Ever since the iPhone set a new benchmark for smartphones, everyone has been trying to make an iPhone killer. This created a breed of flagship phones which were all attempting to offer something better than what Apple was with its latest iPhone. Soon, there were a bunch of Android smartphones featuring top-end specs and price points that put the iPhone to shame. But can someone better the flagships with an Android phone that costs half, but does better than the high-end models? Well, that was the idea behind the OnePlus One, and now the OnePlus 2.
The OnePlus was in my books the best Android phone I have used in the past year. That is not just because the features were great, but also because the company tries to prove that you do not need to pay over Rs 50,000 for a premium smartphone experience. The OnePlus 2 carries forward the same vision, trying to offer better specs than most Android flagships of 2015.
OnePlus 2 video review
Specs: 5.5-inch (1080x1920p, ~401ppi)| 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor (Quad-core Cortex-A53 & Quad-core 1.8 GHz Cortex-A57) 4 GB RAM | 64 GB internal storage | 13MP rear camera + 5MP front camera | 3300mAh battery | Oxygen UI based on Android 5.0
Price: Rs 24,999
What is good
This phone has a lot of things going for it. For me, the goodness starts with the design of the phone, especially the black sandstone finish of the rear panel. It looks both premium and practical, offering a superb grip. The matte finish metal frame running around the phone adds to the top-end feel of this phone.
Despite my apprehensions with the Snapdragon processor, the phone offers great overall performance. You can do everything you would on a top-end smartphone like the Samsung Galaxy Note 4 or the LG G4 and this phone will not so much as give out a whimper. It does heat up once in a while and thankfully it is only once in a while, a big achievement if you are running on any top-end Snapdragon processor. OnePlus is claiming that it did some tweaks to reduce the thermal footprint and it shows. All benchmarks put this phone at the top, ahead of the Meizu MX4.
I loved the camera of the OnePlus One. It was good enough to convince me that I did not have to lug around a DSLR wherever I went. In fact, I shot most of the photos and videos of CES 2015 using that phone. I would do that again with the OnePlus 2 if needed. I am confident really of this phone camera.
See camera test shots below
Now you know why I consider this among the best Android cameras. The clicker is also really fast and has an HDR mode than can impress. Plus, with 64GB of storage and 4K recording, you could use this like a handycam if the need arises.
The phone has a good memory. So you get the top draw 4G RAM and 64GB internal storage. There is not much more you can ask or get as far as these two parameters go.
The battery gave me 12 hours over 4G and with intense use. However, you cannot expect the same performance every day.
What is not that good
The phone is stable and over the 10 days or so that I used it before filing the review, it crashed a couple of times and restarted itself. This did not happen with something specific that I did and seems to have been a multi-tasking overload.
I like USB Type-C as you no longer have to worry about how you push in the charging cable. But this is a new technology and you will be stuck if you do not carry the charging cable with you all the time. There is no way your friend will have it at his home, and most probably the mobile shop nearby will also not be able to sell you a spare. So buy at least one spare charger with the phone.
OnePlus has added a new notification toggle on the left. With this you can now use the button to do what you would have done from the notifications bar on other Android Lollipop phones. However, I ended up switching to priority notifications involuntarily a couple of times and missed my morning alarm more than once. I am not convinced this is a feature that warrants a hardware fix.
I know at least three others who are reviewing the phone and it seems all of us have different experiences with the phone.
Despite the small quirks, this is in my books the best overall Android smartphone in India at the moment. If you can manage an invite then do go for it and get this phone. You will straight away end up saving at least Rs 15,000, the difference with the next best phone with similar features.