Review

OnePlus 2 review – from a privacy and security perspective


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Review of: OnePlus 2
Price:
$329

Reviewed by:
Rating:
4
On August 27, 2015
Last modified:September 2, 2015

Summary:

In our OnePlus 2 review we explore all the safety, security and privacy features for complete peace of mind. If you like the OnePlus then the 2 won't disappoint

oneplus_2_review_banner

We’ve had the fantastic opportunity of doing our OnePlus 2 review alongside our old OnePlus One, and we can truly say we weren’t disappointed. While the phone isn’t for everyone, the price point, security features and quality is absolutely outstanding.

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Pricing

The OnePlus 2 follows in the footsteps of it’s earlier generation, and once more the company has branded it as a flagship killer! Looking at it purely from a price point of $329 ($389 for the 64GB model) this is more than true. Of course, there is a glitch.
Like with the previous version, you will need an invite and at the time of writing there are nearly 4.5 million waiting on the list so you could be waiting for a while. There are some popping up on eBay, but these are either suspiciously low-priced or ridiculously more expensive.oneplus-2-review

Overall Features

There are plenty of in-depth reviews of the OnePlus 2 around already, dispite it only being available for purchase for just over two weeks. Therefore, we won’t go into the overall specifications too much, instead we will focus primarily on the security and privacy aspects. If you’re looking for some great, overall, hands-on reviews have a look at Engadget and TechRadar.

 

 

OnePlus 2 Samasung Galaxy S6 iPhone 6
Processor 1.8Ghz Octa-core 1.5Ghz Quad-core 1.4Ghz Dual-core
RAM 4GB 3GB 1GB
Memory 64GB 64GB 64GB
Screen 5.5″ 5.1″ 4.7″
Camera 13MP 16MP 8MP
Size 151.8*74.9*9.85mm 143.4 x 70.5 x 6.8 mm 138.1 x 67 x 6.9 mm
Battery 3,300mAh 2500mAh 1810mAh
Price $389 585 $749

 

Based on the specs the OnePlus 2 is a great phone. While there is no NFC or external storage, most people will not be missing this and with Dual-Sim capabilities and fantastic specs we are truely in awe with this phone.

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Security & Privacy

The biggest change when it comes to the software of the OnePlus 2 is that it has now moved from Cyanogen to Oxygen (both if which are based on Android Lolipop) which is more of a “real OS”. What we mean by this, is that only the kernel will be open source. This is somewhat of the disappointment, as Cyanogen was mostly open source which allowed people to create patches, fixes and could generally be checked for faults.

Many of the common privacy features have been transferred over to the Oxygen operating system, and in our opinion they are a lot easier to manage and handle. While there are reports that some more in-depth superuser settings will not be available we feel that most of these were unnecessary unless you are extremely cautious in which case you’re likely to prefer using custom ROMs anyway.

 oneplus-2-privacy oneplus-2-security 2015-08-27 12.25.57 2015-08-27 12.26.04

The popular App permissions are back, and now you can access these even quicker from the main settings menu. This is a great feature which allows you to override the default app permission settings which will not only save some battery but also protect your privacy. Unfortunately, there is still no overall override so you will have to go through the painstaking process of doing it for every application that you use. We’d personally recommend disabling location and contacts access for most applications can do without. Unsurprisingly, Facebook apps require the most permissions by far, and we ended up disabling nearly all of them.

The most noticeable difference when it comes to locking your phone, is the addition of a fingerprint scanner. We tested ours and had no problems, but there are reports to the contrary. For the moment, we are going to stick with the classic lock mechanisms as we believe it’s only a matter of time before this technology is hacked. It’s already been proved to be possible in the physical sense but we’re more worried about hackers stealing our biometric data.

From then on, you have your phone encryption, credential storage and some other useful security settings which can help protect your data even more.

Lastly, there is a built in VPN application which you can use to help secure your internet connection. This only support PPTP, L2TP and IPSec so we’d recommend installing a providers application that also allows OpenVPN, a list of which you can find here.

Support

The great thing about the OnePlus is the community that is based around it. The forum is extremely active and you will be able to find the solution to any problem you have, and have all your questions answered. The live chat provided by the OnePlus team is also superb should the forum not provide you with solace.

Hands On

Physically

Physically the OnePlus 2 is about the same as its predecessor but if you’re not used to larger phones, then it might surprise you. The big change on this front is that they have moved the volume buttons to the right-hand side, and the left-hand side now features a notifications slider. While this does take some getting used to it’s not a huge issue.

2015-08-26 12.42.56

You’re also able to get custom StyleSnap covers for your phone, in five different flavours: Sandstone Black, Bamboo, Kevlar, Rosewood, and Black Apricot. We got the first three of these and weren’t disappointed. It took us back to the time of Nokias, but unfortunately you will probably still want a phone protector.

oneplus-2-snap-backcover

The OnePlus 2 Oxygen OS

Again, we won’t go into much detail here since most of the big websites have already covered this. However, there is one new addition that most users will love or hate – the Shelf. When you swipe to the right on your homepage, this will appear with your favourite apps and frequent contacts, but you can add apps and widgets to it as well.
Personally I really enjoy it as I like to keep my home screen empty and distraction free.

OnePlus-2-Shelf

OnePlus 2 Review Conclusion

We liked

  • Superb specs
  • Great security
  • Fantastic customization options
  • Dual-sim capability

We weren’t so sure about

  • OxygenOS instead of CyanogenMod
  • Finger print scanner can be hit or miss
  • StyleSwap covers are great but don’t really protect your phone

We hated

  • No NFC

On the whole the OnePlus 2 follows adequately in the footsteps of the OnePlus One as you’ve probably noticed from this OnePlus 2 review. While some features that people might find useful are missing overall it’s brilliant. While it is cheap and more than worth its value if you have phone that is less than a year old, then it’s probably not worthing in just yet. Especially since there are already rumours of a OnePlus 3 coming later this year.

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Peter Selmeczy I am an engineer by trade and tech geek by night, who's passionate about sharing his knowledge with the people. Find me on Google+.

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    Leave your views here on this on this amazing phone.

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