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OnePlus X vs Nexus 5X vs Moto X Play: Which is best for me?

Battle of the X Phones: We compare the OnePlus X, Motorola Moto X Play and Google’s LG-crafted Nexus 5X to see which of these mid-range mobiles is the best for you, with a full camera, screen, performance, battery life and features comparison.

The OnePlus X has plenty of killer features for a £200 smartphone, including sexy design, a vibrant AMOLED screen and decent battery life. But how does it compare to two of our favourite mid-range phones, the Moto X Play and Nexus 5X? Here’s our full comparison review so you can see which is best for you.

At a glance

Phone OnePlus X LG Nexus 5X Motorola Moto X Play
Weight 138g 136g 169g
Screen size 5-inches 5.2-inches 5.5-inches
Screen resolution 1080×1920 1080×1920 1080×1920
OS Android 5.1 Android 6.0 Android 5.1
Processor Snapdragon 801 Snapdragon 808 Snapdragon 615
RAM 3GB 2GB 2GB
Storage 16GB, microSD 16/32GB 16/32GB, microSD
Fingerprint sensor? No Yes No
Cameras 13MP, 8MP 12.3MP, 5MP 21MP, 5MP

Design

The OnePlus X is the baby of the bunch at 5-inches, so if you’re after a beautifully thin and light phone that can easily be used one-handed, this is your best bet. The glossy design makes it our personal favourite for looks too, although the shiny body does attract grimy fingerprints and light scratches all too easily. Thankfully there’s a rubber bumper included to counter the grime and scratching.

Your next step up is the Nexus 5X, a 5.2-inch mobile. It may be noticeably bigger than the OnePlus X, but you can still get away with one-handed use and the matt finish on the rear end means no greasy surfaces.

Finally you have the 5.5-inch Moto X Play, which is definitely designed for two-handed use. It’s a chunky beast with a textured back and extra heft compared with the other phones here, but you can fully customise the X Play’s design using the online Moto Maker service, which allows you to choose the colour scheme and even get the phone engraved.

Screen and media

All three phones here pack a Full HD screen, so photos, videos and everything else look pleasingly crisp. These panels are also powerfully bright, so you’ll have no trouble seeing the screens when the sun finally emerges again.

Which display you prefer will all depend on your personal tastes. If you like rich, vibrant colours then the OnePlus X certainly delivers with its AMOLED screen. The Moto X Play’s panel also delivers plenty of eye candy, while the Nexus 5X goes for more subtle, realistic hues.

The Moto X Play screen is almost as vibrant as the OnePlus X’s

Want to carry around a good-sized media collection, to stay entertained on the move? The Nexus 5X isn’t a good bet then, with no way to expand the 16 or 32GB of storage space. That space is quickly eaten up by apps and movies, so unless you’re happy to stream your music and video content, we’d go with the OnePlus X or Moto X Play, which both support microSD memory cards.

Features

All three handsets here are Android devices, with the Nexus 5X packing the very latest version, nicknamed Marshmallow. Marshmallow boasts more efficient running for extended battery life, as well as improved search functionality and a fair few other upgrades. Check out our full Android Marshmallow feature for more info.

The OnePlus X and Moto X Play will both receive updates to Android Marshmallow in the new year, as long as you don’t mind waiting that long. And the OnePlus X also boasts OnePlus’ Oxygen OS overlay, which adds some neat features including gesture support (draw an O on the screen to open straight up into the camera app, for instance) and the virtual shelf which automatically fills with your favourite apps and contacts.

If security is a priority for you, the Nexus 5X goes one step beyond with its fingerprint sensor. The scanner sits neatly on the back of the phone and can be used to quickly and securely unlock your mobile. The other phones here have the standard PIN/pattern unlock methods and also use Android’s Smart Lock feature, which can bypass the PIN if you’re connected to a trusted Bluetooth/NFC device or in a pre-set location.

Performance and battery life

Google’s Nexus 5X is the best benchmark performer here, with a 64-bit Snapdragon 808 processor backed up by 2GB of RAM. Despite this, you’ll still notice the occasional bit of UI stutter, as with the Moto X Play and OnePlus X.

Still, all three phones can play the latest games without trouble, and without any significant drops in frame rate even when blasting through the most intensive 3D action titles.

These mobiles are also well matched when it comes to battery life. We used each phone as our full-time handset for a week and in general managed to get through 24 hours on a single charge, although the OnePlus X is the best for non-stop video playback. We saw an impressive eight to nine hours of streaming using the OnePlus, with seven hours from the Moto X Play and six to seven from the Nexus 5X.

None of the phones support wireless charging, although the Nexus 5X does support fast charging for those emergency power-up situations.

Cameras

On paper, the Moto X Play is the clear winner here, boasting a 21-megapixel camera compared with the 13-megapixel and 12.3-megapixel snappers on the OnePlus X and Nexus 5X. However, all three phones pack very capable optics that can handle a wide range of conditions. In fact, the OnePlus X was actually the best performer when it came to high-contrast scenes, with the Moto X disappointing with murky dark areas.

Still, the simple camera interfaces will suit anyone who simply wants to point n’ shoot, as will the fast shutters which mean the results are almost always sharp. We had to throw away very few photos when using these handsets as our full-time snappers.

Read next: Our in-depth OnePlus X camera review

The Nexus 5X is the only phone here that can capture 4K video, producing good-looking footage that is packed with detail even if you drop to HD resolution. All three handsets are perfectly fine for shooting home movies, although they don’t have optical image stabilisation for cutting out jerky movements, which makes for a fair bit of judder if you’re filming and moving at the same time. Motorola’s mobile performs the best in those cases, with some help from digital image stabilisation.

As for selfie cams, all three phones again produce very similar shots with their front-facing cameras. Your best bet for ‘groufies’ is the OnePlus X, thanks to its wide-angle lens.

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