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OnePlus X Long Term Review: Returning to the X in 2016

We re-review the OnePlus X, the cheapest OnePlus phone so far, almost a full year after launch. How does this compact 5-inch mobile hold up in 2016, compared with rival phones like the Moto G4 Plus as well as the OnePlus 3?

Last year saw the launch of two new OnePlus phones, the OnePlus 2 and the OnePlus X. We were fully expecting the arrival of the OnePlus 2 flagship handset, a fantastic sequel to the original OnePlus mobile from 2014, but the OnePlus X was a bit of a surprise.

The OnePlus X is a wee bit smaller and not quite as powerful as the OnePlus 2, while also boasting an even cheaper asking price. Starting at just over £200, the fact that you got a Full HD screen plus 13 and 8-megapixel cameras meant the OnePlus X offered strong value for money.

These days the OnePlus X costs just £189, but has strong competition from the likes of the Moto G4 and G4 Plus. So is it still worth a purchase? Here’s our full re-review of the OnePlus X for 2016.

Read next: OnePlus 3 vs OnePlus X vs OnePlus 2, which is best?

OnePlus X 2016 Re-Review: Design

I’ve used so many massive phones lately, including of course the mighty 5.5-inch OnePlus 3, so returning to the OnePlus X always feels a bit like pulling on some comfortable trainers. It’s easy to fondle with one hand and super-light at just 136g. Even the glossy, slippery rear can’t spoil the grip.

However, that glossy backing is as vulnerable to scratches as ever. Carry the phone around unprotected and you’ll notice tiny scars marking the surface in no time at all. I always make sure I slip the OnePlus X into some kind of sheath when I’m using it, to avoid spoiling its looks – thankfully OnePlus sells an attractive range which definitely do the job.

In fact, once upon a time you used to be able to grab a ceramic version of the OnePlus X, which was much hardier (as well as more expensive). Sadly this was a limited edition, and is now very much sold out on the OnePlus website. You might be able to find one going second-hand, however.

OnePlus X 2016 Re-Review: Screen and media

We still love the OnePlus X’s excellent 5-inch AMOLED screen too, which is just as vibrant as the OnePlus 3’s larger 5.5-inch panel. Contrast levels are great and the Full HD resolution keeps images nice and sharp. In fact, we’d say the OnePlus’ display is just as strong as the screen on the Sony Xperia X, which costs over twice as much.

No worries about usability when outdoors either, as the screen is powerfully bright and not too reflective.

Unlike the OnePlus 3, here you get microSD support so you can expand the on-board 16GB of storage. Just as well, as that space fills in no time at all once you start cramming your music and video collection on.

OnePlus X 2016 Re-Review: Features

One thing I badly miss when I return to the OnePlus X is a fingerprint sensor, something that you’ll find on a couple of other Androids around this price point (the best being the Moto G4 Plus). Tapping in a PIN every time I want to fiddle with the phone seems so sluggish now in comparison. First World Problems at their finest.

Still, Oxygen OS is as great as ever, offering up much the same experience as the OnePlus 3. Android is presented in a mostly vanilla form, while OnePlus’ shelf feature gives fast access to your favourite apps, contacts and other essential bits. There’s less customisation settings here, but we still love the user experience.

Two other significant omissions are NFC and 5GHz WiFi. You’ll find neither on the OnePlus X, although the Moto G4 Plus also leaves out NFC – not great news if you’re hoping to jump on the Android Pay train without spending too much cash.

OnePlus X 2016 Re-Review: Performance and battery life

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 801 processor might be getting on a bit, but the OnePlus X still performs well, helped considerably by the 3GB of RAM stuffed inside. You will notice the occasional stutter or pause, but the latest games still play without any trouble.

Battery life sadly lags behind other rivals at this price point. I generally get around a day of life per charge, as long as I don’t abuse it too much, which is less than the day and a half I usually manage with the Moto G4 Plus, Sony Xperia XA and other mid-rangers. That said, the battery hasn’t shown any signs of wear after several months, and you can stream video non-stop for around nine hours which is a solid effort.

OnePlus X 2016 Re-Review: Cameras

The OnePlus X’s 13-megapixel camera is still a solid, dependable snapper, coming close to recently released rivals like the Moto G4.

You can quick-load the camera with a customisable shortcut and shots take almost the instant you hit the shutter button, which makes it well suited to action snaps. My photos are always packed with detail and the only annoyance is having to manually switch to HDR mode to compensate for awkward lighting. The HDR mode is also irritatingly slow, taking ages to process the image.

You can shoot up to Full HD resolution videos, which look perfectly fine as long as you don’t move around too much. The lens occasionally struggles with sudden changes in lighting, while walking and shooting results in some shaky, ugly footage.

Check out our full OnePlus X camera review for photo and video samples.

OnePlus X 2016 Re-Review: Verdict

I liked the OnePlus X when it first launched despite its obvious flaws, but ten months on there’s little reason to recommend it. For almost the same price you can grab the Moto G4 Plus, for instance, which boasts a fingerprint sensor and longer battery life.

If you want to jump on the good ship OnePlus, we’d definitely recommend grabbing the OnePlus 3 if your budget will allow. The camera still isn’t perfect, but that superior performance and impressive battery tech make for a wonderful all-round experience.

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