A High-end Killer? OnePlus 2 Smartphone Review

by Rob Williams on November 29, 2015 in Mobile

When a smartphone vendor comes along and offers its latest option as a “flagship killer”, it doesn’t exactly leave much room for leeway: it’s either going to be accurate, or off the mark. On paper, the OnePlus 2’s case seems to be solid, so let’s take a hard look at it and see if its promises are lived up to.

Page 2 – A Look At OnePlus 2’s Software

One of the things OnePlus does to stand out of the crowd is ship its devices with a customized version of Android it calls OxygenOS. This is designed to be lightweight and offer a couple of perks that most users would want to use. Notably, it ships with the SwiftKey replacement keyboard, and it also supports a dark mode, custom icons, UX improvements, as well as security patches.

The OnePlus 2 shipped with a version of OxygenOS based on Lollipop 5.1.1, and as that’s the last-released major version from Google, that’s where it remains up to this point. OnePlus has said that this phone will receive Android 6.0 “Marshmallow” in Q1.

The setup process for this phone couldn’t be much simpler, as the screens below will highlight. The most standout software feature of OnePlus devices is the “Shelf”, something that can be seen if you swipe your phone’s homepage to the right. Its goal is to let you access your most-used apps and contacts quicker than other methods.

While the OnePlus 2 ships with SwiftKey, you’re able to choose to stick to the default Google keyboard if you want. Other tweaks include enabling certain gestures and opting for software controls over hardware controls.

After logging into a Google account, you’ll be greeted to a seriously clean-looking desktop.

OnePlus 2 - Home Screen
OnePlus 2's default home screen
OnePlus 2 - Fresh Shelf
The Shelf on OnePlus 2 out of the box
OnePlus 2 - Populated Shelf
The Shelf after regular phone use. Temperature plummet not guaranteed.
OnePlus 2 - Installed Apps (1)
The OnePlus 2 has a modest assortment of preinstalled apps
OnePlus 2 - Installed Apps (2)
The OnePlus 2 has a modest assortment of preinstalled apps

As mentioned above, a goal of OxygenOS is to be as fast as possible, and to cater to that, OnePlus doesn’t bundle a slew of preinstalled apps on the OnePlus 2. In fact, almost all of the preinstalled apps come from Google itself, making it hard to figure out what’s actually unique. Like Google’s own Nexus devices, the OnePlus 2 gives us a seriously trimmed-down and stock experience.

It is worth pointing out OnePlus’ Shelf though, a simple screen that lets you open a common app or contact quickly. Depending on your usage, this could very well allow you to keep your home screen completely clean, leaving only the Shelf and possibly as second screen to the right littered with the apps you use on a regular basis.

It’s with the contacts where the Shelf might prove most useful; clicking on a recent contact will let you give them a call, text message them, see recent conversations, and even let you get quick info on their address, if you happen to have that stored.

Overall, there’s not actually too much to say about the software solution with the OnePlus 2 because it’s about as simple as it could be – a great thing if you appreciate “clean” operating systems.

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Rob Williams

Rob founded Techgage in 2005 to be an 'Advocate of the consumer', focusing on fair reviews and keeping people apprised of news in the tech world. Catering to both enthusiasts and businesses alike; from desktop gaming to professional workstations, and all the supporting software.

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