The OnePlus Two is out, so what about the OnePlus One

OnePlus created a lot of hype after the announcement of the original One. I really liked what I saw, so I went ahead and bought it. More than one year, later, here is the Two. It is supposed to be new, but I would call it “facelifted”. The internals are new, but from the outside, it looks very similar to my phone. The only major new features on the outside are the new USB Type-C port and the metal band. It is definitely a step forward, however, there are also many odd things.

Of course, the obvious one is the lack of NFC, but everybody knows that.

I wanted to order the new OnePlus Two, but after the official announcement, I have been left a bit worried. I do like NFC, however, that wouldn’t be a deal-breaker. When I unboxed the OnePlus One, I was very excited. This was my first “proper” Android experience, because my only other smartphones were iPhones. I didn’t completely ignore Android, I just didn’t find the look of the user interface very appealing. The thing is, all the reviewers seemed to agree, however, in the recent years, there hasn’t been much criticism. The beginning was surprisingly positive. Finally something new and different compared to the boring grid of icons. One week later, the phone occasionally freezes and the apps look a bit worse than the iOS counterparts. That is still OK, because I paid only 300 € for this phone. One month later, Android 5.0 Lollipop is out and it brings significant UI improvements. Five months later, and I still do not have Lollipop on my device. One year later, Android Lollipop and a few incremental updates hit my phone, but the user experience is getting worse and worse. The phone crashes and freezes at least a couple of times a day and the battery life is visibly shorter. That is nothing new. My iPhones also had roughly ¾ of the original battery life after one year of everyday use, but they never froze on me.

At this point, I also have an Android Wear smartwatch, the LG G Watch R. I do not know, whether it’s a phone issue or not, but it is equally unreliable and the Bluetooth connection drops at least once a day.

The camera on the OnePlus One was very good, at first. Now, I cannot rely on it at all. In the default camera app, the colors are off and it has issues focusing and getting the right exposure. Basically, all the shots are overexposed… And the Google Camera app stopped working all together.

I think you get where this is going. I had enough of Android on non-Nexus devices. The in terms of older hardware, Nexus 7 with Android Lollipop runs equally as good, if not better, than the much newer and beefier OnePlus One.

I really would like to give the OnePlus Two a chance, but there a few issues stopping me. Number one is NFC, then the lack of quick-charging. Not being water-resistant, having worse battery life (despite of the bigger battery). The camera is improved, but what if the camera software stayed the same. And finally, I do not have an Invite. I can’t believe OnePlus still hasn’t figured out how to produce enough phones. I get that, they are trying to make as many phones as they sell, but the demand is high. There should be enough supply during the initial boom after the announcement. With all that said, I will probably wait for the new line-up of Nexus devices. Or I will switch to a Windows Phone.

After the one year experience with the OnePlus One, I know two things for sure.
1. You can get a cool phone for 700 $, but you can get a similarly good and usable phone for much less.

2. Specs don’t matter.

I still do not know whether I will buy another Android phone, but I will think twice before spending more than 400 $ for a phone.

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