When it comes to the look and feel, the OnePlus doesn’t cut any corners. The sleek Sandstone Black cover gives off a sturdy and high quality look. Further more, the material itself feels a bit like soft sandpaper when held in the hand and offers a firm grip. The unique design doesn’t just stop there - the 5.5” gorilla glass screen sits a couple of millimeters above the body itself, giving off the impression that the glass is floating in the air. No matter what angle you look at it, the device simply radiates decent to superior quality.
“With a larger phone, comes the need for larger pockets.” In my case, I have to ALWAYS keep one pocket completely empty just so I can fit the phone in it. Even when I had the phone in my pocket, its sheer size often restricts my movements (i.e. bending, flexing, sitting, and running). The problem increases if you were to wear skinny pants. As a matter of fact, if you are a male and you wear skinny pants, it’s probably best you put the phone in your murse (man purse). The second downside to the screen size is reflected during usage. My fingers are fairly long and skinny, which allows for me to hold the OnePlus snuggly in one hand. However, when it comes to holding and typing with one hand, it was definitely hard (nearly impossible) for my thumb to reach the keys across the screen.
The front-facing 5 Megapixel and back-facing 13 Megapixel cameras are by far some of the better cameras I’ve used. The resolution is sharp and the quality is satisfying. This is particularly true when it comes to the front camera. I often use it to check myself out or do video calls; it’s quick to focus and displays a decent image quality. It is definitely ideal for someone who is egocentric, like all of us at MP.
Here’s where things can get a bit tricky. Yes the camera offers some of the best performance when comparing the stats on paper. However, during usage I’ve noticed some drawbacks. For instance, the white balance in images seems to be a bit flat. In addition, the auto focus feature does not offer the best picture quality. A good number of my pictures would come out with some areas blurred. The 13 Megapixel works best under a bright environment. When in slightly darkened areas, the images tend to come out a bit noisy and out of focus. Nevertheless, I want to point out that all the cons listed above can be fixed via some manual tweaking to the setting or a simple software update. It comes down to having a little patience and some messing around… a definite plus for the Android devices like OnePlus.
The OnePlus One comes equipped with duo speakers positioned at the bottom of the phone. Although these are not stereo speakers, the sound quality it produces is some of the best offered in mobile devices today. Having the phone’s volume at half bar, you are able to receive clear and crisp audio.
The device comes equipped with 3 microphones to maximize noise cancellation. However, through my usage, I constantly got feedback from people on the other end, that said it sounded like I am standing far away from the phone. It seems there were some clarity issues for those on the receiving end as well. Hopefully this can be fixed during the next software update.
Software and User Experience
We cannot talk about the OnePlus without mentioning its custom CyanogenMod. Cyanogen as mentioned during our first post is an open source firmware based off of the Android Operating System. With CyanogenMod, users are given a much wider access to their device. Simply put, CM allows the users more ability to customize their device to his or her preference. Coming from a regular Android OS user, the CM firmware offers quite a few surprises. I find myself discovering something new about the device and it’s true capabilities every time I use it.
Being a custom firmware, there are random occurrence of bugs and crashes. There were occasions where I would find apps crashing during launch. Worse yet, the system froze up during basic usage TWICE during the short time I’ve had the phone. If my previous phone device (Samsung Galaxy S3) were to freeze, I would prop the back cover open and perform a hard-reset by removing the battery. In this case, the battery isn’t easily removable; the battery cable is hidden under a panel, which is secured via a handful of screws and stoppers. Your best bet is to go read some ManPossible posts while your phone tries to fix itself.
All in all I would give the OnePlus One an 8 out of 10. Sure there were couple mishaps during my time with the device, but at the end of the day the benefits clearly out weigh the cons. In my instance, a lot of the bugs and issues were easily fixed via a simple software update. As a matter of fact, the OnePlus community is full of users and reps that are addressing the issues and offering advice. Even better, the OnePlus team is quick in providing updates to the latest firmware. For me, the thought of knowing I own a device that is capable of much more than many in the marketplace always puts a smile on my face. It feels good knowing that you are always prepared to go above and beyond. That my friends, is the OnePlus way and that is also the ManPossible way… well, the office is divided (those Apple lovers!).
For those interested in getting a OnePlus One, the site is offering a one-hour pre-order window on November 17 (tomorrow) at 16:00 GMT (8am PST, 11am EST). You can get more information about the OnePlus One here and be sure to follow us on Twitter @ManPossible for all the latest and greatest!