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OnePlus 8 Lite renders hint at a return to cheaper phones

It’s no big secret that phones have gotten more expensive over the last five years, but OnePlus has been especially tough on this, thanks to how cheap the company’s handsets were in the early days.

Back in 2014, the original OnePlus One launched for £229, and now the cheapest current-generation handset you can buy – the OnePlus 7T – retails for £549. That’s an increase of close to 140% in five years, before you even consider the Pro line.

Perhaps that’s why the company is reported to be planning on introducing a Lite version of the upcoming OnePlus 8. The leaks above, from OnLeaks and 91Mobiles purport to show a budget version of the upcoming handset that will apparently sit below regular and Pro models.

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As phones look kind of similar to each other at the moment, the CAD-based renders alone don’t give too much away, though there are already signs of cost saving if you look closely. The camera array has dropped to two lenses, for a start, and there’s no fancy curved display to see here. 

While it’s too early to know how compromised it is on the inside, on the outside it looks pretty consistent with other OnePlus handsets. OnLeaks says it’s still 6.4 or 6.5-inches in size and there’s also a punch-hole front-facing camera as we expect to see on its more expensive siblings. With no obvious fingerprint reader, we’re presumably looking at one in the screen or in the power button.

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As for what’s powering it, it’s simply too early to tell, and much will depend on how much cheaper the OnePlus 8 Lite really is. While the iPhone 11 and Samsung Galaxy S10e keep the same processor as their more expensive siblings, they also retail for considerably more than the OnePlus 7T Pro, so they may well not be the best point of comparison here.

Either way, it’s good that OnePlus looks to again be targeting the budget market that helped make it the brand it is today.

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