Chances are you've never heard of OnePlus, but this tech startup could take the smartphone market by storm. Its OnePlus One smartphone has killer features to rival the Samsung Galaxy S5,Sony Xperia Z2,HTC One M8, LG G3 and other flagship Android devices, yet it costs less than half the price at a super-budget $299/€269/£229 (16GB model). The catch? That phone we all want to get our hands on has just been delayed again.See also: OnePlus One hands-on review
At first OnePlus was allowing people to purchase the OnePlus One through invitation only, but confusion in how to get a OnePlus One invite has led OnePlus to re-assess the situation. Still wanting to keep a tight control on supply and demand, it is now developing a system through which you can pre-order the OnePlus One.
"One of the major pain points of the system lies in the anxiety of not knowing what needs to be done to obtain an invite, and the idea of spending a lot of time and effort to get one. This was not a planned side effect of the invite system, and we recognize that it is counterproductive to the great user experience of buying a OnePlus smartphone that we’re aiming for.
"We want to find a solution that can both allow us to reward early fans, as well as provide a pain free and time efficient way for busy people to buy our device. Therefore, we’ll launch our devices in multiple stages: invites only with a transition into invites and pre-orders," said OnePlus.
OnePlus One: Getting an invite
OnePlus One is using competitions and promotional events to hand out invites to buy its OnePlus One. For example, in a contest that ended on 2 May, OnePlus asked OnePlus One smartphone hopefuls to apply to be one of the first 100 owners of the handset. The catch: if chosen, you must smash your existing smartphone, film it, then stick it on YouTube. Its Phone Smash videos will go online within the next few weeks, with the chosen ones rewarded with an invite to purchase the OnePlus One for just $1, plus three invites for their friends. See also: Best OnePlus One Phone Smash videos so far
"By paying attention to the smallest details, taking a holistic approach to product design, and working with the best partners such as Cyanogen and Qualcomm, we have been able to create the greatest day-to-day user experience in a smartphone without compromise," said Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus. See also:Best Android phones of 2014.
OnePlus One: Pre-orders
OnePlus is now also working on a pre-order system for buying the OnePlus One, without needing an invite. It says you'll be able to cancel your order at any time up until the order is processed. Of course, you can't pre-order it just yet...
OnePlus One: Release date
Previously expected to go on sale in June, OnePlus now offers only a Q3 estimation for the OnePlus One's launch date.
OnePlus One: But I can buy it from Oppomart?
Oppomart is indeed listing the 16GB Silk White OnePlus One as available for sale at $399 on its site. However, Oppomart is not affiliated with OnePlus, and the version it is offering customers runs Color OS, not CyanogenMod 11S. It claims all other features and specifications are the same.
OnePlus One: price
The OnePlus One comes in 16GB Silk White and 64GB Sandstone Black varieties. The 16GB model costs$299/€269, while the 64GB OnePlus One is only slightly more expensive at$349/€299.See allsmartphone reviews.
OnePlus One: specs
The OnePlus One phone runs a modified version of Android KitKat known as CyanogenMod 11S, which will instantly appeal to enthusiasts and tinkerers with its unlimited scope for customisation. It also features advanced Camera and Gallery apps, letting you make the most of the OnePlus One's 4k video-recording capability, plus improved privacy-protection features that include SMS encryption and PrivacyGuard.See also:Samsung Galaxy S5 vs Sony Xperia Z2 vs HTC One comparison review.
And then there's the hardware: OnePlus' motto is 'Never settle', and it's easy to see why. The OnePlus One phone bests the Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z2 and HTC One, running a 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with Adreno 330 graphics and 3GB of RAM. It also features a higher-capacity - if non-removable - 3100mAh battery (beaten only by the Sony Xperia Z2's 3200mAh), a larger 5.5in full-HD touchscreen, and a 13Mp Sony Exmor IMX214 13Mp camera with f/2.0 aperture and dual-LED flash. The front camera is primed for selfies at 5Mp, while video recording stretches to 4k with 120fps slow-motion available at 720p.
The OnePlus One phone, which weighs 162g and measures 152.9x75.9x8.9mm, supports dual-band Wi-Fi, including the very latest 802.11ac standard, Bluetooth 4, NFC, GPS and 4G LTE. There are built-in stereo speakers and a tri-microphone with noise cancellation.
We can look past the OnePlus One phone's lack of a memory card slot for storage expansion, given that the 64GB model is around half the price of Apple's £709 64GB iPhone 5s - the only other flagship smartphone you'll find with 64GB of storage as standard.
OnePlus claims its One smartphone boasts industry-leading design and superior build quality, with "subtle curves, sleek lines and a slightly raised jet-black display". It looks great in the pictures, but we won't make any judgements until we've held the OnePlus One in our hands - keep an eye out for our full OnePlus One phone review.
OnePlus One: How to buy OnePlus One phone
To get hold of a OnePlus One phone right now you either need to get an invite to purchase one from someone who already has the OnePlus One or enter contests and promotional events hosted on the OnePlus One forums or social media channels. OnePlus says it's so confident about its product that it's cut out the middlemen - distributors, retailers and advertisers - to let its fans do the talking. It's also developing a pre-order system, hopefully available in Q3.
We want one, but we sure are getting bored of waiting - the OnePlus One's killer specs might not be so attractive by the time this phone finally becomes available to buy.