OnePlus announces the OnePlus X, a smaller phone with older specs

OnePlus also hopes to show its design prowess with its new phone, because it's also what's on the outside that counts.

The OnePlus X

The OnePlus X

What’s better than a plastic phone? A phone you can buy without an invitation. But that’s not OnePlus’s game. Instead, it’s launching the OnePlus X, a phone that’s made of premium materials and seems to exist solely as an attempt on OnePlus’s part to distinguish itself among the dozens of other stylish Android devices.

There are two versions of the phone, each with its own design story. Unfortunately, neither of them include the tale of the user who could buy her phone without first requesting an invite.

A smaller phone with last year’s specs

The OnePlus X is a compact, 5-inch Android phone. It comes in two flavors: Onyx black glass and limited edition Ceramic, the latter of which has no U.S. launch date. OnePlus said that the black glass variant is the company’s lightest, slimmest phone to date, while each individual unit of the Ceramic version takes about 25 days to make. Both phones feature a brushed metal frame and a scratch resistant backplate, as well as an Alert Slider like on the OnePlus 2, which lets you easily switch between notification profiles.

OnePlus opted to use last year’s flagship hardware rather than this year’s mid-range chips. Both versions of the OnePlus X run on a 32-bit 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor, which is what came standard with last year’s marquee devices—specifically, the HTC One (M8) and Samsung Galaxy S5. That’s fine, though, because the chip is still pretty powerful, and it should prove to be a solid performer. The phone comes equipped with 3GB of RAM and a 5-inch, 1080p AMOLED display.

The OnePlus X features dual nano SIM slots and an expansion slot, which can accept any MicroSD card up to 128GB, on top of the 16GB of included storage. There’s also a 2,525 mAh battery pack, and support for Quick Charge 2.0, though there’s no mention of wireless charging. There’s no built-in NFC chip, either, so you won’t be able to take advantage of Android Pay.

OnePlus’s “fastest camera yet”

OnePlus said the OnePlus X features its “fastest camera yet.” It’s a 13-megapixel rear-facing sensor with f/2.2 aperture and 0.2-second autofocus with phase detection (PDAF), which is a trick most DSLRs and a number of high-end smartphones use. The camera also supports HDR, while the front-facing 8-megapixel sensor features a Beauty Mode that buffs out your face’s imperfections. Hopefully it offers similar performance to the camera in the OnePlus 2.

The OnePlus X will be available with OnePlus’s own Oxygen OS operating system on its official website by invite only beginning November 5. Europeans will get the first shot at it, while invites will open to the U.S. on November 19 for $250. The Ceramic edition will be available with a Ceramic-specific invite in Europe and India beginning November 24 for €370.

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