OnePlus Two [Review] : Is It Really Another Flagship Killer?

OnePlus Two Camera

Despite the antics OnePlus pulled off with their flagship last year I was still a huge fan of the OnePlus One smartphone. I had an invite, bought it and used it more than I expected. I enjoyed the customization options and how feature rich it was for a smartphone priced at $350. So when i heard OnePlus was coming out with a sequel to the notorious OnePlus I had to get my hands on it and see if it can be dubbed the “flagship killer” of 2015 or has that title actually fallen off. Here are my thoughts on the OnePlus Two.

Style

When I first got my hands on the OnePlus Two it came to my surprise how much thicker it is then its predecessor. It still has that Sandstone feel on the back but now its removable. If you do decide to pull that cover back you can get access to its dualSIM tray. If you pop two badboys in there you can the SIM card memu and enable one, disable the other or vice versa. Going back to the design the OnePlus Two has a metal frame that wraps around the phone to likely try to hide its thickness. On the top is an audio jack and the bottom is the newly adopted USB Type-C port and a speaker(the left grill is for the mic). USB Type-C is nice as you don’t have to figure which way to plug it in but bad if that’s the only wire you have. I also miss the dual audio speakers on the OnePlus One. On the right is a power button and volume toggle while the left side has an “Alert Slider” switch. Its pretty nice as you can basically turn off notifications in an instant.

Display

OnePlus Two Display

Mind Boggling about this is that the OnePlus Two is using about the same display as last year. A 5.5″ 1080p display with 401ppi. Luckily it did at least upgrade from Corning Gorilla Glass 3 to 4. But other than that it’s the same as last year. No QHD display, no screen size difference, etc. It still is nice to look at though and is adequate enough for viewing of videos or reading or checking out the lastest tweets.

Hardware

OnePlus Two GrillOnePlus picked it up in this area with the OnePlus Two using a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor with a Adreno 430 processor. Also it comes with 4GB RAM and 64GB of built-in storage(16GB, 3GB RAM for cheaper model). The battery capacity this time around is 3300mAh which puts in range with some of the other big batteries on the smartphone market. But surprisingly there isn’t any quick charging with this device. This year they added a fingerprint scanner while omitted NFC which is pretty baffling. Their fingerprint scanner works good(at times) even though it awhile to set up. Not having NFC may not sounded like a big deal but they had it in their prior model and the boom of mobile payments has taken off lately.

Software

OnePlus Two ScannerWhat the OnePlus One was known greatly for was its support by CyanogenMod for their software. It allowed them a great detail of customization and features you only dreamed of seeing in other smartphones. If you haven’t been aware their partnership has broken off and OnePlus has been using their own OS called Oxygen. It’s currently Android 5.1 and while not as good as CyanogenMod’s OS it does still use things like gestures. Draw a V to turn on the flashlight, a O for the camera, a > to play music and the list goes on. Their version of Android really feels naked and it will take some times to make it to your liking as their realistically isnt thing to play with on here. There is a bit of lag in the OS too. It just doesn’t feel as cohesive as its predecessor unfortunately.

Camera

Last year I used the OnePlus One a great deal with its camera as it took some awesome especially those in HDR. This time around with the OnePlus Two the camera hasn’t changed too much. It has a 13MP back shooter with 5MP on the front. It does have OIS & Laser Focus which are good to have on the camera and can help with shaky hands. The app’s layout is pretty simplistic and is reminds you of those you see in the Motorola and Google phones out there. Swap from the left to bring up your camera options and click on the little indicator on the screen for enhancements such as Clear Image, IDR, or Beauty. I took some pictures in the well-lit Times Square area of New York City and images weren’t too bad. HDR can be a bit slow at times but it’s not painful like some I used such as the HTC One A9. Picture quality is decent and should be able to fulfill a normal user’s needs. There are some Manual settings to play around with as well.

 

If you are interested in video you can options of shooting either 720p, 1080p or even 4K options. Video quality isn’t bad and you check some of it out below.

 

Verdict

The OnePlus Two for its price isn’t a bad smartphone in terms of what you get. But it just doesn’t feel as impressive when its OnePlus One sibling dropped last year. The OnePlus Two does have USB Type-C but doesn’t really help with anything. Also no NFC, wireless charging or even turbo charging are sad omissions to deal with. Its Oxygen OS sadly isn’t as fleshed out as their prior one they used with Cyanogenmod and is sorely missed.

Departments it does deliver in though its snappy performance, great picture-taking and decent audio even with its mono speaker. For $389.99 and carrying 64GB the OnePlus Two isn’t a bad smartphone but I don’t know about calling it a Flagship Killer.