Imagine a U$250 smartphone. What materials spring to mind? Plastic? Rubber? How about build quality? Cheap? Nasty? Creaky?

All would be valid answers, but OnePlus' new smartphone seems to throw them all out of the window.

The One Plus X, launching in both glass and ceramic models, puts design above all else, with decent internals to boot.

We managed to spend some time with it at its London launch, so let's crack on with our first impressions.

Lovely to look at, lovely to hold

The X does have an Apple-esque shape to it, especially with its curved corners and bottom micro-drilled speaker holes, but it does make a decent effort to differentiate itself too.

The rear camera is flush, and the metal edges have been scored to create a set of rather smart-looking pinstripes, which offer a bit more grip. There's also an extra three-way toggle on the side, which lets you customise your alerts.

It feels extremely well made, and both the glass and ceramic-backed models scream premium. Holding them, you could easily guess that they'd cost twice their asking price.

Sadly, as is the case with most premium materials, the rear of both models prove to be absolute fingerprint magnets, with the slightly shinier ceramic material picking up a tad more.

Overall though, it's a lovely looking handset, and we applaud OnePlus for pulling off such a classy, rock solid build, at this price point.

Solid screen

From what we've seen so far, the screen is another area of the X that goes above and beyond its price point.

Its 5in size will hit the size sweet spot for many people. It feels big enough to enjoy gaming and browsing, while one-handed use will be comfortable for all but the tiniest-handed gadgeteers.

It's not 2K, choosing instead to stick to a 1080p resolution, but we have no complaints with its sharpness when holding it in our hands.

It's also the first AMOLED screen that OnePlus has used in one of its handsets, and compared to the excellent screen of the Galaxy S6, it fared extremely well in our brief comparison.

Blacks are, of course, lovely and deep, which is to be expected for an AMOLED panel. Colours are also almost as true as the S6's display, although a smidgen on the over-saturated side.

Fast snapper

Shooting the London skyline through a grimy window on a miserable grey day over the course of a few minutes is not the best way to put a smartphone camera through its paces, so we're going to have to wait for our full, final review, to score the X's camera.

From what we've seen so far though, the 13MP camera's 0.2 second phase detect autofocus seems to deliver its promise of snappy snaps, and photos look decent when viewed back on the screen.

We won't be able to judge it properly until we compare shots with its rivals, on a monitor, mind.

On the inside

The Snapdragon 801 processor is by no means the newest, or most powerful slice of smartphone silicon available these days, but paired with 3GB of RAM, it should handle everything Android 5.1 throws at it.

OnePlus has loaded up its own OxygenOS version of Android, which means that, there's no app drawer - everything's spread across the various home screens, iPhone-style. You can of course load up another launcher to rectify this if you'd prefer.

We didn't notice any stuttering or lag in our brief time with it, but we'll run it through a proper day's slog along with some benchmarks to see how it handles the real world.

While the 2525mAh battery is non-removable, you can use one of the two dual-SIM slots for a microSD card, which will be the most popular configuration for most people in the UK, we'd imagine.

Initial Verdict

OnePlus appears to have created a well-specced, attractive, and premium handset, at a very desirable price point. We'd argue that paying US$100 more for the ceramic version might not be worth it though, as there's very little difference beyond its chamfered edges and slightly mirrored rear.

Seeing as both handsets will still require an invite to purchase though, you might consider yourself lucky to even get one, but from what we've seen so far, this could very well be the best budget phone in the world.

Stay tuned for our full in-depth review.