at 1080p at a pixel density. In my actual use, I found the display marginally sharper than the OnePlus One, but nothing that a normal user would notice.

The side bezels are slim and the main display covers majority of portion. There is nothing to complaint about the display!

Specifications

OnePlus 2 specifications are top notch – there is no doubt about that. The CPU is 64-bit Qualcomm© Snapdragon™ 810 Octa-Core processor. The 810 SoC has been infamous for its heating issues, but the SOC on OPT is the upgraded 2.1 version, where Snapdragon seems to have addressed the issue to a large extent (more on that a little later).

The 4GB RAM is actually a overkill. I never needed that kind of RAM (in my limited 4 day usage). With over 20 apps open, I still had over 1GB RAM empty. When you do not have any apps open – More than 2GB of RAM is empty. One can safely say that OPT will never lag due to lack of RAM, whatever you throw at it!

The 3300 mAh battery lasts you a day of moderate usage. I had expected the battery to last more, but I guess the higher consumption seems to do more with the Oxygen OS more than anything else. OnePlus One lasted me equally with smaller battery. Having said that, battery is not something you need to worry about too much unless you spend inordinate amount of time only playing games.

As far as the connectivity goes, it has everything that you will need – supports every 4G band in India including 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz. OPT is a Dual SIM phone and both the SIMs support 4G connectivity.

I did not have any problem with holding on to 3G signals quickly. Every time I turned on the mobile data, in less than 5 seconds I had the ‘h’ showing up next to signal bars! The same was the case with GPS signals. Even when indoors, holding on to GPS signals was snappy

Audio

I want to specifically talk about Audio. Although the sound has good clarity, the speaker volume is low, much lower compared to OnePlus One. So, if you like to hear loud music through speaker, OPT may not be a good choice for you. Even on voice calls, the maximum volume is lower than average. OnePlus One had much higher volume than OPT.

The company claims that OPT has Dual-microphone with noise cancellation and I think the claim is true. Background noise is much lower and clarity of sound is higher.

[Note: My assessment on Audio may be subjective, others might feel volume is good enough, so depends on you]

Camera

Camera is probably the most important feature that most of the consumers look at. However, I am not sure what would be the most accurate way to put it.

The camera on OnePlus two is excellent, but the camera App is as shitty as it could get (Sorry OnePlus, you guys needed to do a better job of that camera app). It may be the case that I loved the Cyanogen Camera app, and Oxygen OS camera app does not come close it.

The worst part is when you click a picture and try to review it – you just can’t do it. You need to first double tap the picture and then you can zoom, and then you cannot slide to other pictures. It is extremely weird, and something that OnePlus needs to fix asap!

Having said that, the auto focus on Camera is super fast. The photos have very good details. In good lighting conditions, OnePlus two will shoot some of the best pictures out there, comparable to Samsung flagship or even Apple iPhone 6. In low light too, the photos have significantly less grain (my comparison is with OPO camera).

So, while the camera hardware on OnePlus Two is top notch, the camera app is leaves a lot to be desired. Fortunately, you can use third party camera apps, which in my view will do a much better job. 

[Note: We will soon be uploading pictures clicked by OnePlus 2. Bookmark this page and come back]

Fingerprint Scanner

Fingerprint scanner is awesome! I love it. It removes all your issues of fiddling around with you lock screen. It is fast and does the job perfectly. You just need to make sure that you set up your fingerprints properly (all of them). I did not expect it to work all that well, but I was pleasantly surprised with it.

There were times when the scanner did not work, but it was not the fingerprint scanner, but the OS itself that had frozen, and hence did not work

USB-C Port Charging

With USB Type C port, you do not need to worry about the top and bottom side, just plug it into the phone the way you want it and works beautifully. The drawback however is that you need to carry the USB-C cable everywhere. While there are mini USB to USB-C converters available, they are priced quite high at this point of time.

No CyanogenMod OS – Oxygen OS Not upto the Par

Oxygen OS is hands down the BIGGEST drawback with OnePlus Two. Yes, I do understand that the OS is young and has gone through less than less than 5 updates since it was born, but it still has to go a long way.

I must admit that Cyanogen OS has spoiled me. In last 8-9 months of my Cyanogen OS usage on OPO, the phone never froze. I could not say that even when I was using vanilla Android on Nexus phones.

When you move from Cyanogen to Oxygen, the issues feel even more exaggerated.

Atleast once a day, the OS freezes – while it comes back to life on its own in about 10-15 seconds, it is too frequent for anyone’s comfort. The home button freezes a lot and that is frustrating. There are few other smaller issues too, but I will need to use it for few more days to attribute it to the OS.

The only good thing (not a big one) I found about Oxygen OS is that it has a Shelf as a home screen where it shows you most frequently used apps and other useful things. It’s a good addition, but not something that a third-party app cannot achieve.

I am desperately waiting for Cyanogenmod OS to be ported to OnePlus Two. I will be the first one to get that!

Issues

OnePlus Two is a gorgeous phone – It is sturdy, powerful and good looking, but it does have some issues. About 90 percent of the issues are due to the OS / Camera app. For a few, low Audio volume may be an issue.

Please note – OnePlus 2 does not have NFC option, while it’s predecessor did – that might be a deal breaker for a few.

OnePlus 2 Pros OnePlus 2 Cons
  • Excellent Build
  • Gorgeous Looks
  • Fingerprint Scanner is fast
  • 4GB RAM
  • Dual Sim
  • Powerful
  • StyleSwap Back Panels
  • Lots of bugs in Oxygen OS / Half Baked OS
  • Low Volume
  • Camera App
  • No NFC

 

So, there you have it – I am sure I have missed quite a few things. But comments are open – shoot away and I will try to answer each of you!

"OnePlus 2 Review, Hands-on User Experience", 5 out of 5 based on 13 ratings.
  1. Sreekanth Yelicherla says

    Nice, simple and crisp review. I felt some review on processor and battery performance would have been better. Also the video quality and 1080p video playback

    1. Arun Prabhudesai says

      Processor is top notch..no complaints. But Battery performance is below par.. Battery definitely needs to improve. Video quality as well as playback compares with the best out there…

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