After making the world wait a little longer than initially anticipated, Android’s 2014 breakout star finally entered the second chapter of its rapid and captivating evolution. Now that OnePlus isn’t exactly an underdog anymore, a wild card or question mark, the expectations are set much higher, which is why some folks believe the 2 is a bitter disappointment.
To remove the subjective facet of the “no-compromise” affordable flagship’s evaluation, we’ll pit the OnePlus 2 against the Samsung Galaxy S6 as follows in a battle mostly centered on numbers and cold facts.
Why the GS6? Well, we realize the two handhelds may not be cut from the same cloth (both figuratively speaking and literally), and there’s quite a massive price gap between them. But OnePlus did pompously trumpet the 2 as a “2016 flagship killer”, and we don’t want to let the Chinese OEM off the hook just yet.
Besides, if the Full HD 5.5 incher manages to at least come close to the excellence of the reigning Quad HD 5.1-inch champ, you know it’ll be able to comfortably outshine its direct rivals in the $300 – $400 range.
OnePlus 2 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 – price and availability comparison
Who’s ready for another irking round of “hunt the OnePlus invite”? Not your favorite online adventure/survival game? Then simply head over to Amazon, and purchase the factory unlocked S6 at $563 in white, $570 in blue, $573 in black or $580 in gold.
On-contract, Sprint and Verizon charge $200 via everyone’s favorite e-retailer, while AT&T is ready to let you have the “next big thing” for $0 down with device financing. Sounds fair all in all, yet poor sales numbers will reportedly force Sammy to execute reductions worldwide.
Already, T-Mobile sells the Galaxy S6 at $580 outright in lieu of the $680 MSRP.
Meanwhile, if divine patience is your strongest suit, the OnePlus 2 will be available (not so) soon starting at $329 in a 16 GB configuration and $389 when capable of accommodating 64 gigs of data. Seems well worth the wait, doesn’t it?
Design and build quality
By no means an ugly slab, the new kid on the block pales in comparison to the majestic “veteran”, despite sharing a number of technical similarities. The metal frame somehow feels flimsier on the OnePlus 2, and though we certainly dig the choice of StyleSwap covers, none of the optional backplates are as stylish and premium as the only variant on the S6 – the beautiful Gorilla Glass.
Supplementary screen real estate obviously produces a larger overall footprint for the OnePlus 2, which measures 151.8 mm in height and 74.9 mm in width, as opposed to 143.4 and 70.5 respectively. Now, that doesn’t work as an alibi for the chunkier profile also (9.9 vs 6.8 mm), but as you’ll see below, battery capacity mostly justifies the extra bulk.
Speaking of, the OnePlus 2 tips the scales at 175 grams, a full 37 grams more than the S6.
Display and cameras
Is Quad HD resolution a gimmick? To each their own, but we’re absolutely sure of this – on paper, the 5.1-inch Super AMOLED and 5.5-inch LTPS LCD panels set side by side here are as different as chalk and cheese.
The pixel density gap is staggering, and whatever you might tell yourselves to sleep better at night, it’s noticeable. 577 vs 401 ppi? We’ll take the former, thank you very much, given the choice and plentiful budget.
Another no-contest victory recommends the S6 as the far superior photographic machine, thanks to a 16 megapixel rear-facing camera endowed with everything from LED flash to speedy autofocus and optical image stabilization.
The lower-cost antagonist itself comes brimming of high-end add-ons and optimizations, but at the end of the day, sports a mediocre 13 MP sensor. Selfie fanatics have nothing to worry about, regardless of the manufacturer choice, as both Samsung and OnePlus provide 5 MP front shooters.
Processor and battery life
OnePlus and Qualcomm insist all overheating woes are behind the otherwise potent octa-core Snapdragon 810 chip, but until we see the 2 in action, we’d rather keep our skeptical hats on. Besides, even if the SoC is fully stable, it’s likely throttled and thus incapable of matching Exynos 7420’s dominant raw power.
Or its energy efficiency, which boosts the paltry 2,550 mAh cell to respectable durability figures of around 17 hours in continuous 3G talk time. Nonetheless, a 3,300 mAh juicer is a 3,300 mAh juicer, and if something doesn’t go terribly wrong, OnePlus 2’s autonomy should circle 24 hours.
RAM, storage, software and others
Are 4 gigs of random-access memory overkill? That’s up to debate, much like the Quad HD display controversy. Seeing as how we awarded a point to the Galaxy S6 in the screen res section though, we’ll do the same here as far as the OnePlus 2 is concerned.
The heavyweight contender starts off with 3 GB RAM in combination with a 16 GB ROM, only requiring a $60 premium to upgrade to 4 and 64 gigabytes. Meanwhile, all three storage configurations of the current champion (32/64/128 GB) are decked with “just” 3 gigs of memory.
Software-wise, the Android 5.1 Lollipop roots look identical, with proprietary customizations and “optimizations” making the end products run nothing alike. We’re hesitant to proclaim a clear winner, as the decision comes down to personal preference.
Those who favor cleaner, more simplistic and minimalistic takes on Google’s mobile OS will endorse the Oxygen UI on the OnePlus 2, with fans of bloatware bells and whistles better serviced by TouchWiz.
What else? Before you think it, no, you can’t expand the on-board storage via microSD slots on neither device. Nor can you take the two for swims without causing catastrophic damage. On the biometric authentication front, there’s plenty of fingerprint support to go around, and the gimmicky futuristic sensors are hidden inside similar home buttons.
As the younger gadget, the OnePlus 2 was able to incorporate a cutting-edge technology that the GS6 didn’t have access to back in March. Namely, reversible USB Type-C connectivity. Merely one of the many reasons the cheaper phone isn’t necessarily the worse gizmo, and deserves consideration from cash-strapped power users.
2016 flagship killer? Not even close. 2015 flagship equal? Pretty much.