The Nexus Killer: Your Next Android Phone

Your Next Android Phone

After lots of waiting and anticipation, the OnePlus One Android smartphone has been unveiled, and it's ready to take down the Nexus.

This CyanogenMod based device comes in with high-end features and a killer price point, and is set to go on sale in May.

The OnePlus One High-End Specs

Before getting down to the the features, let's take a look at the device's specs:

  • 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm at 5.71 ounces
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 2.5GHz Quad-core CPUs
  • 3 GB LP-DDR3 RAM
  • 5.5" JDI 1080p Full HD display with Gorilla Glass 3
  • 16/64GB on-board memory
  • 3100 mAh LiPo battery
  • 5MP front and 13 MP rear cameras with 4K video
  • Custom CyanogenMod 11S OS based on Android 4.4
  • Global 4G LTE connectivity
  • Fully unlocked

The OnePlus One will ship with either 16 or 64 GB of memory, but lacks an expandable microSD slot. Similarly, the huge 3100mAh battery is non-replaceable (at least without taking the device apart), but its size makes this less of a concern than with devices like the HTC One or Nexus 5.

Global 4G LTE connectivity means the device is ready to use in most international markets, as well as AT&T and T-Mobile stateside. Unfortunately, the connectivity specs will leave Sprint and Verizon customers on the back burner, and as the spectrums used by those carriers, as well as their backbone 3G CDMA networks, are not usable with this device.

Aside from the standard fare (Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, etc.), other features include three microphones for enhanced voice clarity and noise cancellation, Miracast Wi-Fi mirroring support, screen-off touch support, on-screen and capacitive buttons, gesture based commands, and a "power off alarm", which sounds your alarm(s) whether the phone is on or off.

OnePlus also claims that the device can be used with wet hands, but we haven't seen any IP ratings for the device, so I certainly wouldn't call the phone waterproof by any means.

Powered by CyanogenMod

The OnePlus One will be the first smartphone for the U.S. market that ships with CyanogenMod out of the box. This custom build, or fork, of Android is an extremely popular, light-weight build based on AOSP (Android Open Source Project) that has been a used at some point by just about all softModders, either directly or as a base for various other custom ROMs.

While this isn't the first time an OEM has shipped with CyanogenMod—the Oppo N1 had an option to ship with the OS in markets outside the US—it is the first time we've seen a custom build of the OS, dubbed version 11S. Features of this build, many of which are available through CM11, include:

  • Quiet Hours
  • Quick Settings
  • Built-in theming engine
  • Encrypted messaging
  • Privacy Guard permissions control
  • Custom CyanogenMod camera and gallery

Advanced Camera

Sporting a 13 megapixel rear shooter with a 5 megapixel front, the camera specs may not seem groundbreaking, but they do have some interesting features.

Six physical lenses reside in the rear Sony Exmor IMX214 camera with f/2.0 aperture, allowing for great photos in low light conditions as well as decreased distortion caused by lower apertures.

The front shooter benefits from an extra-wide 80º viewing angle to capture more area and background while limiting distortion. The pictures above tell the tale, with the left taken through a "regular" front facing camera, and the right taken with the front camera of the OnePlus One.

Cheaper Than a Nexus

The real Nexus-killer feature is the price point. The Silk White 16 GB model will sell for $299 USD, while the Sandstone Black 64 GB model comes in at $349 USD. Compared with the Nexus 5 retailing for $349 (16 GB) and $399 (32 GB), the OnePlus One is cheaper and has better specs.

Clearly the company is going after the same market; consumers who want unlocked devices without carrier restrictions. The CyanogenMod base means that, shortly after Google releases new versions of AOSP, the CM team will roll changes into their builds and send updates out to the device. It may not be as fast as updates to the Nexus line, but they'll be much faster than updates through carriers.

What do you guys think? Will the OnePlus One be the Nexus killer? Sound off in the comments below.

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