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OnePlus 2: Everything we know about the next “Flagship Killer”

Confession: as great as devices like the Galaxy S6, HTC One M9 and LG G4 are, my overall feeling is that they’re a little boring. Great cameras, great design, great experience. Great. But they’re predictable, comfortable iterations of their former selves. Maybe after all these years I’ve just become numb to the excitement of new technology.

It seems that we’ve reached a point where phones are so good they’ve all more or less become the same.

That’s not to say these devices aren’t impressive. I use the Galaxy S6 every day, and I’m amazed by what the G4’s camera is capable of. But these devices still leave me wanting more. That’s why I’m so excited for the OnePlus 2, which will officially be announced on Monday, July 27.

As a surprise entrant in the smartphone rat race last year, OnePlus proved it’s able to hang with the big boys. And, so far, the company’s next flagship sounds like an early contender to be among the top smartphones of the year.

OnePlus hasn’t been shy about its ambitions to become one of the market’s top phone makers. The company proved that a good device doesn’t need to be expensive. But as it looks to keep pace in the constantly evolving spec race, it might not be so easy this time around. A more powerful phone, like it or not, comes at a cost.

The good news is that we already know quite a bit about the OnePlus 2, including specs, price, and how you’ll be able to get one. We’re just days away from hearing the details in full, but until then, we’ve collected all you need to know into one handy guide. If you’ve been holding out for the next Flagship Killer, listen up.

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Specs

Companies typically like to keep every detail under wraps until the big unveil, but OnePlus is not your typical company. Rather than allow a barrage of leaks to ruin the surprise, OnePlus has been slowly revealing new details about its next flagship, a ploy meant to hype what’s to come.

While we know some of the OnePlus 2’s specs, not every detail has been uncovered just yet. That means the device is still shrouded in just enough mystery to leave fans wanting more. It’s like giving a hungry person a picture of a hamburger, but not an actual hamburger—yet.

Here’s what we do know: the OnePlus 2 is going to be a beast. Even before OnePlus opened its mouth, we already predicted the device was going to be a force to be reckoned with. And, yeah, just look at the device’s confirmed specs:

  • Snapdragon 810 processor (v2.1)
  • 4GB of RAM
  • 3300 mAh battery
  • Dual SIM
  • USB Type-C
  • Fingerprint sensor
  • 13-megapixel camera at f/2.0
  • Oxygen OS

Great, right? There are still a few odds and ends, like storage, and it’s unclear how big the device’s screen will be (along with resolution). Rumors suggest fans can expect a 5.2-inch display with Quad HD resolution, along with similar storage options to last year’s model, which offered 16GB and 64GB variations.

That’s a superphone if I’ve ever seen one, and future-proofed against its contemporaries. At this point, we’re not sure if it’ll come with any major surprises, such as wireless charging or expandable storage, but given what we know, it already sounds like a winner.

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Price

Here’s the bad news: with great specs, comes a more expensive price tag. But by how much?

OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has already addressed the device’s inevitable price hike, but said it will cost less than $450. That’s a fancier and less direct way of saying what we feared: the OnePlus 2 won’t be as affordable. That’s not in and of itself a deal breaker, but it does take away some of the phone’s charm.

What made the OnePlus One so appealing was it offered market-leading specs at a low price. For just $299, you could get the 16GB version; for just $50 more, you could get the 64GB version. That seemed like the deal of the century at the time, hilariously undercutting the competition.

Add $100 or so to the starting price, and suddenly the flagship killer is out of “impulse buy” territory. $450 is still much cheaper than a lot of major flagships, but by no means will the OnePlus 2 be the most affordable handset in town.

OnePlus hasn’t revealed absolute final pricing just yet, but it appears we’re not getting a repeat of last year. That’s what happens when we demand more.

The possible alternative is a “lite” version of the OnePlus 2, seemingly at a lower cost with watered-down specs. That might not seem like a good compromise, but imagine if the company introduced a refined OnePlus One to complement this year’s flagship. That sounds like a good deal to me.

Camera

This is one area where the OnePlus 2 needs to stand out. Last year, the OnePlus One offered a decent camera that got better through software updates. But it was by no means the best.

An incredible standard has been set by devices like the iPhone 6 Plus, Galaxy S6 and LG G4, which means the OnePlus 2 has some big competition to live up to. Cameras have become incredibly important to the smartphone experience, and this late into 2015, we’ll be expecting nothing less than greatness.

Some early examples of what the phone’s 13-megapixel camera can do have already been shown off. In fact, an entire video has already been made demonstrating the device’s camera capabilities. The early production samples are promising, and will likely get better as time goes on.

Without having used the device, we can’t speak for the actual experience, but it sure sounds like fans will get great photos. One area where people might be left feeling a little disappointed is the fact that the phone doesn’t sport optical image stabilization (OIS), which many of today’s top handsets possess.

Still, the early samples look promising, though we can’t say for sure how good the camera really is until we put it up against today’s leaders.

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Invites

This was by far the worst part of the OnePlus One last year; it was such a detriment to the experience that we took points off our final review score. But due to the company’s operating costs, customers needed an invite in order to actually buy the device. That meant some people were left waiting for weeks, and even months.

To say the OnePlus One’s launch was botched would be an understatement, but the company says it has learned from last year’s debacle, and has promised that getting your hands on the OnePlus 2 won’t be quite as difficult. Talk is one thing; hopefully the company actually follows through.

OnePlus 2 stock should be a lot greater than initial stock was for the OnePlus One launch—about 30 to 50 times more stock in the beginning. Secondly, there’s going to be a reservation list, allowing buyers to get in a virtual line. That means you no longer need to stalk the company’s forums and beg people for an invite.

Speaking of which, there is going to be a shareable invite system. Once you do get your hands on the OnePlus 2, buyers will be able to bump friends to the front of the line, hopefully speeding up the entire ordering process.

Despite your feelings toward the invite system, OnePlus said it wouldn’t be where it is today without it, which puts things in perspective. In order to ensure it offers the best possible product, we’ll need to practice a little patience.

Fingerprint reader

Inspired by devices like the iPhone and Galaxy S6 Plus, OnePlus has already confirmed the Two will come with the most “advanced fingerprint sensors out there.” In fact, the company is already promising it’s fingerprint reader will be faster and more accurate than Apple’s TouchID, which is already a great experience.

Users will have the option to store up to five fingerprint profiles, which means you won’t have to only rely on your thumb. Adding a fingerprint reader is a smart move on OnePlus’ part. Not only does it make unlocking your device more convenient, but it adds another layer of security. And with mobile payment services popping up constantly on the horizon, I’m sure it’ll come in handy in more ways than one.

The only thing we don’t know is how OnePlus plans to implement the technology. We’ve seen some early renders that suggest it’ll be on the back of the device, right under the camera. However, recent images point to a more sensible location: embedded right in a home button. It looks a lot like the Galaxy S6’s oval implementation, which is fine by me.

“With the OnePlus 2, the fingerprint sensor is done right,” the company confirmed late last month.

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Design

For all the talk about the OnePlus One’s affordable price and flagship specs, people seem to forget that the device was a beautiful phone. The company went to great lengths to design a premium device, and it showed. More than a year later, and it still feels great, which speaks volumes about the phone’s quality.

I wouldn’t expect to see a drastic difference with the OnePlus 2. Maybe a little thinner, a little smaller, and a little more refined overall. The same pictures that revealed the device’s fingerprint reader also showed a phone that looks pretty similar to the OnePlus One, which is good news.

Perhaps the best news of all is that Sandstone Black will still be an option. Even when we have devices made with aluminum, glass, and leather, sandstone still remains one of my all time favorite materials. It had a wonderful texture, and it looked great, too.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see the return of OnePlus’ StyleSwap project, which the company tried to introduce with the OnePlus One. The feature would have allowed users to purchase a alternative back plate for the OnePlus One, though manufacturing issues ultimately shut StyleSwap down.

We’re not worried about OnePlus falling short in the design category. If the company can offer a more refined version of last year’s model—like making it slightly more compact, etc.—then no doubt it’ll be a looker.

It’s almost here

Finally the device is almost here. More than a year after the OnePlus One came out, and it looks like the OnePlus 2 will have been worth the wait. The list of specs is impressive, and the early camera samples are promising. Now we just need to see the device for ourselves.

The OnePlus One was a pleasant surprise in a sea of sameness. Can the OnePlus 2 repeat that feat, and cement the company as one of today’s premiere mobile players? We’ll find out on July 27, when, in typical OnePlus fashion, the company holds a one of a kind VR announcement to unveil the device.


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Brandon Russell

Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...Brandon Russell enjoys writing about technology and entertainment. When he's not watching Back to the Future, you can find him on a hike or watching...


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