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OnePlus One Problems: Is it too good to be true?

Andrew Williams

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OnePlus One
OnePlus One

What's wrong with the OnePlus One?

The OnePlus One is among the more interesting phones we’ve seen over the last year. At first it seems too good to be true.

It has a 1080p screen, the same processor as the Galaxy S5, a respectable camera and 4G, but costs less than half the price of the rivals from the bigger names. Are you going to get stung if you buy a OnePlus One?

Here are the issues that are worth thinking about before you get too excited.

It’s extremely hard to get hold ofyellow line

The OnePlus One has become the most-hyped phone ever to come from a phone maker that just about no normal people have heard of. At present it’s probably the hardest-to-get-hold-of phone there is.

Around the phone’s launch, OnePlus is running an invite system to ensure the company isn’t completely swamped by demand. Essentially it’s a way for OnePlus to turn that it can’t make enough phones into another cog in its anticipation-generation engine. You can only buy a phone if you have an invite.

In order to get an invite, you need to know someone who has already bought the phone. Each person who buys the phone gets a few invites to let them into the OnePlus club of folks who have the right to buy a mobile.

We’re sure people will try and sell invites online, but we don’t recommend getting in suckered into that. Instead, see if any of your friends have bought the phone, and have a look into the OnePlus forum to see if you get snag one. As a company with a fairly community-centric approach, it’s likely reams of invites will eventually be granted to active forum users.

SEE ALSO: OnePlus One vs Google Nexus 5 comparison

There’s no microSD card slotyellow line

One of the most contentious decisions of the OnePlus One was to leave out a microSD card slot. This means you can’t easily expand memory unless you’re happy to rely on cloud services – which isn’t the same thing at all.

To make matters worse, early versions of the phone shipped with a manual that stated the phone has an microSD slot. It doesn’t.

Part of this is to make the 64GB version of the OnePlus One a valid buy – phones with microSD slots tend to only sell well in their lowest storage capacity. There is no real solution either, except to suggest that OnePlus One buyers seriously consider the 64GB version, rather than the entry-level 16GB one.

It doesn’t support Band 20 4G – this is a biggieyellow line

One of the most important issues with the OnePlus One for UK buyers is that it does not support band 20 4G. This is the band over which several of the UK’s networks transmit their 4G signal. And this means you cannot get 4G mobile internet with them.

The networks that use band 20 include O2, Vodafone, Tesco Mobile, LycaMobile and GiffGaff. Yes, you cannot get 4G on a OnePlus One with any of these networks in the UK.

That only really leaves EE and Three, and as Three uses band 20 for part of its signal, 4G speed may not be too hot on Three. These networks use Band 3 (EE/Three) and band 7 (EE), which are supported by the OnePlus One.

Other 4G bands supported by the OnePlus One include band 4 and band 17. But they’re not of much use here.

Once again there are no real solutions. This is a hardware issue, not something that can be solved with a software patch.

You can either be happy with a 3G connection or sign up to one of the 4G networks that doesn’t rely entirely on band 20. Decent SIM-only EE 4G plans start at £16.99, which gets you 1GB, maxing out at £22.99 for a 4GB a month plan.

Three’s 4G deals are much more attractive. Starting at £12.90 a month you can get an ‘all you can eat’ data plan, which has a fair use policy of 1000GB a month. There is some limiting of speed for tethering and file sharing between 3pm and 12am, but that’s hardly a serious trade-off given the price.

CHECK OUT: What is 4G? A complete LTE mobile internet guide

OnePlus One has no track record of supportyellow line

Another serious issue: who is OnePlus, exactly? There has been a lot of talk about how it is made of people from Oppo, another manufacturer, but that doesn’t mean the company will turn out to be as reliable or stable as Oppo, which itself is hardly a well-known company in the UK.

Why does this matter? Support. We currently have no idea about what lengths you’ll have to go to get a OnePlus One repaired should it fail within the first month, and we don’t even know if the company will be around in twelve months’ time should something go wrong later down the line while the phone is still under warranty.

OnePlus is under certain obligations by law, but that doesn’t mean it’ll necessarily follow them quickly or easily.

... and no track record with Android updatesyellow line

Almost as important as the warranty support, will OnePlus really keep on offering software support for the phone? It claims it will support the OnePlus One for two years, but at this point the claim is little more than clever marketing and (we hope) good intentions. One possible issue is that because the OnePlus One is likely to attract a rabid community of tech tinkerers, OnePlus may start to lean on unofficial software updates doing the job for it. This would be short-sighted, as while the most vocal One fans may appear happy - the people rejoicing as a new Android 6.5 ROM is released - the larger, more normal crowd may be most unhappy indeed.

This is the best reason why some of you prospective OnePlus One owners should think about waiting for Google to announce the Nexus 6, the rumoured next instalment of the Google own brand phone series. Either do that, or expect that you may have to get your hands dirty in order to keep up-to-date with the latest version of Android.

Is the OnePlus One too good to be true?

It seems OnePlus has done well with the One. While there are sure to be other niggles post-launch, the phone appears to be a good starting point for the young company. However, it is somewhat non-UK centric, and it shows.

Most of the UK’s 4G networks will not work with the phone, and that’s a major downer if you’re looking at the OnePlus One as a cheaper way to get on-board with everything that’s new and flashy in the mobile tech world.

Next, read our Galaxy S5 problems article

vvarma1

June 10, 2014, 5:18 pm

Can't wait to try android 6.5

Shine Wong

June 10, 2014, 11:24 pm

Oneplus one is in stock on oppomart, needn't invitation code

toboev

June 11, 2014, 6:30 am

They state "GLOBAL 4G LTE" in their specs on their website, without any qualification. A bit disingenuous, given what you say here about the 4G capabilities.

Julian Andres Klode

June 11, 2014, 5:19 pm

That's a lie. It clearly states

LTE: Bands: 1/3/4/7/17/38/40
in the specs in the connectivity section.

toboev

June 11, 2014, 9:22 pm

You're right, it is a lie, published by 1+1.
They go further - the full text is:
----------
GLOBAL 4G LTE

Enjoy blazing fast and smooth connectivity whether you're around the
corner or across the world with OnePlus One powered by Qualcomm© Snapdragon™ processor with a 4G LTE multimode modem. Unlocked and contract-free, roam wherever you'd like [with] the One by your side.
-----------

So there you have it - their words "4G...across the world...roam wherever you'd like..."

Granted, if you drill down into the numbers (given elsewhere, with no reference from this text, no little asterisk) you will discover that the text is not the whole truth and that you can't actually roam on 4G "across the world...wherever you'd like". Of course you'd have to cross-match two lists of numbers and realise '20' was missing from one of them and understand the significance of that. I'd call that a dissemblance, an obfuscation, being economical with the truth, disingenuous at best.

Wojtek Wegrzyn

June 12, 2014, 6:26 pm

It runs on cyanogen so the updates could actually be more frequent than those of 'big brands' phones. Considering how much you're getting for the money, oneplus is made of awesome. No, I don't work for them :)

toboev

June 13, 2014, 7:21 pm

Yeah, they even updated it already, before release.
Seriously though, it would be good to see a quality new entrant. Good luck to them.

polar

July 29, 2014, 9:30 pm

Non-UK centric - lol. Even if you can get 4g its poo slow in those overloaded networks.

Monkey D. Luffy

August 21, 2014, 2:57 pm

I'm from the UK and i really want this device badly. I'm not sure where i can get an invite, since that alone is hard to find and purchasing the OPO on Ebay or so is just far too expensive that it's retail price.

Any help?

Stephen Turner

September 9, 2014, 8:43 pm

Thank you so much.. Just bought this phone but didn't realise I would have to worry about it working on EE. Hasn't arrived yet, but still thanks

Stephen Turner

September 9, 2014, 8:52 pm

Try Oppomart. I brought mine from there on August 31st. It dispatched on Friday 5th (I know really long) and arrived today, the 9th Sep. They give you a tracking number though. It cost me, £291 to buy the phone (64GB Silk White), which is around £20 pounds more than the £269 OPO price, but its so cheap anyway, its worth it, rather than paying £600 for an iPhone or GSNote 4. I paid £19, for DHL fully tracked 5-7 day shipping, and I also had to pay £26 to HR Revenue and Customs. They charged it in dollars, so I also had to pay a conversion fee of around £10. They also throw in a free cover. Shipping insurance for £3.99 and you can bundle in screen protectors etc. with your order. Overall I paid just under £350. But still for what you get, it's worth it.

John Tursso

September 10, 2014, 4:32 am

What is this guy thinking....CyanogenMod are the kings of updating android.

Spartacus

October 18, 2014, 12:27 pm

Surely even you can see that you're connecting unrelated sentences with ellipses, and trying to pass it off as "a dissemblance" rather than two facts that some people (read *just you*) would put together just because they're in adjacent sentences.

mindaugasdir

November 7, 2014, 9:36 am

these problems are for not original phone. Resellers sells copies. Almost the same, but not have 4G support, like said in this article. You can know its original or not by the cyanogenmod logo on the back. Do not buy phones from resellers. get the invite.

joakin2k

February 12, 2015, 10:38 pm

China version not the international, google it , you lazy pig

Guest

April 15, 2015, 1:32 pm

I thought EE uses 3, 7 and 20 on 4G? Doesn't it need to do all three to work with EE? As I understand it, 20 covers 800Mghz, so is more useful out in the sticks, as it travels further than 3 and 7, which cover higher frequencies.

Anyone know?

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