Sunday, May 18, 2014

OnePlus One

OnePlus One Launch Keynote

I am still with my Nexus 4. The Nexus 5 has not felt like a major upgrade. And the Moto brand has less appeal after Google got rid of the company it bought. Moto E looks like a good budget phone, but I am not paying less for less memory space and a similar size battery.

My biggest gripe with my Nexus 4 is its battery. I managed to replace the battery at a phone store in Queens. But funny things are known to happen in Queens. My "new" battery still drains pretty fast. So I am in the market for a new phone.

I went back to the store wanting to know if maybe they did not put in a new battery, and they said it is your phone, not the battery! Go figure.

My next phone might be the OnePlus One. Actually I am pretty sure it will be. It comes with 50% more battery power. And that is the top attraction. But I also want more memory space. My Nexus 4 has 8 gigs, and now I want 16, perhaps more. I want my phone to be able to hold more pictures, more videos.

The OnePlus One is being touted as the "Nexus killer" and I think they might have a point.

I might go for the $349 model and get myself 64 gigs of space.

After battery, I am looking at its bigger screen size. I do not make that many calls on my phone. My phone is primarily a small portable computer. 5.5 inches are a phablet. And I am ready for one.

Then I am looking at the camera. 13 megapixels is a step-up from the 5 on Nexus 4, although I have not had major complaints at 5.

I am still a little superstitious about moving away from the stock Android experience, but a larger battery is a huge attraction. Currently I am used to carrying an External Battery that is the same shape but bigger and heavier than my phone. One guy told me at least I was not carrying with me a generator that someone else he knew was seen carrying.

OnePlus One (Unlocked)
$299 ...... Call quality, unfortunately, was one of the biggest sore spots for the OnePlus One. Volume in the earpiece is frustratingly weak and made callers on the other end sound muted, distant, and difficult to hear over even the most innocuous of ambient noise. Transmissions through the mic fared better, coming through more clearly, but still on the low side for volume. The headphone jack works fine for music, unlike in our initial hands on, but the OnePlus One couldn't route calls through a wired headset.
Google Nexus 5 review: You can't beat the Nexus 5 at this price point
We do wish that the rumors about the 3,000mAh battery life were true. One thing we love about the Nexus 5's distant cousin - the LG G2 - is that big battery and long life...... Our two biggest gripes with the Nexus 5 are its battery life and camera. Both can be hit or miss ..... Battery life struggled on some occasions, too. After a full week with the Nexus 5, we can confidently say that we can never be sure when it will last a full day, or when we should bring our chargers and battery packs with us. As you'd imagine, we tend to err on the side of caution, though we really wish we didn't have to.
OnePlus One: Sales start in May, wider availability expected in late June (Updated)
OnePlus, a company which only made itself public in December last year, has launched its first smartphone, the OnePlus One. On paper, it’s more powerful than a Galaxy S5 or HTC One M8, but at $300, it will cost less than half their price. The device was unveiled at an event in Beijing, and the proceedings live tweeted through the company’s official Twitter account. We’re excited about the OnePlus One ..... the initial run of 64GB black phones in early June. We’re told to expect increased availability in late June, at which time invitations will have become widespread...... OnePlus calls the phone “amazingly elegant.” It has decided not to slap its name or logo on the front panel, leaving it very understated. The screen sits in a slightly recessed bezel – just 0.07mm according to OnePlus – and the edges have been machined down to give a contoured finish...... slightly larger than the Galaxy S5 ..... the lightest 5.5-inch smartphone out there .... a brand new Snapdragon 801 processor will power the phone, just like the new Xperia Z2 and the Galaxy S5. It’ll be backed up by 3GB of RAM, and a 3100mAh battery will be inside the device. Lau says the decision to make it non-removable means it can have a higher capacity, while keeping the device suitably slim. OnePlus’ phone will run Android, but it’ll be a custom version of CyanogenMod...... the camera, which uses a 13-megapixel, six-element, f/2.0 Sony Exmor IMX214 sensor. Image stabilization and slow-motion recording at 720p will be standard, and a fast 0.3s shutter speed is promised. The camera also shoots video in 4K (Ultra HD), and selfie fans will welcome a 5-megapixel front camera fitted above the screen...... the phone is the world’s first to feature down-firing stereo speakers, something which other manufacturers avoid, due to the complexities with fitting them inside the phone. OnePlus has partnered up with JBL to ensure they sound great. ...... the software has a flat, minimalistic style. Although CyanogenMod is designed to be endlessly modified, OnePlus will include various themes and wallpapers to make personalization a little easier.
A $300 smartphone has never looked so good
It doesn't make sense that the OnePlus One should be this inexpensive. It looks elegant, feels solid and performs smoothly, and it doesn't show any signs that it's a first-generation product from an unknown company. Regardless of how well it sells, the industry will see this as a benchmark for what an affordable phone really can be. All told, it outperforms Google's Nexus 5 in nearly every way -- and it does so at an even lower price. Heck, it's better than many flagship phones that sell for twice as much. ........ The OnePlus One doesn't look like a $299 phone. Its arched back, polycarbonate build, elegant chassis and top-of-the-line spec sheet could easily fool someone into thinking you paid $600 for it. ..... I actually enjoy the One's display more than most flagship smartphones, and it's leaps and bounds better than the Nexus 5. Because it uses an IPS panel, the One's viewing angles are among the best in the industry, keeping pace with the One M8 and absolutely destroying the GS5. ........ the colors are natural, making them more satisfying to stare at than the saturated GS5 and overblown Nexus 5. ........ What exactly is CyanogenMod? It's custom firmware based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and gives the user more freedom to fiddle around with settings, icons, themes and... well, nearly every aspect of the Android experience. Cyanogen's one of the most popular pieces of third-party firmware in the Android universe and can be installed a wide variety of devices, but the experience is even better on the One because it was built into the phone; since CyanogenMod could work with the hardware early in its development, it was able to add a bunch of optimizations that you won't find on other phones. ........ At first, it doesn't appear that different from stock Android, save for a few style changes (think: icons and buttons). But don't let its understated facade fool you: There's a lot of power behind the scenes, and it becomes more evident as you continue to poke around. There are several new features, with tweakable settings thrown in everywhere. Many of you are simply looking for an inexpensive phone and don't care about making dozens of tiny adjustments to your Android setup, and the beauty of CM is that it can fit your style just as easily as it can fit the preferences of power users -- it's completely customizable, and it's fantastic. ....... one of the One's best features: always-listening voice recognition .... The Nexus 5 has a lot of endearing traits, but the camera isn't one of them. Sure, it has its moments of greatness, but I can't help think this is a case of settling. The OnePlus One, on the other hand, uses a 13-megapixel rear camera with a Sony sensor, six-element lens setup and f/2.0 aperture for lower-light shots. Additionally, the front-facing camera tops out at 5MP -- a sizable improvement over the 1.3-megapixel sensor on the N5. ...... Video recording here is solid ..... It's hard to believe that a $300 device like the One has as much muscle underneath the hood as the Galaxy S5 and Oppo Find 7. In fact, you technically can't get any faster, since the phone sports a 2.45GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974-AC), a 578MHz Adreno 330 GPU and 3GB of RAM. Until the Snapdragon 805 comes out later this year, this is the absolute best silicon that Qualcomm has to offer. But what does it mean to you? Smooth everything, fast everything and no lag as far as the eye can see. ....... CyanogenMod's firmware gives you the option to change your performance profile to one of three modes, ranging from power conservation to battery sucker. .... soft audio output, both on the external speakers and in the earpiece. All of my conversations were much quieter than they should have been, and I could barely hear music blaring at full volume. .. Fortunately, none of this was a problem when I used headphones; in fact, I often had to turn down the volume to make my ears feel comfortable. In addition, the One has an equalizer app called AudioFX, which lets you fine-tune the audio. ...... The One has a 3,100mAh non-removable cell that's just a tad smaller than the battery inside the Note 3. What's more, it's actually larger than what you'll find in the GS5 and One M8. On most days, I made it to the end of the evening with around 5-10 percent life remaining. (On average, this constituted 14-15 hours of solid use, and roughly four hours of screen-on time.) These were days full of emails, calls, travel, social networking and a little bit of gaming. All told, our standard video rundown test yielded 10 hours of life. This isn't the best I've seen, but I'd consider it well above average for a smartphone -- and I'm hard-pressed to ask for more from a $300 device. ...... the $349 64GB model, offered in black, starts shipping in early June. For the rest of you still waiting for an invite, OnePlus is hoping to send one your way by the end of June.

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