Review: OnePlus X

Lightweight with a simple but elegant design, vibrant display and Marshmallow features in its own OS, the X provides superior value in the mid-range smartphone market

OnePlus X
Oxygen, OnePlus' OS built on Android Lollipop, offers Marshmallow features such as app-specific permissions

OnePlus X, recently launched out of China, will ensure the country’s smartphone boom will continue where it left off in 2015.

Who says beauty can’t be cheap?

The gradient lines around the edge of the OnePlus X are the first thing to catch the eye, due to the alluring way they reflect light. The included rubber cover accommodates the phone’s power and volume rocker buttons, as well as a mesh-cut alert slider, and makes gripping the phone slightly less awkward if you’ve got large hands – at 138g, the X feels almost too light. However, the edge of the screen is a dust magnet. You can pick from fire-baked ceramic, onyx black and champagne white finishes.

audio, OnePlus X
The OnePlus X’s screen compares favourably against more expensive devices, while its speakers pack a surprising punch

The X’s 5-inch Full HD 441 PPI screen is razor sharp – bear in mind that the iPhone 6S, with its vaunted retina display, only achieves 326 PPI over 4.7 inches. Sunlight readability on the X is up to par, and the phone puts a lot of other more expensive propositions to shame.

OnePlus has loaded its Oxygen custom OS over Android Lollipop 5.1.1. Light and speedy, Oxygen’s primary feature is Shelf, which offers one-touch access to your most-used apps and contacts. Another highlight is app-specific permissions. Sound familiar? That’s one of the main features of Marshmallow, Lollipop’s successor that’s yet to be released on the OnePlus X – a clever move from the Chinese brand.

With surprisingly loud treble, the speakers at the bottom manage to outdo the HTC M9’s BoomSound. But as expected with a smartphone this light, it would be foolish to play anything remotely bass-dependent.

Marshmallow built on Lollipop

Drawing a circle with your thumb on the display in standby mode opens the camera in less than a second – even with 30 apps running in the background – thanks to a Snapdragon 801 quad-core processor with 3GB RAM. Other shortcut gestures include spelling a v to start the flashlight, while two parallel fingers dragged vertically up or down pauses or plays music. The music controls feel a bit unwieldy, but the others a great way to make us an even lazier species than we already are.

The camera may be only 13MP, but its f/2.2 aperture lens takes pictures with little noise and great detail if light conditions are right. And the selfie snapper is a very respectable 8MP.

2,525mAh is far from the largest battery you’ll find, but the phone manages its resources well enough for this not to be too much of an issue – you’ll get more than four hours on YouTube on the X.

You might struggle to find anything better than this for Dh999.

For #GNTECH’s snaps of the OnePlusX, click here