Unlike the previous OnePlus devices where the focus was more or less solely on the specifications and performance, with the OnePlus X the company took a step back from creating a spec monster and focused more on the design. It's clear with the OnePlus X that the design is the biggest feature of the device.
Unlike the OnePlus One, which was entirely plastic and the OnePlus 2, which was part metal and part plastic, the OnePlus X is a combination of both metal and glass, making it seem even more premium than both of its elder siblings.
The frame of the device is made out of anodized aluminum with 17 micro cuts running along the edges. The cuts are fine and give the sides a serrated finish making them inherently grippy.
The front and back on the Onyx version are made out of glass with curved edges that flow gently into the metal sides.
On the Ceramic version, the back is made out of ceramic, which is cast out of a zirconia mold and takes 25 days to make, which is why OnePlus will only be making 10,000 of these. The Ceramic version has a high gloss near-perfect mirror-like finish and even more pronounced angled edges. While the process behind it is fascinating and the material is significantly tougher than the glass used on the Onyx material, in reality it is often hard to tell the two models apart, especially in dimly lit indoor environments. This does make it somewhat harder to justify the additional cost of the Ceramic version (it's extra $110/€100/£69).
The front of the device has the 5.0-inch display in the center. Above the display is the earpiece, front facing camera, the sensors, and a tiny LED notification light at the top right.
Below the display are three practically invisible Home, Back, and Overview keys that aren't even backlit.
On the right are the power and volume control buttons with a nice damped feel, tight tolerances, and no unnecessary play.
On the left is the wonderful slider from the OnePlus 2 with three positions for the silent, priority notifications only, and all alerts modes. The slider has a grippy pattern like the one on the OnePlus 2 and it works great.
On the top is the headphone jack and on the bottom are the microUSB port, microphone, and a single loudspeaker. It would have been nice to see the USB Type-C connector from the OnePlus 2 on the OnePlus X as well.
On the back, you find the 13 megapixel camera with single LED flash sitting flush with the back giving it a perfectly flat appearance.
AMOLED displays quite frequently seem to have overdone color saturation and a certain tint but OnePlus has done a decent job of calibrating the 5-inch display that it doesn't seem to suffer from those disadvantages.
The display also gets quite bright, although we couldn't see how it looks under the sun. Viewing angles are decent and the 1080p resolution is more than adequate for a 5.0-inch display. Overall, nothing extraordinary, but for the price this is a pretty good screen.
The overall design of the OnePlus X is impressive and the phone looks and feels premium. But more importantly, for some people, it no longer feels ungainly to use and the compact dimensions make it perfectly usable with one hand while maintaining a decent display size. This is easily one of the most premium looking and feeling phone in its price range, and feels even better than some of the more expensive phones.