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OnePlus One Review

oneplus one review-7

The OnePlus One has grabbed more headlines over the past few months than almost any other phone outside of an iPhone. Some of them have been good, many have been, well, not so good. The phone boasts incredibly good specs with an equally good price point, yet the world isn’t able to buy one because OnePlus can’t seem to get their sh*t together. Apologies for the strong words, but this phone had the potential to be a game changer, yet here we are months after it was announced and the general public still cannot buy it.

We were lucky enough to pick one up because this is what we do for a living, but that also made this review quite difficult. You see, we have had our OnePlus for almost two months now and have absolutely enjoyed every minute with it. The problem is, reviewing it seemed silly if none of you could buy one for yourselves after we said our piece. Thankfully, more invites are about to open and a handful of readers have begun asking for this review in case they get the chance to buy one.

So, here you go – this is our OnePlus One review. 

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The Good


Specs

The OnePlus One, by all means, has top tier specs that match those found in the best flagships from the most well-known manufacturers, yet offers it all at an incredibly reasonable price. It may lack the QHD display of the LG G3, but the rest of the package is as good as it gets for mid-2014. The device sports a 5.5-inch 1080p LCD display, 3GB RAM, 16GB or 64GB of storage, 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, 3,100mAh battery, 13MP rear camera (Sony Exmor IMX 214 sensor), 5MP front camera, dual-bottom speakers, Bluetooth 4.0, and has LTE connectivity. If you put that up next to the Galaxy S5, you are looking at a very similar device that only differs in display and battery size, for the most part.

But again, you are getting all of that in a package that costs either $299 (16GB) or $349 (64GB), depending on the amount of storage you choose. The Galaxy S5 at full retail runs about $600, as does the HTC One (M8). The Nexus 5 and its ridiculously low $349 starting point can’t even compete with the combination of those specs and that price.

Price

At $299 (16GB, Silk White) and $349 (64GB, Sandstone Black), the OnePlus One is without a doubt the best value in tech. We can nitpick all we want about missing micro SD support or the non-removable battery or the terrible invite system for purchasing one, but that just seems so foolish when you consider everything else you are getting. As I just mentioned, the specs are by all means top-of-the-line, yet you are paying a price that normally accompanies “Mini” models of flagships or phones built specifically for emerging markets.

Display

The 5.5-inch 1080p JDI LCD display on the OnePlus One is very good. It might not contain the “wow” factor of the Galaxy S5’s 5.1-inch 1080p Super AMOLED, but it gets the job done. Now, I am fully aware of the growing number of OnePlus One owners who have taken to OnePlus’ forums to complain about yellowing in displays. Even readers of ours have experienced the issue. However, my display has had zero issues since it arrived back in early June. That’s not to say that OnePlus doesn’t have some quality control issues to overcome, it’s just that I can’t speak to them.

So, the LCD, again, is just fine on my unit. Brightness levels are quite good, the viewing angles are better than that of the LG G3, and contrast and color reproduction rivals that of the LCD on the One (M8). If you don’t like the look of the display out of the box, CyanogenMod lets you customize the hue, saturation, contrast, and intensity. In the images below, you are looking at the OnePlus in “Vivid” mode.

To me, the screen shows colors off with a warm tint. For example, the G+ share box looks a little orange-ish to me, when it should be red. The grey coloring behind the image of the G3 also shows a little yellow-ish to me as well, where it displays fully grey on the Galaxy S5. Thanks to the high brightness, the grey up top next to the DL logo is actually showing light enough, whereas the LG G3 shows it far too dark. Neither display matches the clarity and detail presented in the AMOLED on the Galaxy S5, though, which is capable of showing the triangle detail behind the DL logo.

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Again, I haven’t personally experienced the massive yellowing that others are in their OnePlus One units. For me, the 1080p LCD in the device has performed as I would have hoped. It’s not a best-in-class display, but it is far from the worst.

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Macros for fun.

Camera

I was sort of expecting the camera on the OnePlus One to be average at best, but it is actually quite capable. When phones are this affordable, the cameras are usually the first things that get downgraded in order for a company to hit their price point (think Nexus line and the Moto X), yet the 13MP shooter here is not something OnePlus should be ashamed of.

In terms of software, the CyanogenMod camera UI here is somewhat of a step to the past as a take on Google’s previous camera. The UI is simple and fully-featured, though. It has tap-to-focus, a simple set of menus and buttons for shutter/video/panorama. Once in the menu, you will find all sorts of settings from adjusting the image size to turning on/off burst mode to managing quality. You can tweak ISO, choose a focus mode, and even adjust shutter speed. If you swipe over to the video settings, you will find that the camera is capable of shooting in 4K, but also has time lapse and slow motion features. This is a fully featured camera.

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So how are the photos it takes? Pretty good, actually. You may not brag about the low light shots it snaps, but you also won’t be embarrassed to share them. Take a look at my whiskey shot below and decide for yourself. In good lighting, the OnePlus’ camera can take beautiful landscapes with accurate colors or macros that don’t skimp on details. I am fully satisfied with the OnePlus One camera out of the box, but I am also looking forward to playing with all of the shooting modes and settings that can be adjusted in the camera UI. This camera is one that you feel like you can continue to explore throughout ownership because of its versatility.

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Battery Life

Apologies for not having screenshots in this section like we typically do, but for some reason during my thorough testing of this phone, I wasn’t snapping shots of the battery life each night. That is super odd and I have no explanation for it. With that said, battery life, thanks to the 3,100mAh battery, is not something you are ever going to worry about with the OnePlus One. If there is one phone I have tested over the last couple of years that could be crowned “Battery Champ,” this would be it. From taking it on bachelor party weekend trips to Bend, OR to 5-day stays in San Francisco for Google I/O, this phone was always there when I needed it because of its single-charge life. I can’t actually tell you a time where I was worried about this phone not lasting until day 2 after unplugging in the morning. I often wouldn’t even plug it in at night because I was trying to see how long it would last.

If you are looking for a battery beast, the OnePlus One is it. I guess there is a benefit to these oversized phones, in the end – big ol’ batteries.

Performance

Thanks to its Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHz and 3GB of RAM, the OnePlus performs like any good flagship phone should. There is an occasional hiccup or stutter here and there, which I found often when pressing some of the on-screen buttons, but nothing that would make me say the performance is bad or somewhere-in-the-middle. From swiping down something as simple as the lock screen to unlock, to accessing Google Now via swipe-up on the home button, to jumping in and out of apps through the app switcher, the OnePlus is mostly buttery smooth. The camera can be pretty slow to load, though, even through the lock screen or circle-gesture shortcut. Some of the animations on the phone also seem a little snail-like at times, but you can fix that in Developer options by reducing animation scales.

CyanogenMod

The OnePlus One is more or less a CyanogenMod (CM) phone, since it runs a custom version of the popular Android ROM. Outside of the top tier specs, the fact that it runs CyanogenMod is actually a pretty major selling point for this device. CM, for those new, is a lot like stock Android, but it adds in all sorts of customizable features that the real tinkerers in the building will truly appreciate. As an added bonus, you get all of the CM goodness without having to worry about rooting or flashing a ROM like you would with any other phone. So even if you aren’t into tinkering like our ROM addicts are, you can start getting into the idea of what a custom ROM has to offer by using CM on a phone like the OnePlus One.

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Some of the added bonuses here include access to CM’s Theme Showcase, there are customizable quick settings toggles, it runs a beefed up Google Now-like launcher out of the box, improves upon Google’s older camera, lets you add in additional shortcuts to the Google Now home swipe, and includes pre-installed apps that are actually useful, like an impressive sound equalizer, file manager, screen recorder, and really nice gallery app, for those not into Google’s Photos app.

The Theme Showcase is probably my favorite, as it lets you completely change the entire look of the software on your device very easily. CM’s Theme Showcase app lists out full themes, icons, wallpapers, styles, boot animations, and more, all of which can be downloaded with a couple of taps and then applied with another. For example, my OnePlus now looks like it runs Android L, yet I have the stability of Kit Kat behind it.

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But like I mentioned, CM also includes a really great sound equalizer called AudioFX that lets you customize sound on your device for the internal speakers, headsets, bluetooth connectivity, and more. The Screencast app allows you to take video as you browse around your phone, in case you need to show off anything to friends. And finally, the Gallery app brings back simplicity, along with a couple of different ways to sort photos for easier viewing. You can even add additional sources to the Gallery app, like Dropbox, Google+, Flickr, and Facebook.

Overall, CyanogenMod 11s on the OnePlus One is pretty awesome. Who doesn’t love stock Android combined with features you typically only get on a custom ROM?

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Sandstone Black Cover

This is sort of a random note to add to our “good” section, but the back cover on the Sandstone Black model of the OnePlus One is one of the coolest back covers you will ever touch. It comes off initially like it might be rough, but then you touch it more and it feels like textured rubber or felt or some kind of combination of the two. It’s not matte, nor is it gloss. It is somewhat tacky to the touch, yet not so much that pocket lint is going to stick to it. It doesn’t grab any fingerprints, so you won’t ever have to wipe it down, but it also seems pretty durable. This is one of those features that isn’t really supposed to be a feature, though you find that you want it on every phone you own going forward.

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Somewhere-in-the-Middle


Size

A few weeks back, I talked a lot about how frustrating it has been to watch phone manufacturer after phone manufacturer continue to make phones bigger and bigger, all of which now require two hands in order to use. I like phones that can be used with one hand, I really do. In the end, I feel like I have had to give in to the oversized phone, because well, I don’t have any other choice. So with the OnePlus One carrying a 5.5-inch display in a body that is 152.9×75.9×8.9mm, I can tell you that I wasn’t excited at first to begin using it, but over the course of the last couple of months I haven’t exactly hated it.

There is no getting around it – this phone is big. But thanks to the option to switch to on-screen navigation keys, it doesn’t feel quite as big at times. Or, you at least get to hold the phone in a way that seems to make the size not so overwhelming if you ditch the capacitive buttons. Also, OnePlus placed the lock and volume buttons on the sides of the device in perfect locations, so that you don’t ever have to adjust your hand in order to hit them. They even included a double-tap-to-wake feature in CyanogenMod to make waking and locking your device a breeze, which often times lets you interact without ever needing to press a button.

In the end, the size is something you need to think about before buying. The phone is large, requires all sorts of shimmying to get to all corners of it, and could be a shocking leap if you were to come from something like the Moto X. With that said, OnePlus and Cyanogen have done enough tweaking to the hardware and software to make one-handed use not quite as difficult as you might think. Take it from the guy who hates large phones – the OnePlus isn’t all that bad even with its size.

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The Not-so-Good


Availability

There are negatives and then there are negatives in the review game. The availability of the OnePlus One falls somewhere deeper than any negative has ever fallen before. What I mean is that while we have nothing but good things to say about this phone, none of that matters in the end because none of you can buy it. Look, we get it – OnePlus is a new company that is experiencing early growing pains as it tries to make a big splash in an ultra-competitive smartphone world. It has created one hell of a package, but who cares if you can’t get that package in the hands of the people that matter. If the readers of this site can’t buy your shiny new, disruptive phone, then what’s the point?

Until OnePlus can figure out how to sell phones to you directly without a gimmicky invite-only system, they are never going to succeed.

At one point, OnePlus told us that by the end of June, almost everyone should be able buy the Sandstone Black model without much fuss. We are closing in on the end of July and they are still working exclusively with limited amounts of invites.

Not Water and Dust Resistant

I gave the LG a knock for leaving out official water and dust resistance ratings in the G3, so I have to do that with OnePlus as well. The phone can be seen all across the internet in puddles and other water tests, thanks to early buyers of the device looking for another pageview, but just understand that the device is not officially rated for any water use. If you drop your phone in a toilet or pool, consider yourself lucky if it survives.

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Other Notes


  • AT&T Connectivity:  I used the phone on AT&T and had no issues connecting to their 4G LTE or GSM networks. Their official spec list doesn’t exactly show T-Mobile support, so proceed with caution there. The One uses a micro SIM card.
  • T-Mobile connectivity:  A number of readers weighed in after we posted this to share their experiences with the One on T-Mobile. Sounds to me like the phone works just fine on T-Mobile. To get more on their experiences, hit up the comments.
  • Replacement covers:  During my writing of this review, OnePlus unveiled their first replaceable cover, which is made of Bamboo. The cover will be available later in August for $50. It looks hot; I cannot wait to get a hold of one.
  • No wireless charging, micro SD support:  The phone does not have built-in wireless charging or a slot for micro SD storage. If you buy a version of the One, you should probably go with the Sandstone Black model, which has 64GB of storage.
  • Gestures:  Out of the box, the OnePlus includes activated gestures for turning on the flashlight, launching the camera, or playing music with your screen off. Mostly, they are terrible as they tend to fire off in your pocket, snap photos, blast music, or shine bright lights when you least need them to. You can turn them off in Settings>Interface>Gesture shortcuts.

Video


Gallery


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The Verdict


Part of me will tell you without hesitation to fully consider the OnePlus One as your next phone. You are getting top tier specs that compete with the big dogs, wrapped in a package that is beyond affordable. The CyanogenMod experience is awesome, thanks to the massive amount of customizable options included. The camera is solid. Battery life is out of this world good. The build quality is better than you would find from a Samsung phone and is up there with the Motorolas of the world. After spending the last couple of months with this phone, I still can’t believe that this is being sold for $299 and $349. The OnePlus One is easily one of my favorite phones of the last year.

But here is the deal – the other part of me wants to tell you to completely forget about OnePlus and their ridiculous invite system. You shouldn’t have to fight for or smash phones or enter contest after contest in order to be given the right to buy a phone. We do not know if they will ever make it widely available. They are failing over and over to deliver on timelines. Reports of quality issues with the displays they are using are filling up their forums by the day. The company can’t seem to do anything right.

In the end, should you happen upon an invite, I would tell you to strongly consider buying the phone because it really is that good of a phone. If invites, broken promises, and potential quality issues are something you don’t want to deal with, by all means turn to the other handful of amazing phones that are readily available, like the LG G3.

  • E. Batista

    I don’t mind the capacitive buttons but I wish that they don’t switch them around.

  • بشار العسولي

    iiif you need best andriod apps >hacking<apps>>>you should get in ::

    http://adf.ly/rLDhC

  • EngineerGunter

    I’m happy to say that I got an invite and bought it this morning! As soon as they roll out updates my way, I’ll probably sell them to pay for my device!

  • Андрей МАЛАХОВ
  • alvinsmith

    OnePlus One 4G FDD-LTE Quad Core 2.5GHz CyanogenMod 11S 5.5 Pollici …

    Prodotto link:http://www.lenteen.it/tag-OnePlus-One.html

  • One+1 fandroid

    I got one of the phones 🙂

  • Teehee

    By the time this phone comes out for everyone to buy, Snapdragon 810 phones will flood the market.

  • Thesius

    I came over this phone about 17 days ago, and now I have two in the mail coming my way. One International and one Chinese version, both 64GB. So I wouldn’t say it’s that hard to get.

  • globalissues

    i wish this big companies would think of giving back to society and by providing technology invest in human capital in Africa

  • GutterIsATool

    I got an invite a month ago. The hardest part about the decision to order was figuring out how to tell my wife that I won the opportunity to send some random Chinese startup $350.

    (I’m still waiting for invites to give away, so don’t bother asking)

  • Brian

    love the OPO. i have had it for 3 days and i still cant get over the quality and performance.

  • Tim

    I have the yellow screen and their customer service sucks and pretty much said screw u return it if u don’t like it. The phone is fantastic other than that. And battery life is much improved with another kernel.

  • Torrey Shelton

    Oppo Gangnam Style except their phone availibility is complete opposite of the Gangnam Style view count

  • I actually was able to get an invite and purchase one – received it in 3 days without error. The device is the news standard and other OEM’s will follow. Yes, the sales tactics are wack but the product makes up for the drama once you can experience it. 1+1 has been giving invites out via email and Google+. I have compared it to the LG G3 and OPPO Find 7 and walked away very happy.

  • chris_johns

    truly hope moto makes the future moto x type phones top tier at $350-$400 price points….so i can get a phone and not a phablet at a good price out of contract…that works on the top network in our country

  • Aaron C

    “more invites are about to open” — ohmygodohmygodohmygodohmy – wait… I just realized I don’t care anymore.

  • markgbe

    Yeah this didn’t work out…… give me the Nexus 5 2014.

    • oscarandjo

      Why didn’t it work out? I’ve got my phone and it’s brilliant.

      • markgbe

        I’m guessing their goal was to sell phones to more than just you, LOL.

        There is zero chance that they are in the green right now.

        • needa

          being in the green three months in was not their goal. their best hope, which they have announced to the world, is to come out even on the phones and maybe make a bit of money on the accessories.

  • Casefanatic

    Some nice cases already at http://www.casefanatic.com/oneplus-one/

  • Rafael Cedeno

    Got my invite yesterday and bought 2!!

  • thepowerof

    Great review! The invite system is pretty lame, but I was lucky enough to get one and I’m really enjoying this phone (a lot).

  • flyinggerbil

    Pass.

  • epps720

    I’m one of the ones who has the yellow band issue and honestly if I hadn’t heard of it a million times before I received my phone not sure I would have noticed it. Issue is once you know it’s there it’s hard to not see it. My GPS is broken on my phone, as well. Downloaded a ‘GPS Status’ app and my phone won’t even notice a single satellite. Had a co-worker do the same on his Moto X and he had like 25 satellites showing. The weird thing is, even with all these issues I still really like this phone (still getting used to the size) which says a lot. Some say the yellow band will go away with time, but I really need to get this GPS issues fixed. Submitted a ticket yesterday, let’s see how their tech support is.

    • epps720

      quick update – yellow band seems to be getting slightly better day by day and the GPS issue went away with a factory reset

      • Justin W

        Thanks for the update! GPS is so critical to me, I hate when it’s broken. That had me concerned for a minute.

        • epps720

          Sorry just saw this response. I was too quick to speak GPS was actually broken. Submitted a ticket which took them like 4 days to respond but once they responded they were very attentive. They had me test a few things and send a debug report to the CM team. Looks like I may have a one off issue. They said instead of having me wait for the fix to come through (they don’t have timing) they allowed me to submit an RMA. The initial waiting was annoying but they were good in the end. Giving them a lot of leniency.

  • alexander307

    uptil I
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    friend woz like they say truly taking home money in there spare time on their
    apple laptop. . there great aunt haz done this for only about twenty three
    months and a short time ago repayed the mortgage on their condo and got a
    great new audi . visit

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  • disastrousrainbow

    I wish more phones came with Verizon’s network support out of the box. Then I could just throw my existing SIM on there. Remember how people discovered (or not, I mean it was a listed frequency) that about the Nexus 7 on Verizon’s network before it was ever “certified” and were doing that? That’d be nice because I’d give this phone a shot.

  • bethcwhitehorn

    Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail

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  • kanuj

    No doubt the way phone hardware is good but 2-3 things are of concern is cyanogen mod stable bug free they release ao many custom roms and each one has bugs, not undermining cyano team of developers but a normal office going person cant flash new roms everyday to fix bugs and get stability. Normal customers need rock solid rom least possible bugs. Second thing is aftet sales service and support and software updates which makes a no buy. Only buying it for hardware without good support on software is not right.

    Cheers
    Kanuj
    Candytech.in

    • They key difference is the software on the One, CM11S is built by paid software engineers at Cyanogen, Inc. They work around the clock to squash bugs and perfect the source code and make it work as flawlessly as possible on the One.

      The software you find on custom ROMs, CM11 is built and maintained by community members doing this in their free time. Device support is only as good as the community behind it. Most of these ROMs are hacked together because the proper hardware integration is made impossible because of the OEMs skin.

      How long does it take Samsung, HTC or Moto to push out updates? Sometimes major updates take months and month to push out, and customers suffer from buggy software. Cyanogen, thus far has been pushing out fairly major updates on a monthly schedule. That’s extremely impressive and something you won’t find from any other major software vendor.

      • kanuj

        I do appreciate the hardwork done by Cyanogen mod team , but I think it will just take some more time for them to mature to roll out roms which will be rock stable, yes I agree even google and samsung also need to update the roms quick to fix bugs, hope Cyanogen mod team find there mojo soon ….

        Rgds
        Kanuj
        candytech.in

        • Ok, so….I think you’re completely missing the point or you’re just trying to spam your sh*tty website. I’m not sure which?

          Cyanogen, Inc (the one’s responsible CM11S for the One+ One) has absolutely nothing to do with CyanogenMod (what you find in custom ROMs). Yes, both use the same code base, but CM11S is a forked version, only for the One+ One.

          I think you’re a little confused. CM11S is not a custom ROM if that’s what you’re thinking. It’s a closed source OS, just like TouchWiz or LG’s skin. It’s updated by Cyanogen, Inc, just like Samsung or LG would update their own software.

          CM11 custom ROMs for all other phones are unofficial ports built by freelance developers in their free time. There is ZERO promised support for each device and there never will be. We are lucky they even try to hack CM11 onto devices, let alone figure out ways to make hardware work with software it was never meant to.

          I think your expectation of mature, rock stable custom ROMs is a little silly to expect for devices that aren’t meant to have the software and often times will never be bug free because of hardware driver issues (among other things), which is far beyond the CM community’s control.

          I guess in the end, I’m just trying to make sure you distinguish that the team behind the software on the One+ One has little to no affiliation with the people behind the community version of CM.

        • kanuj

          are u removing comments now this is shame ful…

      • kanuj

        you guys are professional was expecting professional reply not an outbreak of some other frustration here

  • Matt L

    I’ve got the phone and I have been nothing but happy with it. But yes, the invite system sucks.

  • Howard Lin

    What happen to the wife test? 😉

  • T_Dizzle

    I wish I could leave Verizon for this phone but alas I’m stuck because I love my family.

    • If you’re on Verizon, you don’t love your family that much.

      Instead of just f*cking yourself, Verizon is f*cking your wife and f*cking your kids. F*ck Verizon.

      • T_Dizzle

        Drama much? I have Verizon because of their coverage in our area. If there is an emergency you have to have a signal to call for help.

  • Hans Dirk Kwazneski

    Sooooo keep Red Nexus 5 or this?

    • I upgraded from a white Nexus 5. I’d recommend it. The One is better in pretty much every way.

      • Hans Dirk Kwazneski

        Thanks Steve, I think the only thing I’d miss then is wireless charging.. I may pick one up if I get an invite within a month. If not. No thanks

  • bwash30

    wow all the hate for the invite system I’ve gotten 4 invites already without entering a single contest or anything. The only thing I did was join their forums and talk about the phone like I would so on any other site.. Goes I’m lucky.

    • Ryan Chapman

      Should have bought all 4 of them and sold them off then….

  • StankyChikin

    This thing still exists?

  • Colts5609

    Typing this from my OnePlus, I agree with most everything this review had to say. I have the yellow banding issue near the bottom of my phone, but it is not a deal breaker for me. Yes, I wish it was perfect but I can easily overlook it. Plus it is only visible when the bottom of the screen is pure white. Any other color and it is almost impossible

    • napes22

      Same here. The yellow banding is unfortunate, but if you use on screen buttons, you almost never notice it. I use the capacitive and only see it on white backgrounds. The phone flies, and it’s super light compared to my Note II. My only hope is that the company opens its eyes and helps those with the yellow banding. I doubt that will ever happen thought.

  • Kane Desousa

    The s5 isn’t sharper then this… What? Pentile matrix and all…

  • Wilbur

    Is that an asian horse behind the water glass?

  • shamatuu

    The invite system is going to not going to attract the public until i can buy it unlocked from their site or have it on T-mobile. I say skip it and get any flagship phone or wait for the holiday season that are probably be better than this phone when that time comes.

    • needa

      you can have it on t-mobile, it comes unlocked, and you can buy it on their site with an invite.

      • shamatuu

        That’s the issue. It’s only a invite and i don’t see that changing any time soon

  • A

    What about the speakers?

    • The speakers are amazing. Not as good as M7/M8, but far better than anything else on the market by a long shot.

      They come close to the volume of the M8, but the sound is not as good. For what they’re able to produce, the clarity is pretty great without becoming distorted like so many phones do at higher volumes.

  • John Whitehead

    Great review! Is there anybody that can give me an invite?

    • guest

      Vzw suppor? and a free invite? Sorry dude but invites are going for 100 on eBay, and you will never see gsm international phone on Vzw…

      • John Whitehead

        Yes. It is completely wishful thinking. But, how difficult is it to add the CDMA bands to the phone by the manufacturer. I know that T-Mobile has a bring your own device program and it would be very nice to add a variety of phones to any carrier that you choose.

        • It’s actually very difficult to add the required CDMA bands because Verizon would make it a requirement to be in control of software updates.

          Once Verizon goes VoLTE and finally kills their CDMA network 5-10 years from now, then we can finally have a truly global phone that can work on any network. Until then, you’ll be forced to use Verizon’s crap infested phones.

  • acras

    Kellex, thank you for a great, honest review. Not downplaying the biggest negative of this phone, the silly games and invite stupidity, and your hesitation to even review it gave an extra measure of credibility . Although I question the taste of destination for a bachelor party weekend, this has solidified my choice to look to a different phone, even if they ever truly release it. I need a phone that works on Tmo frequencies , and want wireless charging for when the micro usb port craps the bed.

  • Guilermo
  • Tillmorn

    Kellen, two questions for you:

    1) Is the battery life so godly simply from running CM, or did OnePlus do some tinkering with the physical brick to boost performance?
    2) What whiskey did you have in the glass? I’m always looking for new bottles to try and potentially stock.

    • I can answer number 1 since I also have the phone.

      There’s really four things at work here:
      1) The Snapdragon 801 is insanely power efficient;
      2) The IPS display has proven to be incredibly power efficient as well;
      3) The 3100 mah battery is a massive amount of battery juice;
      4) Yes, CM11S has been highly optimized to maximize battery on the One.

      • Tillmorn

        Hmm. In theory then, if we happen to get the bootloader unlocked and CM on board with the G3, we could expect massive battery life gains as well. As long as we can tame the power hungry screen that is.

        • Yes and no. The G3 is probably already optimized as good as it’s going to get. CM for the G3 will be just like any other CM ROM. Support will only be as good as the community of developers behind it.

  • Talbot

    This phone is essentially VAPORWARE. It is impossible to buy. And it’s pricing is a deliberately unsustainable marketing gimmick to gain exposure. Hardly anyone owns one. This is barely more than something you would see on Kickstarter. One Plus has not proven they can mass produce a phone and sell it to a large market. The hype it is getting is ridiculous.

    • You mad bro?

      • kanuj

        how dare u calling people mad

      • Talbot

        Frustrated more than mad. This company is basically just a hype machine. It won’t last. Enjoy being one of the few who got one.

  • CJ

    I have one and I don’t recommend it due to the horrible customer service/support provided by OnePlus. My unit arrived with a dent in the chrome surround, 3 raised nubs on the black surround of the screen, and it will randomly refuse to charge. Trying to file a ticket on the OnePlus site was impossible for 5 days and there’s no other way of contacting them. I finally filed a dispute with PayPal which OnePlus also didn’t respond to until I escalated it and demanded my money back. Now I’m stuck in an email back and forth with them not offering me the one thing I want which is my money back. I wish I had read their forums before buying the phone as I surely wouldn’t have had I seen the way they handle customer complaints.

  • objektiv_one

    I bet the won’t use this review on their social media! Go @kellex:disqus

  • PuzzleShot

    Am I the only one who didn’t realize that there are triangles behind the Droid Life logo before this review mentioned them?

    • Alex Niehaus

      I actually only noticed it on my tablet and not that long ago to be honest lol. Never saw it once in my gs3 and barely can see it on my m8

    • Cory S

      Yeah they show up clear as day on my N5…but not my desktop

    • Pakmann2k

      Mind blown! Can’t see em on my PC but I can on my Droid Ultra.

    • That means your monitor isn’t calibrated properly, its grayscales aren’t allowing the triangles to come through. I use a Spyder4 Pro for calibration and I can see them perfectly on my monitor.

    • I knew they were there. They subtle. I can see them fine on my One.

  • calculatorwatch

    What baffles me is why they didn’t make the phone more expensive. Clearly the demand far outweighs the supply for this device. They could easily charge $100 more for each handset and they wouldn’t be selling any fewer units than they are now.

    • John Whitehead

      I agree. Compared to many of the devices selling above $500, it is a deal. The only drawback is AT&T and T-Mobile carriers. Verizon has far more coverage here than ATT, T-Mobile. I wish Verizon would add companies like 1+ and Sony. I am not a big Samsung fan. I do love my M8 though.

  • Matt G

    I hate that people keep supporting this company’s invite system. The sooner people stop caring the sooner this company might start taking producing this phone seriously

  • yankeesusa

    All the invite junk will probably hurt this company a lot. But after getting this phone it is one of the best phone i have had and it is cheaper than the n5 32gb which has worst battery life and doesn’t feel as good as the one plus. I really want the g3 but for now I will hold on to the one plus.

  • lagnis

    Works fine on T-Mobile. Hands down the best phone right now.

    • lagnis

      I just put an LG G3 in my stable which includes Nexus 5 and OnePlus One. N5 and G3 are in the drawer.

      • JSo

        Dang, how much do you spend on phones?

        • Matt G

          I’ll take that G3 off your hands

          • lagnis

            So far in the couple hours spent with the G3 (power on, set up, root), I am most curious about the battery life. The OnePlus is as noted, the battery monster. I’ve never had a phone I didn’t need to top off during the day before!

        • lagnis

          Too much.

    • yankeesusa

      Yea I have it on tmobile and so far it is great. At work i normally get 28mbps on my nexus 5 and now with this phone I get 31 or higher constantly. Only problem is I hope it accepts the wideband tmobile upgrade that the nexus 5 was able to get.

    • Chris Hilbert

      No HD Voice though. I have been sending T-Mobile lots of tweets asking what the deal is….sounds like it’s on T-Mobile’s side according to CM team and the bug I submitted.

  • Piotr G.

    I have the OnePlus One and I’ve been using it for a few days already but with my T-Mobile JUMP eligibility coming up this Saturday, I’m not entirely what the hell to do, keep the 1+ or jump to the G3. I haven’t noticed any yellowing issues, and the battery is one of the best I’ve ever had on any phone!

    • lagnis

      Keep the OnePlus!

    • oscarandjo

      Keep the Oneplus One. The G3 has apparently got worse battery than the OPO by a couple of hours – No need to upgrade if you don’t need to. Also, I don’t know if it’s the same in the US but in the UK if you chose not to upgrade your contract price decreases because you aren’t paying for a phone.

  • mcdonsco

    I got an invite for the one plus while on vacation (and thus not checking email regularly)…expired 24 hours after receipt…wtf?

    F oneplus, they can kiss my ass with their dumb ass invite system.

    Either sell the f’ing phone or don’t!

    • Chris Hilbert

      Did you try the coupon later? I know a person who’s invite was missed, still worked a week later.

  • Jay96815

    I got my OPO phone on Monday 7/21/14 (the invite came the previous week) – it arrived faster than promised, as did the OPO covers I ordered. I’m using it as WiFi only at the moment as I’m moving my cell account to AT&T. There was an OTA update almost as soon as I booted it – and you can go into settings and see the changelog so you know exactly what it was that changed. Also in settings, display, is something called Screen Color – you can set the brightness to standard, vivid, or custom. This is in addition to the brightness display. Love the CM11s customizations and themes. I know some people are twisted about not being able to get it NOW – for me it just made me want it more. OnePlus, for me, has built a real nice phone, at an incredible price, that lets me customize the heck out of it. I’m totally happy I switched phones – just hoping my experience with AT&T goes well!

    • mcdonsco

      Curious with cm11 if your google maps navigation works? I was running cm11 on my g2 while in Hawaii last week and it couldn’t lock onto a GPS signal for crap…I had the tot method to restore to factory on my laptop already so I did that real quick, went through the ota’s and ioroot and google maps navigation worked flawlessly.

      So I’m wondering if cm11 in general has issues with GPS navigation?

      • Jay96815

        I don’t really have an answer for you – I take the bus everywhere here (I live in Honolulu) so I don’t use Google Maps for nav. What I will say is that on my current phone – HTC One m7 – carrier is Verizon – GPS isn’t all that accurate. When I sit at home – the display shows that I’m almost 4 blocks away. So, on a normal basis, I had GPS turned off ..

      • oscarandjo

        GPS works great, there are always incompatibilities with certain phones with CM but since Cyanogenmod had access to all the documentation, drivers etc for this phone everything works great. I’ve had it for over a week and it’s brilliant.

  • JSo

    The only thing they really did wrong with this phone is not make the on screen buttons and capacitive buttons the same layout. Why did they switch the back and recents buttons? That would bug me.

    • yankeesusa

      Yea. If the capacitve buttons were the same as the on screen buttons I’d use the capacitive buttons and get even more screen.

      • lagnis

        Just enable expanded desktop so the on screen keys automatically hide. Problem solved. They never should have included capacitive keys on this phone but I’ll overlook that error.

        • yankeesusa

          Thanks for the tip.

    • oscarandjo

      You can rearrange and add more on screen buttons doing different things. It’s so customisable.

      • JSo

        I’m talking about the capacitive buttons. Pretty much all phones with on screen buttons have the back button on the left and the recents button on the right. Thats how stock android has them. They made their capacitive buttons (which cannot be changed) the opposite.

        • oscarandjo

          Ah, the capacitive buttons are in the same place as my S2 so I didn’t notice.

          • JSo

            Well the Galaxy phones are backwards. lol

  • bimsebasse

    Once again I’m amazed I apparently live in a world where everyone drops their phones in water all the time, making waterproofing a strong selling point. Maybe I should start considering my ability to keep all my tech away from toilets and pools for 15+ years and counting some sort of super power? Am I some lame class of x-men?

    • Mech_Engr_09

      You’re in some lame class, but sadly it’s not x-men. Maybe xxx-men, meaning you have sexual intercourse with men.

      • bimsebasse

        That’s cool, saying someone is gay online. You should be proud of your wit.

      • jmashis

        If you have to explain the joke…

      • Nerds Logic

        Killed your own lame joke. Nice

      • Patrick Crumpler

        Sex with men is awesome.

    • JSo

      In all my years, I have never dropped my phone in water either. Or broke a screen by dropping it or anything.

      • Me neither

      • flosserelli

        You realize that you just jinxed yourself, right?

      • Congrats, but there is always a first. When that time eventually happens, would you rather not have to worry about it since the phone was built to withstand water or a drop? Everyone always says “I’ve never dropped my phone”, until they eventually drop it.

        • JSo

          That’s why I pay for insurance.

          • Steveo

            Which insurance is actually worth the monthly cost + deductible?

          • flo-person

            SquareTrade

          • shelooga

            i found best buys to be worth it. 10$ a month, no deductible, covers every single thing seemingly. im on my 4th note 2 since it launched. 1/2 years? 180$ for 3 additional phones. plus i paid the full price originally to keep unlimited data.
            cocaine is a helluva drug

          • JSo

            Any insurance that prevents me from buying another full price phone if something happens to it. Insurance isnt that much.

          • Patrick Crumpler

            None. Figure $120/year and $100-150 deductible. Plus you can’t greet insurance on the One+ or any other phone not bought through a carrier. Or can you. At $350 your better off without insurance.

            I feel like the G3 it is a bit of a miss that they didn’t include water resistance of some sort. Still got the G3 though.

          • Yup, I did that too the first time I dropped it. Until I accidentally dropped it while on vacation, then I had to go the whole week without a phone, luckily I didn’t run into any emergencies.

      • chris_johns

        then your no power user or have no social life or a busy working life…ive got out my car and countless times had to jugle bc i forgot my phone was on my lap bc im always bouncing around

        • JSo

          Or I’m just careful

      • Atheist

        Same here, bud. I’ve NEVER broken a phone’s screen (by dropping it or any other means) OR ruined a phone via dropping it into a toilet, puddle or swimming pool. I have NO IDEA what people are doing with their phones these days, but it seriously needs to stop. Maybe, I don’t know… Buy a HOLSTER with a Belt Clip and invest in a Bluetooth Device??!! (O.o)
        Nah.. Wouldn’t be prudent. =)

        • zurginator

          I actually managed to shatter my screen today by gripping it. Apparently I’m the hulk or something.

    • flosserelli

      Yes, that definitely qualifies you for the X-Men second string.

    • acras

      W-men? I’m there with you too. The only electronic device I’ve ever dunked was my work pager years ago, took it in the hot tub with me, couldnt get silly calls from work ALL weekend… yeah, it was an “accident”…

    • Pakmann2k

      While I haven’t ever killed a phone of mine in the pool or anywhere else, I like waterproof devices. I like having my phone by the pool, I use bluetooth speakers all the time in the pool and my phone is the controller. I also like the opportunity to have my phone in my pocket when I go out fishing or any other outdoor stuff. I have never killed a phone out there but it is added security if you know it could survive a little water.

    • JMonkeYJ

      The nice thing about having a waterproof phone is that it changes the way you use it. For example, if my phone gets dirty, I just wash it in the sink. That probably sounds silly to you because it did to me at first, but the first time it gets dirty and you actually do that, you realize it’s kinda awesome. Also, I don’t have fear when taking pictures around water. I actually take my phone in the pool with me and grab pics I wouldn’t otherwise. I’ve even taken underwater photos and videos. There are lots of other things, but just the way your attitude changes towards using your phone in previously risky situations is a pretty nice plus to me.

      • tekdemon

        Good point, if I had a truly waterproof phone I’d probably take it in the pool and shower/bathtub and all sorts of other places I would never normally take it.

    • Craig P

      Having a waterproof phone also means you can use your phone while swimming, washing hands etc.

    • Lucky Armpit

      Same here. Never dropped any phone I’ve ever had, going all the way back to my StarTAC, in water. Never cracked a screen either.

    • Owen Howe

      Its not just for people who drop their phones in water. This is a feature nice for people who want to listen to music in the shower, work near water, or just don’t want to stress having their phone out in the rain. Its not the biggest deal, but you can’t say its not convenient to have that extra protection for your devices.

    • Kyleinstyle

      Stuff happens. My wife’s Moto X was tossed in the tub by my three year old. Thanks goodness it is water resistant.

    • OpenMind

      Ever hear of rain? I hear it happens quite frequently on this planet, as well for the occasional floods.

      — “It’s better to have something and not need it, than need it and not have it”

    • chris_johns

      if you never dropped your phone ever…you either not a power user or have no life outside your house…if you have a social life and/or a busy life, and your a power user youve dropped your phone on more then one occasion…there is no getting around the inevitable…sh*t happens

  • Pedro

    Sounds like a nice phone.
    But, for now, I’ll stick with my N5 and wireless charging. I don’t think I’ll ever own another phone that isn’t Qi compatible.

    • lagnis

      I was in your camp totally spoiled by the N5’s wireless charging. I wondered if I could do without and the answer with the OnePlus is resoundingly Yes!

    • JSo

      I have three QI chargers. Two at my house and one at work. I don’t think I could live without them.

    • Brendan Owens

      I thought I wouldn’t be able to live without it (coming from a Nexus 4 and Tylt Vu), but after realizing I rarely actually have to charge the OnePlus One, the situation gets a whole lot better. I have yet to charge the phone during the day, and have only had a low battery reminder once I believe, and that was at about 1:00 AM. And yes, I am a power user.

      • Dapke

        Same feeling with my G2. Used to love my N5 wireless charging, but I love the fact I *don’t* have to charge my G2 during the day even more.

    • It’s convenient, but I hate how hot phones get when charging wirelessly, plus they charge a lot slower.

    • I thought the same thing initially, but once I got the One and realized that it absolutely murdered my Nexus 5 in battery life (and everything else), Qi charging was a worthy sacrifice.

  • jmashis

    And here’s Bryan to point out why every negative you pointed is wrong in 3, 2…..

  • Mike

    Great Review Kellex! So setting price aside which phone do you like better the 64gb black OPO or the G3? I have an invite but can’t decide.

    • Probably the G3. Slightly smaller build, which means it fits better in my hand. Camera in the G3 is also slightly better, in my opinion. But man, that price. 😛

      • Mike

        Thanks Kellex. Would love to see a full video review of the OPO as well. I do like the form factor of the G3 and OIS, but the OPO has a lot going for it as well.

      • Mike

        Or better yet a OPO vs LG G3 video review would be great!

    • Daniel Straub

      I’ll gladly take your invite if you don’t want it. =)

  • koszor

    I have a nexus 5, the only upgrade would be battery life TBH, the 801 and screen size are not enough for me. However… it seems like ‘nexus priced’ phones with mind blowing specs are popping up more often, maybe in 2015 well see more of these and OPO will get its sht together =)

    • yankeesusa

      Just on battery alone it was worth the upgrade. I have my n5 on swappa already. Will use the one plus one for a couple months then I may upgrade to g3 or possibly the note 4

      • oscarandjo

        Exactly, the One currently has an issue with a Google Services wakelock consuming tons of battery, and even with that wakelock eating the battery it still outperforms the Nexus 5. It’s getting fixed in the next OTA by the Cyanogenmod team thankfully, so it will be even better then.

  • Zoloft_User

    Even though I can’t use the phone (Verizon), yet alone buy one…I still feel the need to thank DL for the review! It is nearly impossible to buy a phone without their detailed review other sites can’t deliver.

  • James

    I’ve been waiting for this review. The release gimmicks turned me off from buying one, but I’m interested in DL’s take nontheless.

  • Good_Ole_Pinocchio

    Ugh… so annoyed by this company it’s a great device based on this review and others….but sht I can’t get one so I can’t muster up enough “care”…

    Got an invite to give me Kellen?

  • It really is a great device. If you factor in the price, it becomes an amazing device. If you can grab one of these, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

  • Buur

    Nice to see the fully stocked bar in the Droid-Life compound.

  • Stephen Ta

    Is the oneplus fully compatible with T-mobile? Anyone know?

    • Their official specs show that it isn’t. I didn’t test it on T-Mo, so I can’t say for sure, but looking like it does not have full compatibility.

      • jnt

        It’s probably one of those situations where it works in locations where Tmo has refarmed their network, but in the areas they haven’t, you might be stuck with Edge.

      • FACKWORS

        stroll into the T-mo store and ask to borrow someones SIM haha =)

      • yankeesusa

        I’m using it on tmobile right now. I get LTE and getting slightly higher speeds than my n5. The real test will be in orlando with tmobile wideband where I was getting around 60mbps on my n5. As long as its the same or higher I’ll be happy

        • Stephen Ta

          so I have a oneplus in LA. I was using an N5 and my wife uses a moto X on TMO network. I never considered the n5 to have very good reception compared to the Moto X. The oneplus is even worse. I am HOPING it is more software related and not hardware. I am hoping they release an update for the radio. My reception is weaker and I usually have LTE in most areas. At work my phone will go from full bars of LTE to HSPA+ to HSPA just at my desk where I usually had full bars of LTE on my N5 (reminds me of old school HTC thudnerbolt issues).

          • tekdemon

            Can you test them back to back? I was told that the Oneplus had better reception than the Nexus 5 which is why I bought it. I’m gonna see if I can test it myself as well (need to find the stupid special LG sim tray pin that’s super narrow to open my N5)

          • Stephen Ta

            For sure the reception is not as good as a N5 (which wasnt that super to begin with). I had a friend look at the oneplus and he said it doesnt have many physical tuning features which enables it to switch frequencies faster. Also not sure how much testing they did in the US. I am hoping they can make some improvements through software. There is no reason my phone should constantly be going from LTE to HSPA+ to HSPA at my desk…

      • David Ust

        They have T-Mo listed on their page… Logo and everything.

    • Linux4ever

      I am using it on T-Mobile. I live in Hawaii. I get LTE speeds with it. BTW I got the 64GB version. This phone has replaced my Sony Z1 for daily use.

      • Stefan

        It works very well with tmo

    • Curtis Black

      Yup. My roommate has one and uses it on Tmo. It’s great.

  • Carlos Lopez

    Yeah that availability stuff basically killed the phone from the get go sadly

    • Ching Wang Dong

      I was exceited about this phone….3 months ago. Not so much any more. Oppo fail. Yes, oppo.

      • evelynkwilliams

        Josiah . although Jacqueline `s stori is surprising,
        last week I bought themselves a Chrysler from having made $5060 thiss month
        and-in excess of, 10/k last-month . it’s realy the easiest-work I have ever done
        . I started this 4 months ago and pretty much straight away was bringin in at
        least $78 per-hour . why not look here C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

      • RiceCake

        I too was very excited but now all I hear are horror stories about their customer support. A customer received their phone without volume buttons and OnePlus shut down his thread asking for help and won’t respond to any further contact.

        I’m curious how they expect to run a company if they ignore defects and customers?

    • tekdemon

      I just got mine and it’s a beautiful phone that feels very well made even given the removable covers-it feels so much more solid than my Nexus 5. But I’m not sure these huge new high end phones are really for me, the Nexus 5 is definitely a lot better for my hands, but I have medium sized hands so I end up having to do quite a bit of shimmying on the Oneplus. It’s too bad-the battery life is way better than the Nexus 5 and the screen has better contrast, the speakers sound better, etc. The only real weaknesses I’ve noted are the camera-it has a great sensor but somewhat questionable OIS (you’ll notice motion blurring in a lot of the shots in this review) and to be honest if I didn’t own a Nexus 5 with it’s HDR+ mode I probably would have never noticed, but only by testing other phones do I realize just how great HDR+ on the Nexus 5 has been.

      • snowblind64

        Nexus 5!

    • antwonw

      I got an invite, but I gave it away.