In the short span of time that it’s been around, OnePlus has come a long way. From a half-baked product that you couldn t easily buy, to the OnePlus 3T which today stands as the most obvious recommendation to anyone looking for a flagship Android smartphone. It took a lot of effort for the brand to get itself to where it is today, including some not-so-attractive products along the way. But the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T are well-rounded smartphones that you can actually buy pretty easily if you want to, thanks to the discontinuation of OnePlus dreaded invite system. Also Read - OnePlus phones in future will continue to run OxygenOS despite merger with Oppo: ReportAlso Read - OnePlus Nord CE gets first software update: What’s new, how to download
What makes the OnePlus 3 and OnePlus 3T so good? A large chunk of the answer lies in specifications. The company has always offered top-of-the-line hardware, and the 3T currently features the best specifications you can get in a flagship Android smartphone today, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC, 6GB of RAM and Android 7.1.1 running under the near-stock Oxygen OS user interface. Combined with great build quality and a phone that just works, OnePlus has hit the spot with the 3T. Also Read - OnePlus - Oppo integration: What this partnership means for smartphone users?
This brings us to 2017 s flagship offering from the brand, the OnePlus 5. Although we aren t certain if the company will indeed ditch the number four for superstitious reasons, rumors point towards the new device launching globally around June this year. Rumors further suggest that the phone will be powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC and 8GB of RAM, making the phone a specification powerhouse that wil be hard to match at its price point.
I m just going to go ahead and say this; OnePlus has already won the specification war. The OnePlus 3T is already a better specified phone than 2017 flagship devices such as the LG G6 and the HTC U Ultra, so OnePlus isn t going to have a hard time matching a device like the Samsung Galaxy S8 in this department. Buyers that are looking for a phone that is a straight-up powerhouse that functions properly and is priced reasonable need look no further.
But there s a reason that Samsung is one of the biggest smartphone manufacturers in the world, and this is what OnePlus needs to focus on. The only way the Chinese upstart can continue to grow and eat into the market share of the established giants is by offering more innovation. We need to see the company offering more unique selling points, rather than just banking on its winning specifications.
To be fair, the OnePlus 3 and 3T aren t without innovation. Dash Charge is nothing short of a smartphone marvel thanks to the ability to continue charging rapidly while using the phone without generating too much heat, and OnePlus has rightly used this as a key point in its marketing strategy. And the new Midnight Black color option does look pretty cool too. But there s really nothing else that OnePlus can say about its phones without pulling up the spec-sheet, and other manufacturers offer their own versions of fast charging and stylish color variants.
In contrast, Samsung offers a solid set of features that don t really need to bring up the phone s specifications, including the dual-edge curved screen that s bigger and more beautiful than before, support for HDR video, iris scanner for added security, water and dust resistance, and the company s new Bixby AI-powered personal assistant. It s these things that help Samsung stand out with the Galaxy S8, and what convinces buyers to spend that chunk of extra money for a true flagship smartphone. ALSO READ: Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+: Top 8 Features
Sure, these things are expensive, and OnePlus wants to retain its value-for-money plug, so I wouldn t expect all of this to find its way into the OnePlus 5. But some of it would certainly be an advantage. The addition of its own AI-powered personal assistant would be a great start, along with improvements in the screen to offer a bit more than just the basic requirements of a flagship smartphone. OnePlus is a brand known for listening to its fans and consumers, and this would be a great way for it to show that it continues to grow.
Simply put, OnePlus raised the bar with the OnePlus 3. It showed that it has got the basics right, but it s now time to push those boundaries. Simply upgrading the specification sheet is only maintaining the new standards that it set in 2016, and its continued growth will hinge on its ability to innovate. Can this new, mature OnePlus grow to new heights, or will it always be that niche, value manufacturer that appeals only to the experienced users. We ll wait for the OnePlus 5 to find out.