OnePlus unveils One smartphone which reminds us to “Never Settle”

When you hear the team behind CyanogenMod is working on a device – you have to sit up and pay some amount of attention. OnePlus is a newcomer to smartphones and we know how hard it is for even the biggest companies to survive in this competitive environment.

As we followed with intrigue, the team at OnePlus teased us with their slogan “Never Settle” taking aim at a competition which always makes one sacrifice or another - so what is this wonder smartphone?

It’s the (bit oddly named) OnePlus One. From the sides and bottom you’d be forgiven for liking it to HTC’s own “One” with its curved backside and thin sides – but that’s where the similarities end. It’s clear no corners, or expense, were spared when designing this beauty.

Made from Magnesium, it weighs in at only 162g. The edges are only 4.6mm, which for traditional comparison, the iPhone 5S’ is 7.6mm. It’s breathtakingly simple, with a combination of Matte and Glossy materials which is “less distracting from the front, more captivating from the sides.”

No company logo can be found on the front of the device – nothing to detract from the pains the team have clearly went through to create what we’re seeing. In search of perfection, the company went through 36 revisions in only a month.

The device is available in a standard Silk White or Sandstone Black. Sorry, no ‘Champagne’ here. But the back is less than standard… made out of Cashew, it is available in four different textures; Bamboo, Wood, Denim, or Kevlar.

Now let’s get onto the beauty on the inside. It’s the world’s first smartphone with bottom-facing stereo speakers tuned by renowned audio experts JBL. This will produce a sound closer to what the artist intended, unlike ‘Beats’ historically used in HTC, which tends to focus on bass.

The front camera is a surprising 5MPx. The back camera on the other hand is “the best 13MPx IMX214 Sensor” which features a mighty 6 lenses with an f/2.0 aperture and combines these feats with an incredible shutter speed of 0.3s. We’re assured “The OnePlus One camera takes amazing pictures even in low light conditions.”

The device is also capable of 4K video recording, below is a video of this in action on a pre-production prototype:

Other, slightly-more-boring-but-just-as-important specs include; a Snapdragon 801 processor (too early for an 805, but powerful enough to last the next couple of years), 3GB RAM, 3100mAh battery, 2G/3G/4G compatibility, Bluetooth 4.0, and 16GB/64GB ROM.

As for the software, you can only expect greatness from CyanogenMod. Their custom Android ROM is known to be fast, light, and secure – they are taking this base and adding in a new minimal flat UI which is becoming essential to a modern smartphone OS.

The best part of being based on CyanogenMod is the team generally release a version of their mod on their "nightly" channel around a month after a new Android release. This should mean less waiting around to get the latest OS version – you can expect around the same timeframe as the “Google Play” editions of devices.

Now for the bit you’re waiting for – and the most impressive – the price. If you’re fancying the 16GB flavour it will retail for $299 (£229) whilst the 64GB version will land for $349 (£269).

This small extra cost for the better component, whilst not an industry norm, is fair pricing and what should be charged by other manufacturers. Apple’s iPhone 5S is $649 for the 16GB version, whereas the 64GB iteration is $849. To save you the maths, that’s an extra $200 between models, and $500 more expensive than the 64GB OnePlus One.

Will you “Never Settle” when it comes to another smartphone? Let us know in the comments.

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