Reviews
Pros

- Sleek, accessible design
- AMOLED display leveraged well via Dark Mode and Ambient Display
- Performance still reliable, even if not blazing fast
- Return to microUSB port, at least for now
- Battery above average
- Expandable storage
- Great price, makes it accessible for just about anyone

Cons

- Snapdragon 801 really showing its age
- Lack of NFC, wireless charging, fast charging
- Camera is inconsistent, especially video
- Software still needs polish, somewhat buggy
- Lack of LTE bands makes phone not futureproof in US

Rating
Our Rating
Battery
8.0
Display
8.0
Camera
7.0
Performance
7.5
Software
8.0
Design
8.5
Bottom Line

With a premium body and solid internals, what we have is a device that might be OnePlus's most compelling yet. It is certainly not without its flaws, and may not be future proof, but for now, the OnePlus X is one of the best bang for your buck smartphones of the year.

8.2
Our Rating
You have rated this

Boasting a design overhaul and a compelling price point, OnePlus is hoping to marry the features of their most recent flagship, the OnePlus 2, with the value of its predecessor. Will the first mid-range offering from the company prove to be the smartphone for you? We find out, in this comprehensive OnePlus X review!

Design

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Design is definitely the most striking aspect of the OnePlus X, with the large bodies and subtle curves that define its flagship siblings no longer to be found. Instead, what we get now is a black slate device, utilizing dual glass panels and a metal frame for that premium touch. There is a ceramic version of the phone available as well, where the back is made with a substantially heavier fire-baked ceramic material. That is a special edition of sorts, however, and the glass-encased “Onyx” edition seen in this review is the one that is more readily available.

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Starting with the metal frame, there are a number of micro-cuts in it that contribute a lot to the handling experience. In case you were worried, these micro-cuts don’t scrape the skin and aren’t uncomfortable to the touch, but rather provide a reassuring feel when holding the device. All the buttons are on the right side, with the power button below the dual SIM/microSD tray and the volume rocker, and on the other side is a feature returning from the OnePlus 2, the Alert Slider. The bottom marks OnePlus’ return to the microUSB charging port, and despite appearances, only the left grill houses a speaker.

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The 5-inch screen is just the right size for comfortable one-handed usage, and above it is the proximity sensor that helps trigger the Ambient Display feature. A closer look is required to see the markings for the capacitive navigation keys below the display, and as mentioned during the unboxing, these buttons are placed really close to the bottom, and that does take a little getting used to in terms of reaching them. On the back, the OnePlus logo is front and center, with the camera optics nestled in the corner.

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We had several “smaller” devices this year, but the OnePlus X comes with a pretty sleek design to keep this form factor feeling pretty fresh. One-handed usage is a highlight here, with the flat sides and those micro-cuts really helping the phone sit snug in the hand while reaching from side to side. There are some drawbacks here however, with the dual glass design making for an incredibly fingerprint-prone device, and you will find yourself wiping it down often to keep things pristine.

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Of course, there are some obvious sources of inspiration as well, but OnePlus does do a good job of having enough differentiating factors. Ultimately, the OnePlus X is a pretty premium looking and feeling device, that somewhat surprises when you consider how much, or how little, you will be paying for it.

Display

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The OnePlus X features a 5-inch AMOLED display with a 1920 x 1080 resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 441 ppi. 1080p allows for the right kind of display experience for a phone like this, with some punched up colors due to the black levels an AMOLED screen allows for. It is good that, despite being an affordable device with a small form factor, OnePlus didn’t decide to bump the resolution down to 720p. Text is sharp enough for a 5-inch display when reading, and media looks really good as well. Brightness is also pretty high, and at the highest level, the white areas of the screen might actually be a little blinding even in normal lighting conditions.

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AMOLED is taken advantage of by the OnePlus software, with its Ambient Display feature, that can be triggered by waving your hand over the proximity sensor, with the screen then showing the minimal version of the lockscreen for a quick glance at your notifications. The Oxygen OS theme is also set to Dark Mode by default, which is a really nice touch and allows for a battery life boost, by keeping the AMOLED screen from showing too many bright colors.

Related: OnePlus X best cases

Performance

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Under the hood, the OnePlus X comes with a quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, clocked at 2.3 GHz, and backed by the Adreno 330 GPU and 3 GB of RAM. This processor was the 2014 flagship standard and was also found with the OnePlus One, save for the additional gig of RAM, and helps make a case that last year’s phones are certainly viable options in the current smartphone space. With daily tasks, like writing emails, listening to music, watching the occasional video, and general web browsing, the OnePlus X doesn’t skip a bit, and only when firing up the more recent graphically-intensive games is where you experience a slowdown.

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Of course, when actually compared to current generation flagship smartphones, the Snapdragon 801 does show its age, and while some of the blame may lie on the extra polish that the Oxygen OS may still need, instances of stutter were fairly common. From little stutters when YouTube started playing a video, to the small but noticeable occurrences of Fleksy fumbling a letter, it became clear that while this is still a very viable processing package, it is still over a year old. Though the vast majority of users will be hard-pressed to notice these little issues, and future Oxygen OS updates will certainly also help smooth out the rough edges, it is still important to know what you will be dealing with.

Hardware

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In hardware, the OnePlus X retains some of the features from the OnePlus 2, while adding some new hardware elements as well, with the main omission this time around being the fingerprint scanner. Just like on the OnePlus 2, NFC is not available. The Alert Slider is back however, and proves itself to be a really easy way of silencing the phone, with the middle position being useful only as long as you have your priority notifications set up properly.

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Even though there are two grills at the bottom flanking the microUSB port, only the left grill houses the single speaker unit that provides audio skewed towards the higher ends, which is a little unpleasant, despite the speaker itself being able to get pretty loud. Using a good pair of headphones will allow for a much better audio experience. The wires also serve an extra purpose, with the OnePlus X coming with a radio tuner, which works as well as can be expected, and is a nice addition to have if you want to listen to local stations.

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Another feature that is retained from the OnePlus 2 is the dual SIM tray, but the secondary SIM slot now doubles as a microSD card slot, which will certainly be appreciated, since the 16 GB of on-board storage will not be enough for most people. Of course, users will have to make a choice between dual SIM capabilities or expandable storage, but any implementation that allows for the latter is a big plus.

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On the battery front, the OnePlus X packs a 2,525 mAh unit, which is pretty standard for a phone of this size, but actually allowed for pretty surprising results. With moderate usage, the device allows for around 3 hours of screen-on time, which seems pretty average, but means more when factoring in the low price of this smartphone. The standby time is also quite impressive, with due credit being given to the AMOLED display and features like Ambient Display and Dark Mode. There is no fast charging or wireless charging however.

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One aspect of hardware that definitely needs to be addressed is with regards to mobile connectivity in the US. You may have already heard that the OnePlus X lacks a couple of key bands to access high-speed internet, one required for AT&T, and the other for T-Mobile. The AT&T issue keeps the phone from maintaining a steady LTE connection consistently, and for T-Mobile, the carrier’s gradual change to that particular band will cripple any LTE access. This is certainly a very big deal for any of you in the US, and brings up the point that if you are hoping to use the OnePlus X on these networks, this phone may come with an expiration date. The device is a very viable choice in other markets around the world, but it will help to be aware of these facts if you are planning to pick up this device in the US.

Camera

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The OnePlus X comes with a 13 MP rear camera that uses phase detection autofocus and leverages HDR, along with a 8 MP front-facing shooter, that allows for some detailed selfies. The camera application is the same as the one found with the OnePlus 2, which uses swipes on the viewfinder in order to switch between various modes, including slow motion video, time lapse, and panorama. Going to the last mode means a change to the portrait orientation, which can be quite annoying. There isn’t much manual control available, aside from basically just being able to trigger HDR.

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Taking a look at the camera samples, we find the OnePlus X guilty of some classic pitfalls. It’s great in good lighting conditions, but quality deteriorates drastically as conditions worsen, and taking a shot will always require a very steady hand. The app is fast enough, getting shots done in a decent amount of time, but even in medium light situations, the camera opts for slower shutter speeds in order to compensate for exposure. Slower shutter speeds are of course not a bad thing as such, but it does make getting good results in low light conditions difficult.

This actually becomes more of an issue with video capture, which gets a bit choppy more often than not, and is one of the main flaws that was observed in the camera experience. Going back to the images, darker areas are still quite fuzzy, which is expected, but aren’t particularly bad to look at. Colors are not particularly dull either, but could use a little bit more punch. Using HDR in these scenarios just results in a brighter picture, instead of a more vivid photo, which isn’t ideal. For a daily shooter, the OnePlus X requires a little more diligence to get good shots, but for its price point, we don’t fault the camera too much for that, unless your focus is video recording.

Software

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On the software side of things, we have the return of the OnePlus built Oxygen OS, which brings a mostly stock-looking Android edition to the OnePlus X. Much of it is really familiar, with a Lollipop inspired interface that includes the paginated app drawer and the Quick Settings menu.

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Shelf, where frequent apps and favorite contacts, along with user-defined widgets, can be stored, is off by default, but it is certainly a good place to put your widgets and helps avoid using a lot of homescreens. More input options are available, with users given the choice between capacitive keys or on screen navigation keys, and gestures like double tap to wake are to be found as well.

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Even if it’s not based on Marshmallow, Oxygen boasts App Permissions, a feature that gives a nice insight into the kind of things applications are attempting to access. We have already mentioned Dark Mode a few times, and it is simply a bit nicer on the eyes, and the battery, and it has even got an option to cater the accent colors for a bit of a different look. By highlighting the Dark Mode, OnePlus has taken that little step to make its version of Android a touch different from stock versions, and given that the company prides itself on being different, we can certainly expect more additions to the Oxygen OS to further set it apart.

Specifications

  
Display5-inch display
1920 x 1080 resolution
Gorilla Glass 3
ProcessorQualcomm 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801
processor
GPUAdreno 330
RAM3GB
Storage16GB
MicroSDUp to 128GB
Connectivity2.4GHz b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS, GLONASS, BDS, LTE
SIM cardNano SIM, dual compatible (but uses microSD slot)
Camera13MP ISOCELL 3M2 CMOS with f/2.2 rear cam, 8MP front cam
BatteryNon-removable 2,525 mAh LiPo battery
SoftwareOxygen OS (based on Lollipop)
Dimensions140 x 69 x 6.9 mm, 138g for Onyx, 160g for Ceramic

Gallery

Pricing and final thoughts

Priced at just $250, a premium body and good internals make the OnePlus X quite a steal. Of course, OnePlus’ infamous invite system does return, but small windows for open sales will be available, before gradually becoming free from requiring any invitations.

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So, there you have it for this in-depth look at the OnePlus X! With that low price, the X might be OnePlus’ most compelling offering yet. The OnePlus X makes no pretenses about being a flagship smartphone, and understandably doesn’t meet that standard. We do think that the device is a great phone, but that phrase almost always ends with the phrase, “for the price.” Granted, it isn’t future proof, and for users who need LTE in the US, the expiration date may be sooner rather than later, but for now, the OnePlus X is one of the best smartphone deals we’ve seen all year.

  • TheIcemanCometh

    With the individual scores compared to the overall score, Design must carry a LOT of weight.

  • saksham

    i have a lotta $$$

  • Dan

    Sorry, I just can’t spend money on a phone in 2015 that doesn’t have full LTE coverage here in the US. No price is worth it if it neuters my coverage (I almost exclusively rely on AT&T’s band 17 where I live and work) and constantly charge my phone as it searches for a better signal.

  • reggietwyn

    Sounds like it’s just a pretty phone. Lack of anything #FutureForward. If you’re doing a giveaway…I’ll take it. but I will not spend in hard earned cash on this device. I’ll keep my OPO and LGV10

  • M42

    There’s a reason it’s a “good deal” – it’s useless on AT&T or T-Mobile networks for lack of Band 12 and 17.

  • Jeremy VanWinkle

    I’ve got an invite if someone wants it

    • Harsh Potter

      I want it please!

      • Jeremy VanWinkle

        I’ll give you my email address if that would help? You can have my invite. I’ll forward it to u

    • seldomused

      It has to be used by the email it was sent to.

  • I just got my invitation this morning and was about to pull the trigger until I read about the lack of full LTE support. What a shame! I just love the design of this phone, especially their choice to go with an AMOLED display with a dark theme – that is exactly what I would build if I could build a smartphone. I’m a sucker for deep blacks.

  • Diego

    looks good if you live on another country.

  • sithishs

    Lack of LTE bands kills this phone for almost everyone in the US. OP really dropped the ball on this one.

  • Jeremy VanWinkle

    If someone as has my email address can they use my invite? I’d hate it to go to waste

    • lenirtpls

      Yes, if you trust this person, it is perfectly possible to share your OnePlus account information with them and you/they can order the phone and have it sent to them.

  • suresh prabhu

    Many users have complained of bad camera quality… Camera on the moto g3 performs better it seems.
    Anyone has experienced this? Some say its a software problem and that may get fixed with camera app upgrade?

  • Justin Parry (Zuffle)

    As far as I know T-mobile Band 12 is only usable if the phone also supports a unique data feature to T-mobile. And it is useless if it supports the band and not that feature. So for unlocked phones this is expensive and could even mean including that Band would render their phone useless for making calls. So I think that OnePlus put much more thought into not including support for B12 of T-mobile than we are giving them credit for. And just look it up another popular android website posted the article.

  • Gabe

    stuttering lag or slowdown during gaming performance has been fixed, it was a GPU problem. Simple solution is to dl an app called “CpuBurn”. Battery life has also been extended significantly with a custom kernel. Development has already begun for the phone despite being only 2 weeks old.
    Take home message: If it’s a software problem, it’ll be fixed soon. With the amt of hype and support from the community that this phone is getting, you can expect many custom ROMs and developers to help try to fix it. Imagine the day this phone keeps it’s awesome appearance while having a beastly internal !

  • patstar5

    I got an invite but I can’t buy this because of the lte bands missing. Band 17 is used in my area, my oneplus one picks it up

  • 3223

    Am I the only person who doesn’t care for LTE? I’m just content with hsdpa+. Plenty fast enough for me, doesn’t make me hit my data cap quickly, doesn’t drain my battery like mad.

    With data caps being the way they are and the costs involved, I feel there’s no need for LTE. At least not yet, until battery life and god damn quotas are removed.

    So apologies for digressing, I think the oneplus x would make a fine alternative second phone for me. :)

    • sithishs

      To be honest, I turn LTE off a lot because reception is poor at my office, at 1 bar or less…my OPO refuses to drop down to 3G which is really irritating because I have to do it manually.

      • 3223

        I haven’t really turned on LTE on my m8 since… Like.. Forever. Been happy with hsdpa+. The sacrifices to battery life and capping the quota is too much of a compromise for me.

        I’d liken LTE to a powerful engine in a fast car. You can travel super fast, but you’ll drain your fuel (quota) at a much faster rate…

  • this or xperia Z2?

  • Varun Singh

    If the left one is speaker than what is the right grill for ???

    • Steve Brain

      It’s probably the same as the Oneplus 2 where the right hand side is a speaker and the left hand side is a microphone and just looks the same for aesthetics. Or they might have switched sides for some unknown reason.

  • MikeS

    Just got an invite. I was planning on buying this but lack of band 17 is a FAIL :(

  • s2weden2000

    ePicness…

  • Garrett Lee Reyman

    Opo had 3gb of ram

  • Vaibhav Verma

    hey will the problem with gpu will get rectify shortly ?? because the configuration is simply awesome .. and i searched a little about it and some says that it can get solve by changing the cpu governer .. i want to ask that does its true .. and rooting the opx worth to change the gpu governer and one more thing should i wait for the update are they working one the problem does the company claims about their miss handling while creati g the software part should i wait for marshmallow update or should i change my phone ..this phone isnt even playing asphalt 8 smoothly come on it have snapdragon eight o one….3 gb ram

  • Marshall Pierce

    I have an invite that I don’t plan on using. Does anyone want it?

  • Marshall Pierce

    The invite expires in a little over 2 days.

  • Moshe Auguztyn

    the X was launched in UK first, Why dont Ash take the review??

  • junie john

    hi all,
    i am a rookie in this field of being aware of smartphone features. however, with my limited knowledge & informations, wud like to have myself a OnePlus X coz of its sleek design & appearance, or OnePlus 2. but i just need to know, whether these phones have the feature of giving voice commands, like ‘Okay Google’, as in Moto X Play series or other android smartphones.therby i need to play my music files, without touching the phone, which is my main desire. also if it’s available, is that feature as good as that in Moto X Play?
    Plz guys… somebody help me in choosing a right phone among OPX, OP2 or a Moto X Play, considering voice command feature for music play, as one of the priorities…
    Thanks in Advnce……

  • Avinash Kotian (Avii)

    Hello!! I’m having problem wiyh the call duration. Whenever after my call there is no notifications of callduration and cost.. so anybody facing sameprob??

  • Eden

    Good review, thank you for share

    https://getafree-iphone6.blogspot.com/

  • Joe Lynch

    Be prepared for possibly the worst customer service of any phone manufacture. After problems with my OPX, I have yet to receive an RMA as they give you a big run around that they need pictures of the phone and the IMEI, okay did that, several times. Still no firm commitment from OP to replace/repair the phone. They will keep sending you emails from different “Engrish” agents telling how they feel the frustration and they have escalated the problem. After a month of trying to get them on the phone, get them to reply to emails in a manner to fix the problem, I did what they want you to do, give up. They might make okay phones, of which the OPX is really a turned down Phone 4 wannabe, but the customer service sux balls. Dont buy from these Chinamen.