OnePlus 2 Review : The HulkBuster

OnePlus 2 Back

There are ordinary phones, there are flagship phones and then there are the super phones. Very rarely does one see a phone that is as anticipated or as hyped as the OnePlus 2. Part of the anticipation came from the stupendous success of the OnePlus One, the predecessor to this phone. So I finally got a chance to review this super phone or as they would like to call it “The 2016 Flagship Killer”. But what is the point of a review if it is boring? So I decided to narrate or write this review in a “different” way.

So when a sequel comes out, it can either be overwhelming or underwhelming, or it can be ordinary! But let me assure you that the OnePlus 2 is more like a completely new level of action and performance. A Rare work of technology meeting art!

Why do I say this? Just look at the key specifications of the phone below and you will see!

5.5-inch 1080p screen; Snapdragon 810 processor with 3/4GB RAM; 16 or 64GB storage; Dual SIM; 4G LTE support; 13-megapixel rear camera; 5-megapixel front camera; Fingerprint sensor; 3,300mAh battery

So very evidently, the phone has been launched to bust a few flagships and given what is under the hood, I have absolutely no doubt about the busting. I would call this device a strong contender for the Best Android Phone of the Year. Very few devices can stand up to this one. But hey, this review is about the OnePlus. Let us stick to that. From the time that I have spent with it, I am sure that this phone is a cut above the rest.

OnePlus 2 Back

When the design was leaked prior to release, I was a bit underwhelmed. But that quickly changed when I got to actually hold the device in my hand. The sandstone back finish gives it a rough and non-slippery finish. The phone looks and feels thoroughly professional. If you are someone who likes to add some zest and sass to the phone, I suggest you get the carbon cover. That one feels like heaven and literally makes the phone look two notches into the “I am seriously cool” category.

The chassis is made of alloy and crafted to a point that should make other phone makers seriously worried and all the elements of the design right down to the buttons and switches are nearly perfect. At the time of writing, I have developed something of a fetish for moving the three-position notification switch just to enjoy moving it, note that I never use it to actually change anything, I move and move back, the click is so satisfying. Before you think that I am in a relationship with the phone, let us move on

If you take the OPO and compare it with the OPT, (yeah, that is what I am calling it) you see that the phone is considerably smaller, more compact, the edges and the bezels are there but not there! Feels very nice and easy.

Front side of the device has a  5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 display taking up a major chunk of the real estate. At the bottom there is a  slightly indented ‘button’ area that houses the fingerprint scanner and is also the home button. It looks like a full fledged button closer inspection tells you that it is just a capacitive button in a setting to house the scanner. Both sides of the home button have the usual capacitive buttons. But one problem here is that they aren’t clearly visible when not pressed and a small line lights up when you do press them. This takes a bit of getting used to. But Oxygen OS has an option of enabling the soft buttons in the screen, so if you want, you can do that.

OnePlus 2 Front

Let us talk about the socket. Almost all phones come with a microUSB 2.0 slot. Some come with a microUSB 3.0 slot, like the Samsung Galaxy S5. Our friend, the OnePlus 2 has a USB-C socket. This is expected to be the successor to microUSB, and the main benefit is that it’s reversible. Hence more convenient. The problem here is that you can’t use any cables you’ve saved over the years to charge this phone. And if by some quirk of fate, you lose the cable, replacing it could be a tad bit of a worry. I noticed that the socket has changed but you don’t get USB 3.0 speed. So very mixed feelings about this one if you ask me

So my overall emotion about the look, build and feel of the phone is like below

Before you go and start thinking that I am singing songs about the phone and there are no downsides. Let me list out a few. My first peeve is with the fingerprint scanner, it is a bit of a hit and a miss. Most of the times, it works fine, but given the reputation that OnePlus have made for themselves, I would want it to work all the time. Also the fact that you need not swipe your finger but just need to put it there may take some time to sink in.

My next peeve is with Oxygen OS, this flavor of Android is pretty light and springy, they have added a nifty feature where you get a one point access to the apps and contacts that you use often, it is called The Shelf. There are times when the OS literally stops, I encountered it twice, there was no apparent reason. A reboot fixed it. My guess is that there will be OTA updates out soon to fix it.

My third peeve is with the battery, on average usage, it lasts about a day and I have around 20% left. But I am a power user and especially use social media apps a lot. So on days when I have a lot of updates/sharing, I had to recharge early into the evening. Again I am guessing that Oxygen is pretty new on the street and there will be OTA fixes rolling in soon.

Let us talk about the performance of the device now. I do not want to give you synthetic benchmarks that are not indicative of real performance, you will find that on all review. But let me show you how the phone performs symbolically.

Yep, it gets things done in a flash! Quite literally! Absolutely no chinks in the armor there!

OnePlus 2 Camera

The camera is brilliant and very visibly a lot of work has gone into it. The outdoor shots are superlative and the good thing is that while I am not  professional photographer, I was able to take pretty impressive shots with the phone without meddling with any settings. And yes, both during day and night. The quality is excellent. There aren’t too many confusing custom settings, and that is brilliant if you ask me! Neat and Clean.

The device ships with Maxxaudio and it is decent, but not earth shaking in any way. I think that they have succumbed to the going trend of having some audio gizmo or the other with a smartphone. Given the brilliant device that they have built, they needn’t have. Call quality was good and dependable. No issues there at all!

Verdict

This is no ordinary phone. This is one that is out to redefine performance and price balance. Clearly in the top league with very few equals. For me, the best android device that I have seen yet. And what does this phone do to other “flagships”? Take a look!

Yes – The HulkBuster! Go get it. (If you can get an invite)

About Shakthi

I am a Tech Blogger, Disability Activist, Keynote Speaker, Startup Mentor and Digital Branding Consultant. Also a McKinsey Executive Panel Member. Also known as @v_shakthi on twitter. Been around Tech for two decades now.

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