OnePlus 2 review - the £249 flagship killer

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OnePlus Two
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
249
inc VAT (SIM-free, 64GB model)

Now invite-free and cheaper than ever, the OnePlus 2 is yet another fantastic flagship smartphone that's great value for money

Specifications

Processor: Octa-core 1.8GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 810, Screen Size: 5.5in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Rear camera: 13 megapixels, Storage (free): 64GB (54GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 152x75x9.9mm, Weight: 175g, Operating system: Oxygen OS (Android 5.1)

If you're desperate for a premium smartphone but hate paying premium prices, the OnePlus 2 is the phone for you. Available for just £249 SIM-free, it's not only half the price of every other flagship currently available, but its specification is also nigh-on identical to almost every other top-end phone released last year. 

It almost defies belief, as £249 will get you 64GB of storage, one of Qualcomm's super fast octa-core 1.8GHz Snapdragon 810 chips and a massive 4GB of RAM, making it just as powerful as the Sony Xperia Z5 and HTC One M9. It also has a large 5.5in, 1,920x1,080 resolution display and a 13-megapixel rear camera, which, for the money, is an absolute bargain. 

It makes other £250 smartphones like the Motorola Moto X Play look positively sluggish by comparison, and it also gives some of this year's phones a run for their money as well, such as the Nexus 5X and Samsung Galaxy S5 Neo. Admittedly, not everyone wants a massive 5.5in smartphone, but when it's so much faster and comes with a lot more space for your photos and videos, it's certainly a highly compelling proposition if you don't want to spend a lot of money.

OnePlus Two rear

Performance

With such a high-powered specification, the OnePlus 2 is one of the fastest phones around, regardless of price. In Geekbench 3's multicore test, for instance, the OnePlus 2 scored a massive 4,744, which is streets ahead of other flagships with the same processor but only 3GB of RAM, including the Xperia Z5, which only managed 3,943.

In fact, it's second only to the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge and S6 Edge+, as the ordinary Galaxy S6 only managed 4,501. The S6 closed the gap in Geekbench 3's single core test, beating the OnePlus 2's score of 1,210 with 1,427, but this is still highly impressive given the OnePlus 2 is almost half the price. Needless to say, the OnePlus 2's Oxygen OS, which is based off Android 5.1, ran beautifully, with no signs of slowdown even when jumping in and out of apps at speed.

OnePlus Two USB Type C port

Unsurprisingly, the OnePlus 2 is a superb gaming device as well, as it managed to produce an impressive 1,396 frames in the offscreen GFX Bench GL Manhattan test, which equates to roughly 23fps. Again, only Samsung's Galaxy S6 family has managed to best this so far, putting the OnePlus Two's graphics capabilities miles ahead of any other smartphone in its price range.

The only area where the OnePlus 2 lets itself down is its web browsing performance, as it only managed a Peacekeeper score of 827, which is barely 100 points in front of the 3rd Gen Moto G. It showed in daily use, too, as scrolling up and down news articles with embedded videos on the Guardian, for instance, was often quite jerky. Performance improved slightly when browsing in Firefox, but both the Chrome and Dolphin browsers proved more troublesome. Still, it's perfectly fast enough given its price, even if it is somewhat below average for this particular chipset.

Battery Life

One thing you needn't worry about is battery life, as the 3,330mAh battery lasted a respectable 11h 13m in our continuous video playback test with the screen set to 170cd/m2. While not as impressive as the 13 hours I got from the Galaxy S6 and Moto X Play, it still beats the HTC One M9 and is just 45 minutes behind the LG G4, so its stamina levels are certainly competitive compared to this year's other top handsets. There's even a reversible USB Type-C port for charging, so you can finally bid farewell to fiddly Micro USB ports.

Design

Of course, 5.5in handsets aren't for everyone, but it's actually one of the more compact big screen phones I've seen; being just a few millimetres taller than the LG G4, one of the smallest 5.5in handsets available. The curved back fits well in the hand, and its metal frame is easy to grip. Admittedly, I'm not a big fan of the standard sandpaper-esque texture on the rear panel, but you can always switch it out for one of OnePlus' £20 removable wooden swap covers if you prefer.

OnePlus Two fingerprint scanner

^ The fingerprint scanner is built straight into the home button and can open the phone in around a second from sleep mode

The handy volume slider button on the left side in addition to the standard volume rocker borrows heavily from Apple’s iPhone, letting you quickly switch between three sound profiles: alarms only, priority notification mode and all notifications. There's also a fingerprint scanner built into the flush home button, which supports up to five fingerprints and takes little more than a second to unlock the phone straight from sleep mode. While not quite as quick as the Honor 7, it still worked very well when I tried it out for myself and is certainly as good as the scanner on the iPhone 6.

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