/The OnePlus hype factor, and why it needs to die

The OnePlus hype factor, and why it needs to die

Ah, OnePlus. Seemingly the internet’s darling for their act of releasing devices which feature relatively high-end specs at an affordable price relative to its hardware. However, the company is also known for pumping out hype, such as the highly controversial competition where users had to smash their current flagship device for a chance to get a OnePlus One for $1 and the OnePlus 2’s very-ambitious, but truth-bending tagline of “2016 flagship killer”.

Yep, that was a misfired tagline

Although OnePlus has since dropped the tagline of “flagship killer”, “Never Settle” is still their motto, but over time, it would seem that the company is doing anything but that, being more focused on inflating hype than actually delivering on said hype, of which the OnePlus 5 is a crucial example.

YouTuber TechAltar has recently published a video on why the hype over OnePlus devices needs to die, which I’ll link below. I recommend watching the entire video before proceeding because many of his points will be echoed after the video.

To recap, the statements by OnePlus seem to be getting less and less sensible over time as the company inches closer and closer to the mainstream mark. Such include;

  • Excusing any missteps to the company being “relatively small”, despite being owned by Oppo, the world’s 4th largest smartphone OEM by market share as of Q1 2017 and having a very tight relationship such as sharing the VOOC charging system branded as “DASH”, the company’s offices being extremely close to Oppo’s in the same building, many of its employees especially their founders coming from Oppo and using the same IMX398 camera sensor found in the Oppo R9s.
  • “Never Settle”. Well, with the OnePlus 5, I don’t think that really holds true as it “settled” in some areas.
  • Claiming that they listen to their customers, although the dropping of the OnePlus 2 without any prior indication apart from a rep claiming that Nougat was seemingly coming to the OnePlus 2 when it in fact didn’t seemed to contradict that.
  • Affordability. Yeah, it’s not that affordable now. Still cheaper than equivalent devices with identical specs, but not by much right now.

And since we’re on the hype topic, let’s talk about one of the most hyped points on the OnePlus 5; the camera.

The main tagline was that the dual camera system on the OnePlus 5 results in clearer photos. Heck, it’s even the actual slogan for the device. That’s how much they feel proud of that camera setup.

And how’s the real world result? Well, sorta underwhelming in relation to what was hyped.

Don’t get me wrong. This isn’t a bad camera at all, as in the above review. In fact, for its price tag, it’s pretty good, but it’s also not much of an improvement over its predecessor, the OnePlus 3T. The processing did seem to be improved in terms of contrast and sharpening over the 3T, and the IMX398 sensor does pack enhancements over the 3T’s IMX298 like a dual-photodiode phase-detection autofocus system, but the actual sensor itself maintains the same actual size plus pixel size of its predecessor, and while the higher resolution of the secondary sensor coupled with the longer focal-length does result in better zoomability, the much smaller pixels on the same sensor size as the main shooter coupled with the much shallower aperture due to that longer focal length mean that dynamic range is very limited, the images are more prone to noise and low-light will be much more of a challenge. The phone also loses OIS, meaning that recording in UHD plus low-light shots will be more challenging to achieve smoothly. In essence, it’s more of a sidegrade, trading features for a different camera experience and one that may be advantageous or disadvantageous depending on what you’re going to use it for.

All of these don’t really add up to a truly terrible shooter in the real-world, as you can indeed get some great looking shots out of it and it is a good camera overall. The issue is that it just doesn’t live up to the hype, at least right now.

And that’s really the issue here. You shouldn’t try to oversell your product. Instead, take the under-promise and over-deliver approach. Promise something that isn’t that exciting and then work to make your product really good that will actually impress.

And since we’re here, why don’t we discuss on what Pete Lau stated to The Indian Express earlier.

Honestly, it’s a crock of shit.

“Best possible images? This phone says hi”

Sorry, but “we don’t know how to overclock” on a device of which the software down to the kernel was made in-house, claiming that the company doesn’t “play around with specs” and just wants to “give our customers the best experience” even though they added 8GB of RAM of which Android isn’t yet built to take full advantage of, claiming that the camera combo “provides the best possible images” even though phones with a single sensor can best it alongside dual-camera kings like the Huawei Mate 9 and P10+ and the statement the lack of water-resistance and the reason for not including it is that it would make a device thicker and heavier even though other phones like the iPhone 7, Galaxy S7/S8, LG G6, HTC U11, the XPERIAs and others maintain a sleek profile while adding rated water-resistance just spells nothing but excuses.

If OnePlus has to resort to such petty excuses, then they need to get a serious wake-up call. There’s only so much hype can do to sell a product. Maybe it’s high time that focus needs to shift away from the hype and into making serious products. If we start to actually stop falling for the hype, maybe they’ll finally take notice and perhaps build the next OnePlus 3. We can only hope if we do so.