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HolidayBuyer's Guide

The polished OnePlus X

Glossy glass panels

Two designs with subtle differences

A sharp and bright display

Micro-USB for charging

Careful with the control buttons

Toggling on notifications

An array of phone cases

Dual-SIM and expandable storage

A deep breath with OxygenOS

Useful features with almost no bloatware

A decent rear shooter

Say cheese with an 8MP cam

Top of its class for benchmark tests

Trouble in LTE-land

Available through invite only, the OnePlus X is an unlocked device with high-end looks and a wallet-friendly price. Unfortunately for US customers, it won't work on a couple of important LTE bands used by GSM carriers AT&T and T-Mobile (more on that later).

The handset starts at $249 and £199 (which converts to about AU$430).

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The attractive device sports a slim, elegant design with glossy glass panels on the front and back, and a surrounding silver metal trim. Though its collects fingerprints and is slippery, compared to other budget handsets, the phone is one of the best looking in its price bracket.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The X comes in two design variants. There's the more expensive Ceramic (left) version that has angled edges and is available in only Europe and India (£269), and Onyx, which has glass that smoothly curves down the edges.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The device has a bright 5-inch display with 1,920x1,080-pixel resolution and 441 ppi pixel density.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

At the bottom are audio speakers and a Micro-USB port for charging and transferring files, which is different from the USB Type-C port the OnePlus 2 sports.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Overall, the buttons stick out from the surface, which makes them easy to use by feel, but also easy to accidentally activate while it's rattling inside a bag or backpack. That's bad news when the handset turns itself on and drains its battery when you're not using it.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The phone measures 5.5 by 2.7 by 0.27 inches (140 by 69 by 6.9mm) and has a physical button that you can toggle to turn on and off notifications and sounds.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

OnePlus sells rear covers that come in several colors and materials besides the usual plastic, including wood, bamboo and kevlar.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The X has dual-SIM capabilities, which is useful if you have more than one number or travel abroad often. It also has up to 128GB of expandable memory (a feature missing from its predecessors) on top of the 16GB of built-in storage.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The device runs OnePlus' custom OxygenOS, which is based on Android 5.1.1 Lollipop.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The OxygenOS interface includes color customization, on-screen gestures and an ambient display.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The handset has a 13-megapixel rear-facing camera that can record 1,080p HD, slow-motion and time-lapse videos.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The front houses a 7.6-megapixel camera.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

Powering the phone is a 2,525mAh battery that lasted a solid 10 and a half hours during our lab tests for continuous video playback. It also has a 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor from Qualcomm.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET

The OnePlus X is a terrific and beautifully designed budget smartphone. But if you live in the US, it has limited LTE support, which make it a crapshoot for customers who want high-speed data.

For more on smartphones, check out CNET's handset reviews here.

Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
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