The OnePlus 2 release date is August 11 for the 64 GB model in the US and UK, but the 16 GB model won't be available until later in the year. The OnePlus 2 price is US$389, or £289 for the 64 GB version, and the 16 GB model (with 3GB of RAM) will cost US$329 (£239).
As with the OnePlus One, OnePlus 2 is available through OnePlus' "invite system". You can get a OnePlus 2 invite from somebody who has already purchased the device, as well as by participating in OnePlus promotions in its forum and social media channels.
This time around OnePlus also has a 'reservations' list where people can sign up for the chance to get an unclaimed invite (in the event that somebody receives one, but does not use it).
design and build quality
The OnePlus 2 design impressed me from the moment I looked at it, until the moment I last rested it on the table. The grainy charcoal rear and the metal sides look and feel great: it's a really well-conceived design.
The handset has a convex rear which contours into the hand, in addition to strong grip. It's a comfortable size, neatly fitting into both my hand and my pocket, and the metal sides are wide enough to feel flat and smooth, not sharp like on the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge. All of the buttons are accessible and in their rightful place.
Unlike the OnePlus One the OnePlus 2 does not come in the "silk white" version, but it does have a number of replaceable rear cover designs. The others felt a little slippy by comparison to the charcoal, but they are entirely optional.
The OnePlus 2 also houses a physical "alert slider" on its left edge. This is similar to the iPhone's mute switch, except it acts as a toggle for notifications, allowing you to switch between three different profiles. "None" disables all notifications, "Priority," enables notifications from your priority contacts and "All," will, of course, enable all of them.
I didn’t have a chance to test if this worked with incoming notifications, but it would surprise me if it didn’t. I don’t know how much of a benefit it will be, in the end, I usually just use the volume keys on my device to change notification settings, but since I can’t use the volume down key to make my device silent, maybe this would be a useful option after all.
There is one aspect of the otherwise "premium" design, however, which stuck out: the home button. It sits somewhere between capacitive and physical, acting as fingerprint scanner and a home button.
Because it is physical, but does not depress or “click”, I felt myself waiting for feedback after touching it which never arrived. It made using it feel a fraction slow. These are just early thoughts and I really can’t wait to sit with the device for a longer playtest, but right now, the way home button worked struck me as a little uncomfortable.
Another gripe is that, while the rear cover is easy to remove, the battery behind it is non-removable, and it doesn't house a microSD card slot.
Overall, I enjoyed holding the device. I liked the grainy texture, the metal sides, the size, the easily accessibly buttons: it offered everything I could ask for from a smartphone design — it felt comfortable and looked authoritative.
The OnePlus 2 houses a fingerprint scanner providing five unique profiles which, in the thirty minutes I held the device, unlocked it on every first attempt except one. It scanned my finger 20 times when you set it up, and afterwards, even in my hurry to test the hardware, it held up and was fast to unlock from a "screen off" state.
The OnePlus 2 also comes with a reversible USB Type-C charger, which will soon become a standard on Android and fits perfectly into the intended charge port.
What the OnePlus 2 lacks, however, is NFC. It may not be such a big deal right now, as few people use it anyway, but in the future if Android Pay becomes more widespread, it might be missed.
The OnePlus 2 houses a 5.5-inch Full-HD resolution (1,080 x 1,920 pixels) LCD display with Gorilla Glass protection and it exceeded my initial expectations. It's borderline undersaturated, with a pale lemon tint perhaps, but it was largely unbiased and a welcome change to the often highly saturated displays which I'm used to seeing.
Unrealistically high saturation displays have their place, of course, but the understated OnePlus 2 screen had a subtle charm. It was less "showy" than many screens, particularly more expensive Samsung phones, but the more realistic shades were to its credit.
As for the brightness, OnePlus has been shouting about its "600 nits bright display" in its marketing materials, so I made it my mission to test this. It's bright, no doubt, but not impressively bright: the Sony Xperia Z3 compact I had with me has a brighter display, and it's a handset which was never noted for being particularly bright.
The display is attractive though, and while the higher resolution of QHD technology does provide more pixels, it also requires more battery power, and I'm personally not convinced of the overall benefit of QHD displays. I prefer better battery over a few extra pixels, pixels which very few apps and games even take full advantage of.
With all of this in mind, note that I tested the OnePlus 2 at an indoor setting. Thoughts on outdoor visibility will follow soon.
The OnePlus 2 is running its own operating system, Oxygen OS version 2.0 which appears to be a very subtly improved stock Android. It has a softness to the aesthetic which you'll see in the icons and animations and also adds some simple features like the much-loved “tap to wake”, which wakes your phone when you double tap it.
The OnePlus "off-screen gestures" have made a return too, so I was able to launch the camera app from standby just by drawing a circle on the screen. It worked, and it's a neat addition for those who crave a way to launch the camera from screen-off state.
The OnePlus 2 performed well during my playtest. Swapping between the different apps in the recent apps menu, opening and closing browser windows, it was all pleasingly swift. The only issue I may or may not have had was with returning to the homescreen, as outlined in the design section above.
In addition, the OnePlus 2 includes a new feature called Shelf, which is an area accessible from the left side of the homescreen — you know, where all of the most amazing features like Blinkfeed and My Magazine are held (!) — that acts as a shortcut to your favorite contacts and most used apps.
OnePlus has admitted that this feature is a work in progress, or at least that its functionality would be extended in the future, but right now it didn't strike me as something particularly interesting.
The next major Android version is almost a guaranteed for the OnePlus 2, and the integration of "dark mode" and app permissions from the Android M developer preview tells me that OnePlus could deliver the update sooner than some of the competition this time around.
OnePlus' Lollipop rollout had multiple delays, but I bet it's learned a thing or two, and with a little more experience, and an apparent desire to take full advantage of the latest Google software, I’d guess that the next version will arrive fairly soon after Google launches it.
The OnePlus 2 features a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor and 4 GB of LPDDR4 RAM. The general performance was strong and the interface appeared to be running smoothly. 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.
The OnePlus 2 houses dual bottom-mounted speakers, but in this initial test I wasn't able to comfortably test the OnePlus 2's audio quality. Note that it's never the best place to put speakers for listening to music, though.
You'll find a 13 MP camera on the rear of the OnePlus, with optical image stabilization, dual-LED flash, and 4K video, and on the front a 5 MP snapper. The OnePlus 2 has its own camera software which looks like a modified version of the Google Camera. Its feature-list is not overcrowded, housing a few simple options like one-touch “beautify” and panorama, but it performed well at a brief glance.
In the bright indoor lights, I was pleasantly surprised with both the rear and front-facing camera.
That being said, camera technology has been really impressive this year with the Samsung Galaxy S6 and LG G4, and this doesn't seem to have been the focus for OnePlus 2. It's one area where the OnePlus 2 might not live up to its (hashtag) hype.
The OnePlus 2 battery comes in at 3,300 mAh capacity. It's not a small number by any means, it's larger than many competing products this year like the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6 so it should be capable of delivering stronger battery life.
However, if the screen is significantly brighter than the competition (even without QHD resolution), it could consume more juice. In addition, and this could be a big disappointment, the OnePlus 2 doesn't house quick-charging, wireless charging or a removable battery.
The OnePlus 2 could have the best battery life of all the current flagships, but quick-charging is quickly becoming a sought-after feature, and with only a 3,300 mAh capacity and the native "battery saver" option from Android Lollipop, I fear the OnePlus 2 will provide lackluster energy levels.
At its price the, OnePlus 2 strikes me as an astoundingly good product. High performance, fantastic design, impressive display: the disadvantages are few for a sub-US$400 phone, and the parts it gets right, it really gets right.
If the battery life doesn't hold up on a normal charge, the lack of battery options could be disappointing, though. And there are many who still see expandable storage and removable battery as a necessity.
Based on what I saw today, however, I'm confident the OnePlus 2 will be worth the asking price, and I'm eager to write the final review.
Do you agree with my initial thoughts? Let me know in the comments below.