The OnePlus Z — the next smartphone reportedly in the works from OnePlus — could be a return to form for a phone maker that rose to prominence by building flagship-killing phones that delivered high-end capabilities without equally high price tags.
Recent releases, like the OnePlus 8 Pro, certainly deliver on great specs and performance, but it’s on the pricey side at $899. Even the $699 OnePlus 8 is more expensive than many other OnePlus models.
So how does a company keep adding premium features without totally ignoring the segment of smartphone shoppers first drawn to OnePlus in the first place? If rumors are true, OnePlus will do so by holding the line on price, even if it means the upcoming OnePlus Z will drop a few of the fancier features it introduced in its OnePlus 8 releases.
We’re expecting to see the lower cost OnePlus Z arrive sometime this summer, after rumors about such a phone emerged late last year. What should you expect from the next phone from OnePlus? Here’s what we’ve heard about the OnePlus Z, including rumors about its release date and potential specs.
OnePlus Z cheat sheet: What you need to know
Release date: Reportedly July 2020
Price: Likely under $600
Screen size: 6.4 inches
Key features: 5G connectivity, MediaTek chipset, 90Hz display, multiple rear cameras
OnePlus Z name: The new OnePlus 8 Lite
When we first started hearing rumors about a budget option from OnePlus, most of the reports described the phone as the OnePlus 8 Lite. The name made sense at the time — the OnePlus 8 and OnePlus 8 Pro were still in the works, and it seemed possible that a Lite version would debut alongside those two models.
OnePlus 8 (left) and OnePlus 8 Pro (right) (Image credit: Future)
Well, the April 14 launch event for the OnePlus 8 lineup came and went, with no Lite phone. So that leaves us still anticipating the arrival of the OnePlus 8 Lite — though it sounds as if OnePlus is taking a different approach with the name.
In late March, phone leaker Max Weinbach tweeted that OnePlus would adopt a new name for its budget phone: the OnePlus Z. That’s actually a callback to OnePlus’ past. In 2015, the phone maker released a device called the OnePlus X that it sold as a lower cost version of the company’s main flagship. The OnePlus Z name might signal a return to that approach.
OnePlus Z release date
Since the OnePlus Z was a no-show in April, when might OnePlus get around to rolling out a budget version of the newly released OnePlus 8 flagship? The phone maker typically goes 6 months between device launches with a “T” version of its spring flagship launching in the fall and delivering improvements on features like camera, battery life and more.
But OnePlus’ T devices are usually variations on its flagships, not budget versions like the OnePlus Z is rumored to be. So that phone could be on a different release schedule.