I'll start off by rating each individual part that matters to me, of the phone, such as the camera, screen, etc.
Shipping has nothing to do with the device itself, but being that One Plus is an online merchant, shipping is a vital aspect to their product because it's the only way to get it. I ordered the phone July 1st, and by July 5th it was already in my hands... I also live on the other side of the country, Florida, so it was a really nice things that shipping and processing was so quick for me. Maybe I just got lucky and ordered it at the right time, but it got here quickly and that's what matters.
DSC_0036 by Scirca, on Flickr
I told myself I wouldn't give any 10/10's because perfection doesn't exist, but for the sake of being fair, this rating is more of a comparative one, not an absolute one.
The packaging is beautiful. It's simplistic, two toned, the colors pop out, it's truly a very nice experience to unbox the phone when you finally get it. I've unboxed many, many devices and the packaging which I've most liked is without a doubt, the One Plus One's.
DSC_0053 by Scirca, on Flickr
Have you seen the freaking cable. The phone is beautiful UP TO THE DAMN CABLE!
But seriously, this is a really nice cable bruH. The power brick is alright, but it's just a bit big in my opinion, it could serve the same function and perhaps be a bit smaller, or maybe it needs to be the size that it is, but I just prefer carrying around a smaller power brick. The inclusion of a SIM removal tool is nice and necessary (Apple didn't send me one when I ordered my 5S ) and I have no idea why it's made for a key ring but as you can see, it's already made itself home on my key ring, even though I might use it maybe twice in the life of the phone.
DSC_0054 by Scirca, on Flickr
Initially the design doesn't seem very striking... until you hold the phone in your hand. The sandstone black cover feels approximately like worn felt, and really gives it a super weird but really nice, premium feel. The tapered edges make the phone feel very thin, and the metal band around the screen nice, though it really doesn't add much to the phone other than looks.. The only thing is that the screen is slightly raised above the entire body of the device... one small mistake and you will probably end up killing the poor thing.
Button placement is just right, it makes one handed use with the phone a bit more comfortable, although I do have pretty big hands and one-handed use of the device is still a bit cumbersome. The speakers and ports look pretty great, but my biggest grip with the design, apart from the raised screen, is the fact that the headphone jack is on the top of the device; I really can't believe this is still a thing... if you normally put the device in your pocket bottom first, you are a sick, twisted person.
DSC_0047 by Scirca, on Flickr
The stereo speakers sound great and boy, are they loud. This isn't any studio quality or thousand dollar speakers, the bass is non-existent, mids sound kinda dead sometimes, but they're stereo, and they're loud, and it's usually the most neglected part of the phone, so the fact that they do their job well is always a bonus.
DSC_0045 by Scirca, on Flickr
Oh boy here I go again with the perfect scores.
Repeat after me: Sony sensor, 13 Megapixels, f/2.0.
I'm gonna be honest with you here, I've always secretly had a thing for Sony and Carl Zeiss. They truly make some amazing sensors and glass, respectively. The camera module was an excellent choice by One Plus for the One. Dynamic range is pretty nice. Colors really depend on the light, but they're either eh, or really great (most of the time, the latter of the two). 13MP is a great number to work with, you can do significant cropping without much impact on the image quality. HDR and camera features are plenty, and the only thing missing is photo sphere, which albeit not very useful and sometimes buggy, it's an extremely cool feature.
Some of these are HDR
IMG_20140713_105322 by Scirca, on Flickr
IMG_20140713_105359 by Scirca, on Flickr
IMG_20140713_105308 by Scirca, on Flickr
IMG_20140713_105429 by Scirca, on Flickr
IMG_20140713_105342 by Scirca, on Flickr
I guess ratings will vary here because it's a very relative rating to how well the other devices connected to this thing work, but I felt like I needed to add that the WiFi antenna on this phone is extremely powerful. Where every single phone I've owned over the years does not pick up the WiFi signal in my room (being that the router is on the other side of my house, and that's pretty far away from my room), not only does the One pick up the signal, but I see very little decrease in speed, which is truly impressive. Apart from that, 4G, 3G and edge are there and work. Signal strength from networks is pretty close to that of other phones.
Software/OS: 9/10 & Battery Life: 8/10
Screenshot_2014-07-13-11-25-19 by Scirca, on Flickr
One of the selling points of the One is Cyanogenmod. While I've always preferred other AOSP ROMs, namely AOKP, CM11 is a really great ROM. It's like vanilla bean ice cream, not quite vanilla, but nice indeed. There are a ton of features that it adds, and a great deal of functionality. The fact that the phone has at least one permanent team of developers is very reassuring. The only bad thing that comes with this are bugs. There's bugs everywhere, open the camera app and focus somewhere and wait a few seconds, the "Auto" mode indicator will quickly flash itself. NFC Beaming isn't supported by the CM Gallery (it crashes), and it's all little nuisances. Yes, custom ROMs are notorious for bugs, and yes, it is annoying to sometimes have to miss out on a few features because of this, but at the end of the day, developers are more attentive to the people using the ROMs, and fixes usually come much, much quicker than say Samsung or HTC. And you get versions of Android much faster than both of these companies, too.
Also, CM has been notorious for having some crappy battery life, but this time, it is not the case. battery life is the same, or better than my iPhone 5S, which I consider to be the most battery efficient you can buy, and the best battery in any phone; the battery may be tiny, but the software is very tuned.
Screen: 5/10 (See below)
It's 5.5 Inches, 1080p, fairly pixel dense, not much else to say here. Color representation is fairly accurate, although it is a bit warm and saturated, but warm and saturated is nice. And yes, whites do look yellow at the bottom of the display. Regardless of what One Plus says, this should definitely not be like that, but we'll give them the benefit of the doubt...except panels are plagues with problems; see here:
The sad thing is that I can literally go back and write the entire review about all the problems that not only I have encountered but many other have encountered with their devices. I myself have a yellow tint and a line of slow pixels running vertically through the display, that almost looks like the actual LCD is scratched. (see here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GkMKx46Cvp4 and the images below). Yellow tint is a problem, not a huge deal to me, yes I would love for One Plus to exchange my device for a working one, but it's not like I'm going to die if they don't; what is going to kill me is that damn line running through the screen. Every time I take a picture it's there, every time I watch a movie or a vine or a video, it's there, and it's extremely annoying.
Image 1 by Scirca, on Flickr
Edited for better visibility:
Image 1 Edited by Scirca, on Flickr
Image 2 by Scirca, on Flickr
Edited for better visibility:
Image 2 Edited by Scirca, on Flickr
Image 3 by Scirca, on Flickr
Edited for better visibility:
Image 3 Edited by Scirca, on Flickr
This leads me on to the next topic:
Customer Service: -1/10 (See below)
I don't think I've ever given given a negative rating for anything...ever, but wow One Plus, you definitely earned this one!
I'm actually going to quote myself (dat ego):
The only problem with this thread is that yes, while other, more expensive phones were susceptible to the same problem as the OPO, regarding the yellow tint, the difference is that in most of the threads, the people talk about how their devices were replaced with functioning devices by their respective manufacturers. A screen is the most important part of the phone, and it's extremely childish for a company to be calling certain defects in their panels a "normal occurrence". Seriously? Normal in the sense it happens often, not normal in the sense that the screen is working in the way that it is intended to. BTW, not only am I referring to yellow screens, but to your pixel anomalies. The customer service has seriously been the only bad thing I can find with the phone, which is extremely infuriating, since it's an optimal part of the phone, and various companies with sub-par phones (*cough* Apple *cough*) has prided themselves in customer service and iPhones have been and will continue selling like hotcakes, I mean ffs my iPhone 5S was once replaced by them just because the screen was slightly elevated from the body.
Shame on you One Plus for making such a great phone but having no regard not only for your prospective customers, but your current customers as well.
And trust me, there are many, many more posts and threads that have been merged or hidden. The thing that most people need to understand is that the phone is fine, every phone will have defects, regardless of the manufacturer, what counts is how the manufacturer deals with those defects. If they deal with transparency and with a willingness to help out the customer, they will do very good in the future. If they hide things and deny things and don't care about their customers or warranties or anything, shame on them.
Do I recommend this phone? At the moment, no, not until One Plus stands up for their mistakes and starts treating their customer and prospective customers like real customers, not trash. I've gone from desperately wanting the One to desperately trying to get an RMA . If that doesn't work I wouldn't mind selling my device or trading it for a G3, because while yes, I'll have to settle for a few things with the G3, at least LG won't make me settle for crappy customer service.
If you receive an invite, think twice about purchasing the phone, because while you may be lucky and your device won't suffer from any issues, you may very well be unlucky and suffer one of the many issues the device is plagued with. Just be careful, and remember that the choice is always yours.
One Plus, you've stood behind your device for being great, and it is, but if you're not standing behind it enough to honor your warranty and the manufacturing issues you've had with your devices, then you're basically not standing behind it at all. We all $350 that we paid for, we want devices free of defects, we want real transparency. If this is too much to ask, not only as a phone manufacturer, but as a company, you will not get very far.