OnePlus, the Chinese smartphone startup that launched the OnePlus One as the flagship killer of 2014, has naturally touted the OnePlus 2 as the flagship killer not just of 2015 but also of 2016.
True to its promises, OnePlus unveiled a first smartphone with specs and features that trumped many of its contemporaries, offering more RAM, a bigger battery and a higher-resolution rear camera than both the Samsung Galaxy S5 and the HTC One M8, all while selling the OnePlus One at the most competitive price on the market.
— OnePlus (@oneplus) July 16, 2015
This year, OnePlus is at it again with the looming launch of the OnePlus 2, set for its public official unveiling via virtual reality on July 27. On Twitter, OnePlus is billing its next device as the next Android smartphone to rule them all, although of course the first OnePlus handset, while sporting better specs and some better features, encountered its own snags that prevented it from truly being the flagship killer of 2014.
Although OnePlus cofounder and director Carl Pei says the firm has learned a lot from the release of the OnePlus One, it is still subjecting prospective OnePlus 2 buyers to the restrictive invitation-based system to purchase the smartphone. OnePlus says this is a way to keep "razor-thin margins" and push the phone's price way down. Still, it remains to be seen how OnePlus will manage the launch of OnePlus 2, as the first order of business is to get the phones available for selling to make it a true flagship killer.
If all goes well and OnePlus manages to meet the demand with its own supply, could the OnePlus 2 truly match up to the competition? As far as we know, OnePlus' next handset will be carrying some impressive specs and features that could give the Samsung Galaxy S6 and Nexus 6, two of Android's best and biggest current flagships, a run for their money.
The OnePlus 2 has already been confirmed to run v2.1 of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810, which was specially tweaked by Qualcomm to address the overheating issues encountered by the SoC's first version. This is newer than the 2.7 GHz Snapdragon 805 on the 6-inch Nexus 6, but benchmark tests have consistently scored the Exynos 7420 processor powering the Galaxy S6 higher than the Snapdragon 810, although it remains to be seen if Qualcomm has incorporated new improvements to boost the chip's performance in the second version.
The SoC is paired with a good 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM, which should give the OnePlus 2 more of an edge over the Galaxy S6 and Nexus 6, which both have 3 GB of RAM. There is no word yet on storage, but the original OnePlus is available in 16 GB and 64 GB versions, without support for expansion via microSD slot.
On the outside, the OnePlus 2 is said to sport a rough plastic body to provide a better grip, but later rumors suggest the handset could have a metal back to provide a more premium feel. The Galaxy S6, in keeping with Samsung's shift to focusing on design and making more iPhone-like phones, is clad in all metal, while the Nexus 6 is housed in a polycarbonate body surrounded by a tough metal frame.
The OnePlus 2 will be powered by a massive 3,300 mAh battery, which should provide more juice, as OnePlus has confirmed it will be smaller than the 5.5-inch OnePlus One. In terms of battery life, the OnePlus 2 looks like it will offer more than the Galaxy S6, which has a 5.1-inch display, a size on the smaller side, but also has a smaller 2,550 mAh battery. The OnePlus 2's battery is also bigger than the 3,220 mAh battery on the Nexus 6, but as the Motorola-made Nexus has a massive 6-inch display, it likely won't get as much juice as the smaller OnePlus 2.
Speaking of display, no clear information has been provided yet, but the OnePlus 2 is sure to feature either a 1,920 x 1,080 resolution display (Full HD) or a 2,560 x 1,440 display (Quad HD). If OnePlus opts for the latter, that would peg the OnePlus 2 on the same level as the Galaxy S6 and Nexus 6, display-wise, but there really seems to be not much of a noticeable difference between a Full HD and Quad HD display anyway. Plus, going for the Full HD display will easily bump up the phone's battery life even more, a feature that many users have been clamoring for over increasing pixel numbers.
On the back of the device, we will likely find a 16 MP camera, with optical image stabilization and a slew of unspecified features that OnePlus says will set it apart. That said, the OnePlus 2 has a lot of competition in the camera department. The Nexus 6 has a smaller 13 MP shooter with dual-LED flash and optical image stabilization, while the Galaxy S6 has a 16 MP camera hailed by DxOMark, one of the most reliable standards of smartphone cameras, as the best camera on a smartphone to date. Whatever OnePlus has up its sleeves that it won't tell us had better be enough to surpass the camera on the Galaxy S6.
One huge change we will find is the shift to OxygenOS, OnePlus' own custom Android skin akin to Samsung's TouchWiz and HTC's Sense. This is going to be different from the CyanogenMod running on the OnePlus One, but the company says OxygenOS, which is based on Android Lollipop, will be as close to stock Android as possible, with OnePlus' own tweaks. The Galaxy S6 runs on the latest version of TouchWiz, which has considerably improved with the removal of a lot of Samsung's bloatware, while the Nexus 6 of course runs on pure stock Android to the delight of all diehard Android fans.
The OnePlus 2 is also confirmed to have a fingerprint sensor, although it's still unknown where the sensor will go, as the device will not have a physical home button. The Galaxy S6, but not the Nexus 6, also has its own fingerprint sensor, but OnePlus is claiming its own sensor will be faster than even Apple's Touch ID. Another marquee feature is the support for USB Type-C, the latest and fastest USB standard that is only available in a few devices right now. Neither the Galaxy S6 nor the Nexus 6 has support for USB Type-C.
The price, of course, is where the OnePlus 2 will most definitely trump them all. OnePlus has confirmed that its new flagship will debut for less than $450, an attractive price tag that will certainly lure away those users who are unwilling to pay $600 and up for a Galaxy S6 or Nexus 6. Now, here's hoping OnePlus will actually deliver on its promises and open its doors wide to the public so it can truly be the flagship killer of 2016.