Gadget Review: OnePlus X - A tough bargain
Each time we mention the OnePlus X, complaints of its dated hardware pop up. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 32-bit chipset that powers the X first appeared in March 2014 in HTC One (M8).
It’s over a year old, and though it featured in some of the most popular phones of 2014, including the OnePlus One, LG G3, Sony Z3 and Z3 Compact, Oppo N3 and Moto X (2nd gen) it is obsolete today.
While comparing prices of other phones with 801 chipset, apart from the OnePlus One, most still cost nearly 10k more than the X. So, budget-wise, the X makes sense.
The problem, we feel, lies in OnePlus’ image in the market. With its One and 2 models, OnePlus established itself as a flagship killer. Though it thinks otherwise with the X, this tag is integral to the OnePlus DNA, and now, a consumer aspiration.
This could be the main reason for the disappointment. So, would we have reacted differently had the X appeared a year ago, along with the One? The answer doesn’t lie in the processor, but with its other features. Let’s find out.
Oxygen OS: The new Oxygen OS, that now powers all OnePlus phones, is the closest OS to offer the native Android OS experience outside the Nexus or Motorola environment. The UI is clutter- free. There are a few bugs, but we expect it to get smoother with time.
Rating: 9 / 10
Display : OnePlus offers a five-inch Full HD AMOLED display with a resolution of 441 ppi. The display gets a Gorilla Glass 3 scratch-resistant surface, and survived our pin-scratch test. We were impressed with the visibility under sunlight. You might wonder that this phone isn’t the only one to offer a five-inch or higher Full HD display in the sub-20k category. There’s Xiaomi Mi4i and Mi4, Asus Zenfone 2 and Selfie, Alcatel One Touch Idol X and Plus, Lenovo K3 Note, Moto X (2nd Gen), Samsung Galaxy S4, Moto X Play and most recently, Lenovo Vibe P1. But, you consider the AMOLED display, which always gives better results than a standard Full HD display, and this is where the X wins.
Rating: 9 / 10
Design: Much has been said about OnePlus’s effort in designing the OnePlus X. Though slightly heavier at 130g, the X is easy to carry. And despite having Gorilla Glass 3 layering on the front and back, it’s non-slippery. It has black undertones, which gives the device a minimalist, distraction-free look, with the back and the front fusing into its stainless steel frame. The frame gets a 3.5mm audio jack at the top, voice and power controls on the right and a notification slider on the left. The micro USB port is placed at the bottom between two dotted grills for speakers, reminding us of the iPhone 5S. The device gets no lettering except a glossy OnePlus logo tattooed at the back. The phone looks strong, and is a fine specimen of quality craftsmanship, but sadly, due to the similarities with other devices, it fails to create a distinguished identity.
Rating: 8 / 10
Connectivity: While working on aesthetics, OnePlus has compromised on key components, which we will miss. Like, a dual band Wi-Fi (the X supports only 2.4GHz b/g/n bands), NFC (we missed it in the 2 as well). It also doesn’t have features like IR Blaster, which is now available even in low-end phones. The other connectivity features include GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi b/g/n and 2G, 3G and 4G LTE and sensors like accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient, light, proximity and hall. No headphones are provided.
Rating: 7 / 10
Camera: We like the 8MP front camera featured in the OnePlus X. The photos are sharp and well-balanced. Focus is good, and works well even in low-light conditions. The 13MP rear camera is average. It’s capable of recording 1080p videos and 720P videos in slow motion. Though, the built-in camera lacks features like AE/AF lock, we found its video recording quality superb. Whether it’s 720p or 1080p, you get the actual HD and Full HD video quality. It is not up-scaled as is the case with most phones. The camera functions are limited in the native app; perhaps using a different camera app might improve results. Advance features like AE/AF lock, would make photography and videography a lot easier.
Rating: 7 / 10
Hardware and Performance: Despite being over a year old, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 SoC with 2.4 Ghz quad-core 32-bit CPUs packs a punch, be it for multi-tasking, browsing or gaming. The 801 muscles on, and thanks to the Andreno 330 GPU, it can play most popular games. The device gets 3GB RAM which means memory is never an issue. The internal storage is 16GB expandable up to 128GB. But using an external SD card limits you to only one SIM.
Rating: 7 / 10
Battery: The biggest downer is the battery. The 2,520mAh battery doesn’t cut it. While some may be able to extend it for a day by restricting the usage, we found ours dead before we were back home. Keeping in mind that it gets a Full HD screen, 2520 is too less, and perhaps the biggest setback.
Rating: 4 / 10
The guide verdict: The OnePlus X is not a performance monster. Its refined looks don’t awe everyone around but what it does do is click great selfies, and provides a no-frills performance. It is strong inside as well as the outside. If you wish to stay connected all the time, don’t forget to carry an external power bank.
7.3 / 10
Display: 5-inch AMOLED 1920x1080, 441ppi
Processor: 2.3 GHz Quadcore Qualcomm S801
Memory: 3GB RAM, 16GB ROM, expandable up to 128GB
Camera: 8MP (front), 13 MP with flash (rear)
Connectivity: GPS, Bluetooth 4.0, Wi-Fi, b/g/n Price: Rs 16,999