The unveiling of the highly anticipated OnePlus 3 is edging closer, but how will the newest handset from the makers of the original 'flagship killer' perform? Read on for our comparison between the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus 3, based on the rumors and specs we've spotted so far.
OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus 3 comparison: design and build quality
The OnePlus 2 takes a different path to the original 'flagship killer' when it comes to design, doing away with the subtle silver border spotted on the original smartphone and arriving in a more compact shell.
This successor to OnePlus' first smartphone certainly impresses when it comes to looks, arriving with the particularly satisfying Sandstone Black option on the rear of the device, which gives the gadget a unique texture. Meanwhile, a handy home button with a built-in fingerprint sensor lives on the front of the device, something the OnePlus One couldn't offer.
In our full review of the OnePlus 2 we complimented the Chinese smartphone on its ability to allow users to easily swap out the rear StyleSwap covers. Of course, the $30 price tag may put some people off, but it's nice knowing that the option to customize the phone in some way is there.
The buttons on the OnePlus 2 are more tactile than on the OPO, and support for USB Type-C charging has the smartphone prepared for the future.
All in all, the OnePlus 2 serves as a worthy predecessor to the OnePlus One from a design perspective. The lack of NFC, a microSD slot and removable battery are key weaknesses, but for a budget-priced handset the smartphone still has plenty to give.
We're still waiting on some official information on the OnePlus 3, which is apparently arriving 'at the end of the second quarter of 2016'. Even so, there's still plenty to discuss based on slices of information arriving in the form of leaked renders and benchmark tests.
At the end of last year, some conceptual renders of the OnePlus 3 were doing the rounds online, with the images suggesting that OnePlus will be waving goodbye to the textured Sandstone back in favor of black brushed steel.
The camera on the back of the device appears to have been bumped up to a higher position on the rear of the smartphone, and the omission of a fingerprint scanner leaves us questioning how the gadget is going to be unlocked. Interestingly, there's whispers that the OnePlus 3 could be unlocked via iris-recognition. We'll have to wait and see if these theories ring true.
Front-facing speakers are spotted below the screen on this alleged OnePlus 3 image. The image paints a different picture to a leaked picture spotted last month, which is said to show a 'dummy unit' with thicker bezels, a different UI and an all-black body.
The OnePlus 2 arrives with a 5.5-inch Full HD (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) LCD display, protected soundly by a slab of Gorilla Glass. In our experience, the screen of the smartphone is solid, but not mind-blowing. Despite some boasting from the OnePlus camp with regards to brightness, the display of the OnePlus 2 looks fairly standard.
A feature unique to OxygenOS means that the color temperature of the screen can be adjusted to protect your eyes during late-night use, which is a nice touch.
It's rather important to note the price of the OnePlus 2 when pointing out weaknesses, but even so the screen of the smartphone is a little underwhelming. It offers a good experience, but not much more.
According to a leaked screenshot, the OnePlus 3 will drop with a 1080p display. Information on the screen of the upcoming OnePlus gadget is scarce at the time of writing, but the same screenshot noting the display also touches upon some internal specs.
Considering the mediocre display on the OnePlus 2, our fingers are crossed that OnePlus delivers an improved performance with its next handset.
OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus 3 comparison: processor and storage
A Snapdragon 810 chip powers the OnePlus 2, backed by 4 GB of RAM and 16 GB or 64 GB of storage that delivers great, nippy performance. Whilst the smartphone gets a little hot when it's tackling high-intensity games and apps, the gadget doesn't get so warm that it's unusable.
We'll be the first to admit that this isn't the speediest smartphone around, but even so performance is solid overall. OnePlus has done a top job of delivering a lag-free experience with the OnePlus 2, and our fingers are crossed that the OnePlus 3 delivers the goods in this area too.
Judging by the leaked benchmark test, the OnePlus 3 is set to include 4 GB of RAM and 32 GB of internal memory. On top of that, the mystery smartphone is said to be rocking a Snapdragon 820 chipset coupled with an Adreno 530 GPU.
We expect that the rumored Snapdrgon 820 inside the OnePlus 3 will deliver brilliant performance, setting it apart from previous members of the OnePlus family.
The main shooter on the OnePlus 2 is a 13 MP main camera with f/2.0 aperture, complimented by OIS technology, dual-LED flash and laser auto-focus. The result is a great rear camera for photo fanatics to sink their teeth into, and additional shooting modes and filters offer up more opportunities for unique pictures.
One of our favorite features of the OnePlus 2 camera app is Clear Image mode, which stitches together a series of individual shots to create one higher-quality image. From our time experimenting with the tool, results are impressive, although you'll need a steady hand for the feature to be effective.
The front-facing 5 MP camera on the OnePlus 2 doesn't offer much of an improvement in performance from the OnePlus One, so there's not too much to say here. Image quality is decent, but it's nothing to write home about.
There's no information online regarding the OnePlus 3's camera at the time of writing, but if we were putting together a wishlist we'd certainly include improved performance from the front camera.
As OxygenOS develops and OnePlus adds more functionality to its cameras, the experience will improve. Our fingers are crossed that the camera technology tucked inside the OnePlus 3 is the best the Chinese group has put together so far.
OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus 3 comparison: software
OxygenOS on the OnePlus 2 is a tweaked take on Android that manages to maintain a fairly 'clean' look whilst also offering some unique features of its own.
Fans of theming their devices will feel right at home here, considering it's possible to adjust the OnePlus 2's menu colors, and elsewhere the various audio tweaks available are fun to play around with. Off-screen gestures allow users to quickly access the camera ,turn on the flashlight or start and stop music, and OnePlus' own Google Now imitator Shelf has some neat tricks up its sleeve.
Simply put, OnePlus has managed to create a clean skin with plenty of functionality, and folk comfortable with customizing how their smartphone looks will be keen to get stuck into the various settings.
Naturally, we expect the OnePlus 3 to feature OxygenOS too, but we're expecting the improved chipset to serve up better performance and faster menu navigation. As OxygenOS develops and grows, that can only be a good thing for the development of the OnePlus 3.
A 3,300 mAh battery keeps the OnePlus 2 chugging along, and paired with Android's own Battery Saver mode it's possible to squeeze more life out of the experience.
During our time with the OnePlus 2 in our full review, we found that going all-out on video content and high-intensity games will drain the smartphone fairly quickly. To add to the issues, the smartphone doesn't support fast charging or wireless charging, something that could potentially be addressed when the OnePlus 3 arrives.
In our minds, the battery inside the OnePlus 2 is a pretty good performer overall, particularly when you note that this is a budget smartphone you're dealing with.
OnePlus 2 vs OnePlus 3 comparison: verdict
In our minds, the OnePlus 2 is a brilliant, budget-priced smartphone, but a couple of drawbacks prevent it from being truly top-notch. OnePlus has the opportunity to take advantage of the OnePlus 2's shortcomings with the OnePlus 3, and we're hoping improved camera tech, a bigger battery and an improved OxygenOS experience help the company do just that.
Do you have your eyes on the latest smartphone from OnePlus? Are you a OnePlus 2 owner looking to upgrade in the near future? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.