OnePlus co-founder talks about designing the OnePlus 3, getting inspired by Apple products, being angered by reviews


By now, anyone remotely interested in smartphones has probably heard the name OnePlus being thrown around. The company is known to sell smartphones with flagship-grade specs at a portion of the cost of your average industry heavy-hitter. Affectionately named “flagship killers”, its handsets have had their ups and downs, including a dreaded invite system for purchases and a couple of questionable ad campaign decisions, but are generally considered a good buy in the public's eye.

Last year's OnePlus 2 was not as well-received as the manufacturer's debut smartphone — the OnePlus One. And, the company did try to launch another competitively-priced, and attractive-looking midrange smartphone line — the OnePlus X — but decided to kill it off some months after.

OnePlus co-founder and public face of the company, Carl Pei, talked to NDTV about the process of re-imagining the OnePlus flagship, after the OnePlus 2's lukewarm reception, the decision to discontinue the OnePlus X line, and his tendency to get riled up over reviews of the company's products.


Pei said that, when conceptualizing a new smartphone, OnePlus tends to take user feedback very seriously, spending a lot of time asking fans on its official forums what they like and dislike about the company's products. The manufacturer proudly flaunts this on the phone's box, where it says “Created together with our fans”. Complaints about the OnePlus 2's design being a bit stale and the lack of an NFC chip were taken seriously, as we can see in the OnePlus 3, and a radical redesign and change in concepts was needed. It was effective, Pei believes, as users “definitely think that the OnePlus 3 is better than the OnePlus 2".

As far as the decision to end the OnePlus X line, Pei says OnePlus is not a company that wants to compete in the field of budget-oriented smartphones. Rather, it wants to focus on one product and polish its look and feel to perfection. He wasn't afraid to namedrop Apple and admit that OnePlus looks at the former's products a lot for reference. A lot of care is taken to optimize framework and animation speed and smoothness to get things to feel and look just right. Framedrops are a no-no and speed of operation is key, which is why working with a set of solidly defined specs is key.

Lastly, Carl Pei did admit that he has a tendency to get “pissed off” at reviews that left him with the impression that the people who wrote them didn't really “experience the product”, but just wrote about its specs and perceived price-to-value ratio. This part of the interview pertained to the reception of last year's OnePlus 2, but we did see Mr. Pei get a bit irritated this year, when everyone was criticizing the OnePlus 3's abysmal color reproduction. Thankfully, the latter was made much better with an OTA patch (OxygenOS 3.2.1).

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3
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 16 MP / 8 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 820, Quad-core, 2200 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3000 mAh

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32 Comments

2. SYSTEM_LORD

Posts: 1168; Member since: Oct 05, 2015

And now all that's left is to fix the camera shake on the OP3 and you've got an all-around winner

8. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

They could also improve the focusing with macro shots, HDR mode could use some tweaking, it's only half a HDR mode at best (like most Android devices.) Video quality could be better and OIS. But I'm being picky. :-)

4. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

no wonder its better than any of apple product good jobs..

12. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Idk about that. But certainly better than SGS7 for sure. My S7 gives me so many frame drops for my hard earned money.

5. FlySheikh

Posts: 444; Member since: Oct 02, 2015

It's a great phone..

10. yoghibawono

Posts: 240; Member since: May 04, 2016

One plus one is great. Fit with the hype they created. Problem with One plus is no actual consistency. Xiaomi manage to stay relevant because of the consistency of their device and the marketing strategy that surrounds it. At first xiaomi hyped their product like hell then no, they play very quietly (like last year only mi4i and. 2016 only mi5 being advertised officially by xiaomi). Creating curiousity. One plus's hype all the time and people will expect more then disappointed. You just cant do apple way all the time.

11. piyath

Posts: 2445; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Op3 must be way better than S7. I'm currently using a S7 and it has frame drops here and there. Mostly I gallery. I'm so annoyed. My earlier phone op1 was way smoother than this. Honest opinion.

32. Atrixboyyy

Posts: 595; Member since: Nov 03, 2011

Your trying to hard bruh, your S7 is just a garbage unit apparently.

14. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

- Fix the battery life and make it surpass the OnePlus One ( https://db.tt/9kQB8lPI ) - Ditch the pitifully-limited-crap stock Android and build off CyanogenMod - Add active digitizer pen support - Consider adding IR blaster Then and only then would I consider another OnePlus product. Not settling for a compromised experience...

15. AlikMalix unregistered

Mr electrifyer, thru all the trolling back and forth with you, I picked up hints from you that one plus that I though you own is the best android device. Secretly I was gonna try it as my android device next time I upgrade (I try android every two years when my upgrade is up). Now you sound completely opposite. Not trolling just curious why change of heart?

17. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

My OnePlus One is the best Smartphone I've ever owned, with versatile and future proof software (Cyanogen OS), great hardware design, and great battery ( https://db.tt/9kQB8lPI ). The OnePlus 3 offers only the great hardware design now, the OnePlus 2 was a mediocre fail on all fronts. OnePlus dropped the ball, that's why I'm not considering another of their devices. TLDR: I simply don't worship them. I call them out when they're slacking and I praise them when they're exceeding expectations, unlike I've experienced dozens of times between you and apple...

18. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

OnePlus 2 was doomed because of Snapdragon 810. As we're many devices from 2015, don't hold it against them, OnePlus 3 is a great device.

22. p51d007

Posts: 704; Member since: Nov 24, 2013

Haven't you figured out the entire OnePlus idea? Oppo RUNS the show, not OnePLus. Oppo comes out with a design, to field test it, they leave out things like all of the USA LTE frequencies (OnePlus X), removable battery (all products), NFC, No micro SD card slot. Throw in a not-ready-for-prime-time-software, pop a cover that says OnePlus, toss it to people for almost nothing. THEN, they wait for feedback on what's not right, fix it (hopefully), toss out some more, fix those and when they figure it can't get any better, add back things missing, slap a different OS and cover in it, and call it an Oppo phone. The OnePlus One was released, then the Oppo Find7 came along. The OnePlus Two was released, and they tried to cool it by making the entire frame the heat sink. Didn't work. So much so, Oppo, who had announced the Find9 right after the release of the OnePlus2, DELAYED IT late December, until the SD820 chip. Now we have the OnePlus3, and you can bet the Find9 will be announced for the 4th quarter of this year. The OnePlusX came along, then the Oppo A1000 came along. OnePlus is nothing but a beta tester for Oppo. Hey, if people can put up with the bugs for a cheap, pretty high spec phone, so be it. The big headache, is if you have a hardware problem, that you didn't cause. Getting the phone repaired replaced, is next to impossible. Getting in touch with OnePlus, well, that's like trying to get a refund from the IRS...

24. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

They all part of same company group so of course much of what they do will filter through. I would be concerned if it didn't.

19. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

I get better battery life with OnePlus 3 than the OnePlus One. I have both, OnePlus One battery life has also degraded a bit. OnePlus support rooting/flashing so if users want to install CM or any other firmware/mod they can.

21. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

Reviews don't agree with you, but good to hear it's working for you. I've just been sticking with the Official Cyanogen OS on my OnePlus One, haven't bothered installing any other ROM.

23. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Reviews were all done before lollipop nuked battery life and when the batteries were new, they're irrelevant now. :-) You can't compare battery life for devices running Android 4.4 and 6.01. Running Oxygen OS on OnePlus One, runs fine but battery life has never been the same since lollipop and it has degraded, 3ish hours SoT max these days. OnePlus 3 has made it to 6 hours a few times, more often around 4-5 hours as I game, a lot.

25. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

"You can't compare battery life for devices running Android 4.4 and 6.01." My OnePlus One is on Marshmallow and is getting the best battery life ever (7 hours SOT, was getting 6 with KitKat) despite it being almost 2 years old ( https://db.tt/9kQB8lPI ), so, no I'm not judging it based on older firmware.

26. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

I don't believe you, you can post that all day but it means very little. I can loop video on my phone for 10 hours and claim 10 hours SoT but it would be BS, these are to easy to manipulate.

27. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

You're no more believable with your own claims on the OnePlus 3 lasting longer without any sources to back it... As for the video part, you'd be right if that SOT was gained from merely video instead of mixed use through out my day: https://db.tt/5tYNJFLfhttps://db.tt/8XFbghkWhttps://db.tt/UPcO5TnBhttps://db.tt/PrCPXK0Qhttps://db.tt/kKWkQcGzhttps://db.tt/9kQB8lPI So, believe whatever you want to believe, take the red pill whenever you're ready.

28. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

These are too easy to manipulate, through usage and through software, why can't you get it through your think head that they are meaningless. You might as well post quadrant scores, just as meaningful.

29. MrElectrifyer

Posts: 3960; Member since: Oct 21, 2014

They're no more meaningless than your claims. Again believe what you want to believe, is that too hard for that grey matter between your ears to comprehend?

30. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

All users have to do is Google screen on time for this device, xda have a huge thread and the results are all over the place. Heavy and moderate users were getting 3-5 hours, light users were getting 6-7 hours. Some were getting considerably less, many are using custom roms/kernels to get the most out their devices, and some are just faking. OnePlus One battery was good two years ago, definitely above average, not so much now unless it's relatively new. SoT is interesting but every user is different. On the exact same device you can easily have one user get 3.5 hours SoT and another user will get 6 hours + just based on usage. Posting screenshots and expecting everyone to accept them as proof is ridiculous.

31. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

In your previous post you referred to reviews, the reviews are two years old and using kitkat. I don't care about your device.

16. Af1rPA

Posts: 712; Member since: Jun 12, 2014

Ugly hair cut aside, the One Plus One is still the best looking design they have done so far. A black metal version would have been nice instead of this Apple grey copycat.

20. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

OnePlus One looks outdated and build quality was never that good. I still own one, good cheap backup phone.

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