Before I start discussing my opinion, I want to clarify some things. Firstly, I think that OnePlus makes decent Android phones (I owned the OnePlus 3T and enjoyed it). I appreciate the raw horsepower they fit into the phone and I adore their Android skin.
The reason I am writing this article is not because of the product itself but rather due to the practices of the company as a whole. These practices do not affect the company’s (or their product’s) competence significantly, but I fear that they may in the future due to their rise and increase throughout OnePlus.
In addition, I am not hating on the company at all or at a personal level. Some people may say that I am an Apple fanboy that gets kicks out of mocking Android companies, and while I do like Apple products, I also enjoy Android products as well.
In fact, I have used Android phones longer than I have iPhones, whether they were made by Samsung, OnePlus or Motorola. I have enjoyed my time with their OS thoroughly, but I just got tired of it eventually. This is simply my opinion, but one I urge you to consider before you buy your next smartphone.
In October of 2017, OnePlus was caught collecting data from people who used their phones. In their defense, they were getting this data via secure connections but the details behind said collection are best described as shady. While many other smartphone manufacturers and companies collect analytics from their phones (Samsung, Apple, etc.), they all ask permission from the user to do so. This prompt is displayed right on the start-up screen on most devices.
I bring this up about the OnePlus company because OnePlus never asked the user if they could collect the data. And mind you, this data not only includes crash reports and bugs, it also includes your phone number, MAC address and the detailed usage habits of the apps and websites stored and visited on your device.
Admittedly, Google and other companies do this too, but at least they gave you an option to limit it and control it initially. Since this enormous scandal, OnePlus has added options to dismiss parts of the analytics collection, but this experience has made me lose trust in the company. If they did this without saying a word to its consumers and users, who knows what clandestine tactics they will resort to in the future?
Frequent Phone Releases
While OnePlus makes a good product, their release schedule is not appealing to me as a consumer. I have always looked at phones for their long-term value alongside their capabilities, and I like to hold on to the best, newest phone hardware for at least a year. I have this expectation because I have received this treatment from other phone companies like Google and Apple, and I believe that this is a great upgrade plan because holding on to the newest phone for a year before it becomes old is great value for money.
So when I bought my OnePlus 3T and I saw that there would be a new, more powerful OnePlus phone coming out in the next six months, I was far from pleased. I spent $500 on my phone only to have it be scrapped of its flagship status only six months later. This is not the biggest deal, but it means that you have less time to enjoy the newest phone hardware no matter how often you upgrade.
When I buy a brand-new phone from other smartphone companies (some that even sell cheaper, more valuable phones for the money) I can use that phone for a year, knowing full well that I have the latest hardware from that company. This not only limits the life of the product, it also shows just how desperate OnePlus is for your money.
A pattern of Increases in Prices
When the first OnePlus phone came out (the OnePlus One), it put the company on the map of the smartphone industry. It offered good specs and solid build quality in a modern package that cost only $300. People were used to the $700-$800 range of smartphones back then and OnePlus took the consumers by storm.
However, this was only the case in the beginning. Over the years, the prices of OnePlus phones grew at a steady rate, currently climaxing at $630 for this year’s OnePlus 6. I bring this up only because of my next point.
Lack of New Features and Competitive Nature
When OnePlus released the OnePlus One, it was revolutionary because of what it brought to the table for such a low price; a solid build paired with an exotic sandstone backplate, powerful specs, 3GB of RAM (a lot at the time) and a smooth, close-to-stock version of Android known as CyanogenMod.
It shook the world and most probably got the attention of CEOs from big companies such as Apple and Samsung. Never before had such a bang-for-the-buck phone been released. I mention this to further elaborate on the company’s gradual yet noticeable decline in pushing the boundaries and delivering something special.
Nowadays, if you buy a OnePlus phone ($500-$630) the only distinguishable thing you get in return is the supercharged specs. I understand that the specs are amazing and make the phone a great deal, but it is a little upsetting when a company charges close to the cost of flagships from other companies that bring more distinguished, polished and unique features to the table.
Take the Google Pixel 2 for instance. It delivers clean, stock android, arguably the best camera on a smartphone (at this moment), high-end specs, water resistance and guaranteed updates delivered by the owners of Android themselves.
In comparison, the OnePlus 6 delivers an average camera (albeit even more powerful specs), no waterproofing and, as reported by numerous OnePlus customers, horrible customer service regarding repairs and communication. I may sound like the most obnoxious of haters, but I only say these harsh words because I am genuinely concerned with the future of this company and the future of the product it created that I so thoroughly enjoyed.
I understand that my opinion doesn’t matter and that OnePlus is too busy rolling around in money to care about it. At first, I was hesitant to make this article because I knew I was slandering a company that was and still is adored by many today. However, I ultimately decided to pull the trigger and start typing it. Now, as I am nearing the conclusion of this article and furiously clacking away at my keyboard, I can only think of how much fun I had with the OnePlus 3T.
Sure, it had an average camera and a forgettable build, but it was the first phone I had that delivered top-of-the-line specs. Now, after owning many more that deliver the same power and cost close to the same price, I realize that I liked the phone only for its price and its quick charging, something that blew my mind at the time. That was $100 ago and now that I look at the $630 OnePlus 6, I grow sad.
I realize that the company keeps raising its price but only offers great specs and minor improvements in each new flagship. I type this article not out of rage, jealousy or hatred but out of concern and lack of excitement. The future does not look bright for OnePlus in my eyes.
If you are a person that upgrades phones twice a year, then I’m sure you have every incentive to go with the company’s offerings. As for me, I hold on to my phones for at least a year. If you are the same or if you want a phone that delivers the best a company has released to last 12 months, I ask you to think twice before buying a OnePlus phone.
With all of that despair and depression out of the way, I am curious to know what you think about the OnePlus company and about smartphones in general. Do you approve of OnePlus’s business model or do you frown upon it the same way I do? Leave your opinions and thoughts in the comments below; I am always interested in different takes on the issue at hand.