OnePlus, the phone brand that takes on the very best of Apple and Samsung at aggressively low prices, is launching its phones into Australia later this month.
In a statement to Gizmodo, OnePlus confirmed its imminent local launch: "Since the beginning of our company, we have seen a lot of interest in OnePlus in Australia. It has been a long-time goal of ours to bring OnePlus to our Australian fans. Therefore, we are excited to announce that we will be bringing the OnePlus 5 to Australia through a soft launch program later this month."
As a brand, OnePlus focuses on flagship-esque features -- dual cameras, fingerprint readers, high-end hardware and slick industrial design -- while still pushing low prices for its outright hardware. The 5.5-inch OnePlus 5's US$479 RRP is considerably lower than the US$769 of the iPhone 7 Plus and the $US719 of the Samsung Galaxy S8.
Talking to its traditionally enthusiastic fans on its forum, OnePlus founder Carl Pei said that it wanted users to help it refine its supply and shipping processes: "We’re finally taking steps to enter Australia, and we'd like to enlist your help. Later this month, we’re bringing the OnePlus 5 to Australia through a soft launch program. The goal will be to test our product and supply chain, and we’ll be opening up a limited trial run for sales."
Pei was also circumspect on the company's slow launch into the country, saying that it's meant third-party importers and grey marketeers have given customers a mediocre experience in the past: "I know that many of you have purchased our products via friends or family traveling abroad, or through parallel imports. This can’t compare to the user experience when dealing directly with OnePlus. Sorry that you had to endure this, and that it took us so long."
OnePlus will also be holding fan events in Melbourne and Sydney to ask those users and other enthusiasts for feedback after its soft launch later this month. [OnePlus]
The OnePlus employees seemed a little annoyed when I asked how they felt about people comparing its new device to an iPhone. Sure, both phones feature dual camera designs. Yes, the OnePlus 5 has curves that look a lot like an Apple product. Ugh, fine, it's a really good phone, too. What's the big deal?