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OnePlus 3 specs, release date and price rumours

Expert Reviews logo Expert Reviews 16-02-2016 Lee Bell

OnePlus 3 specs, release date and price rumours© Expert Reviews OnePlus 3 specs, release date and price rumours © Provided by Dennis Publishing Limited

Chinese phone maker OnePlus is renowned for its high-spec, low-price smartphones that rival the likes of premium handsets such as the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Sony Xperia Z5 for a fraction of the cost.

When OnePlus One successor, the OnePlus 2 launched last year, you could only buy a handset if you had a special invitation. OnePlus lifted that invite restriction earlier this year and at the same time dropped the price, making its second flagship smartphone available to all for an astonishing £249, practically half the price of almost every other major top-end smartphone available at the time.

However, the OnePlus 2 has been kicking around a while now, and as the quick-shifting mobile market moves forward, the rumour mill suggests we are likely to see an update from OnePlus at some point this year as the Chinese company keeps up with competitors.

OnePlus 3 name

There’s no official word from One Plus what its next flagship smartphone will be called, but it doesn’t take a genius to speculate that it’s likely to be named OnePlus 3, following the same cadence of previous devices, the OnePlus One and the OnePlus 2.

Although the OnePlus X didn’t follow this pattern when it was released in October, there’s a reason for this. This device is a smaller, mid-range handset that runs in parallel to the firm’s flagship models, so we are pretty certain OnePlus would keep the names of its major releases to the numerical theme. We will therefore be referring to it as the OnePlus 3 throughout the rest of this article.

Release date

There’s no word on release date as of yet but as far as we know, OnePlus doesn’t follow in the footsteps of other phone makers such as Apple and Samsung with predictable release cycles. The OnePlus One was released in April 2014, while the OnePlus 2 launching just over a year later in July 2014, so it’s not so easy to say when the OnePlus 3 will hit the market.

However, if we presume it takes around a year for OnePlus to update its flagship handset offering, it’d be worth estimating a summer time launch date. And it’s definitely safe to say it’ll be with us before the year is out, at least.

It’s also likely the OnePlus3 will stick to the same invite-only restriction when released as its predecessors did. Though, if the OnePlus 2 is anything to go by, that could be lifted after a few months and opened up to the wider market.

Design

While we haven’t seen any of those all-too-familiar blurry leaked images of the OnePlus 3 taken in some gloomy-looking factory environment as of yet (they are bound to come along sooner or later), we do have some early conceptual renders to go by thanks to Chinese website Mobil-Dad.com.

Disclosed in December 2015, the renders don’t give much away, and it’s possible they could be fake; concocted by some random OnePlus fan in China somewhere. If they are genuine it would appear the company has dropped its trademark sandpaper-like black back in favour of a smooth, brushed steel effect.

There is also no sign of a home button with integrated finger print scanner on the renders, something the OnePlus 2 possessed. This is extra-strange considering fan website OnePlusThree said the device will integrate an UltraSonic finger print sensor. This, if true, would provide a much faster experience of authentication with higher accuracy than the usual finger print scanner being used in other OnePlus models. The lack of home button on the render could mean that OnePlus is going down the Sony route and integrating it into the power button. Either that, or perhaps the firm has abandoned it completely in favour of iris-scanning - something we are seeing more of in Chinese phones.

Specifications

When it was launched last year the OnePlus 2 boasted one of Qualcomm's top of the range octa-core 1.8GHz Snapdragon 810 chipsets alongside a massive 4GB of RAM, giving the same amount of processing power as other 2015 flagships such as the Sony Xperia Z5.

Leaked specifications suggest the OnePlus 3 won’t be any different and will be powered by a processor of equivalent rank, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 820. This is the same chip that is slated to be behind upcoming flagship phones such as Samsung's Galaxy S7, the HTC One M10 and LG G5.

As for RAM, we wouldn’t expect OnePlus to downsize the memory size when making its next flagship, so it’s very likely to feature the same 4GB RAM as seen its predecessor. It’s not probable that this will be upped to 6 or 8GB, as Qualcomm doesn’t own a chip that can support that amount of memory at the moment.

Battery and storage

It would be nice to see the OnePlus 3 with a larger battery than previous iterations, but as far as rumours go, it looks like it will feature a 3300mAh as seen in the OnePlus 2, if not slightly larger.

There was no support for microSD in the OnePlus One or the OnePlus 2, but it was present in the latest OnePlus X so it could be that we see the OnePlus 3 with added support for storage expansion, or at least a bigger in-built storage option of 128GB.

Screen resolution

Rumours suggest that the OnePlus 3 will offer a Full HD 1920x1080 pixel resolution as seen on the OnePlus One and the OnePlus 2. There’s no word on what size the screen will be, but both previous devices sported a 5.5in display size. We'd expect a similar size for the OnePlus 3, perhaps a little bigger but certainly not smaller as that would fall into the same territory as the OnePlus X, which features a 5in screen.

Camera

The OnePlus 2 offers a 13-megapixel rear camera and a 5-megapixel front shooter for selfies, which is excellent for the money. We can expect the OnePlus 3 to have similar camera specs, but seen as though these camera offerings were already an absolute bargain considering the OnePlus 2’s price, we can’t imagine the third iteration will sport a big jump in performance.

Price

The main draw of OnePlus’ line-up is the price tag. The original phone cost just £230 when it first debuted in 2014, and then the OnePlus 2 launched costing £289 with a whopping 64GB of inbuilt storage.

We would expect the OnePlus 3 to follow suit, with offerings – depending on storage sizes – to remain within the sub-£300 price bracket for a SIM-free handset. We'd be very surprised to see it go over the £300 mark, or below £230, and would speculate it to be somewhere in the middle, around £250, give or take £10.

We’ll be updating the OnePlus 3 rumours as we get more leaks and information closer to release. 

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