OnePlus X camera review: just about does the job

“As far as shooting prowess is concerned, the OnePlus X could do with some more pep”

OnePlus is a name that raises eyebrows and piques the interest of even those who don’t follow the happenings in the smartphone world keenly. The smartphone brand is just three products old, but thanks to its obsession with flagship-grade devices priced affordably and continued use of the unique invite-based selling model, it has managed to garner a fair bit of mindshare. Its latest is a compact offering that deviates from the phablet-class 5.5-inch screens we saw on its first two devices, the OnePlus One (review) and the OnePlus 2 (review). We’re talking about the OnePlus X (first impressions | FAQs) of course, and this is a 5-inch smartphone that oozes style from all angles.


Introduced in two variants, the glass-backed Onyx and the limited-edition Ceramic, the OnePlus X also rocks reasonably good specs, especially if you consider its starting price point of Rs 16,999. For shooting shenanigans, it offers a 13-meg primary cam with an ISOCELL sensor and phase detection autofocus, along with an 8MP selfie capturer at the front… and we’re going to figure out how well the images turn out.

OnePlus-X-camera-02 OnePlus-X-camera-03

Some might be turned off by the basic camera app that offers modes like Clear Image, HDR, beauty, time lapse, slow motion and panorama. Thankfully though, there are tons of third-party camera apps on the Play Store for those who’d like to play around with other photography-related stuff. For now, let’s just focus on the pure image quality.

Long shot

OnePlus X camera sample - Long Shot

Shot in auto, this image from the OnePlus X’s primary shooter is sharp in focus and shows abundant detail. However, we think it looks a tad washed out and lacks the punch we expect.

Close up

OnePlus X camera sample - close up

For a close-up shot, this time our subject is the taillight of a car blocking our office entrance. This one looks livelier as far as the colours are concerned, and the camera has been able to capture a  sharp-looking close-up that reproduces the finer details quite well.

Close up (zoomed)

OnePlus X camera sample - close up zoomed

By magnifying and zooming in on to the middle portion of the same image, we can make out the details in a much better way. The intricate pattern on the taillight and the colours have come out rather well. We’ll also take the chance to request the owner of the vehicle to remove it from our front gate.

HDR off

OnePlus-X camera sample - no HDR

Shot in auto mode, the image above is sharp, but again, the colours lack vibrancy. We’re hoping that the HDR mode can liven it up a tad, so let’s move on to the HDR image sample next.


OnePlus X camera sample - HDR

With HDR turned on, there’s a slight improvement in the colours, but we can’t say that the scene shows a significant improvement. In fact, the changes are so subtle that we can hardly make out the difference.

Front camera

OnePlus X camera sample - front

The selfie craze has taken over the world in a big way, so it’s critical for smartphones to offer the best in this regard. The 8-meg front shooter on the OnePlus X looks quite capable, especially if there’s enough ambient light, and can capture decent colours.

Night shot

OnePlus X camera sample - night shot

Low light is the nemesis of all smartphone cameras, but the OnePlus X does a fair job here. The darker areas show patches and noise, but there are hardly any halos around the lights, and the colours of the foliage can be discerned as well.

Low light

OnePlus X camera sample -low light

Shot indoors in dim lighting, this image has turned out quite soft and patchy. Though we can make out (barely) what the subject is and even see some colour, the image isn’t really usable, even for social sharing purposes.

Low light (with flash)

OnePlus X camera sample - low light with flash

Turning the flash on helps significantly of course, so our subject is now bathed in even light, and all the colours and design attributes have been reproduced well. We like the fact the the details haven’t been blown out, something that using the flash at close range tends to do with some other smartphone cameras.

So the OnePlus X has turned out to be a bit of a mixed bag as far as shooting capabilities are concerned. Overall, it hasn’t really left us impressed with what its primary camera can do, but we’re hoping it can fare better when it comes to other key areas such as performance and battery life. We’ll leave those for our full review, which is a work in progress as you read this.

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