Oneplus One – review

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Welcome to my review of the Oneplus One.

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In my review, I am going to cover off all the different sections of the phone but first let’s take a look at the official specs.

– Dimensions – 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm
– Weight – 162 g
– SIM Micro-SIM
– DISPLAY LTPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors
– Size – 5.5 inches (71.9% screen-to-body ratio)
– Resolution – 1080 x 1920 pixels (401 ppi pixel density)
-Multitouch – Yes, up to 10 fingers
– Protection -Corning Gorilla Glass 3
– CyanogenMod 12 (after SW update)
– Snapdragon 801, CPU Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400,GPU Adreno 330
– MEMORY Card slot – No
– Internal – 16/64 GB, 3 GB RAM
– CAMERA – Primary 13 MP, 4128 x 3096 pixels, autofocus, dual-LED flash, check quality
– Features – Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR + more after update
– Video -2160p@30fps, 2160p(DCI)@24fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps, HDR, stereo sound rec, 4K after update
– Secondary -5 MP, 1080p@30fps
– SOUND – Alert types Vibration; MP3, WAV ringtones
– Loudspeaker -Yes, dual mono speakers
– 3.5mm jack – Yes
– COMMS WLAN -Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot
– Bluetooth v4.1, A2DP
– GPS with A-GPS, GLONASS
– NFC – Yes
– USB – microUSB v2.0, USB Host
– Sensors -Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass
– Messaging -SMS (threaded view), MMS, Email, IM, Push Email
– Browser – HTML5
– ANT+ support
– Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic
– MP4/H.264/WMV player
– MP3/eAAC+/WMA/WAV/FLAC player
– Document viewer
– Photo viewer/editor
– Voice memo/dial/commands
– BATTERY – Non-removable Li-Po 3100 mAh battery
– Colours – Silk White, Sandstone Black

First Impressions
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As you can see a lot of attention went to the quality of the contents and it does look really superb. If you have a nano sim it even comes with a nano sim to micro sim adapter. 

The phone either comes in 16gb or 64gb storage with no micro SD card slot. I have the 16gb white and am managing just fine. Despite being a 5.5 inch screen phone it is comfortable to hold due to it’s curved back. So once I opened the box it was time to charge the phone and then I updated Cyanogen from CM11 to CM12. CM12 is a lollipop rom and it improves performance according to many threads on several forums. In fact if you head over to XDA Developers or Oneplus’s own forums there are thriving threads offering so many different tweaking options. This may sound like a complex thing to do, but the Oneplus One is a tweakers dream and many options are simple and as quick as taking a few minutes. Of course, get it wrong and you could brick your phone. 

I mentioned in my first impressions that the firmware options seem to take 3 paths. Cyanogen which in my mid offers an incredible firmware, Color OS and Oneplus’s new firmware offering Oxygen OS.  If you stick with Cyanogen you will have one of the best roms, just take a look at the screen shots at the end of this article.

Audio

The Oneplus One has dual mono speakers located on the bottom edge producing a healthy 87db. Excellent for podcasts. The headphone sound is nothing short of a miracle. It includes MaxxAudio as its EQ option. With this on, a flat EQ but just tweaking the bass and treble controls if you need too, the output is powerful and superb to listen too. The most powerful headphone amp I have heard on a phone which was able to power my AKG K702 effortlessly. In terms of audio quality it is very good, just slightly behind that of the Samsung Galaxy S6. And that is impressive!

Camera

So what is the camera like. Well below are camera samples from the default camera app.

Random photos around Princetown, Dartmoor with the #OneplusOne

Random photos around Princetown, Dartmoor with the #OneplusOne

Random photos around Princetown, Dartmoor with the #OneplusOne

Random photos around Princetown, Dartmoor with the #OneplusOne

Random photos around Princetown, Dartmoor with the #OneplusOne

Random photos around Princetown, Dartmoor with the #OneplusOne

Random photos around Princetown, Dartmoor with the #OneplusOne

Random photos around Princetown, Dartmoor with the #OneplusOne

The photos look just ok but remember this is in poorish lighting conditions being somewhat overcast. In good lighting the camera performs slightly better. However, it’s weakness is lower lighting or indoors. Shutter speeds drop and so does the quality and noticeably too.This is the real weakness of the whole phone. Indoor shots are poor. Also on the odd occasion I had a couple of issue with anti banding when filming up against florescent lights. It didnt happen all the time, just twice in 5 hours of using the camera. To counter it’s sub par photo quality, it does have endless options from shutter control up to 8 seconds. Installing Camera FV-5 will give you shutter control up to 60 seconds, so light trails and more are possible with this phone. So while low light can be a weakness, it is possible to take long night exposures and get a result just not top notch quality. The Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9 or LG G4 will totally outclass the Oneplus’s camera quality. 

However this being a developers dream phone there are many apps available that offer a better camera performance including the camera app from Color OS and the Oppo Find 7. Just look at the camera options available from the Oppo camera app.
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Below is a HQ shot at 13mp in file size instead of the 4mp. However, I cant see the extra quality with the HQ shot.The super macro mode is insane and combines digital zoom to take some close up shots. But I’ll repeat my point above. In anything but good lighting the quality does drop compared to the top end flagships and even mid range phones. Software does compensate a little (but is no cure) and in other ways offers some artistic creations. 

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Performance

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Whilst I don’t care for benchmarks, the Oneplus One really does fly around the apps and the operating system and this is backed up by the AnTuTu score. The phone comes with a 3,100maH battery which seems to last forever versus my Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. The S6 Edge manages a screen on time of 3 hours, while the Oneplus One clocked in at nearly 6 hours screen on time. 

Basics

Phone calls and cellular reception were good on the Oneplus One. WiFi and Bluetooth worked fine too. At the end of the day, it is a phone too!

All the Rest

The display is a 1080p affair and with CM12 offers adaptive display, screen colour calibration from hue, saturation, contrast and intensity, sunlight increased visibility mode, adaptive backlight and more. Tap to turn the phone on is present and tapping the status bar will turn it off. The status bar is configurable in the settings, as is pretty much everything on this phone. Cyanogen and Oneplus did a cracking job with this handset. If you like themes Cyanogen has you covered. Gestures are also included although I didn’t find them that useful other than drawing a V when the phone is off to enable the torch. 

Conclusion

Just ask me again how much this phone doesn’t cost! It offers so much as such a small premium. Great sound, excellent headphone audio with only the camera offering a weaker performance than the top flagships that costs £600 upwards. Not bad for a £250 phone!

Finally, I thought it would be good to leave you with some screenshots to give you a feel for lollipop (CM12) on the Oneplus One.

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5 thoughts on “Oneplus One – review

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