OnePlus 8 Lite may arrive this summer to fight iPhone SE

OnePlus 8 Lite concept
(Image credit: 91Mobiles and @OnLeaks)

The OnePlus 8 Pro is stealing headlines as the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus killer, but OnePlus might still have another phone up its sleeve that could challenge Apple’s iPhone SE 2020

Various rumors have pointed towards OnePlus working on a more budget orientated handset known as the OnePlus 8 Lite or OnePlus Z, but it wasn’t revealed alongside the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro. However, tech leaker @OnLeaks tweeted that according to his sources, a budget OnePlus phone is still on its way, but its release has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Given OnePlus is a Chinese company, it wouldn’t be surprising if it had some of its manufacturing plans disrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak, which had seen major tech factories shut down to curtail the spread of the virus. It would seem that making a third phone to go alongside the premium OnePlus 8 models may have been a bit too much for OnePlus to pull off mid-pandemic. 

But the OnePlus 8 Lite still looks like it could be coming, albeit later on in 2020; OnLeaks reckons it will be summer at the earliest. By that time the new iPhone SE will be out, as well as the budget-focused Google Pixel 4a.

OnePlus has always made well-specced phones that challenge flagship handsets from Apple and Samsung, but at price that undercuts most of the top phones. But it has yet to make a true budget phone. 

A OnePlus handest that taps into the company’s ability to make well-made, good-looking phones, but uses a slightly less cutting-edge chipset and a 60Hz refresh rate display, combined with OnePlus’ slightly modified take on Android, could be a serious contender for best cheap phone

If the company can make such a phone for $400 or below, it would present a strong challenge for the iPhone SE, which combines impressive innards with a slightly dated iPhone 8 design.  

The flip side to this is a budget phone would fly in the face of OnePlus’ “Never Settle” ethos. It generally tries to make high-spec phones that address the needs of its dedicated community of fans. Many of these followers are early adopters and thus expect the latest OnePlus handsets to come with impressive specs and features for the price. So a budget OnePlus phone might not be something people are clamoring out for; we’ll have to wait until summer to see if the OnePlus 8 Lite rumors come to fruition.  

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.