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How do you make a single phone that pleases everyone? OnePlus seems to think that you can’t. A few months after announcing their OnePlus Two “flagship killer” YouTube Drops Google+, The OnePlus 2 Flagship Killer... [Tech News Digest] YouTube Drops Google+, The OnePlus 2 Flagship Killer... [Tech News Digest] The unimportance of Google+, the OnePlus 2 arrives, eBay Now is no more, Steve Jobs is The Man In the Machine, and everything wrong with Super Mario Bros. Read More , OnePlus released the OnePlus X, a smaller, cheaper device with some pretty major differences from the Two.

So the X is kind of a like a sequel to the OnePlus One (which we loved Top Six Best Features Of The OnePlus One -- And One Drawback Top Six Best Features Of The OnePlus One -- And One Drawback I've been living with the OnePlus One for a few weeks now, and it's amazing, but it's not perfect. Let's run through some of the best features -- and one downside. Read More , even compared to other great phones The Best Unlocked, Off-Contract Smartphones Available The Best Unlocked, Off-Contract Smartphones Available Buying unlocked phones can save you lots of money, but with so many options out there, which unlocked phone is the best? Read More ), but taken in another direction. Whereas the Two will satisfy the tech-obsessed phablet-lovers out there, the X is for the average consumer who isn’t obsessed with specs but still wants a solid, affordable device.

And honestly, I’m impressed. Let’s take a look at everything this smartphone has to offer; and at the end of this review you can win the OnePlus X for yourself!

Specs

  • Price: $250 (Invite currently needed to purchase)
  • Dimensions: 140mm x 69mm x 6.9mm (5.5in x 2.7in x 0.27in)
  • Weight: 138g (4.86oz)
  • Screen: 5″ 1080p AMOLED Gorilla Glass
  • Processor: 2.3Ghz Quad-core Snapdragon 801 with Adreno 330 GPU
  • RAM: 3GB
  • Storage: 16GB
  • MicroSD Card: Yes, up to 128GB
  • Operating System: OxygenOS (based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop)
  • Battery: Non-removable 2,525 mAh Lithium-ion Polymer
  • Cameras: 13MP rear-facing with f/2.2, and 8MP front-facing with f/2.4
  • Extras: Alert slider, LED notification light, Dual Nano-SIM slots, FM Radio, included rubber phone case
  • Color: Onyx

Hardware

oneplus-x-1

OnePlus talks a big game about their craftsmanship, but I’d be lying if I said they were all hype. This really is a gorgeous phone. Straight out of the box, it just looks like a professional, high-end device. You might expect that if you were buying a $700 iPhone or Samsung device, but this is a $250 phone from a relatively unknown Chinese manufacturer.

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Usually for that price, you get squeaky plastic and weak MediaTek processors — but not with the OnePlus X. You’re really getting a premium device at a budget price, especially in the hardware department.

Though some of this polish is surely due to the fact that it looks a bit like the iPhone 4 and 5. It has the size and the brushed aluminum sides of the iPhone 5 with the backplate made of glass like the iPhone 4, and the camera in the top corner isn’t helping any comparisons.

Still, if you can look past the similarity to the older iPhones, it’s a very nice Android handset.

The power button, volume rocker, and SIM card/microSD card slot are all on the right side of the device.

oneplus-x-3

Also, take note that even though this is a dual-SIM device, you can’t use two SIM cards if you plan on using a microSD card to expand your storage, because the microSD card goes in the second SIM card slot.

On the top of the phone, you’ll find a headphone jack as usual. The left side is home to a new “alert slider”, which may seem foreign to Android users but might seem familiar to, well, iPhone users.

oneplus-x-2

The biggest difference is that this alert slider has three levels rather than the iPhone’s two. They correspond to Android Lollipop Android 5.0 Lollipop: What It Is And When You'll Get It Android 5.0 Lollipop: What It Is And When You'll Get It Android 5.0 Lollipop is here, but only on Nexus devices. What exactly is new about this operating system, and when can you expect it to arrive on your device? Read More ‘s new notifications controls How to Set Up Android's Priority Mode (and Get Back Silent Mode) How to Set Up Android's Priority Mode (and Get Back Silent Mode) Volume controls changed a lot in Lollipop, so we're here to help you make sense of all of it. Read More : All notifications, Priority only, or No notifications. With the alert slider set, you can’t leave any of those three levels without physically moving it — so accidental volume button presses won’t unmute your device.

For me, this is pretty useless since I leave my phone constantly on the no notifications option, but if you switch between them a lot, I could see it being an easy way to change without having to open up your phone and change settings. Though three levels makes it a tad more cumbersome than that iPhone’s simple switch.

Along the bottom, you’ll find a regular microUSB port (not the new Type-C What Is USB Type-C? What Is USB Type-C? Ah, the USB plug. It is as ubiquitous now as it is notorious for never being able to be plugged in right the first time. Read More that you’d find in the OnePlus Two) and dual speakers — but more on those later.

There are hardware capacitive keys — Back, Home, and Recents — but you can disable those and use the on-screen software keys if you prefer.

Screen

oneplus-x-7

This screen is gorgeous. I know a lot of reviewers say that about a lot of phones, but this screen has really blown me away. It’s bright and visible in direct sunlight, the colors absolutely pop off the screen thanks to the AMOLED display, and cramming a 1080p display onto a 5″ screen gives it a high 441PPI (a 2K screen would just be overkill How Advertisers Trick You into Buying Their Smartphones How Advertisers Trick You into Buying Their Smartphones You hear something about an octa core, 20-megapixel, Quad HD smartphone with 3GB of RAM. You have no idea what that means, but it sure sounds fast and powerful in the commercial. Read More ).

In fact, just using it side-by-side with my OnePlus One really makes me want to upgrade. You can see them compared above, with the X on the right and the One on the left — both at full brightness. This may be a budget device, but the screen is not an area where they cut corners.

Speakers

oneplus-x-4

Placed along the bottom of the phone, your hand will likely cover the speakers if you’re holding the phone in landscape mode — but at least they’re not on the back. Sadly, they seem a bit quieter than the speakers on my OnePlus One. You might need to get crafty making your own DIY smartphone speakers Making Your Own Smartphone Speakers - MakeUseOf Tests Making Your Own Smartphone Speakers - MakeUseOf Tests The average smartphone speaker is an insult to an audiophile's ears. Poor quality, low volume, and a lack of bass can ruin the sound. Since those speakers are in-built, there isn't an easy way to... Read More .

Camera

oneplus-x-6

Wiht a 13MP f/2.2 camera on the back and an 8MP f/2.4 camera on the front, you won’t be disappointed with the photos here (well, really, they’re 12.4MP and 7.6MP respectively). These are in a 4:3 ratio, though; if you want 16:9 photos, you’ll be reduced to 8MP on the back and 2MP on the front.

opx-camera-1

Above, you can see what the camera app itself looks like. It’s very simple and easy to get used to. You have options for Clear Image (OnePlus’s algorithm for getting high megapixel shots), HDR, and Beauty mode. Swipe in from the left, and you can use a time lapse mode or take slow motion video (though only in 720p).

sample-opx

You can see a sample shot I took with the rear-facing camera above on a cloudy day (cropped, of course, cause that 4:3 aspect ratio is way too tall). For this price, it’s really the best camera you’re going to get, and it’s an impressive camera for any price range.

But that’s enough little bits and pieces — let’s take a look at the software that powers this beast.

Oxygen OS

oneplus-x-5

The OnePlus One launched with CyanogenMod, but relations between the two companies quickly soured, and OnePlus was forced to develop their own in-house operating system, which they dubbed Oxygen OS. It’s currently based on Android 5.1 Lollipop, and while OnePlus has said that the Two will be updated to 6.0 Marshmallow Android 6.0 Marshmallow: What It Is and When You'll Get It Android 6.0 Marshmallow: What It Is and When You'll Get It Android Marshmallow is here -- but why should you care? Read More in the first quarter of 2016, they haven’t said anything about the X yet — though I’m sure we can expect an update by Q1 or Q2.

Until then, though, the software here really isn’t bad. Oxygen OS keeps it simple, only changing small things. It’s not like Samsung’s heavy-handed TouchWiz skin Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Android Skins Explained: How Do Hardware Makers Change Stock Android? Hardware makers like to take Android and morph it into something that is entirely their own, but is this a good or a bad thing? Take a look and compare these different Android skins. Read More  — it’s more like a little polishing of stock Android.

One of the most noticeable differences comes when using the default launcher (though you could use an alternative launcher Which Android Launcher Should You Use? We Compare The Best! Which Android Launcher Should You Use? We Compare The Best! Given the huge number of launchers available, there's something for everyone. Here are the best app launchers for particular needs, depending on what kind of user you are. Read More ), because there’s an HTC Blinkfeed-like stream that lists your frequently used apps and can hold widgets.

files-radio-1

You get two apps not available on stock Android: a file explorer called Files and an FM radio app called OnePlus Radio. If FM Radio is your thing, it works great and has a lovely, modern interface.

opx-themes-1

In the Settings, you can switch between a light and a dark interface. The dark interface, as it uses a pure black background, should help to save battery with the AMOLED screen Common Mobile Display Technologies You Should Know Common Mobile Display Technologies You Should Know When you're comparing different mobile devices, whether they're phones, tablets, e-readers, or laptops, one of the differentiating features can be the display technology. But do you know the differences? Read More . With the dark interface selected, you can also change the accent color to personalize your device a bit more.

opx-app-permissions-1

And OnePlus even gives you the option to control individual permissions for your apps under App Permissions. This is very much like the hidden App Ops from KitKat App Ops Allows Access To Hidden Permission Controls in Android 4.3/4.4 App Ops Allows Access To Hidden Permission Controls in Android 4.3/4.4 A new app allows anyone running Android 4.3 or 4.4 to access Android's hidden permissions controls for specific apps. The controls are present in both of the newer versions of Android, but inaccessible by default. Read More , and should allow you to take control of your permissions The Seven Deadly Android Permissions: How to Avoid the Sin of Slothful Preparedness The Seven Deadly Android Permissions: How to Avoid the Sin of Slothful Preparedness Everyone with an Android device should know that your private information isn’t treated as private. For example, making an app purchase may expose personal contact information, including one’s name, physical address and email address, to... Read More .

Battery Life

I was worried when I saw that the X would have such a significantly smaller battery than the Two — only 2,525mAh? But in real world usage, it didn’t turn out to be too bad. In fact, I’d say it was on par with my OnePlus One, which I’m very happy with in the battery department.

Heavy, heavy usage could kill the phone before the end of the day, but on an average day I made it to bed with 30% battery or more left. Battery life is definitely not an issue here.

Performance

This is another area where you might expect the X to be inferior to the Two, but the Snapdragon 801 inside of it really chugs along. Plus with 3GB of RAM, I haven’t had the phone hesitate at all when switching betweens apps or playing games. Plus, it stayed relatively cool the whole time.

If you’re worried that the X is underpowered and feels like a budget device — don’t be. This is a flagship hiding under a budget price, and it can handle anything that the other top devices can.

Price

This is the category where the X really knocks it out of the park. At only $250, you really won’t find a better deal on a smartphone — except for maybe the Moto G.

Still, I’ve played with a Moto G before, and the OnePlus X really feels a lot more premium. OxygenOS is lightly done, just as Motorola’s skin is, but the hardware is more solid. You also get much nicer cameras, more expandable storage space, and more RAM with the X.

Should You Buy It?

I’m beyond impressed with this phone. You won’t get a fingerprint sensor like the OnePlus Two, and it has slightly lower specs, but the ability to add expandable storage is a huge plus. Overall, it feels like a flagship smartphone with a super low price. How could you not love it?

The only trouble is actually buying it. OnePlus is notorious for its invite system, and the OnePlus X currently requires an invitation to purchase. Getting an invitation isn’t hard, though — simply check out their website and add your email to the waiting list.

Note that there have been reports of 4G LTE not working in the United States, so be sure to verify compatibility with your carrier before purchasing. This OnePlus X was tested in France and connected fine to 3G, HSPA+, and 4G LTE networks.

Our verdict of the OnePlus X:
If you’re looking to buy a cheap phone off-contract, and you’re willing to wait a bit to get an invite, definitely buy this phone. It has the best specs for its price range, and it’s an extremely well-built device.
810

OnePlus X Giveaway

Send your products to be reviewed. Contact James Bruce for further details.

  1. Lexi Walls
    February 9, 2016 at 8:10 pm

    so can u still win it or no

  2. Abhishek
    December 28, 2015 at 7:01 am

    Who is the winner?

  3. namit sanjay devidan
    December 27, 2015 at 12:10 pm

    when will be winner announced ???

  4. Ismail lamzali
    December 27, 2015 at 9:16 am

    ??

  5. Shreyas Patil
    December 27, 2015 at 8:14 am

    Who won ?

  6. kathy
    December 24, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    I'm using a galaxy 3 so I'm sorry, guys, but this one is mine! :)

  7. dan
    December 23, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    If the phone is as stupid as their video I want no part of it...

  8. Shreyas Patil
    December 23, 2015 at 9:06 am

    Good review, looking forward to getting mine either by winning this or buying anyways.

  9. Ryan
    December 22, 2015 at 6:36 am

    Love reading your review of this one plus x smartphone, I believe I would like this phone to be my first smartphone. I'll just have to subscribe for an invite. Thank you again

  10. Maida Cicvara
    December 20, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    I need one this smarthphone please pick me <3 all done

  11. Youness
    December 20, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I have never been so consistent in doing something as i am with getting those +2 tweet entries, so i hope it doesn't fail me

  12. mamta dubey
    December 19, 2015 at 10:43 am

    hope i win

  13. vaibhave dubey
    December 19, 2015 at 10:42 am

    may the force be with me , i really wanna win this

  14. vaibhave dubey
    December 19, 2015 at 10:41 am

    I REAAAALLLLYYY WANNA WIN THIS SO BADD

  15. Mayank Gupta
    December 15, 2015 at 6:23 am

    Love the phone! Hoping to get my hands on one!

  16. Viliame Lili
    December 13, 2015 at 11:47 am

    Looks Incredible! thanks for the review! could do with one myself! :D

  17. BlagojceWho
    December 13, 2015 at 11:43 am

    i would love to win :D

  18. piet bergen
    December 12, 2015 at 9:38 am

    hope to win it!

  19. Aadeesh Sharma
    December 11, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    need something hot before the winter arrives!! xD

  20. Steve G
    December 11, 2015 at 4:11 pm

    I have the OnePlus One after fighting through the invite system. After I gave up and wrote OnePlus off my friend gave me an invite so I bought it. Its going just past a year now and I still like it but I would not buy another OnePlus device after this given their invitation strategy and the other options on devices that are now available. The OnePlus One was the first and last device by this company that has NFC. I didnt see in this article where they focused on the OnePlus X not having NFC. They are also prone to screen issues. If someone is going to review then make it an honest review and not a kick-back review. Give both the PRO's and the CON's. People can search Google for issues with OnePlus so there's always that. As stated, I do like my OnePlus but there's no way I'd buy a device from the company again.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      yo this was a completely honest review, what makes you think i wasn't being honest?? i spent time with the device and these are my impressions. honestly i didn't talk about NFC because I never use NFC and it's not applicable to me, but you'll notice it's not listed in the Specs list -- folks can use their eyes. I did give the pros and the cons, but the invite system has worked well for me (clearly, I got this device with no problem and my last OPO), and I've never had an issue with the screen on my OPO or this OPX. no need to attack the honesty of my review just because you and i have different views of OnePlus. i was definitely being honest, lol.

  21. Alfred C
    December 11, 2015 at 10:04 am

    Wish the luck on my side this Christmas!! :)

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:01 pm

      good luck!

  22. Moon Gijoo
    December 11, 2015 at 9:41 am

    I really want dis :D

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      i believe you!

    • Sergei Zorin
      December 11, 2015 at 4:51 pm

      me too) hope to win...

  23. Clement Wong
    December 11, 2015 at 7:49 am

    i wish and i want it. crazy about it.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      best of luck to you!

  24. Sergei
    December 11, 2015 at 6:51 am

    good smart!

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:29 pm

      for sure!

  25. Denny
    December 11, 2015 at 4:28 am

    perfect for replace my malfunction smartphone !

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      it definitely would be!

  26. Mike Baker
    December 11, 2015 at 4:25 am

    I would love to try one of these.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:30 pm

      lol i don't blame you it's pretty fun :D

  27. Eric
    December 11, 2015 at 2:13 am

    I watched the video review; almost 9 minutes; no code to enter and couldn't go any further or get any more entries!

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      i think the video was only like 3 minutes long? are you sure you watched the right video? all the entry stuff occurs here on this article at the bottom -- not in the video.

  28. Judith Schwartz
    December 11, 2015 at 12:27 am

    This looks like a great replacement for my old flip phone.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      anything would be a great replacement for a flip phone hahaha but yes i agree :D

      • Judith Schwartz
        December 11, 2015 at 4:35 pm

        If anything would be a great replacement for a flip phone I would have replaced it by now. You cannot butt dial a flip phone and you cannot get an unlimited plan for $20 for a smart phone.

  29. Yann
    December 11, 2015 at 12:23 am

    Two very underwhelming things that I reckon you didn't focus on enough:
    - Who knows if it will get an update to Android 6.0? That's a fairly major update (at least backend-wise) and I don't think the company doesn't have a history with those.
    - Doesn't use USB Type-C, so charging is slow like the old days. This is a huge issue for me, still an issue for others but maybe to a lesser degree. I'm very bad at remembering to charge. I know this is something of a personal issue, but still one that gadgets try and SHOULD try to resolve.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      yeah it's pretty sad there ain't no USB type-C, but hey at least no adapters or anything involved, just keep using all the same ol cables

      and i reckon it'll get an update to 6.0. maybe not the fastest update in the world but OnePlus wouldn't let their only devices go un-updated.

  30. thrtk3
    December 11, 2015 at 12:06 am

    I do not any smart phone or tablets. This would be great to start with.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:33 pm

      :O you gotta get some smart devices in your life

  31. Shikhanshu
    December 10, 2015 at 7:16 pm

    GIVE IT TO ME! I HAVE NEVER WON A GIVEAWAY! :( PLEASE GIVE IT TO ME!

    • Babs
      December 10, 2015 at 8:27 pm

      I bought this for my daughter and now I want one too.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:34 pm

      I WOULD GIVE IT TO YOU IF I CHOSE THE WINNER BUT I DON'T SORRY

      • Shikhanshu
        December 14, 2015 at 4:13 am

        Thanks for the kind sentiment anyway :)

  32. Dee B
    December 10, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    'Tis time for me to upgrade, and this sounds like the perfect way to do it!

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      agreed! it's a bomb phone :D

  33. jason
    December 9, 2015 at 10:45 am

    nice review

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      gracias !

  34. Vishnu Raj
    December 9, 2015 at 8:07 am

    Please let me enjoy this tiny beast :)

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:35 pm

      hahahaha good luck dude!

  35. Ayya Ali
    December 9, 2015 at 5:18 am

    didn't find code in video...

  36. Fortune
    December 9, 2015 at 2:00 am

    A short, sweet & to be point review. I like the hide apps option. Plus, my friend swears by his OnePlus One: I've seen the brilliant scrn display & heard the rich speakers sound. Boy, do I wish I could prove that techie wrong! Fortune.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      my OnePlus One is pretty great, not gonna lie

  37. Kim
    December 9, 2015 at 1:44 am

    I don't even have a cell phone. It would be awesome to win this one
    !

    • Athul Krishna
      December 9, 2015 at 4:02 am

      Me too

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      :O how does one get by without a cell phone !

  38. Doc
    December 8, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    This may just be the replacement phone I was looking for! Thanks!

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:36 pm

      yay! no problem!

  39. Brandon Was Here
    December 8, 2015 at 5:28 pm

    I've heard great reviews of this phone everywhere. Plus, today's my birthday (same one as Nicki Minaj too), and I really need a new phone.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      you share an awesome birthday, good luck winning the phone :D

  40. Angel
    December 8, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    thank you for your review. i would love to try this phone out. the mainstream manufacturers have disappointed me time and time again.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:37 pm

      i feel your pain, OnePlus is da best

  41. Mark “Mr. Marcus” Major
    December 8, 2015 at 2:24 pm

    I like the fact that it's pretty close to stock Android, none of that bloat-ware...the review is quick, basic but covers most of my FAQ's, nicely done.
    I'd be nice to win one.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      yay thank you! and yep i'm a fan of the near stock Android too :)

  42. Iliyan
    December 8, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    A few of my friends got this phone and are pretty happy with it. Best design by OnePlus to date, in my opinion. Would love to get one.

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      it is reallyyyyyy lovely. good luck!

  43. Ariel Abella
    December 8, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    Very good review, the phone is also amazing, very responsive, the size is perfect, the packaging is classy, excellent..

    • Riley J. Dennis
      December 11, 2015 at 12:38 pm

      oh most definitely! and thank you :)

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