LAB501

One Plus One Review – The 2014 flagship killer

One Plus One

 

Here at LAB501 we always reserved a very special place for “that kind of phones”, no matter under which category they fell under. Sometimes we discuss products that would go unseen if somebody wouldn’t test them thoroughly (Acer CloudMobile S500 for instance) other times we test smartphones that get everybody’s attention (Xiaomi Mi3 for example). Sometimes we review products that are really easy to get, other time we review smartphones that are very difficult to get and may never be officially sold outside of China. And the truth is that the most special smartphones are not the flagships everybody is getting hyped about but “that kind of phones” that offer much more for their price compared to what the flagships offer related to their pumped prices.

This is exactly the case with the product we are discussing today – One Plus One – a true high-end beast sold for a mainstream price. Of course, most of you will wonder how is this possible. Well, the answer is pretty simple – intelligent marketing… Pure marketing. Why am I saying that? Because we all well aware that the real price of a product is much smaller than what we have to pay for it. However, beyond sheer profit this price also covers research and development, sales channel incentives, client support, marketing budgets and all that. And even so the profit is pretty massive.

So how can you manufacture a high-end smartphone and sell it for a mainstream price? Well, it’s a different type of marketing. You attract customers through smart marketing that requires little to no budget at all (you can buy it only by invitation only, it has CyanogenMod installed from the factory, etc) and you change the sells strategy – sell it directly from your stock instead on relying on distributors. Companies like Oppo and Xiaomi showed that this is a really viable solution. First you create the demand (we will give you a flagship killer for the price of a mainstream phone) and get the fans on your side. Then you eliminate the distributor out of the picture and sell straight to the end user. And by sell I mean you sell out your entire stock in a matter of minutes

I know it does not seem much but Xiaomi proved with the Mi3 that this strategy is a winner for smaller companies, selling millions of units in less then 5 minutes. Well, maybe the guys from Oppo didn’t want to use the same strategy for their own brand, counting on the premium allure of their products. But this does not mean that they didn’t invest in another brand, One Plus, that would use the exact strategy of Xiaomi and also add a few twists in it. And it worked – the initial One Plus One stock was sold out in less then a minute. I know that something around one million units does not seem like much compared to the numbers Samsung and Apple are moving, but think about how it is for a small company to instantly get a 2-300 million USD capital in less then a minute, with virtually no marketing budget.

Combine this with top notch specs that would make any 2014 flagship blush and scarce availability and it is not so hard to understand why a smartphone manufactured by a new brand got cult status in a matter of months. Luckily it was not the ype that got our attention but the specs of the product. And because it is worth it, we took One Plus One for a spin to see what lies behind the hype.

Intro

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