OnePlus has built its name over the last few years as a boutique smartphone vendor that builds handsets aimed at taking down market leaders, like Samsung’s Galaxy S9 or Apple’s iPhone X.
The recently discontinued OnePlus 5T was a very good value, but the company has suffered some setbacks, such as its flagship not being able to play Netflix in HD, as well as some security issues. The OnePlus 6 could be the phone that makes up for some of these missteps while putting serious pressure on the competition.
We’re finally starting to receive a steady stream of information on OnePlus’ next flagship. Here’s what to expect.
Update April 5:
OnePlus 6 Release Date
Considering that OnePlus is now posting about the phone’s specs on its forums, the official launch could come even sooner.
With the OnePlus 5T out of stock in the U.S., the answer to when the OnePlus 6 might arrive seems like it’s sooner rather than later. In a conversation with CNET back in January, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau said that his company would begin talks with carriers about its next phone. He also said at the time that the OnePlus 6 would be available sometime in the late second quarter, which could put its launch date at around June.
OnePlus 6 Specs: What to Expect
Speaking of those specs, 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||Android 8||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|
A Notch, New Navigation Gestures and More
It was OnePlus’ worst-kept secret, and we now know it for certain: there will be a notch. Surprisingly, the news actually came directly from the manufacturer, which confirmed the controversial design decision to The Verge with an exclusive render, shown below.
Image Credit: OnePlus and The Verge
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 OnePlus 6.
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 is a compromise between 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 allows for more 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 new 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.
Image Credit: Evan Blass
What the OnePlus 6 Will Look Like
We don’t have any other official shots of the OnePlus 6 yet, but leaked images of the front and back give us ideas of what to expect. One of the more recent examples comes from well-known leaker Evan Blass, who shared a photo of the rear of the phone clad in what looks to be a gray wood-like finish, shown above.
An earlier leak, courtesy of Chinese site ITHome, showcased even more of the phone’s exterior. The following two photos of both sides of the handset depict a reflective glass back, while the dual camera and fingerprint sensor appear identical to what we observed in Blass’ post. Around the front, the device sports a “chin” underneath the display, something Pei admitted could not be overcome as Apple had with the iPhone X.
Image Credit: ITHome
Like its predecessors, the new phone’s chassis still appears to carve a rounded silhouette that is tallest at the center point of its top and bottom edges. However, its backside has been redesigned so that the dual cameras now sit centrally and are vertically-oriented. Below the shooters are a flash and pill-shaped fingerprint sensor.
Hardware Built for Speed
After weeks of rumors and speculation, OnePlus has confirmed several details surrounding the OnePlus 6 — including its name. 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.
This is the first we’re hearing about a wireless pair of OnePlus’ latest headphones, which 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.
Bring On the Dual Cameras
A report from ITHome suggested that the cameras on the back of the OnePlus 6 will deliver solid visuals and come with 16- and 20-megapixel lenses. If the latest images are anything to go by, they’ll be vertically aligned. Meanwhile, a separate tip on Weibo claims the main sensor will actually be 12 megapixels large, rather than 16.
Vertical orientation 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 design that drew many comparisons to the iPhone 7.
Some Insight on Price
According to another leak from ITHome, OnePlus is planning to sell the OnePlus 6 at a significantly reduced price compared to some of its competitors. A leaked image from ITHome said that the OnePlus 6 could cost you $749, making it much cheaper than devices like Samsung’s Galaxy S9 and Apple’s iPhone X, but considerably more expensive than the $479 OnePlus 5 was.
Ultimately, it’s best to take these details with a grain of salt, as such a significant price increase would firmly take OnePlus out of the budget flagship territory and thus seems unlikely.
The OnePlus 5T proved that OnePlus could make a great flagship-caliber phone that offers top-notch performance, camera quality and long battery life for hundreds less than the competition. But that competition is getting more fierce all the time. 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 could have a very good shot at earning the title (once again) of best unlocked phone value.
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