OnePlus X trades flagship-killer specs for style and affordability

OnePlus is best known for its "flagship-killing" phones like the OnePlus 2 that sell for wallet-friendly prices. Its next device, the OnePlus X, sets aside that spec obsession for a focus on style and design. This all-metal-and-glass phone will cost just $249 unlocked.

OnePlus does appear to have succeeded on the style front. The X is a handsome phone, ringed in aluminum with glass facings on the front and back. For a bit more visual interest, the aluminum frame is textured with 17 "microcuts" (ridges) that wrap around the perimeter of the phone. OnePlus foregoes the physical home button and fingerprint sensor from the OnePlus 2 for a sleeker look. We suppose that's not a surprising omission for a phone in this price range.

The X's rear camera is a 13MP shooter with phase-detection autofocus, a combo that OnePlus says is "the fastest camera [it's] ever used." The rear camera can record 1080p video at an unspecified max frame rate, or slow-motion 720p video at 120 FPS. An f/2.2 lens directs photons to the sensor. Selfie shooters get an 8MP front camera with an f/2.4 lens.

A 5", 1080p AMOLED display gives OnePlus' minimally modified Android distribution, OxygenOS, a playground. OxygenOS is still based on Android 5.1.1, not the latest Android 6.0 Marshmallow. Even so, we're happy to see a largely unsullied version of Android on a device in this price range.

The OnePlus X's specs aren't going to slay any of today's flagships. This phone is powered by a 2.3GHz, quad-core Snapdragon 801 SoC with Adreno 330 graphics and 3GB of RAM. 16GB of built-in storage is the only option, but a microSD slot lets owners expand that figure by up to 128GB. Dual-SIM capability lets the X run on multiple networks at once. A micro-USB port handles charging and data transfer.

Like other OnePlus phones, the OnePlus X will be sold using an invite system—at least at first. According to the company's Twitter, buyers will have to sign up for invites for a month after the phone's November 5 launch (or November 19 in North America). After that, OnePlus will hold "hourly open sales" for the phone every week. A limited "Ceramic" edition will be sold outside North America with labor-intensive zirconia front and rear facings, while regular-production phones get black glass front and rear.

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