OnePlus X evaluate: By no means accept second greatest

OnePlus X review: Never settle for second best

The OnePlus X breaks new floor for the younger Chinese language firm. Making the X, OnePlus eschewed its typical method of stuffing the perfect processor in a ridiculously low cost telephone. As an alternative, it has repurposed the internals of its debut OnePlus One right into a smaller telephone with a decrease $249 price ticket. However in attaining that admittedly spectacular feat, it is gone towards its personal mantra.

seventy three
OnePlus

X

Execs

  • Impeccable construct high quality
  • Robust efficiency
  • Least expensive OnePlus but

Cons

  • Dangerous digital camera, day and night time
  • So-so show
  • Restricted LTE help

Abstract

It appeared like a dream on paper: The specs of the corporate’s wonderful debut flagship squeezed right into a smaller, nicely constructed shell. In actuality, OnePlus has minimize some corners right here. The X suffers within the digital camera and show division, and for some cause does not help some more and more widespread LTE bands in North America. It is an oddly disparate system; unmatched for uncooked efficiency at $249, however unable to maintain tempo in different methods. With higher all-spherical telephones out there in the identical worth vary, together with OnePlus’ personal flagship, it is troublesome to advocate.

Hardware

OnePlus X review: Never settle for second best

Let’s begin this off with an inventory of issues that, regardless of what you may need heard, the OnePlus X does not truly appear to be:

  • The Apple iPhone four
  • The Apple iPhone 4S
  • The Apple iPhone 5
  • The Apple iPhone 5S

That is to not say that there aren’t parts of Apple’s design right here, however they’re simply parts. When mixed with different constituents, they bond to type one thing wholly totally different. A lot of Apple’s design philosophy through the years has concerned borrowing, refining and remixing different corporations’ work. If you do not have an issue with that, you’ll be able to’t instantly take problem with OnePlus for wrapping a glass telephone in a metallic band and drilling some holes on the backside.

Writing an impassioned protection, for what it is value, doesn’t suggest that I truly like the best way the X seems to be — I do not. It is so pedestrian; a shiny glass slab with the metallurgic equal of pinstripe etched into its metallic sides. The construct high quality is admirable, from the telephone speaker cutout to the three pristine capacitive buttons under the show, however it feels as if the designers created a temper board for “luxurious” after which picked the issues they favored from it. And people aforementioned Apple parts truly infect the OnePlus X with a number of the greatest and worst issues about Cupertino’s designs through the years.

The “iPhone four” glass overlaying, for instance, seems to be good sufficient, however the shiny again picks up fingerprints by the millisecond, and though my unit is pristine, we observed scratches on the gadget’s UK unveil. It is also very slippery, however that is considerably mitigated by the metallic band, which though not notably engaging, helps enhance the grip. And people “iPhone 5″ drilled holes — one aspect serving a speaker, the opposite a microphone — are straightforward to impede when you’re “holding it mistaken.”

At $249 the OnePlus X provides a compelling spec sheet

Inside the staid shell, nevertheless, issues get much more fascinating. Whereas the OnePlus X is not in peril of outpacing the brand new “2” flagship, at $249 it gives a compelling spec sheet, which is roughly the identical as final yr’s OnePlus One. Meaning a 2.3GHz quad-core SnapDragon 801 processor paired with Adreno 330 graphics, 3GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, twin SIM slots and a 2,525mAh battery. The display is smaller than final yr’s mannequin — a 5-inch show moderately than a 5.5-inch — nevertheless it’s nonetheless 1080p. There’s neither the flamboyant fingerprint reader nor the reversible USB Sort-C port of the OnePlus 2. There is area for a microSD card contained in the SIM tray, nevertheless, OnePlus’ wonderful alert slider is current, and there is a neat multicolored notification mild that I am fairly enamored with.

There are two welcome additions contained in the field. The primary is OnePlus’ micro-USB cable. It is the identical because the twine packed in with the two: a flat, purple affair with a reversible (on the charger finish) USB. It might’ve been straightforward for OnePlus to bundle a primary white or black lead right here and name it a day. Even when it is only a cable, it is good that price range-acutely aware consumers can nonetheless benefit from the luxurious. The second addition is a translucent silicone case. I’ve by no means put my telephones inside instances, however I’ll slip one on if I’ll a spot the place I’ll drop or injury a telephone irreparably; one thing like a busy occasion or an alcohol-fueled night time out. Together with a primary factor that protects the X in all probability prices OnePlus $zero.20, however it’s a pleasant contact.

Show

OnePlus X review: Never settle for second best

The X’s 5-inch show is a 1080p AMOLED, which usually means excellent viewing angles, vibrant colours and blacks past the occasion horizon. There is no sea change right here. Colours are certainly punchy — somewhat too gaudy for my style, however your mileage might range — viewing angles are nice, and naturally, since AMOLED does not have a backlight, blacks are unbelievable.

Whereas it is a good show for the worth, this isn’t AMOLED’s best hour. I am maybe spoiled by flagship panels. It isn’t a matter of decision — that is completely effective — however the display itself has some idiosyncrasies. It isn’t laminated, and there is fairly a niche between the show and the coverglass. It isn’t an enormous problem, however it’s there. I additionally take situation with the colour stability of the show. The corporate has type right here — the OnePlus 2 has one of many bluest shows I’ve ever seen on a telephone — however to my eyes the X has a good greater white level.

This isn’t AMOLED’s best hour

It is value noting that Samsung, HTC and different corporations that provide AMOLED shows all embrace numerous colour modes to account for differing tastes, and there isn’t any solution to regulate the temperature out of the field. With out leaping by way of complicated loops, third-get together choices to repair this are solely ever going to be crude colour filters. Once more, that is private style, however I can say for positive you are undoubtedly not going to be viewing pictures and films the best way their creators meant them to be seen.

My ultimate grievance is that the show can also be just a little on the dim aspect, even at full brightness. Autumnal London does not precisely present the most effective circumstances for a daylight readability check, however whereas I have never had any issues to notice, I’m involved this telephone will not do nicely in sunnier climates.

Software program

OnePlus X review: Never settle for second best

OnePlus’ Oxygen OS is excellent. I hadn’t actually hung out with it earlier than the X arrived — until a cursory swipe throughout house screens on a OnePlus 2 counts — however I might wish to spend extra time with it now. In the event you’ve used inventory Android, you will not discover too many variations visually, however there are some further, genuinely customization choices on supply.

By default the telephone has a “darkish” theme, which modifications the menus to a deep black and the app drawer to a darkish grey. In principle, because of the peculiarities of AMOLED know-how, this makes use of much less energy than the common white Android theme. In follow, white textual content on a black background hurts my eyes, and I might moderately simply cost barely extra typically. Altering this theme is an easy affair, as is modifying the accent colours. I do assume OnePlus might go a bit of additional with the customization choices, particularly by pulling in some third-social gathering concepts like having particular shade notifications on the LED in your favourite apps.

OnePlus X review: Never settle for second best

In the identical settings menu you will additionally discover another choices, one among which helps you to deactivate the capacitive buttons and go for on-display as an alternative — which I did virtually instantly, mainly as a result of the capacitive ones aren’t backlit and I used to be uninterested in fumbling for the again key in the dead of night. Aside from that, although, that is simply Android actually. There are a couple of token gestures for when the display’s off — double-faucet to get up, draw a V for flashlight, an O for Digital camera, and so on. — and a bizarre “Shelf” factor for storing steadily apps that I switched off, however you are principally simply taking a look at Android Lollipop, for all its good and dangerous factors.

One factor I used to be barely involved about have been the damaged apps and restarts that marred the early days of Oxygen OS. These have been current once we reviewed the OnePlus 2, however I am joyful to report that these teething issues appear to have subsided; I encountered no random reboots and no rendering points even after purposefully operating down the record of beforehand affected apps. For the document, the telephone was operating Oxygen OS model 2.1.2, and Android model 5.1.1.

Digital camera

OnePlus X review: Never settle for second best

The OnePlus X’s digital camera might have the identical megapixel rely as its costlier brethren, however the similarities finish there. Sure, it is obtained a thirteen-megapixel sensor, nevertheless it’s a smaller sensor than the OnePlus 2’s, and so allows much less mild. It is also positioned behind an f/2.2 lens, which is a 3rd-cease slower than the lens on the two. The results of these concessions is a a lot poorer expertise.

In good lighting circumstances, the X can seize an honest quantity of element, nevertheless it’s troublesome to foretell whether or not you will get an excellent photograph. There’s simply no consistency right here; in a typical 5-minute capturing interval, I noticed underexposed and overexposed pictures, vibrant colours, subdued colours and completely inaccurate colours. The X is fast to focus, although, and shutter lag is minimal.

In low mild, issues worsen. I took the telephone alongside to an business occasion that includes reside music, and fortunately snapped away. Through the present the pictures appeared fantastic, however I got here residence to seek out they have been universally dangerous. There’s an over-aggressive anti-noise algorithm that sucks all of the element out of photographs, and the daylight publicity and colour points carry over as properly.

Software program updates might enhance issues, however this can by no means be an amazing digital camera

Video fares somewhat higher: It maxes out at 1080p and is greater than enough in daytime. At night time or in low mild issues will get grainy, however not unreasonably so. There is a sluggish-movement mode that data at one hundred twenty frames per second however kicks the decision right down to 720p. It does not actually work. Until you are in vibrant shiny daylight, sluggish-mo footage seems terrible; the X’s tiny sensor and poor ISO efficiency make every thing too darkish. This function works properly on the OnePlus 2, however including it right here simply looks like a waste of time.

I am unsure that all the OnePlus X’s issues are because of the sensor; it is extra doubtless the software program. That is to not say that OnePlus can repair every little thing — this can by no means be an incredible digital camera — however white stability and publicity settings appear to be one thing OnePlus might enhance via updates. And it actually wants updates. A shot of fallen leaves taken on the park close to my place exhibits simply how flawed the software program will get white stability typically. The blades of grass appear to be astroturf moderately than one thing pure. I took the freedom of shade-correcting one half of the picture in Photoshop so you possibly can see simply how dangerous the unique was:

OnePlus X review: Never settle for second best

In case you could not inform, the fitting aspect of the above picture is what got here from the OnePlus X. I did not anticipate this digital camera to be unbelievable — what telephone on this worth vary will get imaging completely proper? However I did anticipate it to maintain tempo with different finances handsets just like the Moto G. It could’t, and when you’re captivated with cellular images, you will in all probability need to look elsewhere.

Efficiency and battery life

OnePlus X review: Never settle for second best

Maintaining tempo with the Moto G isn’t precisely an issue relating to uncooked efficiency. As I discussed earlier than, the quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 processor contained in the OnePlus X is final yr’s flagship chip. Apart from OnePlus’ personal One, it is present in telephones just like the Samsung Galaxy S5, the HTC One M8. Generally navigating house screens, shopping, multitasking and gaming was quick and fluid. The OnePlus 2 is a hair quicker once you put the 2 aspect by aspect, however I actually cannot discern a lot of a distinction in on a regular basis use.

OnePlus X OnePlus 2 Moto G (2015) Samsung Galaxy S6 AndEBench Professional 7,528 9,945 four,259 10,552 Vellamo three.zero 2,828 three,025 1,992 three,677 3DMark IS Limitless sixteen,716 23,598 four,518 21,632 SunSpider 1.zero.2 (ms) 1,330 1,516 1,522 674 GFXBench three.zero 1080p Manhattan Offscreen (fps) 9.eight 25 1.7 25 CF-Bench fifty eight,373 sixty two,117 20,999 seventy nine,168 SunSpider 1.zero.2: Android units examined in Chrome; decrease scores are higher.

I do not actually put a lot inventory in benchmarks; they seem to be a tough information of a smartphone’s uncooked energy, however aren’t actually indicative of what a tool is like to make use of. That stated, you will be unsurprised to notice that synthetic benchmarks put the X just about precisely on par with the corporate’s One, which it shares many specs with. I did discover slightly stutter when opening apps, however I’ve but to see a telephone that does not sometimes slip up because of a nasty app.

I used to be actually involved to listen to that the OnePlus X had a sealed 2,525mAh battery. The Snapdragon 801 is a strong chip, and that battery is way smaller than the OnePlus One’s three,100mAh unit. Seems I needn’t have nervous. The X all the time reached the top of the day earlier than I wanted to cost it, and in our battery check (looping a video with WiFi on and the display brightness set to 50 %) it hit 9 hours and forty seven minutes, which is nearly similar to the OnePlus One, and about half an hour longer than the OnePlus Two. It is also forward of flagship telephones just like the Galaxy S6 and HTC One M9, however because of the beefier processor, it lasts an hour lower than the Moto G.

LTE help is an enormous challenge for North America

For those who’re studying this from North America, there are a couple of further issues it’s essential to know. The OnePlus X lacks help for Band 12 and 17 LTE, which relying on the place you reside might critically have an effect on your capability to entry excessive-velocity knowledge. Elements of AT&T’s US and Puerto Rico networks run on Band 17, as do parts of Rogers’ community in Canada. T-Cellular’s community is more and more counting on Band 12, and Bell’s Canadian community additionally makes use of Band 12 in some areas. That is clearly an enormous drawback should you stay within the “fallacious” space; journalists in New York on AT&T have reported huge points with LTE sign. Failing to help these bands is an odd choice, particularly contemplating that OnePlus truly has three variations of the X for various areas, and finances handsets from different corporations haven’t any hassle.

The competitors

OnePlus X review: Never settle for second bestThe $329 OnePlus 2.

What would you like from this telephone? Are you simply on the lookout for an affordable, dependable gadget, or are you looking for the trimmings of a flagship at a lower cost? No matter you are on the lookout for, I’ve hassle believing that at $249 the OnePlus X is one of the best match for you.

For the price range acutely aware, the cheaper Moto G, at $220 for the 2GB RAM model, is just a greater all-spherical telephone. It is much less flashy, for positive, nevertheless it’s a reliable performer, has a superior digital camera, wider LTE help, and is waterproof. For these on the lookout for bleeding-edge efficiency, why not spend the additional $70 and decide up a OnePlus 2? It is acquired extra energy and a method higher digital camera, and for my part it is the extra engaging telephone by far. About the one factor the OnePlus X has over the two is microSD enlargement.

Wrap-up

OnePlus X review: Never settle for second best

And that is actually my concern right here. OnePlus’ motto is “By no means Settle.” However I can not see a actuality during which you purchase the OnePlus X and you are not settling. You would be settling for a subpar digital camera, even in comparison with cheaper units. You would be settling for weaker LTE help, which even in case you’re European will have an effect on you in the event you plan on roaming. Otherwise you’d be settling for final yr’s flagship, when you may have this yr’s for $70 extra. OnePlus has confirmed it may well make a reliable telephone on a fair slimmer price range. Nevertheless it hasn’t made one which is sensible over its barely costlier cousin, and even one that may justify the worth hike over a Moto G.