OnePlus is a relatively new phone maker to have come onto the global scene. But within a year of its launching the OnePlus One, the Chinese phone maker has been on the radar of not just the Android-modding crowd but also regular users who want an affordable phone with high end specification set.
This year, OnePlus has already launched the OnePlus 2 which it calls the ‘2016 flagship killer’, something we didn’t quite agree with in our review. While the OnePlus One is still selling and OnePlus 2 sales were marred by a lot of inconveniences, the phone maker came out with a budget offering - the OnePlus X. According to OnePlus representatives, not everyone is a fan of the 5.5-inch form factor - hence the decision to launch the 5-inch OnePlus X with a starting price lower than the OnePlus One. Let us see if OnePlus X will repeat the magic of the OnePlus’ first outing.
Build and Design: 8/10
One of the main reasons behind releasing this product is the form factor. OnePlus feels that there is a huge market segment that is not comfortable with a 5.5-inch device, hence they decided to launch a 5-inch phone. The design is surely a departure from the OnePlus mould, starting with the fact that the OnePlus X comes with a non-removable Onyx or Ceramic covers rather than the Sandstone covers which have become an identifying factor for OnePlus devices.
OnePlus X uses a sturdy metal frame which has a fine lining texture that runs along all the edges. The right hand side has the dual nano SIM Card tray, volume rocker button and the power/standby button whereas on the left hand side you get the metallic Alert slider which has a textured design that is different from the edge. The 3.5mm audio jack is present on the top and at the base you have the microUSB port surrounded on either sides by the speaker grille section of which only the left side is the actual speaker section. There are antenna cut sections on the top and bottom edges.
The rear side has a glossy Onyx cover. The 13MP camera is located on the top left corner along with the LED flash unit. The OnePlus logo is present on the centre. On the front, you have a 5-inch full HD display with Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection. The phone weighs around 138 grams (the Ceramic back one weighing 160 grams) and measures just 6.9mm thick. The 2.5D curved glass design and the chamfered edges add a nice touch to the phone. Thanks to the flat edges, the grip on the phone is good, but the rear side can be a bit slippery. The most annoying thing is when you place it on a flat sunmica surface and want to use the swype-keyboard functionality - the phone tends to move along as you swype your finger making it impossible to type coherently. Overall, a very good design albeit it reminds one of the iPhone 4s/5/5s models.
For all practical purposes, the OnePlus X is basically a OnePlus One in a smaller body. The OnePlus X houses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC which has a 2.3GHz Quad-core Krait 400 processor along with Adreno 330 GPU which is paired with 3GB of RAM. It comes with a 5-inch full HD display that gives a 441 ppi pixel density. It comes with 16GB internal storage.
For the first time, OnePlus has added two features that Indian consumers are really fond of. The OnePlus X comes with a dual nano SIM card slot, one of which can take in a 4G LTE SIM card while the other can work on 2G/3G connections. Along with this, OnePlus X also has a microSD card slot. Note that this is a hybrid solution - so you will have to decide if you want dual SIMs or one SIM and one microSD card. Another bonus with the OnePlus X is the presence of an FM Radio.
The OnePlus X runs Android 5.1.1 Lollipop along with the proprietary OxygenOS skin atop it. It has a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front camera which will be well appreciated by selfie enthusiasts. In terms of connectivity options, apart from the SIM card slots, you have support for Wi-fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS with A-GPS and GLONASS and so on. A non-removable 2525 mAh Li-Polymer battery completes the picture.
Just like its elder sibling - the OnePlus 2 - the OnePlus X also runs on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop with the OxygenOS 2.1.3 skin atop it. The OxygenOS skin is quite close to stock Android with only Shelf feature being a proprietary one. The looks inspired by HTCs Blinkfeed or the LG UIs side screen. At the moment though, it just has a list of your frequently used apps and your most frequent contacts with whom you have recently communicated. Not really much in terms of value addition, but who knows OnePlus may add in more social elements to it in the near future.
But in case of the arrangement of app icons, notification settings, settings menu, etc., a stock Android user will instantly feel at home. You can use gestures to launch the camera (make an O on the lock screen), turn on the torch light (make a V on the lock screen) and so on.
Also the soft buttons can be interchanged, you can select quick actions on long pressing of the soft buttons. This makes some tasks quicker. Also just like the OnePlus 2, you can swap the order of the return and back soft buttons.You can also have each of the soft button perform different functions on long press and double tap, which makes things faster.
OnePlus X comes with a full HD AMOLED display, which is a departure from the IPS LCD displays we have seen on the OnePlus One and the OnePlus 2. And we have to say that it is indeed a good display. The Corning Gorilla Glass 3 protection on top does collect fingerprints, but nothing that cannot be taken care of with a couple of swipes every once in a while. Colours appear vibrant with the reds popping out a bit much. The contrast levels are quite good and black levels are deep. It manages to keep the warm tinge under check. Watching videos on this display is a pleasure.
OnePlus X houses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC and comes with 3GB of RAM. These specs ensure that the phone runs smooth and there aren’t many noticeable lags. The OxygenOS skin isn’t too heavy, so we did not notice any lag in terms of animations or app switching. Only in the camera app did we face issues at times, when the camera would freeze and we had to reset the app. In terms of gaming also, dropped frames were observed only on extreme settings with heavy games such as Modern Combat 5 or Asphalt 8: Airborne. The phone does get warm when using heavy apps or games, but nothing like the Snapdragon 810 chipset.
In terms of call quality, there were no issues - with the earpiece speaker being loud and clear enough. The audio speaker on the OnePlus X isn’t the best although you can listen to it in a closed room. We noticed sound distortion at maximum volume levels.
In terms of benchmark scores, the OnePlus X is pretty much in line with other Snapdragon 801 sporting devices.
OnePlus X comes with a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing camera. The camera user interface is minimal, as we had seen with the OnePlus 2. There are five camera modes such as slow motion, time lapse, still camera, video camera and panorama. In the still camera mode, you get the HDR mode, Clear image mode and timer mode whereas the video camera is capable of shooting full HD videos.
Please note: Click on the images to see the high resolution uncompressed images
Image quality of the OnePlus X is similar to one that was seen on the OnePlus One. While the daylight images come out detailed and with natural colours, the low light condition is OnePlus X’s Achilles heel. The camera on the OnePlus X is just not able to control the noise in low light situations, just like the OnePlus One, giving soft images. In comparison, the Xiaomi Mi 4i gives a much better camera output. Also while using the camera, due to the interface, many times you end up activating the modes above and below the current mode when you’re say trying to focus or zoom. Also the HDR mode on the OnePlus X is nowhere close to that on the Xiaomi Mi 4i/Mi 4.
Video camera is great for shooting casual videos so long as the phone is held still. Panning the phone while shooting video will result in rolling shutter.
Battery Life: 6/10
The OnePlus X comes with 2525mAh non-removable battery. We were not terribly impressed with the battery as it did not last much behind the 8-hour work day. On a regular day starting off with a fully charged phone at 8AM, and using it throughout the work day would leave us with around 10-15 percent battery by 5PM. If it was a heavy work day which involved lot of live tweeting, then we would run out of juice by 4PM itself. PC Mark for Android gave a screen on time of 5 hours 41 mins.
Verdict and Price in India
OnePlus X is an interesting experiment by OnePlus to reach out to the audience that does not want a large screen phone. In terms of design and display panel - OnePlus has really nailed it. Also features such as dual SIM support and FM Radio will be loved by many. At Rs 16,999, OnePlus X does deliver the goods and is a phone worth considering only in case you want to own a OnePlus device.
But the month-long invite system for the OnePlus X (which will transform to a flash sale model later) is a bit annoying, specially looking at how the Chinese company ended up pissing off probable OnePlus 2 buyers after their invite system didn’t turn out to be that effective. Honestly, in this day and age, when there is sufficient competition in the market, an invite-only buying system is pointless. It is very easy for consumers to forego the invite system and buy a similarly specced phone from another brand.
Camera performance and battery life performance have not been impressive. While camera is good for daylight photography, the low light performance is not up to the mark. And with the battery life, we always had to keep the charger handy. The OnePlus X lacks quick charging feature, and it takes almost 2.5 to 3 hours to charge fully, which is a lot of time in an age of quick charging adapters.
At the Rs 16,999 price point, the OnePlus X has stiff competition from incumbents such as the Xiaomi Mi 4 and new phones such as Lenovo Vibe S1 and Oppo R7 Lite (both of which we are currently testing). The ceramic coated OnePlus X priced at Rs 22,999 is strictly only for those who want their phone to stand out; considering that for just Rs 2,000 more, you are getting the OnePlus 2. So we would advise potential buyers to wait till we test the Lenovo Vibe S1 and the Oppo R7 Lite before they go ahead to buy the OnePlus X. Unlike the OnePlus One and OnePlus 2 before it, the OnePlus X is not so easy to recommend.
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