The OnePlus 3 and 3T are a pair of phones which allow you to do practically anything you want, because OnePlus is such a developer-friendly company. They almost always release kernel sources, and their phones sport an unlockable bootloader that doesn't void the warranty. But while their software is certainly solid (miles ahead of Samsung's TouchWiz), it still has room for improvement.
It's hard to believe that it's only been three years since OnePlus started making waves in the mobile industry with the release of the OnePlus One. As a small startup in 2014, the company's strategy of offering flagship-tier specs at midrange prices by relying on word-of-mouth marketing and other cost-saving measures propelled them into the upper echelon of phone makers. Now they're gearing up to launch their fifth flagship device.
The OnePlus 3T was released about five months after the OnePlus 3 with several noticeable upgrades. Firstly, it has a new processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821, which is the same one that the Pixel and Pixel XL sport. Second is the 16 MP front-facing camera with a different sensor. And the next big change was a slightly larger 3,400 mAh capacity battery.
While the OnePlus One is a great value, you could be plagued with a touchscreen issue or two. The most common problems come in the form of ghost touches and touches not registering with apps.
While its hardware may already be a little outdated compared to newer flagship phones, the OnePlus One is still a great value thanks to the dedicated community that continues to develop ROMs for it. Cyanogen 12 and Oxygen OS are the two most popular ones, but neither offers the type of unique experience you get with Xiaomi's MIUI (pronounced "Me You I").
No one is perfect, and this goes double for software developers. All of the quality assurance testing in the world does nothing when you put a new OS in the hands of everyday users, since we all use our devices in different places and for different reasons. Recently, Cyanogen released their version of Android Lollipop, Cyanogen OS 12, and with it came a whole lot of great features, but some bugs also slipped in.
They might be a little late to the party, but the Cyanogen team has finally released their newest ROM for the OnePlus One, Cyanogen OS 12. The launch had to be pushed back a few times due to some technical issues, but now we finally get to see what the Cyanogen team has cooked up for Android Lollipop.
Despite CyanogenMod actively working on their CM 12S Lollipop-based ROM, OnePlus has opted to develop their own ROM, and after a few setbacks, OxygenOS is finally out. The OS is the result of OnePlus wanting to ship their devices without needing an outside company to create a ROM to power it. Like CyanogenMod's ROMs, Oxygen OS offers a vanilla Android Lollipop experience tailored for the OnePlus One.
The OnePlus 3 and 3T are two of the most modder-friendly devices to be released in 2016. Not only that, but they're both extremely solid phones which happen to sport a very reasonable price tag. Among the things that make these devices such a joy for tinkerers is the fact that they have an unlockable bootloader, receive timely kernel source releases, and are actually quite easy to root.
I've been involved in the Android scene for a very long time and have grown to develop a love/hate relationship with CyanogenMod. While I do like the stability they offer in their custom ROMs, they don't always include the flashy features on top of their vanilla Android base.
The 13-megapixel camera on the OnePlus One is capable of taking some pretty impressive shots, but the stock CameraNext app doesn't do the hardware justice. When compared to the camera app that ships on the ColorOS version of the One, you can immediately see an increase in clarity and low light performance.
The camera in CyanogenMod, CameraNext, takes some pretty impressive shots when compared to those offered by HTC Sense and Sony Xperia, but it doesn't have many of the features that make it a real competitor. Even the Color OS version of the OnePlus One has received better reviews when comparing low-light shots, which implies that it's not the camera sensor that's lacking, but the software.
CyanogenMod has always been on the forefront of ROM customization, and its newest release, CyanogenMod 12, is no exception. In the newest nightlies, they have included an updated version of their Theme Engine, which allows you to effortlessly change the way your entire system looks.
OnePlus made a great Android phone, the One, bringing flagship-level specs with a nearly unheard of price point: $299 for the 16GB variant; $349 for the 32GB variant. And, oh yea, the devices come fully unlocked, ready for your SIM card to be plugged in (GSM/HSPA/LTE networks only—sorry Sprint and Verizon subscribers).
Finding the right mix of custom ROM, kernel, and tweaks for my OnePlus One has left me flashing every new release I come across. This has led to many hours going through thread after thread trying to find the latest and best software out there for my phone. While I do enjoy the hunt, I would rather have a centralized location that covers all my bases, so that's why I have started using OnePlus One, an app by Alex Inthiaano.
OnePlus changed the way we think about high-end phones. Their "Never Settle" motto led me to ditch my high-cost smartphone for their flagship One, which not only packs some pretty impressive hardware, but won't break the bank. Now that OnePlus has made a name for themselves with the One, they're trying their hands at ROMs, too.
Starting with the original HTC One and now present on the new Nexus 6, dual speakers allow for smartphones to pump out true stereo sound. OnePlus, however, kept their speakers on the bottom of the device and use different sound drivers for each to produce great sound quality, although it's still mono. While there are mods out there that can further increase the volume of the OnePlus One, none of them can produce true stereo sound.
OnePlus One's CyanogenMod firmware comes packed with personalization options that standard Android devices could only achieve with root-level access. By simply entering the Settings app, OPO owners can make changes to their lock screen, status bar, and notification drawer, as well as apply themes and gestures to make their device a little more customized.
Being in a band, I exposed myself to years of extremely high volumes, so I can't hear as well as I once did. I'm not concerned about going deaf or anything, but I tend to have the volume raised to the max, beyond the "high volume" warning, whenever listening to music on my OnePlus One with headphones.
Maybe it was the years of concerts with deafening speakers blasting music into my ears, but I always listen to my tunes as loud as the volume allows me. So, it's pretty annoying when I get a "high volume" warning every time I listen to music on my OnePlus One with my headphones on. We've previously shown you how to remove this same warning by using the NoSafeVolumeWarning, an Xposed module that required root access. Thankfully, the very liberal OnePlus One has a built-in feature that lets you...
Keeping your OnePlus One running smoothly can be taxing, especially if you spend most of your day looking for ways to tweak performance settings like me. Sometimes I get lucky and end up with a faster phone, but because I experiment so much, I often end up restoring it back to stock. This process can get old really quick, but when I started using the Bacon Root Toolkit from WugFresh, it became exponentially easier.
The vague 90-day release window for CyanogenMod 12 has done nothing to stop my craving for Lollipop on my OnePlus One. Luckily, there are other "unofficial" means of getting my hands on it. Since CyanogenMod still gives users a way of building their own variants of their ROM, we can install user-compiled versions of CM 12 pretty easily.
The Snapdragon 801 processor inside the OnePlus One puts the device on par with other phones like the HTC One M8 and LG G3 in terms of power and speed. While the OPO is just as fast and responsive as many of the flagships currently available, there's no reason why we can't try to squeeze every last bit of speed and performance out of it.
Motorola changed the way users interact with their devices when they introduced their "always listening" feature on the Moto X. When I first saw it demoed, I couldn't wait to get the same functionality on one of my handsets, and now that has finally come to fruition.
The hardware running your One is nothing short of powerful, but the people at OnePlus can't control how developers choose to utilize that power—or rather, not utilize it. Most popular developers have removed all signs of lag from their apps, but others still have archaic lines of code that can make your shiny, new device feel like a first-generation smartphone.
The OnePlus One comes with CyanogenMod 11S built in, but there are certainly some traditional CyanogenMod features missing from this version. One of the most obvious missing ingredients is the lack of a native SuperUser app, most likely to prevent inexperienced users from causing unintentional damage to their device's software.
As much as it pained me to lose lock screen widget functionality, I just can't bare changing out the sleek-looking lock screen that's standard on the OnePlus One. The latest OTA introduced a new transparent theme, and while that's a welcomed improvement, I need more options!
Though they share the same name, the HTC One and OnePlus One have completely different sound quality. HTC had put a lot of time and effort into fine-tuning their BoomSound technology, while OnePlus is still fairly new to the game, with brand recognition being a much greater objective than awesome speakers.
The OnePlus One definitely fits the phrase "more bang for your buck," and despite the absence of something like the HTC One M8's Duo Cam or the LG G3's Laser Auto Focus, it still takes a great photo. For normal, everyday pictures, the 13-megapixel camera sensor is great, even if night shots can be a little grainy.
My OnePlus One easily gets over a day of battery life without a problem, but when I try to charge it, it seems to take just as long. For some reason, no matter what charger you plug your OPO into, it never gets more than USB-level power, meaning that charging times are more than double when compared to traditional AC-charging.
Thanks to a recent back-end update to Google's Search app, every KitKat-running device can use "Okay, Google" from within any app—even the lock screen. However, the default settings for the OnePlus One's mic leave it unable to detect your voice unless you have it right up to your face. That isn't a good look for anyone, but thankfully there is an easy fix to get this working correctly.
While most are still fighting through a somewhat ridiculous invite system, OnePlus is starting to ship out a decent number of their One flagship devices to those who were able to obtain one.
The new OnePlus One packs a 3,100 mAh battery that promises to last all day and night. While that will work for most, some of us don't quite know how to put our phone down and save some juice.
Due to its constant delays and lack of public invites, the OnePlus One is the equivalent of a unicorn in the Android community. I was lucky enough to win an invite in the OnePlus Storm of Invites promotion and have loved every minute with my new Nexus Killer since receiving it.