OnePlus has a reputation for breaking paradigms in the segments that it brings handsets into. The whole concept of brilliantly designing phones that test the limits of specifications and performance is now customary and something of a regular process for them. The recently launched OnePlus X is a brilliant example of that. The phone is a good example of thoughtful and classy design mixed with very good hardware to give a near perfect experience. Let us look at this device today
The OnePlus X features a 5” 1920 x 1080p Active Matrix OLED screen and a 441 ppi resolution. The AMOLED screen gives impressive dynamic range, color saturation, and color accuracy that will make for fantastic graphic content. Made individually from sheets of fortified Corning Gorilla Glass 3, the touchscreen is incredibly thin, attractive and scratch-resistant.
The OnePlus X’s sides are made metal, not a plastic with faux coating, and that gives it a very pronounced premium feel. The 6.9mm thickness, and the materials used in crafting make the phone feel much more luxurious than its price tag warrants. This segment is now going to see a lot of heat in this department.
The version we’re reviewing is the OnePlus X Onyx. It’s the standard version for sale everywhere, while the limited edition Ceramic version is eagerly expected. OnePlus has set out to prove that brilliant design need not be costly and it is very evident.
The OnePlus X has a very impressive metal frame running all the way round, which has a volume rocker, sleep/wake key, notification alert slider control, and Nano SIM card tray. On the bottom side is a pair of speaker grills (only one provides sound), and the Micro USB charging point; the headphone socket is on the top side. The device is very slim, and a tad bit slippery. We noticed it very easily slide around over seemingly flat and level surfaces, so it definitely needs a back case.
The 5-inch screen is extremely compact, one problem with the rounded edges is that they don’t provide much grip. It’s possible to use it with one hand, but the OnePlus X is so smooth it feels like juggling a delicate thing of glass in your hand.
The first thing that impressed us is the AMOLED screen, brilliant colors and amazing blacks. We had a black wallpaper on the screen, and the display almost disappears against the black glass bezels. The design guys at OnePlus has done an impressive job of crafting the edges. Video is brilliant, the screen looks impressively sharp, thanks to the smaller size and 1080p resolution. We played video at very low brightness, and even that was superb and crisp. Perfection is very close to this, very close. Generally, the OLED pixel density isn’t as high as it’s LCD counterparts, but the 1080p resolution on a 5-inch screen, giving a 440 PPI density, and that explains the sharpness.
It has a good 13MP Rear Camera with f/2.2 Aperture. Colors are true to life with optimized white balance and saturation, ensuring your photos always capture the real tones of your subjects. Equipped with ISOCELL technology, light sensitivity is increased for sharper images and less noise. The 8MP front-facing shooter with a f/2.4 aperture allows for detailed, clear and nearly flawless selfies every time you take them. The OnePlus X’s auto-focus is powered by Phase Detection AF, which uses light to focus on subjects in 0.2 seconds. What that means is that you can point at a subject and actually click good photos without waiting too long. Nifty when you are outside and want to capture important moments fast. What we liked is the addition of the ability to preview and share images better, this is a good improvement to Oxygen OS. Almost makes you not miss the absence of a gallery app. And frankly the third party gallery apps leave a lot to be desired. So this is very welcome!
The OnePlus X runs on Android 5.1.1 (Lollipop) and the UI is the Oxygen OS. The UI is very very close to Google’s stock version of Android, a slightly changed drop down notification panel and the USP is the slide-in Shelf tray that gathers together most used apps and contacts, and you can add widgets to it. Helps a lot in customizing the experience which is pretty much the most important part of the Android experience – “together, but different” as they say!
The device is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 with 3GB of RAM. The processor is not earth shattering but we did not notice any stutter or lag when trying to do anything with the phone. Asphalt 8 was smooth. We tried a variety of games and benchmarks. There really is no reason to complain in the performance department. While we did the run the synthetic benchmarks, we know that they do not define the real world performance of the phone. Final word on the performance front is that it is neat and clean, very smooth.
The OnePlus X has a 2,525mAh battery, we tried a combination of video, gaming, and average app use, it did not need more than one full recharge to last a full day and we had about 7% charge left at the end of the day. On slightly heavy use in areas with lesser signal strength, it lasted a good 8.5 hours. So the paradigm that slim batteries are lightweight has finally been broken, but hey, isn’t that what OnePlus does? Break norms!
Given the crafting and the performance for the price band that it is in, this is a class redefining device – arguably the best Android device in this segment. But there are minor issues – OnePlus doesn’t like NFC for some reason, the glass back is a bit slippery and the camera takes a bit of time processing after a photo is snapped. But these are all blown away by the sheer experience that one gets at an affordable cost. So if you are in the hunt for the best mid-range phone that looks good and works like a trained stallion, this one is a contender. (If you can get an invite!)