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Chinese mobile upstart OnePlus lifted the lid on its third smartphone earlier this morning — the OnePlus X is a smaller, more design-centric smartphone than the OnePlus 2, which launched a few months back.

True to form, OnePlus won’t be opening sales to just anyone — oh, no. In fact, the very need for a “how to buy” guide says a lot in itself. The company is sticking to the same system it has operated since the very beginning — you’ll need an invite to buy this puppy.

Rather than serving as a mechanism to stoke the fiery flames of hype, as some critics argue, the company maintains it’s all about managing its inventory to keep risk low and ensure it doesn’t create too many phones that it can’t sell. It does make sense, despite the fact that it leaves many would-be customers unable to procure a device.

How to buy a OnePlus X

The OnePlus X Onyx goes on sale (with an invite) through oneplus.net in Europe and India from November 5, and in the U.S. from November 19. The OnePlus Ceramic is available to buy in Europe and India from November 24, but no date yet for the U.S.

As with the OnePlus 2, the company is introducing a reservation list where you can put your name and email address down to await an invite. During its first month on sale (November), the company will be dishing out invites “on a regular basis” through various marketing initiatives too, and it promises they will become easier to get over time.

Here is what you can expect to pay for the main OnePlux X Onyx: $249 (USD), €269 (EUR), £199 (GBP), or your various local currency equivalents. The OnePlux X Ceramic is a limited edition version, with only 10,000 units up for grabs, and they cost a little bit more — no U.S. pricing is available for this model yet.

OnePlus X Pricing

Above: OnePlus X Pricing

After November, OnePlus will be introducing an open-sales windows each week during which anyone can buy a phone online on the spot. As with previous endeavors, you will have to be quick to ensure you get one. Once the company is confident its production arm can keep pace with demand, it promises that the invite system will be removed indefinitely, though no timescale for this has been given.

A perennial issue with OnePlus’s online-only system is that consumers normally can’t check out the phone in-store before buying it. It’s pretty much only available to buy online across the world. To counter this in the past, the company has launched pop-up events around the world where people can go hands-on with its phones.

With the OnePlus X, the company is doing something similar, but this time it will also sell physical phones on the spot. Kicking off in the Colette store in Paris in November 2 until November 4, there will be a limited number of phones to buy in-store on a first-come, first-served basis. Similar pop-up stores will be launched around the world soon, including one in Mumbai, London, and California.

It’s a step in the right direction, for sure. There is probably only so long OnePlus can drag out the invite system before potential customers will instead throw their money at a growing number of affordable, high-spec alternatives.

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