OnePlus One Explained (With Review)

by Yannis Lam
Class of 2017

A little over two months ago I was lucky enough to be able to purchase the phantom OnePlusOne. This mysterious phone has captivated the minds of many individuals in search of a great deal. At times, many aspects of the situation have seemed to be too good to be true. After heavy usage of this device as my daily driver and personal cellphone, my complete thoughts are stated below.

What the heck is OnePlus?

OnePlus is a Chinese startup founded by the former Oppo Vice-President Pete Lau. The company claims that “One” in “OnePlus” represents both the status quo and the user, while the “Plus” represents sharing and improvement. Combined, the name “OnePlus” means sharing from a single user and improving beyond the status quo. The company’s idea for its first product (the OnePlus One) came about, around July 2013, but the company was not founded until December 2013. OnePlus’s motto is “Never Settle” and claims that its phone is the “2014 Flagship Killer”. Conspiracists will tell you that OnePlus is completely owned and run by Chinese DVD Player and recent smartphone maker, Oppo; however, both companies completely deny any relationship besides common investors.

What’s all the hype and controversy?

OnePlus has tried (and succeeded in) hyping the launch of its first phone. The phone is priced at an overly competitive price ($350) and the company has tried to mock other smartphone manufacturers with their advertisements. In order to keep a competitive edge, the company has relinquished traditional advertisements on TV and instead has created controversial contests and a controlled distribution system. Some of these contests ranged from the “Smash the Past Contest”, where contestants would upload a video of themselves destroying their current smartphone (or donating it charity) in order to recieve a free phone, to the “Ladies First Contest”, where females were required to post clothed pictures of themselves sporting the OnePlus logo, for a chance to win an invite to purchase the phone at full price. While OnePlus has attracted a lot of attention of these various contests, they have also gained a lot of negative attention and later retracted and pulled their “Ladies First Contest”. A company representative recently said on the company’s blog that, “We understand that our contest was in bad taste, and have therefore pulled it. All participants will be contacted for prizes.”

What is their “Invite System”?

The OnePlus One is ,as of September 30th, exclusively sold on the OnePlus website ( via their invite system. This requires a person to set up a OnePlus account and connect it with a PayPal account. Invites are given out by the company through contests and special promotions, along with people who managed to buy the phone from June to the end of July.

What are the specs of the OnePlus One?

The OnePlus One comes with Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801 processor, clocked at 2.5 GHz, in addition to a Adreno 330 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. The phone weighs about 162 g (5.71 oz) composed within a 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm (6.02 x 2.99 x 0.35 in) body. The screen is a 5.5 inch Full HD (1080×1920 resolution) with a 401 pixel density. The phone comes in two variations, a 16 GB “Silk White” option or a 64 GB “Sandstone Black” variation. The front facing camera sensor is 5.0 MP, while the back facing camera is a 13.0 MP Sony IMX shooter with a f/2.0 aperture and 6 physical lenses. Most importantly, the phone runs on a custom ROM known as CyanogenMod 11S, which is mainly based off of Android KitKat 4.4.4.

What’s so good about the OnePlus One?

The OnePlus One comes unlocked in an excellent embodiment of a smartphone and an extremely versatile operating system. The OnePlus One comes with cool software features, including knock-code and native support for system-applicable themes. Simply put, the OnePlus One has all of the included specs typical of the 2014 high-end smartphone. The 3100 mAh battery provides for battery life up to several days! Moreover, it manages to package it in half the price that it takes for other companies to sell a phone of the same specs. The OnePlus One sells for $350, compared to the ~$750 of the LG G3 and Samsung Galaxy Note IV or the $1000 of the Apple iPhone 6 Plus. For a phone of the same specs to be sold at a half to a third of other competitors, it is a steal!

What are the risks of buying this phone?

Since the initial “release” of the OnePlus One, there have been several quality control scandals to the phone. Some consumers have complained of yellow-screened phones and overall dysfunctioning phones. Overtime, however, the complaints have died down and it seems to have only been a case of several hundred-thousand phones produced in the middle of July.

What would I change about this phone?

I would personally add a microSD slot to the phone as a must. If I could, I would also make the battery removable. Although the speakers provide a loud sound, it may not be the best, so I would like to change the dual-mono speakers to stereo speakers. Since the phone has an awesome 5 MP front-facing camera, I would add front-facing flash. Other than that, the phone is an epic package!

Would I buy the OnePlus One again?

After more than several weeks of quality usage, I would state that I am happy about my phone. Since my purchase of the phone, I have noticed less frequent complaints about the phone. I spent about a month and a half (from the middle of June to the end of July) in search of a free invite to buy the phone. I was finally lucky enough to buy the phone the day that I was travelling several thousand miles westward to the West Coast. Since I had to buy the phone within 24 hours of claiming the invite, I was forced to ship my phone to my house while I was several thousand miles away on vacation. Besides this painstaking worry of my phone disappearing in the process, I would highly recommend buying this phone.



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