This is the OnePlus X and in some ways, it’s the best budget smartphone you can buy, but allow me to elaborate. This is basically a OnePlus One packed inside of a smaller and more premium body, for less money. With that, you’re getting mostly the same specifications and performance, which makes it a big win in my book. But before we get into everything you need to know, let’s get the truly negative things I have to say out of the way…
There’s no NFC here, wireless charging, Quick Charge capabilities, or 5GHz Wi-Fi available. Yes, that sucks, but consider the price and the rest of the package. Now that we’ve got it out of the way, let me tell you why this phone is hot fire.
Around the front you’ll find a 5-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 covered by Gorilla Glass 3. The display is bright, vivid, and overall I have zero complaints here. There’s also a SnapDragon 801 processor holding down the fort, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of internal storage, and slot that can accommodate a Micro SD card or a second nano SIM. With two SIM cards installed, you can actually specify which one to use for cellular data and on a per message or call basis you can select your preferred SIM card.
Design and build
This phone is solid. With a metal frame, some grippy micro-cut edges, and scratch resistant glass on the backside, this is the bomb dot com for a $250 smartphone. There’s also a small decent mono speaker on the bottom along with an identical grille for the microphone. On one side we have the Alert Slider that was first introduced with the OnePlus 2 that will allow you to switch between different notification profiles in Android, and you’ll find the volume buttons and lock button on the other side. Along the bottom edge, you’ll find some capacitive navigation buttons, but unfortunately they are not backlit, but you can always enable on-screen buttons within the Settings app if that’s what you’d prefer.
It’s a rather thin phone as well and feels exceptionally well-built. The main problem I’ve been dealing with is the glass back. It gets gunky, oily, and collects fingerprints like a detective. Your best bet for keeping this sucker clean is to use a skin or a case.
If you prefer going the case route, OnePlus also includes a nice little case inside of the box as well, but trust me when I say it’s nothing special. Though you can purchase much better cases from OnePlus as well, which look a lot nicer.
As far as software is concerned, this is exactly what we’ve grown to expect from OnePlus. The X is running Oxygen OS, which is based on Lollipop, but OnePlus tells me there’s a Marshmallow version in the works. Most of what you’ll find here stays true to the vanilla Android experience.
There are things like OnePlus’ Shelf feature off to the side of the home screens, which is a nice way to present recent apps and contacts, but it can easily be disabled in the home screen settings. That’s also where you’ll find options to use a custom icon pack as well as change the home screen grid size, which I find to be extremely helpful.
One interface change you may notice with the OnePlus X is the system-wide dark theme that’s enabled by default. Because of the AMOLED display here, using a dark theme throughout will help save some battery life and overall just looks dope as Hell. Of course, this can be disabled within the Settings app and you’ll also find some other personalization options in there like custom LED notification colors and a the ability to set a custom accent color for the user interface.
You’ll also find all of the regular gestures in Oxygen OS, like a double tap to wake the screen, but with an AMOLED display, OnePlus is taking advantage of an Ambient display mode and a new Proximity Wake feature that will wake up the display with a wave of the hand. The OnePlus X even packs an FM radio for anyone that needs it.
Overall though, software has been smooth. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this phone, even more-so than I did during my time with the OnePlus 2. We’ve also covered Oxygen OS in-depth in a previous video.
Here’s our initial review of Oxygen OS:
Around the backside, you’ll find a 13-megapixel camera with an aperture of f2.2 capable of up to 1080p video recording, with Phase Detection Auto-focus, and an LED flash. And I have to say this again, it’s quite impressive what OnePlus has been able to put together for $250. Sure, it’s not the best camera on the market, but damn is it good for the money. Pictures are very clear, the camera is quick to take photos, and colors are realistic. Low light performance isn’t the best though. If you’d like to check out more photos at full resolution, check out our gallery below:
Oh.. and around the front side you’ll find an 8-megapixel shooter for all of you duck face selfie lovers out there, which is definitely in a league above its price range.
Running the show here in the power department is a 2,525 mAh battery that’s pretty legit considering everything else involved with this phone. I can easily make it through the day with the OnePlus X.
I saw around 4 hours of screen on time with a moderate day’s worth of use, but I could easily push this thing to 5 on a light day. Of course I’ve had my 3 hours screen-on time days during some heavy use, but overall it stands to compete against phones at a much higher price range.
At the end of the day, I’d rather have the OnePlus X over the 2. I love it. I think it’s a home run all around, and if you can live without the things I mentioned earlier, chances are you’ll love it too. The problem is, you’ll need an invite to pick one up, or wait around for open sales in the future. For the price, this phone is killer, in fact, it’s the OnePlus flagship killer. And while it may lack some things, it might be the best phone they’ve made … and the cheapest too.