Remember this date: April 23rd 2014. This is the day that the global smartphone business got seriously disrupted. The day the rules of the game got changed. The day OnePlus launched their first smartphone, the OnePlus One.
At least that is the story that OnePlus want to see appearing in web browsers, TV screens and even print media around the world, and to be fair they have put a tremendous amount of effort into hyping and priming us all in preparation of the launch of what they claim will be the simply the best smartphone imaginable. A bold and audacious claim considering the quality of today’s flagship devices from well established and leading manufacturers like Samsung, Sony, LG and HTC.
In Beijing earlier today we saw CEO Pete Lau take to the stage to introduce his highly anticipated device. An ex-OPPO VP, Lau spoke with confidence and passion about the philosophy behind the OnePlus One, at one point making the reference with a fast food restaurant experience where the end product, once delivered disappoints in comparison to the marketing images used in promotion. This was all setting the scene for OnePlus to obliterate the competition with a better looking higher specced device than the current competition.
So how valid is the hype surrounding the OnePlus One? We visited the company a few weeks ago to get a clearer picture of the company’s strategy and the general feeling in their offices was one of elevated anticipation. At that time OnePlus were very reluctant to let us see the device or even talk too much about technical details. Since then however we’ve seen a gradual trickle of technical specifications, but is only today that we are getting the whole and complete picture. Let’s take a look:
OnePlus One Smartphone Specifications
• 5.5 Inch 1080p LTPS Display from JDI
• Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor
• Quad Core 2.5GHz w/ Adreno 330 Graphics
• 3GB RAM
• 16GB / 64GB of Internal Storage
• 13MP Rear facing Camera with 6 Sensors
• 5Mp Front Camera
• 3,100 mAh Battery
• CyanogenMod 11s
• 152.9mm x 75.9mm x 8.9mm
The device looks as impressive as we knew it would, but there are plenty of less speccy details that largely involve the build quality, or perhaps even build philosophy behind the OnePlus One. The device delivers a 5.5 inch display but with really optimized bezels that creep almost to the very edge of the device. To prevent the device getting damaged – a common issue with non-bezel designs- OnePlus employs a buffer section or recessed bezel of just 0.07mm which ensures the screen will withstand a knock or two.
In terms of dimensions the OnePlus is measures up as being 152.9mm x 75.9mm x 8.9mm at its thickest edge and 4.6 at its thinnest.
Lau made the point that with most smartphones, valuable front face real estate is given up to logo placement. He certainly has a point if you look at the top and bottom bezels of the HTC One M8 for example. The OnePlus One has no front side logo, only a discrete icon etched into the reverse side of the chassis.
“In 1 month, we made 36 revisions…” Lau mentioned on stage, again to emphasize the company’s efforts to ‘Never Settle’ for anything but the best. Perhaps this is why the chassis design is as impressive as anything we’ve seen, impressively made from a chiseled piece of magnesium. Lau made the point that apparently makes the device that bit lighter compared to other materials including aluminum and stainless steel. Also, it looks very attractive. We can’t wait to get hands on to check the in-hand feel.
The reverse side is also a very a unique approach, incorporating a Cashew Nut finish that we can say we have never seen before. Available in Silk White and Sandstone Black, the Device will apparently offer a very natural feeling in the hand with a texture that won’t slip, even when wet.
The simplicity of the device mirrors a design philosophy of ‘Less is More’. The OnePlus One looks fantastic, at least from these marketing images. Check out the gallery below:
The camera is a worthy of plenty of attention, featuring a 13 MP IMX214 Sensor from Sony which features 6 Lenses and a f2.0 aperture.
The audio speakers on the OnePlus are also pretty impressive with well known audio brand JBL speakers integrated into the bottom of the device.
Finally we got the highly anticipated CyanogenMod 11S OS. The new design shows off a very minimalistic, simple, flat OS design. What extra goodness lurks within, remains to be discovered.
The audience was fairly quiet throughout Pete Lau’s presentation, a few gasps and ahhs aside. The closest thing to a loud cheer came when he finally announced the aggressive pricing of the OnePlus One, with a market price of RMB1999 for the 16GB version and RMB2299 for the 64GB. This translates into $299 and $349 in the US market, unlocked and without a contract. An astounding price for a smartphone of this class. Unbelievable…
After today’s launch we are seriously inclined to think that OnePlus have delivered. We will follow up with our own exclusive hands on in the next few hours or so – don’t miss that – but for now let’s just say that OnePlus have a real ‘Flagship Killer’ on their hands.