September 28, 2020

The new OnePlus Z rumors make this old OnePlus fan happy

As a guy who owned the OnePlus One and many other OnePlus phones, I'm loving these OnePlus Z rumors.

OnePlus Logo OnePlus 6T

Opinion post by
C. Scott Brown

It seems like it was decades ago, but it was only about six years ago that I got an invite to buy the OnePlus One. Since buying that phone, I’ve been a big fan of the brand. Being a long-time fan, I gotta say the rumors surrounding the next device from the company — the OnePlus Z — are making me almost as excited as I was when I found out about the One.

The OnePlus One was everything I’ve ever wanted from a smartphone: great design, great specs, great software, great price. Since then, OnePlus has slowly moved away from the last item on that list, but the rumors all point to the brand getting back-to-basics with the OnePlus Z.

Related: OnePlus Z: Everything we know so far

The rumors heavily suggest OnePlus is getting back to its roots. We won’t know anything for certain until the company formally launches the OnePlus Z, but let me explain what the rumors are so far and why they bring a smile to my face.

OnePlus Z: A quick rumor recap

A look at the apparent OnePlus 8 Lite.91mobiles/Onleaks

Source: 91mobiles/Onleaks

We got our first look at the OnePlus Z months ago, via reliable leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (@OnLeaks). Back then, we were calling the phone the OnePlus 8 Lite due to the notion we assumed it would launch alongside the OnePlus 8 series.

Related: OnePlus 8 buyer’s guide: Everything you need to know

That didn’t end up happening, but we are still relatively certain the renders above give a very close approximation of what the OnePlus Z will probably look like. It has a flat display, a centered cutout for the selfie camera, and a triple-lens camera on the rear.

Just recently, though, we heard rumors about what could possibly be going on inside the device. According to a forum post on DesiDime (via XDA Developers), the OnePlus Z could sport a 6.55-inch OLED display with a 90Hz refresh rate and in-display fingerprint sensor. It might be powered by the Snapdragon 765 paired with 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Keeping the lights on could be a 4,300mAh battery with 30W wired Warp Charge speeds.

On the camera end, the main sensor could be a 64MP system working alongside a 16MP sensor of some kind (likely an ultra-wide) and a 2MP sensor (likely a depth sensor or possibly a macro lens). The selfie camera will reportedly be 16MP.

Now, to be clear, not everyone agrees these specs are legit. They do seem slightly far-fetched, especially the notion of a 64MP primary sensor and 4,300mAh battery on a phone as inexpensive as we expect this to be (more on that below). However, this is the best info we have so far on the device, so that’s what I’m running with.

Honestly, that all sounds awesome

The sandstone back of the OnePlus One.

Those specs all sound great to me when you consider the price of this phone is rumored to be 24,990 rupees (~$331). That means the likely price for the United States would be $399, putting this phone in direct competition with the iPhone SE and Google Pixel 4a.

If the OnePlus Z ends up having a spec sheet like this (or even a spec sheet close to this), it could end up being one of the best bang-for-your-buck phones of the year. Although neither phone has been officially announced yet, the rumored specs of the Pixel 4a seem weaker than these specs, so the OnePlus Z would become the budget phone to beat.

Related: The best budget phones you can currently buy

Hell, even if the phone ends up being $499 here in the US, that would still be a good deal. A 5G-capable phone with a triple-lens camera, fast and regular Android updates, a 90Hz display refresh rate, and a huge fast-charging battery for under $500? Shut up and take my money!

Granted, I’ve already publicly declared that I won’t buy another phone until in-display selfie cameras are an actual thing, so the OnePlus Z isn’t going to be on my personal shopping list. But I am way more excited about this phone than I was about the OnePlus 8 or OnePlus 8 Pro. Those devices just didn’t feel right to me when it comes to OnePlus, but this feels like a true return to form for the company.

Hopefully, when the OnePlus Z does officially land, it will be at least somewhat close to what we see here. It will be nice to see the old OnePlus back again.

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