If you still haven’t heard, let us tell you that there’s another player in town. It has been a week since OnePlus announced their first device or rather their flagship killer; OnePlus One. So technically there are three ‘One'(s) now. The One that came out last year (M7), the One that came out last month (M8) and the One (OnePlus One) that came out last week. Confused? Yeah, let’s not jump into that and keep our focus on this one. Flagship killer tagline with an attractive pricing is more than enough to create some ripples in the technology space and it seems to be working for the OnePlus One. The device has caught everyone’s attention and is being already hailed as the flagship killer of 2014. But is it really the flagship killer? Or is it too soon to tag the phone as ‘THE’ flagship killer.
Before we jump into what’s not good about the device let’s quickly run down the specs for those who are still not familiar with them:
OnePlus One has a 5.5inch Full HD display generating an impressive 401 PPI. It runs on a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor coupled with 3GB of RAM and Adreno 330 GPU for all you gaming frenzy people. There’s a 13MP rear camera powered by Sony’s Exmor-R sensor and all of this is backed by a 3100mAh battery. It ships with the latest Cyanogenmod 11s running Android 4.4.2 and to top that all, the pricing is kept in a very Nexus friendly territory, i.e. $299 for the standard 16GB storage and $349 for the top of the line 64GB one.
If you’re wondering why we are still hesitant in tagging this device as the flagship killer we must remind you of the famous Hollywood quote “there’s always a catch” and as our guys in Hollywood are never wrong, there is a catch with this one too; in fact more than one.
Firstly, we are very skeptical about the availability of this device. A flagship killer should be available in all markets where the so called flagships of other device makers are available. Not only the device won’t be available in more than half of the world, currently you can only get to place an order to buy the device by invite. Now, the last time I used the invite system was for BBM and it didn’t turn out very well. Plus, there is no word on the invite system and the only way to get the device at this point of time is to enter a smash your current phone contest, which is absolutely bizarre to say the least.
Only 100 out of the many who smash their phone and share the video of it will be given a 16GB OnePlus One for $1 and 3 invites for people to buy the device.
Selling devices by invite could mean only one thing; OnePlus knows it won’t be able to meet the demands and is probably buying time before the device can go public. Add in the fact, that OnePlus is actually selling these devices on a loss, so obviously they do not want to go too deep into the red. Invites have usually seen people losing their interest in the product as innovations in the technology space are rapid and who knows what others will come up with by the time OnePlus One is available to the masses?
CyanogenMod is a Double Edged Sword
Secondly, the device is running Cyanogenmod 11s. Although, I am a huge fan of the CM community and their work, CM 11s is currently in beta and CMs have known to have their share of bugs in the past. Yes, they are readily fixed with timely updates; but still one cannot vouch for it unless the real world performance is tested. Add in that Android KitKat is now almost 5 months old, you would have expected a stable release by now. This certainly doesnt bode well for future updates.
Having the best engine doesn’t guarantee having the best car. Same is the case with mobile phones. Having a top end spec sheet won’t guarantee success in the real world. The likes of Apple have shown us how a dual core processor can outsmart a quad-core and octa-core just with the help of software integration and optimizations. It is those little tweaks that matter and we will have to see if OnePlus One can really shine in the real world or not.
The Form Factor is just a little weird
The form factor of the device is also a matter of concern. It falls into the no man’s land territory between phones and tablets i.e. the phablet space. A 5.5inch device is just not suitable for one hand use and the masses. Coupled with the big bezels on the top and bottom, the device is larger than most of the flagships out there in the market; the flagships it is looking to kill. We feel that a 5” Nexus type form factor would have been the best bet and OnePlus might have missed the trick here. Just to put things into perspective, the device is trying to kill the HTC One, a 5 inch display, a Galaxy S5 with 5.1 inch display, the Z1 with 5.2 inch display, no OEM so far has gone as high as 5.5 inch for their star performer. How well this pans, only time will tell.
The Question over Quality?
Lastly, we just heard of OnePlus recently which makes them very new in the market. They come from China which is not known for the quality of products by their local manufacturers. Although OnePlus people are the guys from Oppo and they are using Oppo’s facilities for manufacturing the device, the word ‘unknown/raw/new’ will be haunting them for a long time. Not to mention what type of customer support will be provided if there is a flaw in the handset or something goes wrong.
Unless the company is calling OnePlus One a flagship killer because you have to kill (smash) your own handset to get one, it is indeed very early to call it a flagship killer and we must wait before some/all of our fears are put to rest by checking the phone in person.
Will you go the distance to buy OnePlus One? Let us know in the comments section below.