OnePlus 3 release date, news and rumorsUpdate: OnePlus is almost ready to announce its brand new flagship phone. A blog post has confirmed the OnePlus 3 will be announced in virtual reality and the company is giving away free headsets so you can watch it live. It won't be before June 6 though.
The OnePlus 2 is a great phone, with a beautiful screen and a brilliantly low price, but there are plenty of things that could have been done better – or just done, full stop.
OnePlus underwent a lot of criticism for losing NFC and it's hoped that will be sorted on the OnePlus Three.
Lots of rumors and leaks are starting to come through for the OnePlus 3, suggesting we may see the phone very soon. Here's all the juicy details we know so far about one of the most exciting phones of 2016.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The next affordable flagship from OnePlus
- When is it out? Probably June 2016, OnePlus confirmed it's soon
- What will it cost? Likely around £239/US$329
OnePlus 3 release dateOnePlus has now confirmed the OnePlus 3 will be announced by a virtual reality press conference, but when it will actually take place is unclear.
OnePlus is giving away 30,000 free VR headsets ready for the launch and those are set to be shipped on June 6, so it won't be announced anytime before then.
OnePlus CEO Carl Pei also confirmed in a blog post that those who watch the press conference will be able to order the phone before anyone else. Whether that means the company is going to stop the traditional invite system is not yet clear.
The OnePlus One, OnePlus 2 and OnePlus X all launched under an invite system, which meant it was initially hard to get a hold of each phone.
OnePlus 3 designThe design on the OnePlus One and OnePlus 2 was largely similar, but OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has confirmed that the OnePlus 3 will sport a new design.
The most recent leaked image is a high-quality render of the phone, which looks more like the HTC 10 than anything OnePlus has previously made, with a slim, slightly curved metal body in a silver color and antenna bands at the top and bottom.
The same render was supplied to Engadget China directly from a OnePlus PR rep, but it's a weird situation though as the site has speculated it may be a fake even though it comes from an official source.
Chinese manufacturer Vivo often employs a similar tactic to stir up some excitement for a launch, and leaks out false renders to ensure none of the real details are given away before the actual launch.
We believe this may be the case here as well, especially as the render suggests OnePlus is dropping laser auto-focus and two-tone flash from the rear camera.
That render does largely line up with other recent leaked shots though, which all show a plain back likely made of metal and an antenna band running along the top. The lack of logo and less polished appearance suggests this might have been an earlier prototype, but it's broadly similar to the render above.
The same source leaked shots purportedly showing the front of the OnePlus 3 and these also line up with the render, showing a (likely 5.0 or 5.5-inch AMOLED) screen, slim bezels and a home button that probably houses a fingerprint scanner.
It's looking likely this will be the design of the OnePlus 3, but alternatively, the OnePlus X, a cheaper phone the company launched last year, may be inspiration for the new design if earlier leaked renders turn out to be true. The images of the phone even suggest the design will come with a glass back like the OnePlus X.
But this time there's a mirrored front screen, which is a strange step for OnePlus.
The leaked renders are also missing a fingerprint scanner, suggesting these may not be real. If OnePlus drops the fingerprint scanner we'd expect it to come up with an iris scanner or something similarly impressive to go in its place.
OnePlus 3 specsVarious OnePlus 3 benchmarks point to the possible specs of the phone. Recently two different ones have appeared, pointing to either 4GB or a massive 6GB of RAM. Another rumor seems to offer an explanation - there will be two different versions.
A source has claimed there will be a 4GB RAM version with 32GB of storage while a 6GB of RAM version will cost a little more with 64GB of memory onboard.
If this turns out to be true, that will mean an end to the 16GB OnePlus model. The source who claimed this said the 32GB version will cost a similar amount to what the 16GB OnePlus 2 did though, so you shouldn't expect a big jump in price.
The benchmarks also suggest the OnePlus 3 will have a Snapdragon 820 processor, a 5-inch 1080p screen, 64GB of storage, Android Marshmallow, a 16MP rear camera and an 8MP front-facing one.
That same benchmark also suggests there will be NFC support on the OnePlus 3. That's a big deal for OnePlus customers who missed the technology on the OnePlus 2.
Upon the launch of the OnePlus 2, OnePlus confirmed to techradar it decided to ditch the feature as it "saw most of [its] users weren't using NFC" on the OnePlus One. But things have changed since 2014 and a lot of people will now be using the technology for mobile payments.
One source claims the phone will only launch with 32GB of storage. That seems strange considering the company now only sells the 64GB OnePlus 2 in the UK.
On battery, a source claims the OnePlus 3 will come with a 3500mAh cell rather than the 3300mAh one used on the OnePlus 2. But more recently we've heard it might just have a 3000mAh juice pack. An import listing also shows the phone will include Oppo's VOOC fast-charging technology for the very first time.
That means the OnePlus 3 may be able to charge from empty to full battery in just 15 minutes.
OnePlus 3 priceThe big selling point for OnePlus is the price. The OnePlus 2 cost £239 or US$329 (about AU$460) so we'd expect a similar price point for the OnePlus 3.
One source even claimed it could be even cheaper at around US$310 (about £210, AU$409). We'll have to wait until the official announcement to know for sure though.
OnePlus 3 competitionOnePlus launched the OnePlus 2 as the "2016 flagship killer" even though it came mid-way through 2015. It held its own against some of the best phones you can buy, but the spec now looks a little dated compared to the brand new flagship handsets.
There's stiff competition for OnePlus with the Samsung Galaxy S7, LG G5, HTC 10 and the iPhone 6S. In September, we also expect to see the iPhone 7 launch as well.
But then there's both the OnePlus X and the OnePlus 2 as well. Even though both of these phones are older, they'll be cheaper than the OnePlus 3 when it launches and the biggest benefit is they are readily available while the OnePlus Three is likely going to be invite only. At least for a bit.
- Have you read our review of the OnePlus X?
OnePlus 3: what we want to seeHere's everything we have our fingers crossed for on the OnePlus 3.
1. NFCNFC is perhaps the single biggest omission from the OnePlus 2. It apparently wasn't included because it's not a popular feature, but that doesn't change the fact that almost every other flagship and plenty of lower end phones offer it, not to mention the OnePlus One.
It may also soon get a lot more popular, with Android Pay now launching, so it's a feature that we really hope is reinstated for the OnePlus 3.
2. Fast chargingQuick charging is another thing the OnePlus 2 lacks. It's a little more forgivable than the absence of NFC, since it's a feature that's only quite recently been implemented into phones, but it's also a very useful feature, allowing you to juice up your handset in no time flat.
The OnePlus 2 has a pretty big battery, but once it runs down you could be out of action for a while, so hopefully the OnePlus 3 won't lack it.
3. A better fingerprint scanner
When it works the OnePlus 2's fingerprint scanner is pretty good, but we found it inconsistent. Sometimes it would be less responsive or fail altogether and you can't currently use it to pay for things or log into apps.
Some of those things may be fixed with a software update, but we hope the scanner on the OnePlus Three works well from day one. Though early renders suggest we may not even get a fingerprint scanner on the OnePlus 3.
4. Cool runningThe Snapdragon 810 at the heart of the OnePlus 2 has had its share of problems in other devices, with various reports of overheating. Supposedly the OnePlus 2 uses an improved version yet it doesn't seem immune to heating up.
If the OnePlus 3 can avoid even getting a little toasty that would certainly be appreciated. Thankfully the Snapdragon 820, which is rumored for the OnePlus 3, is a far better behaved processor.
5. A QHD screen
Hopefully the OnePlus 3 won't get any bigger, it makes more sense as a smartphone than a phablet, but it could certainly afford to pack in a few more pixels. Current rumors suggest it will be sticking at 1080p though.
6. Long battery lifeThere's a 3,300mAh juice pack in the OnePlus 2. That's pretty sizeable, but then it's also a pretty sizeable phone. In practice you should get through a day on a single charge even if you push it pretty hard, but you're going to want to plug it in at night.
Whether through a bigger battery, a more efficient screen and processor or full-featured power saving modes there's a lot that can be improved here and we hope the OnePlus Three implements those improvements.
7. A microSD card slot
There's no microSD card slot in the OnePlus 2, which instantly renders the 16GB model near redundant for any serious smartphone user. The 64GB one is a better bet, but then you're also spending more money and we have almost 100GB of cat pictures we want instant access to, so a microSD card slot would be a huge help.
Hopefully OnePlus is listening. Its motto is 'Never Settle' after all and with the OnePlus 2 we have to settle for just 64GB of cat pictures. It's not okay.
8. Wireless chargingNot only does the OnePlus 2 lack fast charging, but also wireless charging. This is a technology which is still finding its feet, but for a self-proclaimed '2016 flagship killer' it's a feature we'd expect.
We wouldn't be surprised if a wireless charging case is launched for it, but we don't want a case, we want the tech baked right into the phone. The OnePlus 3 has to have it or OnePlus might need to rethink its marketing, as by 2017 we half expect our phones to fly, while wireless charging should be as common as Bluetooth.
9. No lag
With a Snapdragon 810 processor and up to 4GB of RAM the OnePlus 2 really shouldn't lag, yet while it's mostly lightning fast we have noticed some lag with the home button, which didn't always return us to the home screen immediately.
Hopefully this will be sorted with a software update, but we want the OnePlus Three to be as smooth as silk from day one.
10. A similarly low priceAny issues with the OnePlus 2 will be largely negated by its astoundingly low price tag. Sure, it's not quite entry range, but with a starting price of £239 ($329, around AU$452) it's roughly half the price of phones like the Samsung Galaxy S6, despite packing similar specs.
That's a massive win and for the OnePlus 3 to keep the momentum up it will need to be similarly affordable.
- We're also waiting for the iPhone 7
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