After a shaky, neck pain inducing, yet very well choreographed casual VR launch, the cat’s finally out of the bag. OnePlus 2 is here. It will cost $330/$390 for the 16/64 GB versions. Sales go live on August 11 in USA, Canada, EU, and India. The 16 GB version is coming in a couple of months. If you’re interested in finding out all the specs and the price in your region, check out our respective articles on the topic.
It seems like everyone has an opinion about the all-metal redesigned body. It doesn’t look that bad, really. Some think it’s gorgeous. Others think it’s not that great. Right now though, we’re going to talk about the really cool stuff in OnePlus 2 (and some not-so-cool stuff).
1. Fingerprint Sensor
It’s only since Galaxy S6 that I started to believe in fingerprint sensors on Android phones. And OnePlus claims their sensor is better/faster than the iPhone. What’s important is that it works and it works well. In his impressions video, MKBHD said the success rate was way above 90%, which is around the iPhone territory. You can add up to 5 fingerprints. And OnePlus 2 has this cool mode where you can just place your finger on the home button when the screen is off and the phone will just skip the lockscreen and take you directly to the homescreen. It’s really fast, as you can see in the GIF below (courtesy of Droid-Life).
2. USB Type-C
We’ve written an entire explainer guide on USB Type-C. It does a lot of stuff that would negate the need for other ports like HDMI but in this instance, the coolest thing about it is that it’s reversible. Yup, no need to do that turn it up-down-up-again USB dance we’re all too familiar with.
3. Laser Autofocus, OIS and A New Camera App
Here are the camera specs. 13 MP, f/2.0 aperture, Dual LED flash and you can still shoot in 4K. But it’s not the specs that are interesting, it’s the technologies and the software.
LG G3 was the first popular phone that introduced us to laser autofocus. If you weren’t briefed about it, here’s how it works. Before taking the shot, the phone emits a laser light burst that hits the subject and bounces back to the sensor. The software then calculates the time it took for the light to get there and back. Now that the camera knows exactly how far the subject is, it can focus really quickly and more importantly, do it right. The 2’s sensor does this all under 0.2 seconds.
The camera also supports Optical Image Stabilization. That should help smooth out all those shaky shots.
OnePlus has created a custom camera app that lets then do some cool stuff. The app will be able to create 50 MP shots, will have a slo-mo mode that goes upto 120 FPS and of course, a time-lapse mode.
From early hands-on and that MKBHD review, the general consensus seems to be that the camera is better than the One (which is great) but it’s still no current flagship killer. “It’s decent” is the name of the game. And for a $330 phone, maybe that’s not so bad.
4. There’s a Physical Mute Switch
The last time people were this excited about a physical mute switch was in 2007, when the first iPhone came out. And if you’ve ever used one, you know how useful the physical mute toggle switch is. So it’s surprising that it took 7 years to see it on a mainstream Android phone. OnePlus 2’s Alert Slider has three states, instead of two. All notifications, Priority notifications and Mute.
I’m not sure how well this is going to work, because when it comes to toggles, 3 is usually a crowd. Flicking a switch without thinking about it is easy. Tweaking a slider though, needs thought. Hopefully, we’ll get used to it.
5. Dat Kevlar Back Tho
OnePlus 2 ships with an improved version of the Sandstone back. But I think the StyleSwap replaceable backs is where the action’s at. You can choose between back covers made from real wood (Bamboo, Black Apricot and Rosewood). The best one though might just be Kevlar. At least in these pictures, it looks badass. Covers are $27 each.
6. OxygenOS Might Not Disappoint?
I have to say, Cyanogen OS did make a significant contribution to OnePlus One’s initial success. But OxygenOS is quickly catching up and even adding unique features of its own. Like CM and Android M, there’s a pro-level App Permissions feature. There’s also custom accent colors for the entire UI and a dark mode. Plus, there’s normal custom ROM like features – edit the toggles in Notification Drawer, change the behavior of physical buttons and more.
Feature wise, OxygenOS seems to be up there. But what about actual performance, or unforeseeable bugs? Well, only time will tell.
Now, the Not So Exciting Stuff
Has anyone told you yet, there’s no such thing as a perfect phone? And that rumors and perceptions and tweets from “experts” and “market-analysts” aren’t the final word on matters of what makes it to the production model?
OnePlus calls the 2 the “2016 Flagship Killer” (well, errr…) And in that future, there are no 2K displays, there are no NFC chips, IR blasters and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 doesn’t have any problems whatsoever. Future is a great place to be in.
Yes, we were all expecting a QHD display. But it’s only a 1080p panel here. But it looks like it’s much brighter and sharper than the old one (600 nits brightness level). Although text and images won’t be as crisp as on a Galaxy S6, it won’t be washed out either. It does help the battery life a great deal though. Also, we hear that there’s no Quick Charge feature either. Why you ask? We honestly don’t know. Maybe Qualcomm’s licensing fee is too high? And did we mention the IR blaster?
The real eyebrow raisers are the Snapdragon 810 processor and the lack of an NFC chip. We’ve read consistent reports of 810 getting a bit too warm under heavy duty stuff (and when it gets warm, it throttles). But hopefully, the 1080p screen will keep that in check. Still, I can’t think of one good reason to not include an NFC sensor. Do nerds not like to buy stuff using contactless payments? I’m sure they do. If you have a theory, leave it in the comment below.
What do you think of the OnePlus 2? Was the #HYPE worth it? What’s your number in the invite queue? Feel free to comment below.