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The OnePlus 12 just leaked again — and with an odd camera change

Leaked OnePlus 12 product renders.
@OnLeaks / MySmartPrice

OnePlus is preparing to launch its next flagship phone in the coming months, but a fresh leak predicts an unpleasant surprise. A few weeks ago, purported renders of the OnePlus 12 depicted a phone that borrows heavily from the OnePlus 11 but adds a rectangular lens element at the back to fit a periscope-style telephoto camera.

Now, leaker OnLeaks (via MySmartPrice) has shared updated renders “based on pre-production unit pictures” that don’t show any telephoto lens upgrade. Instead, we have three camera lenses with distinct circular lens inlets and a fourth cutout of the same size without any visible lens element on the camera island.

Alleged renders of OnePlus 12.
@OnLeaks / MySmartPrice

While the absence of a folded lens zoom camera on the OnePlus 12 seems disheartening, it could be a sign that OnePlus is saving that upgrade for a more premium “Pro” phone. Samsung has kept the tech locked to its top-tier Ultra phones, and Apple is expected to do the same with the priciest model in the iPhone 15 series.

It’s also pretty obvious why OnePlus could be doing so. The OnePlus 10 Pro never got a fitting successor in the OnePlus 11 series, and the company also made it clear that the OnePlus 10 Pro will continue to be its flagship for a whole full-year cycle. Moreover, given the supposed asking price of the OnePlus 12, which should fall in the $600-800 bracket, a periscope zoom camera would be a daydream.

But it’s actually the fourth circular cutout in the camera island that remains a mystery. My best guess would be that it’s some kind of laser-assisted time-of-flight (ToF) sensor for enhanced auto-focus. We’ve already seen multiple phones offering that convenience in the past few years, so there’s certainly some precedent for that.

Purported renders of OnePlus 12
@OnLeaks / MySmartPrice

There’s also a chance that it could be some type of lidar sensor, the kind you see on the “Pro” iPads and iPhones, which is there to assist with AR-related tasks. The final guess would be that it’s a temperature sensor, following in the footsteps of Google, which is putting one on the upcoming Pixel 8 Pro flagship.

But do keep in mind that these are merely educated speculations and that, too, are based on reported renders of an unreleased product. The final device might end up looking a bit, or even dramatically, different. The rest of the package, however, is a familiar OnePlus affair.

The signature sandstone finish at the back is here to stay, and so is the beautiful curved OLED display with thin bezels. This phone is rumored to touch the 120-watt charging rate figure, while Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon chip will keep things running inside. The camera hardware includes a duo of 50-megapixel snappers and a 64-megapixel sensor, while a 5,000mAh battery will reportedly keep the lights on.

Rumors suggest that the OnePlus 12 will break cover around December or maybe in January next year. Prior to that, the company is heavily rumored to launch its first foldable phone within the next couple of months. Unsurprisingly, rumors suggest it will take heavy inspiration from sister company Oppo’s Find N2 foldable phone.

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Nadeem Sarwar
Nadeem is a tech journalist who started reading about cool smartphone tech out of curiosity and soon started writing…
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