OnePlus: Great Hardware, Slack Service. But That’s OK.

Ode to the OnePlus Two

When I get a new device I tend to start lurking around the Reddit board for it. This was no different when I picked up the OnePlus Two (OP2) , check the board out here if you fancy. As with many online communities though this group can be a pretty mixed bunch.

Honestly, it’s a great phone

Now, for me I’m a big fan of the OnePlus Two. Does it have limitations and failings? Sure it does. But let’s be clear about this, OnePlus make (arguably) premium smartphones for distinctly mid-range prices. Where else am I going to pick up something with specs like the OnePlus Two for £250?

So why does Reddit have beef?

So, back to those guys on Reddit. Drifting around I often see posts or comments crying out about how let down someone feels by the phone or the service backing it. Honestly, the phone itself isn’t really questionable. Amazing specs and snappy enough to realistically last a good 2-3 years or more. It’s certainly fantastic when you compare it to buying something like a Samsung Galaxy S7 outright. But the service, this is where there’s more debate.
If you pay a low price and still expect Apple levels of service you're going to have a bad time.

The Compromise

So how does OnePlus consistently undercut their Western competitors? It’s not on the hardware (despite the lack of NFC in the OnePlus Two). So something has to give, right? Turns out that it’s the after sales service. Ive been fortunate enough to sail along (touch metaphorical wood) without any issues on my OP2, but I’ve read horrors of attempting (and often failing) to liaise with the OnePlus support team. Then there’s the contentious issue of software updates. While the next version of Android, N, is around the corner the OP2 is still on Lollipop, with the self-imposed deadline of March for issuing an update to Marshmallow being missed (technically they “met” the deadline by issuing a buggy beta version that required a manual technical task to install).

This tends to be where most folk get angry. Me? Not so much. Partially because a lot of Google’s key services and apps have been decoupled from main Android updates, meaning you can have the latest keyboard, browser, app store etc regardless of which version of Android you’re on (within reason). Mostly, though, it’s because I figure this is the compromise of buying from a smaller, newer, setup who are less experienced and are asking for a lot less money than others.

So, great hardware but lacklustre software and after sales support, right?

Right. So go into buying any OnePlus phone knowing this and you’ll be a-ok. If you want an easy life with more guarantees then stick to Apple or Motorola or even the excellent Nexus range of handsets. If you fancy a bargain and don’t mind that you get less support for that lower price point then go nuts!

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