back to article Cut price Android on steroids: OnePlus One – should we look gift horse in the gob?

The idea behind the OnePlus One is very simple: source the best components you need for a top-spec Android phone, one that’s just as good as a branded Tier One Android flagship, and sell it direct at the fraction of the price. OnePlus One Android smartphone OnePlus One Android smartphone Chuck out the overhead of a multi- …

  1. Chris Miller

    I'm sure there will be lots of "it hasn't got a removable battery/SD card slot, so I won't buy it" comments. Sure, it's not a high-end phone, but battery life has become a real issue for me (and, I expect, others).

    Every new release of Android places greater demands on the phone (no surprise there for anyone who's been involved in computers for more than a few years) to the point where I really don't feel comfortable going out for the day with my Galaxy S3 unless I take a spare battery. With no option to replace the battery, 'range anxiety' would be a serious problem.

    1. Russell Hancock

      Battery Life

      I used to feel the same way about battery life and having swappable batteries - until i got my HTC One X - i was a little annoyed that i could not swap the battery as i had always carried 2 batteries for all phones until that one, but honestly i have very rarely had issues in this regard...

      It is now a couple of years old and on the original battery (obviously) and i still get at least a day out of it - generally it is charged in the office everyday and then topped up on Sunday afternoon - I get all of Saturday and until around 4/5pm on Sunday - i use internet, phones, email and txt during that time..

      I guess what i am saying is that, as long as it has a decent size battery, it not being swappable should not be an issue - even two years later...

    2. jason 7 Silver badge

      I don't think it's the batteries. It's the services.

      My Nexus 4 gave me around a day and a half at best usage battery wise.

      A few weeks ago I had a look at the services running and just switched off all the ones I felt had no need to be running.

      Such as - Location Services (if I'm going fell walking maybe I'll turn it on), Google Play (I have all the stuff I need), Google+, Google this and that. I only kept the Android marked Google services going and the other crucial ones.

      Now the phone works for me in exactly the same way but it can now go three and a half days on a charge. Just from switching off 4-5 services. This is a 18 month old phone.

    3. Captain Scarlet Silver badge
      Childcatcher

      I would normally moan about not being extend storage, but 64GB would be more than enough for my needs. So far I have only ever required one 32GB sd card in my phone. However I don't use my phone to view videos on (Screen is to small).

    4. h4rm0ny

      I would normally agree with you - one of the reasons I bought my Lumia was because of the swappable battery. However, in practice, I've nearly never swapped it out in over a year of usage. Same for the 710 I had before it. It lasts into a second day (as the author says this one does) and I'm seldom away from the ability to charge it for anywhere near that length of time.

      The greater concern for me would be degradation of battery performance over time. Which then comes down to how long you expect the phone to last / resale value. For most people these days, that's currently less than the lifespan of a battery will matter.

      1. Vector

        And I really think this is a missed opportunity. If the cover is removable (even with difficulty), why not make the battery removable? I have 2 spare batteries for my GS4 which I almost never use, but I'm sure glad I have them on that rare occasion when I need them.

        As to the SD card, Google keeps making it harder to use those things. I certainly wish they'd stop that. I really think they need to crawl out of their Silicon Valley Ivory Tower and see how useful the "cloud" is when you get away from the city. Besides, I'm a Luddite and I don't want to put my files where I don't have control of them.

        1. Shaha Alam

          Might be wrong, but i thought the point of removing the SD card was so that manufacturers didn't have to pay Microsoft for usage of FAT file system.

          granted they could use another file system on the SD cards but that would create all sorts of usability problems for anyone hoping to use the same card on a windows pc.

          1. P. Lee

            > i thought the point of removing the SD card was so that manufacturers didn't have to pay Microsoft for usage of FAT file system.

            I think that's only required if you have are creating unique 8.3 file names from long file names. I could be wrong there too.

            I'd like removable storage because in the future it might be possible to stack all my movies on as SD card,or I can take a stack of tiny SD cards with me on holiday. Sometimes its easier to transfer data by card than by setting up a wifi point blah blah blah.

    5. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
      Pint

      "There’s no sign of compromise anywhere."

      "...non-removable battery. There’s no sign of compromise anywhere..." <- Funny.

      "...the absence of a microSD card slot, or FM radio, ..."

      No issue with the product, it's fine. The trivial issue is the quote in the title of this post.

      1. awood-something_or_another

        Re: "There’s no sign of compromise anywhere."

        There's compromise all over the place. Your data, your privacy. It's a Chinese company. Now we're just going to hand them all of our data instead of them having to compromise non-Chinese devices?

        No thanks!

  2. TWB

    Battery capacity

    Dear Reg,

    As a 'technical' website, is it not about time that you started putting battery ratings in Wh? - Ah as measure of capacity, is only any use if talking about batteries of the same voltage. I realise that many phones may use similar voltage batteries but that is not stated in your articles.

    Keep up the (rest of) the good work.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Battery capacity

      Even if you had a technically correct measure of the battery, you would of course still need to know the power consumption of the components to form a useful impression of the phone in real-world use. Although this phone uses the same SoC - Snapdragon 801 - as competitors, some manufacturers have implemented software and hardware features to extend battery life.

      If it is really important to you, you'd do better to consult a site that measures how long it takes the battery to run flat under various standardised tests. i.e, Looped HD video, web-browsing, calls etc. Take these Anandtech benchmarks of the LG G3 phone as an example of this approach:

      http://www.anandtech.com/show/8169/the-lg-g3-review/3

      (Graphs. Lots of graphs).

      If nothing else, you can compare the battery life of new phone Y, against your existing phone X whose battery life you already have a feel for.

    2. Robert Baker
      FAIL

      Re: Battery capacity

      I just wish that battery capacities were stated correctly; this one (for instance) is 3.1Ah, not "3100mAh". The numeric bit (unless of course it's zero) is supposed to be greater than or equal to 1, but less than 1000; that's what multipliers are for, not to be abused to make measurements look at first glance to be 1000 times greater than they actually are.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Send to China for warranty repairs?

    It looks like a nice phone, but that would rule it out for me. Who can live without a phone for that long?

    1. jason 7 Silver badge

      Re: Send to China for warranty repairs?

      Haven't you got 8 others kicking around in your junk tech drawer?

      If not have you a friend with a junk tech drawer?

    2. Anonymous Bullard

      Re: Send to China for warranty repairs?

      The majority of phones with CyanogenMod installed on them probably have no warranty.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Send to China for warranty repairs?

      "Who can live without a phone for that long?"

      I've found international post to be as fast and reliable as UK domestic services. Factor in the often crummy support service from UK network operators and I think that the difference is more about the fear factor and the cost.

      International, insured, signed for 7 day delivery to China by Royal Mail is about £21, compared to about £8 UK inland. If you've saved £200 on the phone, then an extra £12 and a few days if it does go wrong shouldn't be here nor there?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        [OT] Re: Send to China for warranty repairs?

        "I've found international post to be as fast and reliable as UK domestic services. "

        I once bought a pair of leather motorbike gloves from e-bay and realised after they were from Pakistan. I was going on the trip in 10 days so was expecting to not be taking them.

        However ordering them in the evening of (day 0) they arrived on the morning of day 2. Looking at the tracking they spent longer getting to me within the UK than from Pakistan to the UK (overnight the day I ordered them).

        The postage was even about the same as I would pay in the UK.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Send to China for warranty repairs?

      "I'm sorry, I didn't get your messages, I had to send my phone to China for repairs."

      A month of peace, bliss...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Send to China for warranty repairs?

        "I'm sorry, I didn't get your messages, I had to send my phone to China for repairs."

        Well if I was going to do that, or use one of my 8 clunkers from the discarded tech drawer, or communicate by standing on a hill and waving flags, I could probably save even more money by not buying a phone at all.

  4. iworm

    Buy one? Really?

    "OnePlus says it’s now ready to deliver volume in 16 markets including the UK."

    Go to the web-site and try and buy one........ Then re-think reprinting their claim....!

    1. Steve Todd

      Re: Buy one? Really?

      To be fair you can buy one, providing you know someone who already has one or you win one of their competitions.

      Hardly an easy thing to get though.

      1. iworm

        Re: Buy one? Really?

        Well quite.... that's my moan! They are clearly NOT ready to supply any markets "in volume" since they won't let me buy one. Yet for months they have been pumping them into the reviewers' hands. At first it seemed like a slightly silly, but tolerable, "let's make people excited" ploy. But as the months drag on, it's clearly nothing of the sort.

        I wish respectable reviewers (I point the finger widely here, not just at El Reg) would simply ignore this device until it really is ready to ship(1). Or "Preview" it. Not "Review" it....

        (1) where "ready to ship" means I give them my money, they give me a phone. No d**king around with "Please enter a competition!" or "Do you deserve one Sir? Do you know the right people?" Simple concept. :-)

      2. Jonathan Richards 1
        Happy

        Re: Buy one? Really?

        > you can buy one, providing you know someone who already has one

        Well, you do. Mr Orlowski has just told you that he has one. Isn't that sufficient?

  5. theblackhand Silver badge
    Joke

    Battery life

    More than one days battery life is ridiculous - how are you supposed to remember to connect you phone to a charger if it isn't needed every day?

    I remember the good old days where you had to run to the office in the morning to make sure you reached the charger before your battery died. These big phone batteries will just hasten the obesity crisis.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Battery life

      "These big phone batteries will just hasten the obesity crisis."

      There's your fortune for you: Develop lard fuel cell technology, and the package it into a subcutaneous module inserted at your local tattoo parlour. Olympic athletes might have to stick with batteries, the rest of us would have plenty of fuel.

      An alternative would be Van Der Graaf underpants made of nylon, which would require the wearer to keep moving to charge their phone.

    2. Michael Wojcik Silver badge

      Re: Battery life

      how are you supposed to remember to connect you phone to a charger if it isn't needed every day?

      Joking, yes, but I have at times forgotten to charge my phone1 for just this reason. Fortunately it uses USB charging and so I've always been able to charge it when it's run down.

      But it's a problem I'm happy to live with.

      1It's a low-end LG Android slider (an LG-C555), which I bought because it was cheap and I insist on a physical qwerty keyboard. The battery often lasts two or three days, particularly if I remember to only turn Bluetooth on when I want it (in the car, or if I want to sync photos to my laptop).

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. Richy Freeway

    Screenshots

    Hold volume down and power from anywhere.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Jolla

    I think the Jolla phone looks far more interesting.

    1. phil dude
      Linux

      Re: Jolla

      me too. Now they just need to sell it over here...

      Why the AC? Do you work for Fruity Corps or MicroNokian?

      Remember kids, Sailfish is possibly a way to keep Android in its box...

      P.

  9. Paul Shirley

    obsolete by the time they deliver in volume

    When they launched the pre-publicity there was no attempt to hide it being Oppo, I suppose the ongoing lack of availability is just too hard to explain if anyone remembers this isn't really a struggling startup.

    As the days pass this phone becomes less enticing because it's become obvious by the time they get it into mass production at this price, their competition will have moved on to better phones, competitive prices, with local product support. The backlash over teasingly small supply has been underway on the social media channels they've used to promote themselves for weeks now.

    Seemed so tempting but it now just looks like a cynical marketing ploy.

  10. AMBxx Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Damning with faint praise?

    Is it just me, or does this review just say, 'OK phone at an OK price, but pray nothing goes wrong as there's no support'

    Think I'll stick with my £60 Lumia.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Buy cheap..

    .. Buy twice

    Looks great, fantastic specs and the price is a bargain, but the display issues and the fact you've got to send it to china would be a concern to me. I'd wait until people have used it for a few months or so before taking the plunge

  12. 27escape
    Angel

    Mine is great

    For things like this it pays to be an early adopter, or to show interest early.

    Its fast, sleek, lasts all day and beyond. It almost has all of the things that the top phones do: NFC, BT 4.0, 4G, tap to wake etc. 4G support is on mostly Three or EE in the UK. O2/giffgaff have do not have the right 4G bands to support it.

    64GB is fine, music from spotify, files and more music from google drive/play or dropbox. So I only need to copy some MKV files over to play when I am bored.

    Low light pictures are not great, but then thats true of most phones. Normal light pictures are fine.

    My one gripe is with the orientation of the LCD polariser, its at 90degrees, which mean I cannot see the screen in the car with my sunglasses on if its in landscape mode, most phones put the polariser at 45degrees.

    1. Boothy

      Re: Mine is great

      The Nexus 5 also has 90 degree polarization, so the screen also can't be used in landscape with sunglasses on :-/

      1. Wilseus
        Headmaster

        Re: Mine is great

        The Nexus 5 also has 90 degree polarization, so the screen also can't be used in landscape with sunglasses on :-/

        You could get round that by taking advantage of quantum weirdness and placing a polarising filter, rotated by 45 degrees, in front of the screen :)

  13. garden-snail
    Thumb Up

    Battery/SD

    I used to be one of the "no removeable battery, no SD card, no sale" crowd, but the OnePlus One is what made me rethink my position. Those specs for that price were too good to resist.

    I managed to get my One just over a month ago, and it's definitely lived up to the hype. It's a dream come true! Most of my data (photos & music) is stored on the cloud, thanks to Google+ Photos and Google Play Music, so 64 GB is more than enough for me.

  14. Cliff

    Cheap... Too cheap?

    The OS is based on CM, but it's hard to know for sure if it has a special 'phone home to some agency in China' bit of firmware buried deep in there somewhere. After all, sold at cost means someone somewhere is subsidising things...

    Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but how could we ever tell?

    1. iworm

      Re: Cheap... Too cheap?

      Right.... 'cos this is the ONLY phone on the market that's built in China, right? Not as if many Samsungs, HTCs, iPhones etc are made by those sneaky Chinese.

      Frankly in fact this phone is better than most in that respect: download the firmware image from Cyanogenmod directly and flash it yourself. Try doing that on an iPhone!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Cheap... Too cheap?

      "hard to know for sure if it has a special 'phone home to some agency in China' bit of firmware buried deep in there somewhere"

      In a business context I wouldn't want a Chinese spyware infested phone, but I'd be quite happy with that for domestic use. If chairman Mao's successor want to go through the few dull snaps on my phone, peruse my contacts, or see who I phoned when, then that's no threat to my civil liberties, whereas it definitely is if my own government are doing it (or their "allies" doing it on their behalf).

  15. StimuliC

    I would say that it's really a marketing ploy

    For years there have been loss-leaders, a product that is sold below or at cost to attract attention to a brand, they way that OnePlus is are operating with the 'invite' system is a little like this. We've all seen adverts where they advertise a car that is far cheaper than it should be then in the small print, "only one at this price" and it is guaranteed that the vehicle is not on the lot and you are told that it has already sold but while you are there you get the hard sell for a new vehicle at the full retail price.

    This is exactly that. They are going to get a frenzy of people wanting the device and then will open the floodgates and then ask full price.

    It is noticeable that this company came out of OPPO who sell an almost identical smartphone and charges almost $700 for that phone (sure there are slight differences in specification -- a slightly different size body dimensions -- but essentially it is almost identical in specification) and I am sure that this is a marketing campaign by OPPO to will 'merge' and the OnePlus One device's price will be priced at a similar price.

    When something is too good to be true it usually is. There will be those lucky ones that got the cut price phone but eventually that price won't be available.

    It's just a ploy to get a name for the company.

    1. MichaelSan

      Re: I would say that it's really a marketing ploy

      I've been following OnePlus for a few months now. Despite some issues they faced I have to say that they've done a pretty good job. I received my OnePlus a few weeks ago and it is a stunning device!

      One of my friends bought the Find 7 as he couldn't get invites and seems to be disappointed as software is not performing well. He tried with CM and it didn't work out.

      My take is that if OnePlus was only a marketing stunt, the companies would have tried to make OPO looks poorer than Find 7. And it doesn't seem to be the case

  16. Gene Cash Silver badge

    Cyanogen

    It still looks really weird to see that as a brand stamped on a phone.

  17. Dr Trevor Marshall
    Thumb Down

    I would buy if it didn't have Google services pre-installed

    I am fed up with Google wasting my battery and tracking my every move. I was looking at this phone to break free to Cyanogenmod and the F-Droid store. Thanks to Andrew for letting us know that is still a pipe-dream...

    1. 27escape

      Re: I would buy if it didn't have Google services pre-installed

      Well it is possible to change your rom to

      * ASOP

      * Paranoid

      * MIUI

      * Some others I can't remember

      This also gets around the worries some folks have of their phone phoning home!

  18. Stylee

    Invite

    How about an invite, Mr Orlowski, kindly please?

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Invite

      I don't have one.

  19. si 4

    I've been using the Oppo Find 7a for a couple of months now and it's performed flawlessly. Think it's the better deal as the hardware is so similar (the Find 7 has an sd card slot and removable battery but costs £40 more) I'm going to try out the rom from the one plus one.

    Have a moto g as a work phone and between them I think they have the high and low end of the market sown up.

  20. AndyJenk

    No SD slot? Use OTG.

    Google has (so far) not hobbled USB. So put your SD card or Micro SD card in a USB adapter and use an OTG cable. The advantages of having the ability to use any app to edit / delete / move data far outweighs the disadvantage of having a cable attached when necessary.

    Incidentally, can anyone suggest why the software used to access an Sd card over USB could not be used to access the SD slot? Wouldn't that solve Google's so-called security issues?

  21. IGnatius T Foobar

    I'd buy one for this reason --

    As long as they haven't signed a Patent Protection Racket deal with Micro$oft, I'd choose this phone just to prevent money from being sent to the Great Satan of Redmond.

    1. HipposRule

      Re: I'd buy one for this reason --

      Micro$oft, how droll.

  22. Moosh

    I'm going to import a Xiaomi Mi4 instead.

  23. greenmoose
    WTF?

    Dont get it...

    Yeah I understand this phone is a great piece of kit, at a great price... why is it never an issue to the reviewer that you cant actually buy the thing unless you jump through their nausea inducing PR hoops for a CHANCE to buy it at the price they're "selling" it at... I'd love to get my hands on this phone.. I'm willing to pay actual money to do it... but I cant...

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