When OnePlus arrived first in India with the OnePlus 1, there was the predictable confusion around the name. From people asking if the name was OnePlus or Plus One, to the many individuals who assumed there was a +1 freebie of some sort with every model you bought. After all, the phone sold only by invitation, one of the clearer marketing tactics employed in the handset category in years. People were begging, trading and doing much more to get a prized ‘invite’ In a category that was racing towards getting commoditised in the first wave of Chinese manufacturers entering India directly. This was a daring, and refreshing approach.
Touted as the flagship killer, the phone most importantly did not disappoint, offering up a solid combination of memory, screen size, processor and battery at a then remarkable value price.The firm eventually sold over 1.5 million units globally.
But One Plus managed to slip up, despite such a strong, and by their own admission, ‘lucky ‘ start. With the One Plus 2. launched in quick succession to capitalise on the momentum, the OnePlus 1 had built the One Plus 2, while not a disaster, was a damp squib. In retrospect, while issues cited for its ‘failure’ have ranged from the processor to customer support, to even not having NFC and much more, we believe the fundamental issue was that the firm was not geared for going mainstream, so quickly from its ‘invite only’ approach that had served to generate so much goodwill.
TMI’s Review of OnePlus 2:The problematic areas in the OnePlus 2 are unlocking the device, fingerprint scanner, battery backup and camera app. It is not that these issues cannot be solved through software updates, but it needs to be seen how fast does OnePlus do it and more importantly they have to be OTA updates.
Also, In between One Plus also experimented with a new device called OnePlus X which in our opinion was an average device. It had issues with its camera, and its glossy body was not liked by many users.
June 2016 saw the launch of the One Plus 3 in India, and in November last year, the company followed up with the One Plus 3T. And the lessons had been well learnt. Both the handsets delivered on the strongest suit of One Plus, the value for money equation, even as they built on the ‘quality’and ‘exclusive’ image of the brand. It can be argued that for the discerning and well-heeled Indian buyer, the One Plus has done much more in its short life to improve perceptions of China-made handsets, than Chinese players in the market for much much longer. This time, despite the low interval between the One Plus 3 and the OnePlus 3T, users didn’t quibble too much, as the evolved OnePlus buyer could see that the OnePlus 3T offered a few bells and whistles extra, for a little extra. Importantly, the company met its promises on the update to Nougat and more.
TMI’s take of OnePlus 3T and 3:OnePlus 3T is easily the best smartphone of 2016 when we consider ‘Value for Money’ proposition. Else, it would still make the top five along with the OnePlus 3. If your budget is around Rs 30,000, this is the best piece of hardware and software from OnePlus so far. However, if you own a OnePlus 3, it is not necessary for you to upgrade to OnePlus 3T. There are some devices in this price range but no one comes even close to what the 3 and the 3T has to offer.
So what should one expect from the OnePlus 5? All most everything has been leaked about the device – right from display size, processor, memory and camera, except the final pricing. Most importantly, we do hope the firm does not spring the wrong sort of surprise on the pricing front with the One Plus 5, as that remains its biggest USP yet, and not in a cheap way. The OnePlus remains one of the brands to show off, even if it has been priced 25 to 45% lower than brands and handsets with comparable features. A pricing misstep could lead to a repeat of the One Plus 2 situation, despite the firm having improved its support and other on ground support appreciably.
We are waiting.