Expected Q2 201423rd April 2014
Possibly the greatest smartphone you have never heard of, the OnePlus One is an attractive, premium smartphone without the expensive price-tag.
OnePlus is a startup founded late last year by Pete Lau, vice-president of up-and-coming Chinese firm OPPO. The stated design philosophy of OnePlus is "Never Settle" which is reflected in an apparently very high quality of product design. The OnePlus One manages to look both smart and distinctive at the same time.
Elegance is sometimes only skin-deep, so what lies underneath the One's pleasing exterior? Inside is a 2.5GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU with 3GB of RAM, 16 or 64GB of storage and a large 3100 mAh battery. On the front is a 5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixel full HD display with a 13 megapixel camera on the back and a 5 megapixel one on the front. It's worth noting that the main camera is a Sony Exmor unit which has a proven track record in this type of device.
This is an LTE-capable device with NFC support and all the usual high-end features. But there are some more unusual features too.. prefer on-screen navigation buttons? You can have those. Prefer the buttons at the bottom? Well, you can switch on those instead. Want to personalise your phone? You can change the back of the device, and you can even use a wooden panel like the Moto X. In fact, the OnePlus One seems to be full of little design details that lift it way above the run-of-the-mill and allow it to compete with leaders such as the HTC One M8 and Apple iPhone 5S.
The operating system is Cyanogenmod 11S which is a reworking of Android 4.4. Cyanogenmod is popular with people who like to create custom ROMs for their Android devices, and it has a dedicated following of users and developers. You can control the OnePlus with gesture control and pretty much customise it in exactly they way you want.. something that can be difficult with other Android handsets.
The hardware and software look appealing.. but what about the price? OnePlus say that the One will cost $299 / €269 for the 16GB Silk White version or $349 / €299 for the 64GB Sandstone Black version. Initial markets will be the US most of Western Europe* plus Hong Kong and Taiwan.
One word of warning though - OnePlus are a completely new startup and the company has no track record in getting products to market (although many of their employees do). It's quite possible that the product might ship late (or not at all), the price might change or the quality might not be up to scratch. But we certainly hope that this handset is as good as it promises to be.
* Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom.
OnePlus One at a glance
GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
UMTS 850 / 900 / 1700 / 1900 / 2100
LTE Bands 1 / 3 / 4 / 7 / 17 / 38 / 40
GPRS + EDGE + UMTS (3G) + HSPA+ +
LTE + WiFi
5.5" 1080 x 1920 pixels
13 megapixels (main)
5 megapixels (sub)
153 x 76 x 8.9mm / 162 grams
16GB / 64GB
Yes (plus GLONASS)
Cyanogenmod 11S / Android 4.4
Not specified (3100 mAh cell)