Following weeks of leaks, teases, and speculation, OnePlus has lifted the lid on its third smartphone, its second of the year.
The OnePlus X comes three months after the China-based company unveiled the OnePlus 2, its follow-up flagship after the introduction of its inaugural OnePlus One in 2014.
At a launch event in central London, OnePlus is unveiling two variants of the OnePlus X. The main incarnation is the “OnePlus X Onyx,” which runs on Oxygen OS (Android 5.1.1), and sports a 5″ AMOLED full HD display and black glass backplate with a metal bezel. It weighs in at 4.86oz (138g), making it the company’s lightest device yet. In terms of overall size, it measures 140mm x 69mm x 6.9mm, which also makes it the smallest OnePlus device yet.
While it only comes with 16GB of onboard storage, it does come with two SIM card slots — one of which doubles as a microSD slot that can expand the storage up to 128GB. This is the first OnePlus phone to feature expandable storage.
OnePlus is also rolling out a limited edition ceramic version which is pretty much the same as the onyx version in terms of features and specs, but this one was “crafted in a process totaling 25 days,” the company said. “Each individual OnePlus X backplate undergoes three meticulous methods of polishing before it is flawless enough for use.” The device is touted as scratch-resistant (as most good phones should be). The OnePlus X Ceramic is also slightly heavier, weighing in at 5.64oz (160g).
The OnePlus 2 had many great and not-so-great features. With a 5.5″ display, it was a more “in-your-face” giant trying to compete with the big guns from the likes of HTC, Google, and Samsung. The OnePlus X seems a more sedate affair that focuses on style as much as it does on function.
“Today’s smartphone user strives to find the perfect balance of style and performance,” said OnePlus CEO Pete Lau. “The OnePlus X is a design-centric device — chic and powerful enough to fit any lifestyle.”
A second device from OnePlus has been rumored all year, though much of the chatter has been around a lower-end smartphone. But digging down into the specifications, it seems there isn’t a great deal of daylight between the OnePlus 2 and the OnePlus X.
For example, both phones feature a full HD screen, 13MP rear-facing camera, and 5MP front-shooter. They also both have a physical alert slider, which lets you switch off pre-stipulated notifications. Neither has NFC. However, the OnePlus X does have a slightly less powerful processor than the OnePlus 2, and it only comes with 3GB RAM, rather than 4GB.
The OnePlus X also only has a (non-removable) 2,525 mAh LiPo battery, compared to the OnePlus 2’s 3,300 mAh.
In typical quirky OnePlus style, however, the company has bundled an FM radio with the OnePlus X. Yup, an FM radio. Just when you thought that Spotify et al had resigned traditional radio to the footnotes of history, OnePlus has reimagined the trusty old medium for the smartphone age.
“OnePlus Radio brings FM stations straight to your smartphone in a way that you won’t find anywhere else,” the company said. “So whether you’re on the go, hanging out at home, or spending study sessions in the library, tune in and discover a whole new world of ideas.”
We’ve yet to fully explore what OnePlus Radio entails, but presumably it works without Wi-Fi or 3G. We’ll find out more when we grab a hands-on with the device later today.
Above: OnePlus X: FM Radio
The OnePlus X Onyx goes on sale through oneplus.net in Europe from November 5, and will set you back €270 (EUR) or £200 (GBP). The ceramic edition goes on sale in Europe and India from November 24, for €370 (EUR) or £270 (GBP). Only 10,000 OnePlus X Ceramic devices will be available, and OnePlus will be adopting its usual invite system to help manage inventory.
Those in the U.S. will have to wait a little longer to buy one of these devices. The OnePlus X Onyx goes on sale on November 19 for $250, while no date or price has been set for the OnePlus X Ceramic. It could be that OnePlus is waiting to assess demand for the ceramic version in other markets before committing to a launch strategy for the U.S.