‘Flagship Killer’ as a term was widely used across by several media agencies, news publications as well as the brand itself when the OnePlus One was out or was in the nascent launch stages. The whole communication last year revolved around making sure that smart customers were well informed that here is a product that is set to surpass what the very best of the established players had to offer and thus, ‘Flagship Killer’ was always justified given that the OnePlus One at its launch had everything and better than the flagship at that point of time.
However, fast forward to 2015 and things are a little different. With the launch of the OnePlus Two just happening, there is not a lot of mention of ‘Flagship Killer’ as a term. Yes the odd tweet/ video here and there and a mention or two, but by no means as much as last year where it was a mandate. It has been more about solidifying the position in the market and riding on the hype of the successor to one of the blockbuster releases of last year for OnePlus as far as the OnePlus 2 is concerned. And we are glad to an extent that there has been less talk of flagship killing as there are multiple reasons why the OnePlus 2 is not really the ‘Flagship Killer’ that its predecessor was. Here are some of those reasons:
The 1080P display
The OnePlus 2 comes with a 1080P display instead of the 2K display that has become bit of an industry standard when it comes to flagships. LG has got it on the LG G4, Samsung has it on the Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge while HTC has it on the HTC One M9+. OnePlus definitely can justify that going with 1080P has curtailed some of the performance issues that the above flagships have faced including less than ordinary battery life and that there is very little difference that a human eye can make in between a 1080P and a Quad HD display. However, the fact remains, in future content will be produced in 2K/4K and you need a display with the highest resolution possible on the market if you are investing in something that will last you a good couple of years. So, while the whole screen game may not be a deal breaker, it is most definitely a missing weapon in the arsenal here.
No NFC on board
It is hard to digest that the OnePlus 2 does not come with an NFC chip on board. There has been no official statement about the same and why did OnePlus ignore NFC, but in the world where we are looking at mobile payments being a serious option, lack of NFC could put the phone a couple of notches behind. Pretty much every flagship device today, comes with NFC on board, in fact, the OnePlus One too came with NFC on board. Therefore, no NFC is a glaring miss and perhaps one that will come back to hit the users who buy the phone in the future once mobile payments go full scale up. Not just mobile payments, as an alternate wireless connection to the speakers, the absence of NFC will be felt.
Potentially not so good camera
Even before the device was launched, Youtube artist, MKBHD had posted a video review, comparing the camera quality of the OnePlus 2 with some of the other flagship devices so far and frankly the results were very average. Going from being one of the very best camera phones that the OnePlus One was, to a distinctively average camera performance is a bit of a bummer. Yes, Laser Focus will be a welcome addition, but what about no support for RAW images, lack of Manual Controls on the camera as well as the same MegaPixel count as that on the OnePlus One? OnePlus has promised that support for RAW and manual controls will be added, but will the performance of the camera be really improved with a software OTA update? We shall only find out in the due course of time, till that though, we would have liked the camera of the OnePlus Two to have been a little more appealing.
No Fast Charging
As psyched as we were about the USB C-Port, the lack of fast charging is a bit of a bummer. Pretty much every flagship device, today comes with Fast Charge so that, the depleting battery life can be fought against and fast. In fact, the OnePlus One was of the fastest charging devices that we have experienced with a 0 to 100% charge in just over 2 hours time with the enclosed charger. The Samsung Galaxy S6 too has a very interesting fast charging mechanism, so does the M9+ and the LG G4. It is a train that pretty much everyone is jumping on, and one that every flagship device today totally should have on board unless the battery life is absolutely top of the charts.
The Story of OS
The OnePlus One with CyanogenMod 11 was a runaway winner when it came to adding features and customisations on an Android phone on top of stock Android. Post the ugly breakup with CyanogenMod, the OnePlus 2 comes with Oxygen OS 2.0. While it is a clean AOSP ROM, you do wonder if somewhere down the line we will miss out on the customizations of CyanogenMod or added features like Blinkfeed that the likes of HTC have on their flagship phones. OnePlus is new to the game of software given that they had pretty much left that on CyanogenMod to take care of, and you feel that it would be a while before OnePlus could confidently offer you the best-integrated software and hardware experience like they could during the ‘Flagship killer’ days of the OnePlus One. Given that Samsung, LG and HTC have really upped their software game this year, you really feel that this is a critical place where OnePlus may have lost some vital points.
It is easy to put down that bringing pretty much any of the above features on board would have direct implications on the cost of the product, but it is enough to justify that because the OnePlus One did it and OnePlus 2 could not, it possibly is not the ‘Flagship Killer’ that it was billed to be and perhaps even before we could say it, OnePlus knew it.