OnePlus is the reigning king in the budget flagship space, but the competition is only getting stronger.
The Honor 9 put up a fierce fight at a lower price point, while the upcoming Nokia 7 Plus might be its next threat – but the OnePlus 5T (shown) remains our favourite phone at this price level. And it won't be long before the OnePlus 6 is teed up to try and maintain the sub-₹40,000 throne.
What we've heard so far suggests that the OnePlus 6 will continue to do what the company does best: take the best elements from the full-blooded flagship competition and somehow find a way to make it much cheaper. Here's what we've heard so far in advance of its expected launch this summer.
When will the OnePlus 6 be out?
OnePlus has carved out its own window for announcements: early summer, after the expected buzz of Samsung and LG and ahead of the fall barrage of Apple, Google, and others.
Honestly, there's no reason to believe that this year will be much different. The OnePlus 5T (seen here) is going strong, and the OnePlus 6 will probably launch sometime around late June, which is when we saw the OnePlus 5 last year. And then it should be available within a couple weeks of that.
Hard to argue with this. We haven't heard anything concrete yet, but a June launch and July release sound spot-on, unless OnePlus wants to inch up a little earlier this time around.
How much will the OnePlus 6 cost?
OnePlus still offers comparatively cheap flagship phones, but top-end devices have only reached higher and higher price points of late and OnePlus has followed suit.
The OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T both debuted at £449, a steep increase from the initial £309 price point of the OnePlus 3 back in 2016. It's certainly possible that the OnePlus 6 will edge up higher, but like last year, we think it'd be dangerous to hit or cross the ₹45,000 price point.
With more competition in the ₹35,000-and-less market, especially, we'd like to see the OnePlus 6 stick close to that ₹32,999 point. But we haven't heard any strong rumours about price just yet.
We think it's likely that OnePlus sticks around in the sub-£500 space, although don't be surprised if the OnePlus 6 comes in at £469 or £479 rather than keeping the OnePlus 5T's price point. On the other hand, a full-face screen and glass on the back (keep reading) could prompt a larger leap here. We hope not, though.
What will the OnePlus 6 look like?
Love it or hate it, the Apple iPhone X's notch is sweeping through the smartphone world as a model for a full-face, bezel-lite smartphone.
And rumours suggest that the OnePlus 6 will be one of the next major phones to embrace that approach. These recently leaked photos show a purported OnePlus 6 prototype with a full-screen front and the same kind of notch on the top.
On the back, meanwhile, is another change: glass, along with the dual-camera sensor vertically oriented in the middle with a fingerprint sensor beneath. It looks nice and suitably OnePlus 6-esque, although we don't know yet if it's legitimate. But benchmark leaks also point to a taller, notch-friendly aspect ratio, so that could be the way forward for OnePlus.
We certainly think it's possible that OnePlus makes these design shifts, although they'll have to fall within the company's budget-flagship price point target. Can they pull it off?
What about the OnePlus 6's screen?
The OnePlus 6 will reportedly stick with a taller approach, albeit with about a 19:9 aspect ratio to accommodate the aforementioned notch. The iPhone X's notch was pegged by many early on as a possible distraction, but in use, it really just disappears and the immersiveness of a full-face screen shines through. We'll see if that really happens here, as well.
We fully expect it to be a 1080p display again, though. OnePlus has skipped out on Quad HD resolution panels to save on the price point, and they'll need to maintain some kind of concession here to keep the OnePlus 6's price from spiraling too high.
If rumours pan out, then the notch is the future for OnePlus. In our view, it worked out pretty great with the iPhone X, although it certainly has its detractors.
How much power will the OnePlus 6 pack?
OnePlus has been using Snapdragons for its entire lifespan, and a leaked benchmark test purportedly shows the 845 behind the scenes on the OnePlus 6. In short: OnePlus will keep pace here, and we'll probably see 6GB/8GB RAM depending on model.
No surprises here: the Snapdragon 845 is faster and more efficient than last year's 835, so we'll likely see it in the new OnePlus.
What kind of cameras will the OnePlus 6 have?
The OnePlus 5T (shown) doubled up on back cameras, following the trend from many other handsets, and thankfully improved on low-light performance at the same time.
We're not expecting any vast changes for the OnePlus 6, although there's still room for improvement with low-light shots and also HDR mode. Rumours suggest another dual-camera setup on the back, although we're still waiting to hear about the particulars.
And the front camera will be interesting if OnePlus really is using a notch. A source suggested to Android Marvel in December that the OnePlus 6 will also use an infrared sensor to offer up enhanced facial scanning, which we assume would be used for security as well as Animoji-like fun.
Sounds right to us – and no, we don't think OnePlus will try for a Huawei P20 Pro-like triple-camera setup for the OnePlus 6. As for the front camera, we'll see whether OnePlus can match up to Apple on quality and effectiveness.
Is there anything else I should know about the OnePlus 6?
Not much at this point – we're still a few months away from the official reveal, but more details will surely leak in time.
Leaks suggest that the OnePlus 6 will run Android 8.1 Oreo with the OxygenOS skin atop, and the phone is likely to beat Android 9.0 P's full version to market. But we would certainly expect Android 9 to come to the OnePlus 6 in time.
We're excited to hear more about the OnePlus 6 in the run-up to the reveal, although the price point remains a big question mark in the wake of some potentially big upgrades. We'll have to wait and see what happens.