Update: OnePlus One hands on and first impressions


oneplus one hands on

You may have noticed that GizChina was a little quiet yesterday, well that is because I headed to Beijing to meet the OnePlus team for an early hands on with the OnePlus One smartphone. Keep reading for my first hands on impressions of this highly anticipated device.

In just 4 months OnePlus have managed to build enough hype and excitement around their brand and first ever device to make even the likes of Xiaomi jealous! If you haven’t already read the full details of the OnePlus One and its amazing price you can see them here in our earlier post, if you are ready then keep reading for the first OnePlus One hands on and first impressions.

Keep in mind that the OnePlus One in these images is a pre-production sample and that some of the features of CM11S were not added yet.

Update: Added the OnePlus One video hands on below also so you don’t need to go from post to post.

OnePlus One Hands on

There are going to be obvious comparisons made between the OnePlus One and the Oppo Find 7a so let’s start with the similarities in design.

oneplus one hands on

It is clear by looking at the two phones side by side that they share a few common characteristics. The displays are both 5.5-inch 1080 panels from JDI, they both have the exact same capacitive buttons along the chin and on the rear both have 13 mega-pixel cameras and dual LED flash.

oneplus one hands on

The differences between the two phones are in the details.

oneplus one hands on

Picking the OPO up for the first time you can feel the difference in weight between it and the Oppo Find 7. The OnePlus One is lighter than the Find 7, weighing 162g compared to 170g, thanks to the magnesium frame but it is the distribution of the weight which is most notable. The OPO feels more balanced in your hands than the Find 7a and with slightly narrower edges and a flatter rear also feels a more comfortable in the hand too.

The white model shown in these photos has the Silk white rear panel. OnePlus tell us the finish is made from cashew nuts, the result is a soft to the touch finish that feels much better than the simple textured rear of the Find 7a.

oneplus one hands on

Physical controls on the OPO are just a single power button and volume rocker, but these are on the opposite sides to the Find 7a. So the power button is on the right where as the volume rocker is on the left. This took a bit a re-learning, but once you remember it isn’t a problem and the actual location of each button seems to land beneath your fingers more accurately. Again a small detail but a nice one.

oneplus one hands on

The stereo speakers are located in the base of the OnePlus One, either side of the USB. Sound was pretty good, but we were told that there will be some adjustments for the final production model.

oneplus one hands on

This being an international version of the OPO the rear of the phone has a CyanogenMod logo (the Chinese version of the phone will ship with ColorOS). The camera and dual LED flash are surrounded by a metal place similar to that on the Oppo Find 5, and the OnePlus Logo is carved out of the shell material.

oneplus one hands on

The SIM tray needs to be removed to take off the rear, OnePlus insist removing the rear is meant only for changing the Style Swap cover. When inside there isn’t much to see except the 3100mAh non removable battery, NFC (on the shell) and some nice touches such as the rubber blanks to cover the screw heads.

oneplus one hands on

On to the front of the phone and you can see that we have a 5.5-inch 1920 x 1080 display from JDI, front facing 5 mega-pixel camera with 80 degree lens to the left of the receiver, an LED notification light between the two, and capacitive navigation buttons on the chin of the phone. Dimensions are 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm, so slightly wider and longer than the Find 7 but not quite as thick.

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The screen on the OnePlus One sits away from the body with the bezels a few mm below. This creates a metal lip around the phone which is said to help protect the display if the phone is dropped on its edges. It also adds a nice design flourish to the already good-looking chassis.

oneplus one hands on

If you saw the words “capacitive buttons” and decided that the OPO isn’t the phone for you just hold on as you can easily turn on onscreen buttons if you prefer, but doing so will disable the capacitive controls.

OnePlus One hands on – CyanogenMod 11s

The Cyanogenmod 11S build on these pre-production phones isn’t the final one so the icons aren’t the final ones and some of the features were missing. The production phone will have the icons seen in the press images here, and additional features will be added in time.

oneplus one hands on

What we did learn though was that CM11s will be able to support themes designed for other ROMs so if for example you had a favourite MIUI theme you wanted to use there should be no problem using it.

oneplus one hands on

Other features in CM11S include enhanced security, the voice command feature which activates when hearing “OK, OnePlus” and a new CyanogenMod camera application. The camera app has Normal, HDR, Night, Sport modes along with filters. Switching between them is simply a matter of sliding up or down on the screen, much faster and nicer to use than the menu options in ColorOS.

We’ll wait for our review unit to arrive and for the final build of CM11S to launch to make a full review, but what we could see on the phones we tested was a nice base, with snappy performance and happily uncluttered.

OnePlus One video hands on

OnePlus One first impressions

I had a good long time to play with the OnePlus One flagship and overall came away with the impression that this is the phone Oppo could have had as the Find 7.

oneplus one hands on

From just $299 the OnePlus One has a better looking design, better balance and weight and is slightly more comfortable to hold than the Find 7. What makes matters worse is the OPO gets a 2.5Ghz Snapdragon 801 CPU, 3GB RAM, the same camera specs, optional covers and a larger 3100mAh battery than the Find 7 too!

Sure the OPO misses a removable battery, VOOC fast charging, memory expansion and cool LED notification beam, but for the price it represents amazing value for money, even more so than Xiaomi phones (for international customers at least).

But there are some important questions;

  1. Is it worth buying the OnePlus One if you already have the Find 7a?
  2. Is the OnePlus One the Flagship killer it was promised to be?

So do you need a Find 7 and OPO? I would say no. If you already have the Find 7 it would seem pointless to buy the OnePlus One, unless of course you have plenty of extra cash for phones or if you feel like being a part the OnePlus phenomenon. On the other hand if you are choosing between the Find 7 and Oneplus One, the OPO would be my personal choice.

oneplus one hands on

Is the OnePlus One really the flagship killer it was promised to be? This is a difficult one to answer as different users want different things from their devices. If you want amazing hardware, great usability, Cyanogenmod all at an amazing price then there is really nothing on the market to touch the OnePlus One yet. If you need the best of the best i.e a 2K display, f1.8 aperture etc then there are other options out there, but are they really worth the extra cost?

What do you think of the OnePlus One? Is this the phone you imagined? Are you impressed or did you wish for more?

[ OnePlus ]
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57 Comments

  1. Adrian
    April 23, 2014

    Andi, there are two key questions:

    1. availability ?
    2. extended availability. Let me detail. If the phone is available in UK but I am from Poland, can i order it?

    Device wise, you know what they say: shut up and take my money!

    • adm
      April 23, 2014

      Availability JUNE

      • Antonis
        April 23, 2014

        But do you know or heard anything about availability through European countries? I mean, I’m from Greece, will it be possible to order it from Italy, Portugal, France, etc. (European Union) and shipped to my country? Thank you in advance!

        • adm
          April 23, 2014

          Yes in the twitter Availability starting May 28, with 10-15 days for shipping so by the mid/end of June peeple should start getting this.

          • z1george
            April 23, 2014

            The OPO wins on factory CM updates, one click, with no fussing around, with new features available on their own phone first.
            The find 7a only real life advantage is fast charging , but costs double the price.
            OPO is a killer for 299$.
            Shut up and take my money…

            • Simon
              April 23, 2014

              For the price it is a great phone, even if there are similarities with Oppo Find 7.

    • z1george
      April 23, 2014

      You can order the cheaper USA model to a forward shipping company who will send it to Poland for ~30USD.

  2. andersoc
    April 23, 2014

    can anyone explain to me how the above dimensions fit “hidden” under and xperia z1?
    Xperia = 144 x 74 x 8.5??????????????

    • desponent
      April 23, 2014

      It really doesn’t, they’re bad with number or use the term “hidden” loosely.

      However the dimension is quite close and Z1 is a 5″ phone. Then again it’s also IP58 certified unlike this.

      • andersoc
        April 23, 2014

        the dimensions being “close” don’t do it for me I’m afraid. They marketed this phone as a phone, not a phablet. They should not go after other phones dimensions, stating things like ” a 5.5 inch phone in 5 inch dimensions”. These statements are disingenuous, and lead me to worry about any other statements the company has made (amazing special battery tech?????). if they are going to be inaccurate about this important fact (the phone is several mm taller, wider and thicker than a z1), how accurate will they be with pricing and shipping and after sales service? is the pricing specifically for people on invites for example (not for the rest of us after the initial hype dies down). Sorry but I’ll be waiting for good old reliable’s from now on, Xiaomi or Mi to release their Mi3, and Meizu to release their 4.

        • desponent
          April 23, 2014

          They’re taking advantage of that phrase since even Z1 is not the most compact 5″ phone out there, so yeah all the hype are all just bluff.

          I don’t blame you if you feel disappointed and I imagine there are a lot of people who thought the same after all those months of nothing but teasing. They can’t even live up to it.

      • joe
        April 23, 2014

        IP58 certified huh? I wonder what the other IP certifications are for that waterproofing is 58th instead of like top 5.

    • jason
      April 23, 2014

      its only 1mm wider than Z1 not a biggie tho

    • Jong Jing Kong Ching
      May 2, 2014

      Oh, they just pulled it out of their asses and tried to give it to users

      • Ming Ching Bing Bong
        May 2, 2014

        Hehe, and boy, were the mystery battery technology and dimensions a load of it!

        Good one.

  3. Anthony LoGuercio
    April 23, 2014

    I’m in yayyy

  4. Sean Nash
    April 23, 2014

    You quote $299 as the price is this correct??
    Great looking phone. I dont care about the similarities with the 7a,its a great looking phone in its own right

    • desponent
      April 23, 2014

      My guess is it’s the initial price only for those who are “invited”. For hype.

    • ved prakash
      April 23, 2014

      yes its the price for 16 GB model where as 64 GB one is for 350$ …..

    • April 23, 2014

      Ummm… nearly nobody cares about the similarities to the Find 7a. we all like the Find 7a.

      It’s OnePlus’ deceptiveness that pissed us off. How can we trust what they say in the future when they’ve tried to fool us repeatedly in the past?

      • Sean Nash
        April 23, 2014

        Ummm..Below you there is a person that cares about the similarities as have alot of other forums expressed this. However I said “I” dont care about the similarities.You might be pissed at the deceptiveness but they have delivered a great phone

  5. ved prakash
    April 23, 2014

    hey ANDI, nothing was said about the mystery battery tech ? any clue what it is and why it was not revealed yet ??

    • adamsurfari@gmail.com
      April 23, 2014

      Just another LIE

  6. Lauri
    April 23, 2014

    It’s a bit disappointing that they didn’t announce anything specific about availability. or about the invite system. And on their website they’re just advertising a competition again (which is down).

  7. CryosR
    April 23, 2014

    Where is innovations? Where is design? Where is metal? Where is carbon or something new in it? No wireless charging? Same design as OPPO, no buttons, this onscreen buttons -is nightmare for me.
    It is just another smartphone. Maybe UMI X3 have better design that this…….
    I’m disappointed. Maybe it could be better with dual-sim, but single sim is not for me.
    Border around the camera just like in Zopo. Whole phone looks like inexpensive piece of plastic (piece of sh…)

    • antidumb
      April 23, 2014

      yeah just don’t buy it, go ahead buy another

      it’s $299 what did you expect! please just don’t buy it, can you do what i say, don’t buy it! as simple as that.

      go buy your better design umix3 and zopo, my pleasure sir go ahead buy them.

      • Sean Nash
        April 23, 2014

        Exactly, I cant name a truely original phone that has come out in the past 2 years, They all borrow design ideas from other phones. You state same design as OPPO like its a bad thing. Your forgetting the pricepoint of this phone.Its a great phone for the money

        • Airyl
          April 23, 2014

          There hasn’t been a truly original phone in the past 2 years? I thought you were right, but then I remembered phones like the Oppo N1, Moto X and Vivo Xplay 3S.

          • Sean Nash
            April 23, 2014

            I dont see what makes them original. There was a rotating camera on a phone before the N1. Those are great phones but hardly original. all it gave was a performance boost and hardware upgrade but I get your point.

            • Airyl
              April 23, 2014

              N1 had an original design, a rear touch panel (not the best, but it worked) and said camera. Rotating cameras aren’t original, but it’s the first time there’s been one on a smartphone. Sort of original?

              Moto X has Moto Maker, that X8 computing thing and those voice controls (that I’ve yet to try). I don’t remember any of those being on other smartphones before the X, but I could be terribly mistaken.

              Xplay 3S has……. Nothing too special, I guess.

              They’re sort of original in that no smartphones have these features, even though older phones do.

          • April 25, 2014

            Find 5?

      • desponent
        April 23, 2014

        Maybe if it weren’t hyped to hell and back. And again we don’t know if those price will stay true come June, it could be only be an “invitation” only price for all we know.

        • April 23, 2014

          That’s the actual price, not an introduction price or special offer.

    • yudhir
      April 23, 2014

      you have both onscreen and off screen

    • Airyl
      April 23, 2014

      Innovations – Max specs at super cheap price, Cyanogenmod 11S, StyleSwap covers.

      Design – Similar to Oppo, looks good though. Sort of like a Nexus 5 meets Find 5.

      Metal – There’s a thin chrome strip around the edges of the front. Metal for you.

      Something new – Cheap, StyleSwap covers, CyanogenMod 11S. No wireless charging.

      No onscreen buttons – There’s an option for onscreen buttons.

      It’s just another smartphone- You expected a tablet? Or did you want it to make coffee?

      UMi X3 has a better design – The X3 is a larger, thinner iPhone 5C. Hypocrite much?

      I’m dissapointed – Why?

      Could be better with dual sim – Don’t forget a microSD card slot.

      Border around the camera – You want it exposed like the UMi X1 Pro?

      Whole phone looks like cheap plastic – What’s wrong with plastic done right?

  8. yudhir
    April 23, 2014

    OPO for one plus one sounds like oppo

  9. yudhir
    April 23, 2014

    shut up and take my money..but i dont have any!!

  10. $2548414
    April 23, 2014

    Yippy…………all the so called premium Mobile makers, Samsung, LG, Xiaomi, Oppo et. al. are going to get fits of insomnia because of the amalgam of value + specs put on the table by OP O.

  11. inez blafla
    April 23, 2014

    OPPO 7a does, further to a much better screen and the beam me home notification bar, have many other desirable advantages. ie an SD card slot, a very fast charging, + removable, battery and a camera with RAM and numerous other desirable camera features not touted for the OnePlus. But perhaps these features mean less to android die hards for whom the CM OS will be a priority, and not much to a wider market for whom an affordable performance phone that is hyped and well designed will hit the sweet spots.

  12. April 23, 2014

    Well, it’s looking more and more like OnePlus is really a division of Oppo. The revelation that they are using Color OS for the Chinese market makes them even more so. It’s a shame they are so closely aligned, if there was a more “arms length” relationship, then perhaps we would have a chance at getting some CM11’d Vivo phones from OnePlus 😉

    While there are differences between the OPO and Find 7a, the main differentiator seems to be price…ummm… and the promise of future support for CM11 (something that Oppo has been exceedingly quiet about).

    With that said, there seems to little reason to spend the extra money for the Oppo version of the device.

    The other issue is One Plus itself. I’ve been vocal about it, and I’ll reaffirm that I don’t like their marketing tactics. While it won’t stop me from buying one of their products, it will keep me from making plans based upon anything they say before a product is actually released. while they threaded the needle on truthfulness, it’s clear that they misled us with promises of original hardware that would rival Apple, and what the presented is a remake of an existing Oppo design. It was their intention to deceive, and clearly evidenced by their deceptive size comparison to the Sony Z1.

    We’re yet to see the device running the “real” OS, and it looks like mid-June at the earliest for that. Yet another delaying tacit on the company’s part.

    • joe
      April 23, 2014

      The hardware in the oneplus is a lot better than apple.

      • Airyl
        April 23, 2014

        You mean you prefer the hardware of the 1+1 over the iPhone 5?

    • Airyl
      April 23, 2014

      Sad but true. OnePlus has been very misleading with their information, and the design is NOT going to be challenging the iPhone. It looks like they crossed a Nexus 5 with a Find 5. The invite system is also pretty dodgy, and they completely lied about their “mystery battery technology”.

      I would still prefer the Oppo version, mainly because of expandable storage, VOOC, removable battery and the annoying invite system of the 1+1. I’d probably still recommend the 1+1 to anyone, but personally I’d rather have the Find 7 or Find 7A.

    • Chan Ming Chong Kong
      May 2, 2014

      Yeah, no “mystery tech” on the battery for quick chargning after all.

      Also, though they never claimed it
      * no Infrared
      * no user removable battery
      * no uSD card slot
      * poor production and distribution strategies.

      While the price itself is compellng, until the time the product will actually be up for sale, Snapdragon 805 will be mainstream and the OPO would be highly late for the party. Also, Xiaomi and ZTE are about to launch low cost high spec products. Pretty soon, OPO might find itself sinking in quick sand.

  13. Jose Manuel
    April 23, 2014

    When you take off the cover you can see the battery but you cannot remove or replace, it’s nonsense. Another issue is the lack of 800 Mhz (20) 4G band. In forums of OnePlus you can check it. I hope that a revision of this model solve these issues. Regards

  14. April 23, 2014

    I just want to buy one! 🙂

  15. Pedro Miguel
    April 23, 2014

    Nothing but a disappointment. I was expecting a phone, not a phablet or whatever you call it..

  16. eliHd
    April 23, 2014

    Which do you prefer #Andy one+ or oppo find 7a? 🙂

  17. Nino
    April 23, 2014

    When is the release?

  18. njren
    April 23, 2014

    Great first try. Nothing more. New company, short development time, can’t expect much more. The trick is how they move forward and iron out this tangled relationship with Oppo. If potential customers are cross-shopping the Find 7 and OnePlus, something’s not right.

  19. joe
    April 23, 2014

    So it’s a choice between Oppo and OPO?

  20. CryosR
    April 23, 2014

    I didnt liked Iuni u2, but now i understand that IUNI U2 has much better design.
    + add 2nd sim and larger battery and iuni would be my next buy.

  21. realjjj
    April 23, 2014

    No microSD so i would not buy it on principle no matter how much internal storage it would have. Wireless charging maybe an IR blaster would have been nice but then again i’ll take the perf for less over too much hardware bloat for too much $ any day. In the end it’s nothing spectacular, except the price and that’s good enough.
    Looking forward to their 2015(?) model ,maybe with microSD and 2x the pref from a 20nm A57 based SoC :p

  22. alex
    April 28, 2014

    Will the OPO be distributed within China?

  23. Let's see it then
    May 2, 2014

    Call me impressed IF they actually manage to get these on the market in LARGE QUANTITIES. Hyping the media is one thing, but actually delivering is another. I’m sick and tired of all the chinese “flagship killers” that are pretty much impossible to get hold of. And you never ever get the phones for the price mentioned in the articles.

  24. Pirmin
    May 3, 2014

    One Question, How is the Sound compared to the OPPO Find 7 and compared to a HTC One M8??

    Im curious…