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.
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.
The differences between the two phones are in the details.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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;
- Is it worth buying the OnePlus One if you already have the Find 7a?
- 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.
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?