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One Plus X | Review

OnePlus X is the Chinese startup’s first attempt at moving away from just the hardware and focussing on the looks of the device. The smartphone comes in two variants – the standard Onyx and the limited edition Ceramic – and is available via invites (once again).

OnePlus X seems like a pretty capable smartphone, but runs on hardware that is over a year old. Find out if this smartphone is worth buying at Rs 16,999 or not in our OnePlux X review…

Design

For the company, design is the big selling point of OnePlus X, offering one of the few premium looking smartphones under Rs 20,000. The Onyx version we reviewed has a glass back and metal frame, and the handset overall is compact enough to operate easily with one hand. The compact form of OnePlus X is helped by its 6.9mm thickness and 138gram weight.

The metal frame sports a grooved design and chamfered edges that meet the curved glass design (on both front and back) to create a very well finished device. On the left edge is the Alert Slider, which made its debut with OnePlus 2 and controls your phone’s audio profile.

Sadly, the black glass back catches fingerprints very easily and can become a little hard to maintain after a while.

Display

With the new OnePlus X, you get a 5-inch display – the smallest screen size yet for OnePlus smartphones. The AMOLED panel is protected by Gorilla Glass 3 and sports Full HD (1080x1920p) resolution, with deep and saturated colours. However, unlike older AMOLED screens, the colours are not oversaturated and you get a device offering quite balanced colour reproduction.

The display of OnePlus X is also very bright; we set the brightness at around 40% while using the phone indoors and found it to be sufficient for all common tasks. Sunlight legibility is also excellent, with the text appearing crisp even under direct sunlight.

Hardware & software

OnePlus X shares most of the hardware with last year’s OnePlus One, giving a cause of concern to those who want the latest features. Take a look at the spec sheet of OnePlus X:

* 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 chipset
* 3GB RAM
* 16GB internal storage
* 13MP rear camera with LED flash, 8MP front camera
* 2,525mAh battery

The smartphone supports two 4G sim cards, but you can remove the second sim card to make way for a microSD card (up to 128GB capacity) to expand storage.

OnePlus X has a microUSB port at the bottom, which we think is odd since the company adopted the new USB Type C connector earlier this year with OnePlus 2.

On the software side, you get the Oxygen OS build for Android 5.1.1, which we have seen on OnePlus 2 as well. This brings a lot of personalization options (choose whether you want on-screen buttons or soft-touch haptic keys, and more), Shelf on the left homescreens, etc.

An addition that this smartphone’s software brings to the Oxygen OS build of OnePlus 2 is the OnePlus Radio app. The app is easy to use and has a simple and eye-catching UI, but does not let users go to a particular station by typing in the channel’s frequency.

Performance and user experience

OnePlus X is a smooth handset, delivering a performance as good as any smartphone under Rs 20,000 today. We never saw it falter when faced with heavy games or apps, with 3 gigs of RAM proving more than sufficient for all tasks. Snapdragon 801 chipset is old, but it is still capable of processing all applications with ease, same as the Snapdragon 615 or mid-range Mediatek chips being used these days.

Handy features like double-tap to wake up screen and short cuts to activate apps work as advertised. There are not too many preloaded apps, which is a blessing for those looking for a clutter-free user experience. OnePlus’ Shelf helps you open your favourite apps and contacts in a jiffy.

OnePlus X’s audio performance is not as great as we would have liked it to be, as we noticed distortion at high volumes. Nevertheless, it is a decent device for casual video viewing, with the display delivering rich colours that make for a good experience.

The 2,525mAh battery of OnePlus X runs for a little more than a day on one charge. Sadly, the smartphone does not support fast-charging technology and takes nearly two hours to go from naught to 100%.

Camera

The 13MP rear camera of OnePlus X can capture has three key shooting modes – slow-motion, time-lapse and panorama – apart from photo and video captures. In terms of quality, you get photos with punchy colours and sufficient details. However, if you zoom in, you will notice some softness and lack of details in the images. Indoor images appear good too, but lowlight images suffer from a lot of noise.

Verdict

OnePlus X is a premium smartphone with a budget price tag and a compact body. The elegant design, display panel, performance and clean software are the highlights of the handset, and even the battery life is not too bad. In the camera department, the smartphone offers a decent snapper that falters slightly under lowlight conditions.

In the end, we feel that OnePlus X is a smartphone worth buying at Rs 16,999.

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