(Image credit: Future)
In the build-up to the OnePlus 8 launch we heard lots about a budget member of the series, but when the launch event happened only the ‘base’ device and the OnePlus 8 Pro showed up. So, what happened to the OnePlus Z?
The OnePlus Z, or OnePlus 8 Lite as it might be called, would address the concern many people had with the OnePlus 8 series: due to big price hikes up from the OnePlus 7 series there’s no real ‘affordable’ entry in the range.
Some people want a new OnePlus phone without paying the premium that the main OnePlus 8 series requires, and that’s why many are still excited about the prospect of the 8 Lite, or OnePlus Z.
Putting out an affordable version of a flagship is no new trick either. The Google Pixel 3a series and iPhone SE (2020) shows people are always on the lookout for a premium experience without the price tag.
So when is this enigmatic OnePlus phone coming, and what will it look like? Well, there are various leaks surrounding the OnePlus Z and we’ve compiled all the information below. We’ve also come up with a small wish-list on what we want to see.
Latest news: A possible release date and a full specs list for the OnePlus Z have now leaked. Plus, a new leak says the phone may actually be called the OnePlus Nord when it hits shop shelves.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? An affordable version of the OnePlus 8
- When is it out? Possibly July 10
- How much will it cost? Less than $699 / £599 / AU$1,100
OnePlus Z release date and price
While we’re not certain when the OnePlus Z will land, a recent rumor has pointed to July 10 as being the date. That’s the only specific day we’ve heard, so it’s our best guess. It’s also backed up by an earlier leak that also pointed to July.
pic.twitter.com/wcD3wH4bVbApril 28, 2020
Regarding price, that’s a big ‘question mark’ over the device, but due to the nature of the handset we’d expect it to be available for less than the $699 / £599 (around AU$1,100) of the OnePlus 8.
Since OnePlus used to be known for its affordable phones that could rival premium devices, it’s likely the company will aim for a low price tag. The OnePlus One cost $299 / £219 (around AU$320) when it launched, could the OnePlus 8 Lite hit that rough mark?
The only real rumor on this front is a price listed on an Indian survey, asking people if they’d buy a mid-range OnePlus phone for 24,990 Indian rupees, which is approximately $330 / £260 / AU$470.
However, OnePlus tends to price its products cheaper in India, so that doesn’t necessarily give us much indication of what the price will be elsewhere.
OnePlus Z leaks and news
While the OnePlus 8 Lite, or OnePlus Z as some of these leaks refer to it as, certainly didn’t see the volume of leaks as the other two phones in its series, we may know quite a bit about the device.
First up, we want to talk about the name. While consistent leaks and rumors have referred to this as the OnePlus Z, information from notable tipster Max J has said it will actually be called the OnePlus Nord.
Nord was trademarked by OnePlus in the EU and India, so it’s something the company has in its arsenal of names. It’s also the word for north in a variety of European languages, so this may be a major change for the OnePlus naming system that to this day has just used numbers and letters.
A OnePlus 8 Lite render gave us an idea of the phone, and it actually showed a phone that doesn’t look all that different from the main OnePlus 8 series, with a ‘punch-hole’ cut-out central to the top of the display, rear cameras in a bump to the left of the device, and seemingly no 3.5mm headphone jack.
We’ve also seen live hands-on pictures of the phone, that generally seem to back that render. The screen is flat, which is a change from the other OnePlus 8 devices, but the picture didn’t show the back of the phone.
Just before the OnePlus 8 announcement a huge leak laid bare all three phones, including the Lite device. This leak said the phone will have a 6.4-inch screen, 48MP + 16MP + 12MP rear camera combination, 16MP front camera, 4,000mAh battery, and Mediatek 1000 chipset.
It’s worth noting, however, that leak got the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro wrong in a few ways, so take the information with a huge pinch of salt. In addition, a separate leak suggested the phone will actually have a Snapdragon 765G chipset, which is a bit better but doesn’t come with 5G baked in.
The latest specs leak also points to a Snapdragon 765 chipset, along with 6GB of RAM, a triple-lens rear camera with 64MP, 16MP, and 2MP sensors, a 16MP front-facing camera in a punch-hole, a 6.55-inch Super AMOLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate, 128GB of storage, an in-screen fingerprint scanner,and a 4,300mAh battery with 30W fast charging.
Having said that, another leaker has said these specs are wrong, so we’d take them with a serious side of salt, especially as there’s some disagreement on what specs the OnePlus Z will have.
A surprise tease of the phone on a talk show suggested it will have three rear cameras, though, so it seems this part of the leaks could be correct.
Finally, a benchmark test listing for what seems to be the OnePlus Z suggests it could have as much as 12GB RAM, which is a surprising amount for what we imagined to be an affordable phone. The same listing suggests the phone will have 5G connectivity and a Snapdragon 765G chipset, as previously mentioned.
OnePlus Z: what we want to see
Here we’ll compile everything we want to see in the OnePlus 8 Lite, or OnePlus Z, when it comes out.
1. Triple camera combo
If a smartphone has a main, ultra-wide and telephoto lens, it gives you versatility to take photos in a range of different situations. However, most budget smartphones lack the telephoto camera instead favoring a macro or depth-sensing snapper, meaning they aren’t great for long-range pictures.
We’d like to see the OnePlus 8 Lite come with these three cameras, so the device is great for photography in a range of situations. It’s unlikely, since the base OnePlus 8 missed this combo, but we can dream.
2. A 90Hz display
While new top-end and even mid-range smartphones are starting to pack displays with 90Hz or even 120Hz displays, affordable devices are rather late to this party, and it’d be no surprise if the OnePlus 8 Lite had a ‘standard’ 60Hz screen.
However, as people who have used 90Hz or even 120Hz screens will attest, they can be great to use, as it makes scrolling content smoother whether that’s on social media or swiping between menus.
The OnePlus 8 had a 90Hz display so the Lite won’t beat that, but we’d love the affordable phone to match it, especially as currently almost all affordable phones have 60Hz displays.
3. 5G connectivity
Like with high-refresh-rate screens, there are no 5G phones on the market at time of writing that are truly ‘affordable’, as even the 5G phones with the lowest price tags are actually mid-ranged in price, and with only okay specs too.
For the plenty of people looking to get 5G connections without having to spend loads of money, a 5G OnePlus 8 Lite would be great – 5G contracts tend to be expensive enough as it is without the handset being pricey too. Until the launch of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite later in 2020, OnePlus would have a monopoly on the affordable 5G phone market if the Lite had the connectivity.