So you want to buy your loved one a great-looking, high-performance smartphone for the holidays, but only have Dh1,000 to spend? Fear not, for the new OnePlus X fits the bill nicely with a dirham to spare.
Founded only two years ago in Shenzhen, OnePlus has had a seismic impact on the mid-range smartphone market, with devices that don’t scrimp on design and performance.
The OnePlus X, launched last month on souq.com, is no exception. Its rounded-edged display, ribbed metal edges and glass back are design features you’d expect to see on a device costing twice the price.
In addition to the volume and power buttons on the right side of the screen, a nice touch is a physical switch on the left that controls notifications.
The premium feel of the OnePlus X is also apparent in its 5-inch Amoled display. While it falls short of high-end devices such as Samsung’s Galaxy range and the LG G4, the OnePlus X’s screen boasts an impressive 441 ppi resolution, coming in ahead of the likes of Sony’s Xperia Z5 and dead level with the HTC One M9.
The upshot is that images and videos render brilliantly, with the deep colours and action sequences of the Mad Max trailer looking almost as good as on the iPhone and Galaxy S6.
Such rendering is helped in no small part by a Snapdragon 801 processor and an extremely generous 3GB of RAM.
Camera-wise, the OnePlus X is more in line with mid-range peers such as Motorola’s Moto G and the Huawei Honor 4X, sporting a 13MP rear camera. Images are consistent with what we’ve come to expect in such a price bracket – perfectly acceptable for the most part, while a little grainy in lower light conditions.
Overall, the OnePlus X is one of the best smartphone packages under Dh1,000, proving that premium design and great performance do not need to be accompanied by a hefty price tag. Aside from an average camera and the absence of one or two premium features, it gives devices more than double its price a serious run for their money.
So just who are these OnePlus people?
That’s an understandable question, given they were only founded a couple of years ago by the former Oppo vice president Pete Lau. Their first phone, the OnePlus One, was sold on an invite-only basis, but managed to sell nearly a million units within six months. This was followed this July by the OnePlus Two, and the OnePlus X, announced in October.
They can’t have made an iPhone for a third of the price. Surely they must have cut some corners.
There are some features missing, it’s true, most notably a fingerprint reader and NFC. Also absent are the fast-charging capabilities like the Galaxy S6 Edge. Still, the battery can last a full day with standard usage. Oh, and there’s no stylus.
Like most people, I don’t care about a stylus. What else do I need to know?
It runs the now one-year-old Android Lollipop, with OnePlus’s tasteful Oxygen OS skin. It can take two SIM cards, with one doubling up as a Micro SD slot if you prefer. They’ve also borrowed Oppo’s gesture system, which means you can launch apps by drawing shapes on the screen, for an example a circle for the camera app.
I don’t care about that either. You still haven’t mentioned the most important feature.
No, it doesn’t come in “rose gold”. You have a choice of either “onyx” or “ceramic”, otherwise known as black or white.
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