We're about to find out whether OnePlus can keep putting the pressure on flagship phone makers by taking the premium features you'd expect from devices costing $700 (or more in the case of the iPhone X) and putting them on phones that sell for hundreds of dollars less. That's been the trick OnePlus has pulled off with its phone lineup, most recently with the OnePlus 5T. And now we're about to see that phone's successor.
OnePlus has a press event scheduled for this Wednesday (May 16) in London, where it will take the wraps off the OnePlus 6. There's not a lot of mystery surrounding this new phone, though, as many details have already leaked out — in some cases from OnePlus itself.
Here's a roundup of what we know so far about the OnePlus 6, along with a few other rumors swirling around this upcoming phone.
Latest News (Updated May 14)
- OnePlus 6 Availability: It's still unclear when the OnePlus 6 will go on sale, but the phone maker gave us a pretty big clue by announcing plans for pop-up stores featuring the new phone in 27 cities on May 21.
- OnePlus 6 Pricing: You could pay more for this new phone than you would have for the OnePlus 5T. Pricing info reportedly leaked on Amazon's online store in Germany, where the OnePlus 6 could sell for €519.
- Another look at the OnePlus 6: It's not exactly a leaked image, but some rumor sites put together a 360-degree video based on CAD drawings of the OnePlus 6.
When Will the OnePlus 6 Arrive?
We're not 100-percent certain when the OnePlus 6 will land in users' waiting hands, but we can say when we expect to finally see OnePlus's next phone. The company announced a launch event in London on May 16 at noon ET. You'll be able to watch a live stream of the OnePlus 6 launch event if you can't make it over to the UK.
If the past is any indication, you won't have to wait long for the OnePlus 6 to ship. Last November, the OnePlus 5T went on sale five days after OnePlus announced the new phone.
OnePlus 6 has already announced plans for pop-up stores in 27 cities where you can purchase the new phone. You can get the details on locations from OnePlus's website.
How Much Will the OnePlus 6 Cost?
The OnePlus 5T came in at $499, more than $200 less than what Apple and Samsung charge for their top phones. That's still likely to be the case with the OnePlus 6, though rumors have the price of the new phone ticking upward.
One of the first indicators came from True-Tech, which received a leak on how the phone will be priced in India. According to True-Tech's source, the 64GB model of the OnePlus 6 will cost the equivalent of $555 in India, while the 128GB model will run the equivalent of $600. While that gives us a ballpark estimate of what to expect, international pricing is never simply determined by conversion alone, so take those numbers with a grain of salt.
This week, OnePlus 6 pricing briefly appeared on Amazon's store in Germany, and WinFuture spotted the leak before it was taken down. There, the phone was listed at €519 for the 64GB version and €569 for a 128GB option. BGR notes that the equivalent versions of the OnePlus 5T cost €499 and €559, respectively.
One other detail from that German Amazon leak: the OnePlus 6 will reportedly come in Mirror Black and Midnight Black colors.
A Notch, New Navigation Gestures, and More
It was OnePlus' worst-kept secret, so the company just went ahead and confirmed it themselves: there will be a notch. OnePlus relayed the controversial design decision to The Verge with an exclusive render back in March, shown below.
Apparently, users will be able to "hide" it, too. The feature was revealed by founder Pete Lau in a post on the phone maker's forums. Lau said that originally, OnePlus wasn't planning on giving owners the ability to conceal the notch with black bars on either side of the OLED display. However, the company went back on its decision after many members of the community requested the feature. According to Lau, the setting will arrive in a post-release update, so you won't see it launch with the handset.
The announcement of the notch to The Verge was accompanied by quotes from OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei, who offered some justifications for the design and elaborated upon how it's not quite the same as previous iterations from other companies. According to Pei, OnePlus' implementation came as a result of not wanting to compromise the functionality of the ambient light sensors, front facing camera and earpiece (a reference to the Essential Phone), while also not needing to make room for a large depth-sensing system (a reference to the iPhone X).
OnePlus says it has moved the clock in the notification bar to the left side, which provides more room for status icons on the right. Many other phone makers have taken a similar approach, but OnePlus is also keen to point out its upcoming flagship will sport custom gestures that should aid navigation, also like Apple's top-of-the-line handset. These gestures were further teased on April 4 with a tweet illustrating a swipe down and up, perhaps signaling new motions for closing apps and returning to the home screen.
A Design with 'New Materials'
OnePlus just can't stop revealing new details about its upcoming phone. A company forum post details some of the design decisions for the OnePlus 6 and includes a few interesting tidbits. The phone will have a glass back (perhaps to enable wireless charging?), with five layers of Nanotech Coating to provide "an impression of depth."
The rest of what we know about the OnePlus 6's look comes from leaks. One of the best teases to date came courtesy of VentureBeat's Evan Blass back in March. Blass' leak depicts a gray, wooden finish that looks unlike anything we've seen from competitors in the space. It's not terribly surprising OnePlus would go off the beaten path here, as the company experimented in the past with the Sandstone White OnePlus 5T.
That's not to say we haven't seen the phone clad in more traditional materials as well. Back in February, Chinese site ITHome showcased a OnePlus 6 with a glossy back, resembling glass or ceramic. The device shown in the below photos aligns closely with the one shown in Blass' post (materials aside), as well as OnePlus' own teases. Based on them, the OnePlus 6 looks like it will offset its notch with a bottom "chin," while the opposite side of the handset will have a vertically-stacked dual camera system and pill-shaped fingerprint sensor.
You'll also note the "Designed by OnePlus" label near the bottom of the backside — something the company officially called attention to in its latest tweet. OnePlus posted another close-up of the product on April 20, touting the "same expert craftsmanship" alongside "new materials."
Finally, the latest design-related leak making the rounds shows the device from multiple angles, and comes to us originally from Baidu, by way of Dutch blog TechTastic. These images are suspiciously fuzzy, however, and in them the OnePlus 6 exhibits multiple small differences compared to earlier pictures that have us skeptical of the legitimacy of what we're seeing.
Notice the placement of OnePlus' iconic knurled Alert Slider: Here it's on the upper left, just like on the 5T, but OnePlus' own official image shows it switching sides to the top right. The proportions of the bezels also appear different on the product in these pictures, and the screws flanking the USB Type-C port are still present, while they are missing in Blass' leak. It's possible this is a pre-production prototype just as well as a fake, but we won't know for certain how it compares to the actual device until May 16.
For another potential look at the OnePlus 6, OnLeaks and CompareRaja took CAD drawings of the phone and turned them into a 360-degree video.
Dual Cameras Remain
OnePlus CEO Pete Lau posted several sample photos purportedly taken with the OnePlus 6's camera on Chinese social networking site Weibo on April 16. The images depict an assortment of scenes captured on a clear and sunny day, including one close-up of a flower that appears to demonstrate the capabilities of the phone's dual-camera Portrait Mode.
The results are promising. One particular photo of a walkway through a courtyard shows a good balance of color saturation, contrast and detail. Although the samples are quite low resolution, they are encouraging — especially since we found the OnePlus 5T's cameras to be quite good for the price. What remains to be seen, however, is how the new setup performs in low light.
As far as specs are concerned, an earlier report from ITHome suggested that the cameras on the back of the OnePlus 6 will be rated at 16 and 20 megapixels. All renders of the device thus far suggest they'll be vertically aligned. Such a design would be a departure from the last generation of OnePlus' devices, which sported horizontally-arranged cameras placed in the top left corner near the antenna lines — making for a look that drew many comparisons to the iPhone 7.
Specs to Expect
Here's a rundown of what we're expecting from the OnePlus 6, based on both the company's public pronouncements and rumors surrounding the upcoming phone. For context, we're also including the OnePlus 5T's specs so you can see how the new model compares to what came before it.
|Model||OnePlus 6 (rumored)||OnePlus 5T|
|CPU||Snapdragon 845||Snapdragon 835|
|RAM||Up to 8GB||6GB/8GB|
|Storage||Up to 256GB||64GB/128GB|
|Operating System||OxygenOS based on Android 8||OxygenOS based on Android 7.1.1|
|Display||6.2-inch OLED||6-inch OLED|
|Rear Camera||16-MP (f/1.7), 20-MP (f/1.7)||16-MP (f/1.7), 20-MP (f/1.7)|
|Front Camera||20-MP (f/2.0)||16-MP (f/2.0)|
|Battery||3,450 mAh||3,300 mAh|
OnePlus has already confirmed several details surrounding the OnePlus 6. The source was a post on the phone maker's official forum written by OnePlus' Pete Lau. In it, the co-founder rattled off a short list of specifications related to the new handset, and spoke about the company's commitment to ensure a snappy user experience through cutting edge hardware.
While we've heard for some time that the OnePlus 6 would employ Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 chipset — Lau said as much to CNET in January — the forum post also confirms that the device will see 8GB of RAM and 256GB of onboard storage. While those are indeed impressive numbers (especially the generous amount of storage), Lau did not elaborate as to whether that spec reflected a base or more expensive variant.
For perspective, OnePlus previously offered two versions of the 5T: one 6GB/64GB model at $499, and another 8GB/128GB configuration at $559, neither of which came equipped with MicroSD slots.
Shortly before Lau's post went live, OnePlus' Twitter account shared a four-second teaser containing the text "The Speed You Need," followed by the number six. The video features no images of the product.
AirPods of its Own
Bluetooth certification materials spotted by Nashville Chatter hint that OnePlus may be planning to launch a wireless version of its Bullets V2 headphones alongside the OnePlus 6. The document was filed April 4 and lists a device named "OnePlus Bullets Wireless" with model number BT31B and Bluetooth 4.1 support. The wired Bullet V2 headphones have been on the market for a little over a year now and are regarded as one of the most well-rounded budget options out there.
A Special Edition?
In typical OnePlus fashion, rumors are already swirling about a special edition model. On April 6, entertainment site Deadline reported Marvel was partnering with OnePlus as part of an aggressive marketing campaign to support the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War movie. The phone maker more or less confirmed the rumor a little over a week later with a 10-second teaser posted on the OnePlus India Facebook page. The video was promptly taken down, but not before it could be ripped and re-posted on YouTube.
According to Deadline, this superhero-themed edition of the OnePlus 6 will feature Avengers branding, a unique design and 256GB of storage. For now, it is only pegged to release in the United Kingdom, though more countries may be in the plans. Last year, OnePlus and Marvel parent company Disney collaborated on limited run of Star Wars: The Last Jedi OnePlus 5T phones exclusive to China — so the prospect of an Avengers model this time around isn't terribly surprising.
The OnePlus 5T proved the still up-and-coming phone maker could produce a great flagship-caliber handset that offered top-notch performance, camera quality and long battery life for hundreds less than the competition. But that competition is getting more fierce with each passing month. Nevertheless, if OnePlus can deliver a OnePlus 6 that fully takes advantage of the Snapdragon 845's power, has a great screen and perhaps improved facial recognition, the company has a very good shot at earning the title (once again) of best unlocked phone value.