By Anirban Ghoshal
Chinese handset-maker Oneplus has hit the Indian market with a new style - word-of-mouth publicity and invitation-only purchase model. The company has come out with a new phone which it calls a flagship killer - the OnePlus 2. It has great specifications and comes for an affordable Rs.24,999 given its specifications and features. Here is what we found after using the phone:
Design: The regal yet simple design of the OnePlus 2 will take you by surprise. The combination of metal body and the plastic back panel, which looks like sandstone, enables a good grip. There is a Type-C USB slot at the bottom and a 3.5 mm slot on top. There is a small button on the left that allows users to change what OnePlus calls 'interruption mode'. Toggling the button will put the phone on priority or on 'no disturbance' modes.
Display: The smartphone comes with a 5.5-inch low-temperature polycrystalline silicon (LTPS) LCD capacitive touchscreen which supports a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels and has a pixel density of 401. The phone, which comes with Corning Gorilla Glass 4, has a screen-to-body ratio of 73.3 percent. LTPS is an active matrix LCD screen that is faster and more integrated than screens made with amorphous silicon substrates. So, users can expect faster response time from the screen and brighter images.
Hardware and battery: The elder brother of the OnePlus family comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor (quad-core Cortex-A53 and quad-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A57). The phone comes with top of the line Adreno 430 GPU that also supports a lot of games - both heavy and casual. It comes with support for Open GL, Open CL 1.2 and Direct X 11.2. The phone comes with a fingerprint sensor which is only available as of now in flagship phones which are priced above Rs.40,000. The phone comes with 4GB DDR4 RAM, the highest before Samsung launched the Edge 6 on Aug 19. Asus' Zenfone 2 has a 4GB DDR3 RAM unit.
In terms of storage, the phone comes with an internal memory of 64GB. There is no slot for expanding storage via a memory slot. Interestingly, the lower variant of the phone which is yet to be made available in India will come with 16GB of internal memory and 3GB RAM. What OnePlus seems to have done is to incorporate several features that a flagship phone has in the current price proposition. Having said that, it seems that the Chinese phone-maker sacrificed on NFC, wireless charging and fast charging to keep the phone within the budget. The device comes with a non-removable Li-Po 3,300 mAh battery to support it through the day.
In addition, the phone had heating issues while we were using it for the first time which seemed to dry the battery almost rapidly. But OnePlus sent us some firmware updates and the issue was fixed. During the last use, the phone had a solid battery backup of almost 30 hours.
Software: Although the phone comes with what OnePlus calls the Oxygen UI, it is nearly the stock version of Android Lollipop. Given that there are some glitches on call records menu on stock Android, OnePlus did manage to get rid of at least 75 percent of these glitches. The phone comes with no bloatware which should be bliss for users expect for apps like bookmyshow, document viewer and a photo/video editor.
Camera: The 2 comes with a 13-megapixel rear camera which supports pictures with a resolution of 4128 x 3096 pixels. The unit has optical image stabilisation, laser autofocus and a dual-LED flash unit. The five-megapixel front camera can also support video at 30 frames per second (fps). Other features of the camera include geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, panorama and HDR. Both cameras perform well in good light conditions but falter a little on extremely low-light conditions.
Connectivity: The phone supports 4G LTE networks and has dual-SIM support (Nano-SIM, dual stand-by). It comes with Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct, Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), Bluetooth module 4.1. Digital Living Network Alliance is a technology founded by a group of consumer electronics companies to develop and promote a set of inter-operability guidelines for sharing digital media among multimedia devices. The device supports A-GPS and GLONASS, which improves location accuracy.
Interestingly, the phone comes with a reversible Type-C connector for charging and USB use. This can be a pain as the phone doesn't support any other cables. It is the first phone to come with a Type-C USB slot.
Verdict: The phone with its plethora of hardware offerings and stock Android experience at Rs.24,999 is a must buy if a user is looking for a flagship phone-like experience on an affordable smartphone. This could be the best Android smartphone till date.