It might be hard to recall, but once upon a time, OnePlus' claim to fame was offering top-performing handsets for a bargain. When we say bargain, we don't mean undercutting the competition by a hundred bucks here or there; we're talking devices like the original OnePlus One, which launched at $299.
We could be returning to those days, according to rumors and a new batch of renders that have surfaced of a phone dubbed the OnePlus 8 Lite. 91Mobiles together with Steve Hemmerstoffer (a.k.a. @OnLeaks) have published the 3D models you see here, purportedly based on CAD sketches. The idea is that the 8 Lite will become OnePlus' entry-level offering by cutting a few luxuries.
From the looks of things, the OnePlus 8 Lite could pack two lenses within its rear camera array, as opposed to the triple optics of the OnePlus 7T and OnePlus 7T Pro. The absence of a fingerprint sensor on the front or back hints at an in-display solution, as 91Mobiles notes, and the display glass may be flat rather than curved to shave expenses even further. Samsung opted for a similar cost-saving measure with the Galaxy S10e's screen.
The design of the entire handset appears to be utilitarian, with a more rectangular footprint than the last several generations of OnePlus' phones. There's a hole-punch-style front-facing camera near the top edge of the display, and the bezels are not quite as slender as those on OnePlus' other models.
Rumors have the display on the OnePlus 8 Lite falling somewhere in the neighborhood of 6.4 or 6.5 inches. The OnePlus 7T has a 6.55-inch panel, so we're not looking at a device that's much smaller than the firm's current offerings. That will likely disappoint anyone who's interested in a smaller form factor. Nothing in OnePlus' current repertoire could be described as compact, which may be a bit of an oversight.
OnePlus could opt for a midrange chipset here — perhaps Qualcomm's just-unveiled Snapdragon 765. However, there are few details on the specs front. We're similarly unsure whether the 8 Lite would benefit from the company's 90Hz Fluid Display technology. There is one notable omission on this render that certainly stings, though — the lack of a 3.5-millimeter headphone jack.
It seems the OnePlus 8 Lite stands a decent chance of seeing the light of day, no pun intended. That said, even if the phone is launched, there's no guarantee it'll be sold in every market, as OnePlus has made it a habit to skip certain territories, especially with its lower-cost handsets.