Last year, OnePlus upset the whole smartphone world with its OnePlus One and it followed it up again this year with the even-better OnePlus 2. But the new OnePlus X goes in a different direction...
OnePlus has dropped the “flagship killer” level of specs in its latest outing with the OnePlus X dropping down on a number of components in a relentless search for a lower price. And it found it, as the OnePlus X is only £199.
It offers a lot less than the OnePlus 2, but it does boast a gorgeous design. So is it worth having?
OnePlus has taken a lot of elements from the iPhone 4 in the OnePlus X – the whole look of the phone looks like a slightly inflated version of Apple’s popular 2011 handset.
There’s a glass back that looks great out of the box, but after a little bit of holding the phone it looks horrible with grubby finger marks all over the back. This phone is the definition of a fingerprint magnet.
The front of the phone has rounded corners that look similar to the same area on the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S, but the edges here are metal with ridges as well.
It looks premium around the sides, and helps with your grip of the phone, which I grew to like the look of, but it won’t exactly grab the eye of passers-by.
Compared to the OnePlus One and OnePlus 2 though, this is the best looking phone the Chinese firm has made so far, with a sleek body and shiny design.
The OnePlus X has a 13MP camera on the back, an impressive set up when considering the price of the phone. Be warned, it’s not going to give you the same quality image of the Samsung Galaxy S6.
The OnePlus X especially struggles with dark images. The highlight of taking photos on the OnePlus X is the 8MP front-facing camera that is unheard of at this end of the market - even a lot of flagship phones don't offer this much resolution for your face.
But again if the light is bad, you’re not going to get a good shot here.
This is also the first OnePlus phone to come with expandable storage – that means you get 16GB internally and then up to 128GB from a microSD. You’re going to need that extra card here though, as the internal storage simply isn’t enough for apps and photos and such.
Here’s where the OnePlus X really falls down. OnePlus has gone for a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor inside the OnePlus X, and you’d expect it to work wonders considering it was inside the great HTC One M8. But it’s not as good here.
There are some big stuttering issues that I found when playing high-intensity gaming and it’s not up to the same standard as a lot of the flagship devices - which makes sense when you consider app power has moved on in the last few years.
Watching video also had a few issues as well, especially when streaming. Sometimes videos would slow down so far that I’d miss seconds of the clips. It didn’t ever get warm though, no matter how hard I pushed it.
If you’re after a phone that can handle difficult tasks, this isn't the choice for you.
The OnePlus X is the perfect size for my hands. If you’re after a 5-inch phone that doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall out of your palms every few seconds this is a great choice.
Battery wise the OnePlus X is OK, but not revolutionary. You can get through to the end of the day without having to recharge, but that’s about it. I had a few days of heavy usage where I went to bed with only a little juice left.
Remember that getting your hands on a OnePlus X is hard as well. It’s not a case of walking into a shop and slamming your money down on the counter - you have to have an invite, and the only way to get them is through a friend who already has a OnePlus phone, join the waiting list or to win one directly from the company itself.
It’s hard to justify picking up the OnePlus X when the OnePlus 2 was such a fantastic phone. If you can be bothered with the process of getting an invite, it’s worth spending a little more money and getting the far better flagship product.
The design of the OnePlus X is great, and it's impressive what OnePlus has done here considering the price. But when you compare it to the slightly older and better equipped sibling, it’s all about the OnePlus 2.
OnePlus can only really offer the best high-end specs within its flagship range, dropping the price down to the £200 mark is just too low to offer the full Android experience. It's a shame but unless you're really passionate about this design, you want the OnePlus 2.