Reviews
Buy the Nexus 5X
Sign up for a OnePlus X invite

While there is no shortage of premium flagship smartphones out there, this year has also seen a larger focus on affordability without a compromise in quality. Two smartphones that fall in this ever-growing category are the Nexus 5X and the OnePlus X.

In the former, we get the spiritual successor to the extremely popular Nexus 5, while the latter is OnePlus‘ attempt to offer the best features of the flagship OnePlus 2 and its predecessor in a beautiful package. How do these two affordable smartphones compare? We find out, as we take an in-depth look at the OnePlus X vs Nexus 5X!

Design

oneplus-x-vs-nexus-5x-review-7

When it comes to the design, we get the metal and glass unibody design of the OnePlus X, compared to the entirely plastic build of the Nexus 5X, While the former is the cheaper of the two smartphones, you certainly won’t think that to be true when comparing their respective build qualities.

oneplus x review aa (5 of 22)

With their first mid-range smartphone offering, OnePlus decided to employ a design and build quality that is usually reserved for devices that are far more expensive. The metal frame features some micro cuts that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but contribute to the grip as well. With the display off, a look at the front gives the illusion of the device not having any side bezels at all, which makes the device look even better, and taking advantage of this design element is the Dark Mode that is activated by default (more on that later).

oneplus-x-vs-nexus-5x-review-9

On the other hand is the Nexus 5X with its soft touch plastic back plate that has been retained from the Nexus 5. While not particularly premium-feeling, the Nexus 5X is still a sleek and elegantly-designed smartphone that feels really nice in the hand. Despite the plastic build, the device certainly doesn’t feel cheap, and LG has done a great job in maintaining the feel of high quality.

nexus 5x second opinion aa (9 of 12)

With the Nexus 5X featuring the larger display of the two, it’s understandable that it is slightly taller and wider than the OnePlus X. The X is also thinner than the Nexus device, and there is a negligible difference in weight between these two surprisingly light smartphones. In either case, users will have no complaints with regards to the handling experience with either smartphone, and their relatively compact sizes allow for comfortable one-handed use as well.

oneplus-x-vs-nexus-5x-review-5

Taking a look around these devices, the power button and volume rocker are found on the right side with both. The metallic buttons on the OnePlus X comes with a ridged texture, and feel much better than the plastic buttons of the Nexus 5X. The charging ports are found at the bottom, and while OnePlus decided to go back to the old microUSB standard with the OnePlus X, the Nexus 5X features the newer USB Type-C standard. The headphone jack of the OnePlus X is placed up top, while it is at the bottom in the case of the Nexus 5X, and which placement you prefer comes down to your individual taste.

oneplus x review aa (11 of 22)

The Nexus 5X is not lacking in terms of design and build quality, but does fall short when compared to the OnePlus X. The premium build of the OnePlus X goes far beyond what its price point would suggest, and design is definitely one of the biggest positives of this mid-range affordable offering from OnePlus.

Display

oneplus-x-vs-nexus-5x-review-6

When it comes to the display, the OnePlus X features a 5-inch AMOLED display with a Full HD resolution, resulting in a pixel density of 441 ppi. The Nexus 5X comes with a slightly larger 5.2-inch IPS LCD screen, also with a 1080p resolution, resulting in a slightly lower pixel density of 424 ppi – a difference that you will be hard-pressed to notice.

nexus 5x second opinion aa (8 of 12)

What is noticeable however is the difference that is a result of the dissimilar underlying technologies. AMOLED allows for the deep blacks, high contrast, and saturated colors that you’d expect. Taking further advantage of this tech is the system-wide Dark Mode that is enabled by default, and the presence of a lot of dark elements on the screen let colors and text pop even more.

oneplus-x-vs-nexus-5x-review-12

The colors aren’t as saturated on the display of the Nexus 5X, the backlight is more noticeable when trying to display black elements, and even the whites have a greenish tinge to them. However, the display of the Nexus 5X has its positive points over that of the OnePlus X in terms of viewing angles and brightness, with the former definitely being easier to view in broad daylight. While the display of the Nexus 5X isn’t bad, the OnePlus X does manage to offer the more immersive viewing experience.

oneplus x first 48 hours aa (27 of 33)

Even though the Nexus 5X has the slightly larger display, a part of the screen real estate is used with on-screen navigation keys. In the case of the OnePlus X, users have the option to switch to capacitive navigation keys as well, which make the display feel as big as the one found on the Nexus 5X.

Performance

oneplus-x-vs-nexus-5x-review-4

Under the hood, the Nexus 5X comes with an hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor clocked at 2GHz and backed by the Adreno 418 GPU and 2 gigabytes of RAM. The OnePlus X is powered by the older quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor clocked at 2.3GHz, and backed by the Adreno 330 GPU and 3 gigabytes of RAM. While the processing package of the Nexus 5X may not be the latest and greatest, it is still found with a few other current generation flagships. Though the Snapdragon 801 may be showing its age, it was the 2014 flagship standard, and remains very capable. Also making a difference is the availability of an additional gigabyte of RAM with the OnePlus X.

Z5C-vs-X-vs-G-photos-02See also: Battle of the minis: OnePlus X vs Xperia Z5 Compact vs Moto G68

nexus 5x second opinion aa (7 of 12)

The OnePlus X may not be the fastest performer out there, and the processing package certainly shows its age. You will likely see choppy animations while moving through the various elements of the UI, and there will also be occasional instances of lag and stutter, which can prove to be annoying. Of course, you do have the option to select how fast the animations play, or disable them entirely to help in this regard. The OnePlus X can handle most games easily, but you will start to see and increasing amount of dropped frames and lag with the more processor-intensive games, which is disappointing. Overall, the performance of the OnePlus X is consistently okay, and while it may not fly, there aren’t any major issues that really detract from the experience.

oneplus x first 48 hours aa (29 of 33)

On the other hand, the Nexus 5X features a very smooth and snappy experience for the most part, and the device handles everything very well, from everyday tasks to processor-intensive gaming. That said, the device does suffer from glaring performance issues on occasion, even if they do occur rarely. Tasks that are usually smooth, such as loading applications, will suddenly take a long time, and some apps, like the camera application, are prone to crash rather consistently. With only 2GB of RAM, multi-tasking isn’t the best either, and power users may be disappointed in this regard. The good news is that some of the performance issues can be fixed with software updates, and that will hopefully allow for the snappy experience that is seen most of the time, to then be possible all of the time.

thumb nexus 5x second opinion (1 of 1)See also: Nexus 5X – Second opinion65

Hardware

oneplus-x-vs-nexus-5x-review-3

The Nexus 5X is available in 16 or 32 gigabyte storage iterations, but with no expandable storage possible, most users will be better off opting for the higher storage version. On the other hand, the OnePlus X is available only with 16GB of on-board storage, but does come with expandable storage via microSD card by up to 128 gigabytes. However, keep in mind that the second SIM slot also doubles as the microSD card slot, so you will have to make a choice between expandable storage or dual SIM capabilities.

oneplus-x-vs-nexus-5x-review-1

The most notable addition with the Nexus 5X is the fingerprint scanner on the back, placed ideally to be within easy reach of your index finger when holding up the phone. The scanner is very fast and reliable, and rarely fails to read the fingerprint accurately. Given that using the scanner lets you wake and unlock the device in one go, it is also one of the fastest unlocking experiences around. A well implemented fingerprint scanner is definitely very useful, and it is unfortunate that this feature did not make its way over to the OnePlus X from its flagship sibling. What is retained from the OnePlus 2 however is the Alert Slider, which proves to be a really easy way of silencing the phone.

oneplus-x-vs-nexus-5x-review-13

When it comes to the speaker setup, the Nexus 5X comes with a single front-facing speaker found below the display. And despite appearances, the OnePlus X also comes with only a single bottom-mounted speaker that is housed under the left grill. While front-facing speakers are usually what is preferred, in this case, the speaker of the OnePlus X is actually better, even though the speaker is facing away and towards the ground. Not only is the Nexus 5X speaker not as loud, but actually seems more muffled compared to the more emphasized treble of the OnePlus X speaker. Both speakers aren’t the best however, but will get the job done for the most part.

nexus 5x second opinion aa (11 of 12)

Both devices come with a standard suite of connectivity options, but NFC is found only with the Nexus 5X. This will let users take advantage of features like Android Pay. NFC is something that OnePlus, once again, decided to leave out of their smartphone because “not enough users were using it.” One aspect that needs to be addressed is with regards to mobile connectivity in the US. The OnePlus X lacks a couple of key bands, one required for AT&T, and the other for T-Mobile, which will result in restricted high-speed internet access on these networks. Basically, if you want to use one of these phones on AT&T or T-Mobile, you should get the Nexus 5X.

oneplus-x-vs-nexus-5x-review-8

In battery, the Nexus 5X comes with a larger 2,700mAh battery, compared to the 2,525mAh unit of the OnePlus Xw. While the OnePlus X allows for an average of 3 hours of screen-on time, you do get more with the Nexus 5X, which allows for around three and a half hours of screen-on time. Providing a further boost in the battery life of the Nexus 5X is Doze, a battery saving feature baked into Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Doze puts the device in a very low power state when it isn’t moved for a while, and results in impressive standby time, with a drop of maybe one or two percent overnight. Finally, the Nexus 5X also comes with fast charging, that lets the device charge in almost half as long as it takes for the OnePlus X to fully charge. It should be noted that neither one of these smartphones take advantage of wireless charging.

Camera

oneplus-x-vs-nexus-5x-review-10

One of the more disappointing aspects of most affordable smartphones out there has to do with the camera experience, but both the Nexus 5X and the OnePlus X seem to buck that trend with their respective camera packages. The OnePlus X comes with a 13 megapixel rear camera that uses phase detection autofocus, along with a 8 megapixel front-facing shooter which allows for some detailed selfies. The Nexus 5X features a new 12.3MP sensor with a pixel size of 1.55 microns, f/2.0 aperture, and a laser autofocus system. It also has a 5MP front-facing camera. Unfortunately, neither smartphone cameras feature optical image stabilization.

LG Nexus 5X Unboxing-33

As far as image quality is concerned, the OnePlus X does tend to have the softer image, while shots with the Nexus 5X camera seem to be a little sharper. Images are a lot more saturated with the OnePlus X camera though, and while the color reproduction is more accurate with the Nexus 5X, some users may prefer the images possible with the former. Both phones do have a habit of overexposing, but that is where HDR comes in.

oneplus x first 48 hours aa (30 of 33)

However, HDR mode on the OnePlus X does almost nothing, with there hardly being a difference when turning the feature on. On the other hand, the Nexus 5X comes with HDR+, which performs a lot of image processing in the background depending on the photo. HDR with the OnePlus X works much better in low light conditions, and while HDR+ is not required with the Nexus 5X to get a brighter picture, though it certainly still helps. HDR+ found with the Nexus 5X makes a big difference in most situations, and helps pull this camera ahead of that of the OnePlus X.

OnePlus X camera samples

When it comes to video capture, the lack of OIS means that both phones create some shaky videos. That said, things are much clearer and sharper with the Nexus 5X, while on the OnePlus X, we have a more smooth rendering of objects that isn’t very flattering. The Nexus 5X is able to capture video in the 4K resolution, and is also capable of slow motion video recording at 120fps, which are two features that aren’t available with the OnePlus X.

Nexus 5X camera samples

When it comes to the front-facing cameras, despite the shooter of the OnePlus X featuring a higher megapixel count, selfies taken with the Nexus 5X offer a lot more detail. Pictures are clearer, colors are better, and exposure is a little better as well. The OnePlus X selfie cam does come with a beauty mode, but it isn’t something that a lot of people will use regularly.

Overall, while the OnePlus X is capable of taking good shots in certain situations, the Nexus 5X does offer the far better camera experience overall.

Software

nexus 5x second opinion aa (2 of 12)

On the software side of things, the Nexus 5X comes with Android 6.0 Marshmallow out of the box, while the OnePlus X ships with the latest version of OnePlus’ Oxygen OS, based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

nexus 5x second opinion aa (12 of 12)

The obvious advantage with owning a Nexus smartphone, apart from the promise of timely updates, is the availability of the purest version of Android. With the software being controlled by Google, what you get is a simple and worry-free experience. Stock Android doesn’t come with a whole lot of bells and whistles, and apart from a few aesthetic changes, such as the now vertically-scrolling app drawer, the most notable additions with Android 6.0 Marshmallow are Doze, more granular control over app permissions, and Google Now on Tap.

Android 6.0 marshmallow logo DSC_0126See also: Android 6.0 Marshmallow updates roundup – December 4, 2015137

oneplus x review aa (8 of 22)

On the other hand, the OnePlus X comes with the latest version of the Oxygen OS, which is aesthetically very similar to a stock iteration of Android Lollipop. Users are given the choice between on-screen navigation keys or capacitive keys with the OnePlus X, which will help save a bit of screen real estate. Having double tap to wake functionality is pretty nice as well. Finally, there is Shelf, where frequent apps, favorite contacts, and user-defined widgets can be stored, allowing for a way to save space on the homescreens.

If having the latest version of Android is important to you, the Nexus 5X is the best way to make that happen. But if that isn’t particularly important, the OnePlus X does offer a slew of interesting and useful features which may be what some users are looking for.

Specifications

 Nexus 5XOnePlus X
Display5.2-inch IPS LCD display
1080p resolution
424 ppi
5-inch AMOLED display
1080p resolution
441 ppi
Processor2 GHz hexa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 808
Adreno 418 GPU
2.3 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 801
Adreno 330 GPU
RAM2 GB3 GB
Storage16/32 GB
not expandable
16 GB
expandable via microSD up to 128 GB
Camera12.3 MP rear camera
5 MP front-facing camera
13 MP rear camera
8 MP front-facing camera
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac
Bluetooth 4.2
GPS+GLONASS
NFC
USB 2.0, Type-C 1.0 reversible connector
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0
GPS+GLONASS
FM Radio
microUSB 2.0
SoftwareAndroid 6.0 MarshmallowAndroid 5.1.1 Lollipop
Battery2,700 mAh2,525 mAh
Dimensions147 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm
136 grams
140 x 69 x 6.9 mm
138 grams

Gallery

Pricing and final thoughts

oneplus-x-vs-nexus-5x-review-2

Price is a big factor with these smartphones, and is what makes these devices so special. The Nexus 5X is priced at $379 for the 16 GB version, requiring an additional $50 for the 32GB iteration. On the other hand, the OnePlus X is priced at an aggressive $249, and while you still have to deal with the dreaded invite system, that will likely not last for too much longer.

Buy the Nexus 5X
Sign up for a OnePlus X invite

So there you have it for this comprehensive look at the Nexus 5X vs OnePlus X! At first glance, the cheaper OnePlus X does seem to offer more value, with its premium design and build quality, and better display. However, when you dig a little deeper is where the Nexus 5X starts to shine, with it coming with a fingerprint scanner, and better performance, battery life, and camera, which are all essential factors for a good smartphone experience. If you are a casual user in the market for an affordable but premium looking smartphone, the OnePlus X is a great choice, but the better experience is to be had with the Nexus 5X.

blu-life-one-x-vs-moto-g (1)See also: Best cheap Android phones (October 2015)378

What are your thoughts? Be sure to let us know what you think in the comments below!

Next:

  • moew

    Nobody cares about oneplus anymore.

    • Пешо Пешев

      You are wrong, with this low price tag Oneplus X faces only 1 problem- fucking invite system…

      • And updates. And NFC. And Fast charging. And stupid marketing

        • Lucas K.

          Updates? It will get Marshmallow next year. NFC, yes, okay, true. Fast charging? It charges almost as quick as the 5X. Stupid marketing? You can buy it without invite right now…

          • Next year. When 5X will be on 6.1 already.
            It charges fully in 121 minutes with 2525 mAh VS 100 minutes with 2700 mAh on Nexus 5X. Almost as quick?
            I didn’t say anything about invites. I’ve said about they stupid marketing.

          • Lucas K.

            20 minutes difference is not a lot. Also, your battery most likely won’t be empty at the end of the day.

          • moew

            It’s running their own “oxygen os”, so it won’t get marshmallow, period. Cyanogen deal is dead, too. Again, nobody really cares about oneplus anymore.

        • Пешо Пешев

          Show me 5 other phones for $250 with fast updates… NFC is nice thing (using it every day), but 99,5% of users doesn’t even know what is this… Fast charging is another nice thing, but if at 7pm I have at least 10% I don’t give a fuck about fast charging…
          Of course OneplusX is far from perfect phone, but for it’s price is good enough..

          • Airyl

            There’s the majority of the new Xiaomi devices (The Redmi Note 2, Redmi Note 3 and Mi4C), the Meizu mid-range devices (Meizu M2 Note, Meizu Metal), the Nexus 5 gets pretty cheap these days if you can find one.

          • Пешо Пешев

            And majority of Xiaomi phones are NOT sold officially in 99,5% of the world…

          • Ayaorei

            agreed.

          • Karly Johnston

            Mi4C gets weekly updates. Its better than both these phones at $250.

          • Пешо Пешев

            Are you blind? Or stupid? Read again: “5 (FIVE) other phones”…

          • Karly Johnston

            Why would I care about 5 other phones? You only need one and the Mi4C is the best $250 phone.

      • moew

        You are obviously in a 3rd world country, and willing to pay a premium for a disposable phone with last year’s specs.

        • Jave

          BTW what you pay isn’t a premium in anyway and what you get is last years flagship so I don’t think it’s a disposable phone in any way. The only reason anyone should get a nexus is probably for the software or the camera .

          • Jave

            Who said they won’t be updating their own OS ? Your lack of knowledge is disturbing.

          • moew

            Your lack of knowledge is disturbing. And oneplus’ track record with updates is also VERY disturbing.

          • Jave

            Hey although I admit updates are late,they do give them anyway so your point is definitely invalid .

          • moew

            Your crystal ball must be broken, or you work there. Either way, nobody cares about oneplus anymore. The One was awesome, still even have that as a backup phone. But anything after that is irrelevant.

          • Ayaorei

            one was awesome, I still have it. but with this X the HYPE is back again. ill proudly say with the price you cant get any phone that comes close with built quality or anything else. and one thing about update,yes, fast official update is cool. but whoever buy this phone they are gonna flah custom rom right away so its fine anyway. #Never settle.

        • Пешо Пешев

          Wrong again… At least in my mind when I get paid at least $15 000 every month it’s hard to say “I live in 3rd world country”…
          But who gives a fuck for dumb shit like you- go fuck yourself… If you can’t I’ll send some negro to visit you- just give me an address…

  • celze20

    Krystal Lora is my future wife.

    • Herve Shango

      she is so damn hot!

    • ASYOUTHIA

      You’re going to be on the same papers as her, just in the form of a restraining order rather than a marriage license like you wanted

      • paxmos

        Ah, you are such a party pooper

      • Arch Angelos

        Got Emmmm LOL

    • Jessica Pereira

      Nexus Phones and Tablets are now on sale below

  • Kunal Narang

    I love you Crystal. You’re so pretty!!

    • Deepak Gawande

      Hehehe… I came here to see such type of comments in this section. :D
      Yeah, she’s awesome. Nice detailed comparison Krystal, good job.

  • Lucas K.

    Nexus 5X affordable, lol. In Europe it’s almost twice the price of the OnePlus X (€480 vs. €269). And in some respects, the OPX is even better… For me, the winner is definitely the OnePlus X.
    By the way, you can purchase it without invite right now (5-7 december)

    Added later on: that bloatware story is definitely NOT true, for me at least. The only ‘bloatware’ app next to the standard google stuff is ‘OnePlus FM Radio’. No battery saving apps, outdated google search bars or whatever. I’m using the EU model, by the way.

  • Alex Payne

    Really good comparison. I think it should be clarified that the bloatware is exclusive to the white oneplus x, which is imported from china and sold on the grey market. :)

  • disqus_amd718

    Great review and comparison. Well done!

  • Tim

    The White OnePlus X is China exclusive and no bloatware is on the international version except the Google Apps.
    And the OnePlus X has a slow motion mode in 120fps at 720p

  • dark_bytes

    Excellent video and very very great detailed and well explained write up. Krystal. I prefer the Nexus 5X

  • Dr. Rock Strongo

    The one thing that kills the one plus for t mobile users is the limited lte bands. Womp womp!

    • Karly Johnston

      Their H+ is almost as fast as the usual LTE. It is the best network to be on if you import China phones.

  • Pulkit

    Whats with the extremely outdated google search widget on the OnePlus X? lol

    • Soul_Sample

      Just got the phone, had nothing like that, not even the “optimizer” widgets or apps. Google bar looked like you’d expect it to look.

      • Pulkit

        Interesting. Not sure why her unit has that outdated one :/

        • Soul_Sample

          I found just one other source with the same widget/optimizer, but AA doesn’t allow the link. The other article doesn’t notice/explain it at all. So it remains a mystery. You can google it with keywords pcadvisor oneplus x champagne.

          • Pulkit

            Will do. Thanks for the info!

  • Ben

    She is so pretty!

  • do comparison on nexus 5x and oneplus two

  • Modman

    Go with Nexus 5X. If history repeats itself op will abandon the phone in a year just like they did with one plus one.

    • kevin

      They haven’t abandoned the oneplus moron… We are still going to get marshmallow 6.0 on cyanogen. Oxygen was never an official OS for the oneplus one so don’t even mention it.

  • Pez Smith

    Nice pairs of phones.
    I think the 5X will provide a bit of future proofing.

  • Rinatus

    You say that the oneplus X has a little bit of stutter, lag or framedrops while playing games.
    Isn’t the oneplus X hardware identical to that of the Oneplus One? I ask this because I own a oneplus One and I’ve never felt framedrops or stutter, I’ve only felt the frames dropping in “Smashy road” but I have never felt that in any other game (And i play more graphically intense games, so I believe the problem is Smashy roads optimization). However even this problem can be solved with Cyanogenmods “Performance” setting. So is the Oneplus X actually worse than the Oneplus one? (Aside from battery/screen size)

    • Bryce Swain

      The OnePlus X actually has a slightly different version of the Snapdragon 801. It has a lower clock speed than the One’s, which could be the issue. Also, the software (specifically that of OxygenOS) optimization could also affect overall speed.

  • Smokingaces

    Nice comparison..
    Also I am sorry Krystal, but I really don’t know where and how else to say this. You are simply gorgeous. I am still figuring out whether I liked this article (and the review) more due to the smartphone nerd inside me or due to you. I know this is not the place for such comments, but… Still.
    Peace. :-)

  • rob c

    Does the white oneplus x model work in North America?

  • JDMillest

    wow no one mention how opx copied sony phones. lol

    • raja777m

      It definitely looked like iPhone 4s for me, with 5″ screen.

  • Looking at both phones, still sticking with my ZenFone2 from ASUS. Insane specs for $300, receiving monthly updates from the OEM, and slated for Marshmallow in 2016.

  • Spencer Walker

    Alcatel idol 3 is 149 at cricket wireless

  • Δημοσθένης Βαλασκάκης Φλώρος

    I would prefer a comparison of smartphones that are in the same price bracket….
    The 130 bucks difference is to big….

  • Modman

    Takes one to know one. If cos 13 has as many bugs as 12 who wants it? I’ll be chilling with my nexus 6 while your phone is rebooting during conference calls.

  • Still Dont Give A Fuck

    Anyone notice if you add the Moto X to this, it’ll be XXX

    • paxmos

      LOL

  • Moshe Auguztyn

    is it just me or the OnePlus X sample images is much more inviting,

    nice comparison, crystal

  • Estafador

    hmm, if it were solely between these two in terms of which phone I would want, I would definetely get the OnePlus X. Expanded storage, cheaper, made of metal. Sure they are still using the same ol’ DECENT (not terrible) processor and 5X’s camera slightly outdoes them, one my gaming habits are on hold due to me not wanting to play such intensive games and two, I’m an artist and I have a real camera. Phone camera quality is good enough for a quick update to facebook and I can do the rest of my high quality shots with my SLR camera. The one thing that really kills me though is that bandwith. With me going to a t-mobile affiliate, certain bandwiths are necessary for high performance internet usage, like pandora and GPS (mainly those two).