OK. So all is now done and after weeks of speculation, all the details now known. OnePlus have finally unveiled the OnePlus 2. Whether or not you are a OnePlus fan, the OnePlus One did disrupt the market. As such, this was a serious product launch. Although you could be forgiven for not thinking this was serious, thanks to the way in which OnePlus approached the event launch with the numerous self-leaking, calling it the “2016 flagship killer” (biggest mistake ever by the way) and even the virtual reality spin. All these points made the whole launch much more of a spectacle than a serious product launch. That said, the OnePlus 2 is now here.
So the good…
This is a OnePlus device and that does mean that they have taken their time in designing and thinking about the end user experience. This is a good point. Many manufacturers rush to production and try and turn a device around in 10-12 months. Some, naming no names (Sony) like to turnaround closer to the 6-7 month cycle. So to actually see a company take the time to try and get things right is a good thing. The design of the 2 is nice. I do like it. At first, it did look too much like the OPO and that was a turn-off. However, when you have a good thing why change it too much? While we all expected the OP2 to come looking wildly different, it is refined, bezels are less, the device has more of a modern feel and looks lighter, in spite of it actually weighing more (175g) than the One (162g).
Next up, the camera and battery. Any OPO owner will tell you very clearly that two of the real benefits of the One is the camera and the battery (talking hardware here). The One has always taken really great photos and has developed quite the OPO photography following on various social media outlets. Likewise, the battery on the OnePlus One is one of the best batteries you are likely to encounter. My One is about a year old and it still only needs to be charged once every two days. That will sound crazy to most people who own a different smartphone, but this is the reality of being a OnePlus One owner, a two-day battery. Now while the battery cannot be truly determined here as we need some real life scenario testing to know, it does seem clear that OnePlus knew this mattered and have upped the batter to a 3,300mA capacity offering. In fact, the upping the battery has added some weight to the device and helped make it heavier than the One, so this is a clear indication that OnePlus had decided (at least in this respect) to opt for function over form. Likewise, the camera has not been in our hands long enough for us to really say yeah this is OPO quality. However, our Nick has taken some great camera samples with the OP2 and from what we can see, it looks like a great camera. Largely, thanks to the inclusion of the 1.3-micron sensor. So yes, from an OPO owner perspective, the camera and the battery both seem to tick the boxes.
OK, now the bad….
Where to begin. No Cyanogen OS. This, for many people, will be an instant turn off. While the OPO was successful due to its emphasis on ‘never settling’ in the hardware department, it was equally as successful thanks to the inclusion of a Cyanogen operating system. As such, the OP2 does feel like half the phone it should be. Oxygen OS does seem OK and again, Nick got hands on with the software and seemed to like it overall. That said, it is not Cyanogen and those coming from the One and stock COS 12 will instantly feel a massively reduced user experience. If you never liked COS on your OPO, then maybe this is a good point for you. Not for me, though.
Next up. It would seem the OnePlus 2 is missing a few things. 4GB RAM…check, processor…hmm, check (we’ll get to that), camera…check…NFC…nope, fast charging….nope, wireless charging then…nope. It seems OnePlus forgot to include a number of the more run of the mill 2016 specs. I know it is ahead of its time, but surely in 2016 we haven’t already gotten rid of fast/wireless charging and gone back to regular charging? In fact, according to OnePlus it takes a solid three hours to charge from empty to full. Now that is actually slower than the One. Mine typically charges in 90 minutes, so that extra 200mAh capacity they shoved in, can’t exactly be causing more than an extra hour’s worth of charge. When it comes to NFC, things are not so clear-cut. If you ask most people, they do not use the feature. However, if you ask most people, they probably do expect to use it in the future. Therefore, it seems logical that a device for the future would come equipped with NFC. Of course, using OnePlus logic, you don’t need it anymore, so you cannot have it. Either way, the removal of NFC is a bad thing for sure and the lack of fast charge or wireless charging on a supposed 2016 device is downright crazy.
Then there is the whole 810 thing. In the run-up to the launch of the OP2, I personally avoided discussing the 810 topic, as it is a non-starter. The truth is no one seems to know what is going on there. Does it overheat? Maybe. Is it an issue? Probably not. But either way, it has become the cursed chipset of 2015 (note OnePlus, 2015, not 2016). So, whether or not OnePlus can justify including the processor, the fact that no one actually wants a phone running an 810 is enough to counteract their claims. In fact, as a company who says they built this phone listening to the community, this is one feature they obviously did not listen to, as the OP community was defiantly saying no thank you when it came to the 810.
But here is the common theme, Snapdragon 810, no NFC, no fast or wireless charging. What these all have in common is money. While OnePlus can claim whatever they like about the OnePlus 2, the inclusion of the 810 and the absence of NFC or advanced charging is simply a cost cutting measure. While OnePlus like to promote their device as the best device on the market, what they have done with the OnePlus 2 is highlight its budget ceiling. This is not a device built to offer you value at $389 but instead is a device which is built to be able to be sold at $389. Which takes us to the ugly truth.
OnePlus themselves. They have lost their way. In trying to remain current, relevant and fresh they have forgone the very reason the company was so successful with the One. They have become obsessed with selling. Their marketing, the new invite system, the #hype, the #hype or gtfo, the 2016 flagship killer, these are all features of a company screaming to sell their devices, not make a great device. While, the loyalty to the One makes me a prime candidate to opt for the 2 this year, OnePlus have put me off with the arrogance they have shown. 2016 Flagship Killer! Seriously, no NFC (in the year when NFC is supposed to really take off for android), no fast (and/or wireless) charging. These are just unacceptable losses on a phone which claims so much. The OnePlus One spoke for itself and did not require the company telling us how good it is. This is no longer the case with the OP2 and consistently over the last few weeks, OnePlus has been jumping to the defense of the device and helping you understand how good it is. This is a mediocre device which (until the next day when the Moto X was unveiled) was priced well. The OnePlus 2 is certainly a 2016 flagship killer. However, the truth is becoming clearer that the only flagship device it is killing is itself.