Ambitious smartphone startup OnePlus announced the OnePlus X in October. It’s a device that has been rumored for a while, but none of the discussion centered much around the design, more on the price. It turns out the phone is notable for both those reasons — it’s gorgeous, and it’s very competitively priced.
There are two OnePlus X phones: the OnePlus X Onyx, and the OnePlus X Ceramic. Both are the same under the skin, but have been made using different outer materials, and the latter version is a limited edition. Anyone trying to buy a OnePlus 2 may feel the firm already makes pretty limited phones, but this is the real deal — OnePlus will only make 10,000 of them.
Updated on 12-14-2015 by David Curry: Added in news that OnePlus will offer the X Onyx free without invite for one day a week.
The OnePlus X Onyx is available in the U.K., Europe, U.S., and various Asian countries via the company’s online store. It costs £200 in the U.K., €270 in Europe, and $250 in the United States. Starting on Tuesday December 15, OnePlus will offer the X Onyx without an invite in North America and Europe on every Tuesday from now on.
The OnePlus X Ceramic is available through a special invite for European customers, though it is unavailable in the United States.
OnePlus has made changes to its invite system to make it less of a pain for customers. It plans to make the OnePlus X even more accessible as it starts to ramp up manufacturing, potentially removing the invite system completely after a few months.
In another move to get customers energized for the OnePlus X, the company launched pop-up stores in various cities around the world, including Paris, London, and Los Angeles, throughout November. Visitors to these stores were able to have hands-on time with the OnePlus X and purchase the device without an invite, but there have been no new dates added since the five events in November.
Buyers in the U.S. need to know about LTE
The OnePlus X will work in the U.S. on 4G LTE GSM networks, but there could be problems with connectivity and speed in some areas, thanks to the phone missing two important LTE bands: 12 and 17. The former is used by T-Mobile, and the latter AT&T. The phone does support bands 2 and 4, both of which are essential for 4G LTE in the U.S., so it will generally work, and many users may never experience a problem.
Sadly, OnePlus has stated it doesn’t intend to add the missing bands using a software update or by introducing a U.S.-specific model at the moment. The OnePlus 2 includes all the necessary bands for use in North America.
Gorgeous looks, 5-inch AMOLED screen, and plenty of power
What makes the OnePlus X Ceramic special? It’s made over a period of 25 days, during which time a ceramic panel is baked, crafted, and polished to give a scratchproof, and beautifully finished body. The OnePlus X Onyx swaps the ceramic panel for glass, and both phones have a frame made from anodized metal, with the same slider control seen on the OnePlus 2 for Android’s notification alerts. The OnePlus X is just 6.9mm thick, and is the thinnest phone the company has made so far. There’s a difference in weight between the two versions, with the Onyx coming in at a very light 138 grams, and the ceramic model at 160 grams.
OnePlus has decided to use an AMOLED screen on the OnePlus X, which measures 5-inches, and has a 1080p resolution. It has an unusual ambient notification mode, and the proximity sensor will automatically light up the screen when you pull the phone out of your pocket or bag. OnePlus promises the size and resolution of the screen will help make the most of of the fixed 2,525mAh battery inside the phone.
A reliable Snapdragon 801 processor with 3GB of RAM — a combination which proved itself capable of keeping up with the newest hardware inside the Zuk Z1 recently — powers the phone, and there’s 16GB of internal memory to fill up. A MicroSD card will add a further 128GB, but you’ll sacrifice one of the SIM slots in the dual-SIM tray to do it. OnePlus has opted for a 13-megapixel rear camera with a super-quick phase detection autofocus, that it says brings the focus time down to a mere 0.2 seconds. On the front is an 8-megapixel selfie cam with a beauty mode.
Unlike the OnePlus 2, the OnePlus X has a Micro USB charging port and not a USB Type-C, but the company’s Android 5.1.1-based OxygenOS is installed, which is good news. Other features include the addition of an FM radio, Bluetooth 4.0, and 4G LTE connectivity.
Updated on 12-09-2015 by David Curry: Added in One X Ceramic launch date news.
Updated on 11-05-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in links to buy the OnePlus X, and news of compatibility issues with LTE in the U.S.
Updated on 10-29-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in news of the OnePlus X’s U.S. release