You may not have heard of OnePlus. But over the last few years, its keenly priced handsets have become firm favourites with smartphone connoisseurs and have been some of the best reviewed phones around.
With a new phone rumoured to be hitting shelves soon, here we get you up to speed with OnePlus. Along the way, we’ll be looking at what OnePlus handsets offer and why the company likely won’t be the smartphone world’s best kept secret for too much longer.
1) You get a lot of phone for your money
In almost every review of the most recent OnePlus phone, the 3T, it was dubbed the ‘$400 iPhone’. That’s not hyperbole. And nor is it a lazy comparison, either.
OnePlus phones blend premium materials, such as ‘space-grade’ aluminium and robust Gorilla Glass, with a focus on user-friendly design and subtle branding that’s very reminiscent of Apple.
And in the case of the 3T, OnePlus actually managed to go one better than the Californian company by making a 5.5-inch phone that’s easy to use with one hand.
Its handsets go toe-to-toe with the likes of Apple and Samsung for specs and features too.
Take the 3T, for example. Its highlights took in a reliable, speedy fingerprint scanner, a crisp screen, long-life battery and OnePlus’ exclusive and actually rather brilliant Dash Charge fast-charging technology. And as we’ll see in a bit, the camera was high-grade too.
Want to get your hands on the 3T? Buy OnePlus phones here.
2) OnePlus has come a long way in a short time
OnePlus was founded at the tail end of 2013. In three and a half years or so, it’s released four handsets. Each of which, barring the odd complaint regarding the software that powered the OnePlus 2, was better received than the last.
In a market dominated by bigger players with much bigger marketing budgets, that’s very impressive.
What’s more, OnePlus made an impact through focusing on key features that uSwitch research tells us are most important to consumers. Rather than relying on novelties, such as a modular construction or curved screens, that made for interesting reading but aren’t much use in the real world.
3) All OnePlus phones are limited edition
Some OnePlus phones are harder to come by than others. Not least its collaboration with French fashion house Collette on a special edition of the 3T, of which just a few hundred were made.
But, in fact, OnePlus’s business model means that every phone that rolls off its production line is limited edition.
That’s due to the company’s cost controls, which mean that OnePlus keeps a tight rein on its inventory and limits the number of handsets it manufactures.
The result is that when stock of a phone is gone, it’s gone.
But in a world where pretty much everyone seems to have the same phone, it also means that OnePlus phones make you stand out from the crowd. If you’re quick enough to get one, that is.
4) Buy SIM-free
While you can now get a OnePlus phone on a pay monthly contract, the handsets were initially only available to purchase outright.
And given the very competitive price compared with similarly high-end phones and the savings to be made by buying off-contract, it’s not surprising that the majority of OnePlus are still sold SIM-free.
A lot of smartphone consumers have cottoned-on to the fact that you can usually get a much better bundle of calls, texts and data if you opt for a SIM-only deal.
And OnePlus has managed to appeal to users who want a great phone and a generous data allowance without having to either fork out a huge lump sum in one go or get hit with a large monthly bill.
5) Cameras are highly rated
Cameras are almost always front and centre of any new smartphone release. But with every new flagship, there seem to be yet more options to complicate the life of any amateur smartphone photographer. In fact, with endless filters to scroll through, fancy settings to play with and multiple modes to try out, taking a decent photo on your phone can seem more trouble than it’s worth.
Thankfully, OnePlus has always tried to help users get the best possible photo with minimum fuss. Smart Capture Technology, which debuted on the OnePlus 3, promises great snaps every time without the need to faff about with the settings.
And with useful tools such as Phase Detection AutoFocus, OIS (optical image stabilization), EIS (electronic image stabilization), Auto HDR, HQ Mode and Dynamic De-Noise, it’s nigh-on impossible to take a bad photo.
But our favourite feature of OnePlus’ Smart Capture Technology is the smile sensor on the front-facing camera. As the name suggests, all you need to do is grin at the camera and it will trigger a three-second countdown before taking the photo without you having to press a single button.