OnePlus One = Too Good

After months of hype and weeks of waiting, the OnePlus One at last decided to visit me in India. It has not been a great start for the OnePlus in the country. Micromax stole its thunder off by announcing an exclusive tie-up with Cyanogenmod which meant that the OnePlus (the God phone until now) was suddenly  vulnerable having lost its OS powers. There’s been talks from the One Plus team on a Lollipop based ROM by Feb 2015 and support in the Indian shores which would take care of the buyers interests. (Update: CM has confirmed support to the phone now) (Update 2: No CM Support for OnePlus devices sold in India) . So despite all the hurdles, I decided to take a plunge, when a lovely friend seeing all the cry I was doing on Facebook and Twitter decided that I deserved an invite to get the phone..

The shopping experience on Amazon India was a breeze as usual and with the express delivery option the phone was in my hands in less than 24 hours (and with a COD option).

OnePlus One on Amazon

The 1+ on delivery

Since that evening, I have received numerous calls from friends and family asking is the phone worth it? Should we buy it? Whats so great about this phone? So here’s an attempt at a Gadget blog, which I hope answers the questions all have been asking.

Price vs Value – The specs of the phone are absolutely top notch – 2.5GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad core processor, 3GB RAM, 64GB internal memory (just stick a USB with OTG capability to get more space), 5.5-inch 401 ppi Full HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3, 3100mAH lithium-polymer battery, 13MP primary camera with dual LED flash and 5MP front facing camera capable of 4K resolution video with stereo recording.. and more .. at a price which is a fraction of what it would cost you for similar specs in the HTC One M8, Samsung Galaxy S5, or LG G3

At 5.5 inch screen the OnePlus One might fall into the phablet territory but still retains a sleek  look. Though it weighs 162 grams,  it doesn’t feel very bulky thanks to the way it is built. The OnePlus One is made high-quality polycarbonate materials and has a sandstone grey back which reminds me of suede or a much used sandpaper sheet. But it looks great and has an amazing grip. The back cover can also be supposedly changed, though it is a pain to remove in the first place.

The Indian version of the phone comes with the charger, charging cable , a SIM Pin (encased in a nice red jacket) and a Nano Sim to Micro Sim adaptor.. The last was a boon as I had recently cut my micro sim to a Nano sim for my earlier phone.

Camera –  I am going to avoid the tech gobbledygook that reviewer like to use here. With a 13MP rear camera that can shoot 4K videos and a 5MP front facing camera, the One fulfils your desires of having a camera handy that can capture the moment. There’s a lot of options in the camera settings to play around with. You can even shoot in Raw mode if you want to get a lossless image to tweak later.

Some pics from the camera for you to make a call on. The day light pics are great. The night shots are a challenge especially if the subject is on the move..

IMG_20141205_163434IMG_20141206_135935

IMG_20141206_195305IMG_20141205_163554

IMG_20141206_192707

 

 

PANO_20141206_173232

 

For full resolution in JPEG, visit the links below

SelfieEvening Shot, Action Shot,  Day Time – TreeStadium Shot

Software – Another big plus point on the phone.. and where the OnePlus is having challenges, thanks to CyanogenMod and Micromax stumping them. CyanogenMod CM11 lets you tweak almost all aspect of the phone to your liking. But living up to their #NeverSettle motto, the OnePlus allows you to flash any other ROM, unlock the bootloader, even root the device, and you’ll not lose your warranty. See Link.

Instead of spending time on the software, lets see how you can make the phone truly different. #NeverSettle yet again 🙂

Based on what I read and saw on the phone the amount of customization possibilities are immense. So here are a few changes I recommend and I look forward to hear from you on other favorites.

1. Double tap to wake and other Custom swipes – At 5.5 inch display, using the power button to open the phone can be a challenge. So you can just go ahead double tap the screen to wake up the phone — this is on by default. and you can set it to off . You can also assign volume buttons to wake the phone.

Custom swipes can be set by going to Settings > Buttons > Quick launch shortcuts. For this you will need to Enable the One Screen Nav Bar under Settings > Buttons . Under the Quick Launch short cut you can configure it, so swiping up or left or right from the home button does a specific act. In my case, up is the Google Now, Right is for Emails and Left  Swipe will close the phone

2. Gesture Controls  – By going to Settings > Gestures > you can configure quick launch gestures to launch the camera or music or flash light from the lock screen itself

Set Gestures - OnePlus One Lock screen

Click to see full screen

Changing the look and feel of the Status bar, Quick Setting panel, Notification drawer, and the Navigation bar. All of these options can be found in the Settings app. There’s multiple ways to view your phone’s Battery level on the bar too. Check the same under Settings > Personalization > Status Bar > Battery Status Style. Options include icons, texts, a circle (with a text inside it or not) or just remove the battery display..

Dont like being disturbed at night when you are trying to catch a peaceful sleep. Activate the Quiet Hours. You can set up times of the day when you don’t want to be disturbed.  You can again fine tune what notifications should alert you and what should be silenced… Check out the Quiet Hours menu under the link  Settings > Sound. 

If you want to change the look of the phone completely – right from icons to boot up animations, then the CyanogenMod themes is for you. You can download your favorite theme for CM11 on Google Play. There’s loads of free and paid apps, and you might find one that matches your choice. Once downloaded, go to Settings > Personalization > Themes. Select the choice and then choose what you would like to implement and then apply.. In a few seconds, you have a phone that looks totally different.

Now you could go ahead and tweak everything like boot up animations, colour saturation of the screen , brightness, power off animations and more…

In a nutshell, its a lean, mean and clean beast.. A phone that has one of the best hardware, fantastic software and absolutely no bloatware.. Now how many phones can claim to have these features..

A quick screencast (which again is an inbuilt app for you to play with), taking you through some of these features and showing you how to explore these on your own.

If you can get your hands on an invite, then it’s a phone you need to buy. Here’s looking forward to more Magic from the OnePlus team. So go ahead, try to get your hands on one and get set to explore and enjoy.

Look forward to hearing from you all on what you thought about the write up and if you do have the OnePlus do add in the comments what I missed out on.

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  1. Raghuram C S
    December 10, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    Sadly, this link here http://thenextweb.com/gadgets/2014/12/09/cyanogen-goes-back-promise-provide-updates-oneplus-one-india/ says that India updates won’t roll out. 😦

    • December 10, 2014 at 3:21 pm

      Hi.. Me too Read this a couple of days back.. And hence there’s an update 2 on the blog :-).. But it’s a great phone.. So far.. Lets see what the future holds.

  2. Raghuram C S
    December 10, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Haven’t checked the UX of this phone yet, but this article might have hold better hope! http://thenextweb.com/gadgets/2014/11/28/oneplus-accelerates-tweaked-android-os-cyanogen-inks-exclusivity-deal-rival-india/

  3. Raghuram C S
    December 10, 2014 at 3:42 pm

    Haven’t checked the UX of this phone yet, but this article might hold better hope! http://thenextweb.com/gadgets/2014/11/28/oneplus-accelerates-tweaked-android-os-cyanogen-inks-exclusivity-deal-rival-india/

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