This weekend, we got our first close-up on what could be the OnePlus 7. A device believed to be OnePlus' next smartphone was clad in a boxy case that concealed most of its exterior. But that limited view didn't stop one artist from turning it into his take on the upcoming handset.
Based on that crumb of a leak, designer Ben Geskin delivered a fully-fledged mockup of the OnePlus 7 that looks pretty convincing. Geskin imagines the phone with a slider in the vein of Xiaomi's Mi Mix 3 or the Honor Magic 2. The thinking is that the OnePlus 7's top bezel is so incredibly thin because OnePlus has stashed the front-facing camera on a separate panel that lives behind the display and slides up when you need to take a photo.
In a selfie-taking situation, the camera will either reveal itself with the help of on-board motors, or the user will push the screen down to reveal the lens living underneath. Because it's still early days for the OnePlus 7 rumor mill, we aren't yet sure which direction the Chinese phone maker will go in. However, given OnePlus' penchant for affordably priced flagships, we imagine it'll opt for the motor-free sliding mechanism to keep costs down.
OnePlus typically makes modest stylistic changes from device to device. Each of the company's phones since the OnePlus 5 back in 2017 have carved similar footprints, while specific elements — like the material of the back, size of the display and location of the front camera — have all shifted around a bit. This allows OnePlus to freshen up its latest handsets with new touches — a notch here, an in-screen fingerprint sensor there — without totally re-engineering everything for each new product cycle.
However, if OnePlus really is preparing to go the slider route — and given the company's history of chasing trends, we think there's a serious chance it could do so — the OnePlus 7 would be the most significant change for the startup's phone line in two years. Add the potential of 5G to the mix, and yet again, OnePlus' upcoming hardware easily rises to upper echelon of our list of most anticipated phones. (Be aware that in some interviews, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau has indicated that his company's 5G phone will be a separate device from the OnePlus 7.)
That said, we'll still have to wait a little while before we get to see it in the flesh. OnePlus typically launches two phones a year, and the last one was the OnePlus 6T in October (unless you count the crazy fast-charging 6T McLaren Edition in December). The OnePlus 6 was unveiled before it in May, indicating we're still at least four months away from finding out what everyone's favorite value-minded premium phone manufacturer is planning for 2019.