The folks at OnePlus have put on quite a show this week, ending months of hype and teasers in a celebration of reasons they think you should purchase this new smartphone. Our initial impressions of the OnePlus 2 are quite positive, but as users all over the world furiously refresh to check their status in the invite queue there's a group of folks out there wondering if the upgrade one One to 2 is something they absolutely need to do.
While we're not ready to put down a full review of this "2016 Flagship Killer" it's important to take a moment an appreciate the way OnePlus has improved their design language over the last 460 days. Here's a quick look at the OnePlus One and the shiny new OnePlus 2.
OnePlus made a lot of people very happy with the Sandstone Black default to the One, and it's not hard to see why. It's by far the grippiest backing since HTC's soft touch coating, and didn't scratch or scuff easily through daily use. While Sandstone Black has returned in the OnePlus 2, it's one of several options that will be available for users to swap around as they choose. It also doesn't wrap around the sides of the phone on the 2, which is an important distinction to make. OnePlus is using an aluminum frame around the exterior of this phone, which gives it an entirely different feel in your hand. You still get plenty of grip on the back of the phone, but the sides are a little cooler to the touch and noticeably less grippy.
The OnePlus 2 isn't just a better phone than the OnePlus One on paper, it looks and feels like a phone of noticeably superior quality.
Like the OnePlus One, the ability to remove the back of the OnePlus 2 doesn't get you access to much. The dual-sim tray under the plate is a little different, but there's still no access to the battery. Across the sides of the phone, however, there's some significant differences. The power and volume keys are a lot less flimsy on the OnePlus 2, and there's a new notification toggle called the Alert Slider that works quite well.
The front of the phone is another matter entirely. The addition of a well-made fingerprint sensor, higher quality display, and a generally improved design with more subtle edges makes this experience much more enjoyable. Like its predecessor, the buttons on the bottom of the phone can be disabled if you're not a fan. The inclusion of a home button that doubles as a fingerprint sensor makes that decision a little pointless, though. You're going to want to use that feature once you've set it up, and having the other nav buttons there just makes sense even if it's not the "Nexus" way of doing things.
While the design language for the OnePlus 2 is undeniably similar to its predecessor, the refinement of that language in every step of the design is impressive. The OnePlus 2 isn't just a better phone than the OnePlus One on paper, it looks and feels like a phone of noticeably superior quality. Unless you absolutely need NFC to live, or you're looking at more than just OnePlus for an upgrade, deciding between these two phones is simple. Perhaps more important than choosing between the two, OnePlus has demonstrated a continued dedication to their design language and build quality, and their sophomore effort builds on that in big ways.