Introduction


Back in April, when smartphone entrant OnePlus finally took the wraps off of its first phone after months of teasers and hype build-up, we were part of the cheering crowd. After all, what's not to like? We were promised an affordable flagship phone with no-compromise specs, and these promises certainly materialized. The 16GB version of the OnePlus One is currently sold for $299, and it packs some pretty amazing hardware. It's got a large, 5.5-inch display, along with latest generation silicon in the Snapdragon 801. It's also a very capable camera phone, and its large battery ensures industry-leading longevity.

But we were also a little hesitant during the whole hype campaign around the One. Indeed, we knew that the more OnePlus drove expectations up before launch, the bigger the chance that disappointment was inevitable.

As it turns out, we were right on the money. That's not to say that the OnePlus One isn't a great device – it is, especially considering its affordable price tag – but it's quite obvious to us that the company failed to deliver in the public's eye and in practice. This is to signify the continued issues OnePlus seems to have in terms of availability, and that has left many disappointed. Indeed, currently the OnePlus One can only be bought if you happen to win an invitation from the company to buy one, and that's very far from a sure thing. This being such an appealing device makes this lack of supply all the more terrible to stomach.

How appealing exactly, however? Let's take a closer look and find out.

In the box:

  • 2.1A wall charger
  • USB cable
  • SIM ejector tool with keychain

Design

The Sandstone Black version comes with a unique and extremely grippy back shell that characterizes the OnePlus One more than anything else.

Despite OnePlus' vehement denials that Oppo is anything more than a small investor with it, it's quite obvious that the link between the two goes deeper still. Indeed, this is made obvious by the near identical looks of the One and the Find 7.

Looking at the OnePlus One head on, we're met with a slightly-rounded rectangular piece that is differentiated from the above-mentioned device through its display, which is protruding from its bed. With the exception of an LED notification light and a front-facing camera located at the top left, and the presence of capacitive navigation buttons, little else of note is to be found up front.

Turning the device around, we're met with, in our case, a “Sandstone Black” rear shell, which is extremely grippy and quite unique, too. We've never seen anything like this with another phone, and it definitely lives up to its name – it really reminds of sandstone. In fact, after our initial surprise (this thing feels strange to the touch), we quickly got used to the finish and found that we love the choice of materials here. This one honestly feels unique, but we're definitely worried about the practicality of it – for example, we already somehow managed to chip away at the finish, and the damage is visible. This is despite taking absolutely excellent care of the phone.

Moving on, at the sides, we have the power key comfortably placed within a thumb's distance on the right side, and a volume rocker on the left. Both of these are very well made and protrude just enough to provide proper feedback, but also remain inconspicuous. Travel is also excellent.

In terms of overall looks, we're a little conflicted – the nice touch with the rear definitely distinguishes the One in the eyes of beholders, but, at the same time – it's not like the lines of the device are at all unique. Lastly, with dimensions of 6.02 x 2.99 x 0.35 inches (152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm) and body weight of 5.71 oz (162 g), the One isn't exactly one hand-friendly.


OnePlus One

OnePlus One

Dimensions

6.02 x 2.99 x 0.35 inches

152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.71 oz (162 g)

OPPO Find 7a

OPPO Find 7a

Dimensions

6.01 x 2.95 x 0.36 inches

152.6 x 75 x 9.2 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

LG G3

LG G3

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches

146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.26 oz (149 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Dimensions

5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

OnePlus One

OnePlus One

Dimensions

6.02 x 2.99 x 0.35 inches

152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.71 oz (162 g)

OPPO Find 7a

OPPO Find 7a

Dimensions

6.01 x 2.95 x 0.36 inches

152.6 x 75 x 9.2 mm

Weight

6.00 oz (170 g)

LG G3

LG G3

Dimensions

5.76 x 2.94 x 0.35 inches

146.3 x 74.6 x 8.9 mm

Weight

5.26 oz (149 g)

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Samsung Galaxy Note 3

Dimensions

5.95 x 3.12 x 0.33 inches

151.2 x 79.2 x 8.3 mm

Weight

5.93 oz (168 g)

To see the phones in real size or compare them with other models, visit our Visual Phone Size Comparison page



Display

Color-accurate and usable outdoors. Good stuff.

In the era of big-screened devices, the 5.5-inch IPS panel with resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels on the OnePlus One is starting to feel standard. Regardless of the relatively large display, the pixel density, at 401 ppi, ensures a detailed image at all times.

In terms of image quality, the IPS unit proves true-to-life, though it's not perfect. For example, color temperature, at 7066 K, is good, but not excellent (6500 K is the reference state). This means that the display is slightly colder than it should be, but still better than many rival solutions. Color reproduction is also very good, with fairly minimal deviations. For example, color intensities (saturation) are correct on the whole, but some, like magenta, have slightly wrong hues for each intensity level. Before we move on, it should be noted that the OnePlus One's CyanogenMod OS allows you to mess around with color reproduction, and, beyond the Standard and Vivid modes that come by default, you can also create a custom preset more to your liking (e.g., higher saturation for AMOLED-like colors).

Lastly, in terms of brightness, the One peaks at 447 nits, which we consider good, but not excellent. Like the Oppo Find 7a, the One also isn't the best out there when it comes to the viewing experience outside, but you can rest assured that you'd still be able to operate the screen, even under direct sunlight.



FEATURED VIDEO

43 Comments

1. Duketytz

Posts: 534; Member since: Nov 28, 2013

You caught the legendary Pokémon! Well done Chris!

3. alltechinside

Posts: 248; Member since: Apr 21, 2013

Even Legendary Pokemons are easier to find lmfao

25. Jinto

Posts: 436; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

Lol, google should work with OnePlus for the Nexus 6

32. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

I don't think that google will depart with lg in making nexus phones . Look at nexus 4 and 5 they're good flagship phones with affordable prices . This one plus sh*t invite system kills them , I don't think people will be interested in one plus 2, not unless they make it available globally.

33. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

I don't think google will depart with lg in making nexus phones. I mean look at the success of nexus 4-5 . They're are flagship phones with prices that are acceptable. This one plus sh*t invite system is so annoying . If they'll do this again to one plus 2 then this all hype of NEVR SETTLE is just plain BS.

23. erroct

Posts: 14; Member since: Jul 17, 2012

AHAHAHA so did I :P

4. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

you forgot to mention that the phone is made out of unobtanuim

5. jellmoo

Posts: 2583; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Could you at least make some sort of pretend effort to explain the scores in your reviews? It's utterly nonsensical to see a device come through with a great battery, great screen and through the roof benchmarks all at a crazy low price, and then get a score lower than other flagships that don't perform as well. Do you use a random number generator to calculate the final score?

9. Rydsmith unregistered

It's called reading the review, you should try it sometime.

16. jellmoo

Posts: 2583; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Then please, enlighten me oh wise and learned master. Please share with me how this magical score is calculated. Please give us some of your vaunted wisdom you've picked up from this "reading" you speak of. Us humble peasants cannot hope to understand things at your advanced level. We can only read the words that are here, and not the ones you are making up in your head.

17. thephonedude

Posts: 60; Member since: Oct 27, 2012

Here you go knave,http://www.phonearena.com/howdowerate now begone! Or else you shall be banished to the depths of the dungeon!

19. jellmoo

Posts: 2583; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Alas good sir, that still doth not explain overmuch. A device that benchmarks higher, comes with what they measure as a great screen and great battery life and half the price of competition is scoring lower than said competition. There doth need to be a better explanation.

18. thephonedude

Posts: 60; Member since: Oct 27, 2012

Simple : You came to the wrong age.

24. Jinto

Posts: 436; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

No, its a random # generator

11. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

Your right the author of this review just seemed to throw out a number with out thinking about it. The great battery, great screen, the through the roof benchmarks all at a crazy low price and then there is this crazy invite system making it next to impossible to actually buy one....I personally would have given it a lower score. Just my 2 cents though!

20. jellmoo

Posts: 2583; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

Should availability be taken into account though? It's an honest question. Are we grading the overall ability and quality of the device, or should something like limited availability be taken into account i n the final score? Was it with devices like the Nexus 4 and 5, which had their own availability issues?

29. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

Yes I do believe that availability should factor in to a devices rating. I will agree that there have been some problems with the launches and availability of Nexus devices but it has not been on the scale that One Plus has. Also when a Nexus device is launched it is available for order to anyone to order and just because the initial stock sells out does not mean that anyone who did not get in on the first batch will not be able to order one. I could go on the playstore right now and order a Nexus 5. Can you order a One Plus One right now (without an invite)?

6. Grenmad

Posts: 38; Member since: Jun 06, 2014

Hated this phone marketing gimmick until I got my invite yesterday and ordered one lol.

38. apple4never

Posts: 1064; Member since: May 08, 2013

lol same got an invite this morning

46. loloonline

Posts: 3; Member since: Nov 24, 2014

I agree Totally with you

7. ryan5609

Posts: 107; Member since: Nov 01, 2011

Ordered 2 OnePlus phones yesterday (dont ask me how, glitch on their part) going to keep one and sell the other. I hated, and still hate their marketing gimmick, and the way they went about selling phones. Glad they finally eased up a bit on the invites and finally started handing them out to early forum members. Looking forward to getting the device, just worried about the size, coming from a Nexus 5. I'll give it a few days, but if it is too big for my liking, I'll keep my Nexus and hope the Nexus 6 isn't quite as large.

22. jove39

Posts: 2146; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

OPO is larger than N5...but feels comfortable in hand...if small phones is your thing...you probably won't like it just because of size. sandstone back cover is good...no need to worry about finger prints...and also it doesn't slip from hand. So far best features I liked in OPO over N5 are excellent audio playback quality and battery backup. And ofcourse, it comes pre-installed with CM 11S...you'll have a lot to play with. One gripe - If you try to use iPhone headphones with OPO it's mic won't work.

45. ferraribrain

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

i am not satisfied with the size other. my company gave me an iphone 6, which is compatible with our servers and client inputs. did you sell it. i just got mine november 16, 2014. where did you put it. i used craigs list; no takers.

8. refillable

Posts: 1071; Member since: Mar 10, 2014

If not for the 5.5 inches and it's availability, I would pretty much say it's the best of H1 2014. However as there are too much gimmicks, It's not.

12. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

Oppo7 Is much better, with class prestige materials

21. Neo_Huang

Posts: 1067; Member since: Dec 06, 2013

The Oppo Find 7's screen sucks, has lower benchmark scores, and much lower battery life.

35. Jinto

Posts: 436; Member since: Jan 15, 2014

PA got a defective model with bad screen

14. Arte-8800

Posts: 4562; Member since: Mar 13, 2014

So this is a rooted handset? With CM11 Rom So we can tinker with the Cpu, Gpu, voltage settings?

15. vuyonc

Posts: 1090; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

B-b-but this deserved like a 9.5. The phone practically doesn't exist b-b-b-but it so kills these flagships.

26. Saamic

Posts: 119; Member since: Feb 20, 2012

I'm wondering how its camera compares to the G3's

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

One
  • Display 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
  • Camera 13 MP / 5 MP front
  • Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Quad-core, 2500 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 3100 mAh

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at https://www.parsintl.com/phonearena or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit https://www.parsintl.com/ for samples and additional information.