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OnePlus One 64GB Sandstone Black Global version - Review

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    OnePlus One 64GB Sandstone Black Global version - Review

    OnePlus One – Review

    The OnePlus One is without a doubt one of the most anticipated mobile devices of 2014, thanks in part to it’s awesome hype campaign. Despite over promising and under delivering in regards to availability the device is still very sought after. When you look at the fact that OnePlus are a startup company (yes, with some help from Oppo), it really is amazing the amount of attention they garnered.
    So after much waiting I finally have a OnePlus One in my possession. Will it live up to it’s hype or fall flat on it’s face? Let’s have a look at the device and see what it can do.


    I received my invite and was informed I had 24 hours to use it or it would be gone. Needless to say, I used it as soon as I got home. Ordering from the site was easy but to my dismay the only shipping option was DHL. Sure DHL are fast, but I always get rather large additional charges from them. With no other choice I put the order through knowing that it would arrive with money owing to the carrier.
    Just as expected the device arrived within several days as it shipped out of California and arrived in Canada. Also as expected there was money owing. $61 to be exact. Keep in mind that this is on top of the almost $30 I paid for DHL shipping. So realistically my $349 flagship killer had jumped to almost $449. Still a good deal? Keep reading to find out.
    The parcel was in a simple thin bubble wrap envelope. Luckily the actual box and packaging on OnePlus’ part is solid so the device arrived in mint condition. When I opened the box I noticed that they had not cheaped out on the appearance and the presentation gives you the feeling of a quality company and device. The wall charger came boxed separately to ensure you recieve the proper one for your region. In side was the device, a micro USB cable, instructions and a SIM tool. Also included was a wall charger but like I mention that had it’s own box.
    So far so good.
    You can check out the unboxing video here.

    • 5.5″ 1920 x1080 display with 401 ppi and Gorilla Glass 3
    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 clocked at 2.5 Ghz
    • 3GB of RAM
    • 64GB storage
    • 3100 mAh battery
    • 5 MP front and 13 MP rear camera
    • LTE
    • Android 4.4.2 via Cyanogenmod 11S

    Check out the full video review here.

    Physical features

    The OnePlus One measures 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm and weights 162g. Despite the 8.9mm thickness the nice contour on the back of the device make it very comfortable and feel much thinner than it actually is. It’s also worth noting that the back is textured and gives it a nice slightly granular feel.
    On the bottom of the phone is the micro USB port and speakers.
    On the left is the volume rocker and SIM slot (It’s a micro SIM).
    The right hand side has the power button.
    The top has the 3.5mm headphone jack.
    The front facing camera is on the top left of the device.
    The rear camera and dual LED flash is located on the top center.
    Impressed so far? I am, let’s turn it on.


    The OnePlus One carries the typical 2014 Chinese flagship display size of 5.5 inches. The display is 1080p with a 401 ppi and is very crisp. I can’t really complain about anything in regards to the screen. It’s bright, clear, crisp, responsive and solid. Many early customers were complaining about yellowing on the display, I can say my device did not have any of those issues. Either it was just a small number of devices or they fixed it. +1 for the One.


    The OnePlus One being sold outside of China is running Cyanogenmod 11s which is based on Android 4.4.2 KitKat and was designed specifically for the device. It retains enough of a stock feel that users won’t feel completely lost but does have customization available. Themes, font, icons etc are all interchangeable, some for free, some for a cost. Everything runs buttery smooth with no real lags, no freezing, and thus no need to change out the launcher unless you simply want to. All apps I tried were compatible and it is important to note that Google apps including the Play Store were already loaded on the phone.
    The only thing I didn’t like was the base layout and method of customizing the pulldown menu for quick access to things like wi-fi, bluetooth,gps, etc. It didn’t have all the standard icons available and was overly complicated to adjust.
    The boot time was an average 28 seconds.

    I have recently moved so the layout of my testing grounds has also changed. Where I use to have a main floor, an upstairs, and a basement, I now have just a main floor and basement but they larger. I mention this just in case you are comparing these results to ones from my previous reviews as they will differ.
    The OnePlus One has 5 Ghz and 2.4 Ghz Wi-Fi so I tested both.
    5 Ghz
    Router (basement) = 82.61 mbps
    Main floor =38.55 mbps (I got to the halfway point of this level and the signal went from around 40mbps to no signal within a couple of feet. This was at one level up and 24 feet from the router.
    2.4 Ghz
    Router = 47.84 mbps
    Main floor = 16.31 mbps at the furthest point of this level, which is one level up and about 48 feet from the router.
    Even at the furthest point of the house the OnePlus One had fast enough 2.4 Ghz Wi-Fi for any streaming and or browsing I needed.
    Good Wi-Fi results.

    Call Quality

    The OnePlus One did a very good job with the calls I made. Volume was good on both ends as was the clarity. If you are a talker, you shouldn’t have any issues with what the OnePlus One sounds like.


    The speakers are located on the bottom of the device as opposed to the back which many companies seem to favor. In general the bottom location is much better because the speaker doesn’t get muffled if you put the phone down on a surface. The only time it ends up being a hindrance is if you play a lot of video games. Then it can easily be muffled by your hand when holding the phone sideways. So it really does depend on how you use your phone.
    Location aside, the sound that comes from the OnePlus One is very nice. It’s loud, and capable of impressive sounds in all scenario’s, whether it’s video games, hard rock, dance, dialogue in movies or special effects in movies, it sounds great. It was definitely more than what I was expecting.

    Video Playback

    I tested the phone using the stock video player as well as VLC. Video playback was fantastic regardless of format. In addition to the SD video’s, and online media, I tested it with some HD movies in various formats and all played equally well. If you like to watch media on your phone, the smooth playback, beautiful screen, and clear speaker quality will certainly impress.

    Web Browsing

    Stable ROM, 2.5 Ghz Snapdragon 801, and 3 GB of RAM… you can see were this is going. Web browsing, even with multiple windows open is a breeze for this handset. As would be expected, browsing is awesome on the phone. All actions respond quickly, pages load within a short period of time, and the overall feel is snappy.


    The OnePlus One has a 5MP front camera and a 13MP Sony IMX 214 that promises to give us some pretty good photography for a phone. The 6 lens optics and f/2.0 aperture make it a standout in todays market.
    The front facing camera is crisp and perfect for video calls and those that love the selphie. The rear Sony camera doesn’t disappoint and delivers far above average shots. Regardless of environment the camera was consistent and delivered good pictures. The dual LED flash works well and buyers shouldn’t have any fear of low lighting situations. Are there phones that do photography better than the OnePlus One. Certainly. But the One can hold its own with the upper part of the market.


    The GPS on the device is fantastic. The first lock was done outdoors in airplane mode and took less than 5 seconds. Locks after that where almost instant. I tested the handset with Navfree that doesn’t use data and with Google Maps and Waze that use data to assist. In both scenarios the GPS was flawless and quick to adapt. One of the better GPS’ I have used recently.


    With a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 and 3 GB of RAM I think it’s safe to say that most people would expect the phone to score well. The question is “How well?”
    Let’s take a look at the results.
    That’s enough to take out the best of the best.

    Nenamark 2
    61.4 fps

    CPU Prime

    Vellamo has changed recently, and have added a multicore test into the mix.


    Chrome Browser

    As you can see the OnePlus One holds it’s own and slightly edges out the best phones on the market in the overall picture.


    The battery was my only area of real concern. I know that a 3100 mAh battery was included, but would it play nicely with the ROM and actually last. I put the OnePlus One on auto brightness and used VLC to test the phone on a video loop. The phone lasted a staggering 10.5 hours!
    The lower end of the battery actually runs down very smoothly and slower than the top part. I was left with 3% on the phone and am certain it could have lasted another 15 minutes of playback.
    Very nice results.

    I’ve used Qualcomm 800 processors in the past and know they do very well with gaming thanks to the Adreno 330 GPU. The Snapdragon 801 is no exception and the handset played everything very well. Crisp, smooth gameplay with max resolution settings. Add in the beautiful screen and great speakers and you have a winning combo. The only thing I want to mention is the location of the speakers. While great for music and media, having them located on the bottom of the device does make it much easier to muffle them with your hand while playing games that require the screen to be held sideways. Can you work around it? Sure. It’s just your hand location is the last thing on your mind while you are being horded by a half dozen zombies and you are fighting for your life….or something like that.

    Final thoughts

    • Comfortable, stylish design
    • Nice screen
    • GPS works well
    • Cameras are very good
    • Cyanogenmod 11s is stable and customizable with Google Play Store already installed
    • Plays media and games with ease
    • Powerhouse device that doesn’t drain the battery
    • 4G
    • Hard to get an invite
    • Shipping is expensive due to additional fee’s
    • Non -removable battery
    • No expansion slot so make sure you get the model that truly has the storage you need
    Wow….this device really delivers. Even with the extra shipping costs the phone is still almost half the price of it’s rivals. Considering this is the first phone from a startup company, I’m really interested in seeing what they release next. With all the hype I was waiting for the phone to fall flat on it’s face and really under perform. That did not happen at all.
    Are there better devices on the market right now? I believe so, but they aren’t much better. You just need to decide if they are worth double to cost.