OnePlus: The little smartphone company taking on Samsung, HTC and co

Australia misses out on yet another disruptive smartphone

Whispers of a new smartphone flagship free from a high price-tag has reached Australian shores. A new company called OnePlus would work with fan-favourites CynogenMod on the new no-compromise device, with a selective rollout commencing in April.

The full moniker of the new smartphone is OnePlus One. On paper it will take on Samsung and HTC’s new smartphones spec-for-spec. Rarely do we come across a no-name company that has piqued the intrigue of customers so rampantly. OnePlus has managed to do so by unveiling a device that lives by its mantra “never settle”, and this is prevalent on its hardware, software and price.

Cutting edge specs

OnePlus has strived to create a smartphone that doesn't compromise on any front. The smartphone packs a Full HD (1920x1080) resolution into a 5.5in display for a favourable 401 pixel-per-inch density. The IPS panel provides a 178 degree field of view and is coated in scratch-resistant Corning Gorilla Glass 3.

The One measures 9mm, but the sides taper to a width of 5mm for a more comfortable fit in the hand
The One measures 9mm, but the sides taper to a width of 5mm for a more comfortable fit in the hand

Beating inside the One is a Snapdragon 801 chipset that features a 2.5GHz quad-core CPU, 3GB of RAM, and 16/64GB of internal memory. This means it operates a quicker CPU than Sony’s Xperia Z2, and more RAM than the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One (M8). OnePlus claims the 3100 milliamp-hour battery will power the One for a whole day in spite of its top-end specs.

Connectivity across the board is strong. The 4G smartphone features dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 and an in-built NFC chip.

The smartphone features a 13 megapixel camera from Sony that benefits from f/2.0 aperture and is backed by a dual-LED flash. Video recording supports Ultra high-definition, and slow motion recording is possible in high definition at 120 frames per second.

The OnePlus features a 5 megapixel front facing camera
The OnePlus features a 5 megapixel front facing camera

Android KitKat flavoured CynogenMod

Hardcore modders CynogenMod are behind the tweaked version of Android 4.4 KitKat used on the OnePlus One.

Smartphones from HTC, Sony and Samsung are all based on the same Android operating system. Custom interfaces are overlaid on the software in an effort to differentiate the companies from one another. Often these overlays do little to enrich the experience.

Technologically savvy users interested in a version of Android free from manufacturer trinkets have often sought CynogenMod’s version. The modder’s version is more bare-boned Android, and offers a lot more flexibility in how it is used. Time has only seen CynogenMod’s home-cooked software grow in popularity.

The stereo speakers on the base
The stereo speakers on the base

Pricing and ‘golden’ tickets

Australia is not part of the initial OnePlus One roll out. The smartphone, which has been priced US$299 for the white 16GB and US$349 for the black 64GB model, will be released in 15 markets commencing from the 25th of April.

Weirdly the first 100 OnePlus One smartphones will be offered for $1 when interested customers submit a video of them smashing their old smartphone. The lucky 100 people who do buy a OnePlus One for $1 will then receive three tickets they can issue to friends.

The OnePlus One reads similar to a flagship from one of the big brands, but whether or not it lives up to the hype will boil down to how it works day to day. Good Gear Guide will post a review of the OnePlus One as soon as possible.

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