Reviewing a device from OnePlus is always a strange proposition. We get the devices at Ars because we're privileged journalists, but most people can't just go out and buy a OnePlus device. The company insists on selling its devices through an "invite" system, which makes buying OnePlus devices a huge hassle. You can show up to OnePlus' website cash-in-hand (metaphorically), and you'll be turned away if you don't have a golden ticket.
The reason is that OnePlus just can't afford to sell a ton of phones at the listed MSRP. The upstart company freely admits it has "No plan to make any money for two years," and along with the limited release strategy, we're guessing it loses money (or, at best, breaks even) on every device it sells. OnePlus' current business strategy is unsustainable, so it feels a little dishonest to compare the company's devices to products from actual functioning businesses trying to make a profit. OnePlus seems to be more focused on generating hype than generating sales.
Still, the business model is not really the consumer's problem, so if you're interested in taking advantage of OnePlus' generosity, let us present to you the "OnePlus X," the company's latest bang-for-your-buck smartphone. The "X" takes what is basically a late-2013 or early-2014 flagship and sells it two years later for $249. Imagine a Nexus 5 or Galaxy S5 and you're in the right ballpark. You're getting a 5-inch, 1080p display powered by a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 SoC.