It has been a little more than a year since the startup OnePlus first released its “flagship killer” smartphone, the OnePlus One. Since its inception, the device has been surrounded by drama of many kinds, from a non-optimal invite system to public relation snafus to a bad breakup with CyanogenMod. Even so, the One was a solid piece of hardware at a very good price, something that naturally gathered a decent following in the Android world.
For the past few weeks, information has been officially and unofficially revealed about the next OnePlus smartphone, the appropriately titled OnePlus 2. Though naturally we don’t know everything just yet, we do have quite a few details, especially considering that a good amount of the information is officially confirmed, not just rumored, in order to generate interest in the full release.
First off, the “teaser” specifications provided by the OnePlus team on the company’s forums are as follows: The OnePlus 2 will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1, will use a USB Type-C connector, use 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, and include a physical fingerprint sensor.The processor has generated some concern, as other smartphones that it powers have had overheating problems. However, the OnePlus team claims to have addressed these problems, and says that the v2.1 processor will be plenty cool.
USB Type-C should soon become the new standard for mobile devices, but currently the OnePlus 2 would be the first major smartphone to support the new and much improved technology. The 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM certainly seems like it might be overkill for a smartphone, but there should be no problems with multitasking or loading times on the OnePlus 2. Likely prompted by the iPhone 6, the fingerprint sensor on the OnePlus 2 will supposedly unlock the device faster than TouchID, and will keep up to five different fingerprint profiles at a time.
In addition to the “official” preview, the OnePlus team also answered a number of questions on Reddit, providing further details on the upcoming release. Battery life, a strong point of the original One, should be at least as good with the OnePlus 2 which will include a 3,300mAh battery. This is despite the new smartphone being smaller than the original, at least in terms of overall physical size. No information on the actual display size has yet been released, but it would certainly be possible for the OnePlus 2 to pack a 5.5-inch display into a smaller overall smartphone.
Speaking of the display, there is no official word on the resolution, be it FHD, QHD, or 4K, or display technology such as AMOLED. However, there is a rumor that the display will have the same 1080p resolution as the One, a choice made to increase battery life. There is also no word on whether the battery will be replaceable, but the OnePlus 2 will support StyleSwap covers just like the One, and five different versions will be available at launch. Previously, the OnePlus team noted that they preferred to sacrifice a removable battery for larger battery capacity, so it is likely that the same philosophy will apply to the OnePlus 2.
For carrier support, there will actually be two global versions released, a US version and a European version. The US version will support the following bands: GSM: 850, 900, 1800, 1900MHz WCDMA: Bands: 1/2/4/5/8 FDD-LTE: Bands: 1/2/4/5/7/8/12/17, while details on the European version can be found here. Though support for T-Mobile WiFi calling is also a planned feature of the OnePlus 2, the team warned that it would likely not be ready at launch and would instead come as part of a software update.
On the software side, it is only natural that the OnePlus 2 will ship with a version of OnePlus’s new in-house Oxygen OS based on Android 5.1 Lollipop. Supposedly, the custom OS has allowed the team to optimize for the Snapdragon 810, further improving performance and battery life. Official CyanogenMod OS is out of the picture at this point, but there is no reason for the OnePlus 2 to be any more difficult to unlock and flash than its predecessor, so those who want custom ROMs should be easily able to get them. Another thing that still isn’t clear is whether capacitive buttons will be included as an option, but software buttons will obviously be there either way.
Part of the reason the original One was a hit was due to its low starting price, in theory $299 (though the cheaper version was usually out of stock, forcing users to buy the $349 edition). The OnePlus 2 might not be quite as cheap, but it will still at least be under $450. It isn’t quite the same deal as last year, but given the unlocked price of other flagships will still save most buyers some money.
Sadly, the invite system is also back for the OnePlus 2, at least initially, though the team says that the smartphone will be available normally much sooner than the original was. Also, users of the original One need not fear, as current owners will be given “easy access” to OnePlus 2 invites.
For the time being, this is what we know about the OnePlus 2. All else will be revealed on July 27, in a press conference that users will be able to stream in virtual reality using a provided app, and with cardboard VR sets if they wish. So far, though, the OnePlus 2 is shaping up to be a solid contender, especially for consumers who don’t want a phone as large as the Nexus 6. Of course, there’s the rumored new Nexus 5 that is supposedly in the works for this fall, but that is an entirely different discussion.[OnePlus | Reddit]