Before this week, there was quite a lot of speculation surrounding what OnePlus would unveil as their third device. On Thursday, the speculation ended as OnePlus officially introduced the OnePlus X. Not only is this their third device, but it is also their cheapest priced device at launch, which is saying something.
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In terms of the specs, the OnePlus X makes use of a 5-inch display which offers a 1920 x 1080 resolution. Moving to the inside and the OnePlus X comes loaded with 3GB RAM and powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 Quad-core processor. In terms of cameras, the OnePlus X offers a 13-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel front facing camera. Moving to the storage side of things and the OnePlus X offers 16GB internal storage, along with the ability to expand (up to 128GB). Last but not least, the OnePlus X comes powered by a 2,525 mAh battery and comes running on Android 5.1.1 out of the box, with OxygenOS over the top.
Well, this is easy to go through. What is certainly going to be the biggest positive for the OnePlus ,X is its price. This one comes unlocked for only $249, which does make it the cheapest OnePlus device at launch. In fact, when you take into consideration the specs, it is not just a cheap OnePlus device, but a cheap device in general, as there is pretty much nothing out there which could give you a similar level of build quality and specs for that price. For $249, you are getting 3GB RAM, you are getting a reliable 801 processor, you are getting a 13/8-megapixel front/back camera configuration. Not to mention, you are getting a really good build quality. OnePlus has always looked to make sure that their devices offers a more ‘premium’ feel and a level of sophistication and the OnePlus X is no different. This is designed to be as premium as it can be, for the price it is. And for that price, you are certainly getting a good deal of bang for your buck.
Well, this is as equally easy to go through. Yes, you are getting a lot of bang for your back with the OnePlus X and yes, it is true that you are getting one of the best devices available for the sub-$250 bracket. However, If you own a OnePlus One, you are not likely to be moving to the OnePlus X anytime soon and the reason, is because it is not an upgrade. It is not even a side-grade and it is not even a downgrade. This is because it is literally the same phone. Yes, it is smaller, but that is it. That is the only real tangible difference between the OnePlus X and OnePlus One. And it is important to note that we are not talking about the OnePlus 2 here, we are talking about no tangible differences besides the size, between the OnePlus X and a 2014 smartphone.
In fact, due to the popularity of the OnePlus One, they have routinely held their value on the used market and you can quite often see them available for exactly this figure. So right now, you could pick up an identical phone, with a larger 5.5-inch display for the same price. This is not good. Although, the specs of the OnePlus X are good and are ‘worth the money’, they are not appealing to their core market with this device. They are simply not offering those who know about or have owned a OnePlus device a reason to upgrade. The OnePlus literally offers nothing to the OnePlus faithful and OnePlus must already have known this. Which essentially means the OnePlus X was not made for OnePlus consumers, but for the next generation who currently do not own or know about the company. If you own a OnePlus One you already own a bigger OnePlus X.
Repackaging a 2014 device again in the next year, is ugly enough. However, there is something which supersedes that ugliness and that is, invites, and in the wider sense, general availability. Yes, the invites are back again. One would assume by a third device, the company would know what they are doing and how to proceed with availability. However, that does not seem to be the case. The fact that by the time a third phone has been released by a company, that their products are still not available to buy, when a consumer wants to buy them, is certainly ugly. Not only that, it is generally unheard of. So much so, that it does seem as if the decision to use invites is starting to become a little intentional by OnePlus, a sort of selling point…or more specifically a talking point. After all, OnePlus do seem to be sort of proud of their invite system, in spite of the fact that it is nothing to be proud of. But what it does do is make sure they hit the headlines again with the many “oh no, invites again” stories you will see. This is a cheap method of marketing, but an effective one.
Although, in fairness to the company, they have been looking to improve the system and although the invites are here again, they are said to only be only here temporarily. For the first month of availability, invites will be the only way you can order a OnePlus X. In the second month, the invite system will remain, although there will be routine (said to be weekly) open hours for sales. Then by the third month, the company presumably will have gauged demand and are thought to be looking to remove the invite process. Of course, the invite system has never gone smoothly so only time will tell how much it works this time and whether it will cease to exist in three months time. Either way though, the general lack of availability and the fact that you still cannot just buy a OnePlus X is the worst aspect of the device. Which in some ways, could be seen as a good thing. It is the process which is poor and not the device.