OnePlus 2 hands-on: The ‘flagship killer’ has arrived, and it’s a beaut

OnePlus unveiled it’s second flagship smartphone: the OnePlus 2 in San Francisco earlier this month and as from today, 11 August, the device is available to buy – well, if you have an invite.

First of all…this phone is the real deal. We’ve just spent the last hour or two playing around with the device, and we think it’s beautiful. Just beautiful. OnePlus told us it’s been exactly 460 days since it debuted the OnePlus One. Although it took the company more than a year to update the device, the wait might have been worth it.


OnePlus ditched the plastic edging in favour an aluminium/magnesium alloy frame with stainless steel accents. It makes the phone look very premium. Another nice touch is that the OnePlus 2 comes with new “StyleSwap” covers. They allow you to change look of your device – no tools required.

Just stick your fingernail in the little divot in the bottom left-hand corner of the back, and pry off the stock cover in order to swap it out with one of the other designs, which include Black Apricot, Kevlar, Bamboo, Rosewood, and Sandstone Black. We immediately noticed the wood designs and absolutely fell in love with the golden-red Rosewood back.


OnePlus said it slapped a 5.5-inch Full HD 1080p display onto the phone, emphasising that it works brilliantly in extreme lighting conditions, such as when the sun is shining, but if you’re wondering why OnePlus didn’t go with Quad HD, the company noted users’ eyes wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between that and 1080p screens anyway.

Just so you know – the OnePlus 2’s screen is intensely prone to fingerprint smudges, but that’s not uncommon for most touchscreen devices. Apart from the screen, another design element worth noting is the alert slider on the left edge. It lets you switch between no notifications, receiving notifications from your priority contacts, and all notifications.


It’s a handy switch, as it means you can just toggle between preferences without having to take the phone out of your pocket and go into settings. On the right edge of the phone, you’ll see more toggles for sleep/awake and volume. The top edge has a headphone jack, and the bottom edge has speaker/mic grilles and a charging port.


OnePlus – as previously announced – supports reversible USB Type-C, which is the latest technology for charging and data transfer. Additional noteworthy specs include Dual SIM (so you won’t need two phones when traveling), a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera with Dual-LED OIS laser flash, and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.

The rear-facing camera has six lenses and offers “larger pixels”, all of which allows you to avoid distortion and take better photos in low-light conditions. The OnePlus 2 also supports 4K resolution video-recording and 720p slow-mo video at 120fps. We played with the cameras for a bit and found them to be speedy at capturing both pics and videos.


The OnePlus 2 has a beefy 3,300 mAh battery too, so you should be able to take plenty of 4K videos as well as slow-mo videos throughout the day without having to worry about killing your phone in mere minutes. We of course didn’t have time to test the battery, so we can’t comment on that right now.

We did have time to play with the phone’s most stand-out feature, however: it’s fingerprint reader. It is supposedly .5-seconds faster than Apple’s fingerprint reader. We’re not sure about that, but it was easy to setup. Just like Apple’s, you go into settings, then select the fingerprint reader option, and begin tapping on the home button/fingerprint reader.


As you’re tapping, the phone will recognise your fingerprint and load the profile. You can add up to five fingerprint profiles. Simples. Also, speaking of the home button, it’s not clickable. Although you can feel it and see it, it’s capacative. There are two capactive buttons on either side of the home button as well, and they’re programmable.

As far as the software goes, the OnePlus 2 is the first device in the world to ship with OnePlus’ own operating system, OxygenOS, which is based on Android 5.1. With it, you can still get access to the Play Store and Google Apps, like Gmail and YouTube. You can even do voice search with the OnePlus 2 via Google Now.


From the moment you turn on the device, you’ll by default be brought to the home screen with a Google Now search bar at the top and a grid-like button at the very bottom in the middle of the app dock. Tap that button to see all your apps, or swipe from the left on the homepage to access your most frequent apps and contacts.

You can also swipe from right on the homescreen to access more homepage screens with all your installed/organised apps. The last gesture to remember is a simple swipe down from the top to access your settings and more. The interface looked clean, with large icons and no outdated graphics, and it felt super fast overall.

We’re not going to say OyxgenOS is better than stock Android, because we honestly haven’t tried it too much, but we already know it is leaps and bounds better than FireOS. Amazon’s forked version of Android is horrendous, and we’re glad OnePlus didn’t make those same mistakes when it decided to create a new OS based on Android.


So, is the OnePlus 2 better than the OnePlus? Oh, yes. Is it a flagship killer? Quite possibly. Should you buy it? We can’t think of any reason why not, to be honest, especially because the OnePlus 2 is such an affordable premium handset. But stay tuned for Pocket-lint’s full review for our final thoughts and impressions.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: the OnePlus 2 weighs about 175 grams and has the following dimensions: 151.8 x 74.9 x 9.85 mm. It’s a slim, lightweight, and fast device – and one that we think will impress. 

The 64GB OnePlus 2 with 4GB of RAM will be available (with an invite) in the US and Europe starting 11 August for $389, whereas the 16GB version with 3GB of RAM will be available at a later date for $329.