OnePlus X Review

OnePlus X Review
OnePlus X Review
OnePlus X Review
OnePlus X Review
OnePlus X Review
OnePlus X Review
OnePlus X Review
Introduction


OnePlus is not your typical smartphone company. It does not have a multi-billion marketing budget, it does not have a worldwide chain of retail stores, and it does not have a gazillion of handsets behind its back. What OnePlus does have, on the other hand, is a supportive community of users and fans, as well as the valuable skill to generate hype around its products – through teasers, contests, and all other sorts of campaigns.

Another peculiarity setting OnePlus apart is its infamous invitation system. To buy a OnePlus handset, you’d normally need to have an invitation, and these aren’t always easy to obtain. This also applies to the OnePlus X – the third and latest smartphone in the company’s portfolio. But guess what – we happen to have one.

While the company’s two previous handsets – the OnePlus One and the OnePlus 2 – were made to compete with popular brands’ flagships, the OnePlus X is a mid-range offering. And if you’re guessing that it’s an affordable one, then you’d be right – in the US, the OnePlus X carries a $250 off-contract price tag (269 euro in Europe). That’s quite the bargain, it seems, given that the smartphone has specs similar to those of a high-end Android _phone_ from 2014. But specs aren’t all that matters in a smartphone. Let’s see what else the OnePlus X has to stand its ground with.

In the box:

  • OnePlus X
  • Wall Charger (Output: 5V, 2A)
  • Flat, tangle-free Micro USB cable
  • SIM card ejector tool
  • Transparent protective case
  • Getting started guide

Design

It is hard to believe that a $250 _phone_ can look so good. Buttons, however, could have been made better.

This is the best-looking OnePlus phone so far. Period. Okay, we know that the company has made only three phones to date, but in all seriousness, the modern and stylish looks of the OnePlus X are in no way indicative of the phone’s rather modest price tag. The back and front of the device are made of glass, while a metal frame holds it all together. In the hand, the handset feels sturdy and reliable, with grooves in the frame improving overall grip quite a bit.

On the downside, the back of the OnePlus X is quite the fingerprint magnet. If that’s a concern, you may take advantage of the translucent case that comes in the box. Since the handset is exceptionally slim already, having a light case on does not make it bulky at all.

By the way, that’s the Onyx black model we’re reviewing. There’s also the fancier Zirconia Ceramic edition of the OnePlus X, but the model is heavier, more expensive, and will be released in a limited quantity of 10,000 units.

Although the OnePlus X is quite an attractive handset, we’re not entirely satisfied with its physical buttons. Below the screen resides a trio of capacitive navigation keys. Yup, they’re there, but they’re barely visible as they’re not backlit, which makes them frustrating to use while your thumbs are getting familiar with their placement. The power key and volume rocker, both of which reside on the right side, are easy to reach, but are very soft, a bit too close to each other, and do not protrude enough. Having a case on makes them even more frustrating to use.

We must also mention the handy 3-step slider on the phone’s left edge. Its purpose is to let you easily toggle between Do Not Disturb mode, priority-only notifications, and normal mode. DND, in particular, is quite useful at night, as it prevents the phone from beeping if you get an email at 3:00AM, but lets the alarm clock ring in the morning.

 

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Front view | Side view
OnePlus X
OnePlus X
5.51 x 2.72 x 0.27 inches
140 x 69 x 6.9 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

OnePlus X

Motorola Moto G (2015)
Motorola Moto G (2015)
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.48 inches
142 x 72.4 x 12.2 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

Motorola Moto G (2015)

Google Nexus 5X
Google Nexus 5X
5.79 x 2.86 x 0.31 inches
147 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm
4.80 oz (136 g)

Google Nexus 5X

LG G4
LG G4
5.86 x 3 x 0.39 inches
148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

LG G4


OnePlus X Review

Display

The screen delivers in resolution, but leaves room for improvement in color accuracy.

Before we even mention anything about specs, benchmarks, and measurements, we have to say that the AMOLED panel chosen for the OnePlus X suits it really, really well. When the phone is being used, the deep blacks produced by the display make it seem as if it blends with the black bezel of the handset. Throw a black wallpaper into the equation and you get one really cool-looking home screen.

Okay, now onto the figures: the OnePlus X has a 5-inch screen with a resolution of 1080 by 1920 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 441ppi. That’s more than enough pixels to produce clear, crisp images and fine, detailed text. But the screen has its flaws. Color accuracy, for example, is rather poor, as it becomes clear when you take a look at our display benchmarks. Whites are blueish, and colors are too saturated. We’re sure some people won’t be bothered by this at all, but we were expecting better.

With a maximum brightness of about 300 nits, the OnePlus X ranks rather low on the chart. This means that outdoor visibility could be an issue if the sun is shining at its screen. We’ve yet to experience any major visibility issues, however. Speaking of brightness, the phone’s screen goes as low as 1 nit in the dark. In theory, this would make the OnePlus X comfortable to use at night, but in practice, the high contrast of the screen produces the opposite result – anything below a certain brightness threshold is displayed as black. This is not a phone suitable for bedtime web browsing. On top of all that, the automatic brightness is fiddly. It often failed to set a comfortable brightness level while we were using the OnePlus X in low-light environments.

If you take a close look at our OnePlus X photos, you’ll probably notice that it has a screen protector covering its front. It comes pre-installed, and you’re free to remove it if you want to. Should you stick with the screen protector, however, keep in mind that it collects more fingerprints than the bare glass surface of the display.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Google Nexus 5X 487
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
1:1498
(Excellent)
6799
(Excellent)
2.31
2.06
(Good)
3.54
(Good)
LG G4 454
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
1:1930
(Excellent)
8031
(Poor)
2.24
4.36
(Average)
7.28
(Average)
Motorola Moto G (2015) 449
(Good)
19
(Poor)
1:1116
(Good)
7440
(Good)
2.27
5.87
(Average)
4.04
(Average)
OnePlus X 298
(Poor)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8816
(Poor)
2
7.9
(Average)
8.12
(Poor)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
OnePlus X 66.4%
0%
unmeasurable
35.2%
0%
37.8%
60.8%
Google Nexus 5X 77.6%
50%
81.7%
6.1%
10.8%
43.2%
0.3%
Motorola Moto G (2015) 86.6%
84.2%
83.1%
7.6%
1.3%
32.7%
14.4%
LG G4 86.8%
50%
90.3%
5.4%
0.9%
7.3%
28.6%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


OnePlus X Review

OnePlus X Review
OnePlus X Review
OnePlus X Review
OnePlus X Review
OnePlus X Review
OnePlus X Review
OnePlus X Review
Introduction


OnePlus is not your typical smartphone company. It does not have a multi-billion marketing budget, it does not have a worldwide chain of retail stores, and it does not have a gazillion of handsets behind its back. What OnePlus does have, on the other hand, is a supportive community of users and fans, as well as the valuable skill to generate hype around its products – through teasers, contests, and all other sorts of campaigns.

Another peculiarity setting OnePlus apart is its infamous invitation system. To buy a OnePlus handset, you’d normally need to have an invitation, and these aren’t always easy to obtain. This also applies to the OnePlus X – the third and latest smartphone in the company’s portfolio. But guess what – we happen to have one.

While the company’s two previous handsets – the OnePlus One and the OnePlus 2 – were made to compete with popular brands’ flagships, the OnePlus X is a mid-range offering. And if you’re guessing that it’s an affordable one, then you’d be right – in the US, the OnePlus X carries a $250 off-contract price tag (269 euro in Europe). That’s quite the bargain, it seems, given that the smartphone has specs similar to those of a high-end Android phone from 2014. But specs aren’t all that matters in a smartphone. Let’s see what else the OnePlus X has to stand its ground with.

In the box:

  • OnePlus X
  • Wall Charger (Output: 5V, 2A)
  • Flat, tangle-free Micro USB cable
  • SIM card ejector tool
  • Transparent protective case
  • Getting started guide

Design

It is hard to believe that a $250 phone can look so good. Buttons, however, could have been made better.

This is the best-looking OnePlus phone so far. Period. Okay, we know that the company has made only three phones to date, but in all seriousness, the modern and stylish looks of the OnePlus X are in no way indicative of the phone’s rather modest price tag. The back and front of the device are made of glass, while a metal frame holds it all together. In the hand, the handset feels sturdy and reliable, with grooves in the frame improving overall grip quite a bit.

On the downside, the back of the OnePlus X is quite the fingerprint magnet. If that’s a concern, you may take advantage of the translucent case that comes in the box. Since the handset is exceptionally slim already, having a light case on does not make it bulky at all.

By the way, that’s the Onyx black model we’re reviewing. There’s also the fancier Zirconia Ceramic edition of the OnePlus X, but the model is heavier, more expensive, and will be released in a limited quantity of 10,000 units.

Although the OnePlus X is quite an attractive handset, we’re not entirely satisfied with its physical buttons. Below the screen resides a trio of capacitive navigation keys. Yup, they’re there, but they’re barely visible as they’re not backlit, which makes them frustrating to use while your thumbs are getting familiar with their placement. The power key and volume rocker, both of which reside on the right side, are easy to reach, but are very soft, a bit too close to each other, and do not protrude enough. Having a case on makes them even more frustrating to use.

We must also mention the handy 3-step slider on the phone’s left edge. Its purpose is to let you easily toggle between Do Not Disturb mode, priority-only notifications, and normal mode. DND, in particular, is quite useful at night, as it prevents the phone from beeping if you get an email at 3:00AM, but lets the alarm clock ring in the morning.


Front view | Side view
OnePlus X
OnePlus X
5.51 x 2.72 x 0.27 inches
140 x 69 x 6.9 mm
4.87 oz (138 g)

OnePlus X

Motorola Moto G (2015)
Motorola Moto G (2015)
5.59 x 2.85 x 0.48 inches
142 x 72.4 x 12.2 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

Motorola Moto G (2015)

Google Nexus 5X
Google Nexus 5X
5.79 x 2.86 x 0.31 inches
147 x 72.6 x 7.9 mm
4.80 oz (136 g)

Google Nexus 5X

LG G4
LG G4
5.86 x 3 x 0.39 inches
148.9 x 76.1 x 9.8 mm
5.47 oz (155 g)

LG G4


OnePlus X Review

Display

The screen delivers in resolution, but leaves room for improvement in color accuracy.

Before we even mention anything about specs, benchmarks, and measurements, we have to say that the AMOLED panel chosen for the OnePlus X suits it really, really well. When the phone is being used, the deep blacks produced by the display make it seem as if it blends with the black bezel of the handset. Throw a black wallpaper into the equation and you get one really cool-looking home screen.

Okay, now onto the figures: the OnePlus X has a 5-inch screen with a resolution of 1080 by 1920 pixels, which results in a pixel density of 441ppi. That’s more than enough pixels to produce clear, crisp images and fine, detailed text. But the screen has its flaws. Color accuracy, for example, is rather poor, as it becomes clear when you take a look at our display benchmarks. Whites are blueish, and colors are too saturated. We’re sure some people won’t be bothered by this at all, but we were expecting better.

With a maximum brightness of about 300 nits, the OnePlus X ranks rather low on the chart. This means that outdoor visibility could be an issue if the sun is shining at its screen. We’ve yet to experience any major visibility issues, however. Speaking of brightness, the phone’s screen goes as low as 1 nit in the dark. In theory, this would make the OnePlus X comfortable to use at night, but in practice, the high contrast of the screen produces the opposite result – anything below a certain brightness threshold is displayed as black. This is not a phone suitable for bedtime web browsing. On top of all that, the automatic brightness is fiddly. It often failed to set a comfortable brightness level while we were using the OnePlus X in low-light environments.

If you take a close look at our OnePlus X photos, you’ll probably notice that it has a screen protector covering its front. It comes pre-installed, and you’re free to remove it if you want to. Should you stick with the screen protector, however, keep in mind that it collects more fingerprints than the bare glass surface of the display.

Display measurements and quality

Maximum brightness (nits)Higher is better Minimum brightness (nits)Lower is better Contrast Higher is better Color temperature (Kelvins) Gamma Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
Google Nexus 5X 487
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
1:1498
(Excellent)
6799
(Excellent)
2.31
2.06
(Good)
3.54
(Good)
LG G4 454
(Good)
2
(Excellent)
1:1930
(Excellent)
8031
(Poor)
2.24
4.36
(Average)
7.28
(Average)
Motorola Moto G (2015) 449
(Good)
19
(Poor)
1:1116
(Good)
7440
(Good)
2.27
5.87
(Average)
4.04
(Average)
OnePlus X 298
(Poor)
1
(Excellent)
unmeasurable
(Excellent)
8816
(Poor)
2
7.9
(Average)
8.12
(Poor)
View all

The numbers below represent the amount of deviation in the respective property, observed when a display is viewed from a 45-degree angle as opposed to direct viewing.

Maximum brightness Lower is better Minimum brightness Lower is better Contrast Lower is better Color temperature Lower is better Gamma Lower is better Delta E rgbcmy Lower is better Delta E grayscale Lower is better
OnePlus X 66.4%
0%
unmeasurable
35.2%
0%
37.8%
60.8%
Google Nexus 5X 77.6%
50%
81.7%
6.1%
10.8%
43.2%
0.3%
Motorola Moto G (2015) 86.6%
84.2%
83.1%
7.6%
1.3%
32.7%
14.4%
LG G4 86.8%
50%
90.3%
5.4%
0.9%
7.3%
28.6%
View all

The CIE 1931 xy color gamut chart represents the set (area) of colors that a display can reproduce, with the sRGB colorspace (the highlighted triangle) serving as reference. The chart also provides a visual representation of a display's color accuracy. The small squares across the boundaries of the triangle are the reference points for the various colors, while the small dots are the actual measurements. Ideally, each dot should be positioned on top of its respective square. The 'x: CIE31' and 'y: CIE31' values in the table below the chart indicate the position of each measurement on the chart. 'Y' shows the luminance (in nits) of each measured color, while 'Target Y' is the desired luminance level for that color. Finally, 'ΔE 2000' is the Delta E value of the measured color. Delta E values of below 2 are ideal.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Color accuracy chart gives an idea of how close a display's measured colors are to their referential values. The first line holds the measured (actual) colors, while the second line holds the reference (target) colors. The closer the actual colors are to the target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

The Grayscale accuracy chart shows whether a display has a correct white balance (balance between red, green and blue) across different levels of grey (from dark to bright). The closer the Actual colors are to the Target ones, the better.

This measurements are made using SpectraCal's CalMAN calibration software.

View all


Interface

OxygenOS has a stock Android feel, but adds a number of improvements that make a lot of sense. If only gestures could be more reliable.

The OnePlus X version we’re reviewing runs a modified version of Android 5.1.1 called OxygenOS. Buyers in China, however, will get a OnePlus X running HydrogenOS, which is different in a number of ways, primarily in that it lacks Google’s services. Keep that in mind if you’re thinking of importing a Chinese model for one reason or another.

In a nutshell, OxygenOS serves as proof that less could be more. It lacks the bells and whistles that one would get from most brand-name Android flagships. Instead, the software builds on top of stock android by adding practical, meaningful improvements, all with minimum impact on performance and storage space. To us, these are good enough reasons to give OxygenOS the two thumbs up.

So yeah, at a glance, OxygenOS looks and feels a lot like stock Android, but the more we use our OnePlus X, the more changes we come across. Many of them make a lot of sense – the dark theme, for example, looks nice on the phone’s AMOLED screen and helps it preserve battery. Also, the drop-down menu lets us edit the list of toggle buttons that are shown. The Shelf feature – an optional screen accessed by swiping right from the home screen – lists our frequently used apps and contacts, as well as weather information. And the freedom to manually control app permissions would be welcomed by power users.

Digging deeper into the the OnePlus X settings menu, we see that we’re allowed to switch between the physical and on-screen buttons for UI navigation. We may also switch the locations of the “back” and “recent apps” buttons. Yes, we know that it’s a minor feature, but it makes a difference – phones should adapt to our needs and preferences, it should not be the other way around.

Gestures are part of OxygenOS as well. There’s the increasingly popular double tap to wake feature, for example. Also, when the phone is off, drawing a circle on the screen instantly launches the camera, and if you draw a V, the flighlight is turned on. As useful as these gestures may be, they lack in reliability. In our experience, they do work only about 4 out of 5 times.

The OnePlus X has a notification light to inform you of missed events, but you can take matters a step further by enabling the Ambient Display feature. With it enabled, the display turns on when a notification arrives. The list of notifications is displayed in black and white so that less power is consumed. Frankly, this is a very useful feature as it makes it much less likely to miss a message or email. There’s also the Proximity Wake feature, which shows that same black and white

System performance

A fast and responsive smartphone, but one stuggling with gaming performance.

OnePlus has gone for an unorthodox approach when picking the hardware to power the OnePlus X. Instead of a recent mid-range SoC model, inside of the phone ticks a Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974PRO-AA) – a once top-of-the-line chip by Qualcomm. On one hand, this is a chip that has been around for almost two years, but on the other, benchmarks indicate that it can rival today’s mid-range SoC with its performance. Furthermore, the 3GB of RAM inside the OnePlus X are plentiful and should deliver a very smooth multitasking experience.

But that’s all theory, folks. In reality, the OnePlus X leaves room for improvement. The good news is that the UI is smooth and responsive – apps load quickly and transitions are rendered almost instantly, without dropping a frame. Games, however, are laggy even if their hardware requirements aren't high. Graphically simple games run fine, of course, but titles like Need For Speed: Most Wanted, Minion Rush, even Angry Birds 2 are choppy for some inexplicable reason.

In terms of storage, the OnePlus X comes with 16GB built in, out of which 11.5GB are available to the user. Since that’s going to run out sooner than later, it is a good idea to use the OnePlus X with a microSD card. Do keep in mind, however, that the microSD card shares the same slot with the secondary SIM card. In other words, you can’t have expandable storage on the OnePlus X if you intend on using it as a dual SIM device.

Performance benchmarks

AnTuTu
Higher is better
Google Nexus 5X 53178
LG G4 50330
OnePlus X 40173
Motorola Moto G (2015) 22406
Vellamo Metal
Higher is better
Google Nexus 5X 2161
LG G4 2369
OnePlus X 1542
Motorola Moto G (2015) 1224
Vellamo Browser
Higher is better
Google Nexus 5X 4220
LG G4 3948
OnePlus X 2661
Motorola Moto G (2015) 2186
Sunspider
Lower is better
Google Nexus 5X 650.5
LG G4 730.2
OnePlus X 1285.5
Motorola Moto G (2015) 1361.8
GFXBench T-Rex HD on-screen
Higher is better
Google Nexus 5X 38
LG G4 25
OnePlus X 23
Motorola Moto G (2015) 9.6
GFXBench Manhattan on-screen
Higher is better
Google Nexus 5X 16
LG G4 9.4
OnePlus X 10
Motorola Moto G (2015) 3.9
Basemark OS II
Higher is better
Google Nexus 5X 1537
LG G4 1549
OnePlus X 1185.66
Motorola Moto G (2015) 581
Geekbench 3 single-core
Higher is better
Google Nexus 5X 1179
LG G4 1112
OnePlus X 910.33
Motorola Moto G (2015) 528
Geekbench 3 multi-core
Higher is better
Google Nexus 5X 3379
LG G4 3559
OnePlus X 2415.33
Motorola Moto G (2015) 1554
View all

Connectivity


Yup! As we just mentioned, the OnePlus X is a dual SIM device – you may use two carriers’ services at the same time, with two SIM cards in stand-by simultaneously. However, the dual SIM part of the UI could have been executed better. For instance, you may choose a default SIM card for data connectivity, but you can’t have a default card for phone calls or text messages. Instead, each time you make a call you’re asked to pick the card or carrier you’d like to use. That’s a bit annoying. Also, it would have been nicer if the names and signal bars for the two SIM cards were color-coded, not displayed in the same shade gray.

Speaking of connectivity, the OnePlus X is an LTE-capable device with support for FDD-LTE bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, and 20. It should work on AT&T or T-Mobile in the U.S., but signal could be patchy as not all of the two carriers’ bands are supported. The phone should have no troubles connecting to LTE networks across Europe, on the other hand.

Camera

Decent performance in good light, with a simple-to-use camera app.

On paper, the main camera on the OnePlus X is looking pretty decent. At its heart is a 13MP ISOCELL camera sensor with phase detection autofocus, which enables it to focus in as low as 0.2 seconds. The aperture is set at F2.2, and a single LED flash provides extra light when needed. On the front there’s an 8MP selfie camera with F2.4 aperture.

The OnePlus X camera package is complete by a camera app developed with simplicity in mind – you’re only give given a viewfinder, a shutter button, and a handful of modes. These include time lapse and slow-motion for video, as well as panorama, HDR, burst mode (you hold the shutter to shoot 20 consecutive images) and Beauty for still images. In addition to these, you also get a mode called Clear Image, which takes a series of images and superimposes them to produce a clearer photo. The improvement in clarity is marginal, but it is there.


All things considered, the OnePlus X’s camera experience shines with its speed and simplicity. The camera app is really fast to launch, focus is nearly instant, and shutter lag is practically nonexistent, while the UI itself is intuitive to use. On the downside, processing HDR and Clear Image photos takes a while, and you can’t use the camera during that time. We’ve also noticed that focusing could be fiddly when taking close-ups, as the background is given higher priority when you tap to focus.

Image and video quality


We have to say that for a $250 smartphone, the OnePlus X takes photos of acceptable quality. Of course, its camera performs best when given enough light. Details, in particular, look fine, especially in close-ups. We’re also satisfied with the camera’s color reproduction, as white balance inaccuracies are rare. In scenes of high contrast – when shooting sunsets, for example – the camera’s dynamics range is rather poor, but enabling the HDR mode takes care of that to a good extent.

In low light, however, the camera’s performance drops significantly. Details are quite poor, probably because the camera does not hesitate to set the sensitivity high – up to ISO4500, in some cases. It is important to keep your hand steady when shooting in low light as every minor tremble may produce motion blur. We did notice that enabling HDR improves the quality of low-light images, but again, you need to keep your phone as steady as possible when the mode is active.


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Camera speed

Taking a pic (sec)Lower is better Taking an HDR pic (sec)Lower is better CamSpeed score Higher is better CamSpeed score with flash Higher is better
OnePlus X 2
3.2
711
543
LG G4 2.7
3.9
357
311
Google Nexus 5X 2.8
3.2
623
568
Motorola Moto G (2015) 3.4
5
658
641
View all

Videos are captured at up to 1080p resolution and 30 frames per second. Their quality is average at best – they’re usable, but shaky, with poor sound, and with focus that’s pretty slow to react. In low light, footage is plagued by motion blur.


Multimedia


Google Photos is the gallery app of choice for the OnePlus X. It has a simple layout, a rich set of editing tools, a handy search feature, and the valuable option to make automatic cloud backups of your images. But we ran into the same issue several times – image thumbnails simply refused to load. We’re not sure if that was because we had a microSD card with older images in the phone, but a third-party gallery app performed faster than Google’s.

There’s a single built-in loudspeaker on the OnePlus X. Since it is placed at its bottom, it is easy to cover unintentionally while playing games or watching video. Quality-wise, the speaker can be best described as functional – with a decent volume output of 73 decibels, but producing mediocre sound. Music is unpleasant to listen to, especially when the speaker starts crackling when set at the highest volume setting. Of course, you may always plug a pair of earphones into the phone’s 3.5mm headphone jack, but the latter’s output is quite weak – sufficient for small earbuds, but not enough to drive a pair of cans to their full potential.

Audio output

Headphones output power (Volts)
Higher is better
LG G4 0.764
OnePlus X 0.44
Motorola Moto G (2015) 0.377
Google Nexus 5X 0.287
Loudspeaker loudness (dB)
Higher is better
LG G4 79
OnePlus X 73
Motorola Moto G (2015) 78.5
Google Nexus 5X 69.2
View all


OnePlus X Review
Call Quality


Good ol’ phone calls made with the OnePlus X are of average quality. We’re not entirely satisfied with the earpiece, which is decent in volume, but mediocre in clarity, with crackling spoiling the conversation. This makes it tricky to hold a conversation in a noisy environment, such as at a busy street downtown. The microphone isn’t great either.

Battery Life

Be ready to charge the OnePlus X every night.

With its 2525 mAh battery, the OnePlus X lasted through 5 hours and 57 minutes of testing when subjected to our custom battery benchmark. That’s an average result, and one indicative of the phone’s real-life battery performance. Long story short, one should be ready to charge their OnePlus X every night. If it is used heavily, the phone will likely need to be connected to a charger by early evening.

OnePlus X Review
In dire situations, you may take advantage of Android’s built-in battery saver mode, which limits performance and connectivity to improve the device’s battery life. This improves the phone’s stand-by time significantly. There’s no quick toggle for enabling the feature, however, so to turn it on, you have to dig into the Settings menu.

For the record, our battery life impressions are based on our OnePlus X configured to have cellular/Wi-Fi data, location services, and sync for most services always on. Our favorite social networking and IM clients were also installed. Screen brightness was set to automatic, with the brightness slider set near the lowest setting.

Battery Benchmarks

Battery life (hours)
Higher is better
Motorola Moto G (2015) 8h 3 min (Excellent)
Google Nexus 5X 6h 25 min (Average)
LG G4 6h 6 min (Average)
OnePlus X 5h 57 min (Average)
Charging time (minutes)
Lower is better
Motorola Moto G (2015) 251
Google Nexus 5X 100
LG G4 127
OnePlus X 121
View all

Conclusion


Prior to having the chance to use the OnePlus X as a daily driver, we were genuinely excited about this phone. It seemed like a killer mid-range offering – one with great design, decent specs, no-nonsense UI, and, above all, a very tempting price tag. Perhaps we had our expectations set too high as we're now convinced that the OnePlus X is not the ultimate mid-ranger. But it is not a bad phone either. It is a good-looking handset with very responsive software and a fitting price.

We did run into a number of issues, however. Most notably, the OnePlus X does not run games very well, which comes as a surprise given its hardware specs. Also, the low-light performance of its camera is quite poor, the quality of the earpiece is disappointing, and the battery life could have been better. But the last few flaws we can live with considering how much the phone costs.

At the end of the day, the OnePlus X is a good choice if your budget is limited. As of this writing, it is priced at $250 (269 euro in Europe), which is fair. Also, it seems like invitations aren’t all that difficult to obtain, as we were given one only a few days after registering. Just don’t expect a lot out of the OnePlus X as a killer mid-range phone this is not.

Software version: Android 5.1.1, OxygenOS 2.1.3, build number ONE E1003_14_151123


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