4745454b's review of the Oneplus One

4745454b

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With my old Samsung Galaxy S2 (GS2) dying, I decided it was time for a new phone. I have only recently got into cell phones and after a few lower end models settled on the GS2. Decent specs, and supported everything I liked. (I am a fan of removable batteries and micro SD cards.) My first used GS2 lost it's wifi and then started locking up/rebooting all the time. I bought another used one and while the wifi stayed on, it to started locking up/rebooting all the time. I work at the local hospital and there are a number of us who use text/Facebook messenger to leave notes for each other so it's REALLY important I can be reached. My first thought for a new phone was the Moto G. Without the removable battery and the lack of storage space I was impressed with the specs, but not willing to buy it. (And with the LTE model being closer to $230 I was less impressed.) Moto X looked a lot better, but was a lot more. That's when I heard about the Oneplus One.

For those who don't know the “One” is the flagship device from a “new” Chinese company. I said “new” because many of them are from Oppo, which made the nearly identical to the One “Find 7”. I have no idea why Oppo seemed to reorganize into Oneplus, nor did I really care. Reading online I did see the One is made at Oppo's production plants. The specs on the One are REALLY impressive and for only $299/349 you got a lot of phone. You get the Qualcomm Snapdragon (SD) 801 SoC, so a quad core CPU clocked at 2.5GHz. 3GBs of LPDDR3 ram, and either 16 or 64GBs of storage depending on if you spent $299 or $349. It has a 5.5” IPS screen that is 1920x1080. (~400dpi) I've been using the phone for awhile it it's a good looking screen. Not OMG, but definitely something I can live with. I've read online that the viewing angles are good/great, but as the only user of the phone I look at it dead on so not sure how important this is. The screen is large with people at work having mentioned it already. Has a 3100mAh battery in it. While at work I've been listening to .mp3 when I can. This means putting the phone in my pocket and letting it play songs as loud as it can. I was doing this for ~3hrs of my shift. Along with other uses such as checking email, or looking something up online, my battery stays above 50%. I'm using full brightness. Has a 13mp camera in the back, and a 5mp front facing cam. The phone is 6” long, 3” wide, .35” deep, and weighs in around 160g. It also famously ships with CyanogenMod 11S, which is based on Android 4.4/kitkat. My first real smart phone (HTC inspire 4G) came with CyanogenMod which I loved. I haven't spent a lot of time inside this OS, but it seems ok. (more on this later.)

The phone is also nearly impossible to buy. Due to production issues they are using a clunky invite system. After a frustrating time with my phone locking up for most of my shift, I went home deciding I was buying one TODAY. Ebay had them, but at massively inflated prices. This is really the same phone HTC One M8, Galaxy S5, etc would charge $650 for. Ebay reflected that. But I wasn't going to spend $550+ for a $350 phone. After more searching I finally found an acceptable one on Swappa. Used for only ~1 week, came with the 64GB phone and a blue case to put it in, and was only $410. I found this more then acceptable and bought it right away. If you want to buy one I highly suggest doing it this way as there were many between $410-450. Yes you pay more, but not horribly more. I won't talk about opening the package as there are other unboxing videos/comments out there. I've had the phone in the case this whole time so I can't even really comment on the feel of the phone. It does have a curved back which felt nice. It looks great. Very thin. It doesn't look or feel like a cheap or low end phone at all. It's also “flashy” with coworkers mentioning it on several occasions. Once I got it I started noticing a few things I didn't like. Like with opening an unpowered DVD-ROM you need to use something to open the sim tray. They don't give you anything to pop it open. A paperclip works fine. Second, for some reason the sim tray can fit either way. When I put my sim in it didn't work. Took me buying a new sim and 3 days to figure out what was wrong. When installing the sim you need to use a paper clip to eject the tray. The sim then fits in (it's notched, only goes one way.) and it's slid back in with the pads on the sim facing the REAR of the phone. Once that got sorted out however the phone has been working great. Because I have it in a case with a folding front I don't really know how the One handles or feels. (it looks like a book, with the front of the case folding over the front of the phone.) I have smaller hands for a guy and I can use most of the phone ok with one hand. The upper left is of course impossible.

Other things that I've noticed that is bad. Like another review online I read it seems to “hickup” at odd times. One that happens nearly every time is when the screen reorientates. If I'm playing a video off of youtube and put the phone on a table, the screen sometimes thinks it needs to rotate, and there is a small <1sec stutter in the music. I don't remember my GS2 having this issue. It also doesn't support HDMI over the USB. I found this odd as I thought all phones supported this these days. You need the adapter, but I can swear my old GS2 does this. I've also seen sites claim that it has “stereo” speaks on the bottom of the device. There are two speakers, but from what I've read on the Oneplus forums, it's two speakers that play the same signal. Two “left” speakers != stereo folks. Because the battery isn't removable you can't do wireless charging. Perhaps they can make another model that supports this. As a new phone there are also very few accessories for it. Even the case that is the only accessory for it so far has an issue. It looks and feels great, but it blocks the notification light when it's closed. ??? Really? I also have yet to find a way to make it show up as a drive in My Computer like a MTP USB device should. When you connect it it can connect either as a mobile media device, or a camera. I prefer my phone to show up as a hard drive. Reason being everything supports a hard drive, and Recuva only works with drives. If I need to get a deleted something back, I have no way of doing that with the software I have.

So what's good about it?

LOTS of space. I tend to use my phone as media device. I listen to music as I bike around town or whenever I can. I surf on my breaks. Maybe play chess or Sudoku. I can easily make do with an .mp3 player that can make phone calls/text. But I need room to hold all my stuff. I also use my phone as a flash drive, so the more space the better.

As I mentioned previously, the screen. The screen is great. Watching things has been pleasant. 5.5” isn't huge, but at 1080 it seems nice enough to watch shows on. Much better then my old 4.5” GS2. I also love the battery, but I'm assuming that love with fade as the battery gets used and doesn't last as well. I can't believe my phone uses full brightness and plays music for 3hrs and still has 50%+ when I get home. It might be large, but I haven't had any problems putting it in my pockets. It's big, but so am I. If you have skinny pants or small pockets then it might be an issue. But it went in both my work pants and my jeans without issues. It even fits my pajama bottoms. It might be large, but at least it doesn't feel heavy. At 160g it hasn't been a chore to hold it.

My ancient HTC inspire 4G had a notification light on it and it was something I missed A LOT with my GS2. The One has one and I'm glad it's back. I do wish the case didn't block it when closed. It's easy to wake the phone up with the case on btw. When you open the case the phone wakes up.

I'm also happy knowing I have one of the best/better SoC out there right now. Quad core and 3GBs of ram is as good as you can get right now. These aren't low performance cores either. If it has the SD 801, the only way to get better SD support is with the 805. And as the review on Toms showed the 805 provides more bandwidth to the GPU. My gaming needs on my phone are light, but I'm glad to know I have the performance should I want or need it for anything.

I'm also a “huge” fan of droid. I signed in with my gmail account, and it brought over everything. My contacts, the apps I've downloaded from the store, everything. I didn't need to go looking for anything. My save games didn't move over, but those apps don't have cloud support. Other then the stutter issue which I'm not sure if that's a hardware or software issue it's nice to have a phone that functions just like my 4.1 GS2. Learning curve has been very small. One odd issue that popped up is it didn't come with a player for my .MP3s. I'm currently using VLC to do this, not sure if I'll keep it.

Speakers are loud. I think they are louder then the new laptop I bought. I usually bring in my laptop and play holiday music on holidays. I think I'll try with my phone instead this year as it seems to be louder. It might not be stereo, but they are loud enough that I don't need headphones while watching something, and when showing a video to someone they can easily hear it. I've had other phones where this can be an issue. And the lack of stereo isn't a big issue, most phones only have one speaker anyways facing the bottom of the phone. Headphone jack is there as well. One review I read online said the speakers/jack put out quiet audio. I disagree. They seem just like any other device.

Speaking of sound I'm disappointed with calls. The speaker phone is VERY quiet. Held up to your ear and it's ok, but the speakerphone part of it isn't very good. My friend said I sounded quieter then usually on his end and he was very much quieter on mine. I did double check and the volume was as high as it goes. The signal strength isn't as high on my GS2. Outdoors is a lot better, but inside my place and I get only one to two bars. My work has a cell tower on it and I get full bars there.

EDIT: After an update the speaker phone works A LOT better. Call quality is similar to my old GS2. I have no complaints on the speakerphone quality now. Lets hear it for updates!

From reading the Oneplus forum this phone should also support USB OTG. (On The Go.) Like with the HDMI issue this isn't anything I have a lot of experience with. It is also a USB 3.0 device. It's also is supposed to support Bluetooth 4.0, Wifi/802.11 B/G/N/AC, and NFC. I've connected it to my router at home, and whatever work uses. I haven't had any wifi issues. It's also a GSM only phone unless you get the Chinese version, no CDMA support. I'm using a Nano AT&T type sim on Straight talk, and I connect at 4G.

While I haven't tested the camera's a lot, I did take a couple of pics. I did resample the back ones as they were 3MB in size. I used Irfanview and set the jpeg to 50% quality on the resave. The size is the same howver. For only 5mp, the front camera takes great photos. As good as the 8mp on my GS2. Here is a one I took of myself at my place.


I swung by the local watering hole and snapped some pics using the back one. The first one came out really dark. It looks good, just dark. Probably a setting.



Because that shot looked so bad, I took another that looked normal.

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This picture looks acceptable to me. I get the feeling if I played with the settings the first picture would have turned out fine as well. Not sure if user error or auto setting error. Never had this happen with my GS2. I also noticed while showing it to someone at work that the front one seems to support facial tracking. When I backed out of view of the camera, the circle on the screen shifted to his face, and “centered” on his face. I'm not a big photo guy, but there seems to be a lot of settings on the cameras.

Overall I'm really happy with this phone. I'd be annoyed if this was a $650+ device. I have to buy my phones outright due to my use of Straight talk as my carrier. Overall this is a good phone that handles itself on a day to day basis. In the week that I've been using it the only problems I've had is the covered notification light (which isn't the fault of the phone but the cover.) and the the quiet speakerphone. Which some people might not even use. If you are looking for a high end phone at a not so high end price this is the one.
 

4745454b

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4745454b

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I've updated the original thread with how an update has fixed the speakerphone quality problem. Yea updates! I also have a new gripe on the case. When folded open, you are forced to have it open like a book if you want to take pics. Would have been nice if they had found a way to allow the camera AND THE FLASH to be visible when you have it folded back on itself. This way you can do some one handed picture taking. The phone has been great for me, but this case is really annoying me.
 
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