Here’s everything we know about the OnePlus 6 smartphone so far

The date has been set: The OnePlus 6 will launch on May 16 in London

Evan Blass / @evleaks
Evan Blass/@evleaks

It’s been several months since we first got our hands on the OnePlus 5T, and the rumors around its replacement are coming in thick and fast. The OnePlus 6 will officially arrive on May 16, and bring with it some of the most desirable smartphone tech, all at a lower price than its competitors.

Ready? Here’s what we’re hearing about the OnePlus 6 so far.

Release

oneplus 6 news invite london

The OnePlus 6 will be announced on May 16 at an event in London. The company has announced the date along with the news that it is selling 1,000 tickets so fans can come along and try the new phone out before anyone else. It will start at 5 p.m. local time, or 9 a.m. PT/12 p.m. ET, and a livestream will be available if you aren’t able to attend. You’ll need to subscribe to get access to the livestream, which can be found here.

How much will the OnePlus 6 cost when it does launch? Although it will still be competitively priced, the cost may rise again. Using converted Chinese yuan costs, GizmoChina reports the OnePlus 6 with 64GB may cost around $520, rising to around $600 for the 128GB model, and nearly $700 for the 256GB version. That is significantly more than the OnePlus 5T, which was in turn more costly than the OnePlus 5.

Design

Confirmation of the OnePlus 6’s material design has come via OnePlus CEO Pete Lau on the OnePlus forums. Titled “Our Approach to Honest Design,” the post goes into detail on how a OnePlus phone is designed, and in particular why the OnePlus 6 will have a glass back panel like other flagship smartphones.

“OnePlus 6’s glass design is centered around creating a “sense of value” and “premium hand-feel,” said Mr. Lau. “We care about the user’s experience from the moment they touch the device. We also want our devices to feel burdenless in the hand, even after an extended period of use. OnePlus users have exacting standards for great industrial design.”

While there was little backlash to this announcement (in stark contrast to the notch design), OnePlus seems to have anticipated some worries about durability, which is why the OnePlus 6 will apparently also have extra layers of Nanotech Coating, giving a greater level of depth to the look.

Previous rumors included a leaked case image from Evan Blass that showed a brushed aluminum frame with a gorgeous gray wood-grain rear panel. Other leaked images showed the glass back we now know to be official.

According to the Chinese tech site CNMO, we may also see the OnePlus in four different colors: white, blue, black, and a premium model sporting a two-tone white-and-blue body.

OnePlus has long been known for offering flagship-level specifications without the flagship price tag. But that doesn’t come without some compromise, and OnePlus’s phones have sometimes lagged behind flagship phones in other areas, including some physical features. The latest news points to one of those particular holes being closed, as the OnePlus 6 could be the first OnePlus phone to come with water-resistance.

A short tweet by OnePlus India asks us whether we also hate it when we have to stop using our phone because of the rain — before replying that they do, too. This most likely points to a level of water-resistance on the OnePlus 6, though we’re not currently sure whether that will be IP68 like the Galaxy S9, or the lower IP67 like the iPhone X.

The OnePlus will also be joining the notch bandwagon with the OnePlus 6. OnePlus has stated on its official forums the OnePlus 6 will have a “notch,” just like the iPhone X and various Android phones in 2018. It claims the notch enables a larger screen-to-body ratio and sensible placement of the selfie camera, and that the software has been enhanced to work around it, or to absorb it with a custom view mode if you prefer.

It also looks to be following the iPhone X’s lead in some other design respects, if leaks from ITHome are to be believed. A shot of the phone’s back shows a vertically aligned dual-sensor camera and a fingerprint sensor. On the front, you find an edge-to-edge display with the promised top notch. That notch appears to house the front-facing camera, and any sensors for new features like facial recognition. The display also shows what appear to be the specs for the phone.

Camera

While the OnePlus 5T offer a good no-frills camera, should we expect the same from the upcoming OnePlus 6? Well, if the recent photos OnePlus CEO Pete Lau are indeed from the OnePlus 6, it looks like we’re in for a pleasant surprise.

A recent post from GizmoChina offers some spec details for the OnePlus 6. The site says the phone will ship with a 20-megapixel and 16-megapixel dual-lens setup. Sound familiar? That’s probably because the company used the same megapixel counts on the OnePlus 5 and OnePlus 5T as well. That doesn’t mean we should expect the same camera experience on the upcoming flagship though.

While the lenses may be the same as their predecessors on the upcoming OnePlus 6, we expect to see improvements to the camera software. Although Lau’s photos don’t provide a ton of details, we can venture a few guesses about what to expect.

First and foremost it looks like OnePlus will improve upon its portrait mode for the upcoming phone. In one of the tulip photos you can see nice even color and a pretty impressive background blur. Granted, there is some feathering when zooming in on the photo. Other photos appear to show zoom improvements; one image shows an up-close image of a stained-glass window with crisp details.

While the photos on Lau’s Weibo account provide some details, there’s one glaring omissions: Low-light photos. We would love to see improvements in low-light imaging in the upcoming OnePlus 6.

Special editions

The OnePlus 6 hasn’t been officially announced yet, but the company is already talking about potential special edition versions. A tweet from OnePlus India hints about a follow-up to the Star Wars themed OnePlus 5T, this time related to the new Avengers: Infinity War film, due for release at the end of April.

Details about what the Avengers OnePlus 6 phone will be like have not been announced, but if it’s similar to the Star Wars OnePlus 5T, expect a custom design, wallpapers, color scheme, and accessories. However, it’s also possible the phone will only be released in India — a major market for OnePlus and Marvel — just like the Star Wars phone. OnePlus does like its limited edition devices though, so the U.S. and U.K. are unlikely to lose out entirely, with other versions possible at a later date.

Specifications

Roland Quant / @rquant

OnePlus smartphones usually have the best available technology at the time of release, packaged inside a phone that’s cheaper than the competition. The OnePlus 6 is all set to be the same. Using the social network Weibo, OnePlus CEO Pete Lau wrote the OnePlus 6 will have the Snapdragon 845 processor, 8GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage space. This is the first time OnePlus has featured such a large amount of internal memory. The OnePlus 5T maxes out at 128GB.

The next day, Lau also took to the OnePlus forum to confirm the same specs for the device. He went on to explain this specific hardware was chosen for the OnePlus 6 in order to create a user experience that’s both fast and smooth.

For the software, Android 8.1 Oreo with OnePlus’ Oxygen 5.1 skin is expected.

A source speaking to GizmoChina said the OnePlus 6 will have a feature that eluded all major smartphone manufacturers in 2017, the onscreen fingerprint sensor, though the most recent leak seems to suggest otherwise. The OnePlus 5T introduced an 18:9 aspect ratio screen with minimal bezels, and shifted the fingerprint sensor from below the screen to the rear. Chinese smartphone brand Vivo was the first to release a phone with a working onscreen fingerprint sensor. This is important because Vivo, OnePlus, and Oppo are all part of the same family, as these three brands are all owned by BBK Electronics, a massive Chinese tech corporation. Sharing technology between them is certainly possible.

Updated on April 25: Added news of the OnePlus 6 launch event date, time, and livestream.