OnePlus 2 is a new generation of flagship killer

— 8:06 AM on July 28, 2015

Smartphone maker OnePlus has pulled back the curtain on its second smartphone, the OnePlus 2. The sequel to last year's OnePlus One brings both upgraded specs and an upgraded body in an affordable package. The company unveiled the phone in a slick YouTube video and a launch event in VR.

The OnePlus 2 uses a 5.5" 1920x1080 LED-backlit IPS LCD display covered with Corning's Gorilla Glass. OnePlus claims the screen has a 1500:1 contrast ratio. The OP2 is supported by an upgraded frame made from an aluminum and magnesium alloy that OnePlus designed for maximum cellular reception and thermal control.

Below the display is a lone physical button that houses a fingerprint sensor that can be used to unlock the phone quickly. The OP2 stores up to five fingerprints for one-touch security. The button functions as the home key, as well, and it's flanked by capacitive, backlit buttons for the back and recent app functions. OnePlus says that the capacitive buttons can be disabled in favor of on-screen controls, as well.

The back cover of the phone is swappable, and OnePlus will sell covers made from a variety of materials. OnePlus describes the default Black Sandstone finish as smooth yet grippy. Other covers will come with exotic woods such as bamboo, rosewood, and black apricot wood. Kevlar will also be available, with its pattern reminiscent of Motorola's Droid phones.

On the inside, the OnePlus 2 looks like many of this year's flagship phones. OnePlus notes that the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 it uses is the cooler-running version 2.1 of the high-end SoC. A large 3300 mAh battery powers the phone, and a USB 3.1 Type-C port handles data transfer and charging.

The OP2's wireless connectivity matches the latest and greatest smartphones, as well. The 2 is equipped with 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1, and support for HSPA and LTE. Based on the bands listed on the specs page, it should work with both AT&T's and T-Mobile's 3G and LTE networks. A CDMA radio isn't on board, so don't expect the OP2 to work on Verizon or Sprint.

OnePlus also beefed up its flagship killer's camera. The rear shooter boasts the same 13-megapixel count as its predecessor, but those pixels are much larger at 1.3 micrometers. Larger pixels means more light can get into the sensor, and more light-gathering abililty should translate into better low-light performance. The camera features a six-element lens with an f/2 aperture, laser focus assist for faster focusing, and a dual-LED flash. The 2's rear camera can record video at resolutions up to 4K and slow-motion, 120fps video at 720p. The front camera is less exciting, but it does have a five-megapixel sensor.

A customized version of Android 5.1 that OnePlus calls OxygenOS runs the show. It's supposed to offer "a pure Android experience with powerful enhancements."

The OP2 will come in two configurations: one with 3GB of RAM and 16GB of eMMC flash storage, and another with 4GB of RAM and 64GB of flash. The device does not have a microSD slot. Pricing is not available on OnePlus's website, but according to Android Central's report from the launch event, the 3GB/16GB version will sell for $329 and the 4GB/64GB version will sell for $389. 

Last year, OnePlus disrupted the flagship smartphone segment with its low-cost, high-spec One. At first, the OnePlus One was available by invitation only. With time, OnePlus relaxed that requirement and eventually dropped it altogether. The OnePlus 2 brings back the invitation-only system, which OnePlus says will help them to manage demand from a community that has grown exponentially since the previous launch. As of this writing, there are already more than 450,000 on the waiting list for an invitiation. I am number 450,159.

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