The OnePlus One is one seriously amazing phone. Almost everyone on the Internet that’s reviewed it agrees, and we even gave it super high marks in our own review just a few weeks ago. Right now though there’s one huge problem that no one can seem to get around: the horrendous invite system. The phone is top spec, 64GB and only $350 off contract and unlocked, but getting ahold of one practically requires you to sell one of your kidneys on the black market, and even then you’re not guaranteed to get one. We were able to snag 4 invites and give them away just the other day, but getting one yourself is still a bit of a problem. Thankfully you can readily buy a Chinese OnePlus One on a number of stores online for practically the same price without having a silly invite. The big problem with this? It ships with Color OS, not CyanogenMod 11S as the unlocked version does.
Color OS is built on Android 4.3 and in many ways resembles the highly popular Chinese OS MIUI that ships with Xiaomi phones. Right now there’s no telling when it’s going to be updated to an Android 4.4 KitKat base, and even then there are plenty of features on CyanogenMod 11S that you may want instead of being stuck with ColorOS. While there used to be a file to download on the official CyanogenMod website for the official CyanogenMod file, the link for it has since been removed. Thankfully it hasn’t been removed from the servers, and can easily be downloaded here still. This file can be flashed through the official CyanogenMod recovery as an update file and quickly and painlessly converts your Chinese OnePlus One to the CyanogenMod 11S version.
Of course the Chinese version still features different band support for HSPA, LTE and other wireless standards, so you need to check with your carrier to make sure the supported bands on the Chinese OnePlus One are supported before buying one. If you’re in the clear here, though, this is the easiest way to get a OnePlus One right now and still have CyanogenMod 11S on it with official support. After all they are the exact same hardware and only feature a simple operating system switch to get official support one way or the other. Happy flashing!