OnePlus' third handset emerges as the...OnePlus 3!
This year might be a challenging one for OnePlus and its "flagship killer" mantra, the firm has been gearing up for a launch of the OnePlus 3, but has been noticably quiter than usual in terms of how much info it is relaying to its loyal fanbase via its forums and social media outlets. While Apple has had a difficult Q1 and now attempts to tackle claims by prominent analysts that the iPhone 7 will be an incremental damp squib, the Android space has heated up tremendously with powerful offerings from Samsung, back on form with its Galaxy S7 series, LG with the robust LG G5, and even HTC with the HTC 10. OnePlus also has more competition from OEMs in its home nation of China, with Huawei drawing plenty of attention to the Huawei P9 and P9 Plus, and many eyes are on Lenovo-owned Motorola for the 2016 line-up; the budget Moto G4 and Moto G4 Plus have now been announced but a revamp of the Moto X series (allegedly as the Moto Z) is expected very soon.
According to the rumours though, the OnePlus 3 is shaping up to be something pretty special, with a new metal-build design, a big battery, and plenty of pulling power in the processor and RAM department.
On May 26 a leaked little detail has spilled onto the internet which claims the OnePlus 3 will launch on June 14. The revelation came from a OnePlus Live Chat agent speaking to a poster on the OnePlus forum, a screengrab of the chat was posted on Twitter. OnePlus has also revealed that users viewing the launch via its Loop VR headsets will have an opportunity to buy the handset during the event, before anyone else! In addition, that June 14 date seems pretty likely as the OnePlus 3 has now passed through China's TENAA certification authority, meaning that it is gearing up for launch. The images also show that earlier leaks, including renders, were accurate. The listing also confirms the spec details, including a 5.5in 1080p display, Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 2.15GHz processor, 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, a 3,000mAh battery and both 16MP and 8MP cameras. The dimensions are confirmed as 152.6×74.6×7.3mm and weight of 160g. The software is Android 6.0.1 Marshmallow and colour options for the handset are light-grey, black, or gold for the all-metal body.
May 25 sees a full spec sheet leaking for the OnePlus 3 via prominent and reliable Twitter tipser Evan Blass, aka @evleaks. Blass posted on the social network saying the phone would have a 5.5in 1080p display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 64GB storage, NFC, and a 16MP primary camera. OnePlus has been slowly building more features into each generation; the original OnePlus One was criticised for its lack of 4G support, while the successor lacked NFC, obviously that's something OnePlus wants to correct on the third gen edition. Earlier tips from @evleaks suggested the display would be AMOLED, that we'd see a 3,000mAh battery cell, and other sources have revealed that the phone will ship with a fingerprint scanner and USB Type-C (both confirmed by the renders), as well as between 4GB an 6GB of RAM.
OnePlus 3 basics: 5.5-inch 1080p, Snapdragon 820, 64GB storage, 16MP rear camera, NFC. SS from an N preview build.pic.twitter.com/u1a0hQoEIP
— Evan Blass (@evleaks) 24 May 2016
As of May 23, OnePlus has announced that for the OnePlus 3 launch it will stream the launch event to Virtual Reality headsets - this will be the second launch running that the firm will feature a VR streamed launch as it already did so once with the OnePlus 2 launch in 2015. Last time, OnePlus offered interested consumers the option to download, print, and assemble a free cardboard headset for their phone, similar to Google Cardboard, but this time things will be quite different. Partnering with AntVR, OnePlus is launching its own bespoke VR headset for the event. OnePlus is calling this headset the Loop VR - it's a bit weird but OnePlus has come up with a kind of fictional narrative for this where the launch event takes place in the future aboard the firm's space station called "The Loop". The Loop VR is made from plastic and can be fitted with a smartphone to view the display in front of your face, just like Google Cardboard and Samsung's Gear VR. The firm has not yet mentioned when the launch is taking place, but presumably there needs to be enough time for interested consumers to register for and then receive the Loop VR headset. There may only be a month or two at most, however, as in 2015 OnePlus announced the VR launch towards the end of June and launched the OnePlus 2 at the end of July, meaning the launch for the OnePlus 3 could be as soon as the end of June this year. The Loop VR headsets are being given away freely, but there's a limited number of 30,000 and we know OnePlus loves its first-come, first-served invite-only models so you'll have to get in quick if you want to be involved. You can pick one up by followingthis link.
On May 20 OnePlus CEO Pete Lau took to Chinese social network Weibo to make a statement about the forthcoming flagship. Following the leak from @evleaks showing the press renders (main article image) of the the handset, Lau said the device "feels good to hold", which probably has something to do with the metal unibody we can see in the product render - it definitely looks sleek with the thin tapered edges. Another set of images has leaked on May 13 via Twitter user @the_malignant showing a hands-on with the OnePlus 3. We can just see the front and baseplate of the phone in the two shots, which shows us the Home key/ fingerprint scanner on the front, and the Type-C USB port at the bottom. Sadly it's not powered on, so we don't get to see that 5in 1080p display or the Android-based software it'll be illuminated with.
As of May 5, new details have emerged regarding the OnePlus 3's battery pack; it'll allegedly carry quite a big 3,500mAh cell - the word comes via sources speaking to Chinese publicationMyDrivers. A 3,500mAh unit isn't a huge uplift from the previous gen, however, as the OnePlus 2 packed a 3,300mAh battery. The new tipster also reiterated earlier claims for the third time that we will see two variants with different RAM and storage capacities - 3GB RAM with 32GB storage, or 4GB RAM with 64GB storage - both iterations pack Qualcomm's Snapdragon 820 chipset, if rumours are to be believed. The big battery will reportedly feature a quick charge feature, but it won't be Qualcomm's Quick Charge 3.0 tech, instead OnePlus is opting for its own proprietary "Dash Charge" tech.
The OnePlus 3 has had its price leaked and, as we all hoped, the phone will still offer excellent value for money. According to GizmoChina, which claims to have spoken to OnePlus employees, the OnePlus 3 will retail in the US for $310 (or £210 here in the UK), making it one of the cheapest high-end Android flagships of 2016 when compared to the likes of the LG G5 and Galaxy S7.
That $310 price tag seems to be for the base model which is the 3GB RAM and 32GB storage option, the other variant will have 64GB of storage and 4GB of RAM and is expected to cost more - it's now believed this higher-end version will cost $385. There is also some talk of an even higher-end version with 128GB of storage. The OnePlus 3 will apparently feature an all-new metal design but will retain its 1080p display. But that’s OK — this thing is insanely cheap compared to EVERYTHING else on market. There is also a HUGE upshot to using 1080p panels as well: vastly superior battery performance. Even more so with a bigger cell and Android Marshmallow at the core.
In the meantime, OnePlus has reduced the cost of its OnePlus 2 handset to $349 — and it is staying that way forever. Here’s what the company had to say about the price reduction on its official blog:
“We learned a lot from our first flagship phone. The invite system helped get the OnePlus 2 off the ground, and now thanks to both timing and scale, our operations have sized up to the Goldilocks principle of just right. So, why not let our fans join us in celebrating the fruits of our labor? The OnePlus 2 now has a price modification of $349, forever. If you’ve ever needed to give a friend another reason to join Team OnePlus, here you go.”
The company also released the OnePlus X earlier in 2015 and that handset, while nowhere near as compelling as the OnePlus 2, is still generating quite a bit of interest from consumers. The OnePlus 2 flagship was not without its detractors, however, following the company’s decision NOT to include NFC or a QHD panel on the front of the device.
The OnePlus 3, like every other flagship before it from the Chinese upstart, will almost certainly be released inside the company’s now infamous invite-only purchasing program, whereby users have to first get an invite before they can buy an actual phone from OnePlus. This process cuts out networks and retailers and allows the company to exercise better control of the handset’s production process, rather just building a few million units like everybody else in the space.
The OnePlus 3 will likely feature 3/4GB of RAM and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 CPU. Beyond this we’d expect to see some big improvements to imaging and battery performance, likely a larger cell, as well as the introduction of a QHD display panel, another key spec missing from last year’s OnePlus 2.
This is The OnePlus 3 -- And It Looks Like The HTC 10
The OnePlus 3 has been leaking all over the place during the past couple of months. We know quite a bit about the specs and hardware. But up to now the design has remained something of a secret -- we just didn’t know, save for a few details, about the company’s plans for its next Flagship Killer.
OnePlus has consistently upped the ante with regard to build materials and design over the years. And today’s leak shows the next chapter in OnePlus’ history will be no exception to this rule. The leaked image shows a handset that looks a lot like the HTC 10, complete with an all metal chassis and a super thin overall profile.
The leaked image comes via @evleaks, so it is likely 100% legit. The twitter-based leaker also confirmed some of the handset’s specs, which include: a Snapdragon 820 SoC with 4 GB or 6 GB (could be two variants) of RAM and either a 5in or 5.5in AMOLED display -- 1080p is said to be the resolution also.
OnePlus 3 Release Date
February 25 sees some more details emerge - this time we have OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei talking to CNET about the forthcoming flagship, saying that it will launch late in Q2, by June according to the report. Pei said that the phone will feature a "new design" which he hopes will "captivate" consumers as much as the original OnePlus One. It would appear that although the OnePlus 2 was more feature-rich and sold better than the OnePlus One, OnePlus feels that on the design front it lost some of the charm compared to the debut model.
This year’s Android space is VERY competitive as well. Samsung and LG both smashed the ball out of the park with their respective handsets — the LG G5 and the Galaxy S7 — and the heat doesn’t look like it will be dying down anytime soon, with the advent of the Galaxy Note 6, a new Sony phone, Apple’s iPhone 7 and, of course, Google’s Nexus 2016 phones, which will apparently be made by HTC.
OnePlus 3 NINE Box Designs Leak
A picture has landed on Twitter showcasing a selection of retail packaging box designs which we'll allegedly see shipping out to people who purchase the OnePlus 3. @Krispitech posted the image, which appears to be a render, showing nine different box designs all with a white and red colour scheme just like the OnePlus logo.
The source did not provide any details about the different box designs, so it's not clear if this is a selection that OnePlus will choose a final design from, or if it is a range of different designs which will be distributed to different regions, or if there will simply be a variety and it's random which style you get. Our favourite is the middle one, although top right, bottom right, and top left are also pretty cool.
There's no other new information at this stage, although from previous leaks and rumours we are expecting a 5.5in 1080p display, a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 16MP and 8MP cameras, and multiple storage and RAM variants; so far believed to be 4GB RAM/32GB storage and 6GB RAM/64GB storage, though a 128GB storage edition is also rumoured. Lastly, there have also been rumours of a large 3,500mAh battery cell to power things along. More and more rumours are emerging every week, however, and it seems that OnePlus may announce the new handset over the summer, with previous mention of June being a possible launch month.
First Benchmarks For OnePlus 3 Land
The OnePlus 3 is expected to get official in May with a release date following in the weeks after. Up to now details about 2016’s “flagship killer” have been pretty thin on the ground but as is often the case in the run up to a launch, leaks are starting to occur — leaks like benchmarks which detail the specs of the handset.
According to recent GFX and Geekbench test results, the OnePlus 3 will have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB or 6GB of RAM, 64GB of storage, a 16-megapixel camera, an 8-megapixel front camera and NFC support. In addition: the handset will run an updated Android Marshmallow-based version of Oxygen OS.
The chassis of the handset is expected to be constructed from metals and feature a fingerprint scanner as standard. Furthermore, OnePlus many retail the OnePlus 3 with different screen sizes: 5-inch, 5.2-inch and 5.5-inch options have been named in benchmarks and reports. If true, this would be the biggest and most complex launch the company has ever undertaken, proving, if successful, that it is now one of the big dogs in the phone space.
Why the handset will feature up to 6GB of RAM is anybody’s guess. KYM has speculated that this mount of RAM could have something to do with an Android N/Chrome OS cross-over initiative that we’ll see announced later on in 2016. Or, it could just be because they can — Android has always been ALL ABOUT the specs. Either way, the OnePlus 3 is shaping up to be quite a beast. Let’s just hope OnePlus manages to keep the price in line with expectations.
OnePlus 3 Design
Oneplus is normally quite vocal about its in-development devices, that's kind of its thing; the whole transparency and openess with its own community of fans via social media and its own forum line. That's worked very well in the past for generating plenty of interest in its devices. Sometimes though, leaksters still beat OnePlus to the punch and reveal a new handset before the firm is necessarily ready to say "hey, look what we're working on". And on that note, images have now appeared online showing 3D renders of the next-gen device.
The leak comes via Mobile Dad, and the images appear to show a brushed metal back panel design which may or may not be part of a unibody. If so, this would be a departure from OnePlus' design conventions for the flagship so far, which have previously involved interchangeable back panels in a variety of materials, including kevlar, denim, and wood. That said, using a metal panel at all is also departure as we haven't seen this until now. It's also worth noting that the OnePlus X was deliberately intended as a device to showcase the firm's premium design, placing this as a higher priority over even the specs - but even that device used glass or ceramic (depending on which variant you opted for) rather than a largely metal build.
Meanwhile, on the front there is no longer a fingerprint scanner and instead we have a front-facing speaker grille which may provide stereo sound similar to HTC's BoomSound setup, though this is merely speculation. The source for the images also claims the handset will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 chip and a 1080p display - although we've no idea of the size of the handset or the display diagonal. There's also no word on RAM or any other specs, including the camera.
As of February 18, a video has leaked showcasing the OnePlus 3's design and a few of its features. TimesNews reports having received a tip from an unnamed source with videos and images of the new device. A photo included shows the handset in the flesh, but the video and other images are 3D renders, that said, it's claimed these are 'official' images that have been unearthed early and are not made by third party 3D artists.
The design seems to have changed a bit, with a curvier shape featuring a metal frame and what looks like a brushed metal back panel, and it seems to have a fingerprint scanner. The report estimates it has a 5.5in display and there is some indication we might see a Type-C USB port.
"The rumored specifications of the device includes a 5.5-inch 1080p display with Corning Gorilla Glass 4 protection and is expected to be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 processor. It will have two variants: 4GB RAM and 16GB inbuilt storage and 5GB RAM with 64GB inbuilt storage. It is expected to run on Android 6.0 Marshmallow based Oxygen OS out of the box."