Chinese startup OnePlus set the Android world on fire last year with their ‘Flagship Killer’ the OnePlus One. Starting at just £229, the phone offered specs that rivalled or outclassed the top-end phones of the time, and succeeded in putting the willies firmly up the big brands. However, the invite-only system proved to be a right ‘mare for people who wanted to buy the phone, and some customers (me included) had quality assurance/customer service issues with OnePlus.
Now, the low-key brand are ready to launch their second smartphone, unsurprisingly dubbed the OnePlus 2. When we arrived at SwiftKey‘s offices to give it a try (the phone comes with SwiftKey preinstalled, which is a blessing for those of us who always install it first), there were already well over 200 fans queueing outside for just five minutes with this phone. So is it worth it? We went hands-on to find out.
OnePlus 2 specs
As with the One, the OnePlus 2 offers top-end hardware at an impressively low price. Starting at £239, there’s a 16GB and 64GB model as before, with 3GB or 4GB of RAM. Both models have a 64-bit Snapdragon 810 processor with 1.8GHz octa-core CPUs and a stonking 3300 mAh battery pack. As with the last iteration, there’s a 1080p 5.5-inch screen (401 pixels per inch) and 13 and 5MP cameras.
As TechRadar noticed, there’s no NFC this time round, which is an odd decision with the theoretically imminent launch of Android Pay. There is a fingerprint reader below the screen, though, which worked well when we tested it:
OnePlus has ditched the popular Cyanogenmod version of Android after numerous high-profile disagreements between the two companies, and the OnePlus 2 runs Oxygen OS instead – a similarly modded version of Android Lollipop that OnePlus developed themselves.
We’re also happy to see that unlike the OnePlus One, the OnePlus 2 works with all UK 4G providers (you can double-check yours here if you like peace of mind). It also offers dual-SIM functionality and a USB type C charging cable, which is really cool but does mean you won’t be able to use any of your existing chargers without the (included) adapter.
OnePlus 2 handset design
The first thing you’ll notice is that the OnePlus 2 is considerably thicker than its 8.9mm predecessor, coming in at 9.85mm:
It has a metal band around the edge this time, and a physical mute switch clearly modelled after Apple’s:
The ‘sandstone’ finish is still there, but if you hate the gritty feeling as much as I did on the OnePlus One, you’ll be pleased to hear that OnePlus have sorted out the teething problems with StyleSwap covers and now offer a range of different backplate designs from launch.
They’re super-easy to clip on and off, and come in some really sleek designs:
I’m all over the carbon fibre-ish one. Well-loved case brand Otter have also worked with OnePlus to make an extra-tough case for the phone, though with a Gorilla Glass screen, you’d hope it wouldn’t need anything this hardcore:
OnePlus 2 camera samples
We had a quick go on the OnePlus 2 camera in the confines of the press event. It’s pretty quick – not quite as fast as the Galaxy S6 camera, but then that’s thrice the price. Performance seems good from what we’ve seen so far, with true colours and impressive clarity:
You can read the logo on the Maltesers if you zoom in:
OnePlus 2 UK price and release date
The OnePlus 2 comes out in the UK on the 11th of August. It’s £239 for the 16GB version and £289 for the 64GB (we’d definitely recommend spending the extra £50 – that’s a big jump in storage and there’s no microSD slot if you change your mind later). As before, though, you’ll need an invite to be able to buy the phone. We’d recommend signing up for their newsletter, following them on Twitter and getting involved with the OnePlus forums if you want one.
Demand is likely to be sky-high – there are over a million people in the queue for an invite already, and more than 200 fans queued from 2am until 4pm today just to get five minutes with the phone. They’re pretty dedicated:
If fan fervour is anything to go by, this phone will be a runaway success for a brand most people have still never heard of. We can’t wait to spend more time with it.