“All you wanted to know about the latest powerhouse from OnePlus”
The OnePlus One (review) was unveiled to the world back in April 2014, and at the time, we had no idea whether it’ll ever come to India or not. An invitation to buy a smartphone? The idea seemed strange at the time, to say the least. However, the so-called ‘flagship killer’ managed to disrupt the global smartphone arena…with folks from the industry, the technology media and anyone with even a passing interest in this segment sitting up and taking notice. It created waves in India as well, when it eventually landed in the country in December. From its sleek looks, innovative packaging and loaded specs, right down to the aggressive pricing, everything about it resonated with those looking for a powerful daily driver, without hurting their pockets. And when the time came to announce a sequel, the brand chose a unique VR launch to unveil it. The OnePlus 2 (unboxing and first impressions) has been a long time coming, but it’s finally out… and the company has left no stone unturned in making sure it meets the sky-high expectations everyone has from the One’s successor.
It’s just been a couple of days since the global unveil, but already, we’ve been swamped with queries regarding the new device. So here’s a handy reckoner with all the info you might need, presented in our trademark Q&A format. And as usual, we’ll be starting with the key specs.
So what specs does the OnePlus 2 boast?
The smartphone rocks a 5.5-inch full HD display (401 ppi), and is powered by a 64-bit, octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1 chip ticking at 1.8GHz. An Adreno 430 GPU handles graphics, and there’s 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM to help with smooth performance and breezy multitasking. TheOnePlus 2 measures 151.8 x 74.9 x 9.85mm and tips the scales at 175 grams. There’s 64GB of internal storage, but OnePlus has also announced a 16GB model. The latter however, only comes with 3GB of RAM. A 3,330mAh battery provides the juice.
Is the screen on the OnePlus 2 layered with Gorilla Glass?
Absolutely, there’s a layer of Corning Gorilla Glass on top of the screen to protect it from scratches.
What can you tell me about the design?
Everything. We’d urge you to take a peek at our first impressions where we’ve described the design in detail, but in short… the OnePlus 2 looks classy and elegant. The rear still sports the classic Sandstone finish that was there on the predecessor, but this feels slightly rougher to the touch. On the sides is a metal frame that adds both to the build as well as the looks.
What SIM card(s) does the new device accept?
Unlike its predecessor, the OnePlus 2 is a dual-SIM device, and accepts a pair of nano-SIM cards in a slide-out tray hidden under the removable back panel.
Does the OnePlus 2 support 4G?
You bet. The device works with a variety of LTE bands, but you’ll be glad to know that support for both Indian 4G bands (TDD-LTE band 40 and FDD-LTE band 3) is also included. In fact, 4G is supported on both SIM slots.
Does the OnePlus 2 support USB OTG?
The answer to that would be a yes again. However, you’d need to enable USB OTG under storage settings before you can connect flash drives or other supported peripherals to the device.
What about NFC? Any details about other connectivity options on offer and the available sensors?
While its predecessor does come with NFC, this connectivity option is missing on the OnePlus 2. The available options include dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n and 5GHz 802.11a/n/ac), Bluetooth 4.1, A-GPS, and GLONASS. As one of its most highlighted features, the OnePlus 2 comes with a USB Type-C port instead of the regular micro-USB port.
The new interface boasts a reversible connector, which means it can be plugged in either way. Of course, a compatible cable is included in the box, but unless you’re fine with carrying this cable with you all the time, you’ll need to buy additional ones in case you need multiple charging or data transfer options for use with power banks, laptops etc. OnePlus should be making spare USB-Type C cables available as optional purchases, along with adapters which can be used with traditional micro-USB cables too. As of now though, third-party options are relatively hard to come by and are priced on the higher side.
As far as the sensors are concerned, the smartphone comes with a fingerprint scanner, an accelerometer, a digital compass, and a gyroscope, along with the standard proximity and ambient light sensors.
Any device customisation options available?
Oh yes. If you recall, the OnePlus One could be customised using StyleSwap covers – and the brand even retails the Bamboo StyleSwap cover in India via Amazon. This replaces the rear panel on the One, but installing it isn’t really a piece of cake. The company has introduced StyleSwap covers for the OnePlus 2 as well, and since the rear panel on this device is removable, replacing it with one of the options is a breeze.
Essentially being replaceable back panels, these would be available in four different finishes for the OnePlus 2 – covering Bamboo, Kevlar, Black Apricot and Rosewood. We’re told that these should be available to buy around the same time the new model goes on sale, i.e., August 11th. However. the exact pricing of these covers hasn’t been divulged yet. We’ve had a look at these StyleSwap covers with our own eyes, and feel that each of them brings its own individual style… worth getting if you’d like to customise your OnePlus 2. The options are pictured above, with the fifth one being the Sandstone Black rear panel that comes with the smartphone by default.
Any other special features I should know about?
Yup. The OnePlus 2 also sports a fingerprint scanner which has been integrated on the home button below the screen. This is a capacitive key and works by touch, and the option to register your fingerprints can be found under settings. Up to five fingerprints can be registered. Another interesting feature is the provision of a three-way slider key on the left spine. Called the Alert Slider, this key switches between ‘all notifications’, ‘priority notifications’ and ‘no notifications’, so you can control alerts without having to unlock the smartphone.
How much storage does the OnePlus 2 offer? Can I add more?
The 64GB model offers about 53GB free to use for apps, media and other content. However, there’s no microSD card slot, so you can’t add more.
What about the SAR value of the device?
The max SAR value of the OnePlus 2 is rated 0.729 W/kg at the head, and 0.329 W/kg at the body.
What about camera quality?
The new smartphone offers a 13-megapixel camera at the rear, plus a 5-meg snapper at front for selfies and video calling. While the megapixel count remains the same as the predecessor, the brand has added some serious photography chops to the OnePlus 2. The rear camera now features optical image stabilisation, and comes with laser autofocus for speedy focussing. The shooter also features f/2.0 aperture and six lenses, and is aided by a dual-LED flash. It’s capable of recording 4K video, and can also capture 720p video at 120fps if you’re interested in shooting slow motion effects.
As far as the camera app is concerned, it’s quite minimalistic and the available shooting modes (accessible via a menu that slides out from the left) include Panorama, Slow Motion and Time-lapse. Options like Clear Image, HDR and Beauty are available via another menu that can be accessed by hitting three dots on the right. And exposure ring appears when you tap to focus.
We’ll have lots more to discuss about the shooting prowess of the smartphone in our detailed camera review, so keep an eye out for that.
Any details about the software platform and other features?
Sure. The device runs OxygenOS, which has been built upon Android Lollipop 5.1.1. The interface is almost stock Android, but OnePlus has thrown in quite a few tweaks and options, so you can customise the phone as per your wishes.
There doesn’t seem to be support for downloadable themes for now (which was one of the highlights of the predecessor that utilised the Cyanogen OS platform), but there’s an option to switch to a dark theme if you want. The notification LED on the front supports multiple colours, and you can even customise these for notifications and battery status.
Quite a few options are similar to those available in Cyanogen OS, such as the ability to switch the navigation keys to software overlays instead using the hardware keys below the screen, double-tap-to-wake, screen-off gestures for launching the camera and flashlight straight from standby etc. There’s even an option to switch the functionality of the recent apps and back hardware keys to suit your preferences.
An interesting new feature comes in the form of Shelf, which is currently in beta, and appears as a dedicated home screen that sits on the leftmost side of the interface. This acts as your personal space and displays recently-accessed apps and contacts. It does seem like a useful addition, and we’re hoping OnePlus can add more functionality to it via updates.
How much does the OnePlus 2 cost, and how can I buy one for myself?
The 64GB model of the OnePlus 2 that boasts 4GB of RAM has been priced at Rs 24,999, and will go on sale via Amazon India on August 11th. As we mentioned earlier, OnePlus has also announced another variant that offers 16GB of non-expandable storage and 3GB of RAM (with all other specs remaining the same. This variant has been priced at Rs 22,999, but it won’t be available to buy immediately, and is expected to come later. For buying the OnePlus 2 64GB on August 11th or anytime in the near future, you’ll need to possess an invite. This is a similar strategy as the one employed by OnePlus for the earlier model, and as usual, you’d need to keep an eye out for invites available online. OnePlus says it will be distributing invites via contests, online announcements and its social channels, and those who buy will also get shareable invites to pass on to others. One big difference this time however, is that OnePlus also has a reservation list where those interested in buying the smartphone can enrol their names and see their positions in a queue. At the sidelines of the event in Delhi where the smartphone was showcased to the media, OnePlus India GM Vikas Agarwal told us that the reservation list makes the system transparent to users and also lets them jump spots by utilising social media. He also said that the inventory available this time would be higher than earlier, and the company is better equipped to handle demand.
So that guys, is pretty much everything to know about the OnePlus 2 for now. If there’s anything you think we missed, do get back to us via the comments section below. The real-life story could be vey different from what appears on paper, and we’re very keen to put the device through its paces to see how well the OnePlus 2 works as a daily driver. A review is in the factory as you read this…
Photos by Raj Rout