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OnePlus 2 smartphone officially announced during unique VR launch event

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OnePlus 2

After weeks of drip-feeding eager smartphone fans with spec details, upstart smartphone manufacturer OnePlus has revealed its OnePlus 2 flagship phone, which it is calling "the 2016 flagship killer."

At an event broadcast from San Francisco on Monday evening, which was the first product launch ever to be beamed around the world in virtual reality, the firm confirmed the full spec sheet, while also offering very good news on pricing and availability.

Introduced at the OnePlus offices by CEO Carl Pei, the sequel device will keep the original’s display size and resolution at 5.5-inches and 1080p LCD screen, despite speculation a QHD panel may have been on the way.

Of course, we already knew the OnePlus 2 would offer an ‘improved’ version of the much-maligned Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor, free of the overheating issues that have plagued some devices to jump on board with the chipset early.

Qualcomm was on hand to promise better performance across the board with the 1.8GHz chip (which will team up with an Adreno 430 GPU) during a video call during the event.

In terms of memory, the firm had previously confirmed the presence of the 4GB LPDDR4 RAM, which should pair very nicely with the boosted chipset.

As well as the blisteringly-fast 64-bit ccta-core processor, there's also dual-SIM 4G LTE functionality too and 64 GB of storage as standard. The 3300mAh battery pack should keep everything ticking along nicely too.

OnePlus was also keen to reveal the fingerprint sensor in the weeks leading up to Monday’s event, which the firm says is faster than Apple’s Touch ID and allows users to store up to five fingerprints. A single press will also take users directly to the home screen.

Another new feature is the physical Alert Slider switch that allows users to toggle between priority notifications, all notifications and no notifications while the phone is resting within their pocket.

In terms of design there's also a metallic frame surrounding the device and polished steel buttons. The physical dimensions are 151.8 x 74.9 x 9.85mm, while the device itself will weigh in at 175g.

MicroUSB connectivity has also been ditched for the new, reversible Type-C USB standard, with the OnePlus 2 likely to be the first major smartphone to hit the market carrying the tech first spotted in the 2015 Apple MacBook.

However, other end of the USB cable is also reversible, which OnePlus says is a patent. The company will also launch an adapter to ensure existing accessories remain compatible.

See also: 13 Best smartphones of 2015

The device has the same 13-megapixel/5-megapixel cameras as the original, but several enhancements are also in play. Pixels are now 35 per cent larger at 1.3 microns to let in more light than before, while there's also a new Laser Focus mode that promises to pick out the perfect focus point in 0.2 seconds.

Optical Image Stabilization is also on board, with OnePlus promising this feature will come into its own when shooting video. There's also a dual LED flash.

The OnePlus 2 will arrive running the Android 5.1 Lollipop operating system, with an updated version of the custom Oxygen OS user interface running on top.

OnePlus said changes have only been made to pure Android in order to make enhancements, one of which is a new camera app offering a super-resolution mode, time-lapse and 120fps videos. There's also a dark UI mode available in a flick of a switch, plus a colour mode that enables accents to be changed. LED indicators can also be tweaked.

OnePlus says the device has "better specs than any flagship smartphone out there," while claiming its "beyond powerful, and it will be for years to come."

The the company stopped short of revealing the price tag for the device during the event, but shortly after it announced the 64GB device will cost $389/£289 for the 64GB model, while a 16GB model with 3GB RAM will cost $329/£239. UK pricing is yet to be revealed.

The 64GB version of the handset will go on sale in the US, Canada, EU, India and China on August 11, with a Q4 launch to follow in South East Asia. Pop up stores will be opening in 9 major cities (including London) on July 31, where fans will be able to go hands-on with the device ahead of launch. The 16GB handset will come later.

Early forum members will get priority, when it comes to buying the device, but OnePlus said a much larger inventory, so they'll be easier to get this time. "It'll be a lot easier to get an invite" Pei said, with interested parties able to register their email address at OnePlus.net.

Check out the new OnePlus 2 in the video below.

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