The OnePlus One Looks Like the Best Deal on an Android Smartphone Yet
With Google’s Nexus 5 and Motorola’s Moto G, there has been a recent influx of high-powered and inexpensive Android smartphones that you can buy without a two-year contract at a mobile carrier.
The next smartphone in this trend just might be the best bang for your buck yet, especially if you’re looking for a smartphone with a huge display. It’s called the OnePlus One.
This smartphone has hardware specs that give Samsung’s newest Galaxy Note phablet a run for its money. The price is $299 (16 GB version), or the same price as the Note 3 with a two-year carrier contract agreement.
The OnePlus One is not to be confused with HTC’s new One, which costs more than $600 without a contract. OnePlus is a new company started by veterans of the smartphone industry; the One is OnePlus’ first go at a smartphone, and another smartphone that appears ideal for shoppers who want to abandon two-year contracts and pay by the month.
By all accounts, the OnePlus One is an exciting … one. It has a 5.5-inch full-HD display, which is slightly smaller than the huge Note 3’s. Under the hood, it’s across the board on par or better than the Note 3.
The processor in the OnePlus One is faster than the Note 3’s. It has a Sony 13 MP rear camera and a 5 MP front camera to the Note’s 13 MP and 2 MP, respectfully. It’s also right with the Note 3 in terms of battery size, which OnePlus says should allow for “more than a full day of use” on a charge. And the global data equipment in the OnePlus One is compatible with most 4G/3G networks in the world, including AT&T and T-Mobile in the U.S.
The phone runs a basic version of Android 4.4, slightly augmented by the team at Cyanogen, and without the Samsung bloatware (an annoyance to our columnist David Pogue). And everything is tucked away into a beautifully designed hardware casing.
In the U.S., carriers subsidize the cost of your smartphone by locking you into a long-term deal, charging you for the rest of the phone across the life of your contract. That’s not how it works in the rest of the world, and there’s recently been some pushback in the United States, most notably on the carrier side from the contract-slashing T-Mobile. The OnePlus is looking to attract other contract-cutters: You could get a new OnePlus One for $299, versus a Note 3 for $718 through T-Mobile.