Chinese company OnePlus may be new to the smartphone scene - the company was founded in 2013 - but there was experience at the helm from day one, in the form of Pete Lau, former vice-president of Oppo, a giant in the Chinese electronics scene. OnePlus was born to be an individual in the crowded smartphone market -as Lau once said: "we will never be different just for the sake of being different. Everything done has to improve the actual user experience in day-to-day use."
Lau and OnePlus made an immediate splash in the marketplace based largely on two simple words - Never Settle. This neatly summed up their business philosophy that their customers would Never Settle for the type of inferior devices being produced by their competitors. Their pledge, therefore, was to produce high-quality smartphones that were still within reach of the average person's budget, and easy to use at the same time - in fact, ease of operation and functionality are regularly hailed by tech experts as being major features of a OnePlus smartphone.
OnePlus made a more-than-favourable initial impression with their very first smartphone - the OnePlus One, released in 2014 to positive reviews. The OnePlus One and subsequent early models were given a certain mystique - and plenty of publicity - through the introduction of an invite system. Basically, instead of just everyone being able to buy a OnePlus smartphone, a select few were "invited" to purchase from a very limited supply. This system was deemed too confusing to continue, and now every mere mortal is able to purchase a OnePlus phone, usually online which is the company's preferred selling method.
As OnePlus grows and expands its market reach, they continue to offer the consumer well-reviewed smartphones. In 2016, a contributor for Forbes said that if you care about functionality and ease-of-use, then the "OnePlus 3 is the best phone on the market right now". He went on to say that the OnePlus 3 offered better value than a couple of giant players on the smartphone scene. Just this year, a review of the new OnePlus 5 stated that "OnePlus packed all the best components into this phone" and "the OnePlus 5 is a budget phone that doesn't feel or act like a budget phone." High praise indeed!
OnePlus proves that lesser-known smartphones can compete against, and even outdo, better-known brands. Maybe our unfamiliarity with certain brand names may stop us from finding out more about them, and if this is the case with OnePlus, that would be a shame. OnePlus smartphones, if the reviews are anything to go by, do live up to their tag as premium yet affordable smartphones. If you're after a smartphone that delivers on performance, that is easy to use, and just as easy to afford, a OnePlus smartphone might deserve a longer look.