The OnePlus 2 is a paradox. On one side, it is a phone that compares itself to flagships like the Galaxy S6 or the iPhone 6. Conversely, the OnePlus 2 is half the price of those very same phones. The OnePlus 1 was a wildly popular phone in 2015, so the question is: “Does the OnePlus 2 have what it takes to be the 2016 flagship killer it claims to be?”
The design of th OnePlus 2 isn’t very exciting. The main frame of the phone is made of aluminum, a material now commonly used on flagship phones. This design decision makes the OnePlus 2 feel really solid, it’s unbelievable that this phone costs less than $400. The phone comes with a removable plastic back that features a rough matte finish that feels somewhat like sandpaper. This texture actually gives you more grip and prevents you from dropping your phone. If the matte black finish isn’t your style, OnePlus will sell you a different back, including a real wooden one, for $27.
The OnePlus 2 has the same, big, 5.5-inch 1080p display that the OnePlus 1 featured. While some flagship phones have stepped up to Quad HD displays, I personally feel like they aren’t necessary. The OnePlus 2 has had its display improved in virtually every other way. The screen has better colors and the viewing angles have improved quite a bit over the previous generation. So, overall, I think OnePlus focused their improvements in the right areas.
Something new for the OnePlus 2 is the addition of a toggle switch on the side of the phone. This switch is actually quite functional when you need to switch your phone to silent quickly. Another new feature on the OnePlus 2 is the addition of a USB-C port. USB-C is the future, so this is actually a great port to have on this phone in the long run. However, until the port is common on all devices, it might be a little tricky to charge your phone. One feature that is a hit or miss is the fingerprint sensor. Sometimes the sensor works and sometimes it doesn’t, you’re probably just going to want to turn it off to avoid getting frustrated at it.
The OnePlus 2 runs Oxygen OS, which is a minor modification of stock Android 5.1.1 Lollipop. Most of these modifications are to make the phone more usable, and there is nothing there that shouldn’t be. The quad-core processor and 4GB of RAM keep the phone running fast, and more importantly, future proof.
Smartphones have become the go-to camera in the past couple of years, so it is really important for a phone to have a good camera. The OnePlus 2 features a 13-megapixel sensor that features a six-element f/2.0 lens with OIS and laser-assisted autofocus. With great lighting, the camera is really good. The problems with this camera start to appear when you are trying to use it in low light. The images are darker, and also sometimes appear blurry because of the longer exposure times needed to get a decent image.
Acquiring the OnePlus 2 is a unique experience. OnePlus uses an unconventional system of using invitations to sell their phones. This is very different from any other buying experience. You can’t actually buy a OnePlus 2 in a store. Unfortunately, this means long wait times if you want to buy one. The waiting list actually has over four and a half million people on it right now.
Overall, the OnePlus 2 is a very good phone for the price, but that’s where the wonder ends. If this phone was the same price as an iPhone 6, it would not be a popular device. However, for under $329 or $389 (depending on capacity), the combination of fast performance, a quality screen, and Oxygen OS makes the OnePlus 2 a great phone for the price.