There's no shortage of opinion to be found right now on OnePlus as a company, or the viability of its recently announced and entirely overhyped smartphone, but I'm going to steal a moment of your time to talk about something the company did really well. In fact, it's the one thing I wish and pray and hope for every time a new smartphone is announced.
A few hours before everyone strapped Google Cardboard to their faces and watched a pre-recorded launch event officially announcing the OnePlus Two, a small press event was happening in San Francisco. Like many smartphone press events, the goal is to let us get some hands on time with the phone so we can tell all of you about it as soon as the announcement is over. Unlike most smartphone launch events, OnePlus created a relaxed, incredibly well-lit environment that was set up better than just about anything I'd ever been to.
The event OnePlus put on was simple, and it worked. We pulled up to a glass building with tons of natural light everywhere, and had plenty of room to set up and start playing with untethered hardware. The music in the background was low, and the OnePlus folks were constantly asking if we needed help or had any questions. Instead of a special place off to the side for interviews, folks from Qualcomm and Carl Pei just walked up and sat down, ready to chat. It was about as close to perfect as you could ask for in this situation, short of private one-on-one meetings with the company to look at the phone.
But hey, open bar and free food right? Knock a few back and tell everyone how awesome our phone is.
While I labeled myself the new guy in the title, I've been doing this whole smartphone thing for a while now. Most events are full of "atmosphere" which is a nice way of saying it's mood lighting dark with whatever the popular thing is right now blasting in the background. If you're really lucky, the devices aren't tethered to the table with a security alarm so you can actually hold the phone. It sucks for video, it sucks for photos, and it makes talking to the people who are supposed to be there answering your questions frustrating at best. But hey, open bar and free food right? Knock a few back and tell everyone how awesome our phone is.
If you take a look at the photo of the Moto X Style from the Motorola event the very next day, and compare it to what was shot during the OnePlus event, you see the obvious differences. Rather, I do. Truth be told the folks I work with are great with their cameras, often significantly better than I am in fact, so it may not be something that sticks out quite as much here as it does elsewhere on the Internet. It's not as simple as bringing your own lighting, either. The environmental differences are truly significant when it comes to getting the shot and spending time with the hardware.
This sort of thing isn't talked about a lot, because it's inside baseball and doesn't really have any bearing on you as a reader. For us, this kind of event makes the work a ton easier to deal with and makes getting to know the phone for that initial hands-on a little more enjoyable. I'm going to be handling the review of the OnePlus Two, and as soon as it crosses my desk I'm sure there will be a lot more to say about it. Until that happens, OnePlus gets a thumbs up from me for offering up the most relaxed and helpful group press event I've ever been to.