Over the years, OnePlus has established itself as a clear alternative if you're looking for a feature-packed smartphone but shy away from big prices. The phone maker doesn't offer nearly as many devices as Apple or Samsung, but it delivers phones that deliver many of the same compelling designs and interesting features that you'd expect from an iPhone or a Galaxy handset.
It's against that backdrop that OnePlus is developing the OnePlus 7, the company's next big flagship. Not surprisingly, given the smartphone market's penchant for secrecy, we don't know much about what OnePlus 7 has planned. And OnePlus has yet to reveal many details, not surprising since the OnePlus 6T just arrived in October.
That hasn't stopped the rumor mill, however, which has cranked out plenty of potential OnePlus 7 news.
Plenty of power
OnePlus itself has already confirmed that the OnePlus 7 will feature the Snapdragon 855, Qualcomm’s latest mobile processing platform. (Initially, OnePlus indicated that its phone would be the first to have the new chipset, but that was a mix-up attributed to a translation error.)
The Snapdragon 855 will mean more power and greater battery efficiency than last year's Snapdragon 845-powered flagship phones. Qualcomm has said that it's the biggest performance gain from one generation to the next in the Snapdragon platform's history — something we saw for ourselves when we had a chance to benchmark the Snapdragon 855. Given that OnePlus tends to pack its phones with RAM, it's safe to have high expectations for what a Snapdragon 855-powered phone from OnePlus will be able to do.
Bring on the 5G… eventually
At the same time, it was pledging to build a Snapdragon 855-powered phone, OnePlus also said it would produce a device ready to work on 5G wireless networks. And that makes sense, as the Snapdragon 855 chipset includes Qualcomm's X50 5G modem.
But while 5G networks are coming online in 2019, they won't be available everywhere. And some 5G networks won't be up and running by the time OnePlus is ready to release its new phone. As a result, the OnePlus 7 may not be a 5G-capable phone, at least not right away.
MORE: The Truth About 5G: What's Coming (and What's Not)
OnePlus CEO Pete Lau told Cnet as much in December 2018, saying his company's 5G phone could be separate from the OnePlus 7. One possible scenario is that OnePlus releases the OnePlus 7 as scheduled, with a 5G variant coming out later in the first half of 2019.
A major design choice
Arguably the most interesting rumor about the OnePlus 7 centers on its design and the choices it's making with a slimmed-down look and feel.
Credit: SlashleaksThe design conversation started with a leak over at Slashleaks, which showed a device, believed to be the OnePlus 7, with a full-screen design, extremely thin bezels and no apparent place anywhere for a front-facing camera or face scanner.
Credit: @VenyaGeskin1 via TwitterSoon after, Benjamin Geskin, who has has a knack for posting renders of upcoming phones, shared a mock-up of the OnePlus 7 based on a leak that showed a device with the same design concept and no front-facing camera at first blush. However, his render showed a slide-out camera that appeared from behind the handset.
Credit: @VenyaGeskin1 via TwitterSuch a move would allow for a streamlined look and feel for the phone, but still provide an opportunity for snapping selfies by sliding out the camera. It's an approach found in other phones, including Xiamoi's Mi Mix 3 and the Honor Magic 2, though neither of those phones has reached the U.S.
An alleged leaked photo of the new handset from February 2019 seems to confirm many of these rumored design features. Discovered by Twitter user @Steven_sbw, the image shows a OnePlus phone that appears to have no notch, but also seems to sport some rather prominent bezels as a trade-off.
Arguably the biggest criticism of OnePlus over the years has been its decision to continue to turn to a Full-HD display for its handsets when rival phone makers offer higher-resolution screens. This year, however, there's hope OnePlus will change tack and go with a Quad-HD display.
Like other smartphone makers, OnePlus tests out some features for future flagships in previous models. And most reports suggest that the company will adapt some of the features from its recently released OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition for the OnePlus 7.
That December special edition release packed in 10GB of RAM and introduced a new Warp Charge system for rapidly charging the phone. It's possible OnePlus could squeeze more RAM into the OnePlus 7, though that would likely be available only in a higher-end variant of the phone. It's more likely that Warp Charge will find its way into the company's future phones, meaning faster charge times. When we tested the McLaren Edition, it took us just a half-hour of charging to get the phone up to a 66 percent charge.
Pricing and Availability
Unfortunately, we don't have much to go on right now on when the OnePlus 7 will launch and how much it'll cost. A person who claimed to have knowledge of OnePlus' plans told Fudzilla recently that the handset could cost $649 to start, making it much cheaper than flagship Android phones like the Galaxy S9 and Note 9. That would, however, make it notably more expensive than the OnePlus 6T, which starts at $549.
There haven't been any reliable leaks on when we can expect the OnePlus 7 to launch, though OnePlus tends to roll out phones every six months. With the 6T debuting last October, that would put the 7 on track for a launch in late April/early May.
Credit: Tom's Guide