Not all smartphones are created equal, but the new OnePlus One (not to be confused with that other One, the HTC One) is roughly equivalent on paper with some of the most expensive smartphones in the world, albeit with a price that puts it much more within reach than most of those. The OnePlus One starts at $299 for a white 16GB version, and will also offer a 64GB variant in black for $349 when it goes on sale in mid-May. It’s a Nexus-killer, with more impressive specs at more affordable prices, running CyanogenMod for a highly customizable user experience.
The OnePlus One features a Snapdragon 801 2.5GHz quad-core processor, like the one powering the Samsung Galaxy S5, 3GB of RAM, a 5.5-inch IPS 1080p display protected by Gorilla Glass 3, a 13MP rear-facing camera supplied by Sony capable of recording 4K video and a 5MP front-facing shooter. It features a 3100mAh battery, offers dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, plus a wide range of GSM, WCDMA and LTE band support.
The phone isn’t without its downsides – the battery isn’t removable and there’s no microSD card slot for storage expansion, but the use of CyanogenMod as its OS is interesting in itself. OnePlus is founded by former Oppo VP Pete Lau, where he spearheaded preloading that Android fork on the company’s N1 flagship device. The One is emblazoned with the Cyanogen logo on the back, as well as an etched OnePlus mark too, and offers tons of customization options, open access and the ability to flash ROMs, SMS encryption and more out of the box.
The mid-may launch date is for Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, United Kingdom, and the United States. While it’s hard to crack the stranglehold of the top OEMs in the smartphone market, this upstart definitely presents a compelling case – we’ll have to see if that’s enough to rouse consumers from their current OEM comfort zones.