A former OnePlus fanboy seems to be on the OnePlus 12

When the OnePlus One got here out in 2014, I used to be an enormous fan, not solely of the telephone but in addition of OnePlus itself. I stayed a fan all through 2019 with the launch of what I contemplate the corporate’s peak, the OnePlus 7 Professional, a telephone I waxed lyrical about right here at Android Authority at any time when I used to be allowed. In 2020, with the launch of the OnePlus 8 sequence, I misplaced curiosity and moved on. Since then, nothing OnePlus has completed has enticed me again — actually, I’d say most of what it’s completed has pushed me additional away.

Quick-forward just a few years, and the OnePlus 12 is now obtainable for everybody to purchase. Clearly, it’s fairly totally different from the OnePlus 7 Professional and definitely a lot totally different from the OnePlus One. Rather a lot has modified in ten years, in any case. As an experiment, I used the OnePlus 12 alongside the OnePlus One and made the video you see above. I got here away stunned with how a lot I missed the early days of OnePlus. Not simply due to the telephones but in addition due to how OnePlus used to make me really feel. I spotted I hadn’t felt that approach in an extended, very long time.

Why I used to be (and not am) a OnePlus fanboy

OnePlus One Back on Chair

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

In 2013, when OnePlus entered the cellular scene, it immediately appealed to folks within the customized ROM improvement neighborhood. This neighborhood was bursting with ardour for all issues Android, and in 2013, it was thriving. The Android working system was pretty new then, and impartial builders have been having a blast seeing how far they might push it. It was an thrilling time to be within the Android ecosystem — and OnePlus knew how you can benefit from that. I do know that seems like OnePlus co-opted a motion or one thing, nevertheless it didn’t really feel that approach. It felt like being “seen,” I suppose.

Then, with the OnePlus One, the neighborhood had a telephone to get enthusiastic about. When it launched, the One got here with a ROM that began as an impartial fork of Android referred to as Cyanogen (now generally known as Lineage OS). This instantly legitimized it to the neighborhood. It was additionally only a actually cool telephone by itself. It had one of the best Android processor on the time, an extremely low worth, and a singular design, not like something we’d ever seen. It was a geeky telephone for geeky folks — the unique “Flagship Killer.”

OnePlus One with Cyanogen Logo on Screen

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

However the primary cause that OnePlus was so essential to me was that it felt like I might immediately talk with the corporate. The OnePlus neighborhood boards on the time established a one-on-one connection to the model. That is clearly hyperbole, nevertheless it actually felt like I might submit a suggestion on the discussion board, and somebody from OnePlus would learn it and enact the change. This was “our” model.

OnePlus felt like ‘our’ model within the early days.

Because the years glided by and OnePlus launched increasingly telephones, it grew to become very disconnected from the neighborhood. All of it culminated with the OnePlus 6T, which adopted the iPhone-led pattern of launching and not using a headphone jack — the primary OnePlus telephone to take action. This flew proper within the face of what the neighborhood wished. I can confidently say that nobody within the OnePlus neighborhood wished to purchase a telephone and not using a headphone jack in 2018. By doing this, OnePlus despatched what I felt was a tacit message: We not care about what you assume or need.

After that, it was solely a matter of time earlier than I began to lose curiosity within the firm. OnePlus moved away from specializing in the developer neighborhood and began to cater its telephones to basic customers. It began launching units solely in sure nations, Carl Pei left, OPPO took over, Oxygen OS misplaced its id as increasingly Colour OS options crept in, and on and on. At this level, the corporate is a shadow of its former self.

My views on the OnePlus 12

The OnePlus 12 is a terrific telephone; I wish to make clear my opinion earlier than continuing. It gives many premium options at an extremely aggressive worth, at a time when telephones are getting increasingly costly. I actually prefer it.

The telephone additionally seems to be very totally different from others in the marketplace, particularly in comparison with an iPhone, a Pixel, or a Samsung telephone. It has some distinctive components, similar to the attractive Flowy Emerald again. I feel OnePlus has nailed two essential options of an excellent smartphone right here: an thrilling design and highly effective {hardware}.

Throwing a ton of specs right into a cool-looking telephone is not all you want to do to win me over.

Nevertheless it takes way more than a cool-looking, feature-rich telephone to make somebody like me enthusiastic about it. Regardless of its strengths, the OnePlus 12 has plenty of issues that simply don’t do it for me. Essentially the most distinguished challenge is the software program. Again within the day, Oxygen OS was principally inventory Android with many new options added to it — and it was nice. Now, Oxygen OS is simply Colour OS, and it’s not my cup of tea. The fashionable Oxygen OS is a mixture of Android and iOS overlaid with some cartoony designs. It doesn’t seem to have a definite id, and it actually doesn’t have something that attracts me in.

OnePlus 12OnePlus 12
AA Recommended

OnePlus 12

Vivid, sharp show • Blistering-fast charging • Approachable worth

The flagship killer returns.

The OnePlus 12 is a crucial replace for the model that by no means settles. The telephone gives the most recent and finest know-how, together with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor, 50W wi-fi and 80W wired charging, next-gen Hasselblad cameras, and extra.

My private gripes in regards to the software program apart, the OnePlus 12 actually has an unimaginable spec sheet. It’s acquired one of the best Android processor proper now (Snapdragon 8 Gen 3), stable digicam {hardware}, and one of the vital spectacular shows you will get in 2024. As soon as once more, although, specs don’t make a telephone. Take a look at the OnePlus One. The One was unimaginable when it got here out, nevertheless it wasn’t that distinctive so far as specs go. Sure, it had one of the best processor then (Snapdragon 801), however the remainder of the specs have been normal. The general bundle of the OnePlus One, although — design, software program, neighborhood, assist, worth, ambition — performed into what made the telephone so thrilling. It wasn’t simply specs, it was the whole lot, and people thrilling but intangible facets are issues the OnePlus 12 lacks.

The OnePlus One was nice not due to specs however due to the general expertise. The OnePlus 12 lacks this intangible asset.

The query that almost all occupied my thoughts whereas utilizing the OnePlus 12 was this: Who is that this telephone for? The Galaxy S24 Extremely is the top-of-the-line, best-of-the-best gadget within the Android world. It’s for many who need their telephone to do something and the whole lot. It has the S Pen, one of the best digicam {hardware}, Galaxy AI, and an unimaginable show — the whole lot about it’s merely one of the best. After which you’ve the Pixel 8 Professional, which isn’t one of the best telephone by any means however is particularly designed for the Android purists who need one of the best point-and-shoot digicam expertise you will get, mixed with Google’s personal unfiltered tackle Android.

Then you definitely’ve acquired one thing just like the Nothing Cellphone 2, which doesn’t have one of the best of something, actually, nevertheless it has a singular design with Glyph lights, a clear again, and a completely reimagined pores and skin of inventory Android. It appeals to younger customers who need a very fashion-forward telephone. After which, after all, you’ve the iPhone, which is for all of the individuals who don’t need an Android telephone.

However the OnePlus 12? I don’t know who that is for. It’s not for cellular photographers, fashion-forward youth, Android purists, or the individuals who need the best-of-the-best specs. OnePlus sells hundreds of thousands of telephones, so I’m not attempting to say nobody buys its merchandise, however who’s the patron that OnePlus goes after? It’s not clear to me after utilizing the OnePlus 12. It has no distinct id aside from being good to take a look at with some energy beneath the hood, and that’s not going to make me really feel something near ardour for it.

Can OnePlus get its groove again?

OnePlus One Back Close Up on Logo

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Contemplating the whole lot I’ve mentioned right here, the large query turns into: Can OnePlus do it once more? May the model make me (and others like me) really feel as enthusiastic about its telephones now because it did when it launched the OnePlus One? Is it even doable for OnePlus to get its groove again?

I don’t assume it will probably — at the least not with how issues are at this time. When OnePlus was first developed, it was very early in Android’s historical past. Issues hadn’t settled like they’ve now, and I feel OnePlus stumbled right into a lightning-in-a-bottle state of affairs. It was the proper firm with the proper telephone on the proper time.

OnePlus succeeded even supposing it wasn’t attempting to, so I do not assume what occurred might ever occur once more.

Even when the OnePlus of at this time wished to re-capture that lightning in a bottle, I’m unsure it might. It’s simply too massive. It might must take too many dangers to be that form of firm once more. Give it some thought: When OnePlus first began, it was simply an offshoot of OPPO, and it solely anticipated to promote 50,000 OnePlus Ones. It was going for a distinct segment market after which instantly discovered itself promoting 1,000,000 telephones. In different phrases, the corporate succeeded regardless of not attempting to take action on any grand stage. It was so small, and it had such direct intentions to go for the Android improvement neighborhood particularly that it seemingly didn’t want to fret about shareholders, promoting hundreds of thousands of items, and interesting to a number of several types of customers. The OnePlus of at this time, although, cares deeply about all three of these issues.

I miss the way in which OnePlus made me really feel

OnePlus One vs OnePlus 12 On Floor

C. Scott Brown / Android Authority

Trying on the OnePlus 12 in a single hand and the OnePlus One within the different has jogged my memory of how a lot I cherished OnePlus and the way lengthy it’s been since I felt that approach — not just for it however for any telephone or telephone model.

Simply getting the OnePlus One made me excited. I needed to snatch an invite to purchase a OnePlus One again within the day, which I might solely get from another person who had already purchased one. So simply having the ability to click on that Purchase button felt like an achievement. Then I used to be unboxing it, touching the sandstone again for the primary time, flashing a brand new ROM, and exhibiting it off to family and friends; it was an occasion.

I don’t know if I’ll ever really feel that approach once more a couple of telephone. It didn’t occur with the OnePlus 12, and I don’t assume it’s ever going to occur with OnePlus on the whole. It’s additionally most likely not going to occur with every other firm. I feel Android may be too established now. The thrill is gone. Any more, it’s simply going to be taking a telephone out of a field, putting in some apps, and going about my day.

A minimum of I’ll all the time have the One to remind me of what it was as soon as like.

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