OnePlus launches its first non-flagship smartphone, the $249 OnePlus X

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The design is reminiscent of older iPhones(Credit: OnePlus)

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Chinese smartphone startup OnePlus has officially launched its third smartphone, a budget handset with much better than budget specs. Meet the cheaper alternative to the OnePlus 2, the OnePlus X.

Much like the Nexus 5X or Moto X Play, the OnePlus X is a smaller, slightly less powerful and less expensive version of its latest flagship sibling, which has been available since August for customers who've snagged an invite. But OnePlus spins it another way, describing the X as an opportunity to experiment with premium build materials like onyx black glass and a limited edition ceramic version.

Apart from pricing, the main differences between the X and the company's latest flagship are in design, size and the camera. The standard version of the OnePlus X is somewhat reminiscent of the iPhones 4 and 4s: easier to hold and operate with a single hand, with glass back and metal frame with chamfered edges (though here the frame is aluminum; the iPhones 4/s had stainless steel frames).

There's also the limited edition (and more expensive) "fire-baked ceramic" variant of the new phone, which still has aluminum sides but replaces the glass back with ceramic crafted from zirconia. The company says it's only making 10,000 of the ceramic models.

The display is also for those who prefer a smaller (by today's standards) handset, with a 5-inch 1080p OLED screen, which comes out to 441 pixels per inch). Both the OnePlus One and OnePlus 2 have 5.5-inch screens.

The camera in the OnePlus X is a 13 MP shooter, the same megapixel count as the OnePlus 2, but adds a "lightning-­fast" 0.2-second phase detection autofocus. There's also an 8 MP front-facing selfie camera, an increase over the 5 MP front shooter in the company's 2015 flagship.

Like the OnePlus 2, there's a physical alert slider on the side that allows you to change notification settings without ever having to take the phone out of a pocket, along with dual SIM support. Unlike the OnePlus 2, the X has a microSD card slot to augment its mere 16 GB internal storage.

Like its flagship sibling, the OnePlus X runs the company's custom OxygenOS, on top of Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

To get the price down, OnePlus had to cut corners somewhere, and we see evidence of that in its lack of a USB-C connector and fingerprint sensor. Like the company's latest flagship, it's also missing NFC and wireless charging, and appears to also lack quick charging.

Rounding out its specs are a Snapdragon 801 processor, the same 2014 chip found in the OnePlus One (though the X's CPU is clocked a bit lower, at 2.3 GHz), along with 3 GB of RAM. It's a mere 6.9 mm (0.27-inch) thick and weighs in at 138 g (4.86 oz) – the same weight as the slightly larger Galaxy S6.

The OnePlus X's biggest standout feature is its US$249 price tag. The OnePlus X is, however, launching with the company's infamous invite system, and will be available (with said invite) in Europe starting November 5, with a US version to follow on November 19. After the first month, the company says it will slowly start opening up orders beyond invites, beginning with weekly sales days.

The limited-run ceramic OnePlus X will cost €369.00 starting on November 24 (also with an invite) and will only be sold in Europe and India.

Source: OnePlus

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