Anyone that has been following the launch of the new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P will probably be wondering whether or not I am crazy for picking up a OnePlus Two over a shiny new Nexus. I am crazy, but for totally unrelated reasons. The smartphone releases of 2015 are practically done and dusted, save for big launches from HTC and perhaps Verizon, and my Moto X (2014) just wasn’t cutting it any more. I was finally starting to consider a 5.2-inch display “small” and the battery life had me cursing every day around 3 – 4PM or so. I’ve been wary of upgrading to anything this year, as I’ve spent time with many a phone with the Snapdragon 810 inside of it, and despite overblown heating issues, the jump in performance compared to the Snapdragon 801 and 805 is negligible at best. So, I was left with a few choices, and I decided to go with a OnePlus 2 for a number of reasons.
Chief among them was price. As a UK resident, I have the luxury of paying just £23 (~$35 – $40) a month for unlimited data, 2,000 minutes and 5,000 texts and I am not tied to a contract, I want to keep it this way. This means that whatever device I choose to spend my own money on has to be unlocked, and I am not in the market to spend anywhere close to £500 on a smartphone, I just wouldn’t make the most of that sort of hardware, outside of working for AH I don’t really spend much time on my device, but spending time with the latest has made me hungry for good specs and performance. The Nexus 5X was going to be my next device, I loved the original Nexus 5, and a fingerprint sensor is finally starting to make sense to me, but it starts at £339 in the UK for 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. I managed to get a OnePlus 2 (second-hand, more on why later) with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage for £270, I even got some extras. The Nexus 6P starts at £449, and a Moto X Style (sorry, Pure) is not too far behind.
I enjoy stock Android and a simple approach to hardware, and so the OnePlus 2 began ticking more and more boxes, so I looked into prices and I’m now the happy owner of a solidly-made smartphone which (if not a little heavy) feels better made than many other smartphones that cost a lot more. Are OnePlus or the OnePlus 2 perfect? Hell no.
For starters, the invite system is ridiculous. I do not care how much this reduces the cost by, not having warehouse space filled with dead stock is sound business sense (just ask Amazon how the Fire Phone worked out) but invites? Really? The invite system is one shining example of an air of arrogance about OnePlus that irks me, people need to be chosen in order to give you a decent chunk of change to get a product in return? Surely OnePlus understand this is now how the Western world works, but of course, it is working for them. The company has somehow managed to carve out a brand presence that has some users eating out of the palm of their hand, and I have to hand it to them, they’ve succeeded in ways many of us thought would never happen.
For me, the choice ultimately came down to value. I will be waiting longer for Marshmallow, I am content with this, and the added features and better hardware I got for much less makes my bank account happy. The OnePlus 2 has become a great example of something very exciting happening in smartphones; cheaper is becoming ‘good’. The Moto G continues to excel in offering up best-in-class value for money, and devices like the ASUS ZenFone 2 are now following suit as well. For someone who doesn’t game on their smartphone or want to watch a whole series on Netflix, the OnePlus 2 is more than good enough for me.
How the company handles themselves and the lack of NFC are infuriating, but the undeniable fact is that this device sat on my desk right now ticks all of my required boxes and has kicked the idea of getting a new Nexus (from someone who has owned four previously) out of my head. If anything, the OnePlus 2 is a reminder to everyone that when it comes to driving down prices and offering value for money, they have work to do. Just imagine if OnePlus can cut the crap of “2016 flagship killer” (sorry guys, but there’s no way this will kill anything once the Snapdragon 820 hits the scene) and keep sales open indefinitely?