Disrupt-- a word that comes with many interpretations. For OnePlus, it means making one of the best devices of the year and it happens to be the least expensive device they offer. When we were introduced to the OnePlus X, we instantly fell in love with its design, hardware and its very persuasive price tag. Though after some serious testing, I think it's time to honor this device with a full review that's very fitting. The OnePlus X: Bang for Buck, Redefined.
The making of the OnePlus X is actually a really simple story to tell. It's essentially an entirely new shell covered with glass on the front and the back that's smaller than any OnePlus device than before but it packs much of the same hardware that is featured inside the OnePlus One. It's new bits are easy to identify as well. First, its new design. Unlike the OnePlus One and 2, the OnePlus X is constructed with an aluminum band running all around the sides and glass on the front and the back. It really gives this phone a premium feel in the hand and it looks really good. And while you can make iPhone 4 jokes all you want, I really dig the way this phone looks.
Second new thing is the all-new display. For the past two years, OnePlus has stuck with a simple 5.5-inch IPS 1080p display. While they are fantastic to look at, AMOLED has recently taken over the mobile market by offering better power efficiency and deeper contrast levels. So this OnePlus X features a smaller 5-inch 1080p AMOLED panel so yes, it looks fantastic but even better is the increased pixel density now to the mid 400s. The display is really sharp. Plus it gains all those benefits of being super contrasty, full of color and true deep blacks, thanks to its ability of turning off unneeded pixels.
Now as I said earlier, the X is basically a repackaged OnePlus One. It features the same Snapdragon 801 processor clocked in at 2.3GHz, 3GB of RAM, and the Adreno 330 GPU. But it does fix some issues that the original OnePlus One and even the OnePlus 2 have. For example, the X is only available in 16GB configurations but it has a handy dual SIM slot that doubles as a microSD card slot as well.
For $250, don't expect to find things like NFC, wireless charging, a fingerprint scanner, or any of those really fancy technologies. A hardware feature that has been carried over from the OnePlus 2 is the alert slider on the left side, which I definitely liked on the OnePlus 2. And I'm glad that it's on the OnePlus X.
From a software standpoint, the X is running Android Lollipop with the latest addition of OxygenOS. It's the same experience, give or take a couple of things, as the OnePlus 2. You have the same features such as Shelf and the enormous amounts of customization. And while I still like CyanogenMod a little bit more, OxygenOS is definitely a good alternative for the OnePlus family. The good things are there's no bloat, no goofy features that you'll never use, and it runs just about as smoothly as other versions of near stock Android. I suppose my only issue with the OnePlus X and its software is that it's not running Android Marshmallow.
The OnePlus X has a 13MP rear-facing camera which is capable of taking some decent looking photos. And as you can see, it does lack just a smudge in Dynamic Range but with pretty much on par with mid-tier smartphones in 2015. Though for video, the OnePlux X is only limited to 1080p even though it has a 13MP sensor. UltraHD is just one of those things that you just may have to pay a little bit extra for I suppose. And is that really a deal breaker? Personally, I don't think so but it would have been nice to see some kind of higher quality video recording on the OnePlus X and perhaps it's just a software update away.
Performance-wise, the OnePlus X has been stellar. It may not have the highest GeekBench scores but throughout our usage of the OnePlus X, it's proved to be a very solid phone with good response times. Essentially, it delivers the power of the OnePlus One, which was definitely no slouch last year. Battery life is just as good as well. It may not be a 2-day monster like the original OnePlus One with its 3100mAh battery, but it can get through an entire day with battery to spare.
So as a wrap up, the OnePlus X is literally one of the most impressive phones that came out of 2015. After the mess with the OnePlus 2 and the somewhat tame reviews, the OnePlus X is the phone to prove to the world that they can put a fantastic device together for about $250. And for $250, you'd be foolish not to buy this. So as claimed before, the OnePlus X, bang for buck redefined-- the best budget smartphone of 2015. Period.