OnePlus 2 vs Samsung Galaxy S6 quick look

After months of leaks, speculation, and teasers, OnePlus has just taken the wraps off of its latest flagship offering, aptly names the OnePlus 2. While its predecessor was dubbed the 2014 flagship killer, in an ambitious move, OnePlus is calling its latest high-end smartphone the “2016 flagship killer,” and though we’ll have to wait and see whether that claim holds true, this device is certainly going to give current generation flagships a run for their money. We pit the latest OnePlus handset against the best of the best that the Android world as to offer, as we take a quick look at the OnePlus 2 vs Samsung Galaxy S6!

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The OnePlus 2 retains a lot of the design language of its predecessor, but with some minor tweaks and refinements along the way. The change comes in the build material, with the Two featuring a metal frame and stainless steel accents. When it comes to the rear backing, apart from retaining the sandstone black version, new options include kevlar, bamboo, rosewood, and black apricot, as a part of their StyleSwap line, and this time, switching between these back covers will be a far simpler process, which won’t require any additional tools. Even better, all the covers will be available for purchase from day one.

The big change that is noticeable right away is the home button up front, and like most devices that feature the same, this button is home to a fingerprint scanner with its touch type implementation being the one we prefer. Another addition is the alert slider, that lets you easily set your notification priority (none, priority, and all) without needing to unlock your smartphone, which can prove to be very useful, but we’ll have to wait and see if the slider keeps getting toggled and changing the setting while the device is simply in your pocket, which could get annoying.

On the other hand is the Samsung Galaxy S6, that saw a dramatic departure from the norm with their build quality, moving to a metal and glass unibody construction. This move wasn’t without its compromises, with the unibody design removing previous Samsung staples like a replaceable battery and expandable storage. Nevertheless, it was a much-needed shift, and something we really appreciate. There’s no mistaking the S6 for anything other than a Samsung device though, with the signature physical home button, flanked by capacitive home and recent apps keys, still present, along with the standard button layout of the power button and volume rocker to the right and left respectively.

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The OnePlus 2 is obviously the bigger of the two devices, and as such, points for handling experience have to be given to the sleeker and more compact Samsung flagship. But with its thickness, of 9.85 mm, and weighing 175 grams, the OnePlus 2 does feel more substantial, and you won’t be worried about it slipping out of your hand.

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The OnePlus Two keeps the same 5.5-inch size as its predecessor, as well as the same Full HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 401 ppi. This may be disappointing for those who expected or wanted Quad HD, but 1080p certainly gets the job done. The viewing angles are fantastic, as expected from the In-Cell display with a 178 degree viewing angle, and with a brightness of 600 nits, the OnePlus 2 outperforms all current flagships in this regard, and outdoor visibility should be of no issue.

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The display of the Galaxy S6 is comparatively smaller at 5.1-inches, but also boasts a Quad HD resolution, resulting in a massive pixel density of 577 ppi. Samsung’s display prowess is well known at this point, and Super AMOLED brings with it everything we love about the technology. Samsung really knows how to make the colors jump out of screen, and the sharpness of Quad HD really shines through. While the Samsung display is one of the best in the world, media and gaming-centric users will appreciate the additional real estate afforded to them with the larger screen of the OnePlus 2, even if the Galaxy S6 display gets points for the sharpness associated with its higher pixel density count.

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The OnePlus 2 packs a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 processor v2.1, clocked at 1.8 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 430 GPU, and 3GB or 4 GB of RAM (depending on the storage option), making it one of the few devices around to have that much RAM. Despite some known issues with overheating, which OnePlus claims will not happen with this v2.1 of the processor because of its slightly underclocked speed, this processing package is still one of the best in the world. While we’ll definitely be pushing this device to its limits in an upcoming full review, performance was certainly of no issue, at least in the short time that we got to spend with the device.

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On the other hand is the powerhouse that is the octa-core Exynos 7420 and also 3 GB of RAM. Samsung decided to give the Snapdragons of the world a skip in favor of its in-house processor, which has been a fantastic move. The optimization is evident with the very snappy and lag-free TouchWiz UI, even if its more toned down nature is also a contributing factor.

The shift to unibody designs with both smartphones means that things remain similar on the hardware front. Both devices don’t come with any expandable storage, but while the OnePlus 2 has only 16 GB and 64 GB options (which also dictates either 3 or 4 GB of RAM), the Galaxy S6 does offer a 128 GB version as well. Both devices also feature a fingerprint scanner, in a similar implementation and position, with it integrated into the home button up front. The Galaxy S6 fingerprint reader is quite accurate, and that will likely also true in the case of the OnePlus 2 as well.

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Another big change in terms of hardware for the OnPlus 2 is the move to USB Type C, making it the first Android smartphone to do so. Another welcome addition is the alert slider, found on the left side of the device, with three settings available to easily switch between none, priority, and all, notifications, without needing to start up your smartphone. On the battery front, the OnePlus 2 packs a large 3,300 mAh battery, compared to the smaller 2,550 mAh battery of the Galaxy S6. The Galaxy S6 battery life is above average, but not spectacular, and only more testing will tell us if the OnePlus 2 can deliver more in this regard.

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When it comes to the camera, the Galaxy S6 boasts a 16MP rear-facing camera with smart optical image stabilization (OIS), and a 5MP front-facing camera with a 90-degree wide-angle lens. Samsung has added a handful of nice camera features this time around, now allowing you to double tap on your home screen to launch the camera app in only .7 seconds. Also, the rear camera has a new feature called “tracking autofocus”, which tracks moving objects in the frame, such as moving cars or kids. The camera app comes with the same Samsung features we’ve grown to love, though the new HDR mode has been revamped with some nice changes as well. The new Auto HDR Mode now automatically turns itself on when the camera thinks it needs it, and a solid manual mode is also available. The Galaxy S6 has already shown itself as the camera to beat in 2015.

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One slightly disappointing aspect of the OnePlus One was its camera performance, but OnePlus is hoping to change all that with its successor. While featuring a similar 13 MP shooter, it now features a f/2.0 aperture, OIS, and a laser auto focus system, which should make a world of difference as far as image quality goes. The laser auto focus allows for touch free focusing in just 0.3 seconds. The OnePlus 2 also comes with support for 4K video recording, and capturing images in the RAW format. Of course, it’s too soon to tell, and we can’t wait to put this camera through its paces to see how it’ll fare against the current best of the best in the Android smartphone world.

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The OnePlus 2 is running Oxygen OS, based on Android 5.1 Lollipop, and this version retains a lot of stock Android and Material Design elements, which is a pleasant surprise when compared to what is usually seen from other Chinese OEMs. It does offer some special features though including off-screen gestures, like double tap to wake, drawing an O to open the camera, drawing a V to toggle flashlight, drawing two straight vertical lines with two fingers to play/pause music, and drawing < or > to play previous or next track respectively. Custom LED notifications lets you set a particular color for a certain type of notification, easy notification access, custom hardware and software navigation keys, a dark mode for better night time viewing, and Shelf, which is essentially a large widget that houses your most used apps and favorite contacts.

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The Galaxy S6 is running Android 5.0 Lollipop out of the box, with Touchwiz on top. Touchwiz looks just about the same on the Galaxy S6 as we’ve seen in the past, with only a few minor aesthetic changes found around the UI. Although the visual changes with the software aren’t in abundance, there are far fewer apps pre-installed on the device. We’re sure most Samsung fans will really enjoy the toned-down software Samsung is now offering on their new flagship, and the addition of themes makes for a nice added touch.

While neither device really overtakes the other in terms of specifications and features, what gives the OnePlus 2 a huge leg up is the price. With a price point less than half of what the Galaxy S6 sets you back, it is fantastic to think that a device like the OnePlus 2 even exists. Of course, if you are clamoring to get your hands on this device, you’ll have to navigate through the dreaded invite system once again though, which OnePlus promises will be better managed this time around, but other than that, the OnePlus 2 is an absolute steal, with its price tag $389 for the 64 GB version, and even cheaper $329 for the 16 GB version.

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