What's more, the OnePlus 2's camera app is also a bit rubbish.
Features-wise it’s perfectly fine. It just doesn’t offer as intuitive operation as almost any other manufacturer-made alternative and there are a fair few bugs. For example, when looking through photos post-shoot you can’t zoom into them properly without them pinging back to the full-frame view as soon as you take your fingers off the screen.
Then there’s the HDR mode. OnePlus’s take on this dynamic-range-increasing mode is horribly un-subtle, often turbo-charging colours so that they lose all sense of realism. This was true of the OnePlus One too, and it’s a shame OnePlus hasn’t patched this up, given how great Samsung, LG and Apple’s HDR modes are these days.
Still a fine shooter
So far, the OnePlus 2’s camera probably sounds dreadful, doesn’t it? Well it isn’t. As much as OnePlus could have put a bit more effort into the software, the hardware is on the money.
Just using the default Auto mode, you get almost universally decent photos, with superb sharpness/detail and very good dynamic range for a phone sensor. While we don’t want to put too much focus on the numbers, one of the interesting things about the Omnivision sensor used here is that while it’s lower-res than its most direct Sony rivals, it’s pretty large at 1/2.6-inch, giving it 1.3 micron pixels.
There’s a slight tendency to overexpose scenes that should look somewhat darkish, and its obsession with preserving highlights can leave the occasional foreground looking a bit dull, but there’s nothing like the exposure issues that trip up the HTC One M9.
It’s pretty good at night shooting too. The OnePlus 2 has OIS, letting it use fairly long exposures without demanding you have hands stiller than a block of stone. It can still produce detailed photos at night, rivalling the Galaxy S6.
Given the ₹22,999 price, it’s a great camera. There are just better ones out there.
One of the more interesting elements to the OnePlus 2 camera is the focal length. It’s roughly 35mm in the usual camera standard, giving you a much more zoomed-in view than most other phones, which tend to stick around the 27-28mm mark.
It’s not great news if you want to take photos of every single meal you eat and not much else, as you’ll have to hold your hands a way above the plate. However, it’s the perfect lens style for everyday street photography. That’s 90 per cent of what mobile photography is, once you filter out the selfies and shots of people’s dinners. There’s some work to be done in subsequent updates, but it’s already a fun camera to shoot with.
To finish things off, there’s a pretty powerful dual-LED flash, it supports 4K video and slo-mo video. And you get a decent 5-megapixel selfie camera on the front.
A long drink of water
It has a 3300mAh battery, far outclassing the other 1080p phones in this class. The HTC One M9 has a 2840mAh battery, for example.
Playing a MP4 720p movie on loop the OnePlus 2 lasts for 11 and a half hours off a charge. That’s a good result that matches the Galaxy S6 and betters the HTC One M9. However, day-to-day I've found the OnePlus 2 outperforms all the other big-name flagships, flattening in particular the HTC One M9 and LG G4 on stamina.
You can still drain the thing down in a day if you really go for it with gaming and downloading stuff over 4G, but getting a good day and a half off a charge is a doddle. I’m not promising two days’ charge, because if you’re reading this and have made it this far, there’s a good chance you’re a bit of a phone enthusiast. And we tend to chomp away at battery pretty quick, right?
Anything else to cover? Well, there’s the speaker. It’s a single unit that sits on the bottom edge of the OnePlus 2. And while it looks like there are two speaker grilles for it, the sound only actually comes out of one of them. The positioning is exactly like the Galaxy S6’s, although the sound lacks some of that phone’s mid-range beefiness. Sound quality is fair, but isn’t going to impress you that much unless you’ve been listening to the phone speaker equivalent of cup-and-string walkie talkies to date.
OnePlus 2 verdict
OnePlus has done it again. The OnePlus 2 massively undercuts the big-name competition while offering a phone experience pretty similar to them.
Good software, good performance and battery life that far exceeds some of the ₹50,000-odd competition make this one of the easiest top-tier phones to live with. Some of the others have better cameras, but even this isn’t really a weak area. Not at ₹20,999.
What are the weak areas? Considering the price, there's nothing serious enough to threaten our double-barrelled thumbs-up. The lack of microSD support might disappoint a few of the hardcore phone fans, but other than that the only flaw that might really put you off is simply how much of a pain the OnePlus 2 is to get hold of.