The OnePlus 2 will not become available in the U.S. and Europe until Aug. 11, but the first reviews of the Chinese startup's second flagship smartphone are already in, and the verdict is a resounding thumbs up from most people who were lucky enough to be given a preview build.
When it comes to the OnePlus 2's design, reviewers agree that the device has a solid, comfortable build thanks to the textured sandstone panel on the back and the slight convex shape that curves right into the hands, while still evoking that premium feel with the aluminum frame holding up the device.
"First impressions matter, and the OnePlus 2 shakes your hand with authority," said Digital Trends. "The metal chassis is cool to the touch, and the textured rear panel grippy and reassuring. It’s no larger than the G4, but matches it for in-hand comfort, despite not sharing the subtle curve of LG’s flagship."
That is for the sandstone black model similar to the Kevlar panels of Motorola's Droid smartphones, but the wooden panels, which come in bamboo, rosewood and black apricot, feel a bit more slippy.
On the side of the phone is a metal button that lets users toggle between the notification settings of Android Lollipop to let them turn on all notifications, turn off all notifications, or turn on only the most important notifications.
OnePlus has also gone out of its way to future-proof the OnePlus 2 with the addition of a USB Type-C port to the bottom of the smartphone, a feature that many reviewers are happy to see.
Another hardware addition is the fingerprint sensor, which OnePlus says is faster than Apple's Touch ID. The first reviewers confirm this, saying the sensor is around 0.5 seconds faster than Touch ID, although the elongated design of the physical home button, which also doubles as the sensor, might not be the best shape for some people who are used to Apple's circular home button.
"We thought this nearly impossible and unlocked an iPhone 6 Plus and OnePlus 2 side by side three times," said PC Advisor, "And the OnePlus 2 won each time by at least half a second. Though with this being said, we do prefer the circular fingerprint scanner design to the rectangular one, as it feels a little bit awkward trying to use it."
On the display side, reviewers are somewhat divided on OnePlus' decision to stick to a full HD resolution while other flagships have upgraded to Quad HD. Those who are happy with the OnePlus 2's display say that the more realistic colors of the phone's display are a breath of fresh air compared to the highly saturated colors of other displays, such as Samsung's high-end AMOLED displays.
"It exceeded my initial expectations," said Android Pit. "It's borderline undersaturated with a pale lemon tint perhaps, but it was largely unbiased and a welcome change from the often highly saturated displays which I'm used to seeing."
However, Trusted Reviews said it would like to see brighter colors, saying those on the OnePlus 2 are "washed out," although it said the phone offers sharp images and good viewing angles.
Unlike its predecessor, the OnePlus 2 runs on OnePlus' Android Lollipop-based Oxygen OS, which appears to be a near-stock Android experience with a few enhancements introduced by OnePlus. For instance, it has gesture controls such as tapping to wake, drawing an O on the locked screen to open the camera. It also has a Shelf, which users can open by swiping from the left to access their favorite apps and contacts, though OnePlus admits the Shelf offers minimal functionality and promises to offer more in the future.
"OnePlus' software implementation is graceful and minimalist, with thoughtful additions like the ability to swap between on-screen navigation buttons versus using the capacitive buttons below the screen," said The Verge.
Most reviewers were given limited time to take the OnePlus 2 out for a spin, so there still are features that have not yet been thoroughly tested. For instance, one important aspect we need to look at is the processor. When OnePlus announced that the OnePlus will run on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 810, which was known for causing overheating issues in devices such as the HTC One M9, the announcement was met with an uproar. So far, the device seems to run smooth and cool, but that's without downloading additional apps and running processor-intensive games.
"The general performance was strong and the interface appeared to be running smoothly," said Android Pit. "It's also true that during my entire time with the OnePlus 2, it didn't warm up beyond what I would normally expect, but I had no opportunity to download and install my own apps, and could not test any gaming performance on the device just yet. Android Pit.
The 13 MP camera is another feature that still needs to be put to the test. While the first few pictures taken by the OnePlus 2 appear to be decent, there seems to be a few issues that other flagship smartphone cameras don't have, such as the ability to process HDR photos quickly. Still, as most reviewers say, a judgment has yet to be made on the OnePlus 2's camera.
"It's impossible to test a phone camera adequately when you can't see the images on a big screen, but on first impression, the OnePlus 2 manages to take decent shots," said Trusted Reviews.
As for the battery, not much can be said about it, as it seems the reviewers were given less than a day to take the OnePlus 2 for a spin. What we know about it, though, is that it is 3,300 mAh, bigger than the OnePlus One's 3,100 mAh battery, and it could prove to be a sturdy battery over time.
While there are still some aspects of the OnePlus 2 we would like to see tested, all in all, OnePlus' new smartphone appears to be a great, solid device that is made even better by its unbeatable price tag. The OnePlus 2 ships to customers lucky enough to receive an invitation for $349 for the 16GB variant and $389 for the 64GB variant.