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Oneplus One : the 'Nexus 5 Killer' with CM 11 Custom Rom for $299

  • 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor
  • 3 GB RAM 
  • CyanogenMod 11S based on Android 4.4
  • 13-megapixel camera with a Sony Exmor IMX 214 sensor + 5 MP front Camera
  • 5.5 inch Display JDI with 1080p Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels), 401 PPI  

OnePlus, a phone company founded last year in China, on Wednesday announced its first Android phone called OnePlus One, a flagship device that will be sold at a price of just $299. Despite its price, which is lower than even the price of Google Nexus 5, on paper OnePlus One looks every bit like a flagship device with good design and powerful hardware.

"Embodying the OnePlus motto of 'Never Settle', the OnePlus One boasts industry leading design, superior build quality and top of the line specs at a disruptive price point," the company said on Wednesday. 

OnePlus was founded by Pete Lau in December 2013. Lau was earlier vice president at Oppo, a phone company that has made a name for itself in China by selling attractive and high-end phones at affordable prices. 

For OnePlus One, the firm has tied up with Qualcomm for the core hardware. For software, it has tied up with Cyanogen Inc, a group that modifies Android to make it more suitable for older devices as well as to make it more feature rich. 

"I am incredibly proud of the effort our team has put in to the CyanogenMod build for the OnePlus One. We've brought out the full potential of the hardware and complemented it with innovative new features to give users a fresh new experience and the tools to tailor the One to their personal style," said Steve Kondik. "We will continue to expand this effort to provide a genuinely enjoyable and powerful operating system for the user." 

Kondik kickstarted the software modding for Android phones in 2008 when he managed to root an Android phone. He also later worked for Samsung. 

OnePlus One is powered by Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor running at 2.5GHz. It has 3GB RAM, option of 16GB to 64GB internal storage, 5.5-inch screen with 1080P resolution, 13MP camera with F2.0 aperture and Sony image sensor, 5MP front camera, 3100 mAh battery, NFC and stereo speakers. The device weighs 162 grams and has a thickness of 8.9mm. While the shell of the phone is made using plastic, OnePlus says that wood, Kevlar and denim backcovers will be available as accessories. 

The phone runs a custom version of CyanogenMod based on Android 4.4. 

"By paying attention to the smallest details, taking a holistic approach to product design, and working with the best partners such as Cyanogen Inc. and Qualcomm Technologies, we have been able to create the greatest day to day user experience in a smartphone without compromise," said Pete Lau, CEO of OnePlus. 

Strangely though, I found the OnePlus One very familiar -- looking through my pictures of the Oppo Find 7, it's really similar, although the layout and placement of the volume jack differ. I checked with OnePlus, who told me the phone is being made at Oppo's facilities. While the One and Find 7 look very similar, they do differ in their button layouts.
The Full HD 1,920x1,080-pixel display is bright and vibrant, and I found it to be usable even under bright sunlight at noon. Weighing at 160g, the handset felt light despite its size.

Interestingly, the One runs on Cyanogen, the fan-favorite Android mod. Aloysius Low/CNET

Like the Find 7, the OnePlus One sports a slightly curved top and bottom. The power button is located on the right side, while the volume rockers are located on the left. I'm told that the rockers will be longer in the final retail version -- right now, they're a bit hard to hit. Located above that is the micro-SIM card slot.
Instead of having the screen cover the entire front of the phone, the glass ends just slightly before the edges at the top and bottom. This exposes the silvery plastic below it and I'm not exactly fond of this design. It does catch the eye, but I have a feeling dirt's likely to accumulate at the edges and it feels strange to touch due to having two edges instead of just one.

The screen stops just a bit short of the edges, which is unusual. Aloysius Low/CNET

The OnePlus One has a soft-touch plastic rear, and it feels great in the hand. The curved edges mean nothing sharp digs into your palm when you're holding it, and the phone feels balanced and not the least bit unwieldy.
The rear cover is removable -- OnePlus intends to sell different covers in the future. Unfortunately, the 3,100mAh battery isn't removable and there's no micro-SD card slot located underneath. This means you have to choose between getting the 16GB model or the 64GB version.


The OnePlus One runs CyanogenMod 11S, which is based on Android KitKat 4.4. It's very similar to stock Android, but with a few modifications. These include an expanded desktop mode, the ability to use gestures to turn on the camera or the LED light when the display is turned off. Other interesting tweaks include a voice-activated wakeup, and themes that let you customise how the UI looks.
If you're thinking of switching from a Samsung or Apple smartphone, rest assured you won't feel lost, as the UI is very simple to use (similar to stock Android) and the tweaks you can access make the experience even better.
Unlike some phones from China, the OnePlus One will come with Google Play, and you'll find all the Google apps pre-installed, including Gmail and Maps.

The OnePlus One comes with Google Play services installed, so you needn't waste time downloading Chrome. Aloysius Low/CNET


In the short time I spent with the OnePlus One, I was very impressed with its performance. Partly this is because CyanogenMod is free of bloatware, but the main reason is the hardware this phone is packing.
Powered by a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.5GHz, the OnePlus One runs beautifully smooth. It has 3GB of RAM, and either 16GB or 64GB of storage. It comes with LTE support for following bands: 1, 3, 4, 7, 17, 38, and 40, so it'll work on some (but not all) US and UK networks, and most in Europe. This is on top of the usual quad-band 3G support. NFC, Bluetooth and dual-band Wi-Fi are all onboard too.

The smartphone packs a 13-megapixel camera with dual-LED flash. Aloysius Low/CNET

The smartphone has a 13-megapixel camera with a Sony Exmor IMX 214 sensor. The shutter's really fast, but image quality seems to be pretty mediocre, with some detectable noise in the pictures taken in the bright outdoors. Bear in mind the handset isn't the final retail version -- I'll wait for a proper review unit before fully evaluating the performance of the camera. In the meantime, feel free to feast your eyeballs on some sample shots I took with the phone.

Aloysius Low/CNET
Aloysius Low/CNET

Pricing and availability

OnePlus promises the One will launch in May in 16 countries: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK and the US. The smartphone will be sold online, but will be shipped from regional warehouses located in North America, Europe and Asia. The 16GB version will retail for $299 (£178, €216) while the 64GB model will go for $349 (£207, €252).

At the moment the price is the real appeal of OnePlus One. The other flagship phones like iPhone 5S and Galaxy S5 cost over $600.

source : Times of India and Cnet
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