OnePlus One

OnePlus One: Debut Flagship with Affordable Excellence

In the fast-paced world of smartphones, where every new release promises groundbreaking features, the OnePlus One emerged as a game-changer in 2014. Heralded as the “Flagship Killer,” this device was the debut product of the Chinese tech startup OnePlus. In this comprehensive article by Academic Block, we delve into the various aspects of the OnePlus One, exploring its design, performance, camera capabilities, software, and overall impact on the smartphone industry.

Design and Build Quality

Material and Construction: The OnePlus One broke away from the conventional design norms, boasting a sleek and minimalist appearance. Crafted with a magnesium-infused back cover, the phone felt robust and premium in hand. The sandstone texture on the back not only provided an excellent grip but also added a unique aesthetic element.

Display: The device featured a 5.5-inch IPS LCD display with a resolution of 1080 x 1920 pixels. While not pushing the boundaries with a higher pixel count, the screen offered vibrant colors and excellent viewing angles. The decision to stick with a 1080p display was a strategic move to balance performance and battery life.

Build Quality: OnePlus One’s build quality was commendable, with attention to detail evident in every aspect. The device felt durable, and the meticulously designed buttons and ports contributed to a seamless user experience. The placement of the physical buttons, such as the power and volume rocker, was intuitive and easily accessible.

Performance and Hardware

Processor and RAM: At its core, the OnePlus One featured the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset coupled with 3GB of RAM. This combination ensured smooth multitasking and efficient performance, handling demanding applications and games with ease. The decision to opt for the Snapdragon 801 was strategic, as it provided a balance between performance and power efficiency.

Storage Options: The device was available in two storage variants – 16GB and 64GB, with no option for expandable storage. While the lack of a microSD card slot might be a drawback for some users, the ample internal storage options catered to the needs of most consumers.

Battery Life: The OnePlus One housed a non-removable 3100mAh battery, delivering impressive battery life. The optimization of the hardware and software allowed the device to last through a full day of moderate to heavy usage. The inclusion of the efficient Snapdragon 801 chipset contributed to both performance and battery efficiency.

Camera Capabilities

Rear Camera: Equipped with a 13-megapixel Sony Exmor IMX214 sensor, the OnePlus One’s rear camera aimed to deliver high-quality images. The f/2.0 aperture allowed for decent low-light performance, while the dual-LED flash helped in challenging lighting conditions. The camera’s ability to capture 4K videos was a notable feature, offering users the flexibility to create high-resolution content.

Front Camera: The 5-megapixel front-facing camera satisfied the selfie needs of users, delivering sharp and detailed images. The wide-angle lens was a welcome addition, allowing users to capture group selfies effortlessly. The front camera’s performance was above average, considering the device’s mid-range pricing.

Camera Software: The camera software on the OnePlus One was intuitive and user-friendly. It featured various shooting modes and customization options, allowing users to fine-tune their photography experience. While not reaching the heights of flagship competitors, the camera capabilities of the OnePlus One were more than adequate for its price point.

Software Experience

Operating System: The OnePlus One was a pioneer in offering a near-stock Android experience with the custom OxygenOS overlay. Running on Android 4.4.2 KitKat at launch, the device received timely updates, eventually upgrading to newer Android versions. The decision to embrace a clean and bloatware-free user interface resonated well with enthusiasts who preferred a streamlined Android experience.

OxygenOS: OnePlus introduced OxygenOS as a lightweight and customizable Android skin, providing users with a near-stock experience while offering additional customization options. The inclusion of features like gestures, a dark mode, and a robust theming engine enhanced the overall user experience without compromising performance.

Updates and Community Involvement: OnePlus gained a reputation for actively engaging with its community, incorporating user feedback into software updates. This approach not only ensured a more tailored user experience but also established a strong bond between the company and its user base. Regular software updates and security patches showcased OnePlus’s commitment to long-term device support.

Impact on the Smartphone Industry

Disrupting the Flagship Market: The OnePlus One disrupted the smartphone industry by offering flagship-level specifications at a significantly lower price point. This approach challenged established players and forced them to reevaluate their pricing strategies. The “Flagship Killer” moniker reflected the company’s ambition to provide top-tier features without the exorbitant price tag.

Invoking Community Engagement: OnePlus distinguished itself by actively involving its community in product development and improvement. The use of an invite system for purchasing the device, while initially controversial, created a sense of exclusivity and heightened anticipation. The company’s emphasis on customer feedback and transparency fostered a dedicated fan base.

Subsequent OnePlus Devices: The success of the OnePlus One laid the foundation for subsequent OnePlus devices, each iteration refining and enhancing the formula. The company continued to prioritize performance, build quality, and community engagement in its subsequent releases, solidifying its position as a formidable player in the smartphone industry.

Final Words

The OnePlus One, with its disruptive approach and commitment to providing a premium experience at an affordable price, left an indelible mark on the smartphone industry. From its innovative design and robust performance to its community-centric ethos, the device set a new standard for what consumers could expect from a mid-range smartphone. As we reflect on the impact of the OnePlus One, it becomes clear that its legacy extends beyond its initial release, influencing the industry’s trajectory and shaping consumer expectations for years to come. Please provide your views in comment section to make this article better. Thanks for Reading!

Controversies related to OnePlus One

Invitation-Only System: The OnePlus One’s unique invitation-only system, initially intended to manage inventory and create a sense of exclusivity, sparked controversy. Many potential buyers found it frustrating and exclusionary, as it created barriers to purchasing the device. Some critics argued that the system artificially inflated demand and generated negative sentiment among consumers.

Touchscreen Issues: Early users reported touchscreen issues on some OnePlus One devices, including problems with responsiveness and accuracy. Some users experienced phantom touches and unresponsive areas on the screen. While software updates were released to address these issues, it led to dissatisfaction among users who faced challenges with the device’s touch functionality.

CyanogenMod and Software Dispute: OnePlus initially partnered with CyanogenMod to provide the operating system for the OnePlus One. However, a dispute arose between OnePlus and Cyanogen Inc. over exclusivity agreements in different regions. This led to the development of OxygenOS, OnePlus’s custom Android skin, as a replacement for CyanogenMod on the OnePlus One in certain markets.

Customer Service Issues: OnePlus faced criticism for its customer service during the early days. Some users reported difficulties in reaching customer support, delays in responses, and challenges in obtaining warranty support. These issues led to negative reviews and a perception that OnePlus was not adequately addressing customer concerns.

Data Collection Concerns: In 2017, OnePlus faced backlash when it was discovered that certain OnePlus devices, including the OnePlus One, were collecting user data without clear consent. The controversy arose when a researcher found that OnePlus devices were transmitting sensitive data, such as IMEI numbers and mobile network names, to servers. OnePlus responded by providing clearer opt-in mechanisms and explanations for data collection.

Yellow Tint Display Issue: Some users reported a yellow tint issue on the display of their OnePlus One devices. The problem was particularly noticeable on devices with LCD panels, where users complained about uneven color temperatures and discoloration. While not affecting all devices, those with the issue were dissatisfied with the display quality.

Limited Distribution Channels: OnePlus faced criticism for its limited distribution channels, especially during the early stages of the OnePlus One’s availability. The invite-only system, combined with limited retail partnerships, made it challenging for potential buyers to access the device, leading to frustration among consumers.

OnePlus One

Facts on OnePlus One

Invite-Only System: One of the most distinctive features of the OnePlus One was its unconventional distribution model. The phone was initially available for purchase only through an invite system, where potential buyers needed an invitation to buy the device. This unique approach generated buzz and a sense of exclusivity around the brand.

“Flagship Killer” Moniker: Coined as the “Flagship Killer,” the OnePlus One aimed to challenge established smartphone manufacturers by offering top-tier specifications at a significantly lower price. This marketing strategy positioned the phone as a disruptor in the market, targeting flagship devices from more established brands.

CyanogenMod Partnership: The OnePlus One ran on CyanogenMod, a popular custom Android ROM known for its customization options and performance enhancements. This partnership marked one of the first instances of a major smartphone manufacturer collaborating with a custom ROM developer for its device’s operating system.

Viral Marketing Campaigns: OnePlus leveraged unconventional marketing campaigns to promote the OnePlus One. They encouraged users to participate in contests, challenges, and social media campaigns to win invites. This interactive and community-driven approach helped build anticipation and engaged users in a unique way.

Community-Driven Development: OnePlus actively involved its community in the development process, seeking feedback and suggestions from users. This community-centric approach not only helped improve the phone’s software but also created a strong sense of loyalty among OnePlus enthusiasts.

“No Compromise” Philosophy: The OnePlus One was marketed with the tagline “Never Settle,” emphasizing the company’s commitment to delivering a high-quality device without compromises. This philosophy resonated with consumers who were tired of paying premium prices for flagship smartphones.

Global Popularity: Despite being a relatively new entrant in the smartphone market, the OnePlus One gained global popularity. Its success in markets like India, Europe, and North America showcased the growing demand for affordable yet feature-rich smartphones.

Limited Edition Bamboo StyleSwap Cover: OnePlus offered a limited edition Bamboo StyleSwap Cover for the OnePlus One, providing users with a unique and natural feel. This option allowed users to customize the appearance of their devices, adding a touch of personalization to the flagship-killing smartphone.

Hardware Cost Transparency: OnePlus was transparent about the cost breakdown of the OnePlus One, highlighting the expenses incurred in manufacturing and components. This level of transparency was uncommon in the smartphone industry and contributed to building trust with the user base.

Global Pop-Up Events: To celebrate the launch of the OnePlus One, the company organized global pop-up events where users could experience the device firsthand, meet the team, and even purchase the phone without needing an invite. These events added a social element to the brand’s marketing strategy.

Specifications of OnePlus One

Design and Dimensions:

Dimensions: 152.9 x 75.9 x 8.9 mm (6.02 x 2.99 x 0.35 in)

Weight: 162 g (5.71 oz)

Build: Magnesium frame with a removable back cover


Type: LTPS IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen

Size: 5.5 inches

Resolution: 1080 x 1920 pixels (Full HD)

Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass 3


Chipset: Qualcomm MSM8974AC Snapdragon 801

CPU: Quad-core 2.5 GHz Krait 400

GPU: Adreno 330



Storage: Available in two variants – 16 GB and 64 GB (No microSD card slot for expandable storage)


Rear Camera: 13 MP, f/2.0, 1/3″, 1.12µm, Sony Exmor IMX214 sensor

Features: Dual-LED dual-tone flash, panorama, HDR

Video: 4K@30fps, 1080p@60fps, 720p@120fps

Front Camera: 5 MP, f/2.0

Video: 1080p@30fps


Type: Non-removable Li-Po 3100 mAh battery

Charging: Fast battery charging 10W (OxygenOS 4.5.0)

Operating System:

Initially launched with CyanogenMod 11S (based on Android 4.4.2 KitKat)

Later received updates and transitioned to OxygenOS (custom Android skin)


Network: GSM / HSPA / LTE

Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, dual-band, Wi-Fi Direct, DLNA, hotspot

Bluetooth: 4.1, A2DP


NFC: Yes

USB: microUSB 2.0 (USB On-The-Go)


Accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass

Other Features:

3.5mm audio jack

Stereo speakers

Active noise cancellation with dedicated mic

This article will answer your questions like:

  • Why was the OnePlus One referred to as the “Flagship Killer”?
  • What set the design of the OnePlus One apart from other smartphones?
  • How did the invite-only system function for purchasing the OnePlus One?
  • What controversies were associated with the OnePlus One’s invitation-only system?
  • What were the reported touchscreen issues on some OnePlus One devices?
  • What led to the dispute between OnePlus and Cyanogen Inc. regarding the operating system?
  • What were some of the customer service issues faced by OnePlus during the early days?
  • What concerns arose regarding data collection on OnePlus devices, including the OnePlus One?
  • What display issue did some users experience with the OnePlus One, and how was it characterized?
  • How did OnePlus respond to the limited distribution channels and the frustrations of potential buyers during the early stages?
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