7/12/2015

OnePlus 2 release date, news and features


Latest update: A new picture shows a super slim all-metal OnePlus 2, but if you're hoping it will be as cheap as the OnePlus One you might be out of luck. Original article below...
The OnePlus One came out of nowhere as the first product of a new company, but it didn't disappoint, thanks to high end specs and a surprisingly low price tag.
One of the biggest complaints we could level at it was how hard it was to get hold of at launch and when that's the biggest problem a phone is facing you know you've got a winner on your hands.
But while there were no expectations for the One hopes are sky high for the OnePlus 2, so it's got a lot to live up to. The fledgling company is confident however, saying "instead of merely being on par with the flagships of 2015, we want to show our industry buddies the way forward." Even more intriguingly the OnePlus 2 is apparently set to 'surprise people'.

Cut to the chase

What is it? The Chinese firm's next cut-price flagship smartphone
When is it out? Launches on July 27
What will it cost? Hopefully around half the price of rival flagships
OnePlus 2 release date

We now know that the OnePlus 2 will be announced on July 27, a dated which was revealed only after months of cryptic teasing. In a bizarre move you'll even be able to watch the launch in VR, or at least you will if you have a OnePlus One and managed to grab a free OnePlus Cardboard headset before they sold out.

OnePlus 2
The launch is a little later than we'd have expected, but given how ambitious the OnePlus 2 sounds there might have been good reason for that. Plus the troublesome Snapdragon 810 may have caused some delays.
Still, you'll be able to get your hands on it soon, though it's been revealed that the OnePlus 2 will be available to buy invitation-only at first, with the firm set to reinstate its product limiting sales tactic after recently getting rid of it for the One.

OnePlus 2 design

It looks like the OnePlus 2 could be both super slim and metal, at least if a leaked image is to be believed.

OnePlus 2
That wouldn't be such a surprise, as we've heard talk of a metal makeover before, though we'd still take the shot with a pinch of salt. It also doesn't line up with two earlier images. If these are accurate it seems like the new handset won't be too much of a departure from its predecessor - in the looks department, at least.

OnePlus 2
These photos show that while the front of the handset bears a lot of similarities to the OnePlus One, the back of the handset looks a little different, with a thin metal strip below the camera that holds a fingerprint scanner.

It's worth noting that the photos are far from verified though and in fact we think there's something a little off about them, so take these shots with a pinch of salt too.

To add a further rumor into the mix we've also heard that the OnePlus 2 might have a similar design to the Oppo Find 7, so it's safe to say that we can't be certain what it looks like just yet.

OnePlus 2 screen

We don't know a huge amount about the OnePlus 2's screen yet, but one rumor pegs it as a 5.5-inch 1440 x 2560 QHD affair. That's the same size as the OnePlus One's display but a whole lot sharper than the original's 1080p screen.

Another source, this time a OnePlus reseller, also pegs it at 5.5 inches, though gives no information on the resolution.

OnePlus 2 the rivals

With its cut-price credentials the OnePlus 2 doesn't have a huge number of direct rivals. The Samsung Galaxy S6, HTC One M9, Sony Xperia Z3+ and LG G4 all have top tier specs, just like the OnePlus 2 is expected to, but they're also more expensive than this is likely to be.

The upcoming Nexus handsets could give it a run for their money if they carry attractive prices like the Nexus 4 and Nexus 5 did, though the Nexus 6 pushed prices to a premium, so even they may not quite compare.

OnePlus 2 camera and battery

A listing made by a OnePlus reseller points to a 16MP main camera and a 5MP front-facing snapper.

On the other hand some sketches of the phone obtained by Business Insider suggest it'll come with an 8MP front facing camera, which would be pretty nifty for all those selfies.

The Snapchat team have confirmed on Reddit the new phone will have a 3300mAh battery compared to the originals 3100mAh cell. They also confirmed there would be a slightly longer charging cable in the box this time around.

OnePlus 2 OS and power

OnePlus 2
OnePlus has confirmed the OnePlus 2 will include the powerful, but troublesome octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor found in the LG G Flex 2, Sony Xperia Z3+ and HTC One M9. Whilst details from a Bluetooth certification suggests the OnePlus 2 will come with an almighty 4GB of RAM. That 4GB of RAM rumor has been echoed by GizChina, so we could be in for a real powerhouse.

For those who may worry about the performance of the Snapdragon 810 chip, the OnePlus Two will sport version 2.1 of the processor which will hopefully resolve overheating issues some people have witnessed.

OxygenOS
With CyanogenMod off the table the OnePlus 2 will land with OxygenOS, which has now landed on the OnePlus One. OxygenOS is basically a streamlined take on Android, with added off-screen gesture controls, which let you turn the screen on and launch apps with a gesture.

OxygenOS also includes a built in file manager and more customization options, such as customizable quick settings and the ability to switch between hardware and software navigation keys. It will almost certainly be paired on the OnePlus 2 with Android Lollipop, more specifically Android 5.1 if a benchmark is to be believed, though OnePlus is yet to confirm this.

OnePlus 2 other features

OnePlus 2 security
There's going to be a new way to unlock this Android phone sequel. The official OnePlus 2 specs call for a fingerprint sensor, one that that works with Android Pay.

Like Apple's Touch ID home button, the One Plus 2 fingerprint sensor will store up to five of your digits, but it'll work faster. The company boasts it "can unlock the device twice as fast as any iPhone."

OnePlus has now confirmed on Reddit there would be a physical version of the fingerprint sensor rather than Qualcomm's Ultrasonic technology.

OnePlus has now confirmed another feature of its upcoming flagship smartphone, revealing on its forum that the OnePlus 2 will sport a USB Type C port on its base. This allows you to plug in your USB charging cable either way round, making it easier to connect when you're fumbling around in the dark at bedtime.

OnePlus 2 cable
It's also claiming additional features surrounding the port, but it's keeping quiet on those for now. A few days later the official OnePlus website posted some photos of the new USB Type C cable, while the official OnePlus Twitter account confirmed that the OnePlus 2 will be the first flagship to use Type-C USB.

OnePlus 2 cost


The latest pricing news comes from a Google+ post on the company's page, stating that the OnePlus 2 will come in at "below $450" (around £290 / AU$606). We'd certainly hope that's true given that the OnePlus One started at just $299 (£229, about AU$320).

Hopefully the OnePlus 2 won't be more than $400, which still looks possible as the CEO of OnePlus has claimed it will cost around ¥2499 (roughly $400, £265, AU$500), while AndroidPit reports the handset will inherit the same pricing structure as its predecessor.

We'd expect at least a bit of a price hike though, as OnePlus has taken to its forum to highlight that the Snapdragon 810 processor it's using in its new handset is way more expensive than the chip in the One.

If you're craving a real bargain then the original OnePlus One is still an option. Signalling a new OnePlus Two is imminent, the older phone now costs $249, £179 for the base model. The 64GB version now touts the original's entry-level price at $299/£219.

The OnePlus One was a great device with high-end specs at an affordable price, but there's still room for improvement. Here's what we want to see from the OnePlus Two.

1. A more premium build

OnePlus One bamboo
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The OnePlus One is a top tier handset, but it doesn't look like a top tier handset so we really hope the OnePlus Two will have a more premium build.

The obvious choice here is metal, which there are rumors we'll see this time around, but we'd be just as happy with something like bamboo. The OnePlus One briefly had bamboo back covers available, but manufacturing issues meant they were discontinued and this time we'd like to see them included as standard.

2. A similarly low price

One of the biggest selling points of the OnePlus One is its relatively low price tag, as it started at just £229, $299. That price has recently dropped too, to keep it competitive.

If the specs and build are improved as is likely then there's a good chance that the OnePlus 2 will also be more expensive, but if it is then we hope not by much. Thankfully it looks like it might still be affordable.

3. A microSD card slot

Cut corners are always likely to be necessary when delivering a phone as good value as the OnePlus One and one of them was the omission of a microSD card slot.

We can't be too hard on it when phones twice its price, like the Samsung Galaxy S6, also lack such a slot, but we'd love to see one included in the OnePlus Two so that storage is less limited.

Or at the very least an option for more internal memory. The 64GB available in some versions of the OnePlus One is pretty generous, but we're sure it could be increased to 128GB.

4. A removable battery

OnePlus One battery
Another slight disappointment with the OnePlus One was that the battery isn't removable. That's the case with a lot of phones and the OnePlus One does at least have quite good battery life.

But if you're a power user it's nice to know you can swap the battery out if needed and perhaps even more importantly it means you can replace the battery when yours wears out rather than having to buy a whole new phone.

5. Even better specs

With its 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM the OnePlus One is undeniably a powerful phone and back when it launched in June 2014 it was one of the most powerful handsets on the planet.

But by the time the OnePlus Two launches it will be at least a year old and time moves fast in the tech world, with octa-core processors now the norm among flagships. So at a minimum we hope the OnePlus 2 will keep pace with the latest and greatest phones around.

The obvious setup for that would be to have an octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor and 3GB of RAM, just like the HTC One M9, but if OnePlus feels like it wants to overpower the competition we won't complain. 4GB of RAM anyone?

6. The same size screen

OnePlus One
This might seem odd but we don't want the screen to get any bigger. The OnePlus One already has a 5.5-inch display and that's pushing the limits of usability as it is. In fact we wouldn't complain if the screen on the OnePlus 2 was slightly smaller.

That's not to say that we wouldn't like to see improvements though. OnePlus could always up the resolution to QHD (assuming the battery life doesn't take too much of a hit) and as good as the screen on the One is things like contrast and colour reproduction can always be improved.

7. A top flight camera

OnePlus One camera
The 13MP shooter on the OnePlus One is more than adequate but even at launch it wasn't one of the best smartphone snappers around and the gulf has only widened since.

So with the OnePlus 2 we'd like to see some improvements. The OnePlus One seems a little slow to autofocus, so a fix for that would be appreciated, whether through a new system like a laser autofocus or just through software optimisation.

More megapixels and optical image stabilisation would both be nice too, but they don't always lead to better photos, which is what we want. How that will be achieved is down to OnePlus to figure out.

8. A powerful UI

OnePlus One UI
The UI on the OnePlus One was worthy of special mention, because it used CyanogenMod, which on the surface looks quite close to stock Android, but there's a whole lot of power and customisation options tucked away for more adventurous users.

Sadly OnePlus has had a bit of a falling out with Cyanogen, so a new home-grown UI dubbed OxygenOS will be replacing it on the OnePlus 2 and we hope it will be every bit as powerful and intuitive.

9. Water and dust proofing

Water and dust proofing is a feature which we've never felt is essential on phones as we stopped pond diving years ago, but it's still nice to have if it doesn't come at the expense of anything else and it would be one more bullet point in the OnePlus 2's favour.

We doubt we'll see it, mostly because it could push the cost up and a low price surely takes priority, but also because a metal build is looking likely and not many metal phones seem to be waterproof.

10. A killer feature

Iris scanner
Price and specs go a long way towards selling a smartphone, but for the OnePlus Two to really stand out and not just feel like a rehash of the OnePlus One a big feature would help.

That could take any number of forms. OnePlus could follow other manufacturer's leads and have a curved screen like the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and LG G Flex 2, or it could pack in serious fitness credentials with a heart rate monitor and the tools to track your progress. Or it could add a fingerprint scanner like Apple and Samsung have been doing. In fact a fingerprint scanner is now confirmed.

But to stand out even more it could include something we've not seen anywhere else. Perhaps a retina scanner for example.

It probably won't have a feature that big, because cost is key, but if it did and if the cost could still be kept down then the OnePlus 2 could be a true flagship killer.