Last year's OnePlus One was an impressive business smartphone at an even more impressive price. Now, the new OnePlus 2 takes everything that made that phone so good, and adds improved hardware and a ton of productivity-boosting features. The best additions include a built-in fingerprint scanner, a physical "do not disturb" switch to limit distracting notifications, and dual-SIM-card support, which is great for business travelers. And, starting at just $329 unlocked, the OnePlus 2 is half the price of the average flagship phone.
Unfortunately, getting your hands on the OnePlus 2 won't be as easy as going to your cellular carrier's store and buying one. The phone will be available via starting Aug. 11, in limited quantities. You can sign up to have your name put on a queue to reserve the phone here, or follow OnePlus on social media to see when reservations become available.
With all that in mind, here's a quick rundown of the features that make the OnePlus 2 look like a standout work phone.
It looks like the OnePlus 2 will be one of the fastest smartphones on the market, thanks to its speedy Snapdragon 810 processor with 4GB of RAM. That's pretty impressive hardware for the price. On the other hand, the OnePlus 2's 5.5-inch, 1080p display isn't quite as sharp as the quad-HD screens on the latest flagship smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 or the Motorola Moto X Style.
At 0.4 inches thick, the OnePlus 2 is actually a bit thicker than its 0.35-inch-thick predecessor, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. It also has a metal frame, which adds a bit of extra heft. The result is a smartphone that's not quite as thin and light as the OnePlus One but has a more premium feel to it.
A fingerprint scanner embedded in the OnePlus 2's home button will give business users a nice security boost. The feature will let you keep your work phone locked down, without requiring you to fuss with a password screen every time you turn on your device. OnePlus says its scanner can unlock your phone in less than half a second, which would make it even faster than the Touch ID fingerprint reader found on newer iPhone models.
It's a bit of a niche feature, but business users will likely appreciate that the OnePlus 2 can hold two SIM cards, letting you switch between two different data plans at will. (A SIM card is the small card inside your phone that lets it connect to your wireless carrier.)
Most users don't need more than one SIM card, but the feature is good for business travelers. That's because using your single-SIM smartphone in another country can cause you to rack up steep roaming fees. Dual-SIM phones, in contrast, make it easy to quickly switch to a plan based in the country you're visiting, with no need to swap out tiny, easy-to-lose SIM cards.
The feature also can be handy for domestic use. If your company pays for a separate business phone plan, for example, you can switch to your work SIM during business hours so you're not gobbling up your personal data allotment at work.
One of the best new features added to Android 5.0 Lollipop is Priority Mode, which lets you tweak how and when you receive alerts and notifications. You can limit which apps and individuals are able to send messages to you, and decide when your phone will alert you to those messages. It's a nice way to avoid needless interruptions during meetings, for example.
All smartphones running Android 5.0 have this feature, but OnePlus has taken it a step further by implementing a physical switch on the edge of the OnePlus 2 that lets you toggle between Priority Mode settings quickly and easily. The switch has three positions that allow you to receive all alerts, priority alerts only or no alerts at all. That's a big perk for business users who are tired of being distracted from their work by an incessantly buzzing smartphone.
Battery life is a crucial feature in a good business phone, so we're glad to hear that OnePlus has packed a bigger battery into its latest smartphone. The OnePlus 2 ships with a 3,300-mAh battery, up from the 3,100-mAh battery in the OnePlus One. We expect that increase to provide a decent battery boost, especially because OnePlus didn't increase the display resolution for the OnePlus 2. In other words, there won't be a lot of extra pixels to power on the newer device.
One interesting thing to note is that the OnePlus 2 is one of the first smartphones with a USB-C port in place of the more typical micro-USB charging port. It won't make a big difference in daily use, but you'll probably appreciate that the connector is reversible, so you won't have to worry about flipping it around while you try to plug in your smartphone at night.
Even with flagship-level specs, the OnePlus 2 starts at just $329 with 16GB of storage and no two-year contract attached. The 32GB version, which will sell for $389, is also a very good deal.
Still, those prices might sound pretty steep if you're used to paying a lot less for a subsidized smartphone through a major carrier like Verizon or AT&T. But keep in mind that carriers offer those low prices by recouping the cost through a commitment to a pricey monthly data plan. By purchasing a smartphone up front, with no two-year contract attached, you're free to subscribe to a cheaper monthly data plan. That could save you a lot of money in the long run.
If you'd rather go the subsidized route, you'll have to pick a different phone; the OnePlus 2 won't be available to purchase for a reduced price through any carriers.