Dec 042015

I needed to get a new work phone after both the battery and volume control cover of my Sony Xperia L broke. The main issue I had with that phone was the space for apps, I just ran out and was not able to have all the ones I wanted loaded. My requirements were an android smartphone which would be upgradeabale to Marshmallow (Android 6), the budget was €300. I considered buying a Sony Xperia Z3 compact used on Ebay but was eventually put off by all the stories of broken screens. This study with good sample size showed a staggering 30% of Z3 compact owners had a cracked screen. That said a colleague had Sony replace the screen recently for their Z3 compact hassle free (just a day before the warranty ran out!). I also looked at the Vodafone Smart ultra 6 but it didn’t seem in line for a Marshmallow upgrade and I reckoned I could do more for my budget. Then I heard about the OnePlus X!

To buy it was an invite only system, my mate who has a OnePlus One wasn’t able to get an invite. The I found an invites post on and had an invite within 10 minutes. Incidentally, I did receive an invite 5 days later from OnePlus as a result of just signing up on the site, but the invite was useless as it was non transferable. There’s a workaround, but it’s too much hassle unless someone is really stuck. They did have open purchase for Thanksgiving weekend but now it’s back to invite only.

I ordered from their website with the invite on a Wednesday night and my OnePlus X arrived from De Sheng International in Shenzhen, China via DHL on Monday. Packaging post iPhone has to be impressive.
ONePlus X Opening

The included user manual & quick start guide were useless, the picture of the phone was so small you could hardly read the labels without a magnifying glass. You can download a user manual I which is a little better. I was interested to discover the OnePlus X was a dual sim which took 2 nano sims or 1 micro sim. The concept of a nano sim was new to me, I was able to get nano sims easily for both networks. The nano can be adapted to a micro easily just like from a micro sim to a regular one. An issue is you use 2 nanos is that there is then no space for a micro SD.

The initial setup wizard was fine though it had 1 bug: the wi-fi signal was excellent but it hung on “checking connection”. Googling this is a common problem and skipping this part is the work around! Everything worked fine after. The wizard also mentioned an option to use software buttons instead of the (incognito) hardware buttons to navigate. I stuck with the hardware buttons thinking of screen space but may experiment with the software buttons which can be turned on via Settings | Buttons | On-screen Navigation Bar. As always there are view for both sides, see reddit.

I have been using Swype for years but this came with swiftkey (+ emoji), so I have been sticking with that until I miss something. The wizard asked for my last name and I was surprised that swiftkey got my Swype first time without me adding it to the dictionary.

2015-12-04 00_37_23-android bottom bar - Google Search
You can double tap the unseen hardware buttons to get a list of recent apps. The wizard also had an option to enable Shelf beta which is a OnePlus in-house app, swiping to the right from the home screen opens Shelf which shows frequent apps and contacts as well as a weather header. I haven’t used it much yet, you can give feedback here.

The wizard did not include a google login. I went to the gmail and added my address. Going into the contacts app they were all there.

The application drawer is accessible from the middle icon in the bottom bar. All icons can be drag and dropped to rearrange. It was not initially intuitive to me how to leave the application drawer but the back hardware button does the trick of course. In Settings | App Drawer Grid Size I changed to the largest 6×5. I have been using swipepad for years to open apps but I might try this app drawer for a while and see if it can do without.

In sound setup I set dial pad tones off and touch sounds off. When I got one of the google calendar notifications I turned off google calendar notification on this device. Clearing the notifications dropdown was not obvious. At the bottom of the pull down screen there are three horizontal which do the trick when clicked.

I tried the camera and the picture was all fuzzy and I never got back to it until a colleague who got a OnePlus X also told me there was a screen protector on the back covering the camera lens and sure enough there was!

Excellently, the OnePlus X come with a screen protector already on the screen. This is such a must for me that I had already ordered one before I opened the box! I also had ordered a gel cover, but it comes with one of those too, albeit it does not have the essential breaking protecting lip with the cover screen being flush.

Reading some applicable tips for the One Plus Two I like some of the gesture options: to activate the camera draw 0, double tape to wake. There are others for music control and flashlight (draw V).

The phone is a good weight, slim and handles well. First impressions are good. I will do a follow-up post regarding the dual sim.