OnePlus X: First Impressions



I’ve written and rewritten this first line about the OnePlus X about twenty times now. And that sums up my first impressions of the smartphone quite clearly. The OnePlus X is a device that you won’t expect off OnePlus. Having seen the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus One before this, it’s evident that this company is all about the specs to price ratio. But it seems OnePlus is trying to start an entirely new line of devices that’ll be about the looks. Which raises more questions.

The OnePlus X is a good looking device and OnePlus is bringing two variants of it – Onyx, with a glass back, and Ceramic, with a ceramic back. The only problem is that the two look and feel exactly the same. Except for the slight tapering on the rear edges and a greyish colour, the Ceramic version will look and feel the same as the glass Onyx version. OnePlus said the ceramic version is much more difficult to make though, which is perhaps why it will cost Rs. 22,999, a good 6k over the Onyx variant, that costs Rs. 16,999.

If you need a mirror, both the OnePlus X variants will work just fine, and if you’re a wanted criminal, this phone is all the police needs to get a copy of your fingerprints. I can forgive that though. What I can’t forgive is the bad sunlight visibility on the display. The screen is reflective, and under bright sunlight, I ended up looking at my face more than the wallpaper.

The overall design though is really nice for compact phone lovers like me. The OnePlus X is one of those phones that just fit in your hand and feel right. The metallic frame around it feels good and the design it’s a good looking phone overall. If you’ve seen the ZTE Nubia Z9 Mini, you should have an idea of what the OnePlus X looks like.

OnePlus says this phone is about the design, and I tend to agree. The device runs on a Snapdragon 801 SoC, along with 3GB of RAM and 13MP/8MP cameras on the back and front. That’s an old processor that doesn’t support the 64-bit architecture that Android Lollipop comes with. In addition, while the 13MP rear camera seems nice, it doesn’t seem to perform that well under low and uneven lights.

The OnePlus X’s major problem is that it’s neither here nor there. The phone left me with mixed reactions. On the one hand, I really like how it feels in my hand, but then I turn it around and see all the fingerprints. Similarly, Snapdragon 801 is arguably the best processor Qualcomm has ever made, but it’s not 64-bit capable, which means apps made for the new architecture won’t perform at their best. The cameras are both good, but we’ve seen better, from OnePlus even.

The Ceramic version makes no sense to buy, since the OnePlus 2 just offers a much better option for a mere Rs. 2,000 more. In addition, phones like the Honor 7 and Lenovo Vibe Shot are also present in a similar price bracket. If the phone felt any different from the glass backed Onyx variant, OnePlus could have passed it as a novelty item, but sadly it doesn’t.

Who should buy?

It’s tough to figure out what OnePlus is planning here. While the Ceramic version is of course a one-off, even the Onyx version is difficult to sell. With a Snapdragon 808 SoC, I would buy this phone in a heartbeat, simply because of the compact design. Perhaps a lower pricing would have been better.

If you love compact phones, then the OnePlus X is perhaps the only choice you’ll have in its price range. If you find the Secondly, if you find the OnePlus 2 to be too expensive, then the the Onyx variant of this phone may be a good buy.

It’s hard to recommend the OnePlus X based on first impressions alone, because the way I see it, despite its glaring flaws, the OnePlus X may have more to offer.

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