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OnePlus One Review

The OnePlus One has an off-contract price starting at only $299, but don’t call this smartphone cheap. Hiding behind the OnePlus One’s 5.5-inch HD screen is some high-end hardware.

Camera: Photo Quality

In this section, you will find a selection of sample images taken with the OnePlus One. All of them were taken in Auto mode unless noted. You can view the original full-resolution pictures by clicking the text links below the photo albums.

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Full Size Images: [OnePlus One dawn sample: HDR, f/2, 1/145 sec, ISO 100], [OnePlus One daylight sample: HDR, f/2, 1/948 sec, ISO 101]

Both of these daylight pictures, the one on the left taken at dawn, used HDR to brighten up the shadows cast by the buildings. In both pictures, the One automatically sets the ISO to be very low, which keeps the noise level low, and the 13 MP sensor captures a lot of detail. However, the post-processing used to create the HDR effect reduces the detail level somewhat. Unfortunately, we don’t have versions of these particular images shot in Auto to demonstrate this, but we do have examples in our HDR section below.

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Full Size Images: [OnePlus One night sample: f/2, 1/10 sec, ISO 1800], [OnePlus One indoors sample: f/2, 1/33 sec, ISO 500]

In the sample image taken at night, the One’s Auto mode had difficulty setting the correct exposure. The image shown here was obtained after multiple attempts and manually setting the exposure point. The shutter speed was rather slow we’re surprised the image turned out as sharp as it did. At ISO 1800 there is quite a lot of noise across the whole image.

The indoor sample on the right, taken in a shopping mall, turned out well, if a little dull. Also, the noise at ISO 500 is minimal.

HDR Mode

OnePlus One HDR sample: f/2, 1/488 sec, ISO 100

The HDR mode on the One does produce images that are a little more processed and unnatural looking than those produced by the same mode on the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S5. Despite this, the photo above is a great example of how HDR can brighten darker areas of an image, in this case everything at street level was in shadow. Some noise does appear on the cars in the left of the image where the shadow was more pronounced.

A little further down the street was the Javits Center where it was opening day for the New York Comic Con. Unfortunately, we were too busy working and didn’t get to attend. All we got was this picture of what we assumed to be celebrities in the black van getting a police escort.

Unlike the Galaxy S5, the One does not leverage the Snapdragon 801’s ISP to preview how the HDR effect will look in the viewfinder before you take a picture. Also, in this mode there is approximately a five second delay between shots.

Since the One’s HDR is a post-processing effect, you do lose a little detail when shooting in this mode as seen in the comparison images below.

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Full Size Images: [OnePlus One sample: AUTO, f/2, 1/1150 sec, ISO-100], [OnePlus One sample: HDR, f/2, 1/1127 sec, ISO-101], [OnePlus One Auto & HDR comparison 100% crop]

Looking at the third image in this slideshow, you can see that the tree and car in the background have lost some fine detail. However, the amount of detail lost when using HDR isn’t immense, and in most cases it’s a reasonable tradeoff that results in a better image.

Macro Mode

OnePlus One macro sample: f/2, 1/24 sec, ISO 359

The photo above, shot with the Macro focus mode manually turned on, shows that the OnePlus One is capable of great macro shots. You can see that it captured all the fine detail in the driver’s helmet, and this was taken with the phone being held approximately 10 cm from the subject.

Slow Shutter Mode

OnePlus One Slow Shutter night sample: f/2, 8 sec, ISO 39

The One has a Slow Shutter mode that lets you set the shutter speed anywhere from 0.5 to 8 seconds. While the primary purpose of this mode is to help when taking shots in extremely low light conditions, at its longer settings you can use it to create some interesting effects like the picture above. However, you do need to have the One mounted on a tripod to keep it steady during the long exposure time, which we clearly didn’t have when we took this picture!

Front-Facing Camera Performance

OnePlus One front camera sample: f/2, 1/5 sec, ISO 565

The above image was taken with the 5 MP front-facing camera. While it turned out decent, in the lower light conditions indoors at night the One set the shutter speed to only 1/5 second, impacting the picture’s sharpness due to hand shake. In better lighting conditions, we were able to take a crisper image at a higher shutter speed. While the 5 MP images from this camera don’t hold a candle to what the main camera can produce, they are a lot better quality than those taken with most other smartphone front cameras.

Additional Sample Image Slideshow

In the slideshow below you can see a variety of additional images taken with the OnePlus One. As with the previous sample images, they were taken in Auto mode unless noted.

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Full Size Images:
OnePlus One indoor sample: f/2, 1/33 sec, ISO 800
OnePlus One indoor sample: f/2, 1/33 sec, ISO 900
OnePlus One indoor sample: f/2, 1/50 sec, ISO 400
OnePlus One indoor sample HDR: f/2, 1/20 sec, ISO 800
OnePlus One indoor sample with flash: f/2, 1/10 sec, ISO 815
OnePlus One indoor sample with NO flash: f/2, 1/10 sec, ISO 1800
OnePlus One outdoor day sample: f/2, 1/100 sec, ISO 107
OnePlus One outdoor day sample: f/2, 1/672 sec, ISO 100
OnePlus One outdoor day sample: f/2, 1/1307 sec, ISO 101
OnePlus One outdoor day sample HDR: f/2, 1/50 sec, ISO 123
OnePlus One outdoor day sample HDR: f/2, 1/182 sec, ISO 100
OnePlus One outdoor night sample: f/2, 1/10 sec, ISO 3700
OnePlus One outdoor night sample HDR: f/2, 1/10 sec, ISO 4100
OnePlus One outdoor night sample Slow Shutter mode: f/2, 8 sec, ISO 444