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OnePlus One vs OnePlus 2: What’s the difference and should I upgrade?

With the OnePlus 2 finally on sale, we thought we’d see how it stacks up against its predecessor to decide whether it’s a worthy upgrade.

OnePlus One vs OnePlus 2: At a glance

  OnePlus One OnePlus 2
Weight 162 grams 175 grams
Screen size 5.5-inches 5.5-inches
Screen resolution Full HD (1920×1080) Full HD (1920×1080)
Processor 2.5GHz Snapdragon 801 quad-core 1.8GHz Snapdragon 810 octa-core
Storage 64GB 16GB/64GB
4G Yes Yes
Rear camera 13-megapixel 13-megapixel w/ OIS & laser autofocus
Front camera 5-megapixel 5-megapixel
Price £219 £239/£289

OnePlus One vs OnePlus 2: Design

If you’re a fan of the original OnePlus look and feel, you’ll be pleased to hear the company has stayed true to its roots with the successor. It’s shorter and narrower, but almost imperceptibly thicker and heavier.

Cosmetically the biggest changes are the addition of a fingerprint sensor now residing below the display and the fact that the rear camera module has been shifted down from the top-most position on the phone’s back. It doesn’t look quite as elegant in this regard, but the phone more than makes up for it with a new precision milled aluminium frame that gives the OnePlus 2 a significantly more premium overall feel.

OnePlus 2 Design

The sides of the frame see plastic hardware buttons replaced by more tactile metal ones and there’s now a dedicated three-stage profile switching toggle on the phone’s left side which is great for pushing the phone onto silent before entering a meeting or the cinema, without having to fumble through on-screen settings. Unlike the One, the capacitive keys are now customisable too, so you can alter which side serves as the app switcher and which is the back button.

Both phones are all about customisation and like its predecessor; OnePlus has given the 2 new StyleSwap covers in an array of exotic materials, from carbon fibre to rosewood, bamboo (a favourite on the One) and black apricot. Even the standard Sandstone black treatment has been refined for a more comfortable feel in the hand and the covers are now easier to swap out.

OnePlus One vs OnePlus 2: Screen and media

In the flesh it seems that both phones sport exactly the same display. Whichever handset you side with you’re offered up an expansive 5.5-inch Full HD LCD panel which packs great maximum brightness as well as accurate colours and whites. More extreme viewing angles do take a slight toll on brightness and colour but overall both phones are evenly matched in this regard and should ensure you can enjoy your movies on the go.

OnePlus One vs OnePlus 2 screens

The new metal frame features machine-drilled holes at the OnePlus 2’s base to accommodate a speaker grille. Sound quality is on par with last year’s One and as before you run the risk of obscuring it with your palm if you hold the phone at all awkwardly. That said, it’s a fully serviceable unit that complements videos, even if it isn’t a suitable replacement for a good set of headphones.

OnePlus One vs OnePlus 2: Performance and battery life

Swiping around the Cyanogen mod-based interface on the OnePlus One and the new Oxygen OS-UI on the OnePlus 2, you’d be hard pressed to see the difference in performance, but under the hood, the newcomer is well and truly future-proofed for more intensive apps and fast multitasking.

In place of the quad-core Snapdragon 801 chip, the OnePlus 2 boasts Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 810 octa-core processor and what’s more it’s backed up by faster DDR4 RAM (most other smartphones right now are using DDR3 RAM).

OnePlus One vs OnePlus 2 performance

At this late stage in the OnePlus One’s life, you’re now limited to the 64GB storage option, which comes with 3GB of RAM whereas the OnePlus 2’s 16GB variant packs 3GB of RAM and the 64GB model packs a mighty 4GB of RAM – more memory means better performance across the board and the OnePlus 2 is clearly superior in this regard.

There’s a subtler difference between the power plants in these two handsets. 2015’s OnePlus receives a small 200mAh capacity increase, offering up 3300mAh overall. Whichever phone you pick however, you can expect solid battery life of around two days from either handset there’s still no fast or wireless charging functionality to speak of though.

OnePlus One vs OnePlus 2: Cameras

Pick up either of these handsets and you’re treated to a 5-megapixel front-facing snapper and a 13-megapixel rear camera. Image quality on the OnePlus One was never best-in-class, but it’s good enough for most users and you’re treated to other high-end extras like 4K and slow-motion video recording too.

OnePlus 2 camera

The OnePlus 2’s rear camera uses the same sized sensor, but borrows from newer flagships like LG’s G4, adding a laser autofocus sensor for fast focusing and OIS (optical image stabilisation) which will help smooth out video and ensure stills look pin sharp. Picture quality won’t give the likes of the Galaxy S6 cause for concern, but the new OnePlus gives you accurate colours, a fast shutter and consistent all-round performance.

OnePlus One vs OnePlus 2: Verdict

Whichever way you sway, you’re getting a stellar smartphone experience here. The OnePlus One is naturally more accessible for the time being as the OnePlus 2 falls back on the company’s old launch strategy of an exclusive invite system. Provided you do make it onto the list however, there’s only a small price increase to make it from last year’s hardware to this year’s.

OnePlus 2 boxes

The new OnePlus 2 features considered updates over its predecessor and yet retains an amazingly low price tag in the process. If you can swing for the 64GB model (which is still under £300), you get the extra gig of RAM and enough power to tackle the more expensive flagships out there right now, which would be the one we’d put money on.

Read next: Our full OnePlus 2 review

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