While we don’t yet have an official launch date for the OnePlus 7, history suggests that the hotly anticipated OnePlus 7 is waiting just around the corner.
Based on our experiences with last year’s OnePlus 6 and OnePlus 6T, not to mention the multitude of leaks that have since surfaced, the OnePlus 7 looks like it might be a serious contender in the first half of 2019. Here’s everything we think we know about the OnePlus 7.
OnePlus 7 release date – When is the OnePlus 7 out?
Here’s when previous mainline OnePlus smartphones (not including the X or the T series’) have been announced:
- OnePlus One − April 2014
- OnePlus 2 − July 2015
- OnePlus 3 − June 2016
- OnePlus 5 − June 2017
- OnePlus 6 − May 2018
As you can see, there’s a clear pattern of… somewhere in the middle of the year, for mainline OnePlus phone releases. Interestingly, last year’s May OnePlus 6 announcement was the earliest since the OnePlus One in 2014.
We’re expecting OnePlus to bring the OnePlus 7 announcement even further forward. At Qualcomm’s recent Technology Summit in Hawaii, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau officially confirmed that the company’s next flagship phone would launch in early 2019.
We might see another May or even April launch, then. There’s also the tantalising − but very slim − possibility that OnePlus might unveil the OnePlus 7 at MWC 2019 in late February. However, this is unlikely to materialise.
OnePlus 7 – 5G?
Before going any further, we need to talk about 5G. During the aforementioned Qualcomm Tech Summit in Hawaii, OnePlus claimed that it would be the first company to launch a 5G smartphone in 2019 and announced a partnership with EE to achieve this goal. Company co-founder Pete Lau then also tweeted about the deal with EE that means this will be the first 5G device in Europe.
OnePlus confirmed back in 2018 that it will release a 5G smartphone this year.
However, when talking about this mysterious 5G phone, the company has always been careful not to call it the ‘OnePlus 7’. This would make sense considering, more recently, word of multiple OnePlus 7 variants has emerged.
According to a November 2018 report from CNET en Espanol, “a spokesman for the company” has confirmed that the OnePlus 7 will not be a 5G phone. The report claims that OnePlus’ 5G smartphone will instead be “part of a totally new line”, and will be unveiled “at the beginning of 2019”.
So why is OnePlus said to be thinking about creating a whole new line of smartphones? Essentially, it appears that OnePlus is at a crossroads.
The company has built its brand on smartphones that offer high-end features at affordable prices, and the firm’s planned 5G smartphone will likely be considerably more expensive than all of its existing devices.
It can either include 5G support on the OnePlus 7 and risk upsetting scores of existing fans by ramping up prices significantly, or it can try to cater to everyone by not adding 5G support to the OnePlus 7 and keeping prices low in the process, but also rolling out a pricier new line of 5G smartphones for anyone who can afford them.
Based on a mix of supposed device model numbers that were picked up by one leaker by the name of Ishan Agarwal (see the above tweet), paired with apparent insider information fed to BGR in April, there are now expected to be up to three versions of the OnePlus 7 on the cards, including a ‘Pro’ model with superior specs and separate 5G-capable variant as well.
Whatever direction the company chooses to head in, it seems inevitable that it will − fairly or unfairly − face criticism. Price rises could lead people to conclude that this is the end of an era for OnePlus, while failure to include 5G support on the OnePlus 7 could raise questions about the the company’s ‘Never Settle’ ethos.
All of which brings us to…
OnePlus 7 price – How much will the OnePlus 7 cost?
The OnePlus 6 launched last year at a starting price of £469. Prior to that, in 2017, the OnePlus 5 went for £449.
Moving further back, the OnePlus 3 was just £309 (swiftly increased to £329 because Brexit), the OnePlus 2 cost £289, and the OnePlus One first landed in 2014 for just £229.
There is a clear trend here, with each successive mainline OnePlus phone being more expensive than the last. But after the big price hop from 3 to 5 (there was no OnePlus 4, in case you were wondering), things have evened out a little.
One other factor to mention before we make a calculated estimation is that the OnePlus 6T received a bump up in price to £499.
If we were to take an educated guess on a OnePlus 7 price, it would be the same as that 6T: £499. The OnePlus brand still stands for value, as there’s a lot of weight behind the idea of a flagship-level phone for literally half the price of Apple’s and Samsung’s latest efforts.
There’s a chance we’ll see another price bump, but if that happened we wouldn’t expect it to stray too far north of £500 for the base model. With the potential for a Pro and a 5G model as well, expect to pay a good chunk more for those.
“The forecast from Pete is between $200 and $300 higher for the 5G device – not necessarily a problem for our users because it’s what they’re after,” Eric Gass, OnePlus’ director of global brand partnerships, told Trusted Reviews last year.
“Because 5G will still be very much for a small, unique portion of enthusiasts though, we will also have a 4G product developed and available in parallel.”
OnePlus 7 − Camera
Speculation has tipped a triple camera on the back of the device and a pop-up selfie camera on the front, to allow for a full-screen display (more on this in the following section).
Now there’s a further hint that those twittering little birds might be onto something.
According to leaked renders that appeared on GizChina in late March, the OnePlus 7 will have a super swish periscope front camera and near-bezelless design.
Also in March, noted Twitter leaker IceUniverse published an image of a case, claiming it to have been made for the OnePlus 7.
The admittedly cheap-looking accessory does have a rear orifice suited to a triple camera, as well as a barely-visible gap on top, fit for a pop-up selfie camera akin to those we’ve seen from OnePlus stablemates like Oppo and Vivo.
While this is far from confirmation of those features, Ice Universe does have an excellent track record when it comes to this matter. Thus, there is a good possibility the case is faithful to the design of the forthcoming OnePlus 7.
Another March leak, this time from @OnLeaks, offered up picture and video renders showing both of those features.
We hope there’s truth to the popup camera rumours. Since Apple introduced edge-to-edge display tech on its iPhone line phone manufacturers have struggled to find an elegant way to house front-facing cameras.
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To date, we haven’t seen many smartphones with slider cameras, but the Vivo Nex S is one that immediately springs to mind.
In our review, we wrote: “This is a neat solution to the issue of hampering the screen, and it feels well put together – but it also looks vulnerable to drop damage. This is a bigger problem than you might initially believe: on rare occasions, the camera popped open with the phone in my pocket, and didn’t close – even with the screen off.”
As for the imaging hardware set within the 7’s triple camera array, we haven’t heard anything even close to concrete but, so instead we’ll work off the existing lineup.
In the move from the OnePlus 5 to the 5T, the company nixed lossless optical zoom as a feature, with the secondary rear cameras on both the 6 and 6T dedicated to providing depth data for bokeh against a subject first and foremost. OnePlus could retain this setup but also reintegrate lossless zoom by way of the third rear sensor.
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Alternatively, the company might follow the trend set by other triple-camera-laden 2019 flagships, such as the Samsung Galaxy S10, Xiaomi Mi 9, Huawei P30 and P30 Pro. Granting the OnePlus 7 with a high-resolution primary sensor, accompanied by a telephoto lens for lossless zoom and an ultra-wide angle snapper would make this the most versatile shooter in the company’s history.
Of course, OnePlus may choose to take things in the other direction, similarly to Google’s Pixel phones. Instead of adding more sensors, the company could instead double-down on its efforts with image processing and computational photography.
Nightscape, which the company introduced during the launch of the OnePlus 6T held promise but still fell by the wayside when compared to Google’s Night Sight technology.
Further improvement on the camera software side might be easier to engineer than getting to grips with new sensors and other imaging hardware and could yield more impressive results when it comes to base image quality – an area that OnePlus’ has always struggled to compete in compared to camera phones from its more mainstream competition.
OnePlus 7 – Performance and features
It’s worth reflecting on why OnePlus was at Qualcomm’s aforementioned Tech Summit in Hawaii in the first place.
With the event serving as the launch of the chip-makers Snapdragon 855 flagship mobile chipset, despite not launching anything of its own, OnePlus was made to look innovative by association. This was then compounded by the fact that it confirmed the SoC would be set to power its next top phone.
This chip is built using a smaller and more efficient 7nm process, not to mention it integrates a wealth of new and improved technologies.
We’ve already seen some of the performance gains that can be made using such a process, with the Apple A12 and the Kirin 980, both of which outperformed the Snapdragon 845 on key metrics. What’s more, a bevvy of 2019 handsets are now available leveraging this same chipset, with benchmarking and general performance that speaks for itself.
OnePlus always fits its phones with stacks of RAM, which helps with their buttery-smooth feel. Predicting 6GB or 8GB would be a safe bet but there’s no reason to rule out the notion that OnePlus might go further.
The recently released OnePlus 6T McLaren Edition packs a staggering 10GB of RAM. Might the OnePlus 7 follow its lead?
Unfortunately, the OnePlus 7 will not be the first in OnePlus’ range to include wireless charging. In an interview in February, the company’s CEO Pete Lau called wireless charging inferior to the wired charging solution offered by the OnePlus 6T.
“OnePlus charging is one of the best,” Lau told CNET through an interpreter. “Wireless charging is far inferior.”
That doesn’t sound like a man who’s ready to offer a cable-free charging solution for its flagship phone, does it? Lau pointed out that the OnePlus 6T can be charged to 50 percent in just 20 minutes when plugged into the mains. The newest device in the range can be fully replenished in after an hour, thanks to the company’s Fast Charge technology.
Charging a device wirelessly tends to take a lot longer due to the comparative wattage able to reach the battery using this method, it also adds bulk to your design and there’s an added cost – something the company is no doubt working hard to avoid.
It’s worth noting that the recently-launched Xiaomi Mi 9 offers both fast wired and wireless charging, with speeds across both that are almost comparable to each other (27W fast wired charging and fast 20W wireless charging, when using Xiaomi’s dedicated 20W wireless charging pad).
OnePlus 7 – Software
As for software, the company’s OxygenOS has matured into a well-kempt skinned take on Android and it’s always improving.
We were reminded of OnePlus’ FSE Team (short for ‘Fast, Stable and Efficient’) during Qualcomm’s Hawaii event, but OnePlus initially introduced them to the world back in April 2018.
An arm of the company’s R&D division, the FSE work with both hardware and software to ensure OnePlus phones are the best that they can be, which should mean the forthcoming OxygenOS experience, anticipated to run atop Android 9.0, should feel rock-solid when the phone does launch.
As for new features, the company has always tried to develop OxygenOS based primarily on user feedback, introducing features requested from the likes of social media channels, as well as their own forums.
This year, things were taken a step further, with an open invitation for users to suggest features. The winning suggestion would then see implementation within OxygenOS, while the winner would be granted a ‘VIP experience’, including being brought out to the launch of the next OnePlus phone.
With the submission window wrapping up at the end of February, OnePlus then announced that forum user Léandro Tijink had won. Tijinka had created a 2671 document (with imagery), suggesting over 20 tweaks to the way OxygenOS could function; from the initial setup experience to a reworked quick settings panel.
Read Tijinka’s forum post here for an impressively detailed breakdown of what we might be able to see within OxygenOS on the OnePlus 7.
OnePlus 7 – Design and display
Back in January, SlashLeaks provided a leaked picture of an apparent mystery OnePlus device in a form-disguising case. As you can see, it appears to have a proper edge-to-edge screen and − notch haters rejoice! − no screen cutout.
As mentioned above, it looks like the phone will feature a Vivo Nex S-like popup front-facing camera that you’ll be able to slide in and out of the phone’s main body.
As for the precise nature of that display, we would expect OnePlus to stick to its guns and go with a 6.5-inch(ish) AMOLED panel.
The company’s 5G demo device, which it showcased at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona, was kept under lock and key. Measurements of its display, however, suggested a 21:9 aspect ratio – a trait that, if realised on the OnePlus 7, would be one that it shared with Sony’s newest handsets: the Xperia 10, Xperia 10 Plus (both mid-rangers) and the forthcoming Xperia 1 flagship.
There’s room for the company to make the jump to a Wide Quad HD resolution, especially if the screen gets any bigger. But traditionally OnePlus doesn’t tend to see the benefit, considering the related hit on battery life and performance.
With that Snapdragon 855 onboard, though, who knows?
Talented fans from within the community have taken the time to pull in what’s collectively expected from the OnePlus 7 and produced a number of renders, both as still images and fully-animated videos.
YouTube channel DBS Desigining produced this video at the tail end of 2018 which plays on traits like an all-screen front, rear triple camera and pop-up front-facing camera (albeit with a mechanism closer in design to the Oppo Find X, rather than the Vivo Nex S).
Following on in the same vein, Waqar Khan produced a more refined concept render video, which features many of the same traits as DBS’s video but with a more refined design that pays closer attention to the subsequent leaks and information surrounding the OnePlus 7 so far.
Most recently, SlashLeaks’ user Sudhanshu Ambhore took to Twitter to share a treasure trove of OnePlus 7 renders obtained from a mystery case maker.
The shots look like legitimate marketing images for a gamut of cases, all featuring dedicated cut-outs for aspects like the loudspeaker, signature OnePlus alert slider and, yes, a pop-up camera.
While we can’t verify their authenticity, they look to provide the most realistic and complete picture of what the OnePlus 7 might look like so far.
What would you like to see from the OnePlus 7? Let us know on Twitter @TrustedReviews.