OnePlus 2 Review: Powerful, but not reliable

OnePlus One reached new heights of success last year. A company which did not even exist 20 months ago has created a name for itself among the customers in such a short time. The company’s aim has been to create ‘flagship killer’ devices which have high-end specifications but are available at half the price of flagship devices of other companies. The company has largely succeeded in doing this, at least on paper.

The price of Google’s Nexus phones was an important factor behind the success of OnePlus One. The Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 devices were considered to be in the ‘value for money’ category, but this was not the case with the Nexus 6. The price of this device was around Rs 50,000. In such a situation, OnePlus One was successful in achieving the title of ‘Value for Money’ product. Apart from this, the marketing strategy of the company also became the reason for its profit. The most important was the invite system. There is no doubt that the company has managed to create a large army of fans in a short period of time.

oneplus 2 (OnePlus 2) also aims to capitalize on the past success. Even though the price of the latest smartphone is higher than the previous device, it has a lot to keep the specification lovers happy. OnePlus 2 has been developed keeping technophiles in mind, but features like microSD card slot, NFC and fast charging have also been removed. The inclusion of a second SIM card slot in the device is a great decision for a market like India, where there is no dearth of OnePlus fans.

OnePlus 2 The second major change is the inclusion of Oxygen OS in place of CyanogenMod. Oxygen OS only has the stock version of Android with some additional features. While we’re fans of Cyanogen’s customization options, it wasn’t as stable on the One device as it is on other devices. Seen this way, it is a pleasant change. At least in theory, the OnePlus 2 should have fewer software bugs. Is it so in reality? Let us know.

Design and display
In terms of design OnePlus 2 It is similar to its older version, although some minor changes make the device look new. The most unique feature of this smartphone is the Standstone Black finish. If you were attracted by One in terms of design, then you should also like OnePlus 2. If you don’t like this, you can buy Bamboo, Black Apricot, Kevlar and Rosewood variants of back covers which are available on Amazon India website.

OnePlus 2 uses a metal frame and also has a removable back cover. The speaker grill at the bottom has been given a more modern look as we have seen in the new flagship devices of Apple and Samsung. A new USB Type-C port is also present at the bottom. There is no other branding on the back of the phone except the OnePlus logo. Alert Slider is present on the left side. We will discuss this later.

OnePlus 2 smartphone has a 5.5-inch full-HD display whose viewing angle is excellent. According to us, this is the brightest display ever. The colors are quite natural, they appear a little rough. Although we prefer this type of display compared to oversaturated panels, some people may find it a bit sad.

Software and performance
The OnePlus 2 smartphone comes with the company’s customized ROM Oxygen OS 2.0, which is basically the same as Android 5.1.1 Lollipop, but with some new features. The launcher of the device is similar to the recently launched Moto G (Gen. 3). Being fans of the stock version of Android, we were quite happy. During setup, you have the option to activate a feature called Shelf, after which it becomes your left-most home screen.

OnePlus says that the Shelf feature is a kind of experiment. At this point it doesn’t even seem very useful. We love Google Now. If you want, you can download and install Google Now Launcher. Now it will be interesting to see what kind of changes will be seen in the shelf in the coming days.

OnePlus 2 has multiple user and guest mode. The smartphone also comes with an App Permission Manager feature that lets you manage the resource permissions of each app. We see this type of feature in Xiaomi smartphones. This is a great feature because it gives you complete control of your smartphone. One thing must be kept in mind that using this feature will affect the core functionality of many apps.

There are two hardware features of OnePlus 2 which are largely related to software. These are fingerprint scanner and alert slider.

The fingerprint scanner is easy to use to unlock the device. Well, if you want your fingerprint reader to run smoothly then you should keep cleaning it after a time interval. If you can see visible print above the button, you’ll likely have to try two-three times to log into the phone. We have rarely encountered this problem with iPhones. On many occasions the fingerprint scanner did not work at all. We had to unlock the phone by entering its PIN.

one plus 2 ndtv bottomNow let’s talk about alert slider. This is a clever name for a button that lets you switch between different profiles. The bottom position is considered the general profile, where you receive audio alerts for all notifications. If you move the slider to the middle, you will get audio alerts only for important notifications. Now you have to decide which notifications are important. After sliding to the top, you will not get any audio alert. However, notifications will continue to appear on your screen.

oneplus 2 interruptions led settings

OnePlus 2 has a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and 4GB of RAM. As expected, there was no problem with this device in performing common tasks. Multitasking and swapping between different apps was very easy. The review unit we received never seemed to slow down. Games like Asphalt 8 ran very smoothly. However, we found that the device got quite warm once we played the game continuously for 20 minutes.

There are some minor shortcomings with this device. Some apps did not run and some kept crashing occasionally. Many times when we received a call, we could not see the answer or reject control above the lock screen notification. We had to unlock our phone, then select ‘back to call’ to answer the phone call. There was also a problem with the accelerometer. The video did not switch to landscape mode until we restarted the device. Once the cellular data itself stopped working. After trying all the solutions for a few days, we had to factory reset the phone to make it work.

One drawback came to light regarding software updates. When we booted the phone for the first time, we got a notification of the update, but since we were on a slow internet connection, we decided not to install it. We later realized that this was a big mistake as the update message was not received again. We even factory reset the device but did not get the notification. Although users can update the device manually, most users do not want to tamper with this functionality.

OnePlus 2 has a notification LED that can light up in different colors when different types of notifications arrive. The phone comes with SwiftKey in default mode. Google’s keyboard is also present in it. If you want, you can also install third-party keyboards from Google Play.

As far as call quality is concerned, OnePlus 2 did a good job in areas where the network was strong. Its performance was very poor in weak connectivity areas.

Battery life and camera
OnePlus 2 gave two types of performance in terms of battery life. Battery performance was average in our video loop test, while excellent in daily use. That too on 4G network. If our user pattern is anything to go by, the battery should have no problem lasting for a day. Recently, we have come across many such batteries which give good results in benchmark tests, but not during use.

oneplus 2 sample outdoor shot thumb

OnePlus 2 has a 13-megapixel rear camera that takes stunningly detailed photos in good lighting. If you use the tap-to-focus feature, the camera takes a while to focus on the object. The performance was quite good even in low light. When it comes to photos taken in the dark, the performance of OnePlus 2 is even weaker than Apple’s flagship device.

Front camera is quite good. The camera app is pretty basic in terms of options. You also get support for slow motion video in this device, but despite good lighting, these captured videos looked quite dull. In regular video, whenever you move the frame, autofocus does not work that fast. The phone gets warm even when shooting videos in 1080p for long periods of time. The device can also shoot video in 4K resolution, but clips cannot be longer than 10 minutes at a time.

Overall, the OnePlus 2 camera is nowhere near as good as the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge or even the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Granted, these devices cost a lot more, but when you’ve branded yourself a ‘2016 Flagship Killer’, comparisons are bound to happen.

our decision
OnePlus 2 is better than its older version in many ways, but it also has some flaws that remind us of the older device. There is a lot of improvement in terms of battery life and software, but there is scope for further improvement in the software. We hope that the company has also improved its quality processes. We know of several users who either had complaints with the OnePlus One’s screen or the handset stopped working within a few months of receiving it.

The company has also tried to remove most of these shortcomings. We know many OnePlus fans who love their phones, but there is no dearth of people complaining. This is not good for the company. Sadly, we cannot know about such shortcomings through the review unit. We use one device for a maximum of two weeks. Therefore, it is a challenging task for us reviewers to recommend a handset to the users.

Should you buy OnePlus 2 or not? If you are looking for a dual-SIM Android smartphone that has good battery life and runs on an almost stock version of Android. And with the price being around Rs 25,000, we would suggest you buy this device, but be prepared to compromise with some shortcomings. If you liked the One whose edges were rougher than the new device, then you will also like the new device. If you are one of those users who give more importance to reliability than ‘value for money’ and want a smartphone which is as stable as the products of big companies, then OnePlus 2 smartphone is not in that league right now. Finally, let us make one thing clear, we can give review of OnePlus 2 and not invite.

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