OnePlus X review - now completely invite-free
Processor: Quad-core 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801, Screen Size: 5in, Screen resolution: 1,920x1,080, Rear camera: 13 megapixels, Storage: 16GB (11.4GB), Wireless data: 3G, 4G, Size: 140x69x6.9mm, Weight: 138g, Operating system: Oxygen OS (Android 5.1.1)
Last year's OnePlus 2 was one of the best smartphones you could buy for under £300, but now OnePlus hopes to corner the other end of the market with its £199 OnePlus X. When it first launched at the end of last year, you needed an invite in order to buy one, but OnePlus has just announced that as of today (28th January), the OnePlus X has gone completely invite-free, meaning anyone can now get their hands on this great mid-range handset.
It's available in either 'onyx black' or 'champagne white', but you can also get one of OnePlus protective cases to add a bit of colour to the phone, as these come in a variety of different wood and carbon finishes. Regardless of which model you choose, though, the OnePlus X makes a great first impression.
With a brushed, anodized metal frame only 6.9mm thick, and a smooth glass front and rear, the OnePlus X looks and feels much classier than its price might suggest. The grooved metal is a little scratchy in the hand, but I certainly prefer it to the rough textures of the OnePlus 2, and it even makes Samsung's metal-edged Galaxy A3 and Sony's glass-backed Xperia M4 Aqua look a bit cheap by comparison. Even better, its 5in display is a far more practical size than either of its 5.5in predecessors.
OnePlus X Ceramic
There's also a limited edition ceramic version, but you'll need one of the specific 10,000 Ceramic invites to get it and an extra £70 to boot, as it costs £269 rather than the standard £199. However, having held both of them at the X's launch event, there's hardly any difference between the different versions; I found it incredibly hard to tell them apart when holding them both at the same time.
The only discernible difference, at least from the outside, is a very small change in the style of the bezel. While the Onyx model has more rounded edges, the Ceramic's edges are ever so slightly flatter. However, when both phones generate such vast quantities of reflections and ugly fingerprint marks, you'd be hard pushed to spot it at a glance.
In my eyes, this makes the Ceramic version rather redundant, as it's in no way more obviously desirable than the Onyx model. It's hardly got the same wow factor as the Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge, for example, and I certainly don't think it's worth spending another £70 on what's otherwise an entirely identical handset. It may weather better over long-term use, but I'm not convinced it will survive a fall any better than its glass cousin.
^ The Ceramic model (left) looks almost identical to the standard Onyx version (right)
Either way, OnePlus' somewhat infuriating invite system rather puts the OnePlus X out of reach for your average consumer, which is a shame considering what's inside. For the first time in the company's history, OnePlus has chosen an AMOLED panel for its 5in, 1,920x1,080 resolution display, which immediately trumps the somewhat disappointing image quality of the OnePlus 2.
With a full 100% coverage of the sRGB colour gamut, the OnePlus X's display looks gorgeous, delivering bright, punchy colours against pitch-perfect 0.00cd/m2 blacks. Contrast is also extremely high, and its whites are much cleaner than those on other AMOLED displays, such as the Nexus 6P. In fact, its colour temperature was much closer to the slightly more neutral tones of the LCD-based Sony Xperia Z5, which is pretty impressive for an AMOLED screen. Brightness tops out at 326.00cd/m2, but it's still more than enough for outdoor use.