OnePlus One specs review: Will the phablet outsell Xiaomi Mi 3?


Chinese handset-makers have begun invading the Indian smartphone space. Refuting the usual notion about Chinese brands, the new entrants come with nifty products promising solid build, powerful specs and most importantly, a lucrative price point.

 

To compete with the latest sensation, the Xiaomi Mi 3, another Chinese brand OnePlus is all set to enter the Indian market. A look at the specs sheet, and it easily out-specs the Mi 3. So, should buy the Xiaomi phone or wait until the OnePlus One comes to the market, let's take a closer look at its specs to find out. For more on the Xiaomi Mi 3, check out our in-depth review.

 

Display –  5.5-inch Full HD 
The OnePlus One sports a large 5.5-inch LTPS ( Sharp's Low Temperature PolySilicon) IPS display with 1080×1920 pixel resolution. The larger display still has a very good pixel density, and it goes up to 401ppi. The display also gets a layer of  Gorilla Glass 3 protection. While Mi 3 has a backlit display layered directly on to the touch panel to ensure punchier colours, the One comes with a backlight technology seen in select Sharp displays.

 

OS – Android 4.4 KitKat-based CyanogenMod CM 11S
The OnePlus One runs on a customised version of CyanogenMod ROM called CM 11S. It’s not unlike CM we know from custom ROMs but with some specific new features for the phone. It is known to be polished for the One and moved from beta to a complete version. The three key features include an improved camera app, theme engine and gallery app. The camera app features easily accessible manual controls and settings. By grouping photos by location and time into appropriate albums,  the Gallery effectively organises the photos. The software is based on Android 4.4 KitKat, so you are getting the latest version too.

 

One can expect massive customisation options right out of the box, without sacrificing the stock Android look and feel. MIUI, in comparison, is a world apart from CM considering how dramatic the changes are to the stock UI. So for those uncomfortable with the shift to something like Xiaomi’s UI, CM is a great alternative.

 

Form factor  -  Not-so-sleek at 8.9 mm 
The plastic-built body measures 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm. The plastic rim with metallic effect separates the glass front and rear plastic shell. The device weighs 162 grams. For a 5.5-inch device, it's pretty decent. Unlike the current crop of devices, the One doesn't go colourful and offers only Silk white and Sandstone black options. But the company promises swappable back covers in the near future, with wooden and leather options on the menu.

 

SoC – Snapdragon 801, 3GB RAM
When it comes to device speed, the One definitely has an edge over the Mi 3. It runs a faster, more power efficient SoC in the form of the Snapdragon 801, and comes coupled with 3GB of RAM. If the device is launched close to its international price, then it would definitely intensify the competition further in the smartphone space in India. The device doesn't have any competition in the sub-20,000 category as far as the processor and RAM are concerned.

 

Storage – 16GB, 64GB
In terms of on board storage, the OnePlus One is available in 16GB and 64GB variants, but just like Mi 3, it may launch only 16GB model in the Indian market, to first gauge the response, before bringing the higher capacity model. With a price difference of just $50 between the two models, we would definitely recommend the 64GB model if it becomes available. However, there is no room to further expand the storage due to the lack of microSD card slot.

 

Camera – 13MP rear and 5MP front
Following the current trend, the OnePlus One comes with a 13-megapixel rear snapper. Selfie lovers will be glad to know that it comes a 5MP front shooter. Besides, it features dual LED flash, touch focus, face detection, panorama, HDR and geo-tagging. The front camera is capable of shooting 1080p videos at 30fps. OnePlus says its six-element lens is one of the best in the business, and it certainly looks capable of getting some great pictures. But as ever we will reserve judgement till we see it in action.

 

Sensors – The usual
There is nothing exceptional about its support for sensors. One will find the device support accelerometer, gyro, proximity and compass.

 

Wi-Fi – 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 
The One is Wi-Fi-enabled and comes with support for ‘ac’ draft along with a/b/g/n. It also supports Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA and Wi-Fi hotspot, and is also built for LTE connectivity. The device supports NFC as well as GPS with Assisted GPS and GLONASS. It features the latest Bluetooth 4.1.

 

Battery
The device is fuelled by a decent 3100mAh Lithium-ion battery. There is no word on any power management technology integrated into the OS, like we saw in the Mi 3, but CM comes with plenty of customisation options out of the box.

 

Verdict

The OnePlus One comes with top-notch specs, be it the best-in-class processor, superior display or camera. The OS also appears to be non-fussy and doesn't take away the Android flavour in spite of heavy customisation. On paper, it appears to be excellent and a step ahead of the Xiaomi Mi 3.

 

However, the main deciding factor will be its price point. If OnePlus manages to nail the price, there is no looking back for the device. However, with so many new Chinese entrants entering the market, OnePlus will also need to take time to establish its credibility in India. Unlike Xiaomi, the brand is completely new to Indian smartphone users. Xiaomi has been selling smartphones for two-three years now, which helps in establishing credibility, but OnePlus will have to start from scratch.


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