Introduction and design
The tricky second album. That’s probably the best way to describe the OnePlus 2. After the surprise success of the OnePlus One there were big expectations for its successor, so has the fledgling Chinese brand delivered?
OnePlus dubbed its new phone ‘the 2016 Flagship Killer’, a claim that was more than a little far-fetched. So how about a more grounded claim of ‘the 2015 Flapship Killer’? If OnePlus bangs that drum instead, then it might just be onto something.
The price tag on the OnePlus 2 remains around half that of the phones it’s aiming to rival – the likes of the Samsung Galaxy S6, iPhone 6S and HTC One M9 – with it now costing £249 (US$349, around AU$490) after receiving a price drop early into 2016.
Originally the company sold a 16GB version of the OnePlus 2, but after almost nine months on sale OnePlus saw fit to drop it and slash the price of the 64GB version. You can still buy the 16GB version in some markets such as India, but in the US and UK you can only get the 64GB option.
The 16GB version of the OnePlus 2 did initially cost £239 (US$329, around AU$460), so the price drop for 64GB model has made up for the changes here.
At this price the OnePlus 2 has the Moto X Style for company, which slides in between the OnePlus Two and top-tier handsets from the major manufacturers. Though the OnePlus 2 is still pricier than the new mid-range OnePlus X.
A quick flick through the spec sheet and you’ll likely be impressed with the bang for your buck offered by the OnePlus 2.
It’s not without its flaws however. There’s no NFC, no microSD and no fast or wireless charging options; and, while the rear plate can be removed, the battery cannot.
These may be viewed as minor imperfections by some, but when your company’s motto is ‘Never Settle’, is the OnePlus 2 letting down its fans?
The OnePlus 2 isn’t the easiest phone to come by either. Luckily the invite-only sales approach has been dropped by the company so now you can buy one – with free delivery – from the OnePlus site without any concerns.
The price is still low and the specs are tempting. So has OnePlus managed to bring together all the elements for its second hit, or will the OnePlus 2 fail to chart? Let’s find out.
I forgave the OnePlus One’s functional, plastic design last year as it was the first phone from the startup, and the price tag knocked our socks off. This time around though the market is expecting more, and OnePlus has delivered.
The OnePlus 2 sports a sturdy metal frame around its circumference, giving the handset a premium look and feel. It’s a similar design choice to the Samsung Galaxy Alpha and Note 4, with the rear retaining a removable plastic back plate.
It’s with this black plate however, that I have my first gripe. The default rear for the OnePlus Two is a textured grey affair which has the roughness of sandpaper. It means there’s a whole heap of grip – something I miss when grappling with the iPhone 6S Plus – but it doesn’t feel comfortable, nor premium in the hand.
That’s a shame, as the metal frame round the edge gives the handset an air of sophistication which could see it in a higher price tier, but the rear reminds you that in order to deliver such a low price point some corners still need to be cut.
It’s not all bad news though, as OnePlus is more than happy to sell you an alternative rear cover – choose from bamboo, rosewood, black apricot wood or Kevlar – for £19.99 ($26.99).
I’ve tried these options out during an exclusive OnePlus event, and I can confidently say they feel better than the default offering – as long as you don’t mind spending a little extra cash.
Peel the rear cover off and you’re greeted by a black plastic body with a dual-SIM tray towards the top-left of the phone – pull this out and you’ll find space for two nanoSIMs.
Unlike in some Huawei handsets, the second SIM slot doesn’t double as a microSD tray, so you’re stuck with the 64GB of internal storage.
In terms of size the new phone is similar to the OnePlus One, with the 5.5-inch display forcing the size of the handset to an extent. It has gained thickness, moving from 8.9mm to 9.9mm, while weight has increased from 162g to 175g.
I didn’t find it overbearing in the hand, with an even balance making it easy to hold. You will need to perform some shuffling during one-handed use if you want to reach the fingerprint scanner at the base or the top of the display, which can lead to some near-drop experiences.
The power/lock key, located on the right below the volume rocker, falls nicely under your thumb/finger, making it easy to locate and hit, while on the opposite side there’s a novel sliding switch.
This slider enables you to quickly toggle your notifications between three states: off, priority only and all. I found this especially useful when diving into a meeting, as a quick slide of the switch to its top position meant no interruptions.
There’s an LED notification light on the front, so you can still be alerted to new notifications without having to touch the handset, but you can turn this off in the settings if you prefer.
This isn’t a new idea, and iPhone users will be screaming at their screens that Apple’s smartphones have had a silent toggle since the beginning of time. Sure, it’s not innovation, but it’s a handy addition to the OnePlus 2.
The OnePlus 2 builds positively on the design of the OnePlus One, bringing with it a more premium and refined style which makes it look and feel like a more expensive handset. This makes it easier to take seriously as a flagship contender – just as long as you swap out that sandpaper default rear for a real wood finish.
Display, fingerprints and USB-C
The same, but different
A quick glance at the display of the OnePlus 2 and you’ll be forgiven for thinking that nothing’s changed from its predecessor.
There’s the same size 5.5-inch screen and full HD resolution producing a pixel density of 401ppi. That means it matches the iPhone 6S Plus when it comes to clarity, although both handsets are exceeded by the LG G4, which sports the same display size but with an eye-popping QHD resolution.
OnePlus has done some work on the screen technology however, and claims that the display is brighter than the OnePlus One, although early side-by-side comparisons weren’t immediately conclusive.
The Chinese firm has bigged-up the OnePlus 2’s performance in sunlight, boasting that it has 178 degrees of crystal-clear viewing angles and a screen that sits at a high 600 nits. That’s 63 nits higher than the iPhone 6 Plus, 231 higher than the LG G4, 128 higher than the HTC One M9 and 79 nits higher than the Samsung Galaxy S6.
These numbers have come from internal OnePlus testing, so real-world usage could be different. I had no more trouble seeing the display on the 2 than on any other handset, although in direct sunlight the screen can still look a little washed out.
Viewing angles are good, and you can comfortably get a few mates to watch cat videos on YouTube over your shoulder without any detrimental effect to their viewing experience.
As long as you don’t sit the OnePlus Two side-by-side with the QHD-toting Galaxy S6 and G4 then you’ll be more than happy with the clarity and brightness, with text and images appearing crisp and colorful.
The screen doesn’t jump out at you like Samsung’s Super AMOLED efforts do, but considering the price you’re paying you’re getting a decent panel for not a lot of money.
One of the big additions to the OnePlus 2 is a fingerprint scanner below the 5.5-inch display.
Following in the footsteps of Apple and Samsung, the digit reader on the OnePlus 2 doesn’t require you to swipe your print – you simply need to hold your finger on the reader for it to recognize you.
This makes unlocking the handset easier, as you don’t even need to wake the screen. Just touch your registered finger to the pad and it’ll unlock the phone, waking the screen and taking you to your home page.
You can register up to five fingerprints on the handset, and I’d recommend registering both thumbs (for unlocking when holding the phone) and both index fingers (for unlocking when the phone is lying on a surface).
Unlike Apple’s and Samsung’s implementations, you can’t use your fingerprint to pay for things or log in to applications; it’s simply there as an unlock mechanism. Perhaps more functionality could be brought to the feature in future software updates, but for now it’s there simply to unlock the OnePlus Two.
For the first few days the fingerprint scanner worked well – it’s not quite as rapid as the Galaxy S6’s when it comes to scan and action, but it’s still pretty swift and you won’t be left waiting around. That is, if it works.
When we first reviewed the OnePlus 2, the phone had a few different fingerprint sensor issues where after a few days use it would become temperamental.
Since then a OnePlus driven software update has been put onto the phone helping the sort out the problems and now it’s just as responsive as you’d like it to be. Now that’s helped we hope the OnePlus 3 will launch with a problem-free fingerprint scanner.
The future of charging
I briefly mentioned the USB-C port on the base of the OnePlus 2 in the design section, but it’s worthy of more than just a hat tip.
USB-C is the latest connection type, and is due to hit more and more phones this year and into the future, replacing the microUSB connection which adorns pretty much every Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry handset currently available.
It’s a big deal on the OnePlus 2, as this was the first widely available smartphone to sport the new connection, with its key selling point being that it’s reversible.
That means you can plug in your USB cable either way round and it will work, just like Apple’s Lightning port on iPhone and iPad.
This makes fumbling around in the dark trying to plug your phone in before you go to sleep a lot easier. It’s not going to save you huge amounts of time, but it’s certainly useful and I enjoy the convenience it offers.
Trouble is the OnePlus Two was the first phone to offer the connection and while a few more handsets – including the Nexus 6P and Nexus 5X – now sport USB C, charging cables are still hard to come by. You get one USB-C cable in the box, and that’s it. You’ll want to make sure you take the fetching red cable with you.
You won’t be able to borrow your friend’s microUSB lead, or that spare cable you keep in the office to charge your phone while at work. I’ve been caught short a couple of times already, having left the cable at home and then realizing I could really do with a top-up when I’m out and about.
You’ll probably want to invest in a second cable – or, more practically, OnePlus’ £7.99/$9.99 adapter which enables you to use your microUSB cables, because until a wide variety of handsets sport the new connection you may find yourself without a charger at critical times.
We do expect an update to Marshmallow at some point, but we’re comfortably into 2016 now and there’s still no sign of it. It has to be here soon or we’ll be seeing the release of Android N already.
As with the OnePlus One, the firm’s second-generation smartphone isn’t running vanilla Android, with a skin having been laid over the top.
OnePlus and Cyanogen have parted ways since the launch of the One, and that means CyanogenMod doesn’t feature on the OnePlus 2. Instead you get the Chinese firm’s home-brewed Android skin, dubbed Oxygen OS.
There are many similarities between the two interfaces, with Oxygen OS keeping the Android look and feel of the software, with its additional features more subtly implemented compared to the likes of Samsung’s TouchWiz and HTC’s Sense.
This means that if you’re familiar with the Android experience the OnePlus Two won’t be alien to you, enabling you to get to grips with the meat of the phone without a learning curve.
On the shelf
One immediate addition from Oxygen OS is ‘Shelf’. This is an extra home screen, accessed by swiping left to right from your home page.
It’s an implementation we’ve seen on a number of Android overlays, but on the OnePlus 2 it’s a little more basic. The stock view is a weather widget followed by frequent apps and frequent contacts boxes.
It’s handy if you quickly want to jump into an application, or call your nearest and dearest, but the likelihood is that your top apps are probably already on your home screen, so sticking in an additional swipe actually makes the process longer.
You can add and remove widgets from this page, but they’re all the standard widgets you can apply to any home screen panel, so it feels a little like wasted space. If you’re not a fan of shelf you can switch it off in the settings, or just not enable it during the startup wizard.
Here at techradar we’re always banging on about the default keyboards on our smartphones, and how there are usually better options waiting for you in the app store.
The OnePlus 2 has preempted my keyboard chatter however, with SwiftKey baked into Oxygen OS. During setup you’ll get the choice to choose between Google’s own keyboard and SwiftKey – and I highly recommend opting for the latter.
Its next-word prediction engine is excellent, and its suggestions continuously improve over time as you use the keyboard, as does the accuracy of the keyboard itself.
If you’re a SwiftKey die-hard it saves you a trip to the app store, and by logging into the cloud you can pull over your data from your old handset, enabling you to get tapping in next to no time.
Even though CyanogenMod doesn’t feature here, OnePlus has inherited a number of features from it for Oxygen OS, as well as its own innovations from the One, which become apparent when you dive into the settings menu.
These added extras aren’t in your face, but you may find certain ones handy for your personal user experience.
Something which has been improved is the Gestures feature, enabling you to instantly launch the camera, or turn on the flashlight when the screen is off and locked. Drawing a circle with your finger on the display opens the camera, while a V will make the dual LED on the rear light up.
While these were useful tools on the OnePlus One, I found the torch was easily triggered in my pocket, zapping battery life – and heating up my thigh. My gestures weren’t always picked up either, making for a slightly frustrating time.
Thankfully both aspects have been greatly improved on the OnePlus Two. I’ve yet to accidentally trigger either the camera or torch in my pocket, while my gestures are always recognized.
You can also enable a sideways swipe gesture over the screen to skip between tracks when listening to music, while the handy double-tap-to-wake-the-screen feature is also retained on the OnePlus 2.
Slightly annoyingly though, the double-tap-to-sleep function from the OnePlus One has been removed. On the One you could double-tap the notification bar at any point to turn off the screen and lock the handset, but this is only possible from the lock screen on the OnePlus 2.
It’s not a huge omission, but it was one of the features I frequently used on the One, so I’m disappointed it hasn’t been carried over fully.
Other little tricks found in the settings menu include the facility to program the touch buttons below the screen. Prefer the back key to be on the left rather than the right? No problem, switch them round. Want a different action to trigger if you hold down on the back key? Sure thing, program it here.
Hate using the off-screen buttons? Enable the on-screen navigation bar instead. It’s all available in the Buttons section of settings on the OnePlus 2.
Head into Customization and you’ll be able to switch from a light (black on white) to a dark (white on black) theme, if that pleases you more. You can also adjust the color of the LED notification light above the display for key functions including low battery, charging and notifications.
For those coming from the OnePlus One, there are fewer options in the settings menu on the OnePlus Two. It’s a shame, as the freedom to really get into the nuts and bolts of the interface on the One was appealing to many.
Not all plain sailing
I have found a number of niggling bugs in the OnePlus 2 software, and I hope I can put this down to the unfinished OS, as they can hamper the user experience.
One example can be found in the text message client. Create a new message, tap out your words, press send and all seems well. That is, until your buddy responds and their reply appears in a new stream, with your original message listed in a separate conversation in the messaging app.
If you reply to their message then the conversation will continue in that stream, but it means I’m left with a series of one-message conversations from myself in the messaging app. It looks messy, and it’ll be confusing for some. Months after launch and it’s still doing the same thing – come one OnePlus, sort it out!
Performance and battery life
With an octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor and huge 4GB of RAM, the OnePlus 2 is packing a lot of power, and for the most part that shines through, whether it’s loading up a power-intensive game or just having several apps on the go at the same time. The OnePlus 2 handles heavy-lifting tasks with ease.
I found it doesn’t get as hot as some of the other Snapdragon 810-toting phones – the HTC One M9 and Sony Xperia Z3+ being the main culprits – but it can warm up during an extended session of Family Guy: the Quest for Stuff, or if you use it while charging.
The bottom half of the handset gets the warmest, and you’ll certainly notice it, but it doesn’t get hugely uncomfortable.
When we first reviewed this phone, all that power appears to be lacking. The touch-sensitive home key below the screen didn’t always register my touch, and sometimes I had to prod at it three or four times before I could exit an app.
But since using the phone a little more after some updates, OnePlus seems to have fixed this feature. If you find it’s an issue, it’s worth checking you’ve got the latest up to date software on your OnePlus 2.
Another area where I’ve noticed a drop in performance was in the dialer. I enter a number, hit dial and for a second or two the OnePlus Two displays the previous screen on the phone before popping up the call window.
It’s just long enough to make you think that maybe you didn’t hit dial, and accidentally hit back, which can get pretty annoying.
Performance is up there with the best of them, with the OnePlus 2 averaging 4795 on the Geekbench 3 test, which isn’t far off the Samsung Galaxy S6 (4850) and comfortably above the One M9 (3800) and iPhone 6 (2905).
It has all the tools at its disposal for a fast, fluid user experience, but it feels like the software on the OnePlus 2 is currently holding it back from offering a top-notch interface.
These are things which can hopefully be fixed in a software update – and if they are then this is a seriously impressive showing from the OnePlus 2.
I’ve already talked about the fancy new USB-C port on the base of the OnePlus 2, so I’ll great straight into the meat of the battery facts here.
The OnePlus Two boasts a larger battery than its predecessor, with the power pack getting a boost from 3100mAh to 3300mAh.
With the screen size and resolution remaining the same between generations I was relatively hopeful for a strong battery showing – although with increased power under the hood, and a more insulated metal frame it’s not wise to get one’s hopes up too high.
Even though you can remove the back plate of the OnePlus 2, as with the OnePlus One you can’t gain access to the battery itself as it’s sealed inside the handset. That won’t be an issue for many, but for those who like the flexibility of carrying a spare, fully charged battery it will be frustrating.
The fact that the battery is locked away is made more annoying by the omission of fast charging and wireless charging on the OnePlus 2.
These aren’t make-or-break features, but given the ‘2016 Flagship Killer’ tagline and the ‘Never Settle’ motto it seems odd that at least one of the two weren’t included.
So how does the meaty battery inside hold up? You’ll get a full day of use from the OnePlus 2 on a single charge without too much hassle – and that includes pushing it hard a few times throughout the day.
I never got to bed with more than 20% left in the tank however, so if you’re looking for a phone which will give you a day-and-a-half to two days of life from one charge this isn’t the one for you.
That said, the battery life on the OnePlus 2 is on par with the phones it’s looking to compete with – and the power-saving mode can help you get the most from your last 20%, with background data turned off and screen brightness kept at a lower level.
The main battery drainer is Android itself, which means improving battery life on the handset isn’t particularly easy from your side, although OnePlus may be able to make some efficiencies with future updates.
I ran the 90-minute, full HD techradar video test on the OnePlus Two with screen brightness on max, and with accounts syncing in the background thanks to a connected Wi-Fi network.
After the 90 minutes were up the battery had dropped from 100% to 73% – a loss of 27%. That’s not close to the Galaxy S6, LG G4 or OnePlus One, which lost 16%, 15% and 17% respectively.
It’s not all bad news though, as in this particular test the OnePlus 2 finds itself on par with the iPhone 6 Plus (27%) and HTC One M9 (31%).
Battery life then is acceptable on the OnePlus 2 – and considering the price and spec sheet it’s actually a rather impressive performance.
The OnePlus 2 arrives with a rear-facing 13MP and front-facing 5MP option. On paper it appears not to have progressed from the OnePlus One, which sported the same specs.
Do not fear though, as things have improved. The rear snapper now benefits from laser autofocus and OIS (optical image stabilization), which are tasked with delivering faster capture, reducing camera shake and improving low-light shots.
Fire up the camera app (which can be done from the lock screen by dragging the camera icon left) and you’ll find a simple and functional interface, with a large shutter key flanked by controls for the timer, flash and camera switch.
There’s also a menu icon, but tapping this just pulls up a bar with three options: Beauty, HDR (High Dynamic Range) and Clear image. If you want more options you’ll need to slide your finger in from the left of the screen, which gives you a few other camera modes, then hit the settings cog in the corner.
For those of you hoping for a buffet of manual controls here, you’ll be disappointed. The limited menu offers you four toggles; photo resolution, save location, shutter sound and grid.
Tap to focus your shot and you’ll be able to adjust the brightness of the viewfinder by dragging the sun icon clockwise or anticlockwise.
It may be a basic offering, but it works for iPhone so why not here? It’s not quite as intuitive as Apple’s implementation, but at least there’s no overly confusing language.
The purpose of Clear image isn’t immediately obvious, and there’s no text pop-up to give you a quick briefing on the function. Enable this and the OnePlus 2 will stitch together 10 shots for improved clarity and reduced noise.
The improvements often aren’t particularly noticeable though, and I struggled to see the difference it was making to many of my photos.
HDR, on the other hand, impressed me greatly. It brightens up areas of your shot that are in shadow, giving the impression of a fully-lit environment. Check out my sample pictures on the next page to see just how well it worked.
Another strong showing here was low-light photography. In a dimly-lit museum the OnePlus 2 was able to suck in light and produce shots which looked brighter than the actual scene viewed through my eyes.
Results then are generally pleasing, with the OnePlus Two producing images which are more than acceptable from handsets in its price bracket. That said, it doesn’t come close to the Samsung Galaxy S6 in terms of quality, and for ease of use the iPhone 6 Plus has it beat.
Of course, those handsets are double the price of the OnePlus Two, and you can step out onto the mean streets knowing you have extra cash in your pocket, and a smartphone which can still knock a landscape shot out of the park.
OnePlus has also included a manual mode within the camera now, for those who want to fiddle around with the settings a little more and think they can get a better shot than the standard auto.
Within here you can play with focus, ISO and what “scene” the OnePlus 2 thinks the photo is taken in. Scene is how the phone would usually try and detect your environment such as Daylight, Cloudy or Fluorescent and gives you a little filter over the top of the image.
All of these menus are simple to play around with – below is a shot of the focus feature – but we’d only recommend getting stuck in when you’re experimenting around. For most of your shots, the auto-mode on the OnePlus 2 will likely do the job.
Something I did find irritating with the camera app on the OnePlus 2 was the inability to edit or delete shots from the photo stream. Dragging in from the right side of the screen enables you to swipe through your photos, but there are no editing tools or a bin icon to get rid of the rubbish shots.
You’re forced to exit the camera app and navigate to Google Photos on the handset to gain access to these controls, which is rather counterintuitive.
Music and gaming
The OnePlus 2 has a musical party trick up its sleeve in the form of MaxxAudio enhancement, triggered whenever you start playing music via the internal speakers, wired headphones or a Bluetooth headset.
Enable MaxxAudio and your tunes are given a bit of a boost, with beefier base the main component in play.
It provides enhancement across the board as standard, and you can jump into the graphic equalizer to fine-tune your playback further – there are a range of preset options, or if you know exactly what you want you can tinker with it freestyle.
The results are noticeable, but they’re not quite as rich as the BoomSound technology found on the HTC One M9, while the down-facing speaker is no match for HTC’s dual front-facing offering.
Crank the volume up too high on the OnePlus 2 and the internal speaker will start to distort your tunes –you’re much better off using headphones.
You can even set sound profiles for different types of playback, with music being joined by movies and gaming, enabling you to create three different setups for the three activities.
To switch between preset profiles hit the volume rocker during playback, and you’ll see a bar at the top of the screen enabling you to jump between them.
Google’s Play Music app comes pre-installed on the OnePlus 2, giving you access to the search giant’s own music streaming subscription service as well as a player for all your own songs stored on the handset or in the cloud.
You can always head over to Google Play and download other options, and I’m pleased to report that MaxxAudio works across most applications, including Spotify.
With some serious power under the hood, the OnePlus 2 can handle pretty much any game you throw at it. The graphically-intensive Real Racing 3 and power-zapping Family Guy: Quest for Stuff load quickly and run smoothly on the handset.
I found the OnePlus 2 to be a strong on-the-go gaming machine, with the large display providing a lot of real estate for onscreen controls as well as the action – although my hand tended to cover the speaker during landscape play.
The even weighting of the device makes it comfortable to hold for extended gaming sessions, although you will feel it start to heat up after particularly long periods of play; it doesn’t get to excessive levels, but you’ll probably want to put it down and let it cool off.
You may want to keep an eye on storage space, as games are now topping the 1GB mark, and with no expandable storage option on the OnePlus 2 you could find it filling up fast.
You can still buy the 64GB OnePlus One at a new lower price of £219 ($299), making it an attractive proposition if you don’t fancy splashing the extra cash on the OnePlus 2.
There’s a 5.5-inch full HD display, 13MP camera, Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM, meaning it’s still packed full of features – plus with Cyanogen 12.1 now available for it there’s a whole host of customization tools at your fingertips.
The all-plastic construction doesn’t feel anywhere near as premium as the OnePlus 2, there’s no fancy fingerprint scanner to show off to your friends, and the components are now a year old. It does, however, boast NFC – something the OnePlus 2 doesn’t have on its spec sheet.
If you want an even cheaper OnePlus handset you could always opt for the OnePlus X, which is more mid-range, but only £200 (around $300).
Full review: OnePlus One
iPhone 6 Plus
With a OnePlus 2-equaling full HD 5.5-inch display, the iPhone 6 Plus is a clear competitor in every area apart from price.
Apple’s first phablet is comfortably double the price of the OnePlus 2, despite having been superseded by the even pricier iPhone 6S Plus, but it’s super premium design and slick iOS interface ooze class and performance.
While the OnePlus Two offers you a whole raft of customizations, the iPhone 6 Plus is pretty much the opposite: it’s Apple’s way or the highway here. For some that’s perfect, but those looking for smartphone freedom will find it too closed off.
Full review: iPhone 6 Plus
At the tail end of 2015, OnePlus announced a brand new phone altogether that would be even cheaper than the OnePlus 2. It turned out to be a fresh new product that featured amazing spec with a low price point.
The design is quite different here to the OnePlus Two and reflects a more iPhone-like look that some will love. It features a smaller 5-inch display, 3GB of RAM, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and 16GB of storage.
Here you get microSD support up to 128GB though so you can actually fit more media on this than the OnePlus 2. Sadly there’s still no NFC technology though so you won’t be able to use Android Pay.
But the real highlight is in the price. All of this only costs £199 / US$249 – a little cheaper than the OnePlus 2, plus you can now buy it without an invite as well. It’s certainly a hard decision to make.
Full review: OnePlus X
Moto X Style
One of the latest rivals to the OnePlus 2 comes in the form of the Moto X Style (X Pure Edition in the US), as the now Lenovo-owned Motorola looks to hit the market with its own cut-price flagship.
The X Style is more expensive than the OnePlus but cheaper than the flagship elite, making it a tempting proposition.
Boasting a 5.7-inch QHD display, Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM and 21MP rear camera, plus features the OnePlus 2 is missing in a microSD slot and NFC, there’s a lot going for the Moto X Style.
Full review: Moto X Style
OnePlus has done it again. It’s managed to conquer that tricky second album challenge with a smartphone which builds on its predecessor in a number of ways without losing its core appeal.
I was nervous for OnePlus, as it has built up a lot of hype around its second coming, but aside from a few minor hiccups it’s managed to pull it off.
OnePlus has upped its game for the 2. The design is much improved, and it now feels more premium in the hand as well as being sturdier.
The inclusion of a fingerprint scanner is a nice touch, adding to the premium persona the OnePlus 2 is trying to exude, while the beefed-up camera has a few neat tricks.
Oxygen OS is a promising interface, even though there are still a few bugs to be squashed, with its stock Android-like layout and customization options.
Then remember that it costs around half the price of the big-name flagships currently on the market and it’s almost a no brainer – as long as you’re prepared to make a few compromises.
There are a number of frustrating software issues with the OnePlus 2, including a sketchy fingerprint scanner and home button, slow dialer and confused messaging streams which take the shine off what is another strong contender from the Chinese firm.
On the surface, the fact that the OnePlus Two doesn’t have a microSD card slot, NFC, fast charging or wireless charging doesn’t seem like a big issue – but for a handset that’s claiming to not only beat its flagship competition this year, but also be a ‘2016 Flagship Killer’, these seem like missed opportunities.
The OnePlus 2 packs the latest power, an improved camera and fancy fingerprint scanner into a new design, and it’s finished with a price tag that puts the rest of the high-end mobile market to shame.
Is it the best phone on the market? No. If you’re looking for pure mobile excellence the Samsung Galaxy S6, with its premium price tag, is still the pinnacle, but for those on more reasonable budgets the OnePlus 2 is a barnstorming buy.
The omission of a microSD slot and NFC may be too much for a select few, the lack of wireless and/or fast changing is a little disappointing, and the software issues are niggling, although hopefully fixable.
It may not be perfect, but considering the price you’ll be paying it’s easy to forgive the OnePlus 2 its shortcomings. Seriously though: do spend the extra money on a real wood back. You’ll thank me later.
First reviewed: August 2015