Do we have a good one for you today – two highly anticipated devices…the new OnePlus 2 goes up against the top flagship, the new Samsung Galaxy Note 5. Both of these devices have many loyal followers, but for different reasons. The OnePlus 2 comes from a small startup company in China and loyal followers are enamored by the devices build quality and reasonable pricing. The Galaxy Note 5 fills a certain niche as the only true phablet with an S-Pen and great software to support the device. Does the OnePlus 2 have what it takes to win this phablet showdown or is the Galaxy Note 5 just too much for it to handle?
Let's take a quick look at these two devices and see what they have in common and to see if the price difference really makes a difference in our decision in picking the winner of this comparison. Both devices are approximately the same physical size, although the Note 5 is only 7.6mm thick versus the 9.9mm of the OnePlus 2 and the displays are only 0.2-inches difference in size. They both have a fingerprint sensor, non-removable batteries and neither one has a microSD card slot to expand internal memory. They both use a 64-bit octa-core processor, although different brands. They both have 4GB of RAM and a 64GB memory variant – the Galaxy Note 5 also has a 32GB and 128GB option. Both devices have a 5MP front-facing camera for selfies and video chatting.
Most of the usual suspects are there – Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth (4.1 on the OnePlus 2 and 4.2 on the Note 5), a microUSB port (Type-C on the OnePlus 2 and 2.0 on the Note 5) – the OnePlus 2 does not support NFC while the Note 5 does include NFC.
Please take a deliberate look at the detailed Specifications Comparison chart below and here you will see just how these two great devices stack up against one another – click on the "View Full Comparison" link at the end of the chart to expand the details. After that, we will look at each individual device in greater detail and point out some of its pros and cons. From all of this information we will try to determine the winner based on specs and execution of design and functions.
The new OnePlus 2 is the follow up from the OnePlus One, the first smartphone by the Chinese startup company, OnePlus. The OnePlus 2's build quality is about as good as it gets with a solid metal frame and trim, but it is difficult to build a flagship device without cutting some corners. OnePlus carried over the same FHD display, the same size camera then added 1GB of RAM and increased the battery from 3100mAh to 3300mAh. OnePlus added a fingerprint sensor, but took away the NFC, which was included in the OnePlus One. What this means is that the fingerprint sensor can be used to unlock the phone, but nothing else.
The OnePlus 2 sports a 5.5-inch LTPS LCD FHD display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels and 401 pixels-per-inch (PPI) versus the AMOLED QHD display on the Galaxy Note 5 with 518 PPI. OnePlus tapped Qualcomm for their 64-bit Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor under-clocked to 1.8GHz that goes up against the Note 5's 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor clocked at 2.1GHz that uses 14nm technology. The OnePlus 2 has two options when it comes to RAM/Memory – 3GB/16GB or 4GB/64GB – although the 4GB/64GB is the only one available for a while. There is no room for expansion in the OnePlus 2. The Note 5 packs 4GB of RAM with either 32GB, 64GB or 128GB of memory with no room for expansion.
The camera in the OnePlus 2 retains the same 13MP sensor as the OnePlus One, but improved by adding laser autofocus, a dual-LED flash and OIS. For the FFC, OnePlus included a 5MP camera for selfies or video chatting. This goes up against one of the best smartphone cameras available on the Note 5 – a 16MP main camera and a 5MP FFC. The OnePlus 2 increased the non-removable battery size from 3000mAh to 3300mAh to go up against the non-removable 3000mAh battery in the Note 5, which also has a quick charge option and a built-in quick wireless charging.
The OnePlus 2 does come with a great sound 'system' built-in to the device. It is also using a newer USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer that uses a nice, reversible plug. It runs OnePlus' own OS called OxygenOS 2.0 over Android Lollipop 5.1. LTE works on AT&T and T-Mobile and the OnePlus 2 will cost you $329 for the 16GB model and $389 for the 64GB model.
Samsung Galaxy Note 5
The new Samsung Galaxy Note 5 gets one-third of its heritage from the Galaxy Note 4 and the two-thirds from the new Galaxy S6 – beautifully curved metal frame with Gorilla Glass on the front and the back with a non-removable battery and no microSD card. The new Note 5 keeps the same sized display as the Note 4, yet the device is slightly smaller, and with the curved sides it is much easier to hold and work with one hand than the previous Note 4.
The Note 5 uses the same 5.7-inches Super AMOLED QHD display found on the Galaxy Note 4 with the usual tweaks that Samsung makes in each rendition – it has 518 PPI as opposed to the 401 PPI on the OnePlus 2. Samsung took a pass on the usual Snapdragon processor and used their in-house 64-bit Exynos 7420 octa-core processor with four cores clocked at 1.5GHz and four cores clocked at 2.1GHz and it is the first smartphone to use the 14nm technology. This is a more advanced processor than the 64-bit Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor in the OnePlus 2. The Note 5 is packing 4GB of DDR4 RAM versus the 4GB of DDR3 RAM in the OnePlus 2. The Note 5 should come in a 32GB, 64GB or 128GB variants with no room for expansion, whereas the OnePlus 2 comes in 3GB RAM/16GB storage option or 4GB RAM/64GB storage option with no room for expansion…although OnePlus said that only the 64GB model would be available at launch.
The main camera on the Galaxy Note 5 is a carryover from the Galaxy S6, which means it is one of the best in the business. It is 16MP with a fast startup, faster focus, larger aperture at f/1.9 and better software – and it will take some of the best pictures found on a smartphone. The Note 5 also has a large 5MP FFC with the f/1.9 aperture and wide-angle and Live HDR for selfies and video chats. This compares to a smaller 13MP main camera on the OnePlus 2 and a 5MP FFC. The Note 5 has a smaller, non-removable 3000mAh battery, but it has quick charge and quick wireless charging capabilities, while the OnePlus 2 has a 3300mAh non-removable battery.
The Galaxy Note 5 has a more useful fingerprint sensor, is Samsung Pay capable, a much more sensitive S-Pen with added features giving it even more functionality. It has more flexibility with longer documents, live broadcasting of your videos and you have an optional slip-on physical, BlackBerry style keyboard. It is running Android Lollipop 5.1.1 and will cost you $300 on a two-year contract and about $700 – $792 outright.
…And The Winner Is…
I had to put the Samsung Galaxy Note 5 as the winner, because it certainly is the better of the two devices when it comes to specs and functionality. It has a much better display, arguably a superior processor, faster DDR4 RAM, faster UFS 2.0 memory, a much better camera with more sophisticated software, quick charging, built-in quick wireless charging and a heart rate sensor. It has a more useful fingerprint scanner – PayPal certified, Samsung Pay, Android Pay – whereas the lack of NFC on the OnePlus 2 makes the fingerprint sensor good for unlocking the device.
The OnePlus 2 is a beautiful smartphone – it looks, and feels premium. It has very good specs and at $389 it is bargain compared to the Galaxy Note 5 with 64GB at $792. And there lies the quandary – you can get TWO OnePlus 2s for the price of ONE Note 5 and you have to ask yourself if it is worth the money?
It would all depend on how you use your device…if you are a professional or use your Galaxy Note to take notes, work on documents, insist on top-notch photos, need to use multi-windows, plan on using digital wallets to make purchases, need a heart sensor, want the quick charge or wireless charging and love the S-Pen, then it would be worth the extra money.
However, if you just want a well-built phone, are okay with using AT&T or T-Mobile's network and do not want to use you smartphone to pay for retail purchases, then the OnePlus 2 is a real bargain at $389.
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