OnePlus One Review – Best Deal on a Smartphone!

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Today we will be going review the OnePlus One and discover why it’s the best deal on a smartphone.

Before we begin, let me tell you that the best smartphone you can buy for your money is the Galaxy Note 4. But if you don’t have luxury of splurging on a Note 4, then you may want to know what is the best deal on a smartphone.

This is my OnePlus One review after 5 months of using it. Let’s do this baby, uh!

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The OnePlus One comes in two different flavors, a 32GB or 64GB version at just $299 or $349. The specs on this phone include the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor just like the one found on Galaxy S5, LG G3, and HTC One. For screen, you will find a 5.5” 1080P screen.

Now let me just say one thing about processors. Having a Snapdragon 801 doesn’t necessarily mean the phone is behind, it just means the product is released is 3-6 months earlier than devices like Note 4 or Nexus 6, which came out with the faster 805 processor. With that said, OnePlus One has a plenty-fast processor to last you for the next 2 years.

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While we are talking about processors, my OnePlus One runs just as fast as my Note 4 running the faster Snapdragon 805. Why? This is because I have loaded a custom Lollipop ROM on my OnePlus One, allowing me to get over 10% boost in performance, I get exactly the same Antutu scores as my Note 4 running on KitKat. Of course, Note 4 will also get faster with Lollipop ROM but that’s where OnePlus One shines.

The cool thing about OnePlus One is that it’s based off CM11S, which is slightly-modified version of CM11, CyanogenMod ROM. But it’s really nice because when Lollipop first came out, I could just pop on a custom Lollipop ROM and boomshakalaka. I am already on Lollipop with everything working out of the box. There is no need to wait for months for bugs to be fixed, just like on a Nexus device. It’s pretty much bugfree when new versions of Android come out on the OnePlus One because it is nearly 100% compatible with stock pure Android OS, there’s no additives. That’s one good thing I can say about the OnePlus One.

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Next, let’s talk about the OnePlus One build quality. OnePlus One is definitely not the best “cheapest phone” you can buy. It’s actually the best quality smartphone you can buy for $299 period. What you are getting is a great deal on a smartphone that should be sold for a lot higher price of let’s say around $500-600.

It has a very good build, I’ve had zero problems with it, very solid and durable. It’s not too thick, it’s actually pretty thin, just the perfect size for a phablet. Comparing with flagship phones like the Note 4, it’s actually thinner. And I really like the curved back with matte finish.

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The matte finish feels great. Without a case, it will feel great in your hands and will not slip out of your hands and does not collect any fingerprints. But you probably want to use a case as it will probably cost you half the cost of the phone to replace the screen if you happen to break it.

Think of OnePlus One as a Nexus device that comes out during the middle of the year. Nexus devices usually comes out way later in 4th quarter. As far as the Nexus 6 goes, I was hugely disappointed, especially at the price. Nexus devices have always had the price advantage over other phones. But lately, they have been selling at the same retail price as any other smartphone, which takes their price advantage away. The OnePlus One is definitely the new Nexus device in my opinion.

One thing I really like about the OnePlus One is the size. Size is just right. It’s not too big or too small for those of you who like phablets. It’s about the same size as a Note 4, just a tad taller and tad narrower.

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The camera on the OnePlus One is okay. It’s got the same Sony 13MP camera as one found on Nexus 6. In bright to moderate light, it does pretty good and HDR mode is very good. The only thing it sucks at is in low-light. Pictures just look dull, unfocused, out of life, just doesn’t take great pictures in low light. This however may be fixed with a 3rd-party camera app, which I am looking into and I should have a solution for it soon.

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If you are not nitty gritty about photos or if you are photographer, you probably carry a DSLR with you anyways. But if your phone is the only thing you use to take photos and for some reason if you need to take great photos then this phone is not for you. OnePlus One is for those of you on a budget and want a pure Google phone that’s easily moddable with aftermarket software. Just think of it as a rice rocket, an affordable device you can upgrade later with aftermarket turbo and body kits.

OnePlus One isn’t my favorite phone but if I was still in college and I had no money but wanted to get the best smartphone, then definitely THIS would be my first choice. For $299, you can get a cheaper phone with much less build quality. But with OnePlus One, you get pretty good build quality comparable to flagship phones from companies like Samsung, HTC, LG, and Sony.

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The speakers on the OnePlus One is also very good, I would say it’s a tad louder than the Note 4. I really like the position of the speakers, which is actually on the bottom of the phone, which I LOVE. That allows for louder sound when listening to music with the phone in your pocket, one thing I REALLY miss about my Note 3, which is missing with the Note 4.

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The screen on the OnePlus One is excellent. It’s very bright and just as good as any other flagship phone on the market. It is 1080P and I actually do prefer 1080P screens due to the longer battery and most apps don’t support higher resolution yet. You will get better battery life than the Note 4 because of that.

Of course, there’s no removable back cover and battery, which means you will be stuck with the battery life of the internal battery. But battery is plenty for this size phone at 3100mAh, it gets more battery life than any other smaller phones like the Galaxy S5 and HTC One.

What’s missing with OnePlus One?

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing. For the price of $299, you get more than what you paid for. The company is probably losing money by selling it at such a low price. I have no idea why it’s so cheap.”

Overall if you want to find the best deal on a smartphone for your money, you can’t beat the OnePlus One. It’s not the best smartphone in the world, but it is the best smartphone your money can buy period.

Currently, my Top 3 favorite phones include the Note 4/Note Edge, LG G3, and the OnePlus One. I would consider Note 4 and Note Edge nearly same device as the only difference is the flexible screen and Gear VR. If you can afford it, I would get the Note 4 or the Edge. If you are a student or maybe you lost your job, or someone stole all your money, or your company went bankrupt, but you still want to get the best Android phone. Then go ahead and get the OnePlus One and you would still have money left over for a kiddy-cart at the mall.

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And besides that, if you want a piece of history and is an Android collector like myself, you will want to get the OnePlus One. It is the first commercial CyanogenMod phone ever. I mean, other companies are now making CyanogenMod phones but since this is the #1 phone CyanogenMod Inc has ever made, it’s like the first Nexus phone, the Nexus One and I still have my Nexus One.

Getting OnePlus One?  Check Amazon here for best prices.

Also see more review here:

7 Responses

  1. Pravin XP says:

    Hey Lee, I wanna install Lollipop in my oneplus one. Can I know the process involved in this ?

  2. Jamie says:

    Hey man great video. I am on my third OPO as I sold the first two but came back when I compared it to the N5 and N6. Great phone, loving it. Any chance you could share a link to your blond rom, GApps and kernel?

  3. Sandro Barone says:

    Hey Lee,
    I broke my Nexus4 and after read this post, OnePlus One should be my next phone. Maybe you can send me a Invite?
    Best Regards!

  4. Colin says:

    Hi Max, you just keep making the best reviews.
    Myself and my Mrs have been using the OPO for the last six months now and I couldn’t agree with you more about how good this phone is for the money.
    Would be interested to see what camera app you come up with.
    All the best, Colin

  5. Marcos Reis says:

    Hi Max,
    As a OPO owner, and and knowing that you also like to flash ROMs, can you make a review of the camera app from OPPO ColorOS that was ported to OPO and a vs test with the various cameras apps available to OPO

    Tks

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Max Lee

Max Lee is the founder of HighOnAndroid.com. Max makes Android tutorials and review videos for people who want to get high on Android over at his YouTube channel and Korean YouTube channel.