The long awaited OnePlus One smartphone has finally made its official debut after many months of slow trickles and leaks. This smartphone was promised to be the smartphone without compromises, and judging by the current specs listed of the OnePlus One, it appears that their statement has held true. The current OnePlus One (still not too hot about that name) will be available in two colors and models. Specifically, the white model selling for $299 with 16GB of storage space (and no memory card slot) and the black version selling for $349 with 64GB of storage space. This price is all the more ridiculous when you realize that this is a 5.5″ 1080P phone with a quality LCD display all being powered by a 2.45 GHz Snapdragon 801 SoC and a 3100 mAh battery. It will have a Cat 4 LTE modem from Qualcomm as well, enabling quite a broad array of 3G/LTE connectivity across various markets. It does, however, lack 802.11ac connectivity but makes up for it with USB 3.0 support, which isn’t necessarily a complete compensation, but it does show some signs of compromise as 802.11ac parts aren’t cheap. It will also sport a non-standard 3GB of RAM, which is generally more than what most Android smartphones ship with today, however, this is clearly OnePlus trying to win the spec wars and possibly even make the phone more ‘future-proof’ even though such an idea is almost ludicrous in today’s smartphone market.
But OnePlus isn’t all about the hardware specs, they’re also all about the software simplicity and overall design. As a result of that, they are offering the OnePlus One without any brand logo work anywhere on the front of device, as they claim this adds to making the device bigger. They also added the ability to change the back cover of the phone to a various series of materials ranging from Bamboo and Denim to Wood and Kevlar. They are also claiming that white version utilizes a cashew cover as well, which is a bit quirky, but offers people the chance to be unique and ‘green’ since cashews are technically a renewable resource.
The great thing about the OnePlus One is that it also has stereo speakers in the bottom of the phone, which means that it will have pretty good sound, as they are claiming a partnership with JBL, which means that they have Harman’s audio engineers to help them tune the sound perfectly. Something that many of their competitors have honestly overlooked or were unable to do. Only the HTC One line of smartphones actually has stereo speakers, although those are front-facing, a decision that OnePlus decided they weren’t going to do.
In addition to the fast processor, large battery, simplistic design, and quality sound, they’ve also made sure that the cameras match the 1080P display’s capabilities by including a 13 Mp Sony camera sensor and a 5mp front-facing camera sensor as well. This would put it above all of the flagship phones currently available in terms of both front-facing and main back cameras as many of them are between 13 and 16 Mp on the back and between 2 and 5 mp on the front. This should allow for some great photography, but we will have to see what kind of quality is ultimately gained from these sensors once they start shipping in Q2 since the hardest part of any smartphone camera is building the right software around it. The camera will also be able to shoot in RAW and capture slow-motion video at 120 FPS, which is yet another set of features that most flagship phones either have or don’t have yet (RAW support).
The OnePlus One will be shipping with a special version of Cyanogenmod 11S sporting Android Kitkat 4.4 and will use Cyanogenmod’s secure messaging services like TextSecure to allow end to end message encryption for security and privacy purposes. The first 100 phones will become available on April 25th as part of their viral Smash campaign that encourages users to smash their smartphones in order to get a OnePlus One smartphone for $1. However, that page is currently down and the details about it can’t be viewed until their site goes back up. As of right now, their entire site is down likely due to insanely heavy traffic from the announcement of the pricing and availability. There are still no details about the availability and pricing of the unique material covers to replace the white and black ones, but we will likely get more details soon. The expected overall date for shipments of these devices across global markets is roughly set at Q2 with Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, UK and the USA. The purchasing system will be obtained through an invite system and devices will be shipping locally from within the country you ordered it from in order to make shipping simple and quick.
OnePlus calls their OnePlus One the flagship killer, and you know what, they might just be right. The real question is, how in the hell do they do it? How are they able to take premium smartphone features and throw them into a phone for literally half the cost? Not just that, but how do they do it in a sustainable manner that allows them to actually design and manufacture the devices at a profit. It seems almost impossible, but maybe they’ve done it? After all, Google came as close as ever with the Nexus 5.