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OnePlus Z: What you need to know about the fabled Pixel 4a rival

Mid-range phones are starting to get exciting again and one of the most interesting ones rumoured for release this year is the OnePlus Z. From the reported release date to the rumoured price, here is everything we know about the next cheap phone from OnePlus.

The OnePlus Z is brand’s heavily-rumoured rival to the existing iPhone SE 2 and yet to be released Pixel 4a.

Many are pointing at the OnePlus Z being a successor of sorts to the OnePlus X. This was the brand’s last attempt at a more mid-range option and was one of 2016’s best affordable Android phones.

The X packed a seriously premium design with ceramic and onyx finish options and flagship specs traditionally seen on phones twice, if not three times, its price. This is why the OnePlus Z could be a serious contender for best mid-range, or even budget, phone of the year if it manages to pull the same trick.

We’ve collated all the semi-credible looking information about the OnePlus Z into one handy, simple to read guide. Scroll down to learn everything you need to know about the OnePlus Z, including its expected price, release date, specs and extras.

Related: OnePlus 8 Pro review

OnePlus Z release date

Sadly, in-the-know Twitter tipster @OnLeaks also indicated that the phone’s planned launch was affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

@OnLeaks predicted in the embedded tweet above that the device’s launch date had been pushed back “at least to upcoming summer”, while fellow leaker Ishan Agarwal claimed in a tweet that the device would be unveiled “by July”.

Another Twitter leaker, Max J., also seemed to corroborate this rumour with the above tweet. So it looks like we’ll have to wait a little while longer to see the device’s official unveiling.

During a recent interview, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau said he wants to return to making great all-rounders at unbelievably low prices. This seems to point clearly to the rumoured OnePlus Z and seems to confirm we’ll at least see some sort of cheaper addition to the OnePlus line of phones sooner rather than later.

OnePlus Z price

The OnePlus 8 is currently the cheapest option in the brand’s range, costing £599/$699. Being a more-budget friendly option, the OnePlus Z is certain to undercut this price and is surely likely to retail nearer the £419 ($399) price established by the new iPhone SE, which is likely to be its biggest single rival.

Considering OnePlus was once known for its seriously low-priced handsets it’d be great to see them once again try and make this sector it’s own.

This appears to be confirmed by Twitter tipster Ishan Agarwal, who amongst other claims seems to have ascertained that the OnePlus X will retail at “around £400 in the UK”.

OnePlus Z design

We first saw renders of the handset all the way back in December 2019, when its name was presumed to be the OnePlus 8 Lite. It still seems likely that this is what the finished product will look like:

As you can see, it will have a bulky camera module on the rear panel, which has a glossy finish, while a punch-hole camera features at the top of the screen. A little surprisingly (not to mention disappointingly) for a phone at this price point, it appears to lack a 3.5mm headphone jack – so Bluetooth or USB-C will be your only options.

OnePlus Z

Image Credit: TrueTech

Thanks to TrueTech we’ve also spotted a candid snap of the OnePlus Z in the wild. The image shows a device with a large, flat screen and a cut-out selfie camera at the top of the screen, similar to the renders above.

OnePlus Z screen

The OnePlus Z is reputed to have a 6.4-inch AMOLED display, which will include an under-display fingerprint scanner for secure unlocking. Agarwal adds that the screen will have a 90Hz refresh rate, which would represent quite the coup for a handset at this price point; this enhanced specification should ensure smoother scrolling that matches last year’s OnePlus 7T Pro flagship.

As seen in the images further up the page, this screen appears to be flat rather than curved around the edges, which many customers will see as a plus point due to its practicality, rather than the premium feature that curved displays can sometimes be perceived to be.

OnePlus Z camera

Judging from the video above, that large camera module houses just two sensors (plus the flash) despite its considerable size. Reportedly this set-up consists of a 48-megapixel main sensor, plus a 12-megapixel secondary snapper (likely to be an ultrawide lens), but conspicuously lacking a depth sensor, telephoto lens, or macro camera.

In the past, OnePlus cameras have not performed quite as well as the rest of the package, relatively speaking, but it seems promising that this device appears to share the same camera set-up as the OnePlus 8, minus the macro camera that we described as “rubbish” in our review. Overall we found that camera set-up to be good for a mid-ranger, so we reckon it’s likely that the OnePlus Z will perform well given its price point even though there might be better snappers out there for your money.

Related: Best camera phones

OnePlus Z specs

We’ve also got a strong idea of the other specs to expect from the OnePlus Z. Ishan Agarwal, as quoted earlier, expects that this phone will miss out on the Snapdragon 865 chipset toted by the other units in the range. Not only does this mean it will miss out such high performance but could also miss out on 5G connectivity.

In its place, the OnePlus Z said to have a MediaTek chip; this manufacturer is usually associated with budget phones, so it could fall short of the high performance for which OnePlus is widely recognised. While the price point seems predetermined to compete with the iPhone SE, this is a way that it will fall far short of Apple’s handset, which boasts a powerhouse A13 Bionic chip.

On top of that, 91mobiles and @OnLeaks report that the device will boast a 4000mAh battery, an impressive capacity that should ensure decent levels of endurance; and when it’s time to recharge, the same source claims that it will boast WarpCharge 30T technology to get juiced back up quickly.

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