Straight from unboxing the OnePlus X, it was clear that the OnePlus X wasn’t going to be a typical £199 device, even the box feels like something you’d expect from the likes of Apple, or competing in the £500+, then when it comes to competing against other lower priced devices such as the Moto G, there’s no competition. The device itself is surprisingly thin and continues that premium feel in the hand, but one thing to note is it’s probably best to put on the included case (which itself is very decent, nothing special but not bad either), otherwise you may find yourself losing the device as it likes to go for a walk, something not seen since the Nexus 4 days, whilst the slick black and glass design is nice, it’s sure slippery.
Upon booting the OnePlus X for the first time, the OLED display instantly caught my eye, from the truest of blacks to how clear and crisp the colours were in comparison to other displays, in the likes of LED, where the colours seem washed out.
It wasn’t completely smooth however during the setup, be it something OnePlus are likely aware of based on the forums (on all OnePlus Oxygen devices), where we had an initial issue connecting to a WiFi network meaning we had to go through a very slow wait for the “Skip” button to show, despite appearing to be initially connected. Thankfully, once the Setup had finished, connecting to WiFi after that point worked fine. Their was also a random re-boot, which fingers crossed only happens the once it did, has not since.
The OnePlus X does have it’s charms though, one of our favourites is the “Priority slider” on the left side, allowing you to go from essentially Silent to not, with that in between in the middle, this comes in more useful than you’d imagine and a favourite of the OnePlus line. Of course should you receive a Notification whilst on Silent, you do of course have an LED notification light on the top right of the phone.
One area you will not be disappointed in, is the OnePlus X display. Whilst a 5 inch 1080p display is widely regarded as middle of the road, this Display is simply beautiful. The display is OLED, meaning blacks are true black, and the colours truly stand out, something which comes in more use than you’d originally think thanks to Oxygen OS running a Dark theme on top of Android 5.1.1, which pair up perfectly. This is a display you’d expect more on a flagship than a device under £200.
In comparison to flagships such as Apple’s iPhone 6S Plus for example, we compared the display in many tasks, one of which was testing The Simpsons: Tapped Out, which is incredibly colourful, and the variation of colours were so much more striking to the eyes with the OnePlus X, where as on the iPhone 6S Plus they just seemed washed out! That’s not to say the iPhone 6S Plus display is bad mind you, just in comparison to other devices, but in this particular test, it is fairly noticeable.
The OnePlus X won’t be winning any awards for it’s Camera quality, having said that it’s by no means a bad Camera either, we took this particular night shot with the rear 13MP Sensor to show just how well the device can process images, despite lacking functionality like OIS. OnePlus have also included a rather decent 8MP front facer, which we’ve found takes very decent images and perfect for video calls.
As far as the Camera app is concerned, it’s basic but functional, somewhat the middle of the road between the default iOS app, and Google’s own Camera app which will work on the OnePlus X should you prefer. The Camera app allows you to record 1080p video on either Camera, and Slow Motion video on the Rear (120fps at 720p)
The OnePlus X comes with a SnapDragon 801 backed up by 3GB of RAM, which whilst maybe flagship specs from late 2014, that doesn’t stop the device performing when it needs to be, to the point at which we’ve found no major problems with the performance when using the device.
The only major performance issues we have seen are due to some software issues with Oxygen OS, paired with certain apps such as YouTube, other than that you won’t be let down by the performance of the OnePlux X, especially when you remember that this is such a budget device!
Of course by having the SnapDragon 801, it will only have the older Adreno 330 graphics, so expecting the highest graphically intensive games to run at full Settings is stupid, but is a steal at the OnePlus X price tag.
As with all Smartphones these days, battery life typically tends to be one of their weak points, whilst this isn’t entirely true in regards to the OnePlus X, we have found the battery to be very substantial with some moderate to hard use. It was taken on a 2-3 hour round trip to test in real world use, with use of Google Maps navigation, Music, occasional use of the Flash light as well as the typical browse now and then, we came home with a 70% battery, which considering the screen on time and performance used to perform those tasks we thinks fairly decent.
Having said that though, the OnePlus X is a Smartphone you will have to have by your bedside charging overnight, but should you be a light user, you’ll find it easy to get yourself through a second day on a single charge.
Software (Oxygen OS)
If it’s not a Nexus and runs Android, chances are it’s going to have an OEM Skin on it, in the case of the OnePlus X, this is Oxygen OS. Whilst OnePlus did previously simply release Cyanogen devices, after a disagreement during the reselling of the OnePlus One, that was halted and the end result, is OnePlus’s very own Oxygen OS.
Cyanogen – Oxygen OS = Not the same
One thing, first thing, we will say about Oxygen OS is it’s no Cyanogen replacement and should never be seen as one, although like with the OnePlus Two, we’re currently still waiting for a confirmed “coming” build of Cyanogen which you will be able to mod on to the OnePlus X should you need to. Some unofficial builds are available, but install as always at your own risk.
So, it’s not the tweak every corner than Cyanogen promises, what is Oxygen OS? Put simply, Oxygen OS is Stock Android given the spring clean it seriously needs. As we hinted upon when discussing the Display, a full system wide Dark mode is available for those not keen of the bright Lollipop user interface, which can even be customised with a choice of 8 accent colours.
But that’s not where customisation ends on the Oxygen, though you may not have noticed them you can use them, you have the option of either using on screen buttons or the 3 capacitive buttons all in the order you choose, and even with shortcuts when holding or double tapping on any of them.
One of our favourite features of Oxygen OS begins when the phone is locked, whilst yes it does include an ambient display so it will show the time and recent notifications after a hover, and you can double tap to wake the device, Oxygen OS takes it further with gestures. Whilst your phone is locked, draw a O, and boom, you’re right in the Camera. Draw a V to turn on and off a Flashlight, as well as media controls with < for back and > for forward. Our only grip with this feature is really more of a hope, that we will be able to customise this much further going forward hopefully.
Probably the most noticeable of visible feature of Oxygen OS, other than the darker user interface, is the Shelf. To the left of the Home screen where you’d typically find Google Now on Stock, you’ll find the Shelf. The Shelf stores your recently used apps, contacted people and can also store widgets all in one page view. Whilst we can see some use cases for the Shelf, admittedly it’s not something we’ve used.
Just like with the original OnePlus, OnePlus X rips away the definition of you get what you pay for, as with the OnePlus X you just get so much more. Whilst you do make a few sacrifices along the way, what you’re left with is a real sweet device, which overall we have been quite impressed with.
- No one can argue that for the price, you are getting an incredible Android Phone
- Oxygen OS, whilst doesn’t have a myriad of features, hits that happy medium of tweaking Stock
- Design and Materials, no one can argue with Gorilla Glass 4 and Metal
- The back of the OnePlus X is pure Glass, and yes does mean very slippy and fingerprint magnet
- Bugs – Not many, but enough to notice
- No Marshmallow … just yet
– The OnePlus X is a budget variant of an already budget phone, what you get however isn’t perfect, but is easily the best pound for your buck when it comes to Android phones today.