Chinese smartphone startup OnePlus officially unveiled its first smartphone, the OnePlus One, at a special event in Beijing on Wednesday.
OnePlus was founded on the principle that it “never settles” (which is also its slogan) when it comes to its devices, and it describes its smartphone as the “2014 Flagship Killer." The OnePlus One is packed with features and tech specs that rival the best smartphones on the market, while it only costs half as much.
The OnePlus One has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor that powers high-end smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S5. Its 3100 mAh battery and 13-megapixel main camera rivals the components of the Sony Xperiz Z2, while the sleek design makes the OnePlus One look as good as the HTC One M8. The camera's f/2.0 aperture makes it excel in low-light settings, and it can shoot 4K video. The OnePlus One also has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera.
The new smartphone features a 5.5-inch LCD display with full high-definition (1080p) resolution, making the OnePlus One similar in size to “phablets” like the Samsung Galaxy Note. The screen is built with Gorilla Glass 3, making it more shatterproof than most phones. You can find a full technical breakdown here.
Although the OnePlus One includes several high-end features, both its 16GB and 64GB models will sell for about half the price of other smartphones with similar specs. The 16GB OnePlus One costs $300 and the 64GB costs $350, price points similar to those of Google’s Nexus 5 smartphone, though the OnePlus One comes with a better battery and camera.
The OnePlus One is also the first device built specifically for Android-based CyanogenMod custom ROM, which was designed to increase device performance, be more customizable and uses less storage space. The OnePlus One uses CyanogenMod 11S, a ROM version designed for Google’s Android 4.4 KitKat operating system, which was developed especially for this device.
CyanogenMod brings features to the OnePlus One not found in Android, like support for text message encryption and the ability to launch specific apps while the phone is sleeping by using hand gestures. The OnePlus One will also feature “always on” voice functionality, making it similar to the Moto X in that regard.
OnePlus plans to offer interchangeable back covers for the phone, including some that are made of denim, wood and Kevlar; these covers will not be available at its launch.
Speaking of the product's launch, OnePlus did not provide an official release date for the smartphone, but it did say the phone will be available initially in Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the U.K. and the United States. Before it releases the phone to the public, OnePlus is giving out an unspecified number of invitations through its website.
OnePlus also said it will hold a contest on April 25 to give 100 people a OnePlus One handset for only $1 if they smash their current smartphone.
With top-class specs, a sleek design and low cost, OnePlus may have what it takes to break into the smartphone arena successfully.