With OnePlus sticking to a biannual update cycle over the last few years, we were always expecting a new generation of flagships in the first half of 2020.
Predictably, they look set to be called the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro, while we may also get a cheaper version in the form of the OnePlus 8 Lite.
The company has a unique approach to leaks, often choosing to reveal details about its upcoming phones ahead of the full announcement. Ahead of the official launch on 14 April, we already know some of the key specs. These are headlined by the move to Samsung’s 120Hz display and, for the very first time, wireless charging.
This Fluid AMOLED panel is a Quad-HD+ display that will apparently register touches at 240 times per second, and records more than 1,000 nits of brightness. It should also have more accurate colours than ever, and the combination of a new MEMC chip and a smart algorithm that can insert additional frames will lead to smoother video, too.
OnePlus is going big with its introduction of wireless charging, although the impressive 30W speeds will be exclusive to its proprietary pad. It will also be Qi compatible, but only at 5W.
In this article we’ll look in more detail at what you can expect from all the upcoming handsets, bringing together in one place all the known and leaked information, plus speculation based on our in-depth knowledge of OnePlus’ history.
When is the OnePlus 8 coming out?
OnePlus has officially announced that the OnePlus 8 series will launch in an online event on 14 April at 11am EST (4pm here in the UK). If you’re interested you’ll be able to watch along live from the OnePlus website or YouTube channel – you can find more about the OnePlus 8 launch separately if you’d like.
Remember that this is just the announcement event, so expect the phones to actually go on sale either later in April or perhaps in early May.
The OnePlus 8 series will almost certainly be followed by a OnePlus 8T, OnePlus 8T Pro and potentially OnePlus 8T Pro McClaren Edition in October 2020.
Will there be a OnePlus 8 Lite?
It had been expected for a long time that there would be a third phone alongside the 8 and 8 Pro: the OnePlus 8 Lite, the first attempt at a cheaper model since the OnePlus X.
That’s since been cast into doubt, and recent leaks instead suggest that the OnePlus 8 Lite might instead be the start of a new line dubbed OnePlus Z, and that it is due “later this year,” rather than at the April 14 event alongside the other two phones.
There’s still a chance that it will turn up at the main event, so just in case we’ve kept all of the 8 Lite leaks and rumours in place here, but bear in mind that the 8 Lite may no longer be the 8 Lite at all.
How much will the OnePlus 8 cost?
We expect that OnePlus will look to keep its pricing fairly constant for the standard and Pro models, which start at £549 and £699 respectively, though it may not have a choice here given that adding 5G could raise the price. A higher price might also explain the sudden decision to introduce a cheaper model.
Those suspicions have proved to be true, if a recent leak is anything to go by. As was first reported by WinFuture, European pricing for the OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro were published by Slovakian retailer Alsa.sk, before being promptly removed. This set out the costs as follows:
OnePlus 8 (8GB RAM, 128GB storage) – €719
OnePlus 8 (12GB RAM, 256GB storage) – €819
OnePlus 8 Pro (8GB RAM, 128GB storage) – €919
OnePlus 8 Pro (12GB RAM, 256GB storage) – €1,009
Assuming this is true, it would make the 8 Pro the most expensive OnePlus phone by far, costing more than €200 more than the 7T Pro.
For the Lite model we’d like to pay closer to £349-£399, and The Indian Express claims it will cost around 2,999 Yuan/Rs 30,000 to compete with the Redmi K30 and Realme X2 Pro – that’s around £325/$420/€380.
Interestingly, for our US readers, OnePlus 8 is tipped to be the first OnePlus device to be available through Verizon.
What is the difference between OnePlus 8, OnePlus 8 Pro and OnePlus 8 Lite?
OnePlus 8 Pro is naturally going to be the top model in the line-up, with the largest screen (6.78in), the highest capacity battery (4,510mAh), the fastest charging (50W) and the best cameras, with four rear lenses including two 48Mp sensors. More interestingly, it’s also likely to be the model that carries the 120Hz display, IP68 waterproofing, and 30W wireless charging, along with reverse wireless charging too.
It is expected that users will be able to reduce the refresh rate to 90- or 60Hz to preserve battery life, and this is a theory seemingly confirmed by leaked screenshots from TrueTech, which are said to have come from another company insider. If accurate, OnePlus’ description of the three settings is as follows:
120Hz: Maximum smoothness but slightly reduced battery life
90Hz: Balanced smoothness and balanced battery life
60Hz: Less smoothness but slightly extended battery life
Step down to the OnePlus 8 and in return for a slightly lower price you’ll get a slightly smaller screen (6.55in), and slightly slower but still fast charging (30W) over a wired connection (we don’t expect it to get wireless charging). It will likely support a 90Hz refresh rate, slightly lower than the Pro, and drops down to a triple-lens rear camera. The battery capacity will be a little lower (4,300mAh), and there’ll be no IP rating either.
In a forum post OnePlus confirmed that the 8 series will run on the Snapdragon 865 chipset, which means support for 5G connections as well. It will also include UFS 3.0 storage, and support for faster LPDDR5 RAM – though based on leaks it’s likely that this will be a Pro exclusive, and the regular 8 will still use the slower DDR4 standard.
The OnePlus 8 Lite arrives in April it will be the cheapest model in the line-up, largely because it will run a MediaTek rather than Snapdragon processor, and may see some slimmed down specs elsewhere, including a smaller screen (6.4in), a less premium design, and the same battery as the regular 8 (4,000mAh).
Originally tipped to have a dual-lens rear camera it’s now expected to feature a trio of snappers at the back. This model definitely won’t feature a 120Hz display or wireless charging, but it should see the same move from the previous notch to a punch-hole-style cutout for the selfie camera.
Screenshots showing various specifications of all three models leaked via Slashleaks and can be seen below, but take them with a pinch of salt given that they have only a low trust rating.
More trustworthy are probably these spec sheets for the 8 and 8 Pro leaker by reliable source Ishan Agarwal over on Twitter:
Exclusive: They’re coming! Here is the full specification list of the #OnePlus8 & 8 Pro. Seems like #OnePlus8Pro is gonna be a beast with 6.78″ 120hz QHD+ Display and 48+48+8+5MP Camera Setup. Will have 30W Wireless Charging & IP68 Rating too. I’m so excited! #OnePlus8Series pic.twitter.com/j1AAo19q4J
— Ishan Agarwal (@ishanagarwal24)
March 25, 2020
What’s new in OnePlus 8?
OnePlus 8 design
The first OnePlus 8 leak came way back in October 2019, even before the OnePlus 7T had gone on sale. It included the earliest renders we have of the upcoming phone, created by @OnLeaks and CashKaro, which you can see below.
Around the same time @OnLeaks teamed up with 91Mobiles to produce the below video of OnePlus 8 Pro renders:
The important thing to know about renders is that they are a digital artist’s impression of what a phone may look like, based on rumours. Some end up being crazily close to the finished article, which we’re sure is not a coincidence, but in this case there were very few rumours to go on.
An accompanying report at CashKaro claimed that the renders were based on detailed schematics from a company insider. Even so, a lot can change between then and the eventual launch.
The renders don’t reveal a huge departure from the design of the OnePlus 7T, but in place of the waterdrop-style screen notch in which the selfie camera is housed we now see a Samsung-esque punch-hole cutout at the top left.
Of course, while OnePlus has confirmed many details about the new 120Hz display, it has not confirmed the size of the screen, nor how the selfie camera will fit in.
GizTop already have a product page for the OnePlus 8 live, complete with fairly detailed specs. While we’re not entirely familiar with the site and so can’t trust the specs listed, many are being reported elsewhere.
The Ishan Agarwal leak above also includes colour info for the 8 and 8 Pro, with ‘Blue, Black & Green’ available for the Pro model, and ‘Glow, Black & Green’ options on the smaller 8. A second leak from him reveals some of those colours in action:
#OnePlus8 Official Renders have leaked! I know what the marketing name for these colours will be:-Interstellar Glow-Glacial Green-Onyx BlackLooks amazing in my opinion! What do you think?Source: @rquandt / https://t.co/sd7Pw4nGHg pic.twitter.com/FWMlSuZzii
— Ishan Agarwal (@ishanagarwal24)
March 29, 2020
A cheaper OnePlus 8 Lite
More recent renders from @OnLeaks and 91Mobiles seemingly confirm the existence of a Lite model – now believed to perhaps be the OnePlus Z – and key differences in its design are seen in the centrally positioned selfie camera cutout, and the dual- rather than triple-lens camera at the top left on the rear. Again, these are simply renders based on unconfirmed information.
As if to prove that notion, the later appearance of an unknown OnePlus handset with a triple-lens rear camera, which was spotted by Slashleaks during a talk show on which OnePlus CEO Pete Lau was speaking, has led @OnLeaks to update his OnePlus 8 Lite leak as shown below:
Rumours suggest this triple-lens setup will comprise 48Mp, 16Mp and 12Mp lenses, while the Lite will also feature a 4000mAh battery with 30W Warp Charge, and either 128- or 256GB storage.
We don’t expect that a cheaper Lite model will pack the same 120Hz display and wireless charging as the more expensive models in the line, and it may also see a step down from the Snapdragon 865.
According to The Indian Express (though we are unclear on its source), the OnePlus 8 Lite will run the MediaTek Dimensity 1000 processor, which apparently has an integrated 5G modem. Could that make it an affordable 5G phone to challenge the also upcoming Google Pixel 4a?
91Mobiles suggests the screen may measure 6.4in, with the overall device sized at 159.2x74x8.6mm, so a little chunkier than the standard OnePlus 8. It also claims it will feature an in-display fingerprint sensor and a curved glass rear panel with a blue gradient finish, plus a USB-C port and alert slider, but no 3.5mm headphone jack.
OnePlus 8 Pro could get wireless charging
Other details we can glean from the early report from @OnLeaks and CashKaro include the exciting (if true) news that the new OnePlus 8 will *finally* feature wireless charging, although as we understand it only in the Pro model.
The idea that OnePlus 8 will add wireless charging is a theory that was later backed by All About Samsung editor Max J.
Until now, OnePlus spokespeople (including CEO Pete Lau) have claimed that wireless charging is too slow and that the company won’t include it on its phones until it can truly benefit consumers. It has been offering super-speedy Warp Charge wired charging since 2016, however.
OnePlus 8 processor, storage and memory
Also tipped for the OnePlus 8 standard and Pro is a Snapdragon 865 chip that will include 5G support as standard. However, this might entail a price rise. This should come with between 8- and 12GB of LPDDR5 RAM (at least in the Pro), and 128- and 256GB of UFS 3.0 storage.
The Lite model, meanwhile, is thought to come with a MediaTek chip that may also integrate 5G support.
Geekbench results for what is said to be the 12GB OnePlus 8 Pro reveal impressive scores of 12,531 points multi-core and 4,296 single-core. A second set of Geekbench results for an 8GB RAM model – likely a regular OnePlus 8 – clock in at 12,541 multi-core and 4,276 single-core, so owners of the standard model shouldn’t see a serious performance drop compared to the Pro.
OnePlus 8 cameras
We can expect to see a camera upgrade in the new OnePlus 8 series, but what exactly? The OnePlus Concept One that was on show at CES, and arguably was just a OnePlus 7T Pro McClaren Edition with leather and some clever glass, might be something less of a disappointment if it gives us a clue about what to expect in the OnePlus 8.
The tech they were really showing off at the January tech trade show is the electrochromic glass that covers the rear camera lenses. This can switch between transparent and opaque, effectively hiding the triple-lens camera when not in use. OnePlus claims it not only adds aesthetic appeal, but adds a polarising filter for sharper shots in bright daylight.
It was neither confirmed nor denied that this feature would appear in its upcoming flagship, and until we see some photos of OnePlus 8 in the flesh we won’t know for sure. All the renders we’ve seen so far suggest it will not be included.
We’ve since heard that OnePlus has been dabbling in yet another way to conceal the cameras on its phone, suggesting this is potentially a very real way forward for the handset’s design. A patent spotted by LetsGoDigital suggests OnePlus is toying with the idea of using a plastic flap to hide the phone’s rear cameras, which are shown in a OnePlus 7T-like circular housing.
We’d imagine this is a much cheaper approach than using electrochromic glass, and though it would also be less flashy it could help protect those cameras from damage.
The patent also reveals plans to hide the selfie camera, here under the screen glass.
While we know the OnePlus 8 Lite is likely to have a triple-lens rear camera, rumoured to be 38Mp + 16Mp + 12Mp, it’s thought that the Pro model could add a fourth Time-of-Flight (ToF) sensor to its 64Mp (f/1.7) + 20Mp (f/2.2) ultra-wide + 12Mp (f/2.4) telephoto configuration. The OnePlus 8 may see the same setup, but minus the ToF camera.
A more recent leak suggested a 48Mp + 48Mp + 8Mp + 5Mp setup for the Pro, with 48Mp + 16Mp + 2Mp on the standard 8, so it’s still fairly unclear exactly what the camera specs will be.
These camera units are likely to be centred as previously, but now appearing in a vertical rather than circular assembly such as that seen on the OnePlus 7T.
Around the front expect OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro to feature a 32Mp selfie camera, and the Lite to feature a 16Mp sensor – though again, a later leak has suggested all three will use just 16Mp. All three are expected to be housed in punch-hole-style cutouts, with OnePlus ditching the previous pop-up camera, and may adopt a Face ID-style unlocking system.
Will OnePlus 8 be officially waterproof?
Six years after the original OnePlus phone launched, could we be finally getting an official IP rating for water resistance?
Prolific leaker @MaxJmb has tweeted a picture of what looks very much like the rumoured OnePlus 8 design, complete with the word ‘WATER’.
— Max J. (@MaxJmb)
February 15, 2020
We’d assume this would be the IP68 rating that we see on many modern flagships – as suggested in one leak so far – but this is far from confirmed. It would however explain the movement away from the pop-up camera to the more well-established pop-up camera.
However, the fact that it is not (or has not been) willing to pay out for IP certification (which would cause the price of its phones to increase) doesn’t mean they are not water-resistant. OnePlus shared the following video in line with the OnePlus 7 launch a year ago:
It’s highly unlikely OnePlus users would be happy to see the design changed and price increased in order to get official certification.
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