OnePlus 2 First Impressions

Introduction:

After what felt like a much longer wait than it probably was, I received my OnePlus 2 two days ago, when USPS surprised me by finally delivering my package, granted it was two days late, but it’s the thought that counts, right? At the time of writing, I’ve had the OnePlus 2, which I will hereby refer to as either OP2 or just ‘The 2′ to make my writing just a bit more concise, for roughly 24 hours and while it is too early for me to provide a comprehensive review, I have already formed some first impressions and there are a couple of things that have stood out to me. Please keep in mind that I am coming from the OnePlus One, a device that I adore and will always hold a special place in my heart. So let’s get into it.

Note: As a quick side note before we begin. At the time of writing, I am using the North American version of the OnePlus 2(A2005) without the new OTA(2.0.1) and I am using only one SIM card. Furthermore, my OnePlus One was running CM12.1 and the camera used for the quick comparisons was the ColorOS Camera port.

Hardware:

I know that hardware is very vague as it can refer to anything that’s a physical part of the device. At this point, I am sure you have read the specs of the OnePlus 2 and know them inside out, so I will not bore you with those details. Instead, I want to focus on the feel in the hand that the OP2 has as compared to the OPO. Upon picking up the phone, it immediately felt more solid and premium than the OPO. This isn’t to say that the OnePlus One is built cheaply, on the contrary, the OnePlus One is a great phone with a great feel in the hand. However, The 2 has a little extra heft combined with the metal frame, rigid sandstone back and what seems like even weight distribution that make the phone feel solid and comfortable in the hand. While it is true that the OnePlus 2 is slightly thicker than the One, it is not a noticeable difference and had I not known of the additional thickness beforehand, I would have not noticed. Overall, the OnePlus 2 feels comfortable, solid, and premium in the hand.

Moving on to the other physical aspects of the phone, the power button, and volume rocker are now on the same side to accommodate OnePlus’ new alert slider. More on the alert slider further on, both the power button and volume rocker are easily accessible with one hand, much like they were on the One. The new layout did need some getting used to as I kept hitting the volume rocker in an attempt to press the power button, as it has been pushed down ever so slightly from the position that was on the One. Nonetheless, the volume rocker, power button, and alert slider are easy to access with one hand usage, this perfectly complements the premium feel.

The last major piece of hardware I want to hit upon is The 2’s new display. From my usage, one thing stood out to me immediately and continues to do so. Compared the One’s Screen, the colors are warmer. Whether you like this or not is dependent on personal preference. This is not by any means a negative thing,rather it is just an apparent difference when the One and The 2 are put side by side. I personally lean towards the cooler colors of the One, and would like to see a screen calibration option to built in for Oxygen OS on The 2. As I mentioned, this is not by any means saying that the screen is bad or unpleasant, quite the opposite is true. While The 2 maintains the 1080p 5.5” screen from the One, it is not by any means the same screen. Based on my usage of The 2, whether it be watching videos or reading articles/text, I have found that The 2’s screen to be more vivid and more clear. A noticeable improvement over the One’s screen.

A couple of other miscellaneous hardware pieces are the speaker and capacitive buttons. This time The 2 sports only a single speaker in contrast of the two speakers that the One had. The new speaker has better sound quality than the One’s but appears to be ever so slightly quieter, most likely due to the fact that it is a single speaker. There are three capacitive buttons, the main one being the home button that also houses the fingerprint scanner and the other being recent apps and back represented with dashes as they can be inverted or changed through the settings. I have found that a little more pressure is needed for the home button to respond as compared to the other two capacitive buttons. This is most likely due to the home button also housing the fingerprint scanner and needing that extra pressure to make sure you’re not just trying to scan your finger.

Software:

Now we hit upon the software of the OnePlus 2, after OnePlus and Cyanogen’s relationship went sour, OnePlus was left with no choice but to build their own ROM for their future devices. Enter, Oxygen OS, OnePlus’ vision of Android with the intention to be close to Stock/AOSP and few extras sprinkled on top. We got the first taste of Oxygen OS in the form of version 1.0 for the OnePlus One. Using it when it first came out, I very much appreciated the simplicity and near stock experience. However, Oxygen OS suffered from wakelocks and the battery life was in shambles as compared to COS12, CM12, and all other lollipop ROMs. While not perfect it was a good start and I had high hopes for Oxygen OS.

Now we have the OnePlus 2 running the new version of Oxygen OS, version 2.0 as its stock ROM. There have been numerous improvements coming from the first iteration and while I will need more time to be able to give more details, here are my first impressions of the ROM. Oxygen OS continues to be smooth and responsive like it was in the One. Furthermore, gone are the wakelocks and while it is too early to comment on battery life I can safely say that it is has improved from the One’s version of Oxygen. I have not run into any app crashes, stutters or any issues. Additionally, Oxygen OS 2.0. brings with it app permissions, shelf, dark mode and a few other things to make the experience better. So far, I think Oxygen OS 2.0 gets the job done and works well. Being an active custom ROM user from the One, there are certainly some things I miss from other ROMs, small things such as being able to move the clock from the right to the center. I hope OnePlus continues to update Oxygen OS and add more features in the future.

Camera:

The OnePlus One had a good camera at most. This meaning that it wasn’t by any means the best camera on a smartphone at its time, but it was certainly capable of taking great images and videos. However, one thing the One’s camera lacked and many people complained about was OIS(Optical Image Stabilization). With The 2, OnePlus has proudly touted is the improvements to its new camera. Along with the OIS, the new camera brings with it Laser Auto Focus, a new 13MP camera sensor with bigger pixels and new software to compliment Oxygen OS.

Upon a few quick samples of putting the One and The 2 head to head, the benefits of OIS became quite apparent. In low light shots The 2’s images are clearer and have less noise and graininess than the pics taken by the One. Furthermore, It is very apparent how the OIS helps videos as they appear less shaky than those taken by the One.. One thing I have noticed when putting the One and The 2 to record video side by side, is the fact that The 2 tries to focus on specific objects instead of focusing on the whole frame. It seemed at times that The 2’s camera tries too hard to focus on a specific area causing it to need a little extra to focus the frame while the One’s camera seems focus on the whole frame quicker.

Moving on the UI, the new camera app is simple and gets the job done. I’m mostly a point and shoot guy, so there is not any features that I will miss from other camera apps. The UI is very simplistic and the camera includes clear image, beautify and HDR. Sliding from right to left we see a menu very reminiscent of that on Google’s camera. We are presented with The 2’s different modes, Photo, Video, Panorama, Slow Motion and Time Lapse. I have not played with all of the modes yet so I will have my thoughts on those in the full review. One thing I did want to mention is that on my couple of panorama shots, the software did a better job at stitching the image together than the standard CM camera did on the One.

As I said, all that is mentioned above are just based on quick comparisons and first impressions. My thoughts could change by the final review or as new updates arrive.

New Features:

Of course, there is more to The 2 than a new camera, a new OS and new specs.The four new additions to the OnePlus 2 are the fingerprint scanner, the USB C port, the alert slider and Dual SIM compatibility. I have not used the Dual SIM function as I have no use for it currently, because of that I am unable to comment on its functionality, but I will talk about the other new features.

The fingerprint scanner sits on the bottom front bezel and doubles up as the home button, using the term button lightly as the button is capacitive and not a button that can be pressed like the one found on Apple or Samsung devices. I have both of my thumbs registered and upon my usage I have found that fingerprint scanner to be quick and accurate. I’ll keep testing this to see how that speed and accuracy continues to be throughout my review period, but upon first impressions it seems to be 85-90% accurate. Most of the time unlocking the phone on the first try with every once in a while having to lift my finger and pressing on it again. I do have to admit I was one of the people that saw the fingerprint scanner as a gimmick and I didn’t see myself using it at all. However, I have found it to be very convenient. I now use the fingerprint unlock more than I press the power button to wake the device. I’ve gotten so used to the scanner I find myself accidentally trying to unlock my OPO as if it had a scanner. With that said, the fingerprint scanner is definitely useful and not something that should be overlooked.

While the USB-C connector does not bring anything new besides its reversibility, I have found it to be very convenient. It is a small thing in the scope of The 2’s additions, but it is something that makes a difference. Gone are the days of endlessly flipping the cable as it seemingly never fits because it is in the wrong direction. A small but very much appreciated touch.

The last major feature of The 2 is the new Alert Slider, something not found in many other smartphones. The alert slider allows to switch between lollipop’s priority notification states.. I’ll have to be honest and say that I thought it was great addition but wasn’t sure if I would end up using it. That statement holds partial truth, as I did not end up using the three different alert positions frequently because as my phone is almost always on vibrate. I have used the alert slider a few times and while not something that I use frequently is convenient.

Conclusion:

While I have only had the OnePlus 2 for roughly 24 hours and will need more time to put it through its paces, it has already left very positive first impressions. As I mentioned, this is not by any means a full review, rather my thoughts and impressions after using the phone for a little while. I will go more in detail in my full review. As always thank you for reading and if you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to ask me here or on the forums. Furthermore, let me know what you would like covered in the full review.

All pictures were taken with the OnePlus One using the Color OS Camera Port. More pictures can be found here:

OnePlus 2 Shots

 

2 Comments

  1. AntMunny AntMunny

    How’s the Front Facing Camera? The great FFC on the OPO kind of made me a serial selfie taker…

    …seriously

     
    Reply
  2. theshinybeast theshinybeast

    A very complete review Brandon.I suspect I’ll end up caving in and going for it and now that I see they’re being very punctual with updates moreso.Thanks for the review it has cleared up a few of my doubts about the phone.

     
    Reply

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