After months of hype about the coming mobile device, OnePlus One smartphone has finally been revealed at a $299 price that sets it squarely within the domain of other high-range smartphones it is taking on.
The OnePlus One has been gaining a great deal of interest since rumors first began to fly. Of course, many worried that the final product wouldn’t be worth the whispers and excitement. Luckily, that worry appears to be unfounded. The One SmartPhone has been revealed in all its glory, and it is a surprising addition into the middle priced market.
Coming initially in two colors, both white and black, the One will have a 5.5-inch screen in an impressive 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution (1080p). That is on par with the HTC One, arguably its biggest competitor. It is also higher than the 1136 x 640 pixel resolution offered by the iPhone 5s, another major contender for the price.
In CPU, we have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core 2.5 Ghz processing chip, and for GPU the Adreno 330, 578MHz card. So graphics and performance wise, it will be comparable to most devices from, for example, the most recent Samsung series. But higher than most with 3 GB of RAM, rather than the more common 2 GB you see.
One surprise is the storage options. There will be two options on rather far sides of the spectrum, starting with a 16 GB and ending with a 64 GB. Unfortunately, there isn’t any microSD slot available.
The front and back will each sport a camera, with a 13-megapixel for regular captures, and a 5-megapixel front camera. Both have six lenses to avoid distortion and blurring, a serious improvement to many other models that fail to take the quality of the camera under real consideration. Especially where moving images are concerned.
Connectivity is offered through 4G and dual-band WiFi. It will be available for both AT&T and T-Mobile networks, to begin. Hopefully that expands over time.
While running on an Android OS, it will hold the CyanogenMod 11S platform of KitKat 4.4.
Other Cool Features
Probably my favorite feature is the touchscreen. A double tap will bring it to life. Then you can use the usual tap and swipe motions, or ‘draw’ an image to bring up favorite apps. This works even when your fingers are wet. It is the drawing part that really catches the imagination, and it will be interesting to see if it works properly.
You can choose between on-screen or capacitive keys, turning the three along the body to make it fully screen activated, or vice versa. While having the option might not be that useful, it is still an interesting idea to offer it as a choice.
Crazy enough, they have created textures for the case. As in, the thing is soft and very tactile, especially when rubbed against the skin. It is a slightly bizarre move, but different and appreciated. Who doesn’t want something a little quirky in their indie tech device? In fact, Engadget says the white case is made of powdered cashew nuts and is “baby-skin soft”. Bet you didn’t expect that statement to be made about a phone.
What pushed OnePlus to use such features? According to CEO Pete Lau, it is all about customer needs.
You can use all sorts of marketing tactics, but when you’re back to making a product, you must take users’ actual needs into consideration. They are the ones who will actually use it, so they know best. You can exaggerate when you’re selling a product, but when the buyers use it and are left disappointed, they’ll still complain, right? Therefore products should go back to basics: the users must feel good when using our products. If the users want something, we’ll do it.
It is sound logic, and already appears to have paid off.
Pricing and Release
OnePlus One starts at $299 for the 16 GB version, and $349 for the 64 GB version. Which isn’t at all a bad price between the two, and it would be worth the extra $50 for the more storage heavy version.
What should be most interesting as the One starts to hit markets is not how it fares against HTC. That brand has been struggling for awhile to break into their desired market. It is how OnePlus will fare against other major brands like Apple and Samsung. Given the price, their business model and that they are very much the “new guys”, they face an uphill battle.
Yet, it doesn’t look as though the climb will be nearly as hard as you expect. They have made a solid product, with some interesting features, and within an affordable price range for what it is. Their biggest threat will be the iPhone 5s and coming iPhone 6. Fingers crossed they hold their own when the annual sales reports are compared.
Start looking for The One this May!