- Unwieldy to use one-handed
- Poor image stabilization and slow autofocus
While relatively late to the smartphone scene, Chinese phone manufacturer OnePlus made waves with their first phone – OnePlus One. The company stands by its "Never Settle" mantra by offering high end specs at a very low price. Of course, the most noticeable feature is its 5.5-inch IPS display that has full HD resolution of 1080x1920 and pixel density of 400ppi. Critics lauded the display as one of the best in the Android market with excellent viewing angles and very natural colors. Engadget adds, "its whites are whiter…the colors are natural, making them more satisfying to stare at than the saturated GS5..."
On top of all this, OnePlus adds a new Touch on Lens (TOL) technology that allegedly improves touch sensitivity and reduces the chance of shattered screens by 300 percent. While none of the reviews we saw tested the shatter claim, they also didn't note any significant improvement in touch sensitivity.
In order to compensate for the large screen, the phone measures at 15 x 7.6 x 1 cm (6 x 3 x 0.4 inches) and weighs in at 162 grams. While fairly thin, reviewers found the overall size to be a bit unwieldy and somewhat difficult to use one-handed. Ars Technica found that they needed to adjust the phone in hand often, which they called, "a recipe for phone-dropping disaster." Despite its large size, critics still enjoyed using the phone due to its easy to grasp rounded case and textured back.
For the price, the OnePlus One packs a lot of power with its 2.5GHz quad-core processor and 3 GB of RAM. Therefore it's not too surprising that critics describe its performance as smooth, fast and lag-free even when using graphically-complicated 3D games. All that high-end hardware requires a lot of juice to operate, which is why the phone comes with a 3,100 mAh battery. While not user-replaceable, battery draining tests put it at just over 8 hours and real-life expert tests clock the battery at over 24 hours of heavy usage. Besides this it also comes in 16GB or 64GB internal storage which unfortunately cannot be expanded.
The one feature that didn't really impress reviewers was the camera. Gizmodo notes it takes decent pictures in daylight but suffers from mediocre image stabilization and slow autofocus. They go on to say that these issues improve when using the other camera apps like Cyanogenmod and HDR mode. Even when using these apps, critics still find the saturation a bit off and low-light shots fairly noisy.
Overall, critics highly recommend the OnePlus One due to its low cost of entry coupled with its high-end specs. Tech Crunch says, "OnePlus One manages to do the impossible, offering up top-tier specs at mid-tier prices…seemingly without sacrifices…that's nothing short of amazing." Phone Arena adds, "This is a fresh alternative…and one killer device."