In the build-up to the OnePlus 8 launch we heard lots about a budget member of the series, but when the launch event happened only the ‘base’ device and the OnePlus 8 Pro showed up. So, what happened to the OnePlus 8 Lite?
The OnePlus 8 Lite, or OnePlus Z as some leaks suggest the phone could be called, would address the concern many people had with the OnePlus 8 series: due to big price hikes up from the OnePlus 7 series there’s no real ‘affordable’ entry in the range.
Some people want a new OnePlus phone without paying the premium that the main OnePlus 8 series requires, and that’s why many are still excited about the prospect of the 8 Lite, or OnePlus Z.
- Read our OnePlus 8 review
- Read our OnePlus 8 Pro review
In 2019 Oppo – owned by the same parent company as OnePlus – put out the Oppo Reno Z, an affordable version of the Oppo Reno, so there's precedent for a 'Z' phone to be an accessible alternative.
Putting out an affordable version of a flagship is no new trick either. The Google Pixel 3a series and iPhone SE (2020) shows people are always on the lookout for a premium experience without the price tag.
So when is this enigmatic OnePlus phone coming, and what will it look like? Well, there are various leaks surrounding the OnePlus Z and we’ve compiled all the information below. We’ve also come up with a small wish-list on what we want to see.
Latest news: another possible candidate for the OnePlus Z chipset has leaked – the Snapdragon 765G, which is better than the previous processors we'd heard it'd have.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? An affordable version of the OnePlus 8
- When is it out? Some time in mid-2020
- How much will it cost? Less than $699 / £599 / AU$1,100
OnePlus Z release date and price
Since the OnePlus 8 Lite wasn’t unveiled at the OnePlus 8 launch in mid-April 2020, we’re not exactly sure when it will be along, though a rumor makes July 2020 the likeliest option. It’s possible that production issues resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic affected the phones’ availability, as has been the case for other 2020 smartphones.
Regarding price, that’s another big ‘question mark’ over the device, but due to the nature of the handset we’d expect it to be available for less than the $699 / £599 (around AU$1,100) of the OnePlus 8.
Since OnePlus used to be known for its affordable phones that could rival premium devices, it’s likely the company will aim for a low price tag. The OnePlus One cost $299 / £219 (around AU$320) when it launched, could the OnePlus 8 Lite hit that rough mark?
OnePlus Z leaks and news
While the OnePlus 8 Lite, or OnePlus Z as some of these leaks refer to it as, certainly didn’t see the volume of leaks as the other two phones in its series, we do know a bit about the device.
A OnePlus 8 Lite render gave us an idea of the phone, and it actually showed a phone that doesn’t look all that different from the main OnePlus 8 series, with a ‘punch-hole’ cut-out central to the top of the display, rear cameras in a bump to the left of the device, and seemingly no 3.5mm headphone jack.
We've also seen live hands-on pictures of the phone, that generally seem to back that render. The screen is flat, which is a change from the other OnePlus 8 devices, but the picture didn't show the back of the phone.
Just before the OnePlus 8 announcement a huge leak laid bare all three phones, including the Lite device. This leak said the phone will have a 6.4-inch screen, 48MP + 16MP + 12MP rear camera combination, 16MP front camera, 4,000mAh battery, and Mediatek 1000 chipset.
It’s worth noting, however, that leak got the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro wrong in a few ways, so take the information with a huge pinch of salt. In addition, a separate leak suggested the phone will actually have a Snapdragon 765G chipset, which is a bit better but doesn't come with 5G baked in.
A surprise tease of the phone on a talk show suggested it will have three rear cameras, though, so it seems this part of the leak could be correct.
Finally, a benchmark test listing for what seems to be the OnePlus Z suggests it could have as much as 12GB RAM, which is a surprising amount for what we imagined to be an affordable phone. The same listing suggests the phone will have 5G connectivity and Snapdragon 765G chipset, as previously mentioned.
OnePlus Z: what we want to see
Here we’ll compile everything we want to see in the OnePlus 8 Lite, or OnePlus Z, when it comes out.
1. Triple camera combo
If a smartphone has a main, ultra-wide and telephoto lens, it gives you versatility to take photos in a range of different situations. However, most budget smartphones lack the telephoto camera instead favoring a macro or depth-sensing snapper, meaning they aren’t great for long-range pictures.
We’d like to see the OnePlus 8 Lite come with these three cameras, so the device is great for photography in a range of situations. It’s unlikely, since the base OnePlus 8 missed this combo, but we can dream.
2. A 90Hz display
While new top-end and even mid-range smartphones are starting to pack displays with 90Hz or even 120Hz displays, affordable devices are rather late to this party, and it’d be no surprise if the OnePlus 8 Lite had a ‘standard’ 60Hz screen.
However, as people who have used 90Hz or even 120Hz screens will attest, they can be great to use, as it makes scrolling content smoother whether that’s on social media or swiping between menus.
The OnePlus 8 had a 90Hz display so the Lite won’t beat that, but we’d love the affordable phone to match it, especially as currently almost all affordable phones have 60Hz displays.
3. 5G connectivity
Like with high-refresh-rate screens, there are no 5G phones on the market at time of writing that are truly ‘affordable’, as even the 5G phones with the lowest price tags are actually mid-ranged in price, and with only okay specs too.
For the plenty of people looking to get 5G connections without having to spend loads of money, a 5G OnePlus 8 Lite would be great – 5G contracts tend to be expensive enough as it is without the handset being pricey too. Until the launch of the Xiaomi Mi 10 Lite later in 2020, OnePlus would have a monopoly on the affordable 5G phone market if the Lite had the connectivity.
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