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Android smartphone makers are hurrying to get out in front of the next iPhone, expected in September. On Monday night, China’s OnePlus announced the OnePlus 2, a 5.5-inch phone that costs half the price of handsets from Apple, Samsung and LG.

OnePlus garnered attention last year when the young company said it would sell its first model, the OnePlus 1, by invite only. The device was not without flaws, but it was one of our favorite smartphones of the year. And with a starting price of $300 without a contract, it showed us that the old wireless carrier gotcha—pay through the nose or get locked in to a pricey contract—could be on its way out.

The new model looks to be an improvement over its predecessor in nearly every way. “We started this company because we didn’t think any Android phones on the market were good enough, ” OnePlus director and co-founder Carl Pei said. “We still think that’s the case, and we learned a lot from the OnePlus 1. The OnePlus 2 not only flagship worthy, but something that will remain cutting edge next year as well.”

The first thing you notice when picking up the OnePlus 2 is that the company’s sandstone-feeling rear cover is now flanked with an elegant aluminum and magnesium alloy frame. The face of the phone is all glass, save for a new fingerprint sensor—which Pei boasts is faster than the iPhone’s at unlocking the device. The OnePlus 2 definitely feels as high-quality as other top-tier phones.

The OnePlus 2 will be offered with removable backplates made of kevlar, wood and a sandstone-like plastic. OnePlus

My biggest beef with the OnePlus 1 was its camera, which produced muddy low-light and nighttime shots. Pei says he, too, was unhappy with it. “The camera was our weakest point and we really made that a focus this time.” Like the OnePlus 1, the OnePlus 2 has a 13-megapixel camera that’s paired with a dual-LED flash. But the sensor on the new phone is 30% larger. The OnePlus 2 also has an optical image stabilization system to help you take steadier shots, and a rear laser to improve focus.

The OnePlus 1 ran on a version of Android skinned by Cyanogen, the Microsoft-backed startup that produces a “forked” version Google’s mobile operating system that’s a favorite among Android modders. The OnePlus 2 ditches Cyanogen for its own homespun OxygenOS. It’s a largely unchanged version of Google’s stock Android (which remains my favorite version).

The display on the OnePlus 2 remains at 5.5-inches and 1080p resolution, but the new handset’s screen can be cranked much brighter than last year’s model, which should make it easier to see in direct sunlight. There’s also a larger battery (3, 300 milliamps instead of 3, 100). The OnePlus 2 is powered by Qualcomm’s 1.8GHz octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor and either 3GB of RAM (in the 16GB version) or 4GB of RAM (in the 64GB version). Both variants of the OnePlus 2 feature dual-SIM card slots, and charge via the future-proof (or perhaps just ahead-of-its-time) USB Type-C port.

There were some sacrifices made in the name of modernity, however: Unlike its predecessor, the OnePlus 2 is missing a removable battery and a MicroSD slot.

The OnePlus 2 will only be sold through invites requested from OnePlus.net starting Monday. The buying itself starts August 11, with a 16GB OnePlus 2 costing $330 and a 64GB model costing $390. Pei says that the company’s invites and phones will be plentiful, another lesson learned after the first phone’s launch.

“Last year we weren’t confident about demand at the start and demand was much more than we expected, ” Pei said. “This time around, I think we’ll know how many phones to make.”

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