OnePlus, the Chinese smartphone startup, had a very busy 2015, releasing two new phones and a selection of accessories, including a case for the iPhone 6S (yes, really). However, in keeping with its “Never settle” motto, the company is about ready to debut the OnePlus 3.
OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei told CNet en Español that he hopes the OnePlus 3 will “captivate” users as much as the OnePlus One did in 2014. We’re likely less than a few weeks away from seeing it for real, but here’s everything we think we know about it so far.
Related: OnePlus 2 vs. OnePlus X
A Global VR experience
In keeping with tradition, OnePlus will be unveiling the OnePlus 3 in virtual reality via headsets it’s giving away for free, just as it did with the OnePlus 2. Except this time, it’s opting for a headset that’s not made of cardboard.
The Loop VR is a vastly improved version of last year’s cardboard headset and was created in collaboration with AntVR. OnePlus was giving away 30,000 headsets for free — they sold out in a flash, naturally.
The company’s unveiling of the OnePlus 3 will occur in its virtual space station called The Loop. People watching the unveiling of OnePlus’ new device will be able to order the OnePlus 3 in VR before anyone else, in what the company says will be the “world’s first global shopping experience in VR.”
“We’re extremely excited about the OnePlus 3, but it’s important to remember that without you, we wouldn’t have made it this far,” OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei said in a blog post. “Actually, that’s why we decided to do VR launches in the first place. Instead of speaking to a few members of the press, to be able to bring all of you together at the same time, and same place. This is just as much your launch as it is ours.”
The announcement is light on details as to when the OnePlus 3 will launch, but it’s likely approaching fast.
When OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei sat down with Cnet en Español, he said the OnePlus 3 will feature a “new design.” Unfortunately he didn’t get into specifics, but it’s probably safe to assume that it won’t resemble the OnePlus 2. That’s certainly the indication we’re getting from leaks too, since, if they’re genuine, the OnePlus 3 won’t look like previous OnePlus phones, but may resemble another popular device.
At the end of May, a phone listed as the OnePlus A3000 appeared on the TENAA regulatory website in China, complete with images of the device. After the slightly drab exterior of the OnePlus 2, the OnePlus 3 looks to equal the OnePlus X in terms of desirability.
The body certainly appears to be made of metal, and the listing reveals it’ll weigh just 160 grams — a very low weight for a metal phone with a 5.5-inch screen. Additionally, the phone should have a 7.3mm thick profile. This in emphasised by a slightly raised camera lens on the back of the device, surrounded by very HTC-like antenna breaks.
Before this, phone leaker @evleaks came up with a shot of what may be the OnePlus 3, and it’s in the shape of a high quality press-style render, showing OnePlus may have been influenced by HTC in the new phone’s design.
The look corresponds to previous leaks of the phone, complete with an antenna line running across the top and bottom of the phone, and a raised camera lens section just below top center. The body appears to be metal, and on the front is a physical home button, which appears to be very similar to the OnePlus 2’s fingerprint sensor.
Revealed in a tweet, it’s also added the OnePlus 3 may have an AMOLED display, just like the OnePlus X, plus a 3,000mAh battery. That’s slightly smaller than the OnePlus 2, and may be a compromise due to restrictions inside the new, slim metal body.
Before this, another leak through the Twitter account @krispitech showed off what may be the new OnePlus phone, although the photos reportedly also appeared on Weibo, a Chinese social media site. The pictures, if accurate, also suggest a radical design change for OnePlus, and the device looks somewhat like a black HTC One.
The device seems pretty big, and it seems as though OnePlus has ditched the textured back. It also appears as though the phone in the picture has 64GB of storage, although there will most likely be other options available. The camera on this device seems to lack laser autofocus, which would be weird considering previous OnePlus flagships had it. It’s possible that the phone in the images is an early prototype rather than the final version.
An earlier leak came in December 2015 from MobileDad.com, and is an image of what’s claimed to be a rendered prototype of the device, viewed from the front and rear. It appears to be a mashup of the OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X designs, with the squared-off sides and gently curved corners from the X, and the central camera lens from the 2 catching the eye. This is also a warning that these images are little more than fakes, and like every rumor, should be treated as such for now.
Examining them more closely, it doesn’t look like the phone has the textured rear panel used on the OnePlus One and OnePlus 2 in this image, but that could change if the phone becomes a reality, and is something of a OnePlus trademark. There’s a hint the phone may have forward-facing speakers in one of the images, and there are unusual grey sections along the sides, which may be related to SIM or MicroSD card slots, or the volume rocker.
The report does mention a Snapdragon 820 being used, and a 1080p touchscreen. Neither sound impossible, although some may be disappointed if OnePlus doesn’t adopt a 1440p screen for its next major phone release. The only spec hint we get from the leaked image is the possible inclusion of a dual-LED flash to accompany the camera.
As you can see the two leaks are drastically different, so either the new photo leak is a prototype, or someone has come up with false information — another possibility.
Battery and fast charging
The OnePlus 2 didn’t have a fast charging system for its battery, but that may change on the OnePlus 3. According to a certification document for a device listed as the OnePlus A3000 (a model number we’ve seen attached to other leaks linked to the OnePlus 3), the charging system will rely on a 5V/4A adapter. Coincidentally, that’s the same rating seen on Oppo’s VOOC fast battery chargers. Oppo’s technology is clever, and prevents overheating by dynamically monitoring current, while still having the guts to take a battery from zero to 75 percent charge in just 30 minutes. OnePlus has close ties to Oppo, and both its founders have previously worked for the company.
Additionally, OnePlus has been seen to register a trademark for something called Dash Charge, which could easily be applied to fast charging technology. Another rumor, this time from Chinese site MyDrivers, says the OnePlus 3’s battery will have a 3500mAh capacity, larger than the OnePlus 2. However, the TENAA listing puts the OnePlus A3000’s battery capacity at 3000mAh.
Release date and pricing
It’s highly likely we’ll see the device in June, as in a late February interview with Cnet en Español, OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei said the OnePlus 3 will launch “at the end of the second quarter.” June is the last month of the quarter. The phone is expected to launch as an unlocked device in the U.S. and other markets.
That lines up with the announcement of the Loop headset, which will likely make its way to people who ordered it in the next week or two. An middle or end of June launch seems plausible.
Pei also said the OnePlus 3 would be sold directly by the company just like in the past, but he promises a “better buying process.” Unfortunately we don’t know if the invitation system will remain in play or not, but he did say that the company would accept credit cards in addition to PayPal.
As far as pricing goes, Pei didn’t offer up any information other than that shipping will continue to be free. A subsequent rumor published by MyDrivers speculates the phone will start at 2,000 yuan, or approximately $310.
The most comprehensive spec leak comes from the TENAA regulatory body in China, when a phone referred to as the OnePlus A3000 showed up for certification. It repeats much of what we’ve already heard, including the Snapdragon 820 processor, 4GB of RAM, 64GB of internal storage space — at least, in the version certified — and Android 6.0.1 as the operating system. The latter will come in the shape of OnePlus’s OxygenOS we’d presume.
A 16-megapixel rear camera and an 8-megapixel camera on the front are shown, and a 3000mAh battery will power the phone. A fingerprint sensor is expected to be housed inside the area usually reserved for the home button.
A leaked AnTuTu Benchmark shows the OnePlus 3 as a powerhouse, under the model name OnePlus A3000.
The purported specs show the OnePlus 3 will run Android 6.0.1, likely with OxygenOS over it, and will be powered by the Snapdragon 820. It will also have an Adreno 530 GPU, have a full HD resolution, and 4GB of RAM, with 32GB of internal storage. The rear camera is expected to have 16 megapixels, while the front-facing one will have eight. Again, we’re unable to verify the image, so take it with a grain of salt.
At the beginning of May, another leak gave us clues about the OnePlus 3’s spec, this time originating from Chinese site MyDrivers. The report says the phone will have a 5.5-inch AMOLED screen with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution, a Snapdragon 820 processor, and come in two versions — one with 32GB of storage and 4GB of RAM, and another with 64GB storage and 6GB of RAM. The camera will supposedly feature a Sony sensor with 16 megapixels and a wide aperture, while the selfie cam may have 8 megapixels. Finally, OnePlus’s OxygenOS will be installed, built over Android 6.0.
OnePlus released the OnePlus 2 in August 2015.
Updated on 05-26-2016 by Andy Boxall: Added in images and specs from the TENAA regulatory website
Updated on 05-23-2016 by Julian Chokkattu: Added in information of the free VR headset from OnePlus, the Loop VR.
Updated on 05-17-2016 by Andy Boxall: Added in new leaked render of the OnePlus 3
Updated on 05-10-2016 by Christian de Looper: Added leaked image from Twitter.
Updated on 05-05-2016 by Andy Boxall: Added rumors about a fast charge battery system, and some further specification leaks
Updated on 03-25-2016 by Julian Chokkattu: Added clarification from OnePlus that the OnePlus 3 will not launch on April 7.
Updated on 03-25-2016 by Julian Chokkattu: Added a rumored unveiling date of April 7, and added leaked benchmark results.
Updated on 02-25-2016 by Robert Nazarian: Added in release date information, as well as comments from Carl Pei.