OnePlus showed up on the scene last year with a “flagship killer”, the OnePlus One. For those that are unfamiliar with this device, it brought a Snapdragon 801 SoC, 5.5” 1080p display, and some generally impressive hardware at a 350USD price point for the 64GB variant. This made the OnePlus One a pretty incredible value, and to OnePlus’ credit the One remains one of the better choices in the midrange market due to its high-end specs. Today, OnePlus is launching the successor to their first device, which is called the OnePlus 2. To establish some of the basic specifications of this device I would refer to the spec table below.

  OnePlus One OnePlus 2
SoC Snapdragon 801 2.5 GHz Krait Snapdragon 810 1.8 GHz A57/A53
RAM 3GB LPDDR3 3/4GB LPDDR4-1555
NAND 16/64GB NAND 16/64GB NAND
Display 5.5” 1080p
IPS
5.5” 1080p
IPS
Network 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 4 LTE) 2G / 3G / 4G LTE (Category 6/9 LTE)
Dimensions 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm, 162g 151.8 x 74.9 x 9.85mm, 175g
Camera 13MP Rear Facing (Sony IMX214)   f/2.0, 1.1 micron 1/3.06" sensor 13MP Rear Facing w/ OIS and laser AF, f/2.0, 1.3 micron 1/2.6" sensor
5MP Front Facing 5MP Front Facing
Battery 3200 mAh (12.16 Whr) 3300 mAh (12.54 Whr)
OS Android 4.4 w/ CM11S (At Launch) Android 5.1 w/ OxygenOS (At Launch)
Connectivity 1x1 802.11a/b/g/n/ac +
BT 4.0 (WCN3680),
USB2.0, GPS/GNSS, NFC
802.11a/b/g/n/ac +
BT 4.1,
USB-C, GPS/GNSS
Fingerprint Sensor N/A Touch
SIM 1x MicroSIM DSDS NanoSIM
LTE Bands Global: 1/3/4/7/17/38/40 US: 1/2/4/5/7/8/12/17
EU: 1/3/5/7/8/20
Launch Price $299 (3GB/16GB)
$349 (3GB/64GB)
$329 (3GB/16GB)
$389 (4GB/64GB)

As one can see, the display size and resolution is unchanged from the OnePlus One, but OnePlus is promising higher static contrast at 1500:1, relative to the ~1000:1 contrast of the One. This is likely due to the use of photoalignment technology, which seems to have become an industry standard within the past few months. The 1080p resolution is sufficient for a 5.5” smartphone, although an increase to 1440p would be noticeable I suspect that OnePlus is responding to demands for improved battery life over higher display resolutions. The OnePlus 2 also has the somewhat standard Snapdragon 810 for a high-end smartphone, although it’s notable that the maximum frequency of the A57 cluster has been capped to 1.8 GHz in order to improve thermal performance. It isn’t clear if OnePlus is also using hotplug or other mechanisms to only use two big CPU cores either, but this will take a review to really figure out what’s going on. Battery also receives a minor size increase from 3200 mAh to 3300 mAh, presumably at a 3.8V nominal voltage. The lack of microSD expansion likely comes from user experience concerns, as is the non-removable battery. The OnePlus 2 also has a significant improvement to materials, as the frame is an alloy of aluminum and magnesium while the OnePlus One was only made of plastic on the outer casing.

The other major change is the camera. It seems that OnePlus has elected to use a 13MP, 1.3 micron camera sensor with OIS integrated into the module and laser auto focus. The 13MP 1.3 micron sensor is likely to be the OV13860, which means that the sensor format is similar to both the LG G4 and Samsung Galaxy S6, but with a larger pixel size to improve low light performance to reduce read noise from the sensor. Optical stack details remain unknown but the aperture stays at f/2.0 to balance distortion and low light performance. OIS is also introduced to improve low light photo performance for longer exposures. Laser AF is also added to reduce AF speed, a weakness that was present in the OnePlus One. Given the look of this laser AF mechanism, I suspect this is ST-M's time of flight sensor which means that this sytem will be most effective within 10cm of the laser AF sensor.

OnePlus has also introduced some new features in the form of a notification switch, fingerprint sensor, and USB-C port. The notification switch allows for fast switching between all, priority, and no notifications somewhat similar to the iPhone’s mute switch. The fingerprint sensor is also said to be better and faster than the iPhone 6’s TouchID sensor. It’s also purely capacitive, which should make it unlikely to fail over time and you can turn the phone on and unlock it only by using the fingerprint sensor, which would make the experience similar to the HTC One M9+ and Huawei Ascend Mate 7. The addition of USB-C is also great to see, as this makes OnePlus one of the first OEMs to adopt the reversible USB connector standard although it isn’t clear if all of the various features that come with USB-C will be adopted with the launch of Android M.

The OnePlus 2 will be available starting August 11 in select countries for the 64GB storage variant. The 3GB/16GB model will be 329 USD, and the 4GB/64GB model will be 389 USD. StyleSwap covers, which allow you change the back cover’s look and feel, will also be available, with black apricot, Kevlar, bamboo, rosewood, and sandstone black options.

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  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    Yeah.. NFC is useful for quickly syncing to bluetooth. I also use wireless charging every day on my N5.. it's a must-have.

    I'm still looking for a phone with wireless charging AND front speakers... besides the Z3..
    Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    Wireless charging seemed like a gimmick to me but once I got a couple charging pads it quickly warped my habits. Maybe others have better self control, I dunno, but not having to fiddle with a cable has meant I end up charging way way more often (basically any time I'm watching TV, at my work desk, or in my room, as I have three pads spread out).

    Instead of waiting until I'm low and resorting to quick charge methods (which newsflash: will also wear out the battery quicker) I charge more aggressively and basically never end up charging from <15%. Some people view it as a negative that you can't charge and use the phone but to me it's the opposite...

    It's quite nice being able to pick it up and take a call or walk over to the kitchen with it for a minute then drop it back on to continue charging without constant plugging in and unplugging. I guess Type C could lessen the hassle here tho. I'm not one to complain about the non reversible plug too much, I *have* worn out cable springs tho.
    Reply
  • zodiacfml - Friday, July 31, 2015 - link

    I experience that constant plugging and unplugging sometimes too which is one of my gripes with charging. I agree, type-C might lessen that. As I mentioned above, I wouldn't mind if smartphone makers include a wireless charger with the phone. Reply
  • flamingspartan3 - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    It takes 3 hours to charge from 25 to 100%. Reply
  • nathanddrews - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    I still haven't used NFC once on my S3. What do you use it for? Reply
  • Impulses - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    I OFTEN use it for quickly passing off links to people near me without having to fire off an email/IM, quickly connecting to my camera without having to scan a QR code or look up the phone in a menu, quickly enabling car mode when I use a custom QR tag in my car, quickly enabling certain lighting conditions in my room with another QR tag, and once in a great while I've used it for payments. Reply
  • smorebuds - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    A lot of quirky things. Nothing one can't live without.

    If you're still using an S3 and are happy with it, then perhaps you are not the target audience for these "new", post-2011, features.
    Reply
  • flamingspartan3 - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    NFC is not old; every phone released in the past year above $200 has it. Reply
  • flyingpants1 - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    Right. Or front speakers, not down-firing.

    This thing doesn't have any features. Just speed, which all phones have now. If this had a 5.2" screen, front speakers, wireless charging, and waterproofing, I'd get it. Oh wait, that's the Xperia Z3... damn, now I Need to buy a Sony product.
    Reply
  • nandnandnand - Tuesday, July 28, 2015 - link

    "The lack of microSD expansion likely comes from user experience concerns"

    What?
    Reply

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