OnePlus’ 5G smartphone will cost up to $300 more than the 4G version

Following on from confirmation that OnePlus will be the first company to bring a 5G phone to Europe, Trusted Reviews spoke to OnePlus CEO Pete Lau, to dig a little deeper into what the OnePlus 7 might be bringing to the table.

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How much the OnePlus 5G phone cost?

OnePlus’ next flagship is expected to take two distinct forms, one version that will support 5G and one that won’t. This is partly down to the fact that not every market will have a viable 5G network up and running by the time the phone launches, but adding 5G into the mix also affects price by a considerable margin.

“We’ve never set out to make a product cheaper for the sake of being cheaper − it’s been a natural transition,” Lau explained. “Many people will see OnePlus’ flagship offering in comparison to other flagships being of a much more reasonable price.”

Gass added: “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. 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.”

As such, those who want the absolute fastest device out there will have to pay a premium but bearing in mind the Snapdragon 855’s native X24 modem is capable of theoretical speeds of up to 2Gbps over 4G LTE, the non-5G version of the phone should still offer suitably speedy data speeds all its own.

Is it going to be called the OnePlus 7?

During our interview, neither Lau nor Eric Gass, OnePlus’ director of global brand partnerships, ever called the company’s next flagship phone the ‘OnePlus 7’ by name, but it’s the likeliest candidate, based on OnePlus’ existing naming convention.

OnePlus and 5G

Following on from the announcements at Qualcomm’s recent Snapdragon Tech Summit event in Hawaii, we now know that its newly-launched flagship mobile processor, the Snapdragon 855, will be making its way into both Samsung and OnePlus phones within the first half of 2019, dovetailing nicely with the planned rollout of 5G networks in markets such as the US, Australia, China and the UK.

OnePlus has been working on its 5G strategy for some time now, laying the foundations as far back as 2016 and being one of a number of OEMs to partner up with Qualcomm in 2017, with the intention of bringing 5G-capable devices to market.

The company says it sees its relationship with Qualcomm as a “strategic collaboration”, with a focus on “co-developing a 5G solution”.

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When asked why 5G was such an important focal point for the company and for its users, Lau by way of Gass explained that it’s what OnePlus users both want and expect.

“From the perspective of the OnePlus community, it’s [5G] something that they very much have an interest in taking up as early as possible. They want to have the technology and better understand how it can be used. That’s why there’s no brand that’s more suitable to dive into the 5G space as hard and as early as OnePlus. For us it’s pretty clear.”

What features will the OnePlus 5G phone offer?

At this early stage, both Lau and Gass were understandably cagey about revealing any of the intended plans associated with the OnePlus 7’s functionality. Beyond the fact that it will be available with 5G and will come powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855 SoC, we weren’t able to uncover any additional tidbits from OnePlus directly.

When asked about potential functionality and whether the company will eke out details ahead of its launch via the OnePlus Blog and other community-based means (as the company did in the run-up to the launch of the OnePlus 6T), Lau said, “It’s still in a very much confidential stage for the product development, so, unfortunately, we’re not going to be able to talk about specifics, but you make a very good point about the community and we will, as we’ve always tried to do, remain very closely focussed on conversations”.

Gass added, “a lot of conversations in the community will come out of what’s been talked about with the Snapdragon 855’s functionality, so it’ll be a focus on what our users care about, what are they most wanting to see and what can we try to do on the device development side”.

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In a more general sense, we asked both representatives about the features they’re most excited to explore. Lau started by saying, “The section particularly around camera improvement in terms of AI processing and what’s capable is what’s most exciting”, while Gass continued, “We’re very excited for what the 855 has in store for next year. It’s very strong on the AI front, so it’s going to offer a lot of possibilities”.

OnePlus 5G phone price and release date

When asked about OnePlus’ decision to be the first to Europe with a 5G device (and whether or not we’d see a similar strategy in other markets), Gass confirmed, “We will have more carrier partnerships in the future. EE is very much a great start; [it has been] very aggressive on the 5G front, so their network and build-out has been so much faster [than other networks] and that’s something that we’ve paid close attention to.”

We’re taking that to mean users in markets beyond the UK may see the OnePlus 7 serve as their first readily-available 5G option too but as for when that may be and where, we still don’t know anything beyond the first half of 2019.

Are you going to be buying a 5G-capable phone in 2019? Tweet us @TrustedReviews.