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OnePlus X review: Now completely invite-free

Katharine Byrne
28 Jan 2016
OnePlus X
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
199
inc VAT (SIM-free)

Superb build quality, an excellent screen and a great battery life, but the OnePlus X isn't the budget smartphone killer we were hoping for

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Specifications

Performance

The OnePlus X is powered by the rather elderly quad-core, 2.3GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor and 3GB of RAM. Last year, nearly every top-end smartphone had a Snapdragon 801 chip, including the Samsung Galaxy S5, but newer Snapdragon chips are now much faster, so it's not as quick as it once was.

It's still pretty generous for a £199 smartphone, but with Geekbench 3 scores of 929 in the single core test and 2,459 in the multicore test, the OnePlus X's 801 chip isn't actually much faster than other low-to-mid-range handsets powered by a Snapdragon 615, such as the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua. The OnePlus X has the edge in the single core test, but it's hardly the same kind of price-defying speed we've come to expect from OnePlus phones.

OnePlus X

The M4 Aqua also beat the OnePlus X in Peacekeeper, finishing the test with a score of 839 as opposed to the X's 751. There's not much in it to be fair, as web browsing speeds were once again nigh on identical. It coped with most web pages, but some, such as the Guardian, proved more taxing, as scrolling was very jerky while the page was still loading.

The main benefit of the 801 is its Adreno 330 GPU. This is able to cope with demanding games more effectively than the 615's Adreno 405 chip, as the OnePlus X was able to complete GFX Bench GL's offscreen Manhattan test in 534 frames (roughly 8.6fps) rather than a stuttering average of around 360 frames (or 5.8fps). It's still not great by any means, as games like Hearthstone still experienced numerous frame rate drops, but it handled other titles like Threes! absolutely fine.

Oxygen OS

Like the OnePlus 2, the OnePlus X uses the company's own Oxygen OS, which is based on Android 5.1.1. This looks very much like stock Android at first glance, but it contains a few extra helpful features that make the phone easier to use day-to-day. The system-wide Dark Mode is by far my favourite feature, as turns Android's default white and grey-green colour scheme to black, helping you save battery by illuminating fewer pixels on its AMOLED display.

Another attractive prospect is the ability to alter individual app permissions. This will be coming to all Android 6.0 Marshmallow handsets, but it's still great to see it here nonetheless. It's particularly handy for those who want to keep their data private, giving you full control over what information your apps can access while still having full use of each service.

OnePlus X side

^ The additional sound button is another great addition, making it much easier to switch between all notifications, priority interruptions and no interruptions with the flick of a switch

Likewise, Oxygen OS lets you assign up to two shortcuts to each of the physical home back and recent apps buttons, such as automatically opening the camera, activating voice search or your last used app. However, the lack of app shortcuts available here will limit its overall use. Likewise, there isn't an option to illuminate any of the buttons either, which can make them a bit tricky to find, particularly in low light. Luckily, there are optional onscreen buttons you can enable instead. OnePlus has also included a few gesture controls, such as drawing an O to open the camera, or a V to toggle the flashlight, but I was never able to get any of these to work. 

Storage and Battery Life

Fortunately, its two SIM card slots should prove more beneficial. One of them can double up as a microSD card slot, too, allowing you to expand the phone's 16GB of default storage up to 128GB if you run out of space. The only rather glaring omission, at least compared to OnePlus' other smartphones, is the lack of a USB Type-C port. Instead, the OnePlus X charges via good, old-fashioned Micro USB, which makes it more likely to be compatible with your current crop of cables, but has no support for QuickCharge.

OnePlus X ports

This shouldn't be too much of a problem, though, as its 2,525mAh battery has plenty of stamina. With the screen set to 170cd/m2, it lasted for 13h 06m of video playback in our continuous video playback test, outlasting the Sony Xperia M4 Aqua by almost three hours. The Galaxy A3 still has the edge with its impressive battery life of 14h 37m, but the OnePlus X should have plenty of juice to get you through the day.

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