OnePlus X launches in November with expandable storage and $249 price tag …

29 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

OnePlus X Is an $250 Phone That’s Shockingly Good-Looking.

Just two months after OnePlus released its highly anticipated and competitively-priced OnePlus 2 flagship, the Chinese-based mobile manufacturer launched another device today during a London press event. The device comes in two variants: Onyx, which will sell for $249, and Ceramic, a limited edition model which will only be available in Europe and India for 369 Euros.

Both models have the same guts, with only cosmetic differences between the two (more on that later.) The OnePlus X has a 1080p AMOLED display and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor with 3GB of RAM. It has dual-SIM slots and 16GB of onboard storage with the option to expand up to 128GB with the second SIM slot doubling as a MicroSD slot. (Yes, this means you have to choose between an extra SIM or extra storage, though it hard to fault the company for that, considering the $249 price tag.) The 13-megapixel rear-facing camera has an f/2.2 aperture and shoots 1080p video and has a slow motion mode that shoots at 720p and 120fps. But OnePlus says the move away from positioning the camera in the center was simply an issue of sensor space within the phone itself, and the edges actually have 7 notches that go around the device so its a little more textured that just straight aluminum. While OnePlus might argue that the upcoming ‘mini’ version is not a flagship product, there seems to be compulsions behind OnePlus launching the ‘mini’ version in such haste, especially when it once boasted about an “Apple-like one device an year ” policy.

There’s only 10,000 available, and for good reason…the process to make them takes a total of 25 days in which it’s fire-baked at 2,700 degrees fahrenheit for 28 hours. Maybe it’s from all my past experiences with glass-clad devices (like the aforementioned iPhone 4 and that time my Google Nexus 4 cracked from a two-inch fall), but during my brief time with the X, I was nervous it’d slip out my fingers and break. The handset comes in Onyx, which has glass that smoothly curves down the edges of the phone, and the more expensive Ceramic version, which has angled edges. Rather than “sandstone black” textured back it used in the OnePlus One and Two, the company opted for a glass back that reminiscent of what Apple did so well with the iPhone 4S. The only unfortunate inheritance from using glass and porcelain is the X quickly becomes a fingerprint nightmare, so if you have OCD polishing tendencies, maybe avoid this guy—or keep a cloth handy.

The glass does make the device a bit more slippery and it does attract a crazy amount of fingerprints, though OnePlus makes a variety of cases for the phone, including one in black sandstone, for those who want to cover the glass back for whatever reason. OnePlus founder Carl Pei says he’s confident with the processor, mentioning that it was basically “the chip that built OnePlus” in the first place and can still outclass the 400 and 600 series usually found in sub-$300 phones. He says it’s partly because “Apple doesn’t have a challenger”: The Chinese smartphone company calls the 2 its “flagship killer,” so I’m not sure what the X is. It uses the same notification slider — a physical switch on the left side of the handset — onscreen gestures and “shelf” feature as the OnePlus 2.

The OS is still based on Lollipop, but Pei says a Marshmallow build is coming and that many features, like Doze and Quick Settings customization, is already available on Oxygen OS albeit OnePlus’ own implementation. As Mashable’s product analyst Raymond Wong noted earlier this month, the 801 should “be plenty for the usual assortment of web browsing, messaging, watching videos and playing casual games,” which, really, is what budget devices are intended for. The 801 is also the same chipset used in other respectable flagships that launched a year ago like OnePlus’ own One, the Motorola Moto X and the LG G3.

To take advantage of AMOLED’s energy-saving powers, OnePlus added a lot of blacks to the UI to not only match the already dark exterior but also keep those pixels turned off and not burning through your battery. For the first month, OnePlus will use the old invite system as they ramp up production, but after a month, they’ll begin periods of direct sales as well. And you get the community that comes with OnePlus, which might just build itself up to be the fanatical Android equivalent to Apple’s iPhone diehards.

Though the Ceramic OnePlus X looks just as good as the Onyx, it’s probably not worth the extra cash unless you really want it as a kind of status symbol. It successfully walks that often perilous line between cheap-looking and overly gaudy when phones try to reach both the fashion-conscious and the budget-conscious. Pei readily acknowledges the company screwed this up with its last two launches but he says it is necessary for a hardware startup — having to cut prices because of a huge amount of unsold phones (a la Amazon’s Fire Phone) could spell financial ruin for the company that already sees very slim margins on their handsets.

But, this time around, the invite system will only stick around a month and Pei says they have plans to open up sales to anyone for short periods during the invite phase.

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